LOOKING back to the week that was January 15 to 21, fifteen years ago...

THE future of a North-East racing circuit that in 2009 generated £3m a year for the local economy depended on an Appeal Court decision over noise levels, fifteen years ago.

Barristers for Croft Circuit, near Darlington, were trying to overturn an order to pay £150,000 to a couple and their daughter, who lived next to the track, in January 2009.

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The family had complained that their quality of life had been ruined by screeching tyres and revving engines.

Race organisers say that if the decision was upheld, it could open the gates to countless compensation claims from neighbouring residents, jeopardising the long-term future of the venue.

A North East toddler left severely disabled by meningitis could at last hold hands with her mother in 2009.

Three-year-old Tilly Lockey was struck down by a virulent strain of the blood disorder in 2007.

Doctors from Newcastle General Hospital, however, could not save the toddler's hands and toes and were forced to amputate.

Her family, from Tow Law, County Durham, fought hard to give Tilly the best by raising funds to buy her prosthetic hands.

They can now look on in amazement as the brave youngster plays with sisters Tia, five, and LucyAnna, one, like any other happy child.

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She has a particularly close bond with older sister Tia whose hands were used by specialists at clinic Dorset Orthopaedic as a model.

Mother Sarah Lockey, 29, said: "They made casts of her hands and took pictures to copy the colouring and finger nails.

"That was a big thing for Tia because she felt like she helped her little sister."

The £23,000 myo-electronic hands respond to Tilly's muscles, enabling her to do things she would struggle with before.

A walker feared for his life as he spent two nights in freezing blizzard conditions after getting lost on the Pennine Way, in January 2009.

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Tom Miles, from London, sheltered in a grouse-shooting butt to protect himself from the weather, but said he thought he may never see his wife of two months again.

He was found yesterday morning after losing his way on a 12-and-a-half-mile walk from Langdon Beck, in Teesdale, to Dufton, in Cumbria.

"I knew I had to seek shelter and I was lucky to come across a shooting hut."