Review of the Year 2017: January - A call to arms and a tragic murder of a local teenager

This year started with a call to arms, as the people of Sheffield were urged to help the city find its identity.

Thursday, 28th December 2017, 10:06 am
Updated Thursday, 28th December 2017, 10:10 am
Mourners lay tributes near to the towpath where 16-year-old Leonne Weeks was murdered in Dinnington

Key figures in some of the biggest retail, residential and commercial developments in the city told an audience of business people that Sheffield would lose if it tried to copy Leeds and Manchester, insisting the city must differentiate if it was going to succeed.

Speaking at the Sheffield 2025: Bigger, Brighter, Bolder event in January, these Sheffield leaders insisted that local businesses, residents and politicians must work together to find this identity, leading The Star to launch its Pride in Sheffield campaign.

Sheffield 2025: Bigger, Brighter, Bolder event held at The Balance by the property forum of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. Pictured are the panel Ranald Phillips, Ashcroft/Aberdeen Asset Management; Simon Gawthorpe, Urban Splash; Paul Sargent, Queensberry; Mark Jackson, Scarborough Group; Alexis Krachai of Counter Context; and Tim Bottrill, Chair of SPARC. Picture: Chris Etchells

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Also this month, the first female demolition worker in Great Britain – described as tough as Sheffield steel and with a heart of gold – died aged 77.

It was said that Dorothy Hull, known to many as ‘Dot’ – brought glitz and glamour to the dirty work of demolition in Sheffield, runing ADH Demolitions as an equal with her husband Archie. Together, they were contracted to Sheffield Council and had the mammoth job of demolishing hundreds of homes and factories between 1962 and 1989. And just one year before her death, from asbestos-related cancer, on January 15, she had successfully regained her LGV lorry licence at the age of 76.

Sadly, January also saw the community shocked by the violent death of 16-year-old Leonne Weeks, whose body was discovered in a lane just off Lordens Hill near her home in Dinnington on January 16.

Friends and family had posted desperate Facebook appeals for her whereabouts after she failed to return home and her body was found the following morning. 18-year-old Shea Heeley was arrested and will stand trial for murder next March.

Dot worked on site on many demolition jobs across Sheffield for over 25 years
Dot pictured with her devoted husband Archie in 2016. The pair were equals business
Leonne Weeks
Sheffield 2025: Bigger, Brighter, Bolder event held at The Balance by the property forum of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. Pictured are the panel Ranald Phillips, Ashcroft/Aberdeen Asset Management; Simon Gawthorpe, Urban Splash; Paul Sargent, Queensberry; Mark Jackson, Scarborough Group; Alexis Krachai of Counter Context; and Tim Bottrill, Chair of SPARC. Picture: Chris Etchells
Dot worked on site on many demolition jobs across Sheffield for over 25 years
Dot pictured with her devoted husband Archie in 2016. The pair were equals business
Leonne Weeks