FIVE years ago this week, a shock decision saw flights to popular holiday destinations axed from Durham Tees Valley airport.

Holiday schedules operated by Thomson and First Choice were scrapped after the company was told they would no longer be able to operate flights.

The airport had seen its passenger numbers fall from nearly one million in 2006 to only 160,000 annually and the move to suspend flights confirmed fears that the airport’s owners were to turn their backs on the package holiday market.

An airport spokesman said an announcement on the “future business direction” of the airport would be made.

Also that week, it emerged prison officers from the former Northallerton Prison were being asked to travel as far as Doncaster in South Yorkshire due to a sudden influx of inmates following its closure to save money.

Officers were being put up in hotels, given hire cars, expenses and overtime pay after officials at HMP Moorland and HMP Lindholme said they couldn’t cope with the rise new prisoners.

A Northern Echo source said: "How can it be cost-effective to send staff to hotels and hire Enterprise cars to get them to look after prisoners that were already being looked after in Northallerton?”

The Ministry of Justice said relocating prison officers – as inmates are transferred from closing prisons – was standard practice.

Firefighters across the region took part in a four-and-a-half hour strike as part of a national dispute over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigade Unions staged a walkout and picket lines were in place outside fire stations in Darlington, Durham and across the region.

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said the strike action was unnecessary and did nothing but damage firefighters’ reputation with the public.

Meanwhile, the trial began of former News International Chief Rebekah Brooks and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson for charges linked to phone hacking and alleged corrupt payments to public officials.

And a baby was christened aboard a lifeboat, upholding an RNLI tradition.

A ceremony was held on the Spirit of Northumberland, where the Reverend Dorothy Robinson christened Roman Bundy in front of parents Laura and Paul, their family and friends and crew members. Roman's grandfather, Kevin Mole, had served in the RNLI for 40 years, his late father Dougie served for more than 30 years, and his son Bobby, Roman's uncle, is a volunteer crewman at Tynemouth.

The tradition of christening relatives of crew aboard RNLI lifeboats is said to bring luck to the child.