LOOKING back to the week that was May 6 to May 12, five years ago...

A DEVOTED sister ran more than 2,500 miles in 365 days in an effort to secure Team GB’s wheelchair rugby future, in May 2019.

Molly Smith, from Sedgefield, was inspired to run every day for a year after funding was cut from Team GB’s wheelchair rugby club in late 2016.

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The runner’s brother, Jack Smith, played for the team and had the chance to make the Paralympic squad in Tokyo 2020.

Miss Smith decided to trek at least 5k every day to raise £3,650 to go towards the three million total needed to save the team.

The 29-year-old surpassed the target despite injuries and setbacks.

She raised nearly £6,500 for the cause which went towards securing Team GB’s future.

She said: “I didn’t know I would be able to do it. I went from running three or four times a week to running every day. It was initially for Jack but it’s for all the team who have been so supportive to me – they even turned up to one of my runs."

Her brother Jack Smith played for Leicester Tigers Wheelchair Rugby and appeared for Team GB.

He was left seriously injured at 16 in a match between Billingham Rugby Club and Darlington.

The sportsman suffered a fractured dislocation of several vertebrae and also compression of his spine in the rugby accident in January 2008.

He was left paralysed from the chest down but was not prepared to let his injury stop him and returned to the game.

A woman battled high altitudes and extreme conditions to play the highest ever game of rugby on Everest.

Jess Cheesman, a director at Darlington RFC, joined 25 others in a challenge to break two world records.

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Raising money for the charity Wooden Spoon, Miss Cheesman and her fellow rugby players faced altitudes of over 6,000 meters and oxygen levels of 40 per cent to complete the record attempt.

The team trekked for two days and played the highest ever game of touch rugby first at base camp, at 5,119m, then again at advanced base camp 6,331m above sea level.

The game raised over £250,000 for Wooden Spoon, which supports children and young people with disabilities or facing disadvantage.

Miss Cheesman said: “It took a while to get up to base camp because you have to have time to acclimatise.

“There was about seven people out of the 26 who didn’t make it to advanced base camp.

“I just about managed with the encouragement of our teammates. You have to teach yourself to take a step – it’s definitely a case of mind over matter.

“In the end we only just had enough people to play, a couple of the Sherpas joined in."

A memorial to five Second World War airmen who died when their plane crashed in the region was planned at a community centre.

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Just before 6pm, on May 21, 1942, a burning Wellington bomber flew over the mining villages north of Crook, on its way back to RAF Kinningley, near Doncaster, from a training exercise that had taken the crew out to the Isle of Man.

77 years later, a memorial was to be unveiled at Crook Community Leisure Centre.

John Winter, the centre’s manager, said: “My generation is probably the last generation whose parents and grandparents pass it on to them and there is a chance we are going to forget these people."