A gym assistant praised two men who saved her life after she was swept out to sea while surfing with a friend.

Donna Ford, 24, a members' assistant at the David Lloyd gym at the Tees Barrage, was swept out to sea at Saltburn by a strong current on Friday, August 15, 2003.

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She returned to thank the men in Saltburn in February 2004, first time she had returned since the incident.

Beach lifeguard Paul Crook, 19, from Redcar, swam into the choppy seas with a rescue board to try to save her, but both were knocked off the board.

He was under the water when lifeboat crews reached him about 100 metres from Saltburn pier and they feared he was dead. Luckily he only suffered mild hypothermia.

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Meanwhile, Saltburn surf shop owner and lifeguard Nick Noble, 44, who had rented out a body board to Ms Ford, from Middlesbrough, earlier in the day, used a surf-board to go out to sea and brought her safely to shore.

She was also taken to hospital suffering from severe shock.

Mr Crook and Mr Noble were presented with certificates of Meritorious Action for Lifeguards from the Royal Life Saving Society at a civic reception at Eston Town Hall.

A Houdini hound escaped from his owner's garden and went on a 120-mile round trip, in February 2004.

Bud, a three-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, scaled a 7ft garden fence to escape from his garden in Darlington, before heading to the station to catch a train bound for London.

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Bud stowed away on the 5.55am GNER service, but decided to disembark 60 miles down the line at York. Station staff found him and looked after him until council animal health officers arrived at 10am.

Meanwhile, Bud's owners, Martin and Mandy Carrick, discovered their pet had disappeared and contacted police.

"I could not believe it when the police rang me and said he'd been found in York, " said Mr Carrick. "From what we can make out he was at the station, the doors of this train from Newcastle opened, and he jumped on. Then when they opened again in York, he decided to jump off."