YEP Leeds 2015 Review of the Year: April to June

MAY 2015: Conservative Andrea Jenkyns reacts after beating Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in the  Morley and Outwood constituency.' PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
MAY 2015: Conservative Andrea Jenkyns reacts after beating Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in the Morley and Outwood constituency.' PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Election drama, good grub and the Tour de Yorkshire dominated the headlines between April and June 2015.


* Road safety experts called for speed limits to be cut near homes and schools in Leeds in the wake of alarming new accident figures.

A total of 1,937 collisions had taken place in Leeds in 2014, it emerged, with around 2,500 people hurt. More than 330 people were seriously injured or killed.

* The Leeds United family paid tribute to tragic Whites fans Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight ahead of the 15th anniversary of their deaths in Turkey.

A minute’s silence was held before United’s home match against Blackburn Rovers while supporters also held aloft pictures of Mr Loftus and Mr Speight.

* Amanda Burleigh was named midwife of the year thanks to her tireless campaign to change NHS birth guidelines.

Leeds-based Amanda spent a decade calling for doctors to delay cutting umbilical cords and so reduce the risk of babies being deprived of vital oxygen and nutrient-rich blood.

* Thousands of fans packed into the First Direct Arena in Leeds to watch hometown boxer Josh Warrington win the WBC International Featherweight title.

Leeds United cult hero Vinnie Jones joined Warrington on his walk to the ring ahead of the fight against Filipino hopeful Dennis Tubieron.

* Crossgates-based Oceans was frying high after being named the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Chip Shop of the Year 2015.

Asked for the secret of his success, proud owner George Michael said: “We only use the best Icelandic fish, prepared fresh every morning. We also do freshly cut chips every morning.”

* Heartfelt tributes were paid to University of Leeds student Billy Mankelow, 20, after he was attacked and killed.

One note left at the spot where Billy was discovered at Swinegate in the city centre said: “Thanks for making me smile and thanks for being you.” Richard Danter, 31, was later jailed for life for the murder.


* Nearly one and a half million people lined the streets of the White Rose county for the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire cycle race.

Organised to build on the success of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, the event included sections in Wakefield city centre and Leeds’s Roundhay Park.

* Leeds provided one of the defining moments of Labour’s General Election defeat as party heavyweight Ed Balls lost his Morley and Outwood seat to Conservative Andrea Jenkyns.

Mr Balls told supporters at the vote count: “Any personal disappointment I have at this result is nothing compared to the sense of sorrow I have at the result Labour has achieved across the United Kingdom tonight, and the sense of concern I have about the future.”

* More than 9,000 people pulled on their trainers to take part in the Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon. Famous faces in the field for the event’s 30th anniversary included former Leeds United star Danny Mills, BBC presenter George Riley and actor Dean Smith.

* Judith Blake became leader of Leeds City Council, ending what she described as a “quite extraordinary” wait for a woman to get the job.

Coun Blake said: “When you think about how long we have had a council in Leeds and that there hasn’t been a single woman elected before ... but then you look at other big local authorities and they are pretty much in the same boat, although there is a female leader in Sheffield.”

* Leeds celebrated another sporting coup as it was named as the host for one of the stages of the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series. Hometown triathlon hero Alistair Brownlee said: “It’s fantastic that Leeds’s bid has been successful. I am sure the crowds will come out in force to see a major triathlon event.”

* Music fans turned out in their thousands for Leeds’s biggest ever Slam Dunk Festival. Acts playing stages across the city centre as part of the rock extravaganza included You Me At Six, Reel Big Fish and Gallows.


* Lovers of good grub flocked to Millennium Square in Leeds for the 2015 Yorkshire Post Food and Drink Festival. The event marked the culmination of the Leeds Food and Drink Festival and featured everything from live cookery demonstrations to Pimms and cocktail bars.

* A man was arrested in his native Slovakia following an international hunt for the rapist who left an 18-year-old woman for dead after attacking her at a bus stop in Beeston.

The man, 22-year-old Zdenko Turtak, was subsequently jailed for 20 years after Leeds Crown Court heard he “simply did not care” whether his victim lived or died.

* More than 26,000 emergency food parcels had been handed out to people in Leeds in the space of a single year, new figures revealed.

The YEP also reported that the number of food banks in south Leeds had risen from two to nine since October 2014.

* The City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds took centre stage as it celebrated its 150th birthday. Guests at a party held to mark the milestone included showbiz favourites Billy Pearce and Bernie Clifton.

* Leeds-born superchef Marco Pierre White announced plans to open his first ever restaurant in his home city. Food fans were told that Marco’s New York Italian would form part of a redeveloped hotel at the Merrion Centre.

* Thousands of people headed to Victoria Gardens and Cookridge Street in Leeds for an Armed Forces Day celebration that included a Spitfire flyover and a parade by The 4th Yorkshire Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.