Exmouth Review of the Year - January to March

PUBLISHED: 11:30 31 December 2011

The Mini Imps from the StageCalls Theatre school are pictured in rehearsals for their latest production 'Bug Squad' on Saturday.  Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 3208-13-11SH

The Mini Imps from the StageCalls Theatre school are pictured in rehearsals for their latest production 'Bug Squad' on Saturday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 3208-13-11SH

Archant

A look back at events in Exmouth in 2011

JANUARY

Exmouth’s mayor, Darryl Nicholas, pledged to find out why residential areas and side streets were all but inaccessible during the big freeze.

After a week of gridlock on Exmouth’s housing estates, Cllr Nicholas vowed to get to the bottom of Devon County Council’s current and future snow strategy for the town, after the elderly and vulnerable were left housebound.

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Withycombe’s 12-year-old Raymond O’Sullivan started to receive special medical treatment which, it was hoped, would enable him to beat off cancer for the second time in his life.

Raymond, of Green Close, jetted to Amsterdam to receive brachytherapy, a form of radiotherapy, in an attempt to overcome the illness, called orbital rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the eye.

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A self-taught Colony leather tailor, who began as a teenager making his own clothes in the attic, scooped a contract to supply the Metropolitan Police’s entire motorcycle division.

Businessman Brian Sansom, founder of BKS, of New North Road, said the contract for leather motorcycle trousers would double his production.

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Tax payers who watched Exmouth turn into a sea of bin bags hit out at East Devon District Council for not catching up on rubbish collections over the festive period.

Some residents, concerned about preying seagulls and vermin, had only had their waste taken away this around one month after the previous pick-up, due to bad weather.

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The principal of Exmouth Community College had to be airlifted to hospital after being involved in an horrific crash.

Tony Alexander sustained a number of injuries as a result of the incident, which happened as he travelled home on the A31 near Dorchester.

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There were fears that council cuts to natural coastal defences on Exmouth seafront could render Queens Drive impassable for parts of the year.

Marram grass, lining the crest of the seafront dunes, prevents sand from covering Queens Drive - and the budget for maintaining it was set to be for the chop.

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An Exmouth marine joked moments before he died in an explosion in Afghanistan, about how his wife would never forgive him if he was killed, an inquest heard.

Royal Marine Corporal Stephen ‘Whisky’ Walker was killed the previous May while tackling a bomb while on foot patrol in Helmand province.

Seconds before the bomb went off, a comrade heard Cpl Walker joke: “If anything goes off now, my wife will never forgive me.”

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FEBRUARY

Staff at Exmouth Community College were looking forward to a bright new chapter in the school’s history after being given the green light to become an academy.

The college, one of the largest secondary schools in Europe, had received confirmation from the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP, in approving a change of status.

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Concert-goers were refused entry to a gig at Exmouth Pavilion because of counterfeit tickets.

Leisure East Devon, which manages the venue, said an event, called The Big Gig, was marred by the circulation of such tickets, which resulted in more people seeking entry than the venue was licensed to accommodate.

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Double leg amputee James Iveson, 52, from Brixington was left almost speechless when an ambulanceman threatened not to take him to hospital - because he had the wrong shaped wheelchair.

Said retired paraplegic basketball player James, of Fraser Road: “He said drivers were no longer allowed to pick up patients with lowbacked sports-type wheelchairs. They had taken me to the operation 10 days earlier - without saying a word.”

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Café owners in The Strand feared that a new two-floor café would put them out of business and cost scores of local jobs and collected an 838-name petition in protest.

Plans for a new £400,000 glass-walled ‘Pavilion’ on the site of the old Strand shelter, complete with information point, bus shelter and performance area with proposals for a two-floor café, were lodged by the county council.

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Due to spend her last Valentine’s Day as an unmarried person, a loved-up Exmouth woman spoke about the shock of how her fiancé proposed.

Debra Sinclair, of Birch Road, was stunned when her partner, Simon Standbury, got down on one knee in the snow after the Christmas Day Swim, wearing nothing put swimming trunks.

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The parents of an Exmouth tennis ace caught up in the deadly New Zealand earthquake breathed a huge sigh of relief after discovering their daughter was safe.

Bob and Ann Louis, of Douglas Avenue, had a nightmare wake-up call as they heard of the 6.3 magnitude quake on the radio, which happened within touching distance of their daughter, Jo.

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A retired tail-gunner on a World War Two bomber is on the cusp of winning a 60-year battle to honour his comrades.

Exton’s Joe Williams, 88, had been told his bid to build permanent tribute to all bomber crews had been granted permission.

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MARCH

An Exmouth mother was preparing for a hair-raising charity skydive to raise money for the hospital that saved her daughter, Madison’s life.

When the daughter of Jade Johnston, 19, was born she had a condition called gastroschisis, meaning her bowels, appendix and stomach were outside her body. Following emergency key-hole surgery, after eight weeks, Madison was allowed to go home with her mother.

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Town money was to be spent to ‘hire’ the district council and pay them £24,000 this year to maintain Exmouth’s flowers, a service which just two years ago they did for free.

The town’s finance committee voted, for the second year in succession, to spend the cash following cuts to the district council’s StreetScene service, which had previously done the work.

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Exmouth police cracked down on anti-social behaviour and asked the public to become the ears and eyes of the town.

Officers said an increase in antisocial behaviour in the town centre had prompted police to appeal for help catching the culprits responsible.

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Exmouth was earmarked to become the centre of the cycling world – with the town pulling in thousands of extra visitors and being televised around the globe.

The Tour of Britain organisers were set to announce that Exmouth’s seafront has been chosen as one of the finishing stages of the eight-leg cycle race.

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Speculation was mounting that Prince William was to visit Exmouth to take part in a variety of watersports for his stag party.

Reports suggested the future king of England would mark the end of his bachelorhood by enjoying off-shore activities. These were later disproved.

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Exmouth youngsters inhaling deadly laughing gas were dicing with death to get ‘high’, the police warned.

Officers said an increase in the use of nitrous oxide by gangs of youths in Exmouth has prompted them to highlight the danger of the activity.

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Cancer sufferer Raymond O’Sullivan, was so glad to be back at school after receiving radiotherapy treatment that he regularly polished his shoes in eagerness of each day’s study.

Unlike most youngsters cringing at the prospect of sitting in a classroom, Raymond, of Green Close, could not wait to visit his friends and teachers at Exmouth Community College.

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Thirty-two families hoping to place children in their first school were set to be told that there was no room in the area.

There have been 472 applications for only 440 state primary places available.

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