TEN-YEARS-AGO this week, the artist behind the Angel of the North said the statue has set the agenda for accessible art, as his creation marked a decade since being erected.

Antony Gormley's 200-tonne steel figure, on top of a hill next to the A1 in Gateshead, arrived at the site on Valentine's Day in 1998.

A year-long anniversary celebration began with the launch of a competition for ten couples to renew their wedding vows at the foot of the monument.

Gormley said the £800,000 artwork has raised the profile of the area.

"It has led to an awareness of Gateshead that we could never have dreamed of, " he said. "Gateshead is a name spoken everywhere – not just around Britain, but across the whole world."

See tomorrow's Northern Echo for a picture special looking back at the Angel's construction.

In other news, North-East scientists helped in ending a long running scientific debate over Neanderthal life.

Experts from Durham University drew the conclusion that the species travelled from place to place, with academics formerly split as to whether Neanderthal man stayed in the same place or travelled.

The experts studied a 40,000-year-old tooth found in southern Greece to come up with the findings.

Professor Michael Richards, from Durham University, said: "Our tests show that this individual must have lived in a different location when the crown of the tooth was formed than where the tooth was found."

Also, that week, a group of Zimbabwean exiles living in the North-East took part in a fundraising party for underprivileged children in their home country.

They hoped that the event would draw attention to the suffering children and their families.

Newcastle based nurses Sindi Sibanda and Angeline Ndlovu fled Zimbabwe to escape poverty and persecution. The pair raised money for the Zimbabwe Physically Handicapped Children’s association.

Mrs Sibanda said: "The situation is desperate.

"I am so worried about those children who have lost their parents and have nobody else to care for them.

And the artist behind the inflatable sculpture Dreamspace was charged with manslaughter, after the sculpture became airborne killing two women in Chester-le-Street in 2006.

The tragedy, which also injured 27 people led to the 76-year-old being charged with gross negligence manslaughter.

Maurice Agis, who died in 2009, was later convicted of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the safety of members of the public.