REVIEW OF 2015: The stories that made the headlines in Worksop this year

Bailey Matthews at Sports Personality of the Year 2015

Bailey Matthews at Sports Personality of the Year 2015

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Although it is hard to believe, another year is coming to an end in Worksop.

Throughout the last 12 months, your Guardian has reported on some amazing stories.

Guardian freebie, free sausage roll from Birds Butchers, pictured is Andrew Handley with the award Birds won for their sausage rolls'(NWGU-26-03-14 RA 2a)

Guardian freebie, free sausage roll from Birds Butchers, pictured is Andrew Handley with the award Birds won for their sausage rolls'(NWGU-26-03-14 RA 2a)

From the truly inspiring efforts of Bailey Matthews, to the selfless snapper who photographed a couple’s wedding for free after he found out the groom was terminally ill.

And what about the “big bird” that led the police on a merry chase through Carlton-in-Lindrick? It certainly had them in a flap.

Here are some of the stories which made the headlines in 2015...

JANUARY

John Mann

John Mann

Worksop’s Lee Westwood reportedly saved a British millionaire from drowning in Barbados.

Colin Davies, a businessman from Solihull, said the golfer, aged 41, saved his life when he got into difficulties in the Atlantic Ocean.

Mr Davies, who has Parkinson’s disease. said his wife, Linda, could not hear his screams, but holidaymakers nearby raised the alarm.

Mr Westwood was apparently the first person to react and jumped into the sea to save him.

Keith and Emma Hampson with their Daughters headstone which was originally rejected by the council

Keith and Emma Hampson with their Daughters headstone which was originally rejected by the council

Mr Davies said: “If there is a power looking over us, I hope he takes note and delivers three Majors to this kind and gentle human being.

“As soon as I entered I realised I was in trouble. My legs wouldn’t move, and my wife Linda was out of earshot.”

“By the panic that affects a man when faced with the end of his days I found enough strength to try to reach the beach, I became frightened and called out for help.

“My wife returned to our part of the beach, packed up the stuff and headed for the room.

“A man some way from the incident asked me if I knew the man who had helped me, still in a mild shock, I replied ‘no’.

“The beach Samaritan was Lee Westwood.”

FEBRUARY

A loving couple were finally given the go-ahead to lay a headstone at their daughter’s grave after a public backlash caused a town council to back down.

Keith and Emma Hampson, of Bircotes, received the devastating news that their daughter, Evelyn Barbara, had no heartbeat and had died on January 23 when Emma was 37-weeks pregnant.

Three days later, Evelyn was born at Bassetlaw Hospital and Keith and Emma were able to spend the next 48 hours with her before laying her to rest at Harworth Cemetery.

The couple wanted to have the Disney character Eeyore on the headstone at their daughter’s grave, but Harworth and Bircotes Town Council initially turned down the plans.

However, the decision was reversed after a petition received 2,000 signatures in just 24 hours.

The husband and wife eventually put the headstone in place in September.

Keith said: “We have always liked Disney and wanted something that would represent a child.

“I did not want a black and morbid headstone. We wanted something a bit more child friendly. We wanted it to be a celebration area rather than a place where we go to be upset.”

MARCH

It was shock to everyone, including the staff at Bird’s butchers in Worksop, when they were told the doors would be shutting for good after 113 years of trading.

The business employed about 35 people in total, with branches in Mansfield and Sutton.

The news was met with sadness, from workers who visited every day to those who travelled specially into town to collect their meat and sarnies.

A company statement at the time said: “Over the past few years, it has become more and more difficult to compete with larger companies and the ever-changing high street and, although we have always prided ourselves with the quality of our products and the fact that we have provided jobs for local people since 1902, we can no longer sustain the business.”

That wasn’t the end for the Bird’s girls though...

APRIL

A selfless Worksop snapper showed generosity like no other as he captured the moment a tearful bride tied the knot with her terminally ill husband – for free.

Trudy and Mitch Baker decided to get married after 17 years together.

But the couple were left devastated when Mitch was diagnosed with terminal cancer, forcing them to plan their wedding within six weeks on a small budget and potentially without a photographer.

But after Shaun Bailey, of New Focus Photography, Worksop, was approached by Trudy’s friend Karen Stephenson, he decided to step in and offer his services for free of charge.

Trudy said: “Me and Mitch both cried, it really restored our faith in people.”

MAY

There might have been a shock in the General Election with the Conservatives defying the polls and claiming victory, but there was no surprise in Bassetlaw as MP John Mann retained his seat on what was a very disappointing night for Labour as a number of high key figures lost their seats.

Mr Mann polled 23,965 votes to secure a majority of 8,843.

Conservative Sarah Downes came second on 15,122; David Scott, of UKIP, was third with 7,865; Liberal Democrat Leon Duveen polled 1,331 and Green Party candidate Kris Wragg was fifth, with 1,006 votes.

JUNE

An ostrich-like bird, known as a rhea, escaped from a private collection in Carlton-in-Lindrick, causing Nottinghamshire Police to issue a safety warning.

The 6ft bird, native to South America, had officers in a flap as they warned parents, particularly those with small children, to be on their guard.

The rhea was said to “pose a real threat” due to its size and aggressive nature.

There were numerous sightings, including one eyewitness who spotted it “up Gateford”.

It was eventually found four days later at Hodsock Priory Farm and returned to its owner.

JULY

In true Worksop spirit, some of the Bird’s staff who were left jobless earlier in the year, came fighting back.

Tracy Mattey, Maureen Lidgett and Dayna Smith opened their new sandwich shop, Fresh To Go ,on Bridge Place.

They received “overwhelming” support from their loyal customers who were glad to see them back.

Tracy said: “I couldn’t believe how many customers we had, to say it was out very first day.

“Of course, we were all a little daunted – who wouldn’t be? But we needn’t have worried.

“It was lovely because people walking past the shop recognised us from Bird’s and were coming in to say hello.”

AUGUST

The community rallied together to raise vital funds for terminally-ill Worksop man, Liam Buckley.

Liam was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in 2014 – but that didn’t stop him from achieving his goals.

The Sheffield Hallam University aerospace graduate fed a tiger, saw the Red Arrows and went to Silverstone to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

His last wish was to visit the seaside with his family – and a close friend set about making it come true.

Debbie Johnston-Sparkles launched an online fundraising page which eventually raised more than £3,000.

Thanks to some very generous donations, Liam and his family visited Bridlington and Primrose Valley and created some “special memories”.

The 23-year-old sadly lost his life in October at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield.

SEPTEMBER

The new £3.2 million bus station was officially opened in the town.

The modern facility, which is jointly run by Bassetlaw District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, is located at the junction of Newcastle Avenue and Watson Road.

The bus station was warmly welcomed, with passengers no longer having to wait for their buses in the cold and rain on Hardy Street.

There is also now a new café inside, run by Worksop-born man Steve Batty’s retail company Nosh Retail.

Steve, who founded his company in 2006, said: “I was born and bred in Worksop and as a result I know the area very well.

“This new development is an ideal opportunity for my company to become part of my hometown.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing our welcoming, friendly culture to the new bus station.

OCTOBER

The Worksop Guardian Community Awards 2015 were a great success, as we celebrated our unsung heroes at the Masonic Hall.

The rose and school awards were merged for the first time ever, creating an extra special night.

We heard some truly breathtaking stories from people who had gone beyond the call of duty to help others.

The overall winner, chosen by our readers, was Nick Challenger, for his tireless efforts directing Wales Methodist Panto Players, a theatre company which has been running in the area since 1944.

Friend Rachel Habergham, who made the nomination, said: “Not only does he appear on stage, he does a lot of work behind the scenes to allow so many people from the community to get involved with the shows.”

And Nick told the Guardian: “I’ve been with the Wales Panto Players for 20 years and became their director four years ago.

“It’s great to be given a Guardian rose – very emotional.”

NOVEMBER

Three Bassetlaw war heroes were presented with Legion d’honneur medals on behalf of the French President.

Worksop veterans Ken Beard, aged 93, and91-year-old Alan Harvey, and Geoff Lister, 89, of Retford, were handed the awards by French Consul Jean Claude La Fontaine at Retford Town Hall.

The heroes were presented with the medals for their roles in liberating France from German occupation in the Second World War.

John Mann, Bassetlaw MP , said: “These three men fought during the Second World War to liberate France and selflessly put their lives on the line in order to free a nation under occupation, but also fought to protect and defend our freedoms at home in Britain.”

DECEMBER

Superstar Bailey Matthews rounded off a whirlwind of a year by claiming the Helen Rollason prize at the BBC’s national Sports Personality of the Year awards in Belfast.

The nine-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, stole the hearts of the nation after a video of him completing his ever triathlon went viral.

The footage showed the youngster crossing the finishing line without his walking aid –- and has since been viewed more than 80 million times.

Following the triathlon in July, Bailey shot to national fame and was also handed a Child of Courage Award at the Pride of Britain Awards.

His family say they have received messages of support from all over the world from people inspired by him.

Tthe winners at this year’s Worksop Guardian Community Awards

Bailey met David Beckham at Pride of Britain Awards

Popular Bird’s butchers closed after 113 years

A rhea had police in a flap after escaping.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann at the general election.

Emma and Keith Hampson.

A thumbs-up from Bailey Matthews.

REVIEW OF 2015: Stories that made the headlines in Worksop this year

Although it is hard to believe, another year is coming to an end in Worksop.

Throughout the last 12 months, your Guardian has reported on some amazing stories.

From the truly inspiring efforts of Bailey Matthews, to the selfless snapper who photographed a couple’s wedding for free after he found out the groom was terminally ill.

And what about the “big bird” that led the police on a merry chase through Carlton-in-Lindrick? It certainly had them in a flap.

Here are some of the stories which made the headlines in 2015...

JANUARY

Worksop’s Lee Westwood reportedly saved a British millionaire from drowning in Barbados.

Colin Davies, a businessman from Solihull, said the golfer, aged 41, saved his life when he got into difficulties in the Atlantic Ocean.

Mr Davies, who has Parkinson’s disease. said his wife, Linda, could not hear his screams, but holidaymakers nearby raised the alarm.

Mr Westwood was apparently the first person to react and jumped into the sea to save him.

Mr Davies said: “If there is a power looking over us, I hope he takes note and delivers three Majors to this kind and gentle human being.

“As soon as I entered I realised I was in trouble. My legs wouldn’t move, and my wife Linda was out of earshot.”

“By the panic that affects a man when faced with the end of his days I found enough strength to try to reach the beach, I became frightened and called out for help.

“My wife returned to our part of the beach, packed up the stuff and headed for the room.

“A man some way from the incident asked me if I knew the man who had helped me, still in a mild shock, I replied ‘no’.

“The beach Samaritan was Lee Westwood.”

FEBRUARY

A loving couple were finally given the go-ahead to lay a headstone at their daughter’s grave after a public backlash caused a town council to back down.

Keith and Emma Hampson, of Bircotes, received the devastating news that their daughter, Evelyn Barbara, had no heartbeat and had died on January 23 when Emma was 37-weeks pregnant.

Three days later, Evelyn was born at Bassetlaw Hospital and Keith and Emma were able to spend the next 48 hours with her before laying her to rest at Harworth Cemetery.

The couple wanted to have the Disney character Eeyore on the headstone at their daughter’s grave, but Harworth and Bircotes Town Council initially turned down the plans.

However, the decision was reversed after a petition received 2,000 signatures in just 24 hours.

The husband and wife eventually put the headstone in place in September.

Keith said: “We have always liked Disney and wanted something that would represent a child.

“I did not want a black and morbid headstone. We wanted something a bit more child friendly. We wanted it to be a celebration area rather than a place where we go to be upset.”

MARCH

It was shock to everyone, including the staff at Bird’s butchers in Worksop, when they were told the doors would be shutting for good after 113 years of trading.

The business employed about 35 people in total, with branches in Mansfield and Sutton.

The news was met with sadness, from workers who visited every day to those who travelled specially into town to collect their meat and sarnies.

A company statement at the time said: “Over the past few years, it has become more and more difficult to compete with larger companies and the ever-changing high street and, although we have always prided ourselves with the quality of our products and the fact that we have provided jobs for local people since 1902, we can no longer sustain the business.”

That wasn’t the end for the Bird’s girls though...

APRIL

A selfless Worksop snapper showed generosity like no other as he captured the moment a tearful bride tied the knot with her terminally ill husband – for free.

Trudy and Mitch Baker decided to get married after 17 years together.

But the couple were left devastated when Mitch was diagnosed with terminal cancer, forcing them to plan their wedding within six weeks on a small budget and potentially without a photographer.

But after Shaun Bailey, of New Focus Photography, Worksop, was approached by Trudy’s friend Karen Stephenson, he decided to step in and offer his services for free of charge.

Trudy said: “Me and Mitch both cried, it really restored our faith in people.”

MAY

There might have been a shock in the General Election with the Conservatives defying the polls and claiming victory, but there was no surprise in Bassetlaw as MP John Mann retained his seat on what was a very disappointing night for Labour as a number of high key figures lost their seats.

Mr Mann polled 23,965 votes to secure a majority of 8,843.

Conservative Sarah Downes came second on 15,122; David Scott, of UKIP, was third with 7,865; Liberal Democrat Leon Duveen polled 1,331 and Green Party candidate Kris Wragg was fifth, with 1,006 votes.

JUNE

An ostrich-like bird, known as a rhea, escaped from a private collection in Carlton-in-Lindrick, causing Nottinghamshire Police to issue a safety warning.

The 6ft bird, native to South America, had officers in a flap as they warned parents, particularly those with small children, to be on their guard.

The rhea was said to “pose a real threat” due to its size and aggressive nature.

There were numerous sightings, including one eyewitness who spotted it “up Gateford”.

It was eventually found four days later at Hodsock Priory Farm and returned to its owner.

JULY

In true Worksop spirit, some of the Bird’s staff who were left jobless earlier in the year, came fighting back.

Tracy Mattey, Maureen Lidgett and Dayna Smith opened their new sandwich shop, Fresh To Go ,on Bridge Place.

They received “overwhelming” support from their loyal customers who were glad to see them back.

Tracy said: “I couldn’t believe how many customers we had, to say it was out very first day.

“Of course, we were all a little daunted – who wouldn’t be? But we needn’t have worried.

“It was lovely because people walking past the shop recognised us from Bird’s and were coming in to say hello.”

AUGUST

The community rallied together to raise vital funds for terminally-ill Worksop man, Liam Buckley.

Liam was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in 2014 – but that didn’t stop him from achieving his goals.

The Sheffield Hallam University aerospace graduate fed a tiger, saw the Red Arrows and went to Silverstone to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

His last wish was to visit the seaside with his family – and a close friend set about making it come true.

Debbie Johnston-Sparkles launched an online fundraising page which eventually raised more than £3,000.

Thanks to some very generous donations, Liam and his family visited Bridlington and Primrose Valley and created some “special memories”.

The 23-year-old sadly lost his life in October at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield.

SEPTEMBER

The new £3.2 million bus station was officially opened in the town.

The modern facility, which is jointly run by Bassetlaw District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, is located at the junction of Newcastle Avenue and Watson Road.

The bus station was warmly welcomed, with passengers no longer having to wait for their buses in the cold and rain on Hardy Street.

There is also now a new café inside, run by Worksop-born man Steve Batty’s retail company Nosh Retail.

Steve, who founded his company in 2006, said: “I was born and bred in Worksop and as a result I know the area very well.

“This new development is an ideal opportunity for my company to become part of my hometown.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing our welcoming, friendly culture to the new bus station.

OCTOBER

The Worksop Guardian Community Awards 2015 were a great success, as we celebrated our unsung heroes at the Masonic Hall.

The rose and school awards were merged for the first time ever, creating an extra special night.

We heard some truly breathtaking stories from people who had gone beyond the call of duty to help others.

The overall winner, chosen by our readers, was Nick Challenger, for his tireless efforts directing Wales Methodist Panto Players, a theatre company which has been running in the area since 1944.

Friend Rachel Habergham, who made the nomination, said: “Not only does he appear on stage, he does a lot of work behind the scenes to allow so many people from the community to get involved with the shows.”

And Nick told the Guardian: “I’ve been with the Wales Panto Players for 20 years and became their director four years ago.

“It’s great to be given a Guardian rose – very emotional.”

NOVEMBER

Three Bassetlaw war heroes were presented with Legion d’honneur medals on behalf of the French President.

Worksop veterans Ken Beard, aged 93, and91-year-old Alan Harvey, and Geoff Lister, 89, of Retford, were handed the awards by French Consul Jean Claude La Fontaine at Retford Town Hall.

The heroes were presented with the medals for their roles in liberating France from German occupation in the Second World War.

John Mann, Bassetlaw MP , said: “These three men fought during the Second World War to liberate France and selflessly put their lives on the line in order to free a nation under occupation, but also fought to protect and defend our freedoms at home in Britain.”

DECEMBER

Superstar Bailey Matthews rounded off a whirlwind of a year by claiming the Helen Rollason prize at the BBC’s national Sports Personality of the Year awards in Belfast.

The nine-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, stole the hearts of the nation after a video of him completing his ever triathlon went viral.

The footage showed the youngster crossing the finishing line without his walking aid –- and has since been viewed more than 80 million times.

Following the triathlon in July, Bailey shot to national fame and was also handed a Child of Courage Award at the Pride of Britain Awards.

His family say they have received messages of support from all over the world from people inspired by him.