SEVENTH HEAVEN: Hexham Abbey was given the green light for a £3 million visitor centre development that was set to enhance the town's credentials as a key tourism destination.

DRAIN PAIN: Concerns were raised that Prudhoe's existing sewerage system would not be able to cope with proposed new housing following flooding in the Castlefields Estate - but the problems were unlikely to halt the Duke of Northumberland's plans to redevelop the town.

POWER POINT: The first rural electric vehicle charge points in England were installed - miles from the nearest homes and within a stone's throw of Hadrian's Wall.

JAW DROPPING: There was panic on the streets of Hexham, when word spread there was a shark in the vicinity of Hexham Abbey - but fear soon subsided when people learned that the 550lbs porbeagle shark had been brought to the town for display in Taylors of Hexham Fish Shop.


BIG BID: Extensive improvements to Prudhoe's Oaklands estate and the town's Front Street were envisaged as part of a recently published bid for a massive government grant.

SITE EARMARKED: Tynedale planners' call for part of the former Hexham auction mart site to be earmarked for hospital use were approved.

RISING STAR: Six-year-old Kayleigh Rathmell was preparing to tread the boards at Newcastle's prestigious Theatre Royal - with the Newcastle Upon Tyne Operatic Society.

TOWN BOSS: Hexham and Prudhoe would both benefit from having their own "town managers" to oversee the way in which the two towns would develop into the 21st century, a report commissioned by Tynedale Council found.


STRIKE FEARS: Hexham and Prudhoe urban councils drew up emergency plans in case their refuse collectors, grave diggers, and sewage attendants joined a nationwide strike called by the National Union of Public Employees.

TREES DAMAGED: Vandals destroyed almost 100 trees planted along a former railway embankment at Bellingham. These trees were among 120 planted by members of the village youth club the year before.

HEPATITIS OUTBREAK: The Hexham Courant reported that during a seven-month period the year before, there were 19 cases of infective hepatitis in Haltwhistle, nine of which infected residents of two particular streets.

FAST FOOD: A meals-on-wheels service for the elderly was started in Bellingham.


BEAUMONT BLAZE: Fire broke out at the Queen's Hall in Hexham. Firefighters took an hour to bring this blaze, in the hall's basement, under control.

LAZARUS MOMENT: An Army officer from Corbridge returned home from the far east to find that he had been declared dead three years previously. Captain N.T Bewick came across his own obituary notes in an official casualty list upon returning home after spending three-and-a-half years in a Japanese POW camp.

GOAL GLUT: Hexham's two football teams, Hearts and Athletic, had a scoring bonanza in their games against Park United and Ryton. Athletic won 8-1 and Hearts 7-0.

WATER PROBLEMS: Members of Hexham Rural Council's water committee met o discuss ways of improving water supplies to the district's farms, many of which were reported to receive only scant supplies.


STORE REOPENS: Acomb's Co-op store was re-opened after being extended and refurbished.

SHOW FIRST: Prudhoe Allotment and Gardeners Association held its first ever annual show. The venue for this inagural event was the town's Conservative Club.


LIBRARY OVERHAUL: Alston Literary Institute was given an overhaul as part of which old volumes were sold off and replaced with "literature of a more modern type."

WATER IMPROVEMENTS: Wark's water supply was improved after protracted campaigning by villagers, by the installation of pipes between the village and a Spring at Warkshaugh Bank.


DRUNK DISASTER: Three labourers named John Pinkinson, James Oliver, and John Flannigan were brought before Magistrates at Bellingham, charged with being drunk and incapable on the streets of the village.

HOME BIRD: A 70-year-old man from Carlisle, looking for the Spa in Gilsland, explained that he had never slept one night away from his home, and the greatest extent of his travel had been a day-trip to Newcastle and back.

CIRCUS DELIGHTS: Sangers' circus visited Haltwhistle, and gave two performances to good houses. A "splendid" Arabian horse elicted much admiration - but the "sensational and comic element was deficient."