Link road launch made 2016 momentous year

Photo Neil Cross
Damage to Ranch House bar after major fire on Marine Rd West
Photo Neil Cross Damage to Ranch House bar after major fire on Marine Rd West

JULY

Calls for work to start on a new Morecambe shopping park intensified after a major fire wrecked an empty seafront pub.

Seven-year-old Euan Hird is recovering following an escalator accident

Seven-year-old Euan Hird is recovering following an escalator accident

As an arson enquiry was launched at the Ranch House, the deputy leader of Lancaster City Council and the pub’s former boss called for developers to get on with the “long overdue” £17m Bay Shopping Park.

Hoteliers welcomed a new report calling for the government to help ‘forgotten seaside towns’ like Morecambe fight back from decades of decline.

The inquest called for a seven point plan to boost seaside towns including the appointment of a “seaside tsar”.

A new witchcraft shop opened in Lancaster selling everything from dried crows feet to graveyard dirt.

The Burger King safe was robbed of �8,500 just hours after the opening of the store in Morecambe.

The Burger King safe was robbed of �8,500 just hours after the opening of the store in Morecambe.

The shop called ‘Bell, Book and Candle’ on Sun Street, was centred around the occult and was selling everything needed for a ritual, love potion and protection spell.

Youth gangs had been running amok in the West End of Morecambe.

Damage to the West End Gardens, Breeze Cafe and Alexandra Park had been blamed on the gangs and there were also reports they were using and dealing drugs and attacking passers-by.

AUGUST

Coun Robert Redfern, mayor of Lancaster, and his wife the mayoress Linda Redfern at the opening of Burger King in Morecambe.

Coun Robert Redfern, mayor of Lancaster, and his wife the mayoress Linda Redfern at the opening of Burger King in Morecambe.

Britain’s biggest family expanded even more with the birth of child number 19.

Proud parents Noel and Sue Radford from Morecambe welcomed their new baby girl Phoebe Willow.

The cost of the Heysham M6 link road had risen by more than £16m, said councillors.

A review of the county council’s accounts showed that the road was expecting an overrun of at least £16.6m with one councillor describing the additional cost as a “calamity.”

Photo Neil Cross
Tony and Julie Wiles are still coming to terms with the suicide of their son just over a year ago. A special memorial fountain has been built in the garden for their son Stevie

Photo Neil Cross Tony and Julie Wiles are still coming to terms with the suicide of their son just over a year ago. A special memorial fountain has been built in the garden for their son Stevie

A schoolboy from Carnforth who suffered horrific injuries on a holiday when his foot got mangled in an escalator was still recovering a year on.

Euan Hird, aged seven, of Windermere Road, Carnforth, was only 20 minutes away from having to have his foot amputated when it became stuck in the bottom step of an escalator at the Gateway shopping centre in Durban in July 2015.

Burger King was due to officially open its doors in the Arndale Centre in Morecambe.

The restaurant chain had taken over the former Welcome Cafe.

The 80 seater restaurant would create approximately 30 new job opportunities in the community.

A gang of burglars broke into Morecambe’s new Burger King and stole £8,500 just hours after the restaurant officially opened.

Pest controller Ron Haygarth with his beloved Dillon, the council ratcatcher dog.

Pest controller Ron Haygarth with his beloved Dillon, the council ratcatcher dog.

Four men wearing hoods and masks used a crowbar to break in through the front door just 45 minutes after staff left the premises after the restaurant’s first full day of trading.

SEPTEMBER

The family of a man from Morecambe who took his own life out of the blue spoke out a year after his death.

Stevie Wiles, 33, a well-known joiner, was found dead at his home in Morecambe in 2015.

Stevie’s mum and dad Julie and Tony urged other young men contemplating suicide to seek help to avoid the devastation it left behind for families.

A tragic chain of events led to the death of many of the Chinese cocklers in the bay disaster of 2004, a top cop revealed.

Inspector Geoff Tagg said that 35 Chinese cocklers in Morecambe were locked up on suspicion of being illegal immigrants just two weeks before the tragedy. But they were released pending further investigation.

Geoff said: “Some of those people subsequently died in the cockling disaster.”

Mindless vandals trampled and destroyed a flower and vegetable garden that schoolchildren planted themselves.

Staff and pupils at West End Primary School were left annoyed and upset after the damage was caused to the school garden.

OCTOBER

A £75,000 statue of Britain’s best-loved comedy duo was to be unveiled in Blackpool in November less than a year after a similar plan was scrapped in Morecambe.

The 8ft tall bronze sculpture of Morecambe and Wise would be revealed at the Winter Garden.

A craze where people dressed up as clowns to frighten residents appeared to have hit Morecambe.

Police issued a light-hearted warning following numerous reports of clown sightings in the town.

A petition calling for a mini-roundabout at the Broadway junction in Morecambe attracted hundreds of supporters.

Bernard Vause, of Farringford Court, set up the petition which also called for traffic calming measures on Dallam Avenue.

A city council pest controller paid tribute to his trusty sidekick - Dillon the rat-catcher dog, who died in his arms at the age of 19.

Ron Haygarth and Dillon were a double act for 18 years flushing out rats from homes, offices and farms to stop the spread of disease.

The tiny Cairn-Dandy Dinmont cross destroyed more than 150 rats during his career.

NOVEMBER

The new £140m Bay Gateway opened to traffic with up to 25,000 vehicles expected to use it each day. Jane Larton from Torrisholme, one of the first motorists to use the new road, said: “It’s wonderful, fantastic! I’m here from the motorway in no time, only three minutes!.”

The new road was 68 years in the making.

A fundraising campaign was launched to help treat a brave little cat who spent a week crawling home after his back legs and pelvis were broken.

Tommy, a nine-month-old house cat, owned by Helen Cleece and her daughter Maddison, had gone missing from a a caravan site near Animal Care in Lancaster.

It was thought he had been hit by a car and dragged himself home using his front legs.

An operation for Tommy was expected to cost £4000.

One of Britain’s greatest ever Olympians praised a Heysham primary school.

Jessica Ennis-Hill visited pupils and paretnts at Trumacar Nursery and Community Primary School. Jessica, Olympic gold medallist for heptathlon at the 2012 London Olympic Games, visited the school after they won a nationwide competition.

Speed restrictions and safety measures were to be put in place on the Bay Gateway after several vehicles crashed headlong into a roundabout.

Since the new road opened three weeks before, there had been numerous incidents at the Beaumont roundabout, which leads on to the A6.

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects at Lancaster City legend Neil Marshall’s funeral service.

Lancaster’s Priory Church was packed in tribute to the father-of-two, who passed away on November 16 at the age of just 31 following a battle with cancer.

Neil enjoyed a 10 year career at Lancaster City, and was club captain when he retired at the end of the 2015/2015 season.

DECEMBER

The Argos store in Morecambe’s Arndale Centre was to close in 2017 and move into the town’s Sainsbury’s supermarket instead.

The Arndale shop was due to shut on February 21 and the new digital outlet was due to open inside the Lancaster Road supermarket the following day.

The Argos within Homebase near Morrisons would also close.

A student was inspired to become a nurse after her cousin died in a road traffic accident.

Overton resident Elena Higginson, 21, who has qualified and now works at Royal Preston Hospital as a children’s nurse, had always wanted to work with children.

But it was when her 10-year-old cousin George Higginson was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in Overton in 2009 that she decided the way to do this was through nursing.

Film fans did a double take when a Stormtrooper wandered in to a Lancaster cinema and bought a ticket for the new Star Wars epic.

Simon Hogg enjoys an alternative life where he dresses up as a Star Wars character to raise money for charoty at scientific conventions across the UK.

As a massive fan of the franchise he just had to purchase his ticket to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the Vue cinema in full Stormtrooper garb!

A woman rescued five turkeys, including a disabled bird, from becoming Christmas dinner.

Tina Wilkinson, who ownes Hedwigs House chicken sanctuary in Hest Bank, named the rescue turkeys Flo, Poppy, Hope, Holly and Mistletoe.

Sadly, one of the turkeys called Flo was disabled and could not walk and Tina said her future remained uncertain.

Jane Larton from Torrisholme, one of the first motorists to use the Bay Gateway, gives it a big thumbs up.

Jane Larton from Torrisholme, one of the first motorists to use the Bay Gateway, gives it a big thumbs up.

Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill visits Trumacar Primary School, in Heysham.

Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill visits Trumacar Primary School, in Heysham.

Friends and family at the funeral of former Lancaster City FC captain Neil Marshall at the Priory Church, Lancaster.

Friends and family at the funeral of former Lancaster City FC captain Neil Marshall at the Priory Church, Lancaster.

Elena Higginson.

Elena Higginson.

Photo Neil Cross
Tina Wilkinson, who owns Hedwig House chicken sanctuary, has rescued five turkeys, including Flo, who is disabled, from becoming Christmas dinner

Photo Neil Cross Tina Wilkinson, who owns Hedwig House chicken sanctuary, has rescued five turkeys, including Flo, who is disabled, from becoming Christmas dinner