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YEP Leeds 2013 Review of the Year: April to June

The Homecoming and Freedom parade of the Rifles in Millenium Square, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

The Homecoming and Freedom parade of the Rifles in Millenium Square, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

  • by Paul Robinson
 

APRIL’S early headlines were dominated by the departure of Neil Warnock as Leeds United manager.

APRIL’S early headlines were dominated by the departure of Neil Warnock as Leeds United manager.

United owners GFH Capital brought an end to Warnock’s reign at Elland Road after the Whites suffered their 16th league defeat of the season. Former Reading manager Brian McDermott was appointed as his replacement.

* Leeds parents Tracy and Alex Asquith opened their hearts to the Yorkshire Evening Post after their 15-year-old son Kyle died from a brain haemorrhage.

The couple took the brave decision to allow the Cockburn High School pupil’s organs to be used for transplantation, saving the lives of five people.

* Plans were unveiled for a £1.4bn investment programme in Leeds and West Yorkshire’s transport network.

Schemes on the drawing board included a new access road to Leeds Bradford Airport and an ‘orbital highway’ from the M1 through east Leeds.

* Police horse Bud was the centre of attention after being punched by a football hooligan following a derby game between Newcastle and Sunderland. West Yorkshire Police’s equine hero even received a postbag full of fan mail at his paddock at Carr Gate in Wakefield.

* Tributes were paid to Billy Pilotille after the courageous Leeds nine-year-old lost his battle with cancer.

Around 300 people attended Billy’s funeral at Leeds Minster, where the Rev Canon Tony Bundock, Rector of Leeds, said: “Those who have known him will think of him as both fierce and fearless.”

* A YEP investigation found that more than 100 attacks had been carried out on Leeds’s primary school teachers by their pupils in the space of one year.

Figures released following a Freedom of Information request also revealed more than 30 physical attacks by pupils against classmates.

* Councillor in Leeds voted to scrap a school clothing allowance that helped some of the poorest families in the city.

The move was expected to save the cash-strapped local authority around £600,000 per year.

* Trainee nurse Bethany Jones died and 12 other women were seriously injured in a minibus crash on the M62 near Castleford. The women were on their way from South Elmsall to a hen party in Liverpool when their minibus was in collision with a lorry.

MAY saw a pat on the back for Leeds Carnegie stalwart Mike Bidgood as the rugby club played the 600th competitive game in its history.

Mike, Leeds’s head of finance, had watched every single one of those games, clocking up around 130,000 miles in the process.

* The YEP revealed that patients in Leeds had undergone hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of NHS-funded plastic surgery in the previous two years.

The procedures included breast enlargement ops costing a total of £355,000. Health bosses insisted that cosmetic surgery was not “routinely funded” by the NHS.

* An independent inquiry was launched into how West Yorkshire Police was dealing with allegations of misconduct.

The county’s police and crime commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, ordered the “root and branch” review in the wake of scandals surrounding Jimmy Savile and supergrass Karl Chapman.

* The YEP told how plumber Steven Windle was taken on a terrifying high-speed ride when his van was stolen with him inside.

Steven was looking for a tool in the back of the Mercedes Sprinter when the vehicle was driven off from outside a house in Rawdon.

The thief eventually jumped out of the moving vehicle in Yeadon, leaving it to crash into a car with Steven still inside. Fortunately he escaped injury.

* Leeds city centre’s Victoria Gate development won the race to be the home of West Yorkshire’s biggest ever casino.

The development was chosen for the casino scheme at the expense of Leeds United’s Elland Road ground.

* A sell-out field of 6,000 runners took part in the Leeds Half Marathon.

The event was organised by Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All group.

* The head of Leeds hospitals issued a public apology over waiting times for treatment. Maggie Boyle spoke out as figures showed that only 87.9 per cent of patients had been seen on time in one recent month.

JUNE gave drivers cause for celebration as the Government announced a congestion-busting £3.4m overhaul of the A647 Bradford Road junction at Thornbury Barracks.

* Thousands of lovers of good grub descended on Millennium Square in Leeds for the Yorkshire Post’s Yorkshire Food and Drink Show. Celebrity chef Brian Turner gave a cookery demonstration to launch the event.

* Police revealed that more than 260 suspected child sex groomers were under surveillance in West Yorkshire.

Officers also said about 380 children – some as young as 11 – were in imminent danger of falling into the clutches of predators.

* TV presenter Harry Gration was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Look North host Harry said: “For a lad born in a back-to-back in Bradford, I know my mum and dad would have loved to have been around for this day.” Others receiving recognition included Pauline Gavin, head of St Bartholomew’s Primary School in Armley.

* Superchef Anthony Flinn’s restaurants in the Corn Exchange shut down without warning. A subsequent report revealed that Mr Flinn’s firm had been operating “considerably” below its break-even point.

* Soldiers from The Rifles regiment exercised their right to the freedom of Leeds with a parade through the city centre. Residents lined the streets to cheer the 300-strong band of Riflemen as they made their way from Millennium Square along Vicar Lane and Briggate.

 

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