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Victoria Wood's brother: "her death has robbed a generation"

Wood at the 2007 BAFTA awards. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Victoria Wood's older brother has spoke of the shock of her death, saying it "has robbed us of one of the brightest talents of our generation".

The actress died at home with her family at the age of 62 after a short battle with cancer.

Speaking from his home in Darlington, Chris Foote Wood, 75, said:

"It wasn't just that Victoria was hugely talented in so many different fields, she was also outstanding in her tremendous, single-minded drive and determination to pursue her chosen career. Success did not come easily to Victoria, and it was only after years of struggle that she achieved her well-deserved national acclaim.

I am hugely proud of what my sister has done so successfully in different fields of entertainment. It has been a privilege to have her as a sister, and particularly to have been able to observe at first-hand how she developed her career from the earliest beginnings."

– Chris Foote Wood

Mr Wood continued:

"Victoria's two children, my niece Grace and nephew Henry (Durham) will be absolutely devastated to lose their mother at such a relatively young age.

"Another reason I admire Victoria is that she was determined from the start to give her two children as normal an upbringing as possible and to shield them from unwanted media attention.

"In this she succeeded superbly, aided in every way by her then husband Geoffrey Durham who has continued his close support for their children after he and Victoria divorced in 2002."

Stonebridge in Darlington re-opened

Workmen removing cones on Stonebridge

After a 23 week programme of work Stonebridge in Darlington town centre is now re-opened to two-way traffic.

The bridge has been undergoing strengthening work since October 2015, with a break in December for festive traffic.

Stonebridge is more than 120 years old and elements of the bridge were suffering from corrosion. The works were necessary to avoid closure or a weight limit that would restrict buses and lorries using the bridge.

Loose horses take a stroll around Darlington park

Walking around the grounds Credit: Pat Blewitt

A man from Darlington caught these horses running loose in a park this morning.

Pat Blewitt captured the horses on a stroll around North Park.

Police are trying to establish who the owners are.

The three horses were spotted in Darlington Credit: Pat Blewitt
Parents on the school run were shocked at the sight! Credit: Pat Blewitt


Police investigating death at care home in Darlington

Police are investigating the "unexplained" death of a woman at a care home.

On March 15, a 58-year-old woman died at the Middleton Lodge home in Middleton St George, near Darlington.

A spokesman for the home expressed condolences to the bereaved family and Durham Constabulary confirmed officers are investigating the nature of the woman's sudden death.

The woman’s death is currently being treated as unexplained and the investigation continues.

– Durham Constabulary

We are very saddened by the death of one of our service users who lived happily at Middleton Lodge.

All relevant professionals, regulators and family were notified as soon as we were able.

As part of the ongoing review, we will continue to work with our external partners to determine the cause of death.

In addition our thoughts are with relatives at this sad time and this brings a sense of loss to all who reside at Middleton Lodge.

– Neil Wadge, regional director of home-owners Potens

Nationally important medieval stones stolen from church remains in Darlington

Police are investigating the possible theft of three nationally-important early Medieval sculptured stones from the remains of a church on the outskirts of Darlington.

A missing item: a fragment of Viking runic inscription which translated means “in memory of Mael-Muriel/…raised cross”,

All Saints Church in Sockburn is a rare surviving example of a pre- and post-Norman Conquest church site and graveyard.

Its collection of late 9th and 10th century Viking sculptured stones are unrivalled in the country.

One of the stolen items, a fragment of a Medieval cross slab carved with a small sword, measuring 43cm x 13cm.

Many of these were collected in the 19th century by the landowner Sir Edward Buckley who had part of the ruined church reconstructed and re-roofed specifically “for the reception and preservation of the ancient stones lying among the ruins.”

One of the stolen items: a well-preserved fragment of a carved bear’s head, possibly from a hogback - a Viking grave marker.

The church discovered the loss of the items last week and notified police, but it’s thought they could have gone missing at any point since September 2015.

The three items missing are:

  • a well-preserved fragment of a carved bear’s head, a Viking grave marker, dating to the 9th or 10th centuries which measures 24.5cm at its widest
  • a fragment of Viking runic inscription which translated means “in memory of Mael-Muriel/…raised cross”, also dating to the same period
  • a fragment of a Medieval cross slab carved with a small sword

Mark Harrison, National Policing and Crime Advisor for Historic England said:

This is not a victimless crime. Church buildings are places of cultural, historic, religious and, to many people, personal importance and the loss of these three nationally-significant stones robs us of our shared history.

The value of England’s heritage cannot be judged in pounds and pence. The impact of theft on our historic buildings and cultural property has far-reaching consequences over and above the financial cost of what has been stolen."

– Mark Harrison, National Policing and Crime Advisor for Historic England

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Durham said:

The removal of these important artefacts is of great concern. We would ask anyone who has any information that would lead to their safe return to come forward and contact the police as soon as possible.

Many of our churches both open and closed, as in this case have items of historical importance and making them available to our communities is clearly part of our open door policy. However, that is no excuse for the wanton removal of any items as this is a crime which affects the whole community.”

– A spokesperson for the Diocese of Durham
All Saints Church Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
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