REVIEW OF THE YEAR: Part Two - July to December 2016

AUGUST: Much-loved Kenny Baker passed away
AUGUST: Much-loved Kenny Baker passed away
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It’s been a tumultuous year right across Lancashire: We reflect on a hectic six months to remember in the county

JULY

GRAND PLANS: The Harris Museum. Photo: Sonia Bashir

GRAND PLANS: The Harris Museum. Photo: Sonia Bashir

St Ignatius Church in Preston became a cathedral for Indian Catholics this year, one of only three in the world.

The church, which was formerly closed, reopened as a parish for the Syro-Malabar community of Indian Catholics, when in July Pope Francis declared it a cathedral.

The Vatican said The Holy Father was happy to give the new diocese to Great Britain, after learning of the large number of Syro-Malabar faithful living in the UK.

Miss Preston, aka Elizabeth Grant, a 20-year-old psychology student from Ribbleton, won the prestigious title of Miss England afterbagging the city title.

July: Elizabeth Grant crowned

July: Elizabeth Grant crowned

After her Miss England crowning, she had her sights set on bigger things and began planning for Miss World in Washington DC on December 20. Sadly, she was pipped to the World title by Miss Puerto Rico.

Scorchio! July saw some of the year’s hottest days and local trucker Graeme Woods was sure to feel the heat. When Graeme turned up for work in shorts, on one of the hottest days of the year, he was sent home from work for health and safety reasons. He said: “It’s health and safety gone mad.” Graeme went home to change into trousers, however when home he got a call telling him not to come back. Although Graeme missed out on a day’s pay, his agency had him back out on the road the following day with another agency.

AUGUST

It was goodbye our Kenny as Lancashire’s own Star Wars legend Kenny Baker died after a long illness. The diminutive actor played R2-D2 in the epic film saga. Niece Abigail Shield said: “He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well-loved throughout the world.

AUGUST: Much-loved Kenny Baker passed away

AUGUST: Much-loved Kenny Baker passed away

Anthony Kellet, 21, died suddenly before he was able to reconnect with his mum. The former Preston’s College student from New Rough Hey, Ingol, fell ill with pneumonia just a week before his death and wasn’t able to get in contact with his mum in time.

Anthony, who hadn’t seen his mum since he was three, suffered with poor health since childhood, having spent three and a half years at Pendlebury Children’s Hospital being treated for Leukemia.

The Off the Streets campaign was launched with the aim of cutting down on people begging if they’re not homeless. ​Police, Preston City Council, business leaders and the city’s Foxton Centre are encouraging people who want to help the homeless to donate to a special fund instead of handing over cash.

SEPTEMBER

JULY: Preston baked in the hot weather

JULY: Preston baked in the hot weather

Alfie Mitchell, a seven-year-old from Brookfield, Preston, was left badly shaken after his tablet exploded in his hands.

The Proscan 7-inch tablet is said to have been left in three pieces as Alfie was playing his favourite game Talking Tom.

The toy shop later apologised.

Luckily, Alfie was left unharmed and mum Shara said: “Thankfully he wasn’t hurt, but it’s still affected him. It really scared him.”

Bosses at the University of Central Lancashire unveiled plans for a new £60 million civic square and student support centre. Design concepts presented by Hawkins\Brown, which has offices in Manchester and London, were selected by judges from seven shortlisted entries in the competition run by UCLan in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Bosses at County Hall unveiled plans to close dozens of libraries and children’s centres as part of cost-cutting measures. The plans sparked anger when put out for public consultation.

NOVEMBER: Whittingham War memorial

NOVEMBER: Whittingham War memorial

OCTOBER

Preston claimed the unwanted tag of being the suicide capital of England.

The city was pinpointed as having the highest number of suicides per 100,000 of population in comparison to other cities and towns in England.

In the build up to the festive period, traders vowed to keep a keen eye on chronic traffic problems, which have affected Preston city centre over the last two years.

The warning came after a group representing more than 800 city centre told council bosses that pubs, restaurants and retailers will not tolerate a repeat of previous congestion on Fishergate

Chorley A&E campaigners took their battle to save the department to Westminster.

The protesters joined MP Lindsay Hoyle at Parliament to highlight their concerns.

NOVEMBER

More details were unveiled of the £50m rebranding of Preston city centre. Details were unveiled for the planned refurb of Preston’s Market Quarter – including five new restaurants, an 11- screen 
cinema and a new public plaza by 2020.

Lancashire reminisced on Remembrance weekend as a new war memorial was unveiled in Whittingham to honour the fallen.

The parish council engraved a stone memorial in the garden at the junction of Beacon Drive and the ceremony, dedicated to those who fought in the First World War.

Hospital Cancellation increase. Figures showed a rise in the number of operations being cancelled at Preston and Chorley hospitals. Figures showed in the first nine months of 2016, around 1,000 patients surgical appointments were called off. and dozens were not rescheduled within the 28-day target period.

DECEMBER

Drivers reacted with fury to new rules on Fishergate that saw 8,000 fines dished out in just one week to motorists who ignored the ‘no left turn’ sign.

But traffic jams in the city centre were not as bad as in the 2015 Christmas shopping season, which was marred by enormous tailbacks from the major car parks.

Lancashire said farewell to a much-loved vicar – Rev Tim Wilby (pictured, above) who died after suffering a stroke, aged just 57.

The vicar of St George’s church in Chorley, and area dean of the borough, was described as “a star that shone brightly” by his devoted parishioners.

The city of Preston looked forward to a bright 2017 as Preston Council formally busmitted a bid for funding to revamp the Harris Museum.

The £10m bid would fund a new entrance to the historic museum, including a glass frontage that has caused some controversy among historic buildings groups, but has been welcomed by others as creating a more welcoming front to the museum.

SEPTEMBER: Alfie Mitchell and his exploding tablet

SEPTEMBER: Alfie Mitchell and his exploding tablet

OCTOBER: A&E protest went to London

OCTOBER: A&E protest went to London

The troubled Fishergate bus lane

The troubled Fishergate bus lane

SEPTEMBER: Alfie Mitchell and his exploding tablet

SEPTEMBER: Alfie Mitchell and his exploding tablet