THIS week, 15 years ago, a family with more than a century of retail experience topped the North-East rich list for the third year running.

Mark Fenwick, chairman of the Fenwick Group - a chain of eight department stores based in Newcastle - amassed an additional £24m in 2005, topping the list with a family wealth of £348m.

Mr Fenwick and his family were ranked the 181st richest in Britain and Ireland in the Sunday Times Rich List.

The second richest in the North-East was the Duke of Northumberland, who has a fortune in land and art of £300m.

Darlington businessman Duncan Bannatyne, who made his £168m from health clubs and nursing homes, was the sixth richest.

Chairman of Middlesbrough FC, Steve Gibson, was the 12th richest with £85m.

He came from one of the town's poorest housing estates and owns 75 per cent of the Gibson O'Neill transport group.

The Northern Echo: Fenwick in Newcastle Picture: DAVID WOODFenwick in Newcastle Picture: DAVID WOOD

The owner of Bishop Auckland-based water cooler maker Ebac, John Elliott, was the 17th richest in the North-East, with £70m.

Third in the list with £240m is Duncan Davidson, the owner of Yorkbased Persimmon Homes, who saw his fortune grow faster than anyone else in the region. He owns 30,000 acres of land in North Northumberland.

Meanwhile, goths gathered on the coast to give one of their number a dramatic send-off.

As night fell, the ashes of Endel Opik, brother of Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik, were placed on a replica Viking longship.

The Northern Echo: Lembit Opik MP, centre, (holding service leaflet) in the crowd of mourners on Whitby beach Picture: ANDY LAMBLembit Opik MP, centre, (holding service leaflet) in the crowd of mourners on Whitby beach Picture: ANDY LAMB

The ship was then sent out to sea, before archers fired flaming arrows to set it ablaze.

Endel, known in goth circles as Tal Stoneheart, was a regular at the Whitby Gothic Weekend, held twice a year in the North Yorkshire resort.

The service on Tate Hill Sands, Whitby, also featured emotional tributes from Endel's long-term partner, Claire Hanley-Opik, and Lembit.

The couple had a pagan wedding at the Barbrook stone circle, in the Peak District, in 2003.

Personal items, including artwork, a synthesizer and pieces of meteorite were also placed on the longship.

The five-day festival was dedicated to the memory of Endel, who died aged 37.

He collapsed at his Derbyshire home and died from pneumonia after suffering from ill health all his life.