Taking a look back at 2012: July - December

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In the second part of our review of 2012, Lancaster Guardian reporter Gayle Rouncivell looks back at some of the most important stories to come out of the district.


*A four-year-old boy diagnosed with a chest infection actually had cancer, his parents revealed. Oliver Smith, from Galgate, fell ill during a family holiday in Majorca. He was treated with antibiotics by a GP on his return, but later he was found to have T-cell lymphoma.

*More than 2,000 new homes are planned for greenfield sites around Lancaster. Draft plans show that 900 new houses could be built at Whonney Carr, while 750 are planned for Bailrigg and 400-450 are earmarked for land off Grab Land, close to the M6.

*The uncertain future of a Lancaster landmark leaves a couple’s wedding dreams in tatters. Bride-to-be Carla Scott and fiance Gregory Wright have been forced to pull the plug on their wedding reception at the Storey Creative Industries Centre.


*A hero fisherman risked his life to save a man who plunged 60ft from the Lune Aqueduct. Aaron Taylor dived into the River Lune to rescue the man, who was treated for hypothermia.

*Lancaster joined in the celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials, which were held at Lancaster Castle on August 18-19 1612.

*The Guardian launched an appeal to help disabled Lancaster twins Katie and Emma Sutcliffe to raise £85,000 to pay for life-changing surgery in America which could see them walk for the first time unaided. The girls suffer from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.


*A 28-year-old amateur footballer died after suffering a massive heart attack – as he was on his way to taste food for his wedding. Adam Swanwick, from Catterall, collapsed while in a car being driven by his fianceLouise Ayre.

*A couple whose daughter was murdered by her husband are living in fear of coming face-to-face with him after he was freed, and allowed to live just miles away. Marie and Ken West, of Bolton-le-Sands, have appealed to a parole board to have their daughter’s killer David Bonnell stopped from going into Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

*Lancaster’s historic castle area will be transformed into a new “urban quarter” with a boutique hotel and museum. The castle would be the centrepiece of the development which, if given the go-ahead, could be completed by 2017.

*Fire swept through three properties in Lancaster, destroying Parkfield Garage and the Wolfwood animal charity shop in Bowerham Road, and the corner shop next door.


*Ripley pupil Gaby Scanlon undergoes an emergency operation to remove her stomach after drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen. Gaby was in Oscar’s bar in Lancaster to celebrate her 18th birthday when she collapsed and was rushed to hospital.

*Police arrested six care workers as part of an investigation into the abuse and neglect of elderly residents at a private care home. The allegations follow a five-month police inquiry into the level of care at Hillcroft Nursing Home in Slyne, near Lancaster.

*A man who was kept artificially alive after slipping into a coma has amazed doctors by making a miracle recovery. Luke Turnbull, 25, battled back from a massive brain injury following a sudden hypoglycaemia low blood sugar attack during his sleep in January.

*A mum and dad from Morecambe celebrated the safe arrival of baby number 16. Noel and Sue Radford now have seven daughters and nine sons following the birth of baby Casper.


*Machete-wielding robbers escaped with £2,000 after forcing their way into a house in Heysham in which five men were playing poker. During the terrifying raid, one of the five-strong balaclava-clad gang threatened to cut off the heads of their victims.

*A huge £67.8m housing development finally looks set to go ahead at Lancaster’s derelict Moor Hospital. Owners of the former mental health institution have struck a deal with developers to build 440 new homes and apartments at the landmark site in Quernmore Road.

*Tributes are paid to a Lancaster dad-of-two as the man who murdered him in a “ghastly” attack at a London nightclub was jailed for life. Philip Sherriff died after being slashed in the throat with a broken bottle at a Jessie J nightclub appearance.

*Taxi drivers, passengers and local businesses have slammed a decision to move Lancaster’s main taxi rank to Dalton Square. The rank will move from Damside Street in February for around two years while United Utilities carries out sewer work.

*The award-winning Get It Loud in Libraries series has had its funding cut by the county council. Musicians such as Adele, Jessie J and Florence and the Machine have performed in Lancaster library as a result of the series.

*Young cousins involved in a horrifying catalogue of animal cruelty on a Lancaster estate have been handed ASBOs. Jordan and Jay Price, both 15, used their dogs to terrorise the pets of the Ryelands estate in a series of incidents, Lancaster Magistrates Court heard.


*New developers have taken over the reins to bring a £75m retail and business development to Lancaster. British Land have acquired the Canal Corridor North site previously earmarked for development by Centros.

*Otter pup sisters Bubble and Squeak are rescued after being found abandoned near the Lancaster Canal. The eight-week-old pups were left alone outside for 72 hours before a passer-by saved them.