YEP Review of the Year 2011: November

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Railway station funding and public sector pensions were just some of the issues making the headlines during the 11th month of 2011. Paul Robinson looks back

November saw Leeds United fans plunged into mourning by the death of club legend Gary Speed.

Wales manager Speed was found hanged at his home in Cheshire. He was aged just 42.

A ’shrine’ to the father-of-two quickly took shape at United’s Elland Road ground, as tearful supporters laid shirts, scarves and flowers at the foot of its Billy Bremner statue.

* Leeds General Infirmary emerged as a contender to be the first hospital in the UK to carry out a hand transplant operation.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had written to plastic surgeons around the country asking them to recommend potential patients for the procedure.

* The Leeds International Film Festival kicked off with a gala screening of a new movie adaptation of classic Emily Bronte novel Wuthering Heights.

Festival chiefs gave their event’s profile a lift when a giant advertising banner was draped across the front of Leeds Town Hall.

* People in Leeds were told which parts of the city would receive a visit from the Olympic Flame in summer 2012.

Communities picked for the honour included Wetherby, Harewood, Headingley, Harehills, Richmond Hill, Hunslet, Beeston and Morley.

* Leeds came to a standstill for the funeral of showbiz veteran and charity fundraising hero Sir Jimmy Savile.

Thousands lined the streets and applauded as Sir Jimmy’s hearse made its way to St Anne’s Cathedral for the service.

It had earlier been driven past the former Top of the Pops host’s childhood home on Consort Terrace in Woodhouse.

* Anti-capitalist demonstrators set up a camp in Leeds’s City Square.

Part of the Occupy protest movement, the camp was at one point visited by veteran folk-rocker Billy Bragg.

* X Factor singer Matt Cardle turned on Leeds’s festive lights at a huge celebration event in the city centre.

Other guests at the bash included Leeds United manager Simon Grayson and Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott.

* A total of 8,000 runners raised money for Age UK when they took part in Leeds’s annual Abbey Dash.

The field included local glamour girl Nell McAndrew, who said: “[The race] has been going for 27 years and for anything to be around that long is pretty good going.”

* The Yorkshire Evening Post printed a shocking letter written by a teenage burglar to one of his victims.

Ordered to write the letter as part of his rehabilitation, he said he wasn’t sorry for his actions and branded the family whose home he had raided as “thick”.

* Fire ripped through a 200-year-old building at Home Farm, on the Temple Newsam estate in Leeds.

Around 30 animals died in the blaze, which was the second at the popular visitor attraction in less than a year.

* Government ministers gave the green light to plans for the construction of new railway stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge.

Coun James Lewis, chairman of West Yorkshire passenger transport authority Metro, said the stations would ease traffic congestion in Leeds and Bradford.

* Schools, day centres and other municipal buildings closed in Leeds as public sector staff staged a 24-hour walkout over pensions.

Thousands of people gathered in Victoria Gardens on the Headrow for a rally as part of the strike action.

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