THIS week 15 years ago, deaf children at a school were visited by South Indian performers in a bid to help the children express themselves.

The students at Coulby Newham School aged between six and 16, were taking part in workshops with the Kathakali performers, who use a 400-year-old sign language in their dance and drama routines.

The visit was made possible by a grant from the Cleveland Community Foundation, which paid for the internationally renowned artists to travel from India.

Also that week, Beatrix Potter fans were given the rare opportunity to view original copies of the author’s work.

The exhibition held at Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire, displayed a collection of watercolours and drawings by the author including, Squirrel Nutkin and Samuel Whiskers.

Nunnington's property manager Simon Lee said: "We are very excited to be able to show these pictures.

"For conservation reasons, these particular images have been in store for the past five years and are unlikely to be seen again for a further five years, so it is a real opportunity for people to see these quality works while they are here."

The pictures were loaned from the National Trust's collection in the Lake District. Potter was a great benefactor of the trust, which now owns both her house near Sawrey and the Beatrix Potter Gallery, in Hawkshead.

Meanwhile, three members of a lifeboat crew who collectively served the community for nearly 100 years announced their retirement.

The crew, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, were John Pearson, 55, a marine electrician, Peter Harrington, 55, a decorator, and Barry McNally, 57, a care home worker.

All three of the men risked their lives in major rescue operations including ones which earned them awards for bravery.

Mr Pearson and Mr Harrington each received honours for going to the aid of a woman in stormy seas in Scarborough's North Bay.

Lifeboat coxswain Tom Clark paid tribute to the men he said: "It is a splendid sign of dedication to the lifeboat service.”