FIVE years ago this week, Durham City saw the long-awaited return of the Lindisfarne Gospels, 500 years after they were taken from the cathedral by Henry VIII on a whim.

After years of campaigning and months of planning, the historical manuscript was put on display on Palace Green, with organisers anticipating 80,000 people to flock to its exhibition.

Programme director Keith Bartlett said: "It has been an amazing journey. It has taken two years to put this together and I am really looking forward to it.

"The exhibition is stunning. We are really pleased with it and I am dying to share it with the people of the region.”

Also that week, town hall leaders reacted with fury after a ten per cent Government grant cut was announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review.

Mr Osborne announced that local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) would share a £2bn annual fund from 2015, falling short of the £12bn-plus Lord Heseltine had urged from ministers.

Simon Henig, Labour leader of Durham County Council, said: "We can't afford to do all the things Durham councils have historically managed to do."

Bill Dixon, Labour leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: "We are approaching the ending of all discretionary spending – leisure, parks and open spaces, and areas such as industrial development."

Meanwhile, X Factor star Joe McElderry officially opened a £500,000 cancer unit in North Durham.

The new unit, at Shotley Bridge Community Hospital, near Consett, was built to give people easier access to services previously only available at the University Hospital of North Durham.

The 22-year-old singer said: "Cancer affects so many families, so it's great that this excellent facility is now available for them. "

Sister Sandra Gaskill, the ward manager, said: "Having this new unit is really all about providing patients with services they need, closer to home.”

A teenager was left fighting for his life after being attacked and left for dead in the Turkish holiday resort of Marmaris.

The 17-year-old, from Middlesbrough, was stabbed more than a dozen times including twice in the throat and several times in the chest, with one wound piercing his heart.

And a new development scheme was planned to relieve a retirement village overrun with moorhens.

A population boom had tripled the number of moorhens at the Middleton Hall Retirement Village in Middleton St George, near Darlington.

The £9m scheme, which involved building 35 zero carbon retirement bungalows on site, also involved the creation of a large duck pond.

David Richardson, head of operations at the village, said: "Every time we have a new development here we think about the wildlife and the habitats in which they can thrive.

"The moorhens certainly seem to like it here and the residents love checking up on them. They see them as their moorhens.”