A LOOK through some of the stories of the last 12 months which appeared on this page.


A DEDICATED volunteer who has worked in a popular youth club for more than 27 years was presented with a British Empire Medal. Morag Coates, who is retiring from her voluntary work with Top Deck youth club, which is closing down, was awarded with the honour by County Durham Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowden.

And the true friendship between two men separated by the Irish Sea saw one fly to Belfast with a cheque for £6,465. Eamonn Elliott, chief executive of Hurworth’s Rockliffe Hall, near Darlington, travelled to see his friend, Anto Finnegan, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2012. DeterMND was set up for the former Antrim football Gaelic Athletic Association captain, Mr Finnegan.

In mid-November, a project to raise £100,000 to make the cylinder block for the new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales has reached 50 per cent of its target in just one month. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is looking to secure the investment to make the cylinder block for new engine.

Darlington lost a true defender of the arts when the popular chairman of a cultural organisation steps down. Arts advocate and campaigner John Dean announced his departure from the town as he handed over the reins to his successor at Darlington for Culture – Jolyon Potter. The co-operative was established in 2010 by a group of campaigners who fought to prevent the closure of Darlington’s Arts Centre.


A FAMILY-RUN café that was destroyed by an arson attack earlier this year is to reopen

– inside a bus. Rosie Hodgson, and her husband Stewart, discovered the horrifying sight of their burnt out Cozy Coffee café, on the outskirts of Brafferton, near Darlington, in September. The cafe, which was built from scratch by Mr Hodgson, opened in May 2015, but

all that remained following the blaze was the charred remains of what had been described as “the best thing to happen to Brafferton” by the cafe's customers.

Dozens took advantage of the free festive spirit on offer at a town centre coffee shop on Christmas Day. For the second year, Mangobean opened its doors to support less fortunate people and to offer them a warm welcome, a hot drink and some specially prepared food from Georgios Latousakis.