FIVE years ago, a firefighter described the dramatic moment he saved a lifeless refugee baby girl in the sea off the Greek island of Lesbos.

Brendan Woodhouse, who was one of a group of volunteers manning a lighthouse on a remote headland, bravely swam out in the pitch black to the five-month-old girl after seeing an inflatable boat burst and capsize - spilling 35 refugees into the freezing waters.

He had already pulled a family-of-five to safety when he was alerted by the frantic screams of a mother, who directed him to the baby, which he found face-down in the water and apparently dead.

With the baby balanced on his chest, he began compressions with one arm and swam with the other, before he reached a point he could balance on a rock and begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Mr Woodhouse, from Durham City, said at the time: “When she screamed it was like a sound of newborn baby.

The drama unfolded at 5.50am on December 23, on the last day of a two-week stint Mr Woodhouse spent on Lesbos helping refugees.

He said: “We were manning Korakas lighthouse which was meant to warn of the danger rocks, but it attracted refugees like moths to a flame.

“I was using night-vision goggles when all of a sudden an inflatable boat appeared, with its occupants all turning on their mobile phone torches at the same time.

“It hit rocks underneath the sea and popped like a balloon, which capsized it about 30m from the shore.

“We heard people screaming and then it all went quiet as all the people went into the water.

“All the phones sank to the bottom of the sea and it went pitch black again.

“It was quiet for maybe two seconds and when all the people resurfaced there was soul-piercing screaming. It was awful. The sounds will haunt me forever.”

Also that week, four rowers passed the half-way mark in their Herculean challenge to row across the Atlantic and despite all the rigours were showing no signs of flagging.

Around three weeks into their journey, the North Yorkshire quartet encountered Hurricane Alex – and were forced to ride out the storm from the safety of their cramped cabins.

They have also had to contend with power failure, which has affected their autopilot, GPS tracking systems, and water maker - leaving them steering by hand using a compass and manually converting sea water into drinking water.

Meanwhile, sci-fi fans were to be in their element as one of Europe’s largest privately-owned collections of model robots, cyborgs and androids landed in the region.

Robot – or to give it its full title, Robot: a collection of robot models, cyborgs and androids from TV and film - was to officially open at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle on January 23 2016.

Anyone who ventured into the collection of sci-fi characters might just have found the droids they are looking for.

The collection featured over 40 full-size robot models, heads and robot toys.