So that was 2015 – reviewing last May’s events in Lowestoft and Southwold
PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 January 2016
Welcome to That Was The Year That Was, a review of an eventful 2015, as compiled by MICK HOWES and MARK BOGGIS. In the fifth part, we look back at some of the stories making the headlines in The Journal last May.
Legend says goodbye – Retiring Lowestoft Town football club legend Micky Chapman was keen to share the credit, as his team celebrated surviving their first season in the Conference set-up. The 53-year-old tried to hold back the tears as his 33-year association with the Trawlerboys came to an end.
Chapman said: “It’s been a team effort, we’ve come a long, long way. Ady (Gallagher, joint manager) has been with me for the last 15 years of my journey and without him I wouldn’t have achieved anything.
“To serve so many, this club, this town, for so long has just been a pleasure and I feel very honoured.”
Historic visit – Just ahead of the general election David Cameron was the first prime minister ever to visit the Lowestoft Journal office.
He had arrived in the town by car but was fortunate not to get held up on his way at the bascule bridge – which is often lifted to let boats pass. Meeting Waveney Conservative candidate Peter Aldous to view Lake Lothing from the bascule bridge control building, he made a firm and clear commitment that Lowestoft would get a third crossing by 2020. He said the long awaited new bridge over Lake Lothing “has got to be done in the next parliament,” adding “it has gone on long enough.”
Mr Cameron walked to The Journal’s offices in London Road North where Journal editor Andrew Papworth showed him the paper’s four-page election coverage. He was also shown a map of plans for a third crossing in 1966 – the year he was born – to highlight just how long the issue has been dragging on.
Special concert – An event which attracted top signing choirs from across the country was hailed a huge success. The Mayoral Signing Choir Concert was held at the Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft and was attended by nine choirs. It was thought to be the first time in the UK a concert of its kind has been performed and attended.
More than 300 people watched the performers, of all ages, sign the words to different genres of music in an event organised by the town mayor Stephen Ardley.
General election victory – It was a long night for the election candidates in Waveney waiting for the results to be counted but at 7am the Conservative candidate Peter Aldous was declared the winner and re-elected as Waveney MP with a majority of 2,408. It meant the end of a political era in Waveney as
Bob Blizzard, who was Waveney District Council leader before serving 13 years as MP, called time on his political career after a second straight loss to Mr Aldous. He said: “I’ve fought five elections in my career. I’ve won three and lost two.”
In the District Council elections the Conservatives secured a majority with 27 seats, Labour had 20 seats and the Green party one seat.
St George remembered – Hundreds of Scouts, Cubs and Beavers from across the Lowestoft area proudly marched through the town in a celebration of their patron saint. More than 500 young people took part in the Lowestoft District Scout Association’s parade and annual service at St Margaret’s Church.
Town Marks VE day – Seventy years since the war in Europe ended, members of the uniformed services, veterans and the public came together in Sparrows Nest Gardens for a commemorative ceremony.
New furniture store opens – A new Dunelm store in Belvedere Road was officially opened by Mayor of Lowestoft Stephen Ardley, special guest Patrick Grant from BBC2 TV show The Great British Sewing Bee and Homemaker Magazine Editor Ella Johnston. The store has taken over the 30,000 sq ft units alongside Asda’s store, which had been vacant for eight years, bringing 65 new jobs for the town.
Celebrating cycling – Thousands of visitors attended the second Lowestoft Cycle Festival on the Royal Green. It included a BMX display team, stands from cycle retailers, advice on how to maintain your bicycle and fun ways for the children to “bling up their bikes” – all accommodated in a large tented cycle village.
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