FIVE years ago, this week, Durham Tees Valley Airport unveiled plans to build 400 homes in a bid to protect key air links.

Airport bosses announced that the sale of land for housing would fund the redevelopment of the terminal building and pay for new aircraft hangars, warehouses and offices.

However, community leaders in nearby Middleton St George warned local amenities – including the village school and GP surgery – would not be able to cope with extra users.

The rescue plan was backed by leaders of both Darlington and Stockton Borough Councils who said it was “vital” for the airport’s survival.

Also that week, a stained glass window in memory of an popular organist was unveiled at the church where she worshipped for over 50 years.

A large congregation gathered at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Trimdon in memory of Lily Burton.

Attending the dedication was Cherie Blair, the wife of the former Prime Minister and Sedgefield MP, Tony Blair, who joined the gathering to see the Bishop of Jarrow, the Right Reverend Mark Bryant, dedicate the window to Mrs Burton.

Mrs Burton, who was married to Mr Blair's constituency agent John Burton, was devoted to the church, serving as organist, flower arranger and parochial church councillor.

Members of the community had rallied to raise £12,000 to install the window in her honour.

Meanwhile, people flocked to Newton Aycliffe town centre to see pop singer Amelia Lily perform at its official re-launch party.

A £7m investment in the town saw a compete revamp of its shopping area, replacing an unsightly concrete ramp, cracked paving and dilapidated staircase with an open plan shopping area.

At its re-opening event the 19-year-old X Factor contestant, who finished third in the ITV talent contest in 2011, was the headline act with performances by Darlington Operatic Society and other local acts.

Bryan Haldane, town centre manager, said: "We had the most people we have ever had in Newton Aycliffe town centre. Amelia Lily was fantastic, and I was delighted to see so many families in the crowd."

And tens of thousands of people were left in awe as Durham’s third Lumiere festival was in full swing.

Previously staged in 2009 and 20011, the festival, which took place over the week, attracted visitors of all ages from across the region and beyond to see more than 20 light-based art installations across Durham City.

Among the highlights were a 3D elephant above Elvet Bridge, a red phone box aquarium in Durham Market Place and the return of the Crown of Light, which featured images from the Lindisfarne Gospels projected onto Durham Cathedral.