Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, Aug 29, 2013)

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The Northumberland Gazette delves into the archives to remind readers of stories from the past.

10 YEARS AGO - Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Duke of Northumberland has warned he may be forced to sell a second old master should he fail to receive market value for the £35million Madonna of the Pinks. He has also refuted suggestions that the National Gallery needs to offer only £21million to secure the Raphael masterpiece. Both claims came in a statement issused last Friday in response to the decision by the Government to extend the export ban on the painting, delaying the agreed sale to the John Paul Getty Museum in America. In view of the National Gallery’s attempts to buy the painting, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has asked for more time to determine what will constitute an acceptable offer. However, the Duke has insisted he needs to receive market value to cover the ‘astronomic’ cost of the upkeep of his estate.

25 YEARS AGO - Thursday, August 25, 1988

The waiting is over for students who took their A-Level exams earlier this summer. For schools in the area have received the latest batch of A-Level results and, on the whole, it seems to have been a good year for local pupils. Mr Roy Todd, headteacher of the Duchess’s County High School in Alnwick, says his school had an 80 per cent pass rate – a three per cent increase on last year. “The standard has been steadily rising over the past few years and this year is no exception,” he told the Gazette. “It compares very well with the national average of 65 per cent.” Mr Todd said: “For the most part, the youngsters have all achieved the grades needed.” Special mention must go to Duchess’s High sixth former Stephen Proctor, of Bolton, who gained an A grade in all three of his exams.

50 YEARS AGO - Friday, August 30, 1963

Flying thrills galore are in store for the expected crowds at Acklington Royal Air Force Station on September 14 when the base is thrown open to the general public as part of the RAF At Home scheme commemorating the Battle of Britain. Apart from that, this year has a special significance for the Acklington Station for it marks its Silver Jubilee as an RAF station. The station was opened in April 1938 as No 7 Armament Training Station and used to provide live gunnery practice for Flying Training Command. During the war, it played a prominent part in the defence of Britain when British and Allied planes operating from Acklington destroyed more than 50 enemy aircraft. At the end of the war, it reverted to gunnery training for Fighter Command.