Photo Gallery: Evening News 2012 a year in review

The year started positively as landlords toasted an encouraging 2011 and hoped for an even better 2012 – and there was the promise that new life was being breathed into the city with the creation of 100 new homes and revamps for long-neglected buildings. The Canaries also got off to a perfect start, beating QPR 2-1.

Snow provided fun for families and wrapped Norwich and Norfolk in a beautiful winter cloak when it finally arrived in February. The sledges were out, snowmen were built and travel chaos was caused as flights were cancelled and emergency services were called to minor crashes.

Meanwhile, pigeons roosting at Norwich Castle were making so much mess with their droppings that they created a health and safety risk. Officials applied to Norwich City Council for planning approval to improve the 11th Century landmark's defences with a 'pigeon guarding system'.

Sixty firefighters tackled a huge fire which seriously damaged a building on the Rackheath industrial estate in March. At its height, 13 crews were on the scene at document-shredding firm PHS Datashred, based in Osborne House, Wendover Road. The 'deep-seated' fire caused serious structural damage to the building.

People in and around Norwich were given the chance to help shape the plans for the �141.5m northern bypass. The project, known as the northern distributor road, had been on the drawing board for a decade, but with Norfolk County Council having secured �86.5m for the scheme, the authority unveiled the most detailed map of the route to date.

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The new �21m City Academy Norwich opened its doors. The academy features a large open atrium at the back of the school, looking out onto the woods behind it, and has its own 'break-out space' for students to venture out of their rooms and learn in a more flexible environment. All of the classrooms bear the name of one of the school's four houses – discovery, leadership, creativity and values. The community wing of the building includes a dance and movement studio, a gym and a new sports hall.

Sadness was brought to the family and friends of Wroxham Reserves FC and Riverside Rovers goalkeeper Liam Still, 21, after he lost his fight for life after being seriously injured in a car crash.

Meanwhile, Norwich City fans thanked Paul Lambert for the memories as he departed Carrow Road for Aston Villa.

The Evening News appealed to its readers to give their time for a friend in need. Scores of Norwich people answered our call when we asked them to help improve the lives of vulnerable people by taking a couple of hours a week to socialise with them, build their confidence or simply spend time with them.

June was dominated by the Diamond Jubilee with a host of parties and special events across the city – from a Great British garden party at the Assembly House in Norwich to a crowd-filled family fun day in Thorpe St Andrew, left. Vessels from our region, including the independent lifeboat from Caister, were taking part in the historic flotilla on the River Thames under the watchful gaze of the Royal party.

Olympic fever hit the city with the arrival of the Olympic torch. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets as torch bearers carried the historic flame from the Boundary to Chapelfield Gardens. The city was treated to an overnight stop before abseilers, schoolchildren, singers, rowers and canoeists gave the flame a special send off as it headed towards Great Yarmouth. The torch's visit sparked a �3.5m economic boost to the city.

There was speculation that speedway could return to the city, and Norwich's shopping centre, the Castle Mall was sold for �77m.

And while people across the city were glued to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, thousands of youngsters from across Norfolk took part in their very own Olympics, the School Games, while scores of villagers battled it out in the Village Games. There were also Olympic-themed events a-plenty as crowds joined in morning aerobics classes outside Chapelfield shopping centre and the faces of those who had made a sporting commitment through Active Norfolk's Pledge 2012 scheme went on display at the Fourm. There was also cause for celebration when Lowestoft boxer Anthony Ogogo took bronze and Gorleston's Jessica-Jane Applegate won gold in swimming – and the agony of the games was brought home by local girl Emma Pooley missing out on a medal in the cycling time trial.

Alarm and horror brutally displaced the late-summer tranquillity of the Broads as two bodies were discovered in the River Bure near Salhouse Broad. Under the spotlight of national attention, it emerged that a holiday afloat had apparently gone tragically wrong in a domestic incident which ended with a woman being strangled and her partner killing himself.

With just enough time for people to catch their breath from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the people of Norwich turned out in force to catch a glimpse of Olympic champion and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and the then world road cycling champion Mark Cavendish when they competed at the Tour of Britain. The Suffolk and Norfolk stage saw the race finish at the Norfolk Showground, but hopes of seeing Cav take the stage win were dashed when the Manxman was involved in a crash in the final kilometres.

There was uproar after Norwich City Council's planning committee initially rejected plans for an Asda supermarket off Hall Road in Tuckswood. Less than three months after the plans were rejected, however, Asda went back to the city council and plans for the new �122m development at the former Bally Shoes factory site were given the green light. The plans for the 5,796 sq m superstore include a gym, pub, community centre, 334-space car park and other shops at the derelict site.

The region's ambulance service was thrown into the spotlight after 86-year-old Daphne Shaw waited nearly three hours for an ambulance – instead of the 20 minutes it should have taken – after breaking her thigh bone when she fell in Gargle Hill, Thorpe St Andrew.

But there was joy for Norwich City fans as the Canaries, under new manager Chris Hughton, beat Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

We all joined in the celebrations as Norwich-born Mary Snelling celebrated her 107th birthday. Meanwhile, community groups across Norwich received grants of up to �100,000 and the Phoenix Centre in Mile Cross rose from the ashes just seven days after it was attacked by arsonists.