The shocking image of a dog being thrown into the sea and the touching bond between little battler Bradley Lowery and footballer Jermain Defoe were the stories that resonated most strongly with Mail readers this year.
We’ve compiled a list of the stories that were the most well-read on our website this year.
The item with the most hits was the story from November of an RSPCA probe launched after images were received of a man throwing a greyhound into the sea off Hartlepool, near the Brus Tunnel area of the town.
Stories about six-year-old Bradley Lowery from Blackhall Colliery and his inspirational battle with neuroblastoma also proved popular with readers who were united in grief over his death in July.
Hartlepool Mail managing editor Gavin Foster said: “Emotive stories about life-changing events and the people in our community as always have captured the attention, reaction and hearts of our readers.
“The top story on our website happened in November and was sparked by a startling image captured by an eagle-eyed reader, who snapped a man repeatedly throwing a dog into the icy sea. The cruel act sparked outrage, which was reflected in the number of page views.
“But it was the heartbreaking story of little battler Bradley Lowery which hit home with readers the most across the year.
“The many stories we told of Bradley’s plight reached thousands of readers - the biggest being the tearful picture of his footballing hero Jermain Defoe saying a final farewell at his funeral. A touching moment for a brave, brave boy.”
The most-read Hartlepool Mail stories in 2017 are as follows;
1. Shocking images show dog thrown into sea at Hartlepool.
2. Jermain Defoe chokes back tears as he attends best friend Bradley Lowery’s funeral in England shirt.
3. Animal charity releases video of a violent attack in car in Hartlepool.
4. Bradley Lowery’s Sunderland mascot role cancelled as mum shares heartache over condition.
5. Gone in an instant - Hartlepool shopping centre coffee shop’s sudden notice to quit after 10 years.
6. A police interceptors officer has tragically died at the age of just 34.