HOSPITAL PURCHASE: Plans to build a £75 million specialist emergency care hospital to serve the whole of Northumberland took another step forward. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust officially bought the site alongside the A189 to the south of East Cramlington for the hospital.

STATION RESTORED: Residents of England's most remote village got pumped up over plans to re-open the area's only petrol station. People living in Kielder had had to spend four years completing a 35-mile round trip for fuel after the village's petrol station closed in 2008 due to high running costs.

CO-OP BATTLE: The go-ahead for the Duke of Northumberland's controversial redevelopment plans for Prudhoe town centre were scuppered by the Co-operative Group, it was revealed. Northumberland County Council was expected to approve the scheme on October 19, 2011, but halted proceedings the day before the crucial meeting. It emerged that the Co-operative Group, which had stymied the plans once before, raised last minute concerns about assessment of the environmental impact the development would have.


COUNCIL WARNED: Northumberland County Council was warned against cutting funding to youth clubs by a body the council itself set up. The Youth Service Commission said in its report to the council that it would "deplore any substantial reduction in funding to the youth service". Despite the report, there was talk of cuts of around 15 per cent in the youth service budget across the county as education chiefs juggle their budgets to protect schools.

ORDAINED AT LAST: History was made at St Augustine's Church in Alston when a septuagenarian from Garrigill was ordained. Mary Gill, former religious studies teacher at Samuel King's School in Alston, also became the first woman priest in the Church of England parish having served as a deacon there for eight years.


ON THE BUSES: The threadbare bus services run in Tynedale over 1971s Christmas period came in for criticism from county councillors. One, Noel Dixon, of Corbridge, said it was disgraceful that some parts of the district had gone without public transport for three full days.

RECORD EFFORT: The year's poppy appeal collection by Corbridge's Royal British Legion branch raised a record amount, £434, up £53 on the year before.

BOY'S BODY FOUND: The body of a 15-year-old patient at Prudhoe Hospital was found in its grounds following a three-day search by a 200-strong team of police officers using tracker dogs and mountain rescue team members.


ON THE CARDS: A whist drive held at Humshaugh Village Hall drew a record crowd of 81 tables of players. The hall had to shut its doors half-an-hour before this event started to prevent possible overcrowding, it was reported.

BUS CRASHES: A bus driver and nine passengers were injured when the vehicle in which they were travelling skidded on a patch of ice and crashed into a wall at Woodlands in Hexham.

MOUNTAINOUS MAIL: The amount of mail Hexham's postmen had to contend with over the Christmas period was up 10 per cent on the same period the year before.


ELDERLY EVENT: That year's Christmas treat for pensioners in Mickley and Eltringham, near Prudhoe, attracted a record turn-out of 159.

PARCELS FOR PENSIONERS: Newbrough's womenfolk and pensioners were given parcels of tea and sugar as Christmas presents by W.J. Benson, then lord of the manor there.


BEGGAR JAILED: A beggar from Newcastle was jailed for a week for knocking on Ovingham doors and asking for food and money. When caught the man's pockets were full of coppers and slices of meat, it was reported.

FESTIVE GIFTS: Haydon Bridge Vicar J.H. Mandell was given 20lb of tea and a wagon load of coal, by two villagers and the Blackett Colliery Company respectively, to distribute as Christmas presents among parishioners.