Review of the year part 4 – Stormy end to a difficult 12 months; now it's full steam ahead for 2022
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
BARNARD Castle’s festive lights display was saved thanks to the hard work of volunteers and a £20,000 grant.
The Christmas Lights group was dealt a blow when Durham County Council said volunteers could no longer take the power supply needed from lampposts.
Following an appeal, 11 property owners came forward offering to have 240v sockets put up on their buildings.
An additional 160 fixing points were also needed to string up the lights through the town centre.
The cash meant the group could bring in electrical contractors to carry out the work installing the new power points.
More than £10,000 was handed over to a brain tumour charity in memory of an upper dale farmer who died earlier in the year.
The family of Richard Scott organised a fundraising tractor rally after he died aged 45, six years after being diagnosed with a low grade glioma brain tumour.
Some 200 people aboard 102 tractors raised £7,500, which was added to the proceeds of an online fundraising page.
The money was handed over to The Bain Tumour Charity, whose North East fundraiser Helen Rogers said the organisation was hugely grateful to the efforts of Mr Scott’s family.
Volunteers at Teesdale’s only remaining railway celebrated a successful 50th anniversary of the line.
Thorpe Light Railway was originally opened as part of Whorlton Lido in 1971. It closed to the public in 2005 when new owners took over but was relaunched in 2013, operating as a charity and run by a core team of about 15 volunteers.
Members of Teesdale Gun Club celebrated the official opening of their new look club house.
It has doubled in size, offering shooters a new meeting room and kitchen and runs off renewable energy.
The extension was paid for by a £35,000 Sport England grant, while cash from county councillors Richard Bell and Ted Henderson paid for solar panels and a new toilet block.
The dale’s young boxers were packing a punch, celebrating a trio of wins at a three-day national competition in Penrith.
Barney battlers George Peacock, Dan Jackson, from Staindrop, and West Auckland’s Paige Fielden all won titles at the event, with George reaching the finals of the National Junior Development Championships.
TWO dale communities were celebrating after Durham County Council's bid for £20 million levelling up cash was successful.
The money will be used to fund repairs to Whorlton suspension bridge, reroute the A68 at Toft Hill and create a heritage corridor along the Darlington and Stockton railway line.
Whorlton Bridge has been closed to traffic for more than two years after a routine safety inspection showed the structure was at risk.
Initially, the bridge remained open to cyclists and pedestrians before being closed to all in December 2020.
Following repairs, the bridge is due to reopen in spring 2023 and a visitor centre will also form part of the work to celebrate the structure's historical importance.
At Toft Hill, money will be spent on a 1.6km road to take traffic away from Toft Hill to a junction at Hartbrigg Lane.
Proposals for a Toft Hill bypass were first investigated more than 50 years ago.
Tributes were paid following the death of former landlord Neil Turner, who was renowned for his cocktail menu and sense of humour at the Milbank Arms, in Barningham.
Mr Turner, 87, took over the licence for the pub when his mother died in 1987, after his parents first came to the Milbank Arms in 1939.
Supermarket bosses announced that the new Lidl supermarket, currently under construction on the outskirts of Barnard Castle, would open for business in February.
A recruitment drive for staff was held at The Witham, with some 20 vacancies available.
The new store will be managed by Brendan Doherty, who ran the Lidl supermarket in Crook before being appointed to Barnard Castle.
Staff at the dale’s Co-op stores distributed about £15,000 to nine good causes. The money was raised through the company’s community fund.
Trustees at The Association of Teesdale Day Clubs – which provide lunches for the elderly – were celebrating after Teesdale Action Partnership confirmed a grant of more than £20,000, which will keep the organisation going through 2022. Plans were also unveiled to launch a new lunch club in Startforth in the new year.
RESIDENTS in parts of the dale were left without power for days following the first severe storm of the winter.
The situation got so bad that Durham County Council declared a major incident and the Army was called in to help reach those cut off and provide vital supplies.
More than 100 engineers and technicians were called in by Northern Powergrid to carry out repairs as dozens of electricity poles were reported to have been blown down during Storm Arwen.
A dale pub reopened just in time for the switch-on of village lights.
Mike and Tracey Pearson were planning to throw open the doors on The Bridge Inn, in Whorlton, for the Christmas holidays having taken over the licence in September. However, when they heard the lights were due to be switched on a couple of weeks earlier, they brought the date forward to coincide with the event.
The couple, from Ingleby Barwick, said they had been searching for a pub they could run together and said Whorlton hostelry – which will revert to its traditional name after being called Fernaville’s Rest under the previous landlord – was the first they had viewed in person.
An appeal was launched to raise £40,000 for repairs to St Mary's, in Hutton Magna, where a church has stood for more than 800 years.
Water is seeping in, cast iron guttering has come to the end of its life and lime pointing has eroded.
Church officials have begun applying to a number of different grant-making bodies but say they are unlikely to attract cash unless they can show there is community support for the appeal.
If the appeal proves successful, repairs are expected to be carried out next summer.
It's the end of an era for village cricket after teams in the Darlington and District League voted to ditch the traditional tea break between innings. Clubs were split on the issue and it took the vote of the league president to agree the move. While traditionalists will rue the decision, it was pointed out at the league's annual meeting that for the past two seasons, teas have not been served in the traditional way due to restrictions on the use of pavilions during the pandemic.