Review of the year - part four

Judith O'Reilly, Paul Larkin, Sharon Williams, Julie Mawer and Santa Claus celebrate reachilng the �10,000 Jam Jar Army total.
Judith O'Reilly, Paul Larkin, Sharon Williams, Julie Mawer and Santa Claus celebrate reachilng the �10,000 Jam Jar Army total.

The final part of the Northumberland Gazette’s look back at the big stories of 2011.


Opening of the Acklington Play Area.'Sir Alan Beith MP has a go on the zip wire.

Opening of the Acklington Play Area.'Sir Alan Beith MP has a go on the zip wire.

A BID for crucial Government funds to rebuild Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School was submitted which could lead to a brand-new campus, possibly at Greensfield, off Willowburn Avenue.

• The Jam Jar Army reached its halfway target of £5,000.

• A public consultation for a 16-turbine windfarm near Belford saw stiff opposition from residents in the village.

• Widow Helen Thompson, whose husband was killed in a crash on the single carrigeway section of the A1 urged the Government to dual the road after another death crash at Hebron.

Laura Hickey launces Miss Northumberland at the Alnwick Garden.

Laura Hickey launces Miss Northumberland at the Alnwick Garden.

• Alnwick Playhouse and Northumberland Theatre Company held a joint event to drum up support for the arts after bids were rejected.

• The 20th car stranded on Holy Island causeway in 2011 was rescued just after a meeting was called to try to relieve the problems.

• Two new shops opened in Amble breathing new life into the heart of the town.

• Liberal Democrat MP Sir Alan Beith officially opened a new long-awaited play area in Acklington thanks to donations from the Playbuilder scheme and the village’s parish council.

Pippa Middleton with the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland on Remembrance Sunday in Alnwick.

Pippa Middleton with the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland on Remembrance Sunday in Alnwick.

• A controversial table tax which would have seen businesses forking out more than £800 for outdoor seating areas was scrapped after a public outcry.

• Super slimmer Michaela Herdman from Amble reached the finals of a national weight-loss competition having shed a staggering 8st 3lb.

• Alnwick Town Council refused to adopt the town’s Harry Hotspur statue after the town’s trust folded causing unrest at the authority.

• Heartbroken family and friends mourned the loss of bubbly Emma Jeffrey who died suddenly aged just 37. She left behind three daughters aged six, four and one.

• A Belford great-grandmother proved it’s never too late to learn after completing a beauty therapy course amd receiving the adult learner of the year award aged 70.

• Residents in Hadston gave a mixed response to Blue Sky’s plans for a 13-turbine windfarm on the outskirts of the village.

• Glendale Community Forum closed its doors because of a lack of funding.


THE Gazette revealed that traders owed hundreds of thousands of pounds by the bust Alnwick Community Development Trust may not get all their money.

• The 2012 Miss Northumberland competition was launched by the current holder, Laura Hickey, at Alnwick Garden.

• Ray Prudhoe succeeded in his battle to regain a right of way from his garden which was blocked by a fence put up around land at Lindisfarne Middle School, Alnwick.

• Bidders made it a night to remember after raising more than £5,000 in memory of a seven-month-old who died from meningitis.

• The Olympic torch route through Northumberland was announced with it passing through Amble, Warkworth, Hipsburn, Bamburgh and Berwick before and after its overnight stop in Alnwick.

• Proposals to merge Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service with its Cumbrian counterpart were dropped after a wrangle over council tax.

• The Duke of Northumberland joined the fight against windfarms branding a development near Elsdon ‘lunacy’.

• Northumberland Theatre Company received another blow after a second funding application from the Arts Council was rejected leaving its future in the balance.

• Pippa Middleton, the future Queen’s sister, attended Alnwick’s Remembrance Sunday service.

• The decision not to adopt Alnwick’s Harry Hotspur staute was overturned by town councillors.

• Little miracle Levi Taylor from Amble, aged 10, was given a Brave Heart award recognising his battle with cancer.

• Business leaders, politicians and the press put pressure on the Government to produce a package of measures to protect Northumberland from the economic slump after the announcment of 515 job losses at Rio Tinto Alcan.

• Hardy and Grey’s announces that a quarter of its workforce at Alnwick is to be axed after it posted losses of nearly £500,000.

• Alnwick Pastures lands the Olympic torch gig for its overnight stay in the town next year.

• A public inquiry started to decide whether two hotly contested sites - The Haven and White Rock - in Beadnell should be awarded village green status after planning applications to build houses were opposed.

• Alnwick Christmas Lights volunteer Davey Hume dies suddenly after an accident at Longhoughton Quarry.


TRANSPORT Minister Justine Greening announced that Search and Rescue cover at RAF Boulmer was to close in 2015 as part of plans to civilianise operations in the UK. Sir Alan Beith described the announcement as premature.

• Plans for the Hog’s Head Inn at Cawledge Park in Alnwick are unveiled by Northumberland Estates and Keith Liddell, owner of the Lindisfarne Inn at Beal and Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses.

• Pudding-maker Susan Green proves she’s got what it takes after topping a taste-test in the Independent with her Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding. She beat the likes of Harrods and Fortnum and Mason to get 20/20.

• Governors of Rock Hall School announce that it is to close at the end of the academic year because of rising costs, falling roll numbers and red tape. Later parents of pupils at the school launch a fight to save it.

• Seventy-nine jobs at Border Lairds at Amble are put under threat as its parent company, Cumbrian Seafoods, announced that it had gone into administration. But the short-term future looks secure as fish giant Young’s takes over the operation.

• Council chiefs are branded Scrooges for imposing time limits on free parking in the run up to Christmas.

• Prison officer Barry Forrest is jailed for two years after being found guilty of sexual assault.

• Northeast Press launches its Keep Northumberland Working campaign to give businesses in the county a boost and highlight the opportunities available.

• Brave youngster Brandon Ballance who has lived with a brain tumour since he was two met his heroes from Newcastle United.

• The Gazette’s Jam Jar Army campaign smashed its £10,000 target, a £2,500 donation took the total to a staggering £12,868.

• A nun who dedicated her life to the community died after a fall just yards from her convent. Sister Mary Carmel Moloney, of Sisters of Mercy Convent in Alnwick, passed away after being caught by a gust of wind.

• Plans to revitalise Coastguard cover in north Northumberland came under threat after a row over compensation payments. A new station at Dunstan was approved last year to replace facilities at Craster and Boulmer, but a dispute between Northern Powergrid and neighbouring tenants stalled progress.

• The headteacher of Duchess’ Community High School in Alnwick warned that rising costs and budget cuts could lead to hard times for education in the county.

• Little Brandon Ballance from Amble donned an elf suit to hand out gifts to sick children at Newcastle’s RVI.

• One of the men convicted of helping gunman Raoul Moat had an appeal refused to reduce is 40-year prison sentence.