FIVE years ago this week, Darlington was shook by a terrible bus crash which killed an elderly woman.

Passengers told of the horrifying moment that a bus careered out of control and crashed into a town centre bank, leaving one pedestrian dead and several others injured.

The crash sparked a major emergency response and left a large swathe of Darlington town centre cordoned off.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), police and firefighters worked to help passengers from the wreckage of the 56-seater, which had ploughed into the Halifax branch on Northgate.

One pedestrian, an elderly woman, died at the scene and two people with serious injuries were taken by ambulance to The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.

The driver of the Arriva bus, a 52-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Witnesses described how buildings along Northgate appeared to shake as the bus smashed into the bank shortly before 11am.

Passenger Sophie Parker, 24, added: “I feel so shaken and sick still. It’s all a bit of a blur, but it was horrible – so scary.”

Also that week, the North-East was selected to host the 2019 World Transplant Games.

It was announced the games were to be held in Newcastle and Gateshead after their bid beat off stiff competition from Houston in Texas, who were also shortlisted as hosts.

The games took place from August 17 to August 24, 2019 and were expected to attract up to 3,000 people to the region, from more than 60 countries across the world.

The British team were also hoping to secure the largest participation from any single nation, by attracting over 700 members as well as hosting an International Symposium on Transplantation. Together the games and the proposed symposium were anticipated to contribute in excess of an estimated £4 million to the local economy.

Tyneside was nominated as the UK’s candidate to host the games following the success of the 2015 British Transplant Games.

And finally, long lost sisters shared an emotional embrace after meeting for the first time thanks to an appeal on Facebook.

Annette Youngson, 50, and Heather Ede, 49, were both put up for adoption shortly after they were born by their disabled mother, who was unable to look after them.

Mrs Youngson decided to try and find her missing sibling and posted a picture on Facebook of herself holding a piece of paper which read: “I’m trying to find my sister, born Heather Smith, on April 26 1967 at Northallerton Maternity Hospital, North Yorkshire. Her name could have been changed but someone out there might know."

The post was shared hundreds of times, and just three days after the initial message appeared on Facebook, Ms Ede got in touch with her sister.

Ms Ede, of Peterlee, said: “When I first read the Facebook post I couldn’t believe it."

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