FEARS SPARKED: Hundreds of train passengers were left stranded when a fire broke out in a workshop near Prudhoe railway station, causing fears the oxyacetylene cylinders in the blazing building could explode.

HOUSING WOES: A Comprehensive Spending Review spelt heartache for Tynedale's poorest and most vulnerable, with rent increases and a 60 per cent cut in funding for social housing set to condemn a generation to poverty.

UNDER FIRE: The fire sale of former Tynedale Council officers in Hexham was branded a betrayal by the Lockhart family, which had owned the Old Grammar School and Prospect House for generations.

GROSS GREEN: "Improvements" at the Wellington pub in Riding Mill saw so many people complain about the new green paintwork, the owners hastily repainted most of the pub cream.


GUTSY GRAN: Corbridge Grandmother Brenda Walker was branded a hero after she fended off three balaclava-clad men attempting to ram-raid the shop she lived over. Black belt Brenda didn't even need to resort to her karate skills to rout the men, as they fled once she pelted them with missiles and shouted at them!

HAZARDOUS MATERIAL: Police in Hexham issued a warning to thieves who stole a van containing inflammable chemicals from Wentworth car park, with the 45-gallon drums of Chemcure potentially harmful.

REPORT SHELVED: A long-awaited consultants report on the need for dualling the A69 was "irrelevant" and would not be made public, according to the Department for Transport.

FOREIGN AID: The first resource centre for people with mental health problems and their carers was set up in Albania - with the help of former Corbridge Parish Council chairman and social worker Mr Henry Buckley.


GONE SWIMMING: Plans for the construction of a £160,000 new swimming pool in Hexham's Gilesgate were drawn up.

RAILWAY PETITION: A conference in Haltwhistle, attended by representatives of local councils, businesses and trade union branches urged British Rail to abandon its plans to close the Haltwhistle-Alston line.

BELL ROW: Prudhoe's St Mary Magdalene's church was branded a noisy nuisance by some town residents, who complained that the tolling of the bell woke them up on Sunday mornings and kept their children awake at night.

CHAPEL CHUCKED: Low Prudhoe Methodist Chapel was to be demolished to make way for a new road leading to the town's industrial estate.


COLLEGE PLANS: Northumberland County Council held talks with a view to buying Hexham Hydro, the former Westfield House, and converting it into a county college. This £40,000 scheme was given the go-ahead by the council's education committee.

CLUB CHANGES: Hexham and District Rabbit Club was dissolved, and Hexham and District Fur and Feather Society set up in its stead.


BIRDS BONANZA: Haltwhistle and District Cage Bird Society's annual show attracted a record number of entries, more than 400.

COACH COLLISION: Two coaches carrying Newcastle War Pensions Hospital patients on a day out collided near Otterburn. Nine patients were injured.


FOUNTAIN PLEA: The National British Women's Temperance Association's Hexham branch urged that a drinking fountain be provided in the town's Market Place. Hexham Urban District Council agreed to investigate.

RABIES SCARE: A fox terrier suspected to have rabies was shot at Humshaugh. The dog's head was subsequently sent to London for medical testing.

PLEA LAUNCHED: Methodists in Bellingham launched a £1,000 appeal for funds for a new place of worship in the village. They got off to a great start when their first fund-raising event - a bazaar held in Bellingham town hall - generated £200.


GENEROUS GIFT: The poor of Haltwhistle experienced "the kind liberality" of a private gentleman, who, as in previous years, gave between 30 and 40 cartloads of coals to the most deserving of that class.

DESTRUCTIVE TRAMPS: Two tramps, John Harris and Jon Roberts were charged before magistrates with destroying their clothes while being relieved in the vagrant ward of Hexham Union Workhouse. They were committed to Morpeth gaol for 21 days with hard labour.

SPLENDID SPUDS: A red skin potato, then recently introduced into Haydon Bridge by Mr Samuel Gristwood, yielded a remarkable increase - 3 and half lbs became 75 and a half lbs.