TEN years ago, a proposal for a new high-speed rail link was praised by businesses.

Business leaders asked for the link next to the East Coast Main Line to be built as soon as possible.

The announcement caused some surprise, because the government had previously said it would make no decision on a high-speed link until 2012.

Andrew Sugden, policy director for the North-East Chamber of Commerce, said: "We would certainly like to see Network Rail look into the possibility of a high-speed rail link to the North-East.

"It's something a recent study showed would deliver the best economic benefits for the UK.

"We need to keep reminding government that this is a strategic national investment. A link that stopped at Birmingham or Manchester would fail to bring the opportunities to the North-East and Scotland.

"We've been pushing for investment in strategic transport infrastructure for years. Currently, the UK only has one high-speed rail link – London to Paris."

Former Sunderland goalkeeper Tim Carter died. The player made 50 appearances for the Black Cats in the late eighties and early nineties.

At the time of his death he was a member of Sunderland's academy coaching staff.

Brian Honour, who played with Carter at Hartlepool United, said: "He was a true gentleman and I genuinely mean that from the heart. I still feel numb, really.

"When I heard the news I thought it was an absolute tragedy, because he was one of the game's nicest guys. He's not just a great loss to the game but, as a person, he's a great loss to everyone in normal life."

And the family of a little boy who died after an accident at an agricultural show paid tribute to "their little cherub".

Three-year-old Ben Craggs, from Sedgefield died after a bollard fell on him in a car park near the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, Edinburgh.

Ben's grandmother, Barbara Irvine, 70, a retired farmer from Sedgefield, said: "Ben was such a lively and boisterous little boy. It is going to be difficult to imagine life without him.

"I used to call him my little cherub."

Mrs Irvine said Ben was a regular at the shows and loved the outdoor and farming life.