COMING UP DAFFODILS: Barry parker and Allan Jenkins added a splash of colour to the wall at High Riggs by planting thousands of bulbs
COMING UP DAFFODILS: Barry parker and Allan Jenkins added a splash of colour to the wall at High Riggs by planting thousands of bulbs

THE fall-out over Barnard Castle Town Council’s unfair dismissal of its former deputy clerk resulted in only three sitting members putting their names forward for the local government elections.
A number of those most vocal in their criticism of the council’s conduct decided to stand and when the deadline for nominations passed, 16 candidates were listed for the 12 seats available in the only parish or town council election called in the dale.
There was sad news as a charity which helped thousands of elderly and disabled people across the dale for more than 20 years announced its closure.
The Teesdale Disability Access Forum was initially established to tackle the lack of dropped kerbs and help organisations ensure they conformed to the 2004 Disability Discrimination Act.
Its services grew to include a dale-wide loan service for mobility aids, providing cancer care kits, organising armchair exercise classes and projects for those affected by incontinence and dementia.
Anne Henderson, the charity’s chief officer for 17 years, said: “I have so many memories of the lovely people I have met and helped. It has been a privilege.”
With spring in the air, volunteers across the dale were out in force to clear up their towns and villages.
In Barney, a litter pick loan hub scheme was launched by toy shop owner Pauline Connelly and clean-up campaigner George O’Brien, while in Evenwood and Ramshaw, 70 bags of rubbish were collected and parish councillors in Staindrop discussed how a community clear-up could be organised.
In Middleton-in-Teesdale, there were plans for a major spruce up to help the village’s bid for gold in the Northumbria in Bloom competition, while Barney residents Barry Parker and Allan Jenkins planted thousands of daffodil bulbs to brighten up the wall along High Riggs.
In a repeat of scenes from the previous year, customers desperate for a haircut queued down the street for more than an hour when an easing of Covid-19 restrictions signalled the re-opening of barber shops and hair salons.
Representatives of the dale’s four emergency services came together in Barnard Castle to pay their respects with a minute's silence at the 999 quad hub after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

A HOST of new faces were voted on to Barnard Castle Town Council at the local elections, with just one sitting councillor – Frank Harrison – retaining his seat.
New faces included John Moore, well known for his work with the Scout movement, and toy shop owner Pauline Connelly.
Two former councillors who resigned in the wake of the employment tribunal returned, including Rima Chatterjee, who was subsequently voted in as Barnard Castle mayor by her colleagues.
Cllr Chatterjee, who together with husband Roy runs the Old Well Inn pub, said she had been overwhelmed by messages from well-wishers.
“The town has been wonderful. In fact, from the beginning, we have been made to feel so welcome. I've never felt out of place here. I now aim to do my bit and my best for the town,” she said.
She also told how her late father Shauri, who died earlier in the month at his home in Calcutta as a result of Covid-19, would have been proud of her achievement.
“It would have been so special to him,” said Cllr Chatterjee.
On the wider political stage, the Labour Party lost control of Durham County Council for the first time in a century.
The party ended 11 short of a majority, losing 21 seats at the elections.
Two Conservatives – James Cosslett and Robert Potts – were elected to Evenwood ward, meaning all six dale representatives are Tories.
After political negotiations, a coalition led by the Conservatives and Lib-Dems formed an administration at County Hall, with Tory leader Cllr Richard Bell taking the deputy leader’s post.
Away from the political arena, there was good news for those looking for a bit of fun as Covid restrictions were eased.
While Barnard Castle Meet was postponed for another year, it was announced the funfair was coming to town.
The fair’s operators, the Northerallerton-based Crow family, said they were keen to resume having been unable to operate for a year.
A group of residents in Cotherstone hoping to convert the village’s former Methodist chapel into a cafe and heritage centre, unveiled plans to launch a £100,000 community share scheme to help raise the money required.
In the ensuing months, the scheme proved popular and the target was reached in November.

STAINDROP Parish Council failed in its bid for a judicial review into Durham County Council's decision to grant planning permission for 72 homes in the village.
The scheme, proposed by Raby Estates, was given the go-ahead as an “enabling development” with the money raised being used to finance a revamp of the grounds and gardens at Raby Castle.
Legal advice given to the parish council suggested the decision could be challenged, but Judge Penelope Belcher did not accept the village’s arguments and turned down the application for a judicial review. The parish council had raised thousands of pounds through a public appeal to fight the case.
In nearby Gainford, another long-running planning issue continued to rumble on – the future of the derelict former St Peter's School site.
Yet more plans to build housing on part of the site had been turned down earlier in the year and now a scheme to turn it into supported living and a care centre for the elderly was put forward.
In the meantime, the development company which owns what remains of the arson-hit school, had submitted plans for the ruins to be demolished.
The company said a survey of the building showed it was in imminent danger of collapse.
However, more than six months later, no decision has been made by Durham County Council about whether to pull the building down.
Botanist and environmental campaigner Dr Margaret Bradshaw announced she was undertaking a marathon trek on her 29-year-old Anglo-Arab horse Sigma to raise funds to help save the dale's rare plants.
Dr Bradshaw, 95, said the money raised would help fund the work of the Teesdale Special Flora Research Conservation Trust, which she founded in 2017.
As good as her word, Dr Bradhsaw completed the 88km ride, which she undertook in weekly stages, later in the year.
The behaviour of visitors to the upper dale came under the spotlight.
With staycations proving popular, landowners and other organisations said the area was being plagued by criminal damage, drug use, road safety issues and appalling levels of rubbish.
As a result, Raby Estates, the Strathmore Estate, North Pennines AONB Partnership, Natural England and Middleton-in-Teesdale and Newbiggin Parish Council wrote to Durham County Council asking the authority to impose a public space protection order (PSPO) on the area.