Review of the year: July to September

Romsey Advertiser: Winchester city centre is turned into one large performance venue, as some 69,000 people at the Hat Fair are entertained by a variety of weird and wacky acts Winchester city centre is turned into one large performance venue, as some 69,000 people at the Hat Fair are entertained by a variety of weird and wacky acts

JULY

AS summer kicks in, Winchester City Football Club announces big plans for the future. It opens discussions with the city council over a £1.5m project to install an Astroturf pitch, a two-thirds size training pitch, improve the clubhouse and build a new 500-seat stand at the Denplan City Ground, Abbotts Barton.

David Malone, director of football, says: “The council is considering this proposal with a view to funding, or part-funding the development and then leasing the ground to us.”

High drama in a quiet Winchester suburb as horrified neighbours describe the moments after a teenager impales himself on a fence.

For more than half-an-hour, Daniel Howie, 13, is trapped on a cast-iron railing outside Peter Symonds College, before being released by firefighters. Safety concerns are raised, but the lad makes a quick recovery and his father says he does not blame the college.

“Kids are kids. I probably would have done the same myself. I can’t blame someone else for this.”

Winchester city centre is turned into one large performance venue, as some 69,000 people at the Hat Fair are entertained by a variety of weird and wacky acts, like the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit, who lead a singalong at the tea party. The attendance matches the street festival’s biggest turnout set in 2010.

Thousands line the streets of Winchester to give a hero’s welcome to Hampshire troops returning from the front line. Well-wishers cheer, applaud and wave flags as the soldiers of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, “The Tigers”, march proudly through the city. They have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and it emerges this month that they are set to return to the latter.

AUGUST

Winchester Cathedral receives a £10.5m cash boost to help fund a £19m regeneration project. Research is also set to begin on the bones of Anglo-Saxon kings kept in the cathedral’s six mortuary chests.

The Heritage Lottery Grant funding is to be divided among several projects, including repairing the roof and medieval windows, improving the education centre, revamping the sound system and lighting. It will also support three new exhibitions.

Talented riders from across the county take part in the final round of the Hampshire Motocross Championship 2013, in aid of Soton-based charity, Leukaemia Busters.

Thousands descend on Matterley Basin, near Winchester, to enjoy the entertainment, which includes live music and a beer tent, before the adrenaline-fuelled action gets under way, with top riders, Scott Elderfield and Ross Hill, wowing the crowds.

Meonstoke goes quackers as it is invaded by a flotilla of plastic ducks. Residents clamber round the banks of the River Meon to get a good look at the action. The Great Duck Race sets off near the Buck’s Head pub and the annual event sees the children’s race won by Caitlyn Humphrys, beating all- comers and raising her plastic duck in triumph.

The number needing emergency food packages has rocketed. Families approaching the Winchester Basics Bank in July doubles from 29, to 59 in 2013. Spokesman, Moira Knapman, says: “That is an amazing hike. We think the numbers are up 13 per cent on last year. Families are coming because there are not any school meals at the moment, and they have got the kids at home.”

Hatherley Road continues to stake its claim as the Coronation Street of the South. The road where youngster Daniel Howie impaled himself a few weeks ago sees a housing development go up in flames. Residents flee their homes as a “wall of fire” swallows the building site. Forty firefighters battle the blaze, but a partial collapse of the building ensues. Police believe it is arson and later issue CCTV images of people they would like to speak to.

SEPTEMBER

A Hampshire couple are battling to raise funds for life-changing surgery for their daughter.

Jo and Andrew Syvret, of Otterbourne, need to raise £90,000 to send five-year-old Jemima to the USA for surgery and intense physiotherapy in a bid to help her walk on her own.

Born with quadriplegia, a type of cerebral palsy and weighing only 2lb 11oz, she has endured numerous infections and a stomach condition.

After being told that strict UK criteria would not enable Jemima to be considered, the family’s only option is to look abroad for the best care, as they strive to raise £40,000.

It’s the start of an ongoing headache for the city council, with residents furious when the Chronicle reveals a replacement leisure centre could see River Park doubling in size, at an estimated cost of £25m.

The council proposes building on playing field next to the centre to meet the needs of a growing population. It would mean losing a cricket pitch and green open space and residents start work on a campaign for greater transparency over the plans.

Villagers turn out in droves for Littleton & Harestock Show, which offers the attractions of a village fete and the competitive edge of the horticultural tent. The floral and craft-making skills of residents look alive and well, with scores of entries and no fewer than 26 submissions in the fruit cake section. Barton Stacey Jubilee Trad Band offer easy-listening jazz, before the Hook Eagles Morris Dancers perform their moves. Jonathan Hurley celebrates as his pet, Tia, wins the ferret race.

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