Stacey Hallam delivers the final instalment of The Star’s review of the year, looking back at the winter months, our sensational TV stars and an amazing woman that managed to find her family
A MUM who went missing for 32 years after suffering memory loss in a car crash abroad has finally been reunited with her family.
Susan Marshall suffered total amnesia after the smash in 1975 – where she couldn’t even remember her own name – and ended up living with strangers on a South African farm while her family in the UK feared she was dead.
But after regaining some of her memory and tracking down her siblings online, the 61-year-old was flown back to the UK.
She came back home to Rotherham and settled into a new flat just around the corner from her long-lost brother and sisters.
Susan said: “I can’t believe I am back home. I knew my family would never forget me but I didn’t think this day would ever come.
“I am so happy.”
Her father and mother, Colin and Mavis, never left the house in Holmes, Rotherham, where they were living when Susan lost contact, in the hope she would return.
Tragically her parents never lived to see her again - both died three years ago, Colin aged 82 and Mavis aged 79.
Susan, a mum-of-four, had emigrated to South Africa with her husband Sid in 1975.
But in 1980 the couple were involved in a horrific car crash which flung her from the vehicle and into a farmer’s field.
Susan was left with total amnesia - and Sid, who survived the crash, returned to the UK and told their four children, Susan’s parents, and her siblings that she had abandoned them.
But a year ago Susan suddenly started remembering her siblings’ first names and her maiden name, Ardron - though she still had no idea of her own first name.
A friend searched Facebook and found people with the same name as her siblings living in South Yorkshire, and wrote to them asking if they had a missing sister.
The shocked siblings wrote back to say they did, but suspected a hoax. They asked for a picture and, the moment it appeared, they recognised Susan and burst into tears of joy. Soon, they were all speaking on the phone.
Susan is now also rebuilding a relationship with her daughter Adele, 37, and hoped to meet her other daughters Joanne, 43, and Amanda, 38, who no longer live in South Yorkshire. She also hoped to trace her son Jason, 40, with whom the family have lost touch.
Sheffield singing sensation Lucy Spraggan is still being tipped for major success - despite pulling out of TV talent show The X Factor.
The 21-year-old singer-songwriter pulled out as she faced up to missing a second successive live show due to illness.
Lucy, from Stannington, said: “I am gutted not to be able to continue, but I’m not well enough to perform. To accept another free pass, having missed last weekend, would not be fair on the others in the competition.
“But there is no way that this setback will prevent me from fulfilling my ambition. You’ll be hearing from me again very soon.”
Keeping to her word, she then went on to perform at Varsity in Sheffield and the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos, Lucy’s mentor on the show, said: “She was an amazing person to work with. I’m going to miss her very much.
“This is not the end for Lucy or the last thing you’re going to see of her - big, big things to come.”
“I’m so sorry to lose Lucy from the competition, I have had a brilliant time working with her and I hope I can continue to mentor her in the future.”
In a statement, X Factor bosses said: “We are all sorry to see her go and wish her all the best for the future. She has been a fantastic contestant.”
There’s no doubt we will hear from her again in the new year.
MORE than 540 mineworkers were facing up to redundancy as news hit that Maltby Colliery was to be mothballed.
Union leaders were putting together a rescue package in the hope of saving the 541 jobs at risk, and 100 years of tradition.
NUM general secretary Chris Kitchen said: “People are devastated. There is a feeling of dismay. But we don’t want to accept defeat if there is still a chance.” Lifelong Maltby residents were warned that closure of the colliery would sound the death knell of the town. “Once it goes Maltby will be dead altogether, “ said one.
Miners’ leaders launched a bid to keep Maltby Colliery open.
Owners Hargreaves Services say the colliery, one of England’s last remaining deep coal mines, is no longer viable on geological, financial, and health and safety grounds.
Spokesman Mike O’Sullivan said: “Staff have been professional. We are consulting with unions to work towards a conclusion.”
Mr Kitchen, who said the union had around 300 members working at Maltby pit, said the mood among workers and in Maltby was one of dismay.
“I think people are devastated and that is a sentiment echoed by the union. We haven’t got many pits left and we need to protect the ones we’ve got. There is a feeling of dismay. We don’t want to accept defeat if there is still a chance.”
Hargreaves chief executive Gordon Banham said Maltby coal reserves would last until 2023 - but it would be too dangerous and too expensive to mine it.
The company first disclosed problems at Maltby in May, although mining has continued since then.
IN Strictly Come Dancing, Michael Vaughan had his first spray tan and learnt how to shimmy his way through the salsa.
He was even happy to admit six weeks in that taking to the stage in front of 11 million viewers every Saturday on Strictly is more nerve-racking than walking out to bat for England.
Michael told The Star: “There’s no comparison. I’ve never had the nerves I have on the show. With cricket I could control the nerves – I’d been playing since I was eight.
“But with dancing I’ve only been doing it for six weeks and I don’t have the experience to draw on - you just hope on a Saturday night you can remember your steps.”
Michael and his professional dance partner Natalie Lowe may have got off to a wobbly start - notably having judge Bruno Tonioli liken his bottom to a hanging basket - but his quickstep was described by judge Darcey Bussell as ‘beautiful’.
He said: “Natalie deserves a medal for getting me on the dancefloor. She comes up to Sheffield every week for training, she’s great. She’s a typical Aussie. She’s got a positive attitude and we have a great laugh.”
The pair train for five or six hours a day, four days a week - hard work which is beginning to show.
Michael said his best pals on Strictly were Westlife’s Nicky Byrne, soap star Lisa Riley, and Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh.
“It’s a great cast and everyone gets on really well. Nicky used to play football so we have that in common, and Kimberley is a Bradford girl - us northerners have to stick together.”
But it’s the support of the public which has most surprised him.
“I’ve been amazed, ” he said. “Everywhere I go people want to talk to me about dancing and I’ve had huge support, especially in Sheffield.”
One dozy cannabis grower had obviously been sampling the product when he called the police to report the theft of his cannabis plants.
Matthew Warnes was caught because he was so outraged when his plants were stolen that he called 999 to report the theft to the police.
Warnes, aged 29, was immediately arrested when police officers arrived at his home in Rotherham and discovered plants and an unsophisticated growing setup.
The court heard that he had spent £250 of his Christmas money on growing equipment – which he bought from internet auction site eBay – because he was finding it too expensive to buy the drug on the streets.
Prosecuting at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court, Mark Hughes said: “He called the police to say that three of his cannabis plants had been stolen.
“When they arrived they found a further three intact cannabis plants from 18 to 42 centimetres in height and a small growing set-up.
“They also found bags containing cuttings of dried cannabis suggesting that this was a continuing operation.”
Warnes admitted producing the Class B drug.
District Judge Jane Goodwin sentenced Warnes to 26 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months.
She also ordered him to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
The district judge said: “The fact that you yourself phoned the police to report this is not a mitigating factor.”
Warnes of New Street, Catcliffe, was also ordered to pay £85 in court costs. He refused to comment when he left court.
SPORTS Personality Of The Year – the programme that scooped the interest of the nation, all thanks to the Olympics.
We re-lived the noise, the colour and the absolute best of human endeavour.
The drama and excellence of sport at such a high level was simply irresistible, draining our emotions one minute, raising them the next.
And all thanks to the Victorian era, when Britain gave the world organised football, golf, rugby union, cricket, tennis, athletics and hockey as rules and codes were applied in a way only the Victorians could.
Our Jessica Ennis, golden girl and face of the Olympics, was runner-up in the 2012 Sports Personality of the Year, and is now joint second favourite to win next year.
William Hill have Sheffield’s Olympic champion as 6/1 along with Mo Farah to win the 2013 award.
Andy Murray is the 4/1 favourite and nearly 80% of all bets placed have been for Murray since Bradley Wiggins scooped this year’s award.
William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly said “To see Andy finish third ahead of Mo Farah was a shock and if the British public voted for him this year it would appear that he needs just to win a Slam next year to scoop the prestigious SPOTY gong in 2013.”
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