OLYMPIAN Kat Copeland was looking forward to opening a new chapter of her career after receiving an MBE at Buckingham Palace, on Friday, May 10, 2013.

Copeland, who is from Stokesley, made history in 2012 when she became the first North-East female to win an Olympic gold medal.

The 22-year-old rower triumphed in the lightweight double sculls along with former Durham University student Sophie Hosking, with the ceremony honouring her golden contribution to Team GB's success at London 2012.

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Having travelled to London with her family, who were also at Eton Dorney to watch her thrilling gold-medal success last August, Copeland was extremely proud to receive the MBE she was awarded in the New Year's Honours list.

She said: "It's such an incredible honour and I still can't really believe all of this has happened to me. I've had so many amazing experiences on the back of the Olympics, but getting an MBE tops everything."

Durham University came under fire for spending £1.4m on art including works by Picasso and Andy Warhol while charging students £9,000 a year and paying hundreds of staff less than £7.45 an hour, in May 2013.

The university, one of the top 100 in the world, paid out the stunning seven-figure sum – nearly five times the original budget – for art to adorn its new £50m Palatine Centre headquarters, which opened last year.

The collection includes works by 20th Century greats such as Pablo Picasso, left, and Andy Warhol, as well as pieces by North-East artists.

Archie Dallas, president of Durham Students' Union, said the spending was a total disgrace.

In response, the university said developing its art collection was an essential part of the Palatine Centre project and the extra costs were met by savings in the overall budget.

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Celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of a market building was launched by traders on May 7, 2013.

Stallholders from Darlington's Covered Market dressed in period outfits to recreate a picture found in council archives showing market life more than 100 years ago.

The market building, with its landmark clock tower, opened in 1863 and has since served generations of shoppers, as well as becoming a focal point for Darlington.