EPIC SWIM: Colin Hill endured jellyfish stings and a sore throat to join the exclusive group of swimmers who managed to conquer the English channel.

38-year-old Colin did his swim in double quick time, clocking in at 10 hours and 30 minutes – four minutes faster than David Walliams managed the previous year.

RESORT PLAN: Local residents in Ridsdale gave former young entrepreneur of the year Sherod Walker a torrent of angry abuse at a public meeting called by Birtley Parish Council to discuss Walker’s plans for a holiday resort at Waterfalls Farm.

CASH DRAIN: Hard-up Northumberland County Council was criticised for spending almost £170,000 on polishing its image with a new monthly magazine, which would be posted to all 142,000 homes in the county.

FALSE ALARM: Police, fire engines, and ambulance crews raced to Otterburn after reports that an aircraft had crashed on the Army ranges after a motorist near Elsdon saw a flash in the sky, followed by smoke and a loud thud. However, the incident all turned out to be a false alarm.

HIGHWAY FEARS: Outline planning permission was granted for the conversion of West Point Garage in Hexham to the town’s new fire station. However, there were concerns that the garage, close to the entrance to Hexham Golf Club, would force fire engines to use the notorious Two Mile Cottages junction.


BYPASS THREAT: Dismayed campaigners in Haltwhistle were condemned to waiting another nail-biting month for the crucial decision by the National Trust on whether it would block plans for the town’s long-awaited bypass.

OLD AXE: A Stone Age axe, said to be more than 4,000 years old, was unearthed in a garden at Prudhoe by Mr Bill Hunter and his wife, June, who were busy doing landscaping work.

LEGO CHIMNEY: Councillors were left fuming when builders at Newbrough put chimneys in the wrong place on houses near the village conservation area, meaning dummy chimneys were erected to keep planners happy.

WORLD LEADERS: Lessons learned at Kielder Forest in its transition from plantation to multi-purpose forest would have worldwide significance, a conference was told by a Forestry Minister.


GOVERNMENT REORDER: Representatives of Prudhoe Urban Council travelled to London to discuss with their peers proposals contained in the Maud Report, and accepted that there was a need for a new unitary authority – but were unhappy about being included in the proposed Tynedale authority.

IMPROVEMENTS OPPOSED: The Ministry of Public Building and Works told Hexham MP Geoffrey Ripon that it was opposed to improving the Military Road in case such works damaged the nearby Roman Wall.


GIANT RADISH: A radish grown in a garden in Hexham weighed in at 16oz. It was eight inches in circumference and 16 inches long.

LORRY CRASH: A runaway lorry crashed into a wall near Chollerford. The lorry’s driver and his assistant escaped with slight injuries.


SHOW SUCCESS: North Tyne and Redesdale Agricultural Society’s first show for six years, held at Bellingham, attracted more than 2,000 people, despite a rail strike.

FOR MEN: A men-only public meeting was held in Hexham Institute to impress upon men and youths the importance of leading pure lives, a chivalrous respect for womanhood and the circulation of suitable literature.


WRONG TROUSERS: A tramp who helped himself to a pair of trousers he said he found them tied in a handkerchief, left under a tree, was sentenced to a month’s imprisonment with hard labour at Hexham’s petty sessions.


WE’RE OFF!: The Courant offices were to be closed for a day, in order to facilitate the staff’s annual trip to Kelso.

DEBTS PAID: At County Petty Sessions, the chair of the bench told a man that he was becoming a standing nuisance, in as much as he had already been fined 35 times. “Yes” replied the man very quickly, “but it’s well known that I always pay”.

MAD DOG: A dog, believed to be in a rabid state, caused terror in Belsay when it bit several other dogs and a woman. Although her wound was excised and cauterised, there was a feeling that “magisterial action” would have to be taken to stop the disease from spreading.

DRUNK DISORDER: Ralph Thompson, a tramping mason, and James O’Brien, a “bullock walloper” were charged with being drunk and riotous. The pair were given a choice between a 10s fine and court costs, or 14 days imprisonment in the House of Correction. The men went to prison.