AS 2018 draws to a close, we can look back on another eventful 12 months in the North-East and North Yorkshire.

Nationally, the political landscape has been dominated by Brexit, and here at The Northern Echo we have tried to provide a dispassionate view of developments, with the region’s needs at the forefront of our thoughts. We will continue to adopt that stance as events unfold in the early part of 2019.

In our part of the world, 2018 has been another year where the effects of austerity have continued to bite. We have kept our readers abreast of the battle to save Darlington’s Crown Street Library, and reported on all of our councils’ attempts to balance their books. Sadly, we have also had to discuss the growing number of people in our region relying on food banks, and the understandable concerns about the roll-out of universal credit.

There have also been positive stories to report. Durham Tees Valley Airport looks like it is about to have a new lease of life, Amazon’s arrival in Darlington is expected to contribute to the creation of up to 2,500 new jobs and we have been able to celebrate a host of small businesses that have had a successful year. Like the rest of the country, we revelled in Wearsider Jordan Pickford’s exploits at the World Cup.

We have chronicled some fantastic initiatives and championed some amazing people.

But we could not have done any of it without you. So as we head into 2019, we wish a Happy New Year to all of our readers, advertisers, newsagents, and paper boys and girls.