HUNDREDS of thousands of people marched through London 15 years ago this week for a mass-rally organised by the Stop the War Coalition.

Scores of people from the North-East and North Yorkshire joined the march to protest against Tony Blair's hardline stance on disarming Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Regional organisers were inundated with people wanting to join them on the march, and many were turned away because groups were unable to hire more coaches.

Protestor Richard Wanless, of Fishburn, County Durham, a member of Sedgefield Against War,said: "Tony Blair has lost total control. But he could yet be a hero. He could retain his leadership if he ignores Bush and says Britain won't join up."

As the campaigners flooded into Hyde Park, millions across the globe held simultaneous protests.

Demonstrations took place in hundreds of cities around the world including Rome, Melbourne, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, New York and Hong Kong.

Before the protest, Mr Blair said: "I rejoice that we live in a country where peaceful protest is a natural part of our democratic process.

"But I ask the marchers to understand this: I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honour. But sometimes it is the price of leadership and the cost of conviction."

In other news, Dolly the cloned sheep died aged six after a veterinary examination showed that she had a progressive lung disease.

As the first animal ever to be successfully cloned from the adult tissue of a sheep, her birth was heralded as one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the decade.

Lung disease is usually expected in much older sheep, so the development started a debate about what could be judged as Dolly's true age, and the risks of premature ageing in clones.

And the North-East saw a royal visit when Princess Anne visited Hartlepool to acknowledge the high achievement levels of the town's primary schools.

Hartlepool became the first local education authority in the country to achieve the Quality Mark for all its primary schools.