Lincolnshire

A year to remember: Lincolnshire Reporter top stories of 2017

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The first full year of Lincolnshire Reporter has seen general and local elections, a host of exciting new and returning events from the Humber to the Wash, freakish weather and sadly more than a fair share of tragedy.

In this round-up, we take a look back at the stories that made the headlines across the county in 2017.


Tory Karl McCartney loses Lincoln seat in general election

New Lincoln MP Karen Lee

Nationally, the political scene was completely dominated by Brexit and the unexpected general election called by Prime Minister Theresa May for June 8.

The Conservative leader had wanted the election in a bid to boost her majority in the House of Commons and receive her own personal Brexit mandate from the electorate.

However, in a night of surprises, the Conservatives lost their majority, and had to end up negotiating a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland to hold on to power.

In Lincolnshire, despite earlier Conservative hopes of winning in places such as Scunthorpe and Great Grimsby, it was Labour who made the only gain of the night, with Karen Lee ousting Karl McCartney in Lincoln.

The rest of the county stayed pretty much the same, with veteran Tory backbencher Sir Edward Leigh winning his ninth successive election in Gainsborough, Nick Boles fighting off cancer to retain his Grantham and Stamford seat, and UKIP leader Paul Nuttall being humiliated in Boston and Skegness.


Blue is the colour at Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council Leader Martin Hill. Photo: Lincolnshire Reporter

What perhaps made the general election result all the more surprising was the dominance of the Conservatives in the county council election just four weeks earlier.

The Tories banished the disappointment of failing to win a majority at County Hall back in 2013 by securing a remarkable 58 out of 70 seats, with county council leader Martin Hill visibly delighted by the results.

It was a night (and a year) to forget for UKIP, who lost all their seats on the council, with the other parties only faring marginally better.


Sporting triumphs, huge music acts and sparkling new events

Lincoln City had the most to cheer about last season in their successful campaign

2017 saw a whole range of familiar events on the Bomber County summer calendar, such as the ever-popular Lincolnshire Show, Armed Forces Day in Cleethorpes, the largest village show in the UK in Heckington, and the Woodhall Spa 1940s Show.

Alongside these favourites was the inaugural Scampton Airshow which will hopefully make a return for 2019, and smaller events such as the JoeFest music festival near Horncastle.

This year also saw huge live acts come to Lincolnshire, with Kaiser Chiefs playing their greatest hits at Market Rasen Racecourse and singer-songwriter Craig David performing on a memorable Friday night in Cleethorpes.

It was also a year to remember sporting-wise, with Lincoln City reaching the quarter finals of the FA Cup and more importantly gaining promotion back to the Football League.

Cyclists were also treated to a special 2017 in Lincolnshire, with The Tour of the Wolds earlier in the year followed by North Lincolnshire hosting a stage of the Tour of Britain in September, with thousands lining the streets of Scunthorpe and the surrounding areas.


Tragedies on our roads

Photo: Janos A

2017, as with all years, sadly saw far too many tragedies happen on roads across our large, rural county.

The death of Lincolnshire County Council business and public protection manager Ian Newell in a six-vehicle crash on the A1 in March hit the whole county hard.

More recently, the death of 22-year-old Zak Zanelli in a crash on the A52 at Chapel St Leonards was felt across the breadth of Lincolnshire.

Hundreds of tributes were also left to 24-year-old biker Josh Stepniewski, who died at the scene of a crash in Blyton in June.


Murders, serious crimes and Spalding killers named

Markham (left) and Edwards were sentenced to 17-and-a-half years in prison. Photo: Facebook

Lincolnshire, generally, is widely regarded as a safe place to live. However, a few sporadic incidents spread out across the year brought grave concerns and sadness to communities.

August Bank Holiday in Mablethorpe was marred by the stabbing of 36-year-old James Rudd on Victoria Road, with James Adam, 46, pleading not guilty to murder after being arrested by police.

One month later, seven men were arrested by officers following the death of Alberts Volkausks, who was found with serious head injuries at an address on Pen Street in Boston.

Earlier in September, the north of the county was rocked by the death of 58-year-old Mike Hawkins, who died after being reportedly knocked out with one punch outside a bar in Cleethorpes.

Staying in North East Lincolnshire, mum Sinead Connett was sent to prison for dumping her baby son in a drain in Grimsby.

Moving down the coast to Ingoldmells, in December Lincolnshire Police confirmed that they were treating the death of 29-year-old Gareth Bailey as murder, with Skegness man Steven Feeley arrested.

Continuing the journey further south, 2017 was the year in which the infamous Spalding teenage killers Kim Edwards and Lucas Markham, jailed for murdering Spalding mother and daughter Elizabeth and Katie Edwards, were able to be named by the media for their gruesome crime.


A storm called Doris, and snow which never really came

Photo: Andrew Scott

The weather for 2017 caused much discussion among Yellowbellies, most notably when the final day of the Lincoln Christmas Market was cancelled due to the threat of heavy snow, which never really materialised.

Officials were widely ridiculed for the controversial decision, with outspoken television presenter Piers Morgan slamming the decision, and describing us as “a snowflake generation”.

Snowflakes aside, the start of the year saw the Lincolnshire coast braced for a storm surge, with the army even drafted in to deal with potential severe flooding.

Thankfully, again this was not as bad as predicted, with high tide passing without major incident on the coast.

In February, Lincolnshire was once again told to brace itself for another storm, this time affecting the land mainly and called Doris.

While not sounding overly threatening, the heavy rain and strong winds of Storm Doris did end up causing damage across the county, with trees falling down, public transport postponed and homes without power.


Some Yellowbelly surprises

Syas relaxing in his new Horncastle enclosure. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

Lincolnshire being Lincolnshire, there were some slightly unfortunate, unusual and just plain bizarre stories which you enjoyed reading, sharing and commenting on throughout the year.

Christmas is described as the most wonderful time of the year. Sadly, it almost got cancelled in Gainsborough as the much-anticipated Coca Cola truck was hours late after ending up being stuck in a field!

During the summer, we visited surely one of the region’s most impressive collections of wild animals featuring tigers, zebras and camels…inside one person’s backyard!

And finally, if this Grantham vicar does not get you in the festive spirit, well I’m not sure what else we can do!

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