AN inquest into the death of 82-year-old Annie Isabella Wardle, known as Belle, of St Bede's Close, Crossgate Moor, Durham, was opened and adjourned by north Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle yesterday.

Mrs Wardle died following a fire at her home last Thursday.

BIRTHDAY EVENT: To mark the 166th birthday of Newcastle's Theatre Royal on Thursday, February 20, general manager Peter Sarah will announce details of three musicals for the theatre's summer and autumn seasons. He will also give details of two community projects being co-produced with the National Theatre and the National Youth Music Theatre during 2003. Staff will celebrate the birthday with members of Mathew Bourne's dance company New Adventures, which will be at the theatre with Nutcracker.

RIVER RACE: The annual Durham Head rowing competition will be held tomorrow, over a 1,800m course on the River Wear, between the Count's House and the racecourse, in Durham. More than 400 crews are expected to take part in four sections, at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

WARD SURGERY: Councillor John Watson, who represents the Primrose ward on South Tyneside Borough Council, will hold an advice surgery today, from 6pm to 7pm, in Lukes Lane Community Association, Marine Drive, Hebburn.

HOUSE DISCOUNTS: Chester-le-District Council says proposals to change the rules on discounts for buying council houses will not affect would-be buyers in the district as they were designed for councils in high-price areas of South-East England.

DONOR SESSIONS: Blood donor sessions will be held today, in the United Reformed Church Hall, Burdon Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle, and in Washington Leisure Centre, both from 2.30pm to 7pm.

COMBAT CLASS: A class in Taebo combat, the aerobic circuit that uses boxing gloves and pads, takes place in Temple Park Centre, South Tyneside, on Monday, from 6.45pm to 7.45pm. To take part, call the centre on 0191-456 9119.

PIANO RECITAL: Pianist Chris White will give a recital, featuring works by Beethoven, Chopin and Gershwin, on Wednesday, February 19, at St Cuthbert's Church, North Road, Durham, from 1pm to 1.50pm. Admission is £4.

COUNCIL SURGERY: Easington district councillor Robin Todd will hold a surgery in South Hetton ward, in the Community Centre, South Hetton, tomorrow, from 10am to noon.

FOLK NIGHT: Haswell Folk Club will hold a singers' and musicians' night tonight, at The Wayfarer pub, Front Street East, Haswell, from 8.30pm. Entry is free.

ROCK NIGHT: The Three Little Pigs will perform at the Daisy Hill, Heugh Edge, near Sacriston, tonight, from 8.30pm. Admission is £1.