New Year late pub openings

Nine pubs and clubs in Darlington have been given permission to open late on New Year's Eve. Darlington Borough Council's special licensing committee met yesterday to grant permission for the nine premises to open late to welcome in 2002. Flares, Walworth Castle Hotel, Mr Bojangle, the Plastered Parrot, Atomic, Busters, Humphry's, the St George Hotel and the Mardis Gras nightclub have all been given late licences.

LEARNING SHOP: The Learning Shop, in Newton Aycliffe, is holding its annual celebration to thank students, past and present, for their support and to welcome new customers. Father Christmas will be the main attraction during a day of events at the shop, in the Thames Centre, today. A range of activities will take place between 10am and 2pm and Santa will be present until 12.30pm. For further information, call at The Learning Shop or telephone (01325) 311177.

PUB AWARD: A Barnard Castle pub has received a regional award for the quality of its cellar. The Golden Lion, in the Market Place, scooped an award in the Union Pub Company's best kept cellar competition. Licensees Stephen Mullins and Linda Sutherland have been rewarded for taking extra care over the cleanliness and efficiency of their beer cellar, beating almost 2,000 other pubs to take the award.

MOCK AUCTION: Help the Aged is holding a mock auction at the Over-60s Club, Neville Parade, Newton Aycliffe, on Saturday, January 26. Anyone offering an item for auction will collect half of the proceeds from the sale, with the other half going to the charity's local committee. To register an item, contact (01325) 313924.

NORTHERN SOUL: Disc jockeys from across the region will provide the music at a Christmas Northern Soul night at the Ambassador Suite, at Darlington Football Club's Feethams ground, on Friday, December 28, from 7pm to midnight. For more details, telephone (01325) 243352 or 0781 0295789.

WI MEETING: The next meeting of Middleton St George branch of the Women's Institute will take place on January 24, with guest speaker Denise Gilgallon talking about the work of the National Canine Defence League.

CHRISTMAS SERVICES: St Paul's Church, Spennymoor, starts its Christmas programme with a carol service on Sunday, at 6pm. Rookhope Parish Church, Weardale, is holding a Holy Communion service on Christmas Eve, at 9pm, conducted by the Reverend Les Hann.

COUNCIL MEETING: A meeting of Sedgefield Borough Council's executive committee is being held at the council offices in Green Lane, Spennymoor, today, at 10am.

CHARITY LUNCH: Mothers of pupils at Polam Hall School, Darlington, raised £289 for the Yellow Brick Road Appeal by holding a charity lunch