FOREST FIRESALE: Huge question marks were hanging over the future of Kielder Forest, following the Government's decision to push ahead with proposals to sell the nation's woodlands.

GYM GRIPES: Furious gym-goers, some of whom had paid several hundred pounds for membership, were seeking refunds following the sudden closure of the Buzz Factory in Prudhoe.

JESUS CHRIST!: Hexham Abbey parishioners were utterly perplexed by the disappearance of Jesus Christ - a least, the small clay model of his infant form that had gone missing from the crib scene at the abbey. It was thought to be at least 100 years old, and not in the best condition.

CUT OFF: Hexham Community Centre was told it could be without a telephone for up to two months, after BT cut off the phone line by accident and said they wouldn't be able to fix it by March, provided the centre paid a £99 connection fee!


NIGHT OFF: Doctors in Northumberland drew up plans that looked set to end all night calls to patients homes by the end of the summer. Patients would have to travel to Hexham General Hospital for treatment.

A CROSSROADS: The Tynedale branch of Crossroads was facing closure, if Northumberland County Council chose to abolish its grant of £100,00 to the charity.

DUCK DUCK GOOSE: Residents of Wark were furious after one of the village's most popular residents - Horace the goose - was gunned down by a wildfowler. One Wark resident said: "It was just murder. It's a disgrace he has been killed just for someone's pleasure."

STEEL SLAMMED: Parish councillors slammed part of the £600,000 restoration work planned for the historic Lambley Viaduct. Coanwood Parish Council claimed the viaduct would be ruined by plans to put a steel stair case on one side.


U-BEND U-TURN: Public opposition forced Haltwhistle Rural Council to drop its plans to have a new toilet block built in the town's Black Bull Lane.

BASE OPENS: The army's Special Air Service regiment set up a base for volunteers in Prudhoe - one of just four such centres nationwide.

MAIL STRIKE: Council and government offices in Hexham were carrying on business as usual despite a postal strike then in progress, it was reported.


UNDER FIRE: Hexham Urban Council urged the London and North-East Railway Company to improve its Newcastle-Carlisle service, which council chairman Joseph Cullen described as the worst railway line in the country and a disgrace to the 20th century.

VILLAGERS SHIVER: Bardon Mill was reported to be the coldest place in Britain that week, 28 degrees of frost having been recorded there.

TRADER FINED: Hexham Magistrates fined a Prudhoe shopkeeper five shillings and sixpence for wasting electricity. The trader's crime was to have left the lights on a Christmas tree displayed in his Front Street shop's window switched on overnight.

WHIST FUND-RAISER: A whist drive held at Minsteracres near Slaley raised £35 for the village's welcome home fund.


TELEPHONE BID: Allendale Parish Council called for the installation of a telephone or telegraph line between Allendale and Allenheads. The Courant reported that though the villages were only seven miles apart, telegraph messages between them had to be transmitted via Hexham, Newcastle, and Bishop Auckland - an 80 mile round-trip.

INSTITUTE OPENS: A new village institute was opened in Ovington. The official opening ceremony was carried out by Hexham MP Clifton Brown.

WHIST FUND-RAISER: A whist drive at Great Bavington raised £16 for Kirkwhelpington and District Nursing Association.


PUMP DEAL: Humshaugh Parish Council took over responsibility for a water pump and drinking trough in the village.

TREE SCHEME: Hexham Urban District Council gave the go-ahead to a £10 scheme for planting trees in Beaumont Street.


PEASANT'S PLIGHT: Hexham Farmer's Club agreed that a book be forwarded to each guardian of the poor of Hexham Union and a donation requessted for the French Peasant's Relief Fund.

COLD SPELL: An intense frost prevailed, with 20 degrees of frost on the Thursday night leading to one of the coldest nights during the severe winter of the time.

KNIGHT BURIED: The funeral of Sit John Fife, a prominent man from Newcastle, took place at St Cuthbert's in Bellingham.