YEP Leeds 2016: Floods battle, darts mania and a final salute to Harry

Junior Doctors Strike at the Leeds General Infirmary. PIC: Simon Hulme
Junior Doctors Strike at the Leeds General Infirmary. PIC: Simon Hulme
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Your YEP takes a look back at what was making the news in January and February 2016.

JANUARY

Floodwaters after the River Aire burst its banks. PIC: Tomy Johnson

Floodwaters after the River Aire burst its banks. PIC: Tomy Johnson

* The year began with Leeds continuing its big clean-up after the city suffered its worst flooding since the Second World War. The Yorkshire Evening Post joined forces with the Leeds Community Foundation charity to launch a much-needed fundraising appeal that aimed to help the hundreds of homes and businesses that had been left under water.

* The new £20m southern entrance at Leeds City Station was opened, providing a direct link from the site to the flourishing South Bank regeneration area.

Up to one fifth of the 100,000 passengers passing through the station each day were expected to use the entrance, which was also designed to ease congestion at existing ticket gates.

* More than 40,000 people had signed up to the NHS organ donor register following a magnificent response to the YEP-backed Be A Hero campaign, it was announced.

Dr Simon Flood, clinical lead for organ donation at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It’s incredibly moving to see how Yorkshire has backed the Be A Hero campaign since the launch and we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has signed up so far.”

* A man was jailed two decades after killing a postman with a single punch in a row at a taxi rank about dropped litter.

Anthony McDonnell, 45, was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the attack on Andrew Batten on Vicar Lane in October 1995.

McDonnell had handed himself in after a fresh police appeal for information about the case on the 20th anniversary of Mr Batten’s death.

* Striking junior doctors manned picket lines outside Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital during a contract dispute with the Government.

A group of trainees who took part in the industrial action won praise after mucking in to help with the clear-up at Country Blinds & Awnings and other flood-hit businesses in the Kirkstall area.

* Serial child killer Robert Black – whose victims included 10-year-old Morley girl Sarah Harper – died in prison at the age of 68.

Sarah was on her way back from a visit to a corner shop when she was snatched and murdered in 1986.

* Dozens of members of the Armed Forces past and present turned out for the funeral of old soldier Harry Thrush in Beeston, Leeds.

Mr Thrush, who died on Christmas Eve aged 92, had spent the last years of his life honouring servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan and Iraq by attending their funerals.

* Headteachers hailed the performance of Leeds school pupils as the city achieved the biggest improvement in GCSE results in Yorkshire.

Official figures showed the proportion of Leeds students getting at least five good grades in subjects including English and maths had risen from 51 per cent to 55.5 per cent.

FEBRUARY

* A Leeds community was plunged into mourning following the deaths of a woman and her two children.

Geraldine Newman and youngsters Shannon, 11, and Shane, six, were bludgeoned and stabbed at their home in Allerton Bywater.

All three were killed by the 51-year-old mother’s estranged husband Paul Newman, who later jumped to his death from cliffs at Anglesey in Wales.

* Leeds indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs were saluted after raising nearly £50,000 for two charities with a hometown show.

The gig at the O2 Academy Leeds benefited the CLIC Sargent cancer charity and Leeds Children’s Charity.

* Thousands of darts fans descended on Leeds’s First Direct Arena for the opening night of the year’s Betway Premier League competition.

Many people in the crowd donned fancy dress for the occasion, which was graced by the talents of top names such as Phil Taylor and Peter Wright.

* Leeds boxing referee Mickey Vann told of the terrifying moment he was caught up in a fatal shooting involving automatic weapons at a Dublin hotel.

The attack happened during the weigh-in for a championship bout in the Irish capital.

* A charity fun run was held in memory of Skye Sutcliffe, a two-year-old cancer victim from Middleton in Leeds.

Hundreds of people took part in the event, which was staged in Middleton Park and raised money for Leeds-based cancer charity Candlelighters.

* A group of Leeds United fans opposed to owner Massimo Cellino’s running of the club beamed protest messages onto the side of the East Stand at Elland Road.

The stunt took place before and during a match between Leeds and Middlesbrough. One of the messages said: “We were here before you and still will be after you’ve gone.”

* Plans were announced to give Leeds Town Hall a revamp costing almost £10m – three times the original estimated bill.

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “The Town Hall is an iconic Leeds landmark and the work is essential so it can continue to provide a warm welcome to tens of thousands of visitors each year.”

* A long-awaited inquiry found that the BBC missed a string of opportunities over five decades to uncover and stop “monstrous” child sex abuse by shamed broadcasters Stuart Hall and Leeds-born Jimmy Savile. The inquiry was carried out by Dame Janet Smith, who said: “[The] culture at the BBC certainly enabled both Savile and Stuart Hall to go undetected for decades.”

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