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A year of heartbreak, happiness -and some things to make us smile - part two of our review of 2014

PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 January 2015

The fire at Pinebanks Thorpe St Andrew Norwich. Photo by iwitness24 member Richard Polley.

The fire at Pinebanks Thorpe St Andrew Norwich. Photo by iwitness24 member Richard Polley.

(c) copyright citizenside.com

Continuing our review of 2014, reporter Kim Briscoe looks back at the news stories we were talking about in the second half of last year.

Spencer the dog found tied up in city park.Spencer the dog found tied up in city park.

July

The big story

A devastating fire ripped through the Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew. The blaze at the former sports and social club destroyed most of the original part of the Victorian villa and at its height 66 firefighters battled to keep it from spreading to other parts of the building. The fire prompted fresh calls for developers to start work on the derelict site.

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Ormiston Victory Academy at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOrmiston Victory Academy at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The quirky tale

One Norwich woman told of the emotion she felt after meeting her brother for the first time after six decades apart. Val Latimer was finally reunited with brother, Christopher Battley, after he tracked the family down on the internet and travelled all the way from his home in Australia to meet his Norwich family. The siblings’ mother was just 16 when she gave birth to Christopher at the end of the Second World War. His absent father was believed to be a Canadian serviceman and Christopher was adopted at birth in 1945.

Evening News named and shamed people convicted of drink-driving throughout December.Evening News named and shamed people convicted of drink-driving throughout December.

In sport

It was an exciting month for Norwich Youth Bowling Club as it hosted the British Junior Open at the Namco Funscape bowling alley in Bowthorpe.

Norwich City goalkeeping coach Dave Watson announced he would be leaving the Canaries so he could remain in the Premier League with Southampton. Despite the drop down to the Championship, it emerged that Norwich City’s season ticket sales were on the up.

Quote of the month

“It was great fun. There is something uplifting and exhilarating about an event that brings everyone together and helps to create a real sense of community. The Lord Mayor’s Celebration shows what a vibrant community Norwich is.”

Sheriff of Norwich William Armstrong.

August

The big story

The row over schools being given advance notice of inspections broke out, with leading Norfolk academy chain the Inspiration Trust denying claims that some of its schools were unfairly tipped off about Ofsted inspections. The claims were that the Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, Great Yarmouth Primary Academy and Thetford Academy all had advance notice about inspections. The Inspiration Trust and Ofsted both said none of the schools was given advance notice.

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The quirky tale

An escaped bull shut Hellesdon Road for three hours on the day of Norwich’s “Old Farm” derby. With the black bull wandering around by the side of the river, occasionally wandering out of the trees and on to the road, police took the decision to close the road while they worked out how to deal with the bewildered bovine.

The animal calmed down and with the help of police and its owner was coerced into a trailer.

In sport

After an opening day defeat at Molineux, Norwich bounced back with three wins on the trot, including a much-anticipated Derby Day win over Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

Norfolk CCC brought an end to a mixed season in the Minor Counties Championship in August, finishing mid-table in the Unicorns Championship Eastern Division.

Norwich cyclist Emma Pooley took a silver in her last ever time trial at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, while Norfolk football official Darren Cann took time to reflect on his international swansong running the line for referee Howard Webb at the World Cup in Brazil.

Quote of the month

“There were more than 3,500 from Norwich who gave their lives. Those were someone’s sons, brothers and husbands. Events like this, as well as commemorating them, can bring that point home.”

Judith Lubbock, Lord Mayor of Norwich, on the moving event held in Norwich to mark 100 years since Great Britain entered the First World War.

September

The big story

Animal lovers in the city were left horrified when a boxer/cross dog was “hog-tied” to a post a Norwich park and left to die.

The legs of Spencer, as he was named by the RSPCA, had been tied together so he could not stand up or move, and his collar was bound up with strong and electrical cable.

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The quirky tale

It emerged that Norwich City’s Murphy twins were so similar that even their parents struggled to tell them apart.

After the Pink Un ran a light-hearted picture quiz for fans to guess if it was Jacob or Josh, Jacob took to Twitter to joke that his mother Maxine only managed to get eight of 10, while their father John scored nine out of 10.

In sport

Swardeston Cricket Club were celebrating as they secured their third successive East Anglian Premier League title.

The September Norwich City hit the top of the Championship, winning three matches away at Cardiff, Brentford and Blackpool, but only struggling to take one point from two games at home.

Quote of the month

“She was selfless and caring and made each and every day that little bit more wonderful.” The heartbroken family of Hannah Witheridge pay tribute to the student from Hemsby, who was killed on the tiny Thai island of Koh Tao.

October

The big story

Brave Jody Baxter spoke of his determination to raise awareness about suicide and help others who have lost loved ones after his sister Maisie took her life aged just 13.

Jody, 18, told how bereavement charity Nelson’s Journey had helped him and his two younger sisters, and how he wanted to share his own experience to help others and to raise the charity’s profile.

The inspirational teenager was named the Bernard Matthews Young Person of the Year after also being presented with the bravery award.

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The quirky tale

Old Costessey couple David and Jill Stolworthy made headlines after revealing how they had taken to driving around with a life-sized Sir Cliff Richard mannequin as a security measure. “We had him in the shed for a while, dressed in a high visibility jacket and holding a broom – just in case anybody broke in,” said Mr Stolworthy. “Our grandson nearly had a fit when he saw him.”

In sport

In October, a remarkable record was brought to an end in the Norwich and District Sunday Football League. After 48 games, two league ties and 180 goals, the unbeaten record of Norman Wanderers was finally brought to an end by a 3-1 loss at Acle Rangers.

Quote of the month

“He inspired, encouraged and enthused people to want to be involved with the Norwich in Bloom group. He was like a dad to us and was the foundation of our group, and was a fantastic ambassador.” Julie Brociek-Coulton, of the Friends of Norwich in Bloom, paying tribute to the late Bill Webster.

November

The big story

Two prominent Norwich schools were blasted as failing, as Ofsted inspectors placed both Sewell Park College and the Hewett School in special measures.

Both schools had replaced their headteachers in September, and the new leaders pledged to halt sliding standards and turn their respective schools around.

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The quirky tale

There was good news as Spencer, the boxer dog who was tied to a post and left to die in a Norwich park, was rehomed and was enjoying life with his new owner Simon Oddy. Mr Oddy said: “You wouldn’t have though he had been through such a traumatic experience. He’s so placid and happy.”

In sport

Carlton Rode-based Virtuosi UK were trying to grab the Auto GP Team Championship crown from their near neighbours, Super Nova International, who are based at Griston, near Watton. Virtuosi pushed their rivals all the way but Super Nova managed to hand on to their team title by just six points.

Mike Phelan, an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff during an era of dominance at Old Trafford, was unveiled as Norwich City’s first team coach.

Quote of the month

“She came up to me and said, ‘You are a brave lady’, and gave me a hug. She seemed emotional – I was already upset and I think I nearly set her off again. My princess touched the heart of a real princess.” Mother Leigh Smith, who lost her baby daughter Beatrice to a rare heart condition, on meeting the Duchess of Cambridge at the launch of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices The Nook Appeal.

December

The big story

The Evening News named and shamed people convicted of drink- driving throughout December. Editor Nigel Pickover said: “It’s our absolute duty to make sure that no family in Norwich and Norfolk suffers a bereavement this Christmas at the hands of a drink-driver. We believe highlighting these court cases provides a vital public service and goes some way towards making people think again about the dangers of drinking and driving.”

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The quirky tale

71-year old Rod Emmerson from Thorpe drove a 1962 Heinkel Trojan round the streets of Norwich complete with an over-sized santa hat on the roof. “I feel like an entertainer – if I can make people laugh then I have achieved something,” he said.

In sport

As the year has drawn to a close, Norwich United are dominating the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division after losing just one of their last 17 matches, winning all of the other 16.

Quote of the month

“The difference has been amazing. As soon as she put them on you could see she was standing up straighter and she looked confident. When she’s running about with her brother I can’t believe the speeds she can do now.” Vicky Matthews, whose daughter Grace got new prosthetic legs on Christmas eve after losing her limbs to meningitis as a toddler.

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