AS the year took a sunny turn and the region saw temperatures soar to over 22C in some areas, the month of May began with thousands of visitors gathering for the Tour de Yorkshire.

An estimated 650,000 people lined streets across North Yorkshire for stage three of the cycle race as it made its way on a 114-mile route from Richmond to Scarborough on Saturday.

It was the first time the race visited Richmond and scores of people gathered in the Market Place and surrounding streets for a day’s worth of entertainment.

There were similar scenes in Catterick, Bedale, Northallerton and Thirsk, where entertainment had been laid on in celebration.

As the race ended under scorching temperatures on the North Yorkshire Coast, a wall of sound greeted Maximillian Walscheid as he sprinted to victory.

He said: “The reception we got all day was fantastic – people were standing in many rows.

“I’ve ridden famous races like Paris-Roubaix before but never seen crowds like that. This win was one of the proudest moments of my career.”

May also began with some sad news, as a young mother died and her son seriously injured after they were struck by a car.

Shantelle Kirkup was on a pedestrian crossing with her child when they were hit by a blue Ford Focus in Darlington’s St Cuthbert’s Way.

Members of the public tried to help the stricken pair as emergency services arrived at the scene.

One teenager, 18-year-old James Cummings, who had rushed to their aid, launched an appeal to support the child and the mother’s family.

He said: “I started fundraising to help meet funeral costs and anything her son might need because they couldn’t have prepared for such an awful situation."

Also that month, the Chief Executive of the Butterwick Hospice admitted defrauding the charity of tens of thousands of pounds.

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey had pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud by false representation at Teesside Crown Court but, in an eleventh hour move, the 63-year-old changed his plea to guilty.

Speaking after the hearing, hospice founder Mary Butterwick’s grandson, Stephen Ward said he was relieved Leggatt Chidgey changed his plea, but expressed his disgust at his behaviour.

He said: “It’s a charity set up by my nan. She sold everything, gave everything away, to just set up a charity to try and help people.”

Following the hearing, The Northern Echo launched a ‘Back the Butterwick’ campaign to restore public faith in the fraud-hit hospice.

Meanwhile, a three-week jury trial found two schoolboys guilty of conspiracy to murder of fellow students and teachers at their school in Northallerton.

The boys, who were 14 at the time of the offences, were said to have “hero-worshipped” the perpetrators of the 1999 US Columbine school massacre and prepared a “hit list” of people they wanted dead, including those who had supposedly bullied or wronged them.

The North East Counter Terrorism Unit released a series of images showing screws, flammable liquid and rucksack found in the older boy’s hideout, and the inside cover of his diary which read: “Sorry if this is found I have committed one of the worst atrocities in British history or I killed myself.”

The two 15-year-olds sat motionless alongside their tearful mothers as the verdicts were read out to them at Leeds Crown Court.

Towards the end of the month, fire brigades and other emergency services rushed to Darlington high street after a fire broke out on Skinnergate.

The blaze is understood to have started at around 4am in the three-storey former St T’s Home Shop, which had been empty for around a year.

A 47-year-old man was rescued “in the nick of time” as firefighters managed to get him out while the building was collapsing around them.

The fire was extinguished later in the morning but officers remained at the scene throughout the day, with parts of Skinnergate cordoned off.

Meanwhile, the nation celebrated the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Before, during and after the couple exchanged their vows, people across the region were celebrating in different ways.

Many gathered together to throw street parties complete with bunting and decked in wedding attire.

Some managed to bring festival vibe to their work – passengers taking the JSB Travel bus service from Bishop Auckland to Willington were greeted by a driver who had even dressed as the Queen.

Jason Priestley, a 47-year-old father-of-two, was even accompanied by a stuffed toy corgi.

His wife Michelle said afterwards: “It was great fun. He was even getting waved at by footballers and builders - and the kids just loved it.”

And thousands of pop fans were singing, dancing and reliving the sounds of the ‘90s and noughties as three star-studded acts took to the Northern Echo Arena’s stage.

Headline act Steps stormed the stage over the Bank Holiday, playing renditions of fan favourites, including Tragedy, 5, 6, 7, 8, Deeper Shade Of Blue and Stomp.

The concert was part of the group’s 12-date Summer of Steps tour around the UK, with support from boyband Blue and ABBA parody act, Björn Again.

“It’s been such a lovely day, we’ve been waiting to sing our hearts out and do all the dance routines for ages,” said Rachel Lewis, who got tickets for the gig alongside her friend, Jess Wardle, both 26, from Darlington.

Ms Wardle added: “The weather has been amazing too and it’s just been nice to see everyone smiling and having a good time.

“We couldn’t believe it when we heard it was Steps and Blue together. We’ve loved it.”