YEP Leeds 2013 Review of the Year: July to September

Angel Hughes with Cassie at the Dogs Trust Leeds Open Day.
Angel Hughes with Cassie at the Dogs Trust Leeds Open Day.
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JULY began with the news that tenants in high-rise flats had been told to ditch their doormats because they posed a health and safety hazard.

Bemused residents at Brecon Court in Gipton said the warning that the mats could be a fire risk was “downright ridiculous”.

* The BBC confirmed that high-profile TV news presenter Christa Ackroyd had parted ways with the corporation following the launch of an investigation into her tax arrangements.

* A flagship project to breathe new life into council housing in three deprived parts of Leeds got the go-ahead after years of delays. The scheme is designed to deliver nearly 400 new homes in Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck.

* Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh joined thousands of cyclists for Leeds city centre’s first Sky Ride event.

The cycling extravaganza gave participants the chance to enjoy a 5km, traffic-free ride past landmarks such as Leeds Town Hall and Millennium Square.

* Rock legend Bruce Springsteen wowed a sell-out crowd as he played the opening show at the new First Direct Arena in Leeds.

Springsteen told fans: “This is a great building and a great place to play.”

* Olly Murs, Dizzee Rascal and Professor Green performed at Leeds’s annual Party in the Park pop concert in the grounds of Temple Newsam House. Ticket charges were introduced for the event for the first time and its attendance of 33,700 was significantly down on the previous summer’s crowd of 70,000.

AUGUST’S early headlines were grabbed by the revelation that strike-breaking amateur firefighters were being recruited in West Yorkshire.

Brigade bosses in the county had advertised jobs for “community response officers” and “drivers/pump operatives” who would go out on 999 calls if regular firefighters took industrial action.

* Around 4,000 people flocked to the annual open day of the Dogs Trust charity at Woodlands Farm on York Road, Leeds.

* The Yorkshire Evening Post revealed that pest control experts had been called out to hospitals in Leeds 771 times in the space of two-and-half years.

* Plans to create a £30m ‘super cycleway’ across Leeds were given the green light. The segregated 14-mile route will run from east Leeds over to the western edge of the city before continuing into the centre of Bradford.

* A lottery winner popped the question to his long-term partner moments after finding out he had scooped a £6.6m jackpot. Graham Nield, 55, from Batley, said he had wanted to propose to 48-year-old Amanda Vickers many times in the past but kept losing his nerve. Ms Vickers said ‘yes’ when he finally plucked up the courage.

* Entrepreneur Steve Parkin announced plans for a £50m office development on the site once earmarked for Leeds city centre’s doomed Lumiere skyscrapers.

Mr Parkin said: “The plan is to build an iconic building in Leeds. In a hundred years’ time, my name will be attached to it.”

* Council bosses vowed to prevent any future repeat of the muddy mayhem that followed the Leeds Festival rock weekend. Streets in the centre of Leeds became a sea of mud and dirty wellies during the mass exodus of fans at the end of the rain-hit music bash.

* Tens of thousands of people partied at the annual Leeds West Indian Carnival.

SEPTEMBER saw fundraisers making a splash at the Jane Tomlinson Yorkshire Swimming Festival. Around 350 people tackled open water swims at the event, held at Pugneys Country Park, near Wakefield.

* Leeds Town Hall played host to the second annual Leeds International Beer Festival.

* Scores of firefighters spent several hours battling a blaze at Airedale International Air Conditioning in Rawdon, with huge plumes of smoke being visible for miles around.

* A lifetime care package worth nearly £3m was awarded to Ruby Curtis, an eight-year-old girl who had been left with cerebral palsy after being starved of oxygen during her birth at St James’s Hospital, in Leeds.

Ruby’s parents, Lisa and Steve Curtis, from Garforth, won praise in the High Court in Leeds for their “devotion and enthusiasm” in caring for their daughter.

* Leeds boxer Damo Jones’s debut title fight at the Barnsley Metrodome was abandoned following a crowd disturbance.

Jones told the YEP that he feared his reputation had been unfairly tarnished by the trouble, which saw chairs, bottles and other objects being thrown in clashes between fans.

* The founder of Leeds-based charity Make A Dream revealed she was suffering from incurable cancer. Francine Levin, from Shadwell, vowed to carry on her work with poorly youngsters in the face of her own devastating diagnosis.

* Former YEP typist-turned-bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford announced plans to auction off 40 dazzling pieces of jewellery.

The 80-year-old writer said that she wanted other people to get pleasure out of wearing items such as an antique sapphire and diamond brooch with an estimated value running into tens of thousands of pounds.

The Grand Theatre, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme.

£12m Leeds Grand Theatre regeneration plan includes a little extra help from the taxpayer