Search

That was the year that was

PUBLISHED: 12:13 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:45 06 July 2010

Welcome to That Was The Year That Was, our three-part review of an eventful 2009 compiled by MICK HOWES and MARK BOGGIS. In part one, we look back at the period from January to April, as covered by The Journal.

Welcome to That Was The Year That Was, our three-part review of an eventful 2009 compiled by MICK HOWES and MARK BOGGIS. In part one, we look back at the period from January to April, as covered by The Journal.

JANUARY 2

THREE local people featured in the Queen's New Year's Honours list. Among those being recognised was 51-year-old Les Dawson, of Oulton village, who is chief executive of the £4bn company Southern Water. He was made an OBE for his services to the energy and water industries. Jonathan Adnams, executive chairman of Southwold brewers Adnams, also received an OBE for his services to corporate social responsibility. Former Lowestoft Grammar schoolboy and national leader for school improvement, Professor Timothy Brighouse, received a knighthood.

Key plans to transform prime waterfront areas of Lowestoft looked set to gather pace in 2009 with a series of studies being launched and planning applications submitted by Urban Regeneration Company 1st East. Board members said that despite the worrying economic slowdown, the economic regeneration of Lowestoft was still “on the right track.”

JANUARY 9

THREE anglers were plucked to safety as their fishing vessel sank quickly off the coast of Lowestoft. Two men and a woman were on board the 18ft Kerri Louise Two, when it started to take on water suddenly, about one and a half miles out to sea. Another local fishing craft, Boisterous Spirit, was soon on the scene and rescued the crew, assisted by the crew of the Trinity House vessel Alert, just before the vessel sank.

Shoppers converged on Woolworths for the very last time as the shop described as an “integral part” of the local community closed its doors after almost 60 years of service. After first opening the present Woolworths store in London Road North in May 1950, there was sadness as staff and customers bade farewell as the shop closed its doors for the final time with about 32 staff losing their jobs.

JANUARY 16

PLANS to make Lowestoft's Ness Point a tourist destination in its own right were set to come under the spotlight. A new community park, café, footpaths, cultural events space, sculptures and an area for businesses linked to the burgeoning renewable energy sector were among the plans being proposed - if a £3.2m application for Heritage Lottery funding was successful.

Audio equipment confiscated from noisy neighbours was given a home. Officers from the Environmental Health team heard that Dell Primary School's sound system had broken down and stepped in to help with amplification equipment, loudspeakers, CDs and record collections that have been removed from people using them in an anti-social manner and causing a noise nuisance.

JANUARY 23

TRAFFIC chiefs at Suffolk County Council came under fire after controversially refusing to change road signs to direct drivers away from a traffic-choked community on to Lowestoft's £30m relief road. Signs direct traffic heading north to Yarmouth through Oulton Broad on the A1117 instead of along the south Lowestoft relief road. But despite promises that the signs would be changed, the County Council stated that the relief road was “not built as a bypass to Oulton Broad.”

More than £1m was set to be poured into Lowestoft as 14 road network projects would be carried out by 2012, including the introduction of a brand new footbridge over the rail line at Oulton Broad South. Cash from Suffolk County Council's local transport plan would be spent developing a number of new pedestrian and cycling crossings, as well as other road improvements.

JANUARY 30

PEOPLE queued outside the new Aldi supermarket in Millennium Way from 7am waiting for its doors to swing open. It was the biggest queue that had been seen for a very long time for an Aldi store opening. Boasting 70 parking spaces and double the floor space, all the existing staff from the previous outlet in Commercial Road transferred, with around 10 new jobs created.

The Journal's coverage of Lowestoft Town's appearance in the FA Vase final at Wembley last year won the paper the Front Page of the Year in the EDF Energy East of England Media Awards. The disappointment of the devastating 2-1 defeat was summed up by a poignant image taken by staff photographer Nick Butcher, of midfielder Bradley Hough being consoled by the club's physiotherapist Ali Kent along with the single word Heartbreak, which was used on the front page of the special supplement produced by The Journal.

FEBRUARY 6

THE parents of seven-year-old Blundeston girl Tallulah Jary praised the “fantastic” staff at the James Paget University Hospital for the care they gave their little girl after she survived a horrendous 15ft fall. Tallulah, unbelievably, had decided to climb around the stair banisters on the landing and she fell 15ft down the stairwell, landing on her head on the bottom step. But with the help of round-the-clock care, the lucky-to-be-alive youngster was recovering back home just a week later.

Large sections of Southwold beach were covered in pieces of wood, which had been brought in by the tide after 1,500 tonnes of timber broke free from a Russian-registered cargo ship off the Sussex coast a month earlier while it was on its way to Alexandria in Egypt. The timber soon appeared along the coast at Lowestoft and although some of the wood was taken by members of the public.

FEBRUARY 13

KATY Jones, a 12-year-old singer from Oulton Broad, won this year's Sunrise Talent Competition winner. The youngster got the vote just ahead of Belton songstress Charlotte Bullen, and Lowestoft singer Leon Lambert, in the final and picked up a silver salver from the Princes Trust and a £500 cheque for triumphing.

The marriage of Lord Somerleyton's son and heir, the Hon Hugh Crossley, to his bride Lara Bailey brought guests from as far afield as India, New Zealand and the United States to the intimately candle-lit church of St Mary's Church, Somerleyton for the wedding ceremony.

FEBRUARY 20

EIGHTY years since the closure of the Southwold railway, plans to bring the glory days of steam travel back to the seaside town were given the green light by Waveney District Council. The ambitious scheme for the Southwold steam railway park, which would see a replica locomotive offer trips around a loop of track running through landscaped gardens, is part of proposals for a £200,000 visitor attraction, which includes a museum, café and shop on the site of the Sole Bay Car Spares yard at the end of Blyth Road.

A proposal was made to restore some of Lowestoft's best-loved parks to their former glory days if funding from a Heritage Lottery scheme, Parks for People, could be secured. Ideas for the future could include creating an outdoor gym, promoting the gardens as a spot for wedding ceremonies, and bringing back entertainment with an outdoor cinema, concerts and plays.

FEBRUARY 27

A MOTHER and her four young sons managed to escape a devastating fire, which spread rapidly and gutted their three-storey terraced house, in Kirkley Run, Lowestoft. About 20 firefighters had to act quickly to control the blaze and stop it spreading to neighbouring homes and a nearby petrol station as scores of onlookers watched the drama unfold near Kirkley High School.

Chris Gates, an aspiring 25-year-old north Suffolk chef, reached the grand finals of the UK's most prestigious cookery competition BBC2 TV's MasterChef. He used his cookery skills to battle against other hopefuls but after six weeks of heats, a week of gruelling semi-finals and a week of finals, Chris narrowly missed out on being crowned champion.

MARCH 6

THE Sanyo factory in Lowestoft, one of the last major TV manufacturers in the UK, closed its doors for the final time after a last-ditch bid to save it by Waveney MP Bob Blizzard failed. Company bosses announced its closure plans for the School Road factory after failing to arrest a sharp decline in demand, despite major investment on both product and manufacturing technology - leaving the factory's remaining 60 workers having to find new jobs.

There was double delight for the two of the town's top teams as both Lowestoft Town FC and Lowestoft and Yarmouth rugby club made it into the prestigious semi final stage of their national Vase competitions. Both teams cruised into the last four with stunning victories to send out a warning to the rest of the teams left in the Carlsberg FA Vase and EDF National Junior Vase.

MARCH 13

A CAMPAIGN to solve one of the Lowestoft's oldest transport problems took a significant step forward when the much-vaunted third crossing of Lake Lothing received a welcome green light. A Highways Agency feasibility report backed by the transport minister now shows a new 305m bascule bridge over Lake Lothing, stretching from Peto Way in the north of the town to Waveney Drive in the south. But before the £37.8m third crossing is built - with a timeframe for completion of the project given between 2017 and 2019 - an £18.2m Southern Access Road is needed.

Award winning artist Jonathan Andersson, of Commercial Road, Lowestoft, wanted to give the town's train station a facelift with a community-involved art project and was hoping that he could secure the necessary support to make it happen. His proposal was to create artworks on the boardings, which have been so sadly neglected over many years, to brighten up the historic building.

MARCH 20

THE Boundary Committee for England abandoned any plans to put Lowestoft under the control of a giant new authority including the whole of Norfolk. When the proposals to link Lowestoft with Norfolk were first announced last year there was an outcry across north Suffolk. The Journal ran a Suffolk And Proud campaign and readers were quick to show their support. The committee eventually decided that the town should stay under the control of a Suffolk-based local authority.

A woman walking her dog saved the life of a drowning pensioner by holding him above the water for 20 minutes after hearing his cries for help. Caroline Coe found the man clinging to some tyres at the edge of a quay near the Broadland Holiday Village in Oulton Broad when her early morning walk turned into a dramatic rescue bid as she spent the next 20 minutes stopping the man from drowning.

MARCH 27

THE future of the Waveney Campus and other major projects involving Waveney District Council were in jeopardy after the council was given the bombshell news that it may have to pay back a staggering £9m to the Department of Work and Pensions. It was believed that the repayment was required because the council had been unable to produce records of benefit payments and other data made between 2004 and 2007 - a period when paper records were transferred to computer.

Villagers who had been fighting to register fields at the former Suffolk Fat and Bone factory site in Oulton, near Lowestoft, and a neighbouring field in Church Lane, as a village green to stop them becoming part of a new housing estate, had their plans rejected by Suffolk County Council's rights of way committee

APRIL 3

THERE was joy for swimmers as grant funding of £1m for the modernisation of the swimming pool at Water Lane Leisure Centre, Lowestoft, was successfully bid for. The initiative would enable free swimming to offered, and to improve facilities including the building of a new junior pool and a viewing gallery.

Traffic chiefs issued a public apology to the people of Lowestoft for failings over the controversial project to repair the town's bascule bridge. Highway Agency officials spoke of their regret that work finished a year behind schedule when contractors found that parts of the bridge's lifting mechanism were more worn than initially thought.

APRIL 10

ANGRY campaigners from ERASE (Enraged Residents Against School Expansion) claimed that key information was ignored by education officials during a consultation process to find a site for a new high school in Lowestoft. Although Pakefield Middle School was identified by Suffolk County Council as the best option for a fourth high school, it was the least favourite behind Elm Tree and Gisleham Middle during a survey completed during the public consultation exercise.

A headcam became the latest weapon in the war on anti-social behaviour in Lowestoft. The tiny cameras, worn on the side of a Police officer's head or helmet, record what they see and hear while on the beat. Small video recorders capture both pictures and sound as a way to record incidents and to have a strong deterrent effect.

APRIL 17

THE port of Lowestoft was set to become the operations centre for the Greater Gabbard Offshore Windfarm, 15 miles off the Suffolk coast which, when completed, would be the world's largest offshore wind farm. The port would play host to a fleet of high-speed offshore catamarans, and the development was expected to generate around 150 local jobs in the town.

A frustrated female patient trying to give a urine sample in the traditional, narrow plastic pot gave GP Vincent Forte a challenge to invent something better. Dr Forte was then working at the London Road South surgery in Lowestoft and he spent some time experimenting until he found a design that worked. Now his invention, called Peezy, has been nominated for an East of England Health and Social Care award after earlier winning Best in Show at the Design Week awards.

APRIL 24

TALENTED Lowestoft youngster Reece Cook reached the final four of Disney TV Channel's new programme My Camp Rock. Reece, an 11-year-old Gisleham Middle School pupil sung for survival against more than 1000 hopefuls - with a chance to release his own film track. But despite impressing the judges he missed out on Disney stardom.

Aspiring professional model Emily Holmes, from Lowestoft, made it through to the final 20 of Living TV's latest series of Britain's Next Top Model. But viewers later saw her eliminated from the show, which offered one catwalk starlet a contract with a leading model agent.

COMING UP: Thousands flock to Lowestoft for the Air Show spectacular - but has The Journal helped to keep it flying? Don't miss the second part of our 2009 review next week.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Lowestoft Journal. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Lowestoft Journal