2014 YEP Review of the Year: July to September

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JULY’S headlines were dominated by Yorkshire’s hugely-successful hosting of the opening stages of the Tour de France cycle race.

An estimated five million people lined the roads of the White Rose county for the event, which got under way on the Headrow in Leeds. Tour director Christian Prudhomme praised the UK’s welcome for the race, saying: “Thank you. It was unbelievable, I just want to say again, merci beaucoup.”

* Staff shortages at the two main hospitals in Leeds were criticised by NHS inspectors.

A report published after checks by officials from the Care Quality Commission said there were “inadequate” levels of cover at both Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital.

* Leeds United legend Eddie Gray was among the famous names picked to receive honorary degrees from Leeds Metropolitan University.

* Taxi driver Martin Bell walked into a police station and confessed to the killing of missing Leeds woman Gemma Simpson. Gemma was 23 when she vanished in May 2000 after telling a friend she was catching a bus from Harehills to Leeds city centre.

* The Yorkshire Evening Post launched a campaign designed to stop needy families in Leeds from going hungry.

Readers were asked to drop off items at food bank collection points around the city as part of the Feed a Family campaign.

* Plans were revealed for a major new cancer support centre in Leeds. The Maggie’s charity said it would be putting the £5m facility in place next to St James’s Hospital – with the architect of the London 2012 Olympic cauldron heading up the design work.

* Leeds’s flagship park-and-ride site at Elland Road was struggling to win over the city’s drivers, it emerged.

An average of just 28 cars per day used the 800-space site during its first week of operation.

AUGUST began with proud Tykes everywhere celebrating 2014’s Yorkshire Day.

Commuters passing through Leeds City Station were greeted by the sight of a 6ft-tall teapot cake, courtesy of Taylors of Harrogate.

* A YEP investigation found that more than 760 people had died from mesothelioma-related illnesses in Leeds since 1981.

The figure underlined the lingering health risks for people exposed to asbestos by the activities of factories such as JW Roberts in Armley.

* Sporting stars from Leeds were basking in the golden glow of a remarkable performance at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Medal-winning shows came from the likes of boxer Nicola Adams, triathlete brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee and gymnast Nile Wilson.

* Rachael Moore and Alice Rix took centre stage as they tied the knot at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds – wearing dresses made entirely from pages of the YEP.

Rachael, deputy box office manager at the City Varieties, said: “The dress is surprisingly comfortable to wear!”

* Thousands of fans flocked to Bramham Park near Wetherby for the 2014 Leeds Festival rock extravaganza. Acts entertaining the crowds at the annual bash included Blink-182, Paramore, Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys.

* Leeds Rhinos supporters were celebrating as their team ran out 23-10 winners over Castleford Tigers in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

* The YEP revealed that a new taskforce was being set up to deal with the menace of human trafficking in Leeds.

The move came as figures showed that police in West Yorkshire had responded to more human trafficking cases than anywhere else outside of London in the first three months of the year.

SEPTEMBER brought the alarming news that the number of cyclists seriously injured on roads in Leeds had risen by nearly 50 per cent over the past decade.

Paul Osborne, from cycling charity Sustrans, said: “The number of accidents is obviously something that needs to be addressed. You would expect them to increase if cycling numbers are up but clearly it’s unacceptable.”

* Leading architects and developers unveiled a £1bn masterplan for the transformation of Leeds’s South Bank over the course of a whole century.

The One Leeds proposal included a state-of-the-art World Trade Centre and an exhibition and conference venue as well as up to 1,000 apartments around the site once occupied by Tetley Brewery.

* The Leeds music scene suffered a blow as the Cockpit concert venue’s closure was announced. Famous bands with appearances at the venue on their CVs include Kaiser Chiefs, The White Stripes, The Killers and Coldplay.

* Old soldier Peter Paylor, 91, from Bramley, finally received a campaign service medal after more than 60 years of waiting.

Mr Paylor admitted he had given up hope of being recognised for his time with the Army during a peacekeeping mission in Palestine from 1945 to 1948.

* Darko Milanic was appointed as Leeds United’s new head coach, promising fans an “aggressive, dangerous” brand of football.

His time with the Whites soon turned sour, however, and he was sacked after just six games in charge.

* Leeds city centre’s historic Majestic building was ravaged by a fire. At the height of the blaze, 75 firefighters were involved in the battle to save the landmark former cinema and nightclub site.

* More than 1,000 people packed into Leeds Town Hall for a memorial service in honour of murdered schoolteacher Ann Maguire.

Mrs Maguire’s widower, Don, daughters Emma and Kerry and nephews Andrew and David Poole were joined at the event by relatives, friends, colleagues, pupils and civic dignitaries.