LOOKING back to the week that was April 29 to May 5, 15 years ago...

THERE were fears up to 1.2million people could be hospitalised and 750,000 killed if a flu pandemic swept the nation, according to draft Government guidance about an outbreak in April 2009.

It warned that a worst case pandemic scenario of "catastrophic severity" could result in the "complete or partial collapse of some or all hospital infrastructures".

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Medics downplayed the predictions, saying factors such as Britain's high state of readiness and high immunity levels will lessen the impact.

North-East factory workers were working round the clock to help fight the swine flu outbreak.

Staff at 3M, on Aycliffe Business Park, County Durham, were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week after securing an order from the Government for a substantial number of respirators following the outbreak of swine flu.

“3M has well established emergency preparedness plans to support heightened global demand for respiratory protective equipment and to provide appropriate technical support to customers, Government departments and health care professionals,” said Steve Fisher, the company’s UK manufacturing and engineering director.

“These plans were proven effective during 3M’s response to incidents in the recent past, such as Sars and avian influenza.”

A teenage boxer who claimed second place in an international tournament aimed to represent his country in European championships this year.

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Ambrose Burnside, 13, hoped to be selected for the England team for the second time in 2009 for a European amateur boxing competition in Russia.

Ambrose, from Firthmoor, in Darlington, picked up a silver medal in a trination tournament, where he fought 13 to 15-year-olds in the 39kg weight category from Scotland and Wales.

Ambrose, who had been boxing since he was nine, trained for an hour a night at Darlington Amateur Boxing Club, combining fitness work with shadow boxing and sparring.