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Publication date:- 2017-23-12
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2017 - The Year in Review
2017 is nearing the end, so
that's a perfect timing to recap the outgoing
Year of the
Rooster and recall the
key events that shaped Merseyside in 2017. We think all of you will agree that
it was a turbulent year of storms; politically, financially and weather wise.
But the good news is, we still managed to survive (even despite the scary
predictions of 21 August 2017 apocalypse). So let's take a look at the year in
The 1st day of 2017, in Southport, started as with most of the UK, bitterly
cold and icy, but that didn't stop locals taking a splash for Charity, as the
Fernley was held on the Marine Lake.
What a perfect way to wake you up from the drudgery of 2016! And the event was a
Another success was long awaited Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or simply Rogue
One, that was still a major 'force' after the Christmas rush. This
obsession was to continue throughout 2017 with a special open air screening
being held in Southport King's Gardens over the summer holidays. Even
Mersey Ferries got in on the act, with a 'SciFi Icons' exhibition
at Spaceport, showcasing a private collection of Stars
Just like Star Wars, but without the budget and effects, the world of politics
was very rebellious and full of rogues causing mischief. With Brexit looming,
ever closer, the fear of hard Brexit has been on the minds of many in the UK and
throughout the world. This has been a continuing troublesome issue for those in
charge, affecting everything from jobs, immigration issues, through to financial
worries and even unthinkable political alliances. Yes, sadly, politics was a
major part of 2017.
The important date for Merseyside and the surrounding area was 4th of May 2017,
when the region voted for its 1st ever elected
The "Force" was strong for Labour's Steve Rotheram who stormed to
victory, becoming the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.
Another key moment was the UK's political deadlock and Brexit stalling,
culminating in a General Election, in June
2017. All over Merseyside the map turned red,
well except in Southport, where it turned blue, and that's not because of
Everton. The rebellious people of Southport, knocked out what had been seen as a
Liberal Democrats strong hold, when the Conservatives swept in, with the
election of MP Damien
Moore. Change did happen, with the Liberal Democrats being knocked down to 3rd place.
Internationally, Trump has been making headlines and even affecting news across
the pond, on Merseyside, as rumours started to spread about his potential visit
to Southport, to see the Golf at Royal Birkdale. "These aren't the
headlines you wanted." But 'fake news' was also the key
part of 2017.
Another local headline maker of 2017 were issues around Formby Dunes. After
facing a huge funding difficulty, Sefton Council made a decision hand over 204+
hectares of Sefton Council dune land to the National Trust for
guardianship. It's believed to save money for the Council
and also preserve the land for future generations from the pressures of
Transport was another major issue for 2017, with controversy at nearly every
turn. From Lord Street turning from red to black, to the plans for the
M56 link road plans being consulted... 2017 was quite a battleground for
planners within the Liverpool City Region.
1 of the biggest, not only structurally and price tag wise, was The Mersey
Gateway, a multi million pound transport scheme between
Runcorn and Widnes, that opened in October, but it also was soon in controversy.
After the opening of the new bridge, the original Silver Jubilee Bridge (SJB),
which has been open since July 1961, closed for refurbishment. The once free
crossing is now destined to become a toll bridge, once it reopens in 2018. This
has lead to many businesses and Councillors in the Liverpool City Region and in
Cheshire calling for an urgent review saying it's putting unfair pressure on the
finances of locals. The political pressure was increased further when it was
revealed that the new 6 lane toll bridge lead to ₤1m of fines being issued in
the 1st month. This was quickly followed by a landmark court ruling could
affect all Mersey Gateway fine appeals, meaning these issues are now set to run
well into 2018. These fines are mainly attributable to the fact that there is no
way of paying on the journey across the bridge. The vehicle's number plate is
registered. And the driver can only pay via the internet, later.
Then we have the RMT strike action, which hit the Open Golf and the Grand
National, on Merseyside. These strikes are about the design of the new trains
that are due to be introduced in 2020, and perceived safety concerns around
then, once introduced on the Merseyrail Network.
The RMT Union has announced a number of strikes over Christmas and the New Year
that will significantly affect Cross Country train services, throughout the UK,
plus more action on the Merseyrail network. Bus strikes also took place with
Arriva and Stage Coach walk-outs leaving many stranded at bus stops.
The 1st big sporting event, other than the football and rugby, on Merseyside,
was the Randox Health Grand National, which was held in April. Then more major
events were to follow, like in March 2017, 1000 athletes from over 30 European
nations came to the Liverpool Arena for the EITF European Taekwondo
Liverpool Hope International Tournament (LHITT) was held in June, just before Wimbledon,
and some of the biggest names in
Tennis were in Liverpool.
Interestingly the LHITT put on a sample event in
King's Gardens, on Southport's historic
2017 also had the return of the Round the
Race, when it set off
from Liverpool in August and due back in Liverpool in 2018...
West Lancashire Yacht Club RYA's "Push the Boat Out"
took place in
May, ahead of the internationally
24 Hour Race
Race that took place in September.
This race was one of the most interesting races of recent years.
Talking about boats, HMS Queen Elizabeth, the 1st
QE Class Aircraft Carrier, set sail
from Rosyth, in June to commence 1st stage sea trials off the North East of
Scotland and later commissioned 7 December 2017,
that date Unfortunately was also the 76th Anniversary of the
Japanese attack on the American naval base, Pearl Harbor. She made the
headlines again in last weeks of December due to the ₤3.1bn warship
'takes on 200 litres of sea water an hour.'
It is hoped that this new Aircraft Carrier will visit Liverpool
sometime next year (2018).
The forth coming Commonwealth Games brought disappointment, as Liverpool lost
its bid to Birmingham to host the 2022 Games.
Liverpool can still bid to host the 23rd
Edition of the Games in 2026, but chances of Liverpool of ever hosting the games
look dashed. But it was not all bad news as the success of hosting the
Gymnastics British Championships in recent years and its strong connection to
the sport has lead the City to bid to host the 2022 World Gymnastics
2017 witnessed one of the most amazing
Golf Championships wins ever, with
Jordan Spieth winning against all odds. This was done in front of the biggest
attendance of a major in England, of all time and was also 10th time that The
Open has been held at Royal Birkdale. A local golfer, from Formby Hall, Tommy
Fleetwood, also did exceptionally well at the 146th Open
Golf Championship . The experiences led to him
being crowned Europe's top golfer, after a tense final to the European Tour's
2017 season in Dubai, in November.
>>> Continued in other column... >>>
<<< Starts in other column... <<<
Over over 21 September to 24 September 2017,
Birkdale became the location for the European Championships and World Junior /
Under 23 Tug of War
Championships. This event
had over 1500 competitors taking part from 20 countries, including:- Australia,
China, America and Russia!
Despite the gloom of 2017, we did have quite a
few fantastic events on offer to cheer us up. For example we also had the annual
Show was a
blooming delight to see.
We also had the return of the Formby Food and
Festival, that included fantastic live music,
fireworks and Britain's Got Talent's
Girls, who put on a
very emotional dance display. That was down to the fact it was to be the very
last performance before Julia was about to set off for an operation, that Simon
Cowell agreed to pay for in America.
Plus who could forget the amazing
Brazilica and many other
fantastic events that took place through out 2017?
Sadly, 2017 was to be heavily marred by terrorism and disasters that have had a
major impact on Merseyside. From the explosion in New Ferry, Wirral, to that of
the Manchester Bombing Victims, on Saturday, 26 May
2017 even the Edge
Hill University Students
injured in the Westminster terrorist attack, on Wednesday, 22 March
2017. The devastating fire at Grenfell Tower has also affected Merseyside, leading to
concerns about any external cladding on many of the
high rise property within the region. After testing of high rise blocks in
Sefton, 2 failed fire safety tests in Sefton, and others follow them. Tenants
within them shared their relief as workmen began stripping the cladding as a
result of the discovery.
2017 was the 80th Anniversary of the 999 Emergency Call
Services, due to that and the terror attacks
this year's Blue Light
was even more significant...
Show had for the 1st time
Armed Police attending, after the UK's Threat Level was increased to "Critical,"
the highest level, as Police continue the hunt for the person behind the London
Tube bombing, within South West London.
A local man from Formby, Alex Krol, again took part in The Invictus Games, this
time in Toronto, Canada, in September. Also attending this event was Prince
William and Meghan Markle, who are now set to have a Royal Wedding, in 2018.
Interestingly, talking about the Royal Family, Liverpool's Cavern Club fell just
behind the Edinburgh's Royal Yacht Britannia in TripAdvisor's UK Top
Miss Liverpool changed its name to Miss Liverpool City Region and we had the
privilege of being present at the Finals, held at Liverpool's Olympia back in
Wilson was to receive the crown and in July, at
the Miss England Finals, in Birmingham, she got into the top 10 winning the
title England's Billion Dollar Smile 2017. A few days later she was to interview
for us Tim Quinn sand Jorge Costa ahead of East of Eli
concert in Liverpool. Also we had the
honour of seeing Miss Southport 2017, Gwen
Raby, being crowned. Gwen, who was a Salford City College Musical Theatre student
was also the holder of the title:- Miss Charity Lancashire 2016/2017.
Music played a major role in the headlines on Merseyside in 2017. It was the
50th Anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club
Band, by The
Beatles, on 1 June 1967, as a result, Liverpool held several events between May
and August, called the:- 'Summer of Love.' Fans also paid respect to John Lennon,
who was shot dead by Mark David Chapman in the archway of the Dakota, in New
York City, 37 years ago, on Monday, 8 December 1980.
It was not all good news on the music side as
fans who had attended the cancelled Liverpool
Glorya 'dangerous' and 'shambolic' affair, after a promoter from outside the
City came in to 'deliver' a show like no other. Billed as:-
'Liverpool's biggest, newest
people came from far and wide... Sadly little did anyone know, but this
independent event was soon to be cancelled after just 1 day of the 2 day event,
due to a 'catalogue of chaos.' In it's wake making even more of a
mess followed. Thankfully some of the event was salvaged, as local venues
stepped in to tray and help and the Council started an investigation in to why
the promoter had got it so wrong.
The Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF)
2017 was not as big as in previous years, but
was still a major draw. Even Woodvale Rally got in on a musical note, with the
X-Factor finalist, Skating on Ice winner, Ray Quinn performing at the show. Also
the stunning Miss England, Elizabeth Grant, along with Miss Liverpool City
Region and Miss Southport!
Transport and military events in 2017 came in thick and fast. The National Armed
Forces Day's main focus was on Liverpool, as both the Prime Minister, Theresa
May along with Prince Edward, attended a string of events in the City, which
included an Apache Helicopter, landing at the Pier
Also the International Mersey River Festival was again held over 23 June to 25
This year weather was very unpredictable, bouncing from one extreme to the
other. After a rather dry and mild start to 2017, the weather became unsettled
and stormy, including Storm Doris, in February. Then came a sprint that was a
warm and rather dry for the most part. Oddly, the summer was very wet, with
rainfall above average for the UK, in each individual month. Also temperature
was down across the board. With an unsettled autumn, it was like mirror image of
the Brexit negotiations.
This year currency markets have been doing extremely strange things, with the
Pound taking a pounding. All accompanied by the words:- "leaving the
European Union will make Britons better off" reverberating in the national and local
But the strangest stories of the currency market have been around cryptocurrency
Bitcoin. This year the Bitcoin has been linked to the online black market and
funding of countries like North Korea. It was also linked in
to the NHS malware called:- "Wanna Decryptor," (WannaCry) which demanded users
whose computers had been affected pay $300 (₤232), in Bitcoins, to have files
restored. This affected Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals, plus many others on
Volatility in the Bitcoin's value had seen it both skyrocketing and falling in
value throughout the year, but as the year now nears its end, the Bitcoin taking
one step closer towards legitimacy. It was announced in November that it would
be listed on Nasdaq Futures market, followed in December, by the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange (CME) that it will also allow it to be used for trading.
Merseyside in November had quite a blast,
despite the horrid weather, with Liverpool putting on the "River Of Light"
firework display, and Southport holding not 1 but 2 displays, plus
Hightown Cricket Club and many other displays took place.
The other hot topics of 2017 have been online bullying and sex en, not
forgetting sexism, but enough is enough, we shall conclude with our quick round
up. We could not list all the things that happened, so please do use our archive
to see what 2017 was for us on Merseyside.
As Star Wars returns and the wheel goes full circle, we will leave you with a
quote from the character, Yoda:- "Through the Force, things you will see.
Other places. The future, the past. Old friends long gone."
Happy Christmas... We wish you all in advance,
all the best for 2018, and don't
forget to take a look at our predictions for 2018 in our next issue.
Will the blue British Passport that was
announced just before Christmas, sum up the mood of the country by the end of
2018? Only time will tell...
Have you read the predictions for 2017 we made last year? We think we were
pretty close. What do you think? Click
here to take a look...
Sadly we can't cover all the events in this
synopsis of the year, but you can always use our archive to find out more about
2017 clicking on
here. Email us to:-
News24@SouthportReporter.com with your thoughts!
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