Category: News


The UK Government’s Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme allows eligible residents to apply for a voucher code worth up to £350 towards the hardware and installation costs to get connected to a range of alternative technologies including satellite, wireless and 4G through approved suppliers. Residents are required to pay any additional costs such as the monthly service charge.

If you would like to know more about the scheme and about getting connected to alternative technologies such as satellite and 4G, Digital Durham will be offering advice in half hourly slots on Tuesday 13 March 2018 from 12 noon till 6pm in the UTASS Training Room. 

Contact UTASS on 01833 641010 to book a slot. It would be useful if you can provide your full address including postcode along with details of your current internet provision, and an idea of what support you need.

More information on the scheme and application form are available at:

If you’re unable to attend the session or access the information online, you can email or call 03000 261160 leaving a short voicemail, and a member of Digital Durham will contact you about your request.

Too cold to lay bricks, says FMB

A number of construction sites across the UK have ground to a halt due to heavy snow, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, said: “Heavy snow showers have led to many construction sites across the UK grinding to a halt. Some construction bosses have told their staff to take the rest of the week off and not return to work until Monday. But it’s not just the snow that’s playing havoc with construction projects – some firms are reporting that the freezing temperatures mean it’s too cold to lay bricks. The overall impact of bad weather on construction growth remains to be seen but this situation is concerning given that the FMB’s latest research shows that growth among construction SMEs slowed in the final three months of 2017. We hope that the cold weather we have seen this week is just a blip and that all workers will be able to get back on site in coming days.

Wardens offer helping hand in bad weather

Teams of council workers have been out in force keeping County Durham moving during the bad weather.

Neighbourhood wardens from Durham County Council have been in East Stanley where they visited older and vulnerable residents to make sure they were warm and well.

Among them was 81-year-old Betty Phillips who was extremely grateful when the wardens stopped by to drop off some fresh milk.

The council is maintaining contact with care agencies across the county to ensure people who receive care at home continue to do so.

However, members of the public are also being encouraged to call on friends, neighbours and relatives who may need assistance.

Lee Alexander, the authority’s head of adult care, said: “Many people become more socially isolated when there is bad weather but a telephone call from a friend or relative can make a real difference.

“We will, of course, continue to do what we can to support those who are frail or vulnerable but would also encourage members of the public to contact people who they know who may be at risk in order to check that they are alright.

“We would also remind our vulnerable residents of the importance of staying at home and staying warm, particularly this week when we are expecting extremely poor weather conditions.”

Gritters have been out ploughing and salting priority one and two routes throughout the day and will continue to do so this evening and tomorrow morning as the conditions demand.

Although the traffic on main roads is moving, drivers should continue to drive with caution and allow extra time for their journey.

Clean and green teams are also working to keep footpaths clear in town and city centres and around priority areas such as hospitals and medical centres.

Refuse and recycling crews have been collecting in areas where it is safe to do so but have been unable to compete all rounds. Anyone whose bin has not been emptied is asked to leave it out so that crews can try to collect it tomorrow or in the coming days.

While the majority of schools remained open today, parents are advised to check the council’s website and social media channels for updates as the week progresses.

For updates on all council services, visit or check the council’s social media channels at and

‘For the first time, County Durham’s stop smoking service will give away free patches this No Smoking Day – 14th March 2018’

No Smoking Day is an annual health promotion day set up to encourage smokers to make a quit attempt and this year falls on 14th March 2018. For the first time, Smokefreelife County Durham are set to give away free nicotine replacement therapy patches in five locations across the county to help assist those wanting to quit on No Smoking Day 2018.

Stop smoking advisors will be available at venues in Consett, Newton Aycliffe, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street and Seaham between 9.30AM and 4PM on 14th March. Quitters will receive one week’s worth of patches for free after filling out a short assessment with the advisor and will then be referred to their nearest clinic to receive further treatment and ongoing support.

Research shows that accessing a stop smoking service and quitting with an advisor makes you four times more likely to be successful than going it alone. Smokefreelife County Durham offers free support to anyone living or working in County Durham.

According to Fresh, approximately 78,696 adults smoke in County Durham and 138,774 NHS appointments are due to smoking. The smoking prevalence in County Durham is higher than the regional and national average, with Durham’s figures at 19% whilst England’s average is 16.9%. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.

Annie Pluse, specialist stop smoking advisor, describes the project “This year, Smokefreelife County Durham are trying a more innovative way of engaging the public by offering free patches to help support a quit attempt. We have also used our Social Media platforms; Facebook and Twitter more to promote our plans for No Smoking Day 2018. By meeting people in the community and promoting the benefits of quitting smoking and receiving ongoing face to face support with a specialist advisor, we know that those people are far more likely to quit and stay quit for good.”

Between 2016-17 Smokefreelife County Durham helped 2840 people stop smoking. If you would like to give up your smoking habit for good, why not use this No Smoking Day as your opportunity? For more information on the service visit

Hubert Parry – 100th Anniversary Concert at Durham Cathedral on Saturday 10 March

2018 is the 100th centenary of the death of Hubert Parry, arguably one of Britain’s most iconic and influential composers.  To mark the occasion Durham University and Durham Cathedral are presenting a celebratory concert of his music on Saturday 10 March, 7.30pm at Durham Cathedral.  Participants include Durham University Orchestral Society and Choral Society, Durham Cathedral Choir, Durham County Youth Choir and the Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers.

The composer Hubert Parry is a favourite of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales who on his recent visit to Durham was given a performance of a shortened version of this concert, which was well received and enjoyed by performers and audience alike.







Music to be performed includes some of Parry’s best known works – I Was GladJerusalem, and Blest Pair of Sirens. Alongside this well-known repertoire, the musicians will present Parry’s engaging cantata The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a setting of Robert Browning’s famous poem, first performed in Norwich in 1905 and rarely heard in England since. This and the Idyll from the composer’s Suite Moderne edited by the scholar and Parry biographer, Professor Jeremy Dibble, (Music Department, Durham University) will take pride of place in a concert not to be missed!  Durham Cathedral Choir will sing the Never WeatherBeaten Sail, Number 3 of Parry’s Six Songs of Farewell as well as singing in the massed choir items.  All of the choirs and the audience will sing Jerusalem at the end of the concert.

Professor Jeremy Dibble of Durham University is one of the country’s foremost musicologists. His specialism includes British nineteenth- and twentieth-century music, in particular the music of Parry. This celebratory concert provides a special insight into Parry’s music by Professor Dibble, “This is a unique chance to hear a range of Parry’s choral and orchestral music, some well-known, some hardly known, and in particular a unique chance to hear his delightful setting of Robert Browning’s poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin.  It is a wonderfully colourful score that captures the bitter-sweet nature of the popular legend and is of appeal to audiences of all ages.”

Daniel Cook, Master of the Choristers and Organist of Durham Cathedral says, “It is most fitting we are presenting this concert in partnership with Durham University.  The choral tradition at Durham Cathedral can be traced back to the Cathedral’s formation in the 11thCentury.  Our neighbour, Durham University has a reputation for providing world-class undergraduate and post-graduate music education.  Six of its most talented singers hold choral scholarships to sing in the Cathedral Choir during their time in Durham providing them with professional musician experience at a formative stage in their careers. In addition our organ scholar is also a Durham University student. The evening promises to be a spectacular night of music making culminating in the singing of one of the country’s most loved hymns.”








Tickets for the concert range from £10 to £20 and are available from the Visitor Desk at the West End of Durham Cathedral, by phone 0191 338 7178 or online at

Middleton in Teesdale Prize Show and Sale of Store Cattle – Tuesday 13th February 2018

Harrison & Hetherington Ltd

Middleton in Teesdale Prize Show and Sale of Store Cattle – Tuesday 13th February 2018

On the 13th February, Harrison & Hetherington Ltd, Middleton in Teesdale mart, held their Special February show and sale of store cattle with a catalogue entry of 288.

Despite the very wintery conditions, a packed ringside of buyers ensured bidding when well throughout the sale sending vendors home please.

A thank you must go to all vendors and purchasers who braved the elements in what where very challenging conditions.

The pre sale show was kindly sponsored by Minsups, I’Ansons, Eden Farm Supplies (Brough) Ltd, H & H Insurance Brokers and Phillip Holden (Rural) Ltd.

The Supreme Championship was awarded to a truly outstanding Black British Blue cross Heifer consigned by The White Family from Rigg Farm, Lunedale and was sold for £2,500 to JL White & Son, Goole

The Reserve Supreme Championship again was another outstanding British Blue cross heifer again from JC&J White, Rigg Farm and again selling to JC&L White for £2,000.

Topping the sale at £3,000 was a Limousin cross heifer from JC&J White, Rigg Farm, this time selling to Mr James Nisbet, Mauchline. Mr Nisbet also undertook the task of doing the pre sale judging and he made the following awards:-

Limousin cross Steer

1st BR Lawson & Son, Buddle House – £1240

2nd JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £1140

3rd JE&AJ Mitchell, Parrick House – £1000

British Blue cross Steer

1st JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £1150

2nd JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £1320

3rd JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £1190

Steer, any other Breed

1st I&RA Watson, West Hindon – £865

Champion Steer – JC&J White, Rigg Farm (Limousin)

Reserve Champion Steer – JC&J White, Rigg Farm (British Blue)

Limousin cross Heifer

1st JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £3000

2nd TW Hutchinson, Bail Hill – £1200

3rd JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £1400

British Blue Cross Heifer

1st JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £2500

2nd JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £2000

3rd JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £2900

Heifer, any other Breed

1st JC&J White, Rigg Farm – £2100

2nd AT&A Bainbridge, Ash Dub – £1070

3rd G Scott, Low House – £1010

Champion Heifer JC&J White, Rigg Farm (British Blue)

Reserve Champion Heifer – JC&J White, Rigg Farm (British Blue)

Supreme Champion – JC&J White, Rigg Farm (British Blue)

Reserve Supreme Champion – JC&J White, Rigg Farm (British Blue)

Leading Prices

HeifersLimousin £3000, £1400, £970 Rigg Farm; £1200 Bail Hill; £1200 Lanehead Farm; £1140 (2), £1000 New House; £1090, £1075 Parrick House; £1070 Park House Farm; £1040 (2) Low House; £1020 Strand Foot; £1000 Ash Dub; £1000 Hag Gate Farm; £995 Fair View; £990 Hayberries; £990 Birch Bush; £980 Market Place; £970 Ricknall Grange: British Blue £2900, 32500, £2000, £1500 Rigg Farm; £1120, £1000 West Hindon Farm; £1040, £1030, £1015 Parrick House; £1030, £1020, £970 Lanehead Farm; £990 Intake Farm: Blonde £2100 Rigg Farm; £1070 Ash Dub: Charolais £1010 Low House

Steer – British Blue £1320, £1190, £1160, £1150, £1120, £1060 Rigg Farm; £1150, £1000, £980 Buddle House; £1135, £1025 New House; £1080 Parrick House; £1025 Lanehead Farm: Limousin £1300, £1140, £1065, £1020, £990 Rigg Farm; £1240, £1105, £1010 Buddle House; £1155, £995 Park House Farm; £1125 Ricknall Grange; £1125, £1055, £1030, £1020, £980 New House; £1040 Strand Foot; £1030, £985 Lanehead Farm; £1010 Fair View; £1005, £980 Herdship; £1000 East Friar House; £1000 Parrick House; £990 Market Place; £980 Low House: Blonde £910, £900 Valance Lodge; £870 Friar House Farm: Charolais £865 West Hindon Farm; £870 Buddle House.

Event Remembers Victims of the Holocaust

On January 26th Durham Cathedral hosted a special memorial event in order to honour those killed by Nazis in the Second World War. The Cathedral hosted an exhibition which explored the persecution of the Jewish and Romani Holocaust, and later genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia and Darfur. As an additional tribute, buildings and businesses around Durham City turned purple as a way to show their respect for the victims of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Memorial Day gives student representatives from schools across the county the opportunity to learn about the tragedies through a series of workshops and talks. Over 250 pupils attended the event, including Religious Studies students from King James I Academy in Bishop Auckland. Students learned about the horrors that filled the lives of so many people and heard first-hand about the experience of Ruth Barnett, who was born in Germany in1935. Ruth was one of the many children who were brought to the UK on the Kindertransport, the British rescue effort that transported thousands of Jewish refugees to safety. They also had the opportunity to learn about the often unknown stories of the Nazi persecution of Gypsy and Roma communities.

In a thought-provoking workshop, students also helped to create fabric panels, which will be stitched into a quilt for the ‘70273 Project’. Each square contains a red cross to represent the life of a person murdered by the Nazis for having a disability. At the beginning of the war forms were issued to families of people with a range of physical disabilities and conditions such as autism or Down’s syndrome. Families believed this would lead to exemption from war duties or more lenient treatment, however forms were assessed by three doctors, and if two added a red mark, therefore forming a red cross, these people were effectively given a death sentence. Thousands of adults and children were murdered as a result.

Holocaust Memorial Day is designed to coincide with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was the largest Nazi Concentration Camp in Europe. As part of the event, there was also a display from the Durham Light Infantry, which explained their involvement in the eventual liberation of Bergen-Belson death camp; this included testimonies from both the liberators and the prisoners. Members of the public also visited St Nicholas Church in Durham Market Place to light a candle in memory of the victims.

Written by Megann Griffiths, Year 13 student from King James I Academy
Bishop Auckland

Bishop Auckland School Wins County Award for Sports Facilities

Following their win at local level, King James I Academy in Bishop Auckland is celebrating further victory in the Active Durham Sports Awards. At the Durham County Awards ceremony, the Academy won the award for Secondary School Contribution to Sport and Physical Activities.

The annual competition, which is run by County Durham Sport, attracted entries from a host of organisations and clubs across County Durham that deliver sport and physical activity to their local community. Local winners in various categories competed against each other for the County titles at the awards event, which was held at the Gala Theatre in Durham City. The competition is designed to recognise groups and individuals who work hard to promote good health and provide opportunities for their community to take part in sport and physical activity; the awards celebrate their efforts.

King James I Academy was commended for their extensive facilities which includes a floodlit 4G football pitch, Multi-sports indoor gym and Dance Studio, which benefit not only the students attending the Academy, but also the local community of Bishop Auckland and many of the surrounding villages who access the facilities after school hours.

Other winners from Mid-Durham and the Dales area include Hunwick Cricket Club, which took home the award for Sports Club of the Year, and Alan Lawson for Contribution to Physical Activity.

Written by Jamie-Leigh Ladd, Year 12 student from King James I Academy
Bishop Auckland

Tim Peake’s Space Shuttle Experience Goes Mobile

The exhibition of Tim Peake’s return to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-19M descent module after six months on board the International Space Station, has now left our area for York, however around 150 young people at King James I Academy have recently enjoyed a virtual reality experience thanks to a themed touring bus.
The converted double decker bus is designed to inspire young people to explore the idea of a career in science, technology or engineering. Students learned how to programme a space shuttle using iPad technology and experienced the 400km descent back to Earth in a virtual reality experience narrated by the astronaut himself. They had already visited the Tim Peake exhibition at Locomotion in Shildon, along with thousands of families in our local area and beyond.

Written by Jamie-Leigh Ladd, Year 12 student from King James I Academy,
Bishop Auckland

Britain’s finest chefs come to the North East

Two of Britain’s finest chefs are heading for the North East as Dan Doherty and Jack Stein bring their culinary talents to this year’s Bishop Auckland Food Festival, taking place from Saturday 21 to Sunday 22 April.

Dan Doherty is currently chef director at London’s prestigious Duck & Waffle restaurant, located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower – one of the country’s tallest skyscrapers – and will appear in the Cookery Theatre on Sunday, 22 April.

“I’m delighted to be joining the Bishop Auckland Food Festival and look forward to tasting what delights the region has on offer,” said Dan.

Dan was most recently announced as a judge alongside Mary Berry and Chris Bavin on the BBC’s latest cookery programme, Britain’s Best Cook, due to air in April. Dan is known for his innovative, playful and indulgent cooking style, with a number of awards and accolades under his belt as well as two cookery books.

His appearance on Sunday will follow Jack Stein’s demonstrations on Saturday, 21 April, having followed in his famous father Rick’s footsteps to head into the kitchen.

Jack is the chef director for the Stein family’s twelve restaurants and runs a ‘Cook with Jack Stein’ course at Rick Stein’s Cookery School, allowing students to cook alongside him and engage with some of his latest recipes.

He added: “I’m looking forward to meeting fellow cooking enthusiasts who share our passion for food so we can share ideas and flavours.”

The Cookery Theatre offers limited tickets at just £5 each to exclusive cookery demonstrations from the festival’s special guests including This Morning’s Phil Vickery and 2016 Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown.

Each celebrity will host two demonstrations so book now to avoid disappointment.

Visit for the full timetable of demonstrations and classes.

The festival will also see around 130 traders offering a diverse range of sumptuous food and drink, from across County Durham as well as further afield, showcasing their produce across the town’s historic market place.

From traditional foods to new and exciting ‘street foods’, every taste is catered for while some of the finest local ales, liqueurs and spirits will be on offer alongside delicious fizz and cocktails.

Whether you want to sample the street food or take back some tasty treats to enjoy later, the festival promises to be a great day out for all the family.