TEN years ago, this week, a toddler overcame the odds reaching a milestone his family feared he might never see.

Youngster Liam Hardwick suffered life-threatening head injuries when a car collided with a group of people waiting to cross the road. His father and a family friend died in the crash.

The toddler amazed everyone with his speedy recovery and was surrounded by family and friends in Bishop Auckland to celebrate his second birthday.

His mother, Kayleigh Sanderson, said: "To be honest, I did not think we would see this day, and it feels brilliant.

"He chose his own birthday card, and decided he wanted a hoover as his present, even though he used to be scared of them."

Also that week, an aircraft crashed as it made its way back to Durham Tees Valley Airport.

The two-seater Piper 38 plane was returning to the airport, near Darlington, when it plunged into the North Sea, about 200 metres from Robin Hood's Bay - between Whitby and Scarborough, in North Yorkshire.

It was believed the pilot, the only person on the aircraft, managed to raise the alarm before it crashed.

Witnesses spoke of seeing the plane circle around cliffs before hitting the water with great force.

A spokesman for Humber Coastguard, which helped direct a search, was pessimistic about the pilot's chances of survival.

He said: "If they are still with the aircraft, they have got no chance.

"Several 999 calls were made by members of the public, who reported seeing a light aircraft plummeting and crashing into the sea, close inshore, at Robin Hood's Bay.

"A t 5.20pm, debris was found in the area that was being searched.

"Sonar equipment from the lifeboats sounded out a large object in about seven metres of water.

"Debris, including oil and pieces of carpet, was also found in the area."

Meanwhile, one of Shildon's oldest residents celebrated her 102nd birthday.

Mary Edith Waites was visited by former Sedgefield Borough Mayor, Councillor John Robinson as she shared the day with friends, family and staff at Redworth House Care Home, in Shildon.

Home manager Lynn Small said: "She is a lovely lady. She is generally quiet but when she smiles she lights the place up.

"She enjoys outings, especially to Archer's Farm for ice cream, and loves it when Max, a Pat dog that visits every month, comes in.

"It was nice to celebrate such a remarkable day with her."