00:00Monday 11 January 1999

  • A love-lorn stonemasons quest

Telly viewers saw how Adrian Hoppers Blind Date trip to Santas homeland hit the skids on Saturday night.Adrian, who is hoping to carve out a career in acting, appeared on the hit show last week and was chosen to go on the dream break.But, the date didnt turn out the way he had hoped.The 26-year-old touched the hearts of people in Peterlee when he made a new headstone for the grave of three tragic tots after vandals smashed up the original one.Residents in the town raised cash to put up the memorial to Charlotte, Amy and Dean Alexander who perished in their Basingstoke Road home.Adrian, a mason from Bishop Auckland, was so sickened when he saw the state of the vandalised stone that he made a new one free.Adrian was back on the hit television show to tell Cilla all about his date.He told the Echo how much he had enjoyed the trip."We were treated like royalty on the date, it was tremendous," he said. "I have travelled quite a bit, but this must be one of the best places I have ever been. It was a fantastic place and everything about the visit was first-class.""I was number three and the girl who picked me was from Belfast. She seemed quite nice, but we didnt get on very well."Really we had nothing in common at all. I like the arts and architecture and she seemed to be only interested in going out and clubbing."




Northern Echo

Family distraught after vandals ruin stillborn baby's grave


29 Jul 2014

A FAMILY was left distraught after vandals damaged a stillborn baby’s grave just weeks before the fifth anniversary of his death.

Mother Joanne Andrews was devastated to discover that the headstone and commemorative ornaments had disappeared from the grave of her son, Sebastian Kaleb, at Barnard Castle cemetery, earlier this month.

The infant was stillborn at 34 weeks into Mrs Andrews’ pregnancy, on August 6, 2009.

The headstone, which had been dug up with its concrete base, was found discarded and damaged in some grass and nettles behind a nearby wall, along with a concrete angel and a couple of other smashed ornaments.

A concrete heart with an inscription on the back remains missing.

It is thought the crime occurred sometime between Friday, July 11, and Wednesday, July 16.

Mrs Andrews now lives in Greatham, near Hartlepool, with her husband, Elliot and their other two children, Ruby, aged six, and Luke, aged one, but regularly visits Sebastian’s grave in Barnard Castle.

She said: “I went up there to lay some flowers and saw that everything was gone except for a little blue vase.

“I broke down in tears.

“Everything had been picked up and chucked over the wall.

“It was heartbreaking and so random.

“I couldn’t understand how anyone could have the mentality to do that.

“Why would they disturb a baby’s final resting place?”

Mrs Andrews thanked local stonemason Adrian Morgan Hopper of Auckland Memorials who volunteered to repair the headstone free of charge as a gesture of goodwill after hearing of the incident.

She said: “I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me, but I cannot thank him enough.”

Police are investigating the incident and Sergeant Simon Rogers, from Barnard Castle Police, said: “This is a very distressing crime for the family and a very unusual crime for this area.

“I would appeal to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious around the time it occurred, or who knows of those responsible, to contact police.”

Call the Barnard Castle and Teesdale Neighbourhood Policing Team, on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.



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studio4:45pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Good man Adrian Morgan Hopper, wish more people like this were around.

Catch them, name and shame them and make them apologise in person to the family. SCUM.


Score: 8

bishop16:57pm Tue 29 Jul 14

some really heartless people about , no need for it at all .


Score: 3

Equity17:20pm Tue 29 Jul 14

No respect anymore they ought to be ashamed but no doubt thought it was funny .Barnard Castle is no longer the very select location it once was .Lets face it even if they were found no punishment would be forthcoming .Poor family as if they haven't had to cope with enough.Disgraceful.


Score: 2

Risk5557:30pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Lets be honest what would actually happen if these scumbags were caught....? Gentle slap on the wrists at the most


Score: 2

stevegg7:43pm Tue 29 Jul 14

The animals (I cant call them people as that means they are like us) who did this abviously have no morals, respect or shame. Risk555 is right, even if they do get caught there would be the usual non existent british justice dispensed in their favour. I despair as these oxygen thieves win everytime! There is no deterrant in british justice to stop things like this happening.


Score: 5