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Review of the Year Part Two

  • 16/11/13 Christmas lights - Market Place, AshbourneSwitching on the Ashbourne town lights with live concert by National Methodist Youth Band, Oompah band and lights switched on by Kevin Hector and Roger Davies, ex Rams players.
16/11/13 Christmas lights - Market Place, AshbourneSwitching on the Ashbourne town lights with live concert by National Methodist Youth Band, Oompah band and lights switched on by Kevin Hector and Roger Davies, ex Rams players.

The month started off as a busy one for news with reports of an overnight raid on Bennetts in St John Street. Thieves used a crowbar to force their way in through a back door and made off with hundreds of Barbour jackets - a haul worth at least £20,000.

July was also the month we began our ‘Take Five Minutes’ campaign, in response to news that our editor’s wife, Katherine Sinfield, had been diagnosed with Leukaemia. Katherine bravely agreed to be the public face of the campaign, which we used to promote the ease at which people could help Leukaemia sufferers around the world.

Five minutes is all it takes to sign up to give blood, or to research how to become a bone marrow donor. Katherine’s diary updates allowed us to see the world through the eyes of a Leukaemia sufferer as she underwent chemotherapy and Doctors searched for a bone marrow match for her.

July was the month when we all enjoyed a welcome return of summer. For around three glorious weeks the sun blazed and we all made the most of our ‘heatwave’ and temperatures of more than 30C.

It was announced that the Coach and Horses, in Dig Street, was to have a huge makeover with pub company Punch Taverns announcing it would be spending £300,000 on the building.

MP Patrick McLoughlin, the minister for transport, publicly declared the Windmill Lane junction at the top of Buxton Road the ‘worst junction in the Derbyshire Dales’ during a meeting of the Ashbourne and District 50+ Forum. The crossing, which is blind from both directions of the A515, was cited as one of the many reasons Ashbourne needed a bypass - something the county council would have to push for, he said.

Our team of Red Bull Soapbox racers, from Mark’s Butchers in Shaw Croft, safely finished the famous race in London, finishing fifth out of 69 teams and raising more than £2,000 for charity.

We exclusively announced the planned arrival of a massive classic motorbike festival, Thundersprint, at Darley Moor Race Circuit in May and Ofsted said they were impressed by the progress made by QEGS following its poor Ofsted.

The wild weather of 2013 took an unexpected turn in late JUly as the heatwave turned to flash floods with summer storms descending on the area. Roads, homes and businesses were affected by the sudden deluge.

Thankfully, the Ashbourne Highland Gathering, narrowly avoided the storm and it was a success this year, bolstering its future as one of the town’s favourite summer events.

We took a look at the on-going progress of a new veterinary centre off the A515 for town centre vet’s firm McMurtry and Harding. Progress seemed slow through much of 2013 until later in the year when the structure of the building began to shoot up.

July ended with gridlock, as roadworks at Sturston Road leading to an hour of traffic misery for people entering and leaving the town. Western Power Distribution, which was carrying out repairs, apologised for the disruption and promised it had been kept to a minimum.

Summer deluges returned towards the end of the month which almost led to disaster for ‘Osfest’, a free music festival at the Ostrich in Longford, but the weekend proved a soggy success.

And we waved goodbye to News Telegraph reporter Natalie Wakefield, who left the paper after nearly four years in pursuit of a career in PR with a company just up the road from our office.


Summer 2013 saw one of the biggest responses to a news story we have seen in recent years as Cedar House Investments offered an alternative to the construction of a multi-user path linking Ashbourne with Waterside Park, running behind St Oswald’s Hospital. The firm suggested the money might be channeled into a local project of some sort rather than constructing a path that would inevitably flood. Our letters page was busy with responses for weeks, most people being in favour of sticking to the plan and building the footpath.

Ashbourne made the first steps towards forming a neighbourhood plan for the town with a committee formed to pull the community together in deciding how to shape Ashbourne over the coming years.

A Facebook page set up to support a plan to install defibrillators in Ashbourne became incredibly popular and the fund-raising project, led by Ashbourne Town Councillor Ann Smith became one of the most successful in the town’s history.

Y-Not Festival showed off why it is one of the country’s best-loved music events, by holding another successful festival in Pikehall, with thousands attending over the weekend.

We broke the sad news that Ashbourne Coffee Stop in Shaw Croft was due to close. It was to be another of the year’s biggest stories as Susan Rowley’s loyal customers rallied round to fight the decision that had been made at a planning appeal. The popular cafe was given until December to find new premises but that was cold comfort for its customers, many of whom were elderly or disabled and said they had nowhere else to go.

Planning officer Jon Bradbury recommended that the district council planning committee refuse an application for 190 homes on land at Hillside Farm as the development would be ‘inherently unsustainable, unwarranted and encroaching’. Later in the year a similar application was recommended for approval and, to halt an on-going appeal that could have been costly for the tax-payer, the second application was allowed through.

August was Ashbourne Show month and this year’s event dodged the worst of the rain as summer had made a return to form by August. It was another successful event overall with thousands turning out to support it.

Jewellery firm CW Sellors announced ambitious plans for a jewellery ‘centre of excellence’ near to Carsington Water and Dovedale Sheep Dog Trials took place at Blore Pastures, near Ilam.

Dozens of teenagers collected their A-Level in August and staff at QEGS breathed a sigh of relief as its pupils achieved a strong set of results in what had been a turbulent year.

Leukaemia sufferer Katherine Sinfield finally returned home after her long spell in hospital following her diagnosis and a 49-year-old woman died on the A52 near Ednaston in a three-car crash.

GCSE results at QEGS were also strong, which was another much-needed boost for the Green Road school and we exclusively announced that fashion store Young Ideas was planning a move to the Green Man.


Plans were formally submitted in September for the town’s new dedicated football pitch, which had won support from developers Cedar House Investments and the National Lottery.

A low energy ‘Passivhaus’ was mooted for construction in Belle Vue Road. Despite winning praise from Ashbourne Town Council it was turned down by Derbyshire Dales District Council when it came under the auspices of planners later in the year.

Former hunt master The Right Honourable Johnny Greenall was credited with saving the life of his wife and three children after being forced to crash land his private plane shortly after take off.

And Carolyn Bointon began her training regime as the 47-year-old publicly announced she would be running next year’s London Marathon. As she had never really done any running before, she agreed to share her journey to fitness through News Telegraph readers on an online blog, which is still regularly updated on our website.

The Peak District National Park Authority announced it was to put up the prices of parking on its many car parks and Turnditch and Windley Show broke records with more visitors than ever.

71-year-old Enid Corker called in to Ashbourne to present a scroll to Mayor Steve Bull as part of a 200 mile sponsored walk for the Mercian Regiment.

The debate over the multi-user path behind St Oswald’s Hospital and Waterside park raged on and, in September, Ashbourne Town Council responded to the controversy by quizzing the district council over why the path had not been completed.

It was revealed that Ashbourne had been singled out by conservation experts as a water vole stronghold and memorial ornaments were stolen from Ashbourne Cemetery that had been placed to remember cancer victim Veronica Martin.

Strong winds made it a tough challenge for entrants in Ashbourne Half Marathon and Fun Run and there was fun to be had at Hartington Wakes, which took place in September.

The story of Leukaemia sufferer Katherine Sinfield took a joyous twist in September as Doctors announced they had found a bone marrow match and a date was set for her transplant.

A planning application was submitted to turn the Miraj Hotel into a care home and we welcomed sergeant Denis Murphy to Ashbourne, who has since become a familiar face around the town.


October began with news gleaned from the first set of announcements over a raft of cuts that were due to hit the county’s fire service. Ashbourne’s station, it was revealed, was not one of the many due for closure.

A 94-year-old former technology teacher became a hit on Youtube after showing off his wood-working skills on a short film and a jug unearthed in the grounds of the Kedleston estate sold for £30,000 at auction.

Sir Richard FitzHerbert went ‘wild in the aisles’ at the official opening of the town’s long-awaited new 99p Store in Waterside Park. He and Ruth Mallard won the chance to open the new store and take on a trolley dash before customers were invited to browse the items on sale for the first time.

Dawn raids led to the arrests of two people from a village near Ashbourne on suspicion of money laundering. The case is still on-going with the accused due to appear at Buxton Police Station early in 2014.

Brailsford Ploughing match was another big success and the Green Man Royal Hotel saw the first big milestone in its renaissance as fashion store Young Ideas completed a refit of its two former bars and moved in.

A Government planning inspector overturned a decision by our local representatives not to allow the construction of 65 homes on land off Willow Meadow Road - another development that had been knocked down the priority list at the formulation of the local plan. The land was later put up for sale.

Plans were submitted to convert Ashbourne’s library into a shop, cafe and craft workshop and a Bollywood banquet in Osmaston Park raised thousands for the Isabella Peatfield Memorial Charity.

The wild weather made yet another return in October with floods hitting many of the area’s roads and causing widespread travel disruption and police reported a spate in burglaries from outbuildings that had hit the area.

The good news that Ashbourne was not to lose its fire station came with a sting in the tail as we learned that plans were afoot as part of the reorganisation of the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service to scrap Ashbourne’s second engine. The fire and rescue officers were successful, with the help of the town, once before in saving it and a fight began in October to try and save it a second time.


The month began with news that the Ashbourne and District 50+ Forum was to quiz the bosses of St Oswald’s Hospital and those in charge of local health provision over the facility’s under-use, a scandal that had rumbled on throughout the year.

Heather Cairney, who had been a presenter and Journalist with Ashbourne Radio since the station’s early years, moved on to pastures new, leaving her popular breakfast show behind her and those that had given service to the annual Poppy Appeal were given awards at the Ex Servicemen’s Club.

The News Telegraph held a jumble sale to raise money for Antony Nolan and Cure Leukaemia and men everywhere started sporting facial hair as part of the annual Movember campaign to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues.

Ashbourne Fireworks display was another stunning success with its exciting 27-minute display on the recreation ground and an expat described his horror at watching the devastation unfold as Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines.

We reported on Ashbourne’s annual festival of rememberance, which was as popular and poignant as ever and a cherished family pet, Meg the labrador, was returned home after she disappeared during a break in at a farm in Kirk Ireton two months earlier.

Carolyn Bointon who, earlier in the year, had been blogging on the News Telegraph website about her training for the London Marathon, joined the team as its newest reporter.

We spoke to our former chief repoter Carol Frost about her appointment as president of the Ashbourne Shire Horse Society and what her role would bring to Ashbourne Show in 2014. and News Telegraph receptionist Grace Hazeldine gave birth to her second daughter Mia on her birthday.

Football legends Roger Davis and Kevin Hector were invited to switch on the town’s Christmas lights as the countdown to the festive season officially got underway in late November and the burgeoning town council event pulled in one of its biggest ever crowds.

Volunteers dug deep to spend the weekend planting dozens of trees in a new area of woodland in Ashbourne’s park while pressure mounted on the district council to pull together the local plan to close the door on further unwanted developments that were beginning to near the 1,000-homes mark.

Massive parts for the area’s first full-scale wind turbine at Carsington Pastures began to arrive and the blades that were to be mounted on the 100m high structures caused quite a stir as they were hauled on escorted lorries through the town centre and surrounding villages.


We broke the news that Ashbourne was to lose its Co-operative Bank as the group announced cuts to its high street presence and more plans were announced for the Green Man Royal Hotel with established town centre retailer Go Wilde signing up to be the second clothing store gearing up to move in.

There was more good news from the Ashbourne Defibrillator project, which had been a runaway success throughout the year and a huge outpouring of support leading to more of the potentially life-saving boxes being installed at key points in the town.

Following a year of mixed fortunes for Queen Elizabeths Grammar School and 12 months of stories of huge housing developments for the town the Green Road School’s head teacher Anne Martin spoke publicly about its capacity to expand and allow for a potential influx of pupils. It was a move to allay fears of prospective parents that the school could one day run out of space.

The Ashbourne Coffee Stop served its last coffee before obeying an enforcement notice imposed by planners that meant it had to go - but not before being given an award by throat cancer survivor Dennis Skidmore for all the support he had been given by Susan Rowley and her team.

All creatures great and small gathered at Ashbourne’s St Oswald’s Church for an annual celebration of animals service and we were battered by what was to become a regular feature in December - storms. Trees fell and homes lost power in the first of a series of very windy days and nights.

Carsington Pastures was completed in December and the first major wind farm in the area should start spinning any time.

Hundreds turned out to support the town’s late night shopping event and the weather held out to ensure everyone enjoyed a great start to the Christmas shopping bonanza.

Planners were accused of ‘sidestepping democracy’ after allowing the construction of 190 homes - a planning application that had weaved a thread of stories throughout 2013 and, in other planning news, the jewellery ‘centre of excellence’ was turned down because of its location while Ashbourne’s new football pitch was unanimously welcomed and approved.

Rounding off a bumber year of news our final edition of the year, published a day early on Christmas Eve, came with sad news that Ashbourne’s furniture recycling centre, Encore Reuse had been hit by a burglary and we took a look at school nativities, QEGS speech day and began the review of 2013 - a year of many headline-grabbing ups and downs for Ashbourne.