IT is fair to say 2020 has been a year like no other.

When I last wrote my Editor’s Intro, for issue three of our magazine, I was looking ahead to an exciting year for East Durham’s thriving business community.

Instead, just weeks later the country, and pretty much most of the world, was in lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Who knew back then what lay ahead for us and just how terrible and far reaching the impact of the virus would be?

I’m pleased to say that, whilst the country remains in varying stages of lockdown with restrictions in place for all of us to stem the spread of the virus, businesses across our area have proved just how resilient they are and are adapting to this new way of living and working to ensure they can continue to do what they do best.

The changing landscape we are now surrounded by is very much the theme of this issue, as we chat to businesses from a diverse range of sectors about how they have been affected by the pandemic.

They include our cover stars for issue four, Julie Stout and John Delanoy, who have launched a new partnership, Delanoy Funeral Services. The business was launched during lockdown and is changing the way funerals are conducted, which includes the production of personal videos for family members who are unable to attend their loves ones’ final farewell.

We also sit down with engineering entrepreneur Jim Box, who is well on the road to recovery after a near fatal hit and run left him with serious injuries and an induced coma. He shares with us why the months of lockdown were a blessing in disguise and what his plans are for the future.

Other people featured in this issue include Gordon MacPherson, director of Seaham software firm Moralbox, who gives us an insight into his working day; Alison Schreiber, who brings us up to speed on all things coronavirus/HR related; and Guy Marsden, director of Highbridge Properties, which is the company developing Jade Business Park in Murton.

We also manage to squeeze in a visit to Codophenia, the independent fish and chip shop at Dalton Park, to see whether the eatery is the ‘plaice’ or simply a ‘chip off the old block’!

In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we all work together and support our fellow businesses wherever possible. So if you have soe good news you want to share with us, or feature in issue five of our magazine which will be out early 2021, we’d love to hear from you.

It has been an incredibly tough year for us all but things can and will get better if we help each other.