LOOKING back to the week that was March 25 to 31, 15 years ago...

A TALENTED teenage athlete who overcame bone cancer to become one of the country's top young swimmers set his sights set on the 2012 London Paralympic Games, in March 2009.

Laurence Whiteley, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, was a promising triathlete before his diagnosis in June 2006.

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His sporting dreams looked to be in tatters after being diagnosed with the rare life-threatening disease osteosarcoma, for which he underwent nine months of chemotherapy.

He also had extensive therapy to save his leg, eventually having the limb rebuilt with a titanium implant.

In 2009, the then-17-year-old received a classification relating to his disability, which enabled him to take part in competitions.

His proud father, Andy, said: "Laurence was classified on March 7, during the National Junior Disability Championships, at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

"The classification is in three parts; a bench test where they test leg strength, range of movement, and flexibility.

"The second part is a water test, where he was assessed on his swimming leg function and the final part is in competition."

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A Government minister gave a cast-iron pledge that £318m plans to make a 13-mile stretch of A1 in North Yorkshire into three lanes would be fulfilled.

Geoff Hoon, then-Secretary of State for Transport, visited the region on March 26, 2009 to mark the start of works to upgrade the A1.

The Labour minister spoke about the scheme to make the 13-mile stretch of the A1 from Dishforth to Leeming into three lanes within three years.

Mr Hoon said that, despite the economic problems, the upgrade would take place in its timescale on the road, which carried 54,000 vehicles, many of them lorries, per day in 2009.

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He said: "I am really very pleased to be here to mark the upgrading of the A1.

"There is a need to enhance the transport needs in the region and this will improve them both here in North Yorkshire and nationally.

"When complete, the scheme will tackle congestion, improve journey times and safety for all road users."