LOOKING back to the week that was April 20 to May 5, five years ago...

THE Northern Echo launched a £1m appeal to transform cancer care for patients across County Durham to mark the paper’s 150th anniversary, on April 29, 2019.

The aim was to establish a centre of excellence in 2020 to ensure those suffering with cancer got the privacy and dignity they need.

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The Great Daily of the North joined forces with the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust’s official charity to expand and improve the chemotherapy day unit at the University Hospital of North Durham, where cancer patients from throughout the county can choose to have their initial treatment.

The unit was in need of an overhaul as an increasing number of patients meant a lack of space was making it difficult for dedicated staff to treat those who were going through the most traumatic time of their lives.

Pat Chambers, charity manager for the trust, said: “The huge financial pressure on the NHS means we need the public’s help to provide state-of-the-art facilities for those being treated for cancer, and we are delighted that The Northern Echo is adopting the appeal for its 150th anniversary as a great campaigning newspaper.

“This appeal will benefit families in every corner of County Durham because patients come to the unit in the first stages of their treatment before continuing their care at hospitals closest to their homes.”

A letter inviting US President Donald Trump to visit Teesside was sent to the White House on May 3, 2019.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen sent an official letter inviting Mr Trump to visit the area as part of the three-day visit.

It was not the first time he has extended the offer – he had invited him when the idea of the President coming to UK shores on a state visit was first mooted two years previously.

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Mr Houchen said: “Whether you like him or loathe him, we can’t hide from the fact that Mr Trump is the leader of a country that is the UK’s closest ally.

“The UK is the single largest investor in the US, and the US is the single largest investor in the UK. We share a common language, legal heritage, and similar business institutions and practices – a $1trillion trading relationship that benefits each and everyone one of us, regardless of who happens to sit in the White House.

“As Mayor, I was elected to work with anyone and everyone to attract inward investment into the Tees Valley – and the US is no exception. American companies like Cummins in Darlington, ConocoPhillips at Seal Sands, Caterpillar in Skinningrove and Huntsman at Wilton have invested hundreds of millions of pounds into our regional economy, and each of them support thousands of livelihoods in our area.

“To build on this, we’re working with a major US investor looking to base themselves on the South Tees Development Corporation site in Redcar. A visit by the President would help expedite this process enormously, meaning more jobs for local people – and sooner.

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“This is not about Trump or his policies, this is about Teesside jobs. “It’s a long-shot, but if you don’t ask you don’t get.”

Labour’s North-East local election performance was described as a “disaster” by party chiefs after it lost its grip on all councils in the Tees Valley, on May 4, 2019.

The Conservatives became the largest party in Darlington, ending nearly three decades of Labour control.