YEP Leeds 2015 Review of the Year: October to December

Nadiya Hussain.

Nadiya Hussain.

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MOBOs glamour, tributes to Denis, Leeds Rhinos glory and flooding dominated the news headlines from Octoebr through to December.

OCTOBER

* Tributes were paid to veteran Labour politician Denis Healey following his death at the age of 98.

Lord Healey was MP for Leeds South East from 1952 to 1955 and then represented Leeds East until being made a life peer in 1992.

* So-called ‘bed-blocking’ in Leeds hospitals was costing the taxpayer more than £500,000 a month, the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed.

Julian Hartley, chief executive of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said bed-blocking was the “biggest challenge” facing the health service in the city.

* The YEP revealed that the long wait for construction work to start on a permanent indoor ice rink next to Leeds United’s Elland Road ground was nearly over.

The firm behind the scheme, the Staffordshire-based Ice Rink Company, said it was hoped work would begin in early 2016.

* Leeds mum Nadiya Hussain was the toast of the country’s TV viewers as she triumphed in The Great British Bake Off.

Reflecting on the moment her win was announced, cookery queen Nadiya said: “All I remember is not wanting to look at anyone, so I looked down at my shoes. My heart was racing in my chest and I could hear it thudding in my head.”

* Leeds Rhinos fans were celebrating as their side clinched a terrific trophy treble with a Grand Final win over Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford. Rhinos had also lifted the Challenge Cup and the League Leaders Shield during the most successful season in their history.

* Steve Evans became the latest man to occupy the head coach’s hot seat at Leeds United.

United owner Massimo Cellino appointed Evans after taking the decision to fire Uwe Rosler following just 12 games in charge.

* Hundreds of junior doctors were joined by other healthcare professionals and members of the public at a protest in Victoria Gardens in Leeds city centre against threatened changes to NHS contracts.

NOVEMBER

* The YEP revealed that 13 convicted sex offenders were currently missing in West Yorkshire.

The NSPCC described the situation as “alarming” and said it needed “urgent attention”.

* Anthony McDonnell, 45, of Halton, pleaded guilty to the 1995 manslaughter of 42-year-old Andrew Batten in Leeds city centre.

McDonnell inflicted fatal injuries on Beeston postman Mr Batten with a single punch in a row over a can of Coke while waiting in a taxi queue.

* Finally, it was official – Leeds was named England’s best large city to live in.

The pride of Yorkshire came out on top for affordability, opportunities and quality of life.

* A new link road serving Leeds Bradford Airport could cost as much as £75m, it was announced.

Options under consideration included running the route from the A65 to the south up to the A658 to the north of the airport.

* Luxury clothes brand Burberry revealed plans to employ more than 1,000 people at a manufacturing and weaving facility on Leeds’s South Bank.

The new set-up would replace existing plants in Castleford and Skipton, said the firm.

* The eyes of the music world were on Leeds as it staged the MOBO Awards 2015.

Stars heading to the First Direct Arena for the ceremony included CeeLo Green, Rita Ora and Stormzy.

* Dozens of firefighters tackled a serious blaze at Hills Furnishing Stores, on Kirkgate in Leeds city centre.

The building was demolished following the fire, which caused Friday night rush-hour chaos for commuters.

DECEMBER

* Leeds United faced a backlash after announcing the introduction of a so-called ‘pie tax’.

The move meant that fans in Elland Road’s South Stand had a £5 meal voucher tacked onto the price of their ticket, whether they wanted it or not.

* Leeds toddler Skye Sutcliffe was laid to rest after losing her brave battle against blood cancer.

Friends, family, neighbours and well-wishers paid their respects at the two-year-old’s funeral service at St Cross Church in Middleton.

* The Parnaby Tavern in Hunslet was named the YEP’s Pub of the Year. Second place in the competition went to Horsforth’s Bridge while Headingley Lane’s Hyde Park came third.

* Welcome To Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity received his knighthood at Buckingham Palace.

The honour followed his pivotal role in bringing the Tour de France Grand Départ to the county.

* A century of Yorkshire mining tradition came to an end with the last ever shift at the coalface of Kellingley Colliery. More than 400 miners were greeted by cheers and applause from colleagues as they clocked off for the final time.

* Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield was pipped by Andy Murray to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Speaking after the ceremony in Belfast, Sinfield said: “It’s been an unbelievable year and I am eternally grateful for everyone who has voted tonight, to everyone at Leeds and also the wider game.”

* More than 2,000 homes – including 1,000 in Leeds – were hit by West Yorkshire’s worst flooding for decades. Volunteers won praise for their work helping communities such as Kirkstall with the clean-up operation.