LIFE in the editor’s chair has its ups and downs, but there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of a campaign which comes to fruition.

From the moment the Department for Education declared that it was reviewing the future of its Mowden Hall base on the outskirts of Darlington, I knew a campaign was required.

The plan to move nearly 500 jobs out of Darlington, possibly to Durham or a site north of Newcastle, would have had a huge impact on the town.

We campaigned hard on Darlington’s behalf.

Alternative Darlington sites for the jobs were presented, a Northern Echo petition was handed to the Government, and the workers were given a voice.

Darlington Borough Council moved swiftly in coming up with a bold plan for town centre offices, MP Jenny Chapman badgered Education Secretary Michael Gove, and the splendid result is that the jobs are staying in Darlington.

A potential £21m blow to the town’s economy has been averted and struggling town centre retailers will get an important boost.

It was very, very good news for Darlington, so I checked our website, expecting to see lots of positive reader comments on the story.

The comments weren’t positive at all. They amounted to moans and groans summarised by one which read: “Well, where are they all supposed to park?”

Ever get the feeling you can’t win?

THE speaking circuit throws up some extraordinary people. On Thursday, as guest speaker at the 20th annual meeting of The Weardale Society, I met June Crosby.

In 1993, June wrote an article in the Weardale Gazette about a planning application which threatened historic buildings behind the Dales Centre in Stanhope. The piece ended with the suggestion that perhaps there was a need for a nonpolitical society to help keep local people informed about such proposals, and The Weardale Society was born.

June, a Birmingham lass, had come to Durham University to study history and archaeology, married a lecturer, Jack Crosby, and settled in the region. Alongside my predecessor, Harold Evans, she worked on Durham University’s Palatinate newspaper but, because she was a girl, was only allowed to write the obituaries and penned just one in three years.

At 85, she remains the driving force behind the society and it was a privilege to present her with a bouquet marking 20 years of sterling service. June, we salute you.

IT’S often about who you know in life. And when Darlington Operatic Society asked me to help them find a sword for The Sound of Music, I knew immediately who to turn to.

A call was made to the Vice Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Alasdair MacConachie, and his very grand ceremonial sword was switftly despatched to our offices.

“A big sword has just been left for you on the front counter,” said our puzzled receptionist.

Those of you who have had the good sense to buy a ticket for the show, which runs at Darlington Civic Theatre until Saturday, will see the sword in all its glory, hanging from the waist of the dashing Baron Von Trapp.

A HEADLINE in this week’s Darlington & Stockton Times caught my eye: “Messiah returns for the tenth time.”

Lord knows why that’s not on Page 1 rather than Page 36, I thought to myself.

It turned out that Richmondshire Choral Society were performing Handel’s Messiah for the tenth time since 1897.