YEP 2016 in review: Rio glory, heart campaign relief and tributes to Kate

Dr Kate Granger.
Dr Kate Granger.
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Your YEP takes a look back at what was making the news in July and August.


* Bugles sounded in Leeds to mark the 100th anniversary of the moment that the first troops clambered out of their trenches at the start of the Battle of the Somme.

Ceremonies were held to commemorate the anniversary in locations across the city, including the war memorial in Victoria Gardens, Leeds Minster, City Square and Morley Town Hall.

* A murderer was told he must serve a minimum of 22 years in prison for the brutal killing of Polish woman Daria Pionko in Leeds.

Lewis Pierre, of Meanwood, had attacked the 21-year-old sex worker in Holbeck’s managed red light area in December 2015.

* Yorkshire families were among those reacting to the publication of Sir John Chilcot’s long-awaited report into the Iraq War.

Peter Brierley, whose 28-year-old son, Shaun, died in the conflict, said he believed the Chilcot Report contained sufficient evidence for Tony Blair to be brought before a court.

* The future of the children’s heart surgery service at Leeds General Infirmary was secured, following years of uncertainty for patients, families and staff.

NHS bosses announced LGI as one of 10 hospitals nationwide that would continue to provide congenital heart surgery for children and adults, as long as new care standards were met.

Sharon Coyle, chief executive of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which led the campaign to keep the service in Leeds, said: “This is the best outcome we could have expected. We have been completely vindicated on everything. What a relief it is.”

* Thousands of people pounded the streets as they took part in the 10th staging of the Asda Foundation Leeds 10K.

Famous names including Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield and model Nell McAndrew were among the runners at an event founded by the late Leeds fundraiser Jane Tomlinson.

* Up to 2,000 jobs would be at risk at Leeds City Council over a four-year period as a result of funding pressures, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported.

Council leader Coun Judith Blake urged Theresa May to “consider a change of direction in relation to deficit reduction and potential future funding for local government”.

* A West Yorkshire woman paid tribute to her family’s colliery heritage by becoming the first bride in Britain to get married at the bottom of a coal mine.

Sharon Torr and her husband Alan spent six months organising their unusual wedding at her place of work, the National Coal Mining Museum near Wakefield.

* Influential doctor and campaigner Kate Granger died from a rare form of cancer, aged just 34.

Dr Granger and her husband, Chris Pointon, raised more than £250,000 for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre at St James’s Hospital in Leeds during her illness.


* The month’s headlines were dominated by the Rio Olympics, with athletes from Leeds and Yorkshire among those doing the UK proud during the greatest sporting show on the planet.

Local medal winners included triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, boxer Nicola Adams and City of Leeds Diving Club’s Jack Laugher.

* YEP readers came up trumps after being asked to nominate local heroes who deserved some special recognition on Yorkshire Day.

The final list included former Hunslet rugby league player Alf ‘Ginger’ Burnell, now 92, and the Yorkshire Rows – the oldest female crew to row across an ocean.

* A Leeds teenager told how she had cheated death after plunging more than 30ft from a waterfall onto rocks during a gap year trip to Thailand. Natalie Cook, 19, from Garforth, suffered horrendous injuries in the fall while she was on a jungle trek in the Mae Wang district of the country.

* More than 30,000 revellers descended on the middle of Leeds for the 10th annual Leeds Pride event.

The celebration of the city’s LGBT community featured a dazzling parade as well as performances by stars such as Marc Almond and Alexandra Burke.

* A Leeds hospital boss resigned after being heavily criticised over a scandal involving bungled cancer tests in his previous job in Australia.

Ken Barr quit as general manager for pathology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust following the publication of a report condemning the running of his former organisation.

* Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Disclosure, Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro were among the acts taking to the stage at Leeds Festival. Festival boss Melvin Benn pledged a continuing central role at the event for local talent, saying: “Yorkshire bands are always getting favoured status and that’s really important to me.”

* Campaigner Jon Platt branded the 7,900 fines issued to Leeds parents for taking term-time holidays over the previous three years as “outrageous”.

Leeds City Council defended its position and said it was only following the law.

* Tens of thousands of people let their hair down at the Leeds West Indian Carnival.

The annual Bank Holiday Monday jamboree was blessed with long spells of Caribbean-style sunshine as its traditional afternoon parade wound its way along streets around Potternewton Park. Carnival chairman Arthur France hailed the event as a “beautifully colourful showcase of all that’s great about culture and community harmony in Leeds”.