YEP Leeds 2013 Review of the Year: October to December

NOEVMBER 2013: Abbey Dash runners set off along Wellington Street. PIC: Tony Johnson
NOEVMBER 2013: Abbey Dash runners set off along Wellington Street. PIC: Tony Johnson
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OCTOBER began in a blaze of cultural glory as Leeds staged its annual Light Night arts extravaganza.

One eye-catching element of the celebrations saw the transformation of the front of Leeds Civic Hall into a giant animated clock.

* Stories of bravery and kindness were heard as the Yorkshire Children of Courage awards ceremony took place at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Winners included Leeds nine-year-old Josh Tootill, who works tirelessly to make his disabled mother Caroline’s life easier.

* Leeds East MP George Mudie announced he would not be standing at the next general election.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It’s been an honour to represent the people of east Leeds.”

* Leeds city centre was named as one of the top 10 most vibrant urban areas in England.

The city’s upwardly mobile image was also endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron as he paid a visit to the YEP’s offices.

* Hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the banning of a student clubnight in Leeds.

A promotional video posted by Tequila UK showed a male clubber describing how a girl was going to “get raped” and asked young women how they would “survive violation”.

* A list of around 20 properties due to be demolished to make way for the controversial Leeds trolleybus scheme was revealed by the YEP.

Sites earmarked for the bulldozers included a parade of eight shops at Hyde Park Corner and a former church building in Headingley.

* The YEP revealed that pupils as young as 11 had been allowed to smoke in the playground at Elmete Central School in Roundhay.

Council bosses told the school the practice had to stop as soon as it was brought to their attention.

* Staff at Leeds General Infirmary threw a surprise party for switchboard operator Ken Davison as he retired after clocking up 50 years in the same job without taking a single day off sick.

NOVEMBER saw the countdown to Christmas launched in knockout fashion as Olympic boxing hero Nicola Adams switched on Leeds’s festive lights.

Nicola, from Ebor Gardens, was joined at the bash by pop favourites Same Difference, Gabriella Cilmi and The Vamps.

* The Leeds Community Foundation charity issued an appeal for YEP readers to help it raise £50,000 for projects supporting the elderly during the winter.

The rallying cry worked, with thousands of pounds flooding into the charity’s coffers during the weeks that followed.

* The producer of hit film The King’s Speech brought along one of its four Oscar statuettes as he paid a visit to Dewsbury’s Thornhill Community Academy after it featured in Channel 4 documentary series Educating Yorkshire.

Gareth Unwin was one of millions of viewers who saw pupil Musharaf Asghar make a breakthrough in his battle to overcome his stammer by using a technique from the film.

* Thousands of people took part in the YEP-backed Leeds Abbey Dash run, which raises money for the Age UK charity.

* Council bosses in Leeds came under fire after introducing charges for Sunday and evening parking.

Traders claimed the move would hit trade – but the local authority said it needed to keep the economy moving and encourage people to use public transport.

* Transport giant First said an additional 100,000 people each week were using its bus services in West Yorkshire compared to the same time in 2012.

The rise followed improvements in service reliability as well as the introduction of more than 100 new vehicles on routes such as the A65 Kirkstall Road in Leeds.

* Animal lovers said a fond farewell to Max, a much-loved feral cat who had lived in Golden Acre Park in Bramhope for more than 12 years. The black and white moggy died despite visitors to the park donating hundreds of pounds to pay for operations as his health deteriorated.

* New figures revealed that West Yorkshire Police had spent more than £3m over the course of four years on keeping the peace at demonstrations by the far-right English Defence League.

Policing costs for one EDL rally in Leeds’s City Square alone were in excess of £300,000.

DECEMBER’S early headlines were dominated by the shooting of a police officer during a routine call in Leeds.

PC Suzanne Hudson, 33, was seriously injured while responding to a complaint about criminal damage in Hyde Park.

* The YEP told how terminally-ill Marie Upton, 59, had married 61-year-old long-term partner Alex Templeman on a ward at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.

The couple, from Gipton, were determined to tie the knot after being forced to postpone their big day several times.

* Plans were announced to raise council tax in Leeds by two per cent in 2014. Leeds City Council leader Coun Keith Wakefield said: “This is a dire financial situation.”

* Tributes were paid to 27-year-old pregnant mother Emma Bennett after she was mauled to death by dogs at her home in East End Park. In a statement, her family called her a “lively person who had a great sense of fun”.

* Leeds took centre stage as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony was held at the city’s First Direct Arena.

The night’s main prize was won by tennis champion Andy Murray, ahead of rugby ace Leigh Halfpenny and jockey AP McCoy.

* Shoppers hit the streets of Leeds for a pre-Christmas spending spree that saw city centre ‘footfall’ reaching 1.5 million in the final full week before the festivities.

Tomas Pietrangeli, Managing Director, Arla Foods UK, Photo: Adrian Forrest

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