YEP review in 2016: Cancelled ops, heroic kids and a transport blueprint

Leeds Christmas Lights switch on.
Leeds Christmas Lights switch on.
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Your YEP takes a look back at what was making the news in November and December.

NOVEMBER

* Around 10,000 people pulled on their running shoes to take part in the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash race.

Olympian Eilish McColgan – the daughter of 1991 10,000m world champion Liz McColgan-Nuttall – won the women’s event.

Other familiar faces hitting the streets included Nick ‘Peanut’ Baines, keyboard player with Leeds indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs.

* An official review of the circumstances surrounding the death of Leeds teacher Ann Maguire concluded that her murder by a pupil at Halton Moor’s Corpus Christi Catholic College could not have been predicted or pre-empted.

Mrs Maguire’s widower, Don Maguire, later condemned the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board learning lessons review as a “massively missed opportunity”.

* Fraudster Simon Buckden was jailed for 16 months over lies he told about having cancer.

Buckden, 44, was handed the sentence after pleading guilty to six charges of fraud during his trial at Leeds Crown Court.

The former soldier conned victims into giving him money and providing services free of charge after they believed his false claims about suffering from cancer.

* Olympic and Paralympic heroes took centre stage as the countdown to Christmas got under way in Leeds with the big switch-on of the city’s festive lights.

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee joined Kadeena Cox at the celebration event, held as usual on the Headrow.

* Large crowds solemnly lined the streets of Leeds for ceremonies marking Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

Events on Remembrance Sunday included a procession from Leeds Civic Hall to Victoria Gardens, where a number of wreaths were laid.

* Hospitals in Leeds recorded the highest number of cancelled operations in England during the second quarter of the year, new figures revealed.

Between July and September, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had cancelled 565 planned operations at the last minute due to non-medical reasons.

A trust spokesman said: “Our staff try very hard not to postpone operations unless this is absolutely essential as we fully appreciate how upsetting this is for our patients.”

* The great and good of the county packed into the Centenary Pavilion at Elland Road for the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards ceremony.

Winners included 11-year-old Lucy Sherman, who had been picked to appear in a West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Strictly Ballroom.

* Far right fanatic Thomas Mair was handed a whole life sentence for the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox.

Speaking outside the Old Bailey, Mrs Cox’s widower, Brendan, said his wife’s killing had been “an act designed to silence a voice which instead has allowed millions of others to hear it”.

DECEMBER

* Council bosses announced a review of a controversial decision to switch the location of the regular Leeds farmers’ market from Briggate to Kirkgate. The market was moved temporarily back to Briggate while the review was carried out into a decision that had infuriated traders.

* Plans were revealed to build new railway stations at Leeds Bradford Airport, Thorpe Park and the White Rose Shopping Centre during a £270m investment in transport in the city. Bus infrastructure upgrades were another key element of a masterplan that civic leaders said would be partly funded using cash left over following the cancellation of the Leeds trolleybus scheme.

* A poignant ceremony was held in east Leeds’s Manston Park to mark the 100th anniversary of the Barnbow munitions factory explosion.

Relatives of some of the 35 women killed at Barnbow in Cross Gates on December 5, 1916, attended the ceremony.

Also in attendance was the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Gerry Harper, who said: “It is only right that we are here to remember the cause of the horrible deaths that occurred that evening.”

* Farm worker Gary Green was jailed for 16 months after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches in relation to the death of 11-year-old Harry Whitlam.

Green is thought to have drunk about 13 pints of beer the night before he reversed a tractor into Harry at Swithens Farm in Rothwell.

* Adam Ruston proposed to his girlfriend Hannah Roberts in Leeds – with a little help from TV chef Gino D’Acampo.

Gino was on hand to help Adam successfully pop the question at his new restaurant on Park Row in the city.

* Staff and customers at The Bridge Inn in Horsforth raised a glass in celebration after it won the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Pub of the Year 2016 competition.

Landlady Rachel Jenkinson: “We’re absolutely over the moon to have won, to be honest.”

* Leeds United stars including Liam Bridcutt and Pontus Jansson spread some festive cheer during the club’s annual pre-Christmas visit to poorly children at Leeds General Infirmary.

* Leeds’s dream of being named 2023 European Capital of Culture remained alive and kicking after the Government scotched fears that the UK’s support for the role could be ended by the Brexit effect. Concerns had been voiced that the country might abandon its scheduled hosting of the title following the EU referendum result. But the Department for Culture, Media and Sport then announced that it WOULD be running a nationwide competition to find the city that will be the UK’s European Capital of Culture in 2023.

B wing at HMP Leeds.

Second death at overcrowded Armley prison