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

A THREE-times sporting world champion bid farewell to his colleagues at an affordable housing provider after 30 years to pursue a professional darts career, five years ago.

Glen Durrant, the three times BDO World Champion from Middlesbrough, decided to turn professional in early 2019 after his run of success at the Lakeside.

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‘Duzza’ started his first full-time contract as a housing benefit clerk in February 1989, at what was then Langbaurgh Borough Council.

In 1996, having been promoted two years earlier, he took a sidestep to become a housing officer at the Grangetown office, in the heart of the community in which he grew up.

During this period, he was also working six nights a week at karaoke events to make ends meet.

Glen said: “I have had an incredible career in housing, first with Langbaurgh, then Redcar and Cleveland Council, Coast & Country and most recently Beyond Housing.

“It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve made wonderful friends along the way. But now it’s time for me to focus on being the best I can be at darts.

“The support I have had from management and colleagues has been tremendous and without that I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my darts career.

“I’ll miss everyone but I’m sure we will keep in touch and I know they will still be cheering me on.”

Villagers raised thousands of pounds to ensure church bells which rang out for nearly 130 years remained in use, in March 2019.

Volunteers removed eight bells from the belfry of St Margaret’s Church in Tanfield, near Stanley, to be taken away to Whites of Appleton, in Oxfordshire, for restoration and re-tuning.

And they will be adding two smaller bells, to make it easier to teach youngsters, so that the tradition of bell ringing was kept alive.

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The first six bells were installed in June 1890. The Durham County Advertiser reported, Right Rev Bishop Daniel Sandford “conducted a special service for the dedication of a new peal of bells amid great enthusiasm”.

The bells were supplied and fitted by John Warner and Sons, Cripplegate, London, at a total cost of £450.

The bells remained in use since then, except for during the Second World War when church bells fell silent throughout the country.

Parishioners and donors raised £114,000 toward the target of £127,000 needed for restoring the bells.

The bells were rung by dedicated team, led for more than 25 years by tower captain Andrew Wallace.

On Friday, March 22, 2019, about 500 people packed into a public meeting to hear doctors pledge their plans for the Friarage that would give the hospital a sustainable future.

The hospital was being “temporarily” downgraded by South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, with some critical care services suspended and A&E becoming an Urgent Treatment Centre.

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Doctors, who had drawn up the proposals, urged the community to support them and the hospital, and under questioning from the audience, vowed it would not close “on their watch”.

While the Friarage’s lead clinicians admitted mistakes had been made in the past with the hospital, they said the new model being proposed was innovative and would ensure the future of services at the hospital.

Concerns were voiced over the distance people living in the Dales would have to travel to James Cook in Middlesbrough, and there were fears over increased pressure on beds there.