A BRANCH of Sports Direct, the UK’s leading sports retailer, opens in the former JJB store, in East Street, Darlington, on Friday (March 22). The company has more than 400 stores nationwide. A spokesman said: “We are delighted to be opening our new store in Darlington. As our company continues to grow throughout the UK, our ethos has never changed in that we offer our customers the biggest brands in all types of sportswear, footwear and sports equipment at low prices.”

EASTER FUN: Darlington shoppers will be in for an egg-stra special treat over the Bank Holiday weekend, with the chance to meet the Easter bunny and a spring chick. Bunji Rabbit is set to return by popular demand to the Cornmill Shopping Centre this Good Friday, meeting and greeting younger shoppers and handing out special chocolate treats, and on Easter Monday his feathered friend Charlie Chick will take centre-stage. Both characters will be entertaining shoppers between 10am and 4pm each day.

PIG RACES: A night of toy pig racing, in aid of St Mary’s Church, in Cockerton, will be held at St Mary’s Community Centre, in Cockerton, on Saturday, May 4. Doors open at 6.30pm, with the first pig at 7.15pm. Tickets cost £3.50, including a pie and peas supper. A bar will be available. For more information, call Mandy Petch, on 07968-105-878 or Tony Leftwich, on 07788-952-624.

TABLE SALE: A coffee morning and table-top sale in aid of Heighington Scouts will be held in Heighington Village Hall, on Saturday (March 23), from 10am to noon. Admission costs £1 including tea or coffee and a biscuit. There will also be a cake stall and tombola.

SCRIBBLE ON: Imaginative Darlington individuals in are being reminded to get doodling for one of the UK’s most popular personal planners – with the winning efforts featuring in thousands of its 2014 and 2015 diaries. Dodo Pad is encouraging people to submit their illustrations ahead of a March 28 deadline, as part of the brand’s association with National Doodle Day. For details of how to enter, visit dodopad.com