LOOKING back to the week that was March 18 to 24, fifteen years ago...

THE Darlington and Stockton Times underwent one of the biggest changes in its 162-year history when it is published in a new smaller format, fifteen years ago.

The newspaper's history-making decision came about as a result of a similar successful change by its sister paper, The Northern Echo, two years previously in 2007.

Read more: ECHO MEMORIES: 90th anniversary of 'The Tees Wonder Bridge'

Then-editor Malcolm Warne said the switch to a new size had been discussed for a year.

He had conducted formal research and spoken to readers about the possible change.

Mr Warne said: "The Northern Echo made a successful conversion and I'm sure editor Peter Barron had the same concerns about its traditional readers and The Echo going downmarket. The same argument could apply to the D&S.

"It is fair to say that when we first discussed the issue I was sceptical about it. I thought the D&S readers would be more fearful of the change.

"In fact, the research we carried out over a full year proved that perceptions about tabloid or compact formats have changed quite dramatically."

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A mother who set up a football team for disabled youngsters was recognised for being the North-East's number one football mum, in March 2009.

The Northern Echo announced it was searching to find the mother who had done the most for the beautiful game.

The prize was to be the team mascot for Darlington's home match against Aldershot Town.

The winner was Claire Stone, a nurse from Witton Park, near Bishop Auckland. Mrs Stone was nominated by her 12-year-old son, Edward, who is autistic.

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He said: "She takes me to every match and away games when possible. She organised for me to be a mascot on my birthday last year. That was my best day ever.

"She has also got involved in getting a disabled football team together with the disabled football association and other mams in the area and we now are associated with Ferryhill Football Club and we are going to get a strip soon.

"She is the best mum in the world and gives me all the love and support I need."