TEN years ago, this week, a shopper who bought a craft knife at a DIY store was refused a pin for his commemorative poppy – because it was a health and safety risk.

Eric Mitchinson, 62, of Whickham, near Gateshead, bought a poppy from the counter of a B&Q store along with a Stanley knife.

He put £2 in the collection box, but when he could not find a pin to attach it to his jacket, he asked the sales assistant where they were.

"She said the manager had taken the pins away, " said Mr Mitchinson. "I jokingly asked her if it was because of health and safety, and she said 'yes'.

"They will sell you Stanley knives and things like angle grinders, but they won't give you a pin.”

In response to the complaint, B&Q said it was not company policy to remove the pins.

Meanwhile, the financial crisis took its toll on the North-East as figures showed businesses in the area were failing faster than anywhere else in the UK.

In a nine-month period, 365 businesses in the region went bust, 43 per cent more than the year prior.

Insolvency trade body R3 forecasted a dramatic increase in personal and business insolvencies.

Jim James, R3's North-East regional chairman, said he expected a 41 per cent increase in business insolvencies.

He said: "The predicted increase in business insolvencies is extremely worrying, and if this increase occurs it will mean we will start to approach the numbers we saw at the peak of the last recession, in 1992.

"For the past few years, a number of businesses that perhaps were not performing well have been kept alive artificially by the easy availability of credit, which has now dried up.”

Also, that week, a surprise government U-turn brought the end of a 20-year “deregulation disaster”.

It was announced town halls would be able to take back control of local bus services.

Ministers caved in to protests that a Bill to end the "free-for-all" at bus stops would fail because it placed so many hurdles in the way of local authorities.

And Lewis Hamilton became the youngest world champion in Formula One history in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Heading into the final lap of an astonishing 71-lap Brazilian Grand Prix with a storm poised to hit Interlagos, Hamilton was down in sixth place after losing the fifth he required to Sebastien Vettel on lap 69.

At that stage Massa was 100 seconds away from taking the title on countback - six wins to Hamilton's five.

But at the penultimate corner, Hamilton passed Timo Glock to move up to fifth, just 1,000 metres and 18 seconds from the line, securing the point he needed.

"It's been a fairytale story, " reflected Hamilton, who at the age of ten told McLaren boss Ron Dennis he wanted to drive for his team.

I've paid him back in full, so I'm happy with that."