That was the year that was – Plymouth's headline news from 2012
TWO hundred swimmers brave atrocious weather for the New Year's Day dip at Wembury in aid of Shekinah Mission, setting a soaking precedent for a watery 2012.
Meanwhile the city's three MPs predict the economic chill will continue with more financial pain in 2012.
It's no laughing matter as sloppy documentation gets under the wig of Judge Francis Gilbert QC. He demands prosecutors be a "little bit more serious" after court papers include the words "blah, blah, blah" and "yakkity schmakitty".
Boy band One Direction – who all have their own hair – wow the mainly female crowd at Plymouth Pavilions – some queued for 24 hours when tickets went on sale last September.
The city marks 100 years since Plymothian Robert Falcon Scott and his team reached the South Pole only to find Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. The attention proves that although the men died on the return trek, their heroism won't be forgotten.
South West Devon MP Gary Streeter is embroiled in a row with a Black Country town after he branded Plymouth's Civic Centre "the ugliest thing outside Dudley".
The city council cuts the number of assistant director posts from 18 to 12 as part of a management shake-up to save £1 million a year.
There are hopes of a tourism boom as Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film of The War Horse is released. The movie, based on Devon author Michael Morpurgo's World War One novel, was filmed partly on Dartmoor with the director describing the "extraordinary" landscape as the film's third character. He fortunately didn't mention the Devon climate.
PRIME Minister David Cameron promises that Devonport Naval Base is safe and the city has a "great future" as he tours the city.
Thomas Haigh is jailed for a minimum of 35 years for shooting dead ex-Plymothian David Griffiths and another man, Brett Flournoy. The 26-year-old former cage-fighter denied the murders at a remote farm near St Austell.
Truro Crown Court heard the victims were gangland enforcers working for an IRA gang which "ran" Liverpool's illegal drugs trade. Ross Stone, 28, who was cleared of the men's murders, will serve five years after admitting burning and burying the men's bodies at his farm at Trenance Downs. Haigh, formerly of Huddersfield, and Stone had a £40,000 drug debt to the pair.
Thirty-six people are being admitted to Derriford Hospital a day as alcohol-related illness and injury cases soar by 71 per cent in less than a decade, according to figures published South West Public Health Observatory.
Eighty workers at Quadra Foods are made redundant as the Langage Science Park-based plant enters administration with debts of more than £4 million.
In a month lacking in good news, at least city people can say, "Hey I'm on the telly!" – but only because Plymouth is watched by 189 official CCTV cameras in public places, says a report by Big Brother Watch, a civil liberties pressure group.
Lord Mayor of Plymouth Cllr Peter Brookshaw launches an angry attack on budget cuts he says are undermining the role of the city's First Citizen, and is backed by two previous office holders. Council leader Vivien Pengelly says the cuts were approved by Cabinet of which the Lord Mayor is a part.
A memorial to the seven lives lost during the construction of the Tamar Bridge is unveiled.
Having a replica of the Mayflower could generate £2.5 million a year for the city. A study by Plymouth University, done on behalf of project leader former professional sailor Adrian Bishop, says the copy of the historic ship could draw in 120,000 visitors a year. Plus the ship might come in handy if the unusually dry and warm start to the spring ends in the usually soggy summer.
Visitors are already pouring into Plymouth's latest attraction – the £46.5-million Life Centre. Divers Evangeline Piper, aged six, and her brother Oscar, five, leap from the ten-metre board for the finale to the ceremony for the sports and centre which Charles Johnston of Sport England hails as an "iconic project" of the London 2012 legacy.
About 1,300 jobs in Plymouth are secured with the Government announcement of a £350-million refit and refuelling of nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance.
The work at Devonport Dockyard will secure more than 1,000 jobs at Babcock and a further 300 at other companies in Plymouth.
There's more upbeat military news, this time from 29 Commando Royal Artillery which announces 50 challenges to mark its 50th anniversary.
A DERRIFORD hospital trainee emergency medicine doctor is praised by Nepalese medics for saving the life of a severely injured sherpa on Mount Everest. Dr Helen Grimsmo, who was trekking to base camp, reattached the man's right foot and cared for him for 24 hours before appalling weather lifted enough for him to be airlifted to hospital.
The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is marked, including Plymouth's connections with the tragedy. Among the approximately 1,500 dead was Colonel John Jacob Astor IV, a cousin of Plymouth MP city MP Waldorf Astor. The survivors included a Devonport-born fireman Alfred Shiers. He was one of the 167 surviving crew members who were brought back to the UK through Plymouth.
A drought is officially declared throughout the South West after months of exceptionally low rainfall and unusually high temperatures in March. Heavy rain begins two days later and does not let up as floods hit the region within a fortnight with half a month's total falling in less than 24 hours. As the month ends, storms batter the city. That's only for starters.
Plymouth Argyle secure their place in the Football League with a 1-1 home draw against Oxford United. The result brings relief to a campaign in where the club was on the brink of league and financial oblivion. Another season like that and the Mayflower replica will be commandeered by another generation of emigrating Pilgrims.
LABOUR sweeps to power in the city council elections, winning control from the Conservatives with a majority of five seats. New leader Tudor Evans says local Tory decisions such as the North Yard incinerator were decisive while outgoing head Vivien Pengelly points the finger at the rise in the UKIP vote for the defeat. Nobody blames the weather. Yet.
The world watches as 55,000 people pack the Hoe to welcome the Olympic flame for its first overnight stop on the road to London 2012. Olympic diving hopeful Tom Daley celebrates his 18th birthday with a top-selling smart phone app and the release of his autobiography.
And Devonport-based HMS Ocean sails into the Thames to help provide security for the sporting spectacle.
Plans are unveiled to show how the Millbay should look within two years as the stalled £350-million development is given a £20-million cash injection to get things moving.
Treasures and historical artefacts dating back centuries are discovered in a huge US-led research and exploration project in Plymouth Sound, the first archaeological survey of its kind.
The heavy rain continues. And on the Royal Albert Bridge workers risk being showered – with toilet waste. Rail passengers are asked to resist the call of nature when travelling over the landmark because workers are busy with maintenance.
IT'S party time for thousands celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations with street shindigs throughout the city.
The jubilee River Pageant in front of the Queen on The Thames features Plymouth-built cruiser Tom Tit – one of the Dunkirk "little ships" in the World War Two evacuation – among the 1,000 vessels. Her Majesty is serenaded by city tenor David Webb in the 12-strong Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, but the event is marred by torrential rain.
Plymouth has another battering in a fierce storm which brings more floods. The Freedom Fields music festival, Megaride biker parade and the Tinside Pool opening are all postponed.
Thirty thousand people flock to the Hoe for the action-packed national Armed Forces Day in the same month as Falklands War veterans mark the 30th anniversary of victory in the battle to liberate the islands from the Argentine invaders.
Former Face of Plymouth winner Charlotte Holmes is crowned Miss England. The 23-year-old from Torpoint will go on to compete for the Miss World title on China in August. No wonder Charlotte's smiling: she needn't pack her brolly as the contest will be in bone-dry Inner Mongolia.
A MARRIED couple and a park bench hit national headlines after Peter and Margaret Cox were forced to make way for the Prime Minister at Armed Forces Day. After bagging a prime bench on the Hoe, the couple were asked to move as the area had been reserved for David Cameron and other VIPs. The couple were approached by an apologetic Prince Edward who Mr Cox described as "a real gentleman."
Developer Devington Homes vows to go ahead with the regions tallest building, the £55 million Oceanique project at Derry's Cross. The 365 feet tall skyscraper will be twice the size of the 174 ft, 14-storey Civic Centre once built.
The final of the Face of Plymouth competition sees Amy Miles and Kadus Smith crowned the winners. The evening included a fashion show and performances from local groups – the winners will go on to represent Plymouth as ambassadors for the city.
Olympic fever hits the country, even causing those of us who usually couldn't care less about sport to sit up and take notice. 15-year-old Plymouth College pupil Ruta Meilutyte scoops gold for her home country Lithuania in the final of the 100m breast stroke, signalling a great beginning to the games for the city.
THE Olympics continue to keep us gripped. Jessica Ennis speaks about "one of the greatest nights in British history" as she takes gold in the heptathlon, Mo Farah scoops two in the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres and Greg Rutherford bags another gold for Team GB in the long jump. Plymouth boy Tom Daley grabbed himself a sensational Olympic bronze.
Argyle fans are treated to new pasties at Home Park, as Pilgrim Pasties won The Herald's competition to feed the Green Army.
Whoopi Goldberg donates £200 towards a St Luke's Hospice skydive. Will Heightley, who was doing the skydive in memory of his mum, sent out hundreds of sponsorship requests on twitter. Whoopi donated on his Just Giving page and left the message 'for mum's everywhere'.
The battle begins to bring the next generation of warships to Plymouth as City MPs and Council Leader Tudor Evans set about lobbying top ministers to base the Royal Navy's "Type 26" ships in Devonport from 2020.
The future of Plymouth airport is reopened for debate after a petition containing 37,000 signatures was handed to the council.
London 2012 excitement continues as the Paralympic Games kick off, with Plymouth table-tennis star David Wetherill scooping a win on his debut match. He goes on to become an internet hit for a wonder shot made in a match which he ultimately lost against Thomasz Lusiak – the clip has received over 6 million hits on you tube.
SEPTEMBER is the month of the airport as a masterplan to build on the land is revealed by owners Sutton Harbour Holdings. Viable, the group hoping to save the airport, reveals plans to reinstate it. The council debates the issue with many councillors wanting to save it – a mass letter writing campaign to Prime Minister David Cameron follows, along with The Herald asking Sutton Harbour Holdings not to build on the land.
Two men are jailed on the same day, 20 years after committing their terrible crimes, thanks to advances in DNA technology. Shaun Harrison from North Prospect was jailed for eight years after raping and twice indecently assaulting a teenage girl in 1989, while Alexander Shepherd was sentenced to six years and four months after raping a woman in Devonport Park in 1990.
Figures published by the National Drug Treatment Monitoring Service show that 54 youngsters under 18 are getting help for drink problems in the city – some are as young as 14.
More shocking figures- this time showing the cost of hospital timewasters as patients missed almost 30,000 appointments at Derriford Hospital in a year, which could have cost the cash-strapped hospital up to £3.5 million.
The bad news at the start of the month is counteracted by more sporting success. Plymouth cyclist Jon Tiernan Locke is the first British winner of the Tour of Britain in 19 years, and the city welcomes home its Olympic heroes in a parade including Tom Daley, Ruta Meilutyte, David Wetherill, diver Tonia Couch and swimmer Anthony James.
FIVE Royal Marines were arrested for murder, relating to an incident in Afghanistan in 2011. The men, of Plymouth based 3 Commando Brigade, appeared in a secret court after a request was granted to keep their identities a secret. Nearly 100 people took to the streets in the city in support of the Marines.
Findings from charity Alcohol Concern show that in Plymouth booze puts 110 people in hospital every day.
William Goad, the man dubbed 'Britain's worst paedophile' dies behind bars. The former Plymouth businessman is thought to have abused up to 3,500 boys and was jailed for life in 2004.
A cat found skewered by a bamboo cane leads to an anonymous donor offering £300 for information that could lead to an arrest and conviction. A reward total of £1,800 was on offer to catch the culprit after another anonymous donor offered £500, and charities Crimestoppers and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) offered £1,000 between them.
A bit of light relief as a lost parrot is found after knocking on the door of unsuspecting householder, Sarah Purdie. After tapping at the door, Bobby the parrot was later reunited with his owner, Margita Vilagiova.
Dancer Jasmine Gregory, from Saltash, spoke of her terror during the New York storms, just weeks before we get storms of our own.
November brings with it news that Plymouth City Council might have to make fresh cuts, fears for hikes in council tax and that the council will cut 100 jobs in a bid to plug a £3.2 million hole in its budget.
The city remembers its war dead as Armistice day services take place across Plymouth, with 10,000 people estimated to have attended services on the Hoe including at the Falklands memorial and the Royal Naval war memorial.
In the middle of X-Factor filming, Gary Barlow performs in the city for the first time in 22 years. The Pavilions gig was the second on his UK and Ireland tour, and fans were thrilled to hear him shout "Good evening, Janners" as he started his set.
Conservative candidate Tony Hogg was elected Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner. However seems apathy was the real winner as only 15.14 per cent of the electorate came out to vote.
A £75 million vision to create a world class waterfront is revealed, along with plans for 870 homes to the north of the city. However campaigners are worried that a decade of talks have been ditched to rush through the plans for the new homes, to be built on farmland at a site in Seaton.
Not even the weather brings good news, with Gdynia Way flooded less than a year after its multi-million pound revamp, leading to its week-long closure to sort out the drains. The bad weather also forces the council to rearrange the Christmas lights switch-on.
December sees the culmination of a number of Herald campaigns including the results of £££s for People, which gave money to community groups.
Baby of the Year 2012 was awarded to eight-month-old Keiran Dyer and The Herald's Christmas campaign began – to raise £30,000 to pay for a St Luke's nurse for a year.
More rain hits the region with Gdynia Way closed for the third time in a month. A diversion set up by police during the floods causes hundreds of drivers to be fined for driving in a bus lane. The six bus lane cameras have made half a million pounds for the council since being turned on in August, but weren't turned off when the diversion was set up.
In addition to the weather, norovirus hits the city. The winter vomiting bug caused a school and three hospital wards to close in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
Plymouth Argyle kick off the season of good will as players visit the children's wards at Derriford Hospital. Christmas lunches, fairs and pantomimes follow, showing festive community spirit is alive in the city. Granny Christine Rean knits 24 Christmas jumpers, one for each member of her family.
Devon and Cornwall's Police Crime Commissioner, Tony Hogg goes for a night out in the city and says that tackling 24 hour drinking will be one of his main priorities.
Police issue a warning to late night revellers as figures show the part that drink has on city rape cases. In response to online comments about the story, Cllr Philippa Davey organises a "Slutwalk" to highlight what she regards as victim blaming.
Some good news for the city as the campaign for Plymouth to become the UK's next City of Culture begins with a number of pledges in support of the bid. Dubai based firm Freij Entertainment buy the big wheel and vowed to keep it turning, and the rearranged entertainment from the Christmas light switch-on is a big success.
Ending on a high note, city chef Anton Piotrowski is named joint-winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, and Derriford Hospital experiences a festive rush as 14 babies are born on Christmas Day.