FIVE years ago, this week, a steel plant workers' lottery syndicate celebrated after winning on the EuroMillions.

The 27-strong maintenance team from the SSI steel plant, in Redcar, east Cleveland, pocketed £37,037 each after one of their tickets won the New Year's Eve UK Millionaire Raffle.

Mark Richardson, 54, from Nunthorpe, checked the tickets on New Year's Day and realised they had won the £1m raffle draw.

He said: "I was struggling to see the raffle codes, so I logged on to the computer and printed them off. It wasn't until I came to the last line that I realised we had a matching number.”

Dale Cook, who had worked at the plant for nearly 40 years, said the money would help him fulfil his retirement dreams.

He said: "I will be able to put the money towards my dream of buying a cottage in the country."

Also that week, a landmark theatre closed its doors for the final time after being open to the public for 92 years.

The Futurist Theatre, in Scarborough, ended its reign with a showing of the second instalment of The Hobbit trilogy.

The closure came after attempts by the borough council to secure an alternative operator failed.

Nick Edwards, the council's director of business support, said: "We are fully aware of the dominant location the Futurist Theatre occupies on Scarborough seafront, and the importance of this area to our visitor economy."

Meanwhile, ultra-runner Mark Allison returned to the North-East with a hero’s welcome after running 2,383 miles across Australia.

Mr Allison, better known as Run Geordie Run, landed at Newcastle Airport 36 hours after plunging his feet into the Tasman Sea at Shellharbour, near Sydney, 82 days after setting off from Perth, on the Indian Ocean coast.

The 42-year-old raised more than £50,000 for The Children's Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, and won fans across the globe.

Mr Allison said he was extremely proud of his achievement and was relieved to be home, was loving the cold weather, familiar accents and was looking forward to a bath and a "second Christmas" with his son.

And people queued up outside the Sunderland Empire Theatre's box office to get their hands on a ticket to see the award-winning West End show The Lion King.

The theatre announced it would host the production for seven weeks as part of a UK tour.

Disney said it would be the biggest musical production ever to tour the UK, with more than 700 costumes representing 26 types of animal transported around the country in 23 trucks.