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Review of the year: Sporting prowess to the fore as the Games dominate

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: December 31, 2012

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JULY

TIVERTON tasted success in its bid to gain Portas Pilot town status. The town was the only one in Devon to be selected in the second phase of the Government initiative to revitalise the high street, which is being spearheaded by TV retail guru Mary Portas.

Sports clubs in Crediton were furious about plans to convert the sports hall at Lords Meadow Leisure Centre to provide a money-spinning fitness suite. The proposal was scrapped after Queen Elizabeth Academy rejected Mid Devon District Council's proposal to accommodate the existing sports hall users at the school.

Plans for the re-development of the former Belmont Hospital site in Tiverton went on display to the public. This was the second major project developer Devonshire Homes started this year, with work also underway on the Tiverton and District Hospital site.

AUGUST

The Olympics – the first held in Britain in more than half a century – dominated the news agenda throughout August with the Gazette chatting to Devon long-distance runner Jo Pavey about her training, much of which was carried out on the Grand Western Canal towpath. It paid off, with top-seven finishes in both the 5,000m and 10,000m finals.

The jury in a trial of a man accused of assaulting another with an iron bar in Tiverton's Pannier Market in November 2011, failed to reach a verdict after hearing a week of evidence. A retrial is likely to take place next April.

Students across Mid Devon celebrated after another strong set of results in the GCSE and A-Level exams, with learners at Cullompton Community College recording the best GCSE results in the school's history.

SEPTEMBER

Staff and visitors at Bickleigh Mill were shocked when the talking macaw which had been a feature of the mill for more than 25 years, was stolen. Bick was taken along with the converted cider barrel in which he lived.

A man was left red-faced after he had to be cut out of a child's swing at a Tiverton playground by amused firefighters after becoming wedged into the seat.

The Gazette revealed plans by takeaway giant Domino's Pizza to open a store as part of the retail offering at the former district hospital site. This provided an excuse for a taste test of the town's pizza outlets in the Gazette office, purely in the interests of journalistic research you understand...

OCTOBER

Tributes were paid to Cullompton man Graham Hollister, who died at the age of 43 following a long battle with cancer. Graham was devoted to his family and to the community, having served as a town councillor.

Work began on the first council homes to be built in Mid Devon for two decades. Properties at Well Parks in Crediton are expected to be finished this summer.

An outburst by Tiverton's Mayor in an unedited film of the proclamation of the fair event upset parents of children who took part. The video, which had been posted on YouTube, was hastily re-edited to remove offending comments by Cllr Tom Lindus.

NOVEMBER

Flooding brought misery to residents of Mid Devon. Two miles of the Grand Western Canal drained into surrounding fields following the collapse of 60ft of embankment near Halberton. The Gazette launched a Save Our Canal campaign, with the final repair bill to fix the breach potentially running to as much as £5m. In Cullompton, residents of Langlands Road, Brook Street and Pound Square were angry that blocked drains and gullies in the town had not been cleared before their homes were flooded.

Despite heavy rain, fans turned out to see former Uffculme schoolboy and BBC talent show contestant Adam Isaac switch on Tiverton's Christmas lights and perform a short set. Earlier in the month, former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton had visited Cullompton to open the town's new car park opposite The Hayridge.

Crediton Chamber of Commerce was celebrating after a number of its bids to the Government High Street Innovation Fund were supported, landing around £35,000 for projects to help tempt shoppers away from Exeter.

DECEMBER

A new street market in Cullompton was launched for Wednesdays and Saturdays. Organiser Cullompton Town Council hopes the market is a sign of the town reversing its fortunes in 2013.

People in Crediton were looking to the future, with one of the victims of the Buller Square fire in February beginning to rebuild her family home by hand. Ashen Gill is hoping to be back in her cottage before the end of 2013.

Provisional plans for the building of nearly 50 retirement flats on a neglected parcel of land behind Tiverton Town Hall went on show to the public. The scheme would dramatically change the face of Tiverton town centre.

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