LOOKING back to the week that was October 30 to November 5, five years ago.

A PIONEERING war veteran was finally presented with a medal honouring her service to the country – just 73 years after it was awarded – in November 2018.

The Second World War was raging when, in 1942, 19-year-old Vera Clachers, nee Kendrew, joined the RAF and became one of its first serving female electrical engineers.

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Throughout the latter stage of the war and until 1949, the Darlington-born woman worked on aircraft including Lancaster bombers, serving at RAF North Coates and near Cologne in Germany, where she dissembled aircraft and carried out administrative duties.

Following the end of the war, Mrs Clachers was recognised for her efforts with the awarding of the War Medal, a campaign medal given to subjects of the British Commonwealth who had served full-time in the forces or Navy for at least 28 days between September 1939 and September 1945.

However, like many veterans of the era, she “simply forgot about it” and carried on with her life without applying to receive it.

In November 2018, the then-95-year-old was thrilled to be presented with her long overdue medal at a surprise ceremony in Edinburgh.

A light installation to commemorate the “faith, humanity and resilience” of the people of County Durham was unveiled to mark the centenary of the armistice, in November 2018.

The sculpture, which spelled the word “hope” was being installed in Durham and was in Millennium Place from Friday, November 9 to Thursday, November 15, 2018.

It was composed of hundreds of colour-changing LED tubes and had speakers, to retell the stories of local people’s experiences of the war.

Councillor Ossie Johnson, the council’s cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues, said: “As the home of Lumiere, Durham has a reputation for bringing spectacular light installations to the region.

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“HOPE is the culmination of our First World War centenary activities and commemorates the resilience of County Durham people in the darkest of times.

“HOPE you have got to experience it so I would urge people to go along and see it for themselves.”

The artwork was created by Newcastle-based art and design studio Aether & Hemera and features stories contained within the letters, diaries and memoirs held by Durham County Record Office.

A rugby club in the North-East swapped rugby balls for balls of wool to create a powerful community project ahead of Armistice Day.

More than 10,000 woollen poppies were set to be displayed at Consett Rugby Club as crowds passed to pay their respects at the cenotaph nearby on November 11.

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Players, their families and club members got involved to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, in memory of those men from the former steel town who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Construction manager Jonathan Walls, 32, from Consett, who played as a tighthead prop, said: “It was quite hard at the start but once I got into the routine of it, a few pointers off my mam, and a few ladies at the club, it came back to me.

“I was a bit of a natural because I did it at school in design technology many, many, many years ago and it was actually really enjoyable. We are big lads with good hands, and that is pretty much what rugby is all about.”