Part two of how the Star brought you the year in news - March and April brought change, grief and celebration
Another medal for golden girl
The queen of British athletics met the British queen as Sheffield golden girl Jessica Ennis visited Buckingham Palace.
The London 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion was back in the capital to receive her CBE medal, after being recognised for her service to athletics in the New Year honours.
The former pupil at Sharrow Primary School and Dore’s King Ecgbert School said: “It’s incredible.”
Asked what the Queen said, the 27-year-old, of Dore, said: “You know when you’re so nervous and you forget?
“She just said the summer was amazing, ‘how’s training going’, so it was nice.”
Jess, wearing an Antonio Berardi dress, said: “I’m feeling very excited, though it was nerve-wracking before. It’s incredible to receive this.”
“Training is going well. I’ve had a bit of a cold, so had a few days off, but I’ve been training hard the past few weeks, it’s going well.”
Protesters call to axe bedroom tax
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sheffield at a demonstration opposing the Government’s so-called bedroom tax’ – claiming the levy will hit the poorest families.
Campaigners waved placards and gave speeches on the Town Hall steps, demanding that the tax be scrapped.
The protest was organised by the Sheffield Uncut group, and was one of 57 similar events which took place in towns and cities around the UK on March 16.
Harry Barham, from Sheffield Uncut, said: “We want the tax to be axed.”
“It is utterly unworkable and will cost more than it saves. Thousands of people will see their housing means slashed. Over 9,700 of Sheffield’s poorest families will be made even poorer by the bedroom tax.”
New rules planned to come into force in April means housing benefit claimants would receive less than they did if they have spare bedrooms.
Best chippy in South Yorkshire
Congratulations to Pete’s Chippy, the finest friary in Sheffield. Pete’s Chippy in Grenoside won The Star’s competition following dozens of nominations, hundreds of votes and an expert ‘taste test’ of the final six.
“I’m in shock, I was so excited when I heard, I nearly cried,” said owner Claire Benson, who has run the Sheffield shop since her parents retired seven years ago.
Hounds get specs appeal
Who can forget our April Fool’s fake story on some amazing looking hounds?
The wiry mutts were supposedly sporting their very own sunnies when competing. The decision came following fears some of the greyhounds’ performances were being affected by sight problems caused by glare from the sun as they made their way around the track.
Owlerton teamed up with Crystal Peaks’ Specsavers to develop special protective eyewear which will not steam up or slip as they battle it out on race days.
John Gilburn, managing director at Owlerton Greyhound Stadium, said: “We have been noticing for a while that some of the greyhounds have been squinting.
“We have tried giving them hats or visors to block out the glare – but that’s when we realised we should have gone to Specsavers.”
Unfortunately, the story was a fake, concocted by Owlerton and the Crystal Peaks branch of opticians Specsavers, in honour of an age-old tradition. And it soon proved there was no fooling The Star’s Facebook followers, who smelled a rat as soon as a link to the story was posted on the social networking site.
We will be thinking of Thatcher
In pubs and living rooms all across South Yorkshire, glasses were raised, but very few of them in tribute to Margaret Thatcher.
As Britain’s first female Prime Minister was laid to rest, in a televised funeral attended by the Queen, the occasion was cause for celebration for many who couldn’t bring themselves to forgive and forget.
Following her death, at the age of 87, impromptu parties sprung up and many seemed determined to keep the celebrations going as they prepared to mark her funeral in their own way. “I’ll be having a drink to celebrate the day, but then we’ve got to get straight back to work, fighting against the cuts and policies she’s left behind, “ said Alistair Tice of the Sheffield Socialist Party.
“Thatcher may be gone, but the damage she caused remains, so next Wednesday I’ll be out doing something useful and campaigning against the bedroom tax.
Somewhat like Marmite, you either loved or hated Margaret Thatcher.
And one of the few friendlier opinions came in the form of former miner-turned-Tory cabinet minister Patrick McLoughlin, who described Thatcher as an ‘outstanding woman’.
Danny Wilson, Gone too soon
Loyal Sheffield United fans said Danny Wilson had been made a scapegoat following his dismissal as manager of the team.
Wilson, who has also managed Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley, was sacked after a disappointing defeat against Crawley, which made it four home games without a win for the Blades – but fans said, even so, they didn’t see it coming.
“I was shocked to hear the news. I think most of us were, “ said Gary Hall, aged 49, who has been a fan of the Blades for over 40 years.
“I liked Danny Wilson and his philosophies on football and I think he did a great job for us last year.”
Friend and fellow fan John Johnson, 63, agreed. “Wilson brought a breath of fresh air to the club and I’ve really enjoyed his football,” he said.
“Once a Blade, always a Blade and that’s why we stick with them through thick and thin,” said Lesley, 67.