Seat by seat, the North East began to turn red. 

Constituencies across the region were hit by a Labour landslide overnight as results poured in from the General Election. 

And while many could have predicted the huge victory for Sir Keir Starmer, there was one seat in the North East that remained a toss-up heading into Thursday - Stockton West. 

I was lucky enough to attend the count - my first General Election as a journalist and the second one I have been old enough to vote in - and watch the night unfold first-hand.

The tension was palpable in Thornaby Pavillion - not just due to the lack of aircon but because of the enormity of the Stockton West seat. 

Matt Vickers was hoping to hold on to the constituency - formerly Stockton South - and fight off Labour opposition in the form of Joe Dancey. 

But during the run-up to the election, it looked as though Labour were about to take over - and things looked even more bleak for Mr Vickers after the exit poll on Thursday evening placed Mr Dancey in the lead. 

All things were pointing towards Labour taking over heading into the count - but the two main candidates were nowhere to be seen for the first few hours. 

Fuelled on adrenaline, energy drinks and chocolate, I made my way through the hall to speak with as many candidates as possible. 

It was a sight to behold watching the sheer amount of people in the hall and the volume of polling cards - but as soon as the clock struck 10pm the boxes were in and the counting underway. 

Mr Vickers and Mr Dancey both arrived several hours in and were sadly unable to speak before the results. 

This came as no surprise, with the seat clearly being all to play for, and tensions high in both camps throughout the evening. 

And as the results started to roll in across the country, the question on everyone's lips in Stockton remained: could the Conservatives hold on to the seat, amid such harsh polling predictions? 

At least, that's the thought on my mind, and all the minds over at Echo HQ, who were eagerly awaiting the news. 

It took hours for volunteers to sift through the 49,152 votes - with the constituency having a 68.39% turnout - higher than neighbour Stockton North's 53.42%.

There was then a moment where candidates gathered and then dispersed, before gathering again - building the tension as everyone waited in anticipation. 

But it was just before 4.30am on Friday when the results finally came in - and the sounds of shuffling paper and the hustle and bustle of the hall fell silent. 

All candidates made their way to the stage - while I tried to guess who had proven victorious from their facial expressions (they are told in private before making their way to the stage).

Turns out, they all kept pretty solid poker faces. 

Mr Vickers was announced as the new MP with 20,372 votes, ahead of Mr Dancey's 18,233.

As the figures were read out, a huge roar of cheers rang out around the centre, making everyone with eyes on the stage turn around. 

The win means that Mr Vickers is now Teesside's only remaining Tory MP - and as more results trickled in during the early hours, it became clear that he was now also the only MP for the party in the North East still standing. 

After such as brutal night for the Conservatives, the victory came as a shock to many, who thought the Red Wall would be rebuilt brick by brick. 

Mr Vickers said it was "hugely disappointing" to hear of the news of fellow Tory MPs losing their seats in the region, which included the likes of Peter Gibson and Simon Clarke. 

He said he was "disappointed that the national situation has led to them losing their seats" and said his colleagues are "really hard-working people." 

Mr Vickers admitted that he "didn't really know what to write" for his speech due to Stockton West being such a close call - but said it was an "honour and a privilege" to be re-elected. 

Speaking to The Echo after his win, he explained: "I am over the moon. I feel a huge honour and privilege to have been re-elected. I am delighted by all the things we have achieved in the last few years. 

"Whether that be the diagnostic hospital, whether it be the vocational training centre that is going to be built, or whether it be that new freeport business park that is going to deliver over 4,500 jobs for local people. 

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"I am delighted to be able to get back on with that work. Hugely privileged but also feel the responsibility and the weight that we have got to get on and keep delivering for local people."

It was an absolute thrill to work the General Election and see how democracy works first-hand - especially when you have a shock result like Stockton West bucking the national trend. 

And despite sitting here typing this at roughly 5.45am, still fuelled by the remnants of a bag of Sour Patch Kids, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to a range of candidates, from all parties, and seeing the impact voting can have first-hand.