Rat fraud on Valentine's Day: Our top stories of 2015

Rat fraud at the Borneo Bistro was one of our most-read stories of the day.

Rat fraud at the Borneo Bistro was one of our most-read stories of the day.

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From rat fraud on Valentine’s Day to amazing tales of bravery and heartbreak, it’s been another year of inspirational and emotional stories.

Here we look at sunderlandecho.com’s most-read news stories of 2015:

Rayna Holden

Rayna Holden

1) Brave teenager speaks out after brutal beating by her beloved

Rayna Holden, 18, bravely asked for the video of her brutal attack in a pub car park at the hands of her boyfriend to be made public as a warning to others.

You helped spread her message, making this our most-read story of the year.

2) Hunt for missing football fan has a sad ending

Samantha Miller

Samantha Miller

Tens of thousands of you helped spread the word in the search to find Colin Pine, who wet missing just before Christmas after going out to watch the derby.

Sadly Colin was later found dead after falling in the river, but we hope your efforts and tributes were of some comfort to his family

3) Food hygiene ratings for Sunderland and Durham

Sunderland: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/local/all-news/revealed-see-the-best-and-worst-food-hygiene-ratings-in-sunderland-1-7192816

Big Sam

Big Sam

Durham: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/local/all-news/revealed-see-the-best-and-worst-food-hygiene-ratings-in-durham-1-7280945

We lifted the lid how clean your favourite eateries really were, publishing the full list of food hygiene ratings as they stood in May - and you were very keen to find out how they fared.

4) Fraudster released rat in Sunderland restaurant in bid to get free meal

Christopher Baker released a rat in Borneo Bistro in a big to get a free meal on Valentine's Day.

Nightclubs we've loved and lost.

Nightclubs we've loved and lost.

Unfortunately for him he was caught in the act, with the whole episode captured on CCTV.

5) Stand-off as business woman holes herself up business premises

February seemed to be a month for bizarre incidents. Here, award-winning businesswoman Anne Ganley sealed herself inside her business premises when she was facing with eviction.

Top sports stories of 2015

From the dizzy highs of our six-in-a-row derby joy, to tougher times on the pitch, we’ve been charting Sunderland’s ups and downs online.

And you have also had your say, with thousands leaving comments and taking part in our surveys and polls.

Fay Louise Purdham

Fay Louise Purdham

Here’s the most-read sports stories of the year:

1) Sunderland owner Ellis Short reveals why he sacked Gus Poyet

Sunderland have had three managers in 2015, the churn beginning with the departure of former hero Gus Poyet.

Club owner Ellis Short explained to fans in March that he was sacked over lack of progress in this article, which became our most-read sports story of the year.

2) Dick Advocaat gives Lee Congerton list of signings for Sunderland

Next permanent manager at the Black Cats was Advocaat, who pulled off another great escape, keeping the team up by the skin of their teeth.

As speculation went on in May as to whether or not he would stay on, he gave the club's then sporting director Lee Congerton, a wishlist of signings.

3) The quest for Adnan Januzaj

Talks to sign Januzaj on loan from Manchester United sparked massive interest from fans, who were ultimately disappointed when he decided to stay put.

4) Sunderland fans celebrate six in a row

No surprises that yet another derby win for Sunderland saw fans jumping with delight, with hits flying on our six-in-a-row coverage.

5) Big Sam arrives

The third manager to take over the hot-seat at Sunderland, Sam Allardyce arrived after rumours a book tour may prevent him taking the job, and a poll suggesting the vast majority of fans wanted him at the club.

Our picks of the year

1) ‘When can we go and see dad in heaven?’

It was just heartbreaking to see the family of Terry MacDonald left devestated after the death of the brave and popular dad just days before Christmas.

Again, Echo readers flooded our Facebook page and website with kind words and tributes, which we hope showed Terry's family how much the city cared.

2) Nine nightclubs Sunderland has loved – and lost...

Everyone likes a bit of nostalgia, as this look back on Annabels, Finos, Ku and the like showed.

3) Rape victim tells how she was forced to perform sex act on dog

She'd been through so much, but Samantha Miller showed great bravery as she waved her right to anonymity to speak out against domestic abuse.

4) Producers star Jason Manford faces online backlash over Sunderland accommodation remarks

The desperate shortage of hotel accommodation in Sunderland has long been a bugbear, which started to be finally addressed in 2015.

But comedian Jason Manford somewhat put its foot in it when he posted about his difficulties in finding somewhere "nice" to stay in the city.

5) ‘I wanted to be a mum even before I knew I wanted to be a woman'

The amazing story of Fay Louise Purdham, a transgender model who froze her sperm before having a sex-change operation in the hopes of one day having a child now she has become a woman.