Covering events from football’s ups and downs to the (lack of) civic celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Stacey Hallam gives you a re-cap of the year so far
HAPPY Birthday to us!
From rather humble beginnings as the ‘Sheffield Evening Telegraph’ back in 1887, The Star has developed into one of Britain’s leading daily regional newspapers and is still reaching more than 100,000 readers every day.
And, to mark our anniversary, regional train operator East Midlands Trains named one of its intercity high-speed locomotives after us.
David Horne, EMT managing director, said: “The team at The Star have been crucial in helping us to keep the people of Sheffield - one of the key cities on our network - informed of the changes we have made to Sheffield’s transport network.
“We are delighted to be naming one of our inter-city 125 high-speed trains to help celebrate 125 years of The Star.”
The locomotive was named ‘The Sheffield Star’ in a ceremony held at Sheffield station.
It is the second Star-related nameplate, after locomotive number 43055 carried the name from 1993 until it was repainted 10 years later.
And, in a nod to history, the same locomotive - now resplendent in East Midlands Trains colours - carries the new name.
Jeremy Clifford, The Star editor, said: “Over the past 125 years, The Star has been at all the major events, reporting on tragedy, triumph and significant moments in our history.
“As technology has changed, so has the way we have brought our readers the news. And we will continue to adapt and change to ensure we remain at the forefront of people’s minds.
“We not only print the news in The Star, we also have a huge audience on our website - www.thestar.co.uk - and last year we launched a mobile phone site.
“This year we have introduced a sports app to help us to bring people up-to-date information when they want it, where they want it, and in the format they want it - which will ensure we are here hopefully for another 125 years.”
The train naming was just the start of our 125th anniversary celebrations, which also included a Royal visit and an exhibition.
THE day Sheffield declared that it wasn’t celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with any formal occasion.
Sheffield Council announced it was organising nothing official to mark Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne even though civic celebrations were being planned elsewhere around the country - including a town centre extravaganza in Rotherham, the opening of a new public square in Doncaster, and a reception for diamond anniversary couples in Chesterfield.
Instead, the Council said it was leaving it to communities to organise their own events for the Diamond Jubilee.
The decision to not hold an official city celebration was criticised by community groups, Armed forces representatives and businesses - who all called for a change of heart.
Even Vince McDonagh, secretary of Sheffield Joint Council of Ex Service Associations, said: “It surprises me the council is doing nothing at all - I would have thought there would have been some sort of civic commemoration.
“Because the Queen is head of all the military, there is an affection for her within Sheffield’s service community. I think our members will be disappointed there will be no event.”
Paul Billington, the council’s director of culture and environment, replied: “Our past experience has shown most people enjoy celebrating these occasions within their local communities, as was the case with last year’s Royal Wedding. We have been actively working with local community groups to help people celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with their friends and family.”
He said more details would be issued about six beacon celebrations planned to coincide with a national series of beacon lightings.
He then added: “We have also received 27 enquiries so far from community groups across the city who are planning street parties.
“I am confident the people of Sheffield will take this opportunity to celebrate the Jubilee and make it a special day to be remembered by everyone.”
JUBILANT Sheffield Wednesday fans mobbed players when the Owls clinched the promotion to the Championship this May.
Sheffield’s economy was expected to benefit by millions of pounds as a result of the Owls’ promotion to the Championship.
The benefits of promotion were revealed by Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole as preparations were made for a city centre celebration for Sheffield Wednesday.
Manager Dave Jones and his players were invited to a reception by the Lord Mayor on the 9th of May. They also made a public appearance from the Town Hall balcony during the event.
The council prepared for thousands of people to gather outside the Town Hall to see them.
Mr Mothersole said: “Over the course of the next season, promotion for just one of our football clubs means millions of pounds extra for the local economy - and, if both teams go up, it will be a double win for Sheffield.
“The benefit will come from bigger crowds, more interest, more meals, beer and hotel rooms being paid for.
“It will also be great to help raise the city’s profile, and is a stepping stone back to Sheffield having a Premiership club once again.”
Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore, a Wednesday fan who was at Hillsborough for the promotion-clincher, said: “It’s great news for Sheffield that Wednesday are back in the Championship and we hope United will join them after the play-offs.
“Sheffield’s football fans deserve teams playing in the top divisions and we hope this success will lead the clubs back towards the Premiership in the near future.”
Not quite the result we were hoping for but Sheffield United striker Richard Cresswell promised the Blades would bounce back ‘better’ and ‘stronger’ following their League One play-off final defeat at Wembley.
Danny Wilson’s side were denied an immediate return to the Championship after being beaten 8-7 on penalties by Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town. But despite admitting United were “devastated” and “gutted” by the result, Cresswell said: “We’ll gather ourselves together and come back from this.
“Whatever anyone might think at the moment, we’ve had a season that will stand us in good stead.
“It’s been a long hard season and it’s especially difficult for it to end on that note.
“But we’ll dust ourselves down, pick ourselves up and come back again.
“We’ll go away and have a holiday but, as far as I’m concerned, the preparations for next season start straight away.”
With the score locked at 0-0 after 120 minutes of nerve-wracking action, Cresswell admitted he suspected it “was going to be our day” when Town failed to convert any of their first three spot-kicks.
It marked a cruel end to the campaign which, at one stage, seemed destined to deliver automatic promotion.
Wilson, who took charge at Bramall Lane when United were relegated from the Championship last term, praised his charges’ “class” after they applauded Town’s following after Simonsen’s miss: “It was a spontaneous gesture from the lads and the staff and that shows what type of people they are,” said Wilson.
Chairman Kevin McCabe has admitted “there will be quite a few changes to the squad” over the summer but stressed: “There is no for sale sign on the heads of the likes of Matthew Lowton and Harry Maguire.”
McCabe has heaped praise on the “super job” Wilson has done this season and said he has been a “breath of fresh air”.
THE Star stepped in to kick-start the Jubilee celebrations in the absence of activity from the council - and boy did we nail it.
While neighbouring councils in Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham put on some form of civic celebration acknowledging the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, we were disappointed that nothing was planned in Sheffield, - after all, even Her Majesty had the Red Arrows to help her celebrate the occasion. But the weekend and Bank Holiday break saw thousands of people host parties and celebrations in recognition of the Queen.
It would not have taken much for the council to have done the same – it is just a shame that an opportunity to lead the city’s celebrations was lost – especially at a time when people were looking for a reason to party.
So this newspaper teamed up with the Beauchief Hotel and gave a right royal party for 11 couples who were celebrating 60 years of marriage together.
Scones, cream, strawberry jam - and even glorious sunshine - all came out to ensure our diamond do had a very special sparkle.
All the invited couples, now in their 70s and 80s, were young post-war lovebirds when they tied the knot in 1952, the same year Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne.
And elsewhere across South Yorkshire the long party weekend of Jubilee celebrations is up and running - as readers raised a glass beneath streets festooned with red, white and blue bunting to congratulate the Queen on her landmark day.
Take note, almost 9,000 people were issued with a summons in Sheffield in a crackdown on residents who had not paid their council tax - and it could be you next. Sheffield Council attempted to recover millions of pounds as it continued to face huge cuts in Government funding.
It wrote to 8,749 households warning them to pay up or face court action.
And more than 1,000 had repaid £780,000 when the letters were sent in June.
The Star revealed earlier this year how the council was owed more than £26.5 million in unpaid council tax it had failed to collect over the past 12 years.
If the money was still not paid by the remaining 7,696 households, magistrates could have then granted liability orders so the council could recover the debt, in some cases through bailiffs.
And further summonses were set to be issued to thousands more residents behind with their council tax at later dates.