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Publication date:- 2017-23-12

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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 Southport Flower Show was a blooming delight to see.

We also had the return of the Formby Food and Drink Festival, that included fantastic live music, fireworks and Britain's Got Talent's Mersey 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 Relay was even more significant...

Southport Air 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 10.

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 May. Elli 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 music fans who had attended the cancelled Liverpool festival Hope and Glory a '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 music festival' 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 attending were 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 /font>. Also the International Mersey River Festival was again held over 23 June to 25 June 2017.

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 press.

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 May 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 its network.

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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