LOOKING back to the week that was November 13 to November 19, five years ago...

Dog-lovers were asked to save a date with canine cops – and help a charity at the same time, in November 2018.

A 2019 calendar featured police dogs from the joint Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire Dog Support Unit and hoped to raise money for Paws Up, a Police Dogs Benevolent Fund to support working dogs once they have retired after years of loyal service.

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The charity helps much-loved dogs like Kaizer, a regular fixture on the popular Channel 5 show Police Interceptors.

The German Shepherd had semi-retired and was set to end his service at the end of 2018. He, like many others, would benefit from the ‘pension fund for dogs’.

Paws Up aids the new owners of dogs cope with expenses such as pet insurance, vets bills, food, toys and bedding.

The police officer behind the charity, PC Ian Squire, said the calendar proved a successful fundraising venture in the past and it was the sixth year it has been produced.

PC Squire said: “The money all goes towards giving police dogs a happy retirement and thanks to the generosity of the public, we have donated thousands of pounds to dog owners since the charity was set up in 2013.

“Once police dogs have retired they are either kept by their handlers or re-homed by generous members of the public.

"Historically there was no real provision to assist with the day-to-day costs of looking after the animals after they put their paws up, leaving their handler or their new owner with the responsibility of costly vet bills that can often mount up once a dog is retired and in its older years.

Santa and his elves received pioneering training in how to make Christmas more enjoyable for families living with autism in 2018.

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The North East Autism Society (NEAS) teamed up with the flagship Metrocentre to deliver the training to staff who will be working around Santa’s grotto.

The training coincided with the UK’s first Purple Tuesday, which aimed to making shopping centres more accessible to people with disabilities.

The training was delivered by Kerrie Highcock, family development manager for NEAS, who told the staff: “This is really exciting because you are paving the way and making a huge difference to families who may not have been able to enjoy a visit to Santa’s grotto before.”

“Christmas should be exciting for all children – and that includes those with autism. We want families affected by autism to experience the magic without it being traumatic."

Great-grandad Alan Frankland was up at the crack of dawn in November 2018 to complete his 100-mile swim marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.

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The then-85-year-old, who sadly died four years after this article was published in 2022, was given a guard of honour by his local branch of the Royal British Legion as he reached his target at Redcar Leisure Centre.

The former fireman raised about £2,000 for the Royal British Legion, of which he was Redcar branch president, and his colleagues and family members were poolside to give him a hero’s reception.

Redcar Leisure Centre staff had a special cake made for the occasion, depicting the local hero in the pool, with the message: “Well done, Alan.”