FREE PARKING AXED: The long-standing perk for Tynedale residents of free parking at Hexham's Tyne Green was axed. Members of Tynedale Gold Club would be particularly hard hit by the charge, the Hexham Courant reported, as for the first time, they will have to pay to park at their own club.

WINDFARM TAKING SHAPE: Work was well under way on the biggest civil engineering project in Tynedale since the building of Kielder Dam more than 30 years ago. The £27m Green Rigg wind farm, just off the A68 close to the Sweethope Lough trout fishery near Kirkwhelpington, would become home to 18 giant wind turbines, each more than 125m high.


HISTORIC BUILDING DESTROYED: One of Hexham's historic buildings was gutted by fire. The mid-18th century building behind the Heart of All England pub in Market Street suffered structural damage in the blaze. Police cornered off the street to the public and traffic was diverted while firefighters from Hexham and Haydon Bridge fought the blaze for several hours.

ELECTION ANNOUNCEMENT: Local political parties got ready for action after the announcement of the General Election on May 1 that year. Sitting MP Peter Atkinson faced four challengers at that time in Ian MacMinn (Labour), Philip Carr (Liberal Democrats), Robert Waddell (Referendum Party) and David Lott (UK Independence Party).


LIGHTNING CAUSES BLACKOUT: Hexham, Haltwhistle and the various villages in between them were hit by a one-hour blackout, caused by the former town's main electricity transformer being thunderstruck during what was reported to have been one of the most severe storms to beset the district for some years.

BOUNDARY PLEA: Stocksfield's neighbourhood working party called on the Department of the Environment to include the village's Birkdene estate within the parish's boundaries instead of within Prudhoe's, as was then the case.

POOL PERILS PANNED: The paddling pool then sited in Hexham's abbey grounds was slammed at an urban council meeting as a health hazard. Councillors nevertheless decided to keep the pool open and leave it as it was for the time being.

PAVEMENT PLEA: Calls were made for a footpath to be provided opposite Hexham's Fox pub to make the junction there safer for pedestrians.


CHURCH RE-OPENS: St John's Methodist Church at Prudhoe re-opened after being renovated.

BANKING PAIR BOW OUT: Hexham bankers J.P. Toulmin, manager of the town's Midland Bank branch for the previous 35 years, and T.C. Gilchrist, manager of the town's National Provincial Bank for the preceding 17 years, both decided to call it a day and retire.

NEW VICAR: R.G. Malden, formerly Vicar of Wigton in Cumbria, was appointed as Vicar of Corbridge.


BAZAAR MONEY-SPINNER: A fund-raising bazaar held at Hexham's Queen's Hall by the town's Unionist association brought in more than £713.

CHESS CHAMPION VISITS: Yugoslavian chess champion Boris Kostich, one of the world's top 10 players, paid Hexham's Liberal club a visit. While there, he played 20 games with local players, winning 18 and drawing two.

INSTITUTE INITIATIVE: Barrasford and Gunnerton Women's Institute came into being.


BLOODIED BROTHERS: Hexham brothers George and Edward Shield were involved in accidents on consecutive days while driving a pony and cart through the town. The former sustained minor injuries when his horse bolted and crashed into the window of a house in Foundry Lane while pulling a cart-load of manure, and the latter's collar bone was broken the day after when the same horse bolted, throwing him to the ground, while pulling a cart-load of hay along Low Leazes.