REVIEW OF THE YEAR - May to August
15:13 03 January 2014
It has been another eventful year in Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages. The Reporter takes a look back at some of the events that made the headlines in 2013.
● Budget supermarket chain Aldi is coming to Saffron Walden after a proposal for a retail park was given approval. UDC’s planning committee granted permission for work to begin on the building of a discount foodstore, café, garden centre and warehouse units on a site on Thaxted Road.
● A 12-strong team was selected to spearhead efforts to boost town centre trade in Saffron Walden. The Town Team was formed of traders, business people and elected officials with the aim of encouraging more people to shop in the town.
● Hollywood movie star Mila Kunis made a brief stop-off in Uttlesford to record some lines for a television show. The A-Lister was in the UK filming scenes for a movie when she went to an intimate recording studio in Hatfield Heath to voice the character of Meg Griffin from Family Guy.
● New figures estimated that the number of people in Uttlesford suffering from dementia will rocket by 108 per cent over the next 20 years.
● The traditional mayor making ceremony saw husband and wife, Keith and Sandra Eden, ushered in as mayor and deputy mayoress – a first in Saffron Walden Town Council’s history.
● Stansted Airport worker Kirsty Heslewood was crowned Miss England at a glitzy bash in Devon.
● James Goodge and his pet pooch sprung into action and stopped two thieves running off with a handbag. Mr Goodge and his Siberian Husky, Akira, hounded the bag snatchers in front of a stunned carriage-full of rail passengers at Stansted Mountfitchet station. The air ventilation engineer was greeted with applause when he handed the bag back to his owner.
● Six distinguished Saffron Walden characters, including a poet, inventor and designer, were honoured with blue plaques in a weekend of ceremonies. The scheme, organised by the Saffron Walden Initiative, commemorated the former residents who had achieved “distinction” in their chosen careers.
● Saffron Screen co-founder and community stalwart Peter Riding was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Hnours list. He received an MBE for his services to the community.
● Four tennis players from Grove Tennis Club made history after winning a prestigious competition. The ladies put the club’s name on the Essex Ladies Senior Cup for the first time since it has been in existence since 1911.
● Talented 11-year-old Tom Roddis from Wimibsh was named as the favourite act from Cambridge’s fifth annual Buskers & Street Performers Festival. More than 100 people voted for the youngster as their top performer across the three-day event. Tom described it as the “best weekend I’ve ever had”.
● Over 400 people enjoyed a perfect summer’s day at the first-ever Arts & Music Picnic. Local bands, storytelling and theatre were amongst the fun activities on offer at the event, held in Bridge End Garden.
● Debden scooped a double win in the annual Essex of the Year competition. It won Best Kept Village prize in its class and was voted runners-up in the competition at the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) awards.
● Members of Saffron Walden Town FC approved a motion for the club to become a Community Benefit Society. It means the club became a limited company owned by supporters.
● Archaelogical excavations were carried out on Saffron Walden Common to investigate the outer bailey of the town’s historic castle.
The team included students from the County High and Newport Free Grammar schools.
● Almost 30 players, ex-players, coaches and committee members braved the chilly weather by stripping off for a Saffron Walden Rugby Club Fifty50 fund-raiser. The naked ‘Boys behind the ball’ 2014 calendar was produced to raise funds for the club’s 50th anniversary – aimed at reaching £50,000 to improve facilities.
● Crowds gathered in Saffron Walden to give a heroes’ welcome to returning troops. A parade and ceremony in the market square completed a weekend of events, with the Carver Barracks opened up to families as a public ‘thank you’ from the Army to the district.
● Hundreds of families enjoyed rides, games and activities at Audley End Miniature Railway for a special summer event organised by Home-start Uttlesford. Over £6,000 was raised for the charity.
● Parking became top of the agenda after Waitrose announced a date for work to begin on its expansion. The supermarket had earmarked a January start date, prompting concerns over how to replace the temporary loss of 294 parking spaces. It later announced it would postpone the work by a year.
● Saffron Walden went maze-crazy as jugglers, fire performers, bands and artists came together for the culmination of a four-day celebration. The second Maze Festival was an “outstanding success”.