Top models, Batman in court and Dog Poo Fairies – what else made the news in 2013

A tractor crashed into a Shah's Pharmacy in Valley Road, Liversedge.
A tractor crashed into a Shah's Pharmacy in Valley Road, Liversedge.
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l A mum who suffered the same extreme morning sickness condition as Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby girl – and said her new daughter Poppy was worth almost losing her life because of the condition. Joanne Pearson, 32, of Liversedge, developed the UK’s worst case of hyperemesis gravidarum three weeks into her pregnancy, causing her to vomit up to 60 times a day. Her ordeal ended when Poppy Elizabeth Joan Pearson was born at 10.40pm last December 30, weighing 5lb 7oz. And Joanne, also mum to Harry, 13, said having her baby daughter was worth all her suffering.

AT LAST Gomersal and Cleckheaton u14s celebrate their first win in four years.

AT LAST Gomersal and Cleckheaton u14s celebrate their first win in four years.

l Spen telly addicts were delighted when a new series based on the famous Father Brown stories was run on BBC1. The character, created by author GK Chesterton, was based on the writer’s friend Father John O’Connor, priest at Holy Spirit School in Heckmondwike. Chesterton met Father O’Connor in 1904 and was inspired to write a series of books about a detective priest who criminals thought was innocent and naive. Chesterton’s first collection of Father Brown stories, The Innocence of Father Brown, appeared in 1911.

l A mystery benefactor donated a Wedgewood dinner service worth more than £1,000 to a Heckmondwike charity shop. A customer took a box of items to the Forget-me-Not Children’s Hospice shop in the Northgate Centre, then left before staff had looked inside.

When they opened the package they found the dinner service inside.

Assistant manager Andy Woodrow said when he saw it he rushed out to try and find the customer to thank them but no-one could be found.

NO FAIRIES Ruth dawkins, Margaret Atkinson and Jane Thompson from the Friends of West End Park.

NO FAIRIES Ruth dawkins, Margaret Atkinson and Jane Thompson from the Friends of West End Park.


l A baby was born four weeks early as his mum Liz Hooley and dad Tim Cross were battling their way to Dewsbury and District hospital from Liversedge through a snowstorm.

Their car became stuck outside the Red Lion pub, where customers answered Tim’s plea for help - and pushed the skidding car up the hill. They got as far as Heckmondwike Grammar School before Sebastian was born in the car. But Liz, also mum to Tyler, three, needed vital treatment - so the heroic customers pushed the car all the way to hospital.
l A mum went on an emotional rollercoaster when she found out she was pregnant with twins just days after being given the devastating news she would never have children again.

Natalie Foxcroft discovered she was pregnant on January 3, two days after getting engaged to partner Ross Whitehead.

A donkey has died - she was really old and people have been coming to put flowers on the gate where they used to come and feed her.''LOCATION: Hunsworth Lodge Farm , Whitehall Road West, Gomersal

A donkey has died - she was really old and people have been coming to put flowers on the gate where they used to come and feed her.''LOCATION: Hunsworth Lodge Farm , Whitehall Road West, Gomersal

But the mum of one, who had already endured four miscarriages and two ectopic pregnancies, was devastated when the baby did not show up on a scan. She had surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, removing her remaining fallopian tube and with it her chance of any more children. But days later she discovered she was still pregnant – with twins!

l People must have thought they had gone baa-rmy on seeing a flock of sheep grazing happily on a busy roundabout.

The animals had somehow made it on to the roundabout near Junction 27 retail park at Birstall – all the way from a farm near Gomersal. Farmer William Warren was stunned to discover that 32 of his sheep had fled their field and were grazing on the roundabout near Ikea.


Emma Ward on her jewellery photoshoot in Barbados

Emma Ward on her jewellery photoshoot in Barbados

l A man dressed as Batman handed over a wanted criminal to a Bradford police station.

The man was later revealed to be Wyke granddad Stan Worby, who was watching his beloved Bradford City play Swansea in the League Cup final when he got a call from Daniel Frayne, who was wanted for fraud-related charges and asked Stan to drop him off at the police station.

Stan was dressed as Batman for the game, and delivered Steven to the station, sparking a nationwide flurry of interest.

l Celebrations were in full swing in Liversedge this month as a local woman celebrated her 108th birthday.

Edith Scott, who was born in 1905 and has lived through two World Wars and the sinking of the Titanic, enjoyed a party at Ings House Nursing Home.

Barbara Hudson, from the nursing home, said: “Edith remembers the Titanic going down and was upset because she wanted to wear her Sunday dress but had to wear dark clothes in mourning.”

l The fight was on to save Spen Pool.

Cleckheaton’s Coun Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem) said the pool was in a state of disrepair and would need to be rebuilt within five years.

A campaign was launched to save the pool, with support from readers even though some said it was being used as a political football.

Then in July Kirklees Council agreed to pay £4m towards its rebuild.


l Red House Museum was gearing up to host weddings.

The historic house in Oxford Road, Gomersal – best known for its connections to the Brontë family – was saved from closure last year after a Guardian campaign and huge public outcry.

Following the announcement, supporters said they hoped the introduction of weddings would help the museum to thrive.

l The chairman of Heckmondwike Business Alliance said 2013 would be the town’s year.

Simon Thirkill said the future was looking bright for Heckmondwike, and 2013 was set to be a fantastic year for the town with a beach party, craft markets, music festival and much more planned.

He said the group had met with Kirklees Council to discuss ways to improve the town and encourage more people to visit.

He said top of the agenda was the bus station and library, which had been planned for the town since 2010.

l A Hightown girl found a message in a bottle among seaweed and driftwood on a Northumberland beach.

Chloe Hocks, 10, was on holiday in Seahouses when she found the bottle.The letter inside was from a German boy called Jonas.

It said: “Hello dear message in a bottle finder. I am called Jonas and am on a winter holiday with my grandparents on the North Sea island of Baltrum. From here I have sent this message in a bottle. I wonder when and where it will be found. Please write back to tell me. Best regards from Jonas.”

The bottle travelled 400 miles across the North Sea before reaching the Northumberland shore.


l Tesco was accused of holding Cleckheaton to ransom for more than a decade after scrapping plans for a brand new superstore.

The supermarket giant confirmed what many people had thought for months – that it was pulling the plug on the project which would have been built at Serpentine Road.

l A tractor ended up in Liversedge pharmacy after it went out of control in Littletown.

The driver said he stood on the brakes after the hand throttle failed to work, but the tractor’s wheel lifted off the ground and as he struggled to control it, it ended up ploughing through the wall of Shah’s Pharmacy in Valley Road.

l Football fever gripped the nation with unprecedented drama; Huddersfield Town staving off relegation, Bradford City reaching Wembley for the second time in a season – and Gomersal and Cleckheaton FC u14s B team notching up its first win in four years.

In one season alone they only scored 18 goals and conceded 217. However their glory was short-lived as the following week they were back to their old ways, losing by 15 goals to nil.

l Bride Rebecca Shaw appeared on BBC’s Watchdog programme during an investigation into a wedding shop in Wakefield.

Rebecca told how, after spending two years planning her dream wedding, she spent most of the day terrified her gown would fall apart because it was so badly made.

l Time stood still on the site of the new £5m extension to BBG Academy in Birkenshaw as staff and students buried a time capsule in the walls of the new extension.

Artefacts included school photographs, CD recordings of the school’s music, souvenirs from local celebrations of the 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as pupils’ stories of the transformation of the middle school into a high school including details of the campaign which helped to save the academy.

l A couple who refused to give up their dreams of a family after being told they could never have children, were celebrating the arrival of their first baby.

Overjoyed parents Allison Rhodes and Nigel Rothery said their beautiful daughter Olivia was living proof that miracles do happen.


l Fairies were spotted in Cleckheaton’s West End Park – but they were not waving wands, they were brandishing poop scoops.

The Friends of West End Park were so sick of clearing up dog poo that they leafleted residents, set up patrols and fastened posters to litter bins with the slogan: “There is no such thing as the Dog Poo Fairy.”

l Well wishers left flowers, notes and photographs in tribute to a well-loved donkey who had died.

Lacey, the 26-year-old donkey had been a favourite with people passing Hunsworth Lodge Farm, all her life. Children would pet her and feed her biscuits, carrots and apples – and a truck driver from Norfolk even came twice a week and give her something to eat.

l Absolute humiliation! That was the verdict of Spen Valley Civic Society following news that Kirklees was to withdraw its controversial planning blueprint.

The move followed criticism from the independent planning inspector appointed to look at the Local Development Framework, who said Kirklees had not included enough allocation for housing, and it had not consulted enough with neighbouring authorities.

l Heckmondwike girl Emma Ward became a TV star after she was chosen as one of the final 14 contestants to battle it out for the title of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model.

There must have been something in the Yorkshire air – as Saffron Williams from Batley was also among the finalists.

l A stone spout which was salvaged from the old Hightown National School to become a feature of the nearby Sparrow Park was stolen.

The spout was donated to the park by Michael Ives who converted the school into flats a few years ago, It became one of the main features of the park created by Spen Valley Civic Society and which also paid tribute to the Luddite movement.

l See next week’s Guardian for what made the news from July to December