LOOKING back to the week that was July 1 to July 7, 15 years ago...

A CRUCIAL children's unit was temporarily closed because of "staffing pressures" at a hospital in the region, health bosses confirmed in July 2009.

The special care baby unit at the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, which treated seriously ill or premature infants, was one of a number of services suspended from July 17, 2009.

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Patients would be transferred to The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, more than 22 miles away.

A spokesman for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both sites, said retirements, long-term consultant sick leave and a shortage of doctors had led to the cuts.

Vale of York MP Anne McIntosh and Northallerton Mayor Tony Hall expressed regret at the decision, but said patient safety was paramount.

Miss McIntosh said: "The Government consistently claims to have increased patient choice, particularly for expectant mothers.

"However, Gordon Brown has failed to make available the necessary resources to allow for significant patient choice in rural areas."

Thunderstorms and flash floods wreaked havoc across the North-East on July 1, 2009.

Homes throughout Teesdale were left without power after hundreds of lightning strikes disrupted electricity supplies.

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In Consett, County Durham, a builder had a lucky escape when a 10ft stone wall collapsed on the building in which he was working – destroyed by the sheer volume of water pressing against it.

Forecasters said in some places several inches of rain fell in a few minutes as storms overwhelmed drains.

A television crew was in the region filming for a new series of Channel 4's Time Team, in July 2009.

The show, presented by actor Tony Robinson, explored archaeological sites across the UK.

The team spent three days at Piercebridge, near Darlington, in the hope of shedding new light on the workings of the area's Roman fort.

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Mr Robinson said the search unearthed several artefacts.

"We have found a little lead goat and a beautiful hairpin – nothing of value but they tell us so much about the Roman way of life, " he said.

"We have visited this area several times. Darlington has been our base for about five or six digs – it is a very fruitful area."