LOOKING back to the week that was February 5 to 11, five years ago...

RACING yards in the region took extra precautions against equine flu after the country’s meetings were abandoned for six days following an outbreak, in February 2019.

Yards in Middleham and Malton tried to keep horses free from the disease, with vets in Middleham making sure horses were up-to-date with vaccinations.

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Ben Gaskell, a vet who served many Middleham yards, said he was working hard to ensure horses were protected.

He said: “Equine flu is infectious and is usually carried through the air but can also be contracted through mucus.

“It can spread quickly from horse to horse in a yard so I have been making sure all the horses are up-to-date with the immunisations.

"Horses generally get a booster every year, but when there is an outbreak we give a six-month booster.

“If the outbreak is well contained it can clear up fairly quickly. The next few days will be spent making sure the flu is isolated.”

Mr Gaskell said none of the horses he had seen in Middleham had been affected by the flu.

Trainer Richard Fahey, based in Malton, said he was pleased with the precautions British Horseracing Association (BHA) was taking to pre vent a widespread outbreak.

He said: “We were due to have three runners on Friday. There was an outbreak of equine flu in 2003 but I can’t remember a time when races have been cancelled before.

“But I’m glad it is being taken seriously. In Ireland and France there have been outbreaks in the last few months but no race cancellations, but perhaps there should have been to contain the disease.”

Researchers were preparing to delve into the heritage of three historic buildings in Bishop Auckland as part of a process to help bring them back to life, in February 2019.

Funded by Historic England, the three unoccupied buildings being explored were the former Co-operative Store, which later became Beales department store, in Newgate Street; the McIntyre building; and the Mechanics Institute, in Victoria Street.

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They all sit within the town’s Heritage Action Zone, an area recognised for its unique character and heritage potential by Historic England. All regeneration work within the Heritage Action Zone was project managed by Durham County Council.

Stuart Timmiss, Durham County Council’s head of development and housing, said: “The results from these surveys will help us to better understand the history and heritage of the town and could be used to aid decision making about repairs and future redevelopment plans."

War Horse, the multi-award winning stage drama that has been seen by millions of people worldwide, returned to the Sunderland Empire at part of its 10th anniversary tour in February 2019.

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The 34-strong cast included Scott Miller in the central role of Albert, who forges a lifelong friendship with Joey the horse.

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, the show features life-size horse puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company.

Gareth Aled, resident puppetry director, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be back at the Sunderland Empire. It’s such beautiful theatre and gorgeous space.”