Ditch the big stories... here’s my proper news

Vincent HAle from Upperthorpe with the classical albums he wanDEAN ATKINSaway
Vincent HAle from Upperthorpe with the classical albums he wanDEAN ATKINSaway
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Phew! Well, that was quite some year. We found out beef burgers were probably horse, European embassies were probably bugged (by America) and Nigel Farage probably won’t be going back to Scotland in a hurry.

Open All Hours made a comeback, while Chris Huhne starred in his own personal episode of Porridge. Andy Murray became Wimbledon champion, Peter Capaldi became Doctor Who and the selfie became sadly ubiquitous.

But that was proper news for proper news pages.

If you’d been reading this here Diary, on the other hand, you may have learned the following (part two)...

Sheffield history crops up in the strangest places. Such as a loft in Ireland.

That’s where a book of minutes, dated 1832-1859, for one of the city’s most famous cricket sides, The Wednesday CC, was discovered.

The jewel - not previously known to exist - records not only the club’s infancy (and a period long before it gave birth to the more famous football team), it also captures the earliest days of organised sport in the city.

“I’m 63,” said club chairman Neville Wright in July. “But when I found out about this I was nearly doing somersaults.”

It’s now in storage at Sheffield Archives.

Your nana might cry if you get a tattoo of her. That was the reaction of Craig Hartley’s grandma, Christine Stuchbery.

The 27-year-old Barnsley boy celebrated his grandparents 50 years of marriage by having their wedding photo inked permanently on his forearm. It cost £180. But when Christine and husband Brian, of Mapplewell saw it, she burst into tears.

“She said ‘You’re stupid - that’s for life’,” Craig told The Diary in July. “She’s quite old fashioned so she didn’t really appreciate it.”

Vincent Hale almost certainly had more classical records than you.

How many did he have? Thousands. Shelves and shelves worth. Rooms full, and an entire outhouse building too. There were 35 alone by English tenor Heddle Nash. The 82-year-old of Upperthorpe bought his first when he was just seven and had been collecting them ever since.

Until August that is, when he decided to give them all away. Charity shops and fellow music lovers received the disks.

But there was no rock n roll among the collection. “That’s junk,” he told The Diary. “I don’t listen to junk, young man.”

Helen MacKenzie might just have the best job in Britain. She gets to sip champagne for a living.

The 44-year-old of Woodhouse Mill is the UK brand ambassador for Piper-Heidsieck, one of the five biggest champagne houses in the world. That means she travels the country hosting dinners and popping corks on £500 bottles of vintage in a bid to get the drink stocked in top hotels and restaurants.

“There are worse things to do for a living,” she told The Diary over - what else? - a glass of bubbles in October.

It’s a long drive from Sheffield to Singapore.

Some 17,342 miles to be exact. And Beauchief couple Clive and Gillian Raven did it all in a 1968 car bought off eBay for £500. Their monster journey took them through 16 different countries in 127 days. The vehicle, fittingly, was a Triumph.

Why did we do it?” pondered Clive, 54, in November. “We like driving I suppose.”

He and Gillian, 53, are now planning another monster journey for 2014 from India to Yorkshire.

Age is no barrier to Barbara Sellers. She was 80 years old in November - and she’s still teaching yoga twice a week.

The Norwood grandma hasn’t let minor details like a hip replacement, severe arthritis or profound deafness stop her from taking classes in stretching, squatting and seeking inner peace through meditation. She’s thought to be the oldest such tutor in the UK.

“Providing I’m careful, I can still perform most of the moves,” she said. “Much of yoga is concerned with breathing techniques - physical limitations shouldn’t inhibit you.”

She’s even persuaded husband Jack, also 80, to give it a go.