BROKEN BRIDGE: Wark Bridge was in such a parlous condition that it was no longer safe to carry vehicular traffic. An inspection of the 132-year-old bridge revealed corrosion was so advanced parts could fail at any time.

IN DECLINE: Escalating house prices and the closure of local services were taking their toll on many of Tynedale's villages, with a new report revealing the scale of the rural housing crisis in "declining" villages.

CHECK MATES: Chess veterans Jim Dixon (91) and Karl Skowronski (93) battled it out on the board at Hexham Golf Club to decide the king of the super seniors. After a two-hour battle, Karl emerged as winner.

MODEL LEGIONNAIRE: Former super model turned presenter Jodie Kidd became a Roman Legionnaire for the day at Birdoswald Roman Fort for BBC One's Country Tracks programme.


WATER WOES: Some residents of Riding Mill threatened not to pay their water bills unless there was a dramatic improvement in their water supply, following reports of heavily discoloured water from their taps.

GAS SCARE: Councillors took less than 10 seconds to complete an embarrassing U-turn over plans to build a 51-bed nursing home on the site of Hexham's former tip, accepting they had no chance of winning an appeal.

SUE THREAT: Coun. Alan Sharp threatened to sue Northumberland County Council and the Department of Transport - over a troublesome footpath at Greenhead.

YOUTHS BLAMED: Vandals were blamed for an incident in which an elderly Haltwhistle woman required hospital treatment after walking into a street sign that had been pulled down to a dangerous height by youths swinging on it.


COLLIERY CLOSED: Ramshawfield Colliery, a private mine at Bardon Mill, closed.

FARM FIRE: A farm building and 8,000 bales of hay stored in it were destroyed in a fire at Kearsley Farm, Ingoe.

SHOOTINGS PROBE: Prudhoe Police launched an investigation after two people reported being shot at in the town. Children with air rifles were suspected to be behind the attacks.

RIVER RESCUE: Haydon Bridge brothers Craig and Kevin Jewitt, aged four and 11, were rescued by the fire brigade after becoming stranded on an island in the River South Tyne.


FUND REFERENDUM: Hexham Welcome Home Fund called on town residents to offer suggestions on how to spend the £3,000 it planned to raise.

FUND BOOST: A clay-pigeon shoot at Anick Grange in Hexham raised £53 for the town's welcome home fund.

UNDER FIRE: At a meeting held in Hexham, North of England Temperance League president Mr C.H Roberts criticised the Government for tolerating the sale and consumption of alcoholic drink.

FOOTBALL MERGER: The West Tyne and Ryton district football leagues merged to form the 14-team Ryton and West Tyne League.


RECORD ENTRY: Hexham Rowing and Swimming Club's annual regatta attracted a record entry of 68 scullers.

PAY STRIKE: Strike fevr hit Hexham when staff employed by Hexham Urban Council walked out demanding a pay rise.


A new Methodist Chapel was opened at Ridley Mill, Stocksfield.

SHOOTING STARS: Hexham's rifle club retained the Northumberland Rifle Associations Lambtom Trophy, after beating Bellingham's club by four oints for the second year running.


DUSTY PLATFORM: In the 'local gossip' section, a Courant correspondent wrote to complain about he six inches of dust on Hexham railway stations new platform. He wrote: "When there is the least wind one is almost blinded by the clouds which fly about under the shed."

MUGGER RAID: Police officers raided an encampment of muggers near Ryal. The muggers, James Ford and James Moulding, were camped near the villag with their wives and, in one of their cases, seven children sleeping in tents.

CASTLE SWAP: The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, and the Earl and Countess of Percy left Alnwick for Kielder Castle.

EXCELLENT SERMON: The Rev. Morgan of Newcastle visited Nenthead's Wesleyan Chapel. He preached an excellent sermon in the afternoon, and delivered a very instructive lecture on John Howard in the evening.

BAZAAR SUCCESS: The total receipts of the Corbridge Church Bazaar were about £380.