2013 Sheffield Review (May & June): Marathon, marriage and missing bodies

Sheffield Half Marathon runners race for the Finish Line.
Sheffield Half Marathon runners race for the Finish Line.
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May and June brought tragedy, campaign success and tears of joy in Sheffield - read part three of The Star’s 2013 news review.


Olympic athlete and gold medalist Jessica Ennis MBE at her wedding to Andy Hill at Hathersage Church, Derbyshire. Photo: ''Glen Minikin / rossparry.co.uk

Olympic athlete and gold medalist Jessica Ennis MBE at her wedding to Andy Hill at Hathersage Church, Derbyshire. Photo: ''Glen Minikin / rossparry.co.uk

Runners earn their stripes

They ran in their thousands – young and old, some serious athletes, some simply determined to raise funds for good causes.

The annual Sheffield Half Marathon was back for its 32nd year, seeing more than 6,000 runners taking to the streets of the city.

But the 2013 event also marked an ending of sorts, as it was the last time runners would start and finish at Don Valley Stadium.

Tomb of the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. Photo: SHEFFIELD CATHEDRAL.

Tomb of the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. Photo: SHEFFIELD CATHEDRAL.

Youngsters also got into the spirit of the occasion with the traditional 3km fun run, while taking the title of oldest participant was 88-year-old Eric Cooper, from Crookes in Sheffield, who stepped out on the shorter race to raise money for Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind.

Eric, who served in the Home Guard, wore his Sherwood Foresters regimental uniform as he made his way round the track.

News reporters from The Star were also among the runners, with political reporter Richard Marsden finishing in one hour, 38 minutes and 10 seconds, 
and senior reporter Molly Lynch completing the route in one hour, 54 minutes and 33 seconds.


Tears of joy for Jess on her wedding day

Homegrown Olympic hero Jess Ennis wept with joy, her vicar revealed, as she capped off a golden year with marriage to her long-term love.

Jess captured the hearts of the nation when she scooped medal glory at London 2012 – but for the Sheffield girl there has only ever been one man who had hers.

The 27-year-old heptathlete first met Andy Hill when they were teenage pupils at King Ecgbert School in Dore.

Rev Catherine Tupling, who conducted the ceremony at St Michael and All Angels Church in Hathersage on Saturday, told The Star the couple were both tearful as they became man and wife.

She said: “They seemed very happy and both had big smiles on their faces.

“Jess was crying and Andy had tears in his eyes. Most brides and grooms do cry at some point.”

Around 100 guests – including Jess’ dad Vinnie, mum Alison and younger sister Carmel – watched the sweethearts get hitched.

They chose The Beatles’ classic All You Need Is Love as their music to walk down the aisle.


Star wins campaign to shield city’s name

The Star won its campaign to keep Sheffield’s status as a protected trading name which cannot be used by cheap imitations.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg intervened after being alerted to the proposals by The Star.

Business leaders and MPs spoke out against about plans to axe the special status after we launched our campaign.

Nearly 400 Star readers also signed an electronic petition on the 10 Downing Street website set up by The Star urging ministers to keep Sheffield protected.

Mr Clegg first become aware of the issue only after it was raised with him by Mr MacDonald and The Star – but the controversy has since been subject of national debate.

In a letter to his Liberal Democrat colleague Mr Cable, Mr Clegg said: “The Sheffield brand is recognised both in the UK and internationally.

“It is synonymous with quality and regional authenticity. It is an integral part of the local economy both in supporting the existing businesses and in attracting fresh and emerging businesses to our region.”


Man pleads guilty to killing organist

Jonathan Bowling kept his hands in his tracksuit pockets as he stood at Sheffield Crown Court to plead guilty to the murder of Alan Greaves last Christmas Eve.

The 22-year-old, who gazed around the court throughout the 20-minute hearing, faced life behind bars.

Gentle Mr Greaves, a married father-of-four, was attacked as he made his way to play the organ at St Saviour’s Church in Mortomley Lane, High Green.

He died in hospital three days later, leaving wife of 40 years, Maureen, and their children bereft.

During a pre-trial hearing at Sheffield Crown Court, Bowling admitted murder. Flanked in the sealed dock by four court officers, and dressed in a grey Adidas tracksuit, Bowling, of Foxhill Crescent, Sheffield, spoke only to enter his plea of guilty.

His co-accused, Ashley Foster, 21, of Wesley Road, High Green, pleaded not guilty to the same charge of murder.

He will stand trial at a date to be fixed later in the year.

Judge Roger Keen QC told Bowling: “You know what the inevitable sentence is going to be.

“But that will be passed at the end of the trial of your co-accused.”


EDL demonstration an 
unwanted cost

The massive police operation to maintain peace in Sheffield was thought to cost at least half a million pounds, The Star revealed.

A total of 1,000 officers from 10 different forces were deployed in the city centre to keep English Defence League and anti-fascist demonstrators apart.

More than 500 EDL supporters, and the group’s leader Tommy Robinson, laid a wreath at the war memorial in tribute to 
murdered soldier Lee Rigby, while around 500 
anti-fascist demonstrators took to the streets.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright said the cost – which he confirmed as around £500,000 – was an unwanted expense at a time when budgets were stretched.

And he said the protests had proved incredibly disruptive to the city centre’.

Richard Wright, executive director Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, added: “From a business point of view there was nothing positive about Saturday’s activities.

“People deserted the city centre, and the retail outlets had a terrible day.

“Under the circumstances the police did a great job, but there is nothing good about the cost to them or the business community, which was significant.”


15 bodies missing in crypt mystery

The mystery of Sheffield Cathedral’s missing bodies hit the national headlines and sent historians into a spin this June.

Workmen stumbled across the entrance to the Shrewsbury tomb and opened it for the first time in 200 years – only to find just two coffins inside.

At least 17 members of the Shrewsbury family, Lords of Sheffield Manor for generations, should have been in there. Among the missing bodies were the fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, who built Manor Lodge, and sixth, who married Bess of Hardwick and was Mary Queen of Scots’ jailer.

After The Star revealed the story, staff at the 
Cathedral were inundated with people wanting to find out more. Although it was in the middle of a huge renovation the Cathedral remained open to visitors and the Earls’ tombs could just been seen behind protective screens.

Clara Morgan, curator of Social History at Museums Sheffield, said: “Where are they now? Have they ever been seen in the Cathedral’s Shrewsbury Crypt at all?

“This is a really good mystery for local historians to try and get their teeth into.”