Review of the Year - Part 2
In the second part of our review of 2016, Guardian reporter GAYLE ROUNCIVELL looks back at some of the stories to hit our headlines over the last 12 months.
* Lancaster man Kieran Cuffe, 44, admitted killing his friend John Houston. Cuffe pleaded guilty to manslaughter during a court case at Preston Crown Court. John was found dead in his home in Laburnum Grove on the Marsh.
* A family who said their beloved pet had been seized by police for being a dangerous banned pit bull type vowed to save their dog from a death sentence. Darla, a three-year-old Sharpei Staff cross breed, had to await her fate until the case reached court.
* Mum Vicki Davis gave birth to her new baby boy in a car as her best friend drove around Lancaster’s Pointer roundabout during rush hour. Baby Dean arrived in a hurry as Vicki and her friend Amanda Bray were unable to get to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in time. With Vicki’s partner Dan Currey, nine-year-old daughter Lilly and Amanda’s nine-month-old baby Aurora in the back seat of the tiny Toyota Yaris, Vicki had no choice but to deliver her own son in the front passenger seat as Amanda steered her way frantically through Lancaster’s morning traffic.
* A young mum who defied medical odds by having two children after surviving a heart transplant brought her son home for the first time since he was born. Georgina Ingall, 21, gave borth to Bobby in February 2015 at 27 weeks, and he had been in hospital on a ventilator ever since. But now Georgina and husband Luke, 21, and baby Evelette, four months old, are a complete family with Bobby’s arrival at home.
* Lancaster’s new Primark store finally opened in Marketgate after much anticipation from shoppers. Business leaders said it would herald a new era of shopping for the city.
* A Lancaster University groundsman put 90,000 Northern lights watchers on red alert after his sit-on mower accidentally triggered as Aurora Borealis sensor. AuroraWatch UK issued the alert after the lawnmower interfered with a sensor user to look for signs of the natural electrical phenomenon which creates a spectacular coloured light display in the sky.
*Flytipping has cost Lancaster taxpayers almost £1million over the last three years, new figures revealed. In total between 2012 and 2015 there were 19,000 recorded incidents of flytipping across the district.
* Dad-of-two Mark Bradley was given the gift by his daughter – 24 years after his mother did the same. Mark, 54, has been given one of his daughter Georgia’s kidneys, after the one his mum Evelyn donated in 1992 began to fail. “I have been lucky twice – it’s amazing really,” Mark said.
* A pensioner has resorted to hitch hikingbecause of cuts to bus services in his village. Duncan Foster, 66, from Whittington, said Lancaster district had been “totally abandoned”. Duncan dons a reflective vest with the words “lift please – no buses” as he sets off walking to Kirkby Lonsdale, three miles down the road.
* Plans to move a chunk of lancaster into the Morecambe and Lunesdale constutuency were revealed in a leaked Tory document. Lancaster MP Cat Smith said the plan would split the city in two, with Lancaster town hall and the castle on one side and the city’s two theatres, the bus station and fire station on the other.
* A school warned parents to be on their guard as a scary clown craze swept the country. Bolton-le-Sands Primary School sent a letter to parents after an outbreak of incidents where culptites scared people while dressed as creepy clowns.
* The much-anticipated Heysham to M6 link road opened with motorists claiming it now takes just three minutes to reach the motorway from Morecambe. The £140m Bay Gateway had been in the pipeline for many years and business leaders said the historic arrival was a massive business opportunity for the area.
* The number of people in Lancaster seeking help has trebled in the last year. LancasterDistrict Homeless Action Service said it had seen a threefold increase in people asking for help with food and benefit sanctions.
* The sister of a man who drowned after a night out has warned others not to “drink and drown”. Janet Regan spoke out for the first time since her brother John died seven years ago. His body was found in a canal after he spent the night partying with friends.
* A memorial fund was set up to help the family of former Lancaster City captain Neil marshall after he passed away from cancer at the age of just 31. Tributes poured in after Neil died at his home. He leaves a wfie Kim and young children Max and Daisy. A year of fundraising began with Lancaster City’s game against Mossley, with all the gate receipts donated to the cause.
* A year on from last December’s devastating Storm Desmond floods, many families and businesses are still not back in their homes. Life is slowly returning to normal for many of the people affected by the flooding, but some are still waiting to return to their properties.
* A 20-year-old Morecambe man was found guilty of murdering his baby son. Kane Kennedy inflicted harrowing injuries on seven-month-old Oskar Jobey-Kennedy before smothering him to death. Kennedy was found guilty after a trial. His girlfriend Tia Jobey, 19, was jailed for 30 months after admitting causing or allowing Oskar’s death.