TEN years ago, this week, a 92ft Ferris wheel towered over the Joseph Pease statue and town clock in Darlington.

The attraction, also used at the Ilse of Wight Festival, was installed in the town centre as part of its festive celebrations and stood eight metres higher than the Angel of the North.

Darlington Borough Council said they hoped the wheel would bring visitors to the town in time for its Christmas light switch-on.

Meanwhile more than 800 people from the North-East appeared on a leaked list of British National Party members.

The names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of more than 12,000 BNP members were posted online including the details of school governors, teachers and prison officers.

Prison officers are prohibited from joining right wing groups, including the BNP.

A Prison Service spokesman said it took allegations of racism very seriously and had a zero-tolerance policy towards those who hold racist views.

Others from the region on the list included a marine biologist, a karaoke DJ, a retired nurse, an IT consultant, a doorman, a company director, a retired social worker and a driving instructor.

The BNP North-East regional organiser, whose name appeared on the list, said he received a threatening phone call after his details were posted online.

"It's not a leaked list – it's a stolen list, " he said.

Also that week, a businessman who decided to get rid of an old wooden desk was astonished when his unwanted relic was sold in an auction for £84,000.

The mahogany desk, described as being in poor condition, was expected to sell for about £600 at a sale in Barnard Castle. The top estimate was £800.

But before it went under the hammer, experts decided it was almost certainly made by master carpenter Thomas Chippendale about 250 years ago – and that once restored it could be worth more than £250,000.

With commission and VAT, the final price came to more than £100,000.

Auctioneer Richard Edwards said: "The seller had no idea it was worth so much. He just wanted to change it for something more modern. He is now absolutely astonished and delighted with the price.

And snow ploughs and gritters were in action as the first snowfall of winter turned much of the region white.

Wintry conditions caused a small number of accidents, but not as many as emergency services had anticipated.