How the Echo is fighting your corner

How we covered the balloon launch for Amber Rose Cliff
How we covered the balloon launch for Amber Rose Cliff
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When you need someone to fight your corner, you know you can rely on the Hartlepool Mail.

This is Local Newspaper Week, the annual celebration of the part local newspapers and their partner websites play in keeping their communities reliably informed with the latest news, sport and adverts.

Bradley Lowery at Sunderland's last home game of the season

Bradley Lowery at Sunderland's last home game of the season

This year’s theme is Making a Difference, highlighting the role your local paper plays in reporting the news that matters to you and your family.

Part of that means campaigning for the issues that matter most to you.

We follow stories for weeks, months and even years at a time, ensuring you remain informed about the big stories.

We’ve been passionate supporters of Sunderland’s bid to be crowned the UK City of Culture 2021.

The City of Cultuire bid goes in

The City of Cultuire bid goes in

The city’s bid team formally submitted the first stage of its application at the end of last month and the decision to whittle down the final 11 bidding towns and cities to an expected shortlist of four is now in the hands of judges representing the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Organisers say winning City of Culture status would provide a multi-million-pound boost for the city - it is estimated Hull, the reigning City of Culture, will see its economy boosted by an extra £60million by the end of 2017.

Paul Callaghan, from the Sunderland Music, Art and Culture Trust, said: “It has been two years of hard work and we have talked to thousands of people in Sunderland, who have told us what they want, what they are calling for. It is a really ambitious, visionary bid for Sunderland.”

And we have highlighted the work of Amber Rose Cliff’s family to honour the 25-year-old’s memory by securing a change in the law to make cervical cancer screening available to high risk groups of women, from the age of 18, who have symptoms of cervical cancer.

Local Newspaper Week is under way

Local Newspaper Week is under way

Amber, from Ashbrooke, battled the cruel disease for four years after she was repeatedly told by NHS doctors that she was too young to have a smear test.

She was eventually diagnosed after paying for a test privately - but tragically, it was too late and the cancer then spread throughout her body.

Some of our campaigns have touched hearts far beyond the North East - we brought you the story of little Bradley Lowery when the Blackhall youngster was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

We shared the joy of his family when he was given the all-clear - and their despair with news the disease had returned.

And we have followed every step of the campaign to raise enough money to pay for pioneering treatment and his developing friendship with Sunderland AFC and England star Jermain Defoe.