FIVE years ago this week, the Stadium of Light was preparing to the first of three major summer gigs.

US rock band Bon Jovi played to tens of thousands of fans at the Sunderland football stadium on June 13 as part of their Because We Can tour.

The band travelled with about 250 people and 40 lorries full of equipment.

Event stage manager Gordon Hyndford said: "It is a tight schedule, but it is worth it.”

The Bon Jovi gig was followed by Rihanna a few days later and the NorthEast Live music festival at the end of the month.

Also, that week, a team of fundraisers led by Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper and Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling reached the peak of Africa’s highest mountain.

They were part of a 15-strong team that aimed for the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money in memory of Cooper’s son, Finlay, who died before his second birthday.

The team finished the 5,895-metre hike at sunrise after an eight-hour climb by torchlight on the seventh day of their trek.

"I am feeling very emotional and very proud," said Cooper, 46. "We have been fantastically well supported by everybody. Anybody who chooses to put money into our pot, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

A former music teacher from North Yorkshire modified musical instruments for retired elephants at a sanctuary in Thailand.

Classic pianist Paul Barton, who taught at Ayton Friends School, in Great Ayton, moved to South-East Asia and began performing for the elephants before giving them their own when he realised they enjoyed his music.

He said: "Some elephants seemed to like music, some paid no attention. One young elephant called John was curious about the sounds of a recorder, flute and also the piano.

"It didn't have to be music, just chords or squeaks. When I played, John also made sounds with his trunk I've never heard an elephant make before."

Mr Barton created a trunk-friendly piano by removing the white keys and tubular bells made from iron pipes tuned to the pentatonic scale.

Schoolgirl Samantha Harris was rewarded for achieving 100 per cent attendance through her entire academic career, matching her brother's record.

The GCSE pupil at Longfield School, in Darlington, had not missed a single day of school since starting primary school at the age of four.

Her brother, Adam, now 19, who also attended Longfield School, also went through 12 years of school without a single day off sick.

There was anger from unions after the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Health Trust confirmed its chief executive had received a £27,000 pay rise – bringing his total salary to £180,000 – at the same time as nurses have had to accept a wage freeze.

Angry unions described the move as "one rule for the frontline and another for the board room".

But officials said the salary was still lowered than many similar chief executives.

And anti-poverty campaigners, led by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, urged David Cameron to forge a global deal on tackling tax evasion at a G8 summit in Northern Ireland.