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

AN inspirational teenager who battled cancer urged women across the North East to help more people survive the disease by taking part in the Race for Life.

In February 2009, Lilli Broadbent, then 14, joined women from the Quaker Running Club at the launch of entries for the 5km, women-only race, organised by Cancer Research UK.

Read more: Remember when a stuntman launched himself from a turret of a County Durham castle

In the previous March, aged 13, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. She had developed a dull ache in her right knee and noticed it was swollen.

Her family initially thought she had pulled a muscle, but when the pain remained, Lilli's mother, Chris, 44, took her to the doctor.

Lilli underwent tests at Darlington Memorial Hospital then transferred to the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, where she was diagnosed with cancer.

She began chemotherapy before she underwent an operation to have the tumour removed, along with a large section of her knee. She also had an implant fitted in her right leg.

After surgery, she was treated with more chemotherapy, undergoing 18 cycles.

By February 2009, Lilli was making a good recovery and had returned part-time to Hummersknott School, in Darlington.

Pupils dressed in traditional mining clothes to help them understand one of the North-East's worst pit disasters.

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Youngsters from Shield Row Primary School, in Stanley, County Durham, learned about the tragedy in their town 100 years ago, in February 2009.

The explosion at West Stanley Colliery on February 16, 1909 claimed the lives of 168 men and boys.

Teachers at the school introduced a mining theme into lessons to help them understand the town's past. Some of the children's art and written work went on display at Beamish Museum.

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Guisborough woman Sharon Gayter was preparing to attempt to run around Croft circuit's race track, near Darlington, an eye-watering 464 times - equivalent to 510 miles - in February 2009.

She needed to run 18 hours a day, every day for six days, snatching only three-and-a-half hours sleep in the back of a van every 24 hours. She needed to notch up 85 miles a day to stay on target.

Sharon, who held the women's records for Land's End to John O'Groats and the British indoor 24-hour, was a former winner of The Northern Echo's Local Heroes award.