TEN years ago, this week, a student and a police officer who stopped a man doused in petrol from setting himself alight received bravery awards.

Deborah Cooper and Sergeant Neill Baker were presented with the Royal Humane Society's Certificate of Commendation after the incident at Bishop Auckland General Hospital, in July 2009.

Ms Cooper, 47 at the time, from Spennymoor, County Durham, was in a waiting room at the hospital when the man walked in and demanded to see a doctor about a serious skin complaint.

When he was told he could not have an appointment he left, returning ten minutes later with a can of petrol which he poured over himself.

While nurses helped dozens of patients out of the room, Ms Cooper stayed and tried to calm the man down, and Sgt Baker, 42 at the time, arrived 15 minutes later and spent ten minutes convincing the man to hand over the can and lighter.

The man, from Shildon, was taken for treatment at a hospital in Darlington and later sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

The pair received their awards from Bishop Auckland Mayor Lesley Zair at the Four Clocks Centre.

Meanwhile, a grandmother-of seven was named the most popular lollipop lady in the North-East.

Doreen Rodwell, 70 at the time, received her award at an assembly at Finchale Primary School, in Newton Hall.

The former dinner lady had worked at the school for ten years and was a firm favourite with the children she helped cross the road every day.

Pupils submitted pictures, poems and short stories featuring Mrs Rodwell to show their appreciation, and many of the children described her as being like an aunt to them.

Headteacher Sandra Whitton said that as soon as her students heard about the Kwik-Fit Insurance competition, they were desperate to support Doreen and got to work preparing their winning entries.

As well as a lollipop trophy, Doreen received a cheque for £100, and the school also presented her with a cheque for £500.

She would go on to the grand final with 11 other regional finalists from across the UK for the chance to win the title of the Kwik-Fit Insurance Lollipop Person of the Year 2010.

Meanwhile, a much-loved sheep was saved after a new home was found for him while he was facing eviction by a church.

Bertie the sheep's future was far from certain after his owner, Paul Tidy, was given a month to find somewhere else for the Dutch Texel to graze.

The sheep had grazed on the Emmanuel Church grounds in Saltburn, east Cleveland, since 2007 and had become hugely popular in the town.

After he was told to remove the sheep, Mr Tidy had been overwhelmed by support and offers of help from across the community.

About 260 people joined a support group on Facebook to ensure that Bertie found a new home.