2014 YEP Review of the Year: January to March

PLEASED TO MEET EWE: Kian Bradley, two,  gets close to the smallest lamb born at Home Farm, Temple Newsam. PIC: Steve Riding
PLEASED TO MEET EWE: Kian Bradley, two, gets close to the smallest lamb born at Home Farm, Temple Newsam. PIC: Steve Riding
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JANUARY began with the news that the number of Leeds parents being handed fines for their children’s unauthorised absences from school had gone up fivefold.

The sharp increase followed the introduction of a new ‘zero tolerance’ approach to dealing with the issue of term-time family holidays. Fines for unauthorised absences were £60 if paid within 21 days.

* Leeds man Gareth Davies was hailed as a superslimmer after losing nearly half his 33-stone body weight.

Gareth, 39, from Farsley, shed a massive 14 stones by cutting down on calories and exercising after being spurred into action by his appearance in pictures from his brother’s wedding.

* The city of Leeds said farewell to veteran community campaigner Ivy Needham following her death at the age of 88.

Friends and family packed out Cottingley Crematorium for the funeral of the one-time Yorkshirewoman of the Year.

* A Yorkshire Evening Post investigation revealed that some parts of Leeds had been declared no-go areas for lone firefighting crews amid fears they could come under attack from gangs of yobs.

* People in Leeds got their first glimpse of the radical scheme being proposed to ease the ‘wind tunnel’ effect plaguing the city’s Bridgewater Place skyscraper.

Planned measures included installing huge barriers – or ‘baffles’ – above neighbouring Water Lane.

The scheme was put forward following a series of accidents caused by powerfully whipped-up winds around the base of the 32-storey tower.

* The YEP revealed that nearly £5m had been ploughed into the Leeds trolleybus scheme – without any guarantee it would go ahead.

Figures released following a request under the Freedom of Information Act showed £3.9m of the cash had gone on “consultants fees”.

* The Leeds United family was plunged into mourning by the death of former Whites skipper Bobby Collins, aged 82.

FEBRUARY saw a blow for Leeds’s music fans as council bosses announced that the annual Party in the Park pop concert had been axed due to budget pressures.

* Police in Leeds launched a crackdown on what was dubbed an ‘Only Fools and Horses’ trade in stolen goods.

Around 20 officers raided the Three Legs pub in the city centre following intelligence that it was effectively being used as a marketplace for illegally-acquired items.

* Actor Jim Broadbent was in Leeds shooting a high-speed car chase for a movie called Get Santa.

The Marshall Street, Sweet Street and Water Lane areas were turned into a giant film set for the night.

* Leeds United hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons as manager Brian McDermott was first sacked and then reinstated during a chaotic few days at Elland Road.

* A disabled Leeds couple were celebrating after scooping £1m on the EuroMillions raffle. Great-grandparents Marie and Roy Dean, of Cross Gates, struck lucky after enduring “horrendous” health problems.

* The brother of murdered John Luper told of his determination to see his loved one’s killers caught – a decade on from the millionaire Leeds businessman’s death.

Toby Luper said: “As long as I’ve got breath in my body I’ll see these people brought to book.”

John, 57, died during a robbery at his home in Alwoodley in which a gang got away with jewellery and cash worth £100,000.

* Alarming figures exposed Leeds as the gambling capital of Yorkshire. Punters in the city lost more than £16m in the space of a single year on controversial betting machines dubbed the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.

MARCH began with tributes to popular 19-year-old Callum Wark, from Swillington, who died when his car was struck by a lorry near Fairburn.

The driver of the lorry, a 56-year-old Bulgarian called Stoyan Andonov Stoyanov, was nearly three times the drink drive limit and was subsequently jailed for seven years and eight months.

* The Leeds dining scene was toasted at the sixth Yorkshire Evening Post Oliver Awards.

The Trinity Leeds centre’s Crafthouse restaurant secured top spot in three categories at the ceremony, held in the Centenary Pavilion at Elland Road.

* The YEP highlighted the shocking plight of 88-year-old Lily Latham, who was left in bed for 15 hours because of failures in her home care.

Lily, from Rothwell, said: “I felt uncomfortable and all my dignity had gone.”

* Visitors to Home Farm at Temple Newsam were enchanted by the smallest lamb ever seen at the attraction.

The unnamed new arrival weighed just three-and-a-half pounds and measured only a few centimetres in height.

She joined her mother Izzy as one of six rare Manx Loaghtan sheep at Home Farm.

* Thousands of people took to the streets of Leeds for the city’s annual St Patrick’s Day parade.

A colourful convoy of floats, pipe and brass bands and even tractors set out from Millennium Square to cheers and applause from the watching crowds.

* A trip to Elland Road added up to excitement for 7,000 schoolchildren as the ground hosted a massive maths lesson. Their ‘teacher’ was Johnny Ball, presenter of TV shows such as Think of a Number.

* Leeds’s reputation as a location on the up was confirmed as it topped a list of town and city centres with the highest net number of shop openings.