Month on month: 2016 year review for Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden couple Grace Mitchell and Dan Grindrod reunited with dog Rufus

Saffron Walden couple Grace Mitchell and Dan Grindrod reunited with dog Rufus - Credit: Archant

See the 2016 month on month year review for Saffron Walden and neighbouring villages.

Beales of Saffron Walden

Beales of Saffron Walden - Credit: Archant

January: - People were given the chance to buy a brick for £1 and so own a piece of a new Village Hall in Debden, which campaigners had wanted for around 15 years. The building, which hasn’t been built yet, is still surrounded by controversy. - A lost dog was reunited with his Saffron Walden owners, Daniel Grindrod and Grace Mitchell, after being stolen from a petrol station in Steeple Bumpstead. A kind 50-year-old woman found Rufus, who was wandering around in a Tesco car park. Daniel and Grace had just got engaged when Rufus was returned to them. - Hart’s Bookshop announced its opening in Saffron Walden after the original shop closed in 2007. It started selling books in April.

February: - Year 1 pupils at Katherine Semar Infant School spent all week making a gingerbread scene, before knocking it down and eating the rewards. It taught them important skills such as maths in weighing and counting, and the history of a gingerbread house, and art in creating the scene. Sweets worth more than £200 were used in the skyline. - A “really happy” equine professional from Saffron Walden, Stuart Thom, won a prestigious award, Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff, for his care of British racehorses. It is awarded by the British Racehorse Authority. - Little baby Saffron, daughter of Anglo-Australian couple Chloe and Craig, was born and named after this “beautiful” town where the parents met. - Saffron Screen got a new chairman – Paul Ainscough.

March: - Retired judge George Rhodes, who lived in Saffron Walden, reached 100-years-old – simultaneously celebrating his 25th birthday. George was born on February 29, meaning he only had a birthday every four years. He had a party with family and friends. - Paralympic triathlete George Peasgood swung by to support the Fledglings charity supporting children with disabilities. George went on to come 7th in Rio, and still supports the group, who held him a surprise welcome back and well done party on his return. - The Glass Knight, an opera performed at Saffron Hall, sold out. It was performed by pupils from Saffron Walden County High School pupils and seven primary schools.

April: - A new High Sheriff of Essex from Great Chesterford was appointed. In October, Lorna Rolfe then brought the annual Justice Service for the County of Essex to the town, instead of its usual venue in Chelmsford. - It was agreed that long-term government loans would fund around half of the Saffron Walden town hall works – the total cost was expected to be around £950,000. The work is ongoing. - The Bluebell Inn reopened, famous for being the birthplace of notorious highwayman Dick Turpin, with beer supplied by a Saffron Walden brewery. - Tea-party celebrations, along with a lighting of a beacon, took place for the Queen’s 90th Birthday. Around 200 people turned out to wish her well and sing Happy Birthday. - Friends School decided to rename itself Walden School, so it is easier both to remember and for parents to find the school.

The Bluebell Inn in Hempstead, which has reopened following renovation

The Bluebell Inn in Hempstead, which has reopened following renovation - Credit: Archant


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May: - The annual Ashdon 10k and 3k run marked its 20th anniversary, smashing its fundraising record by collecting more than £4,500. - A professional story-teller from Radwinter, Janina Vigurs, toured the country playing Beatrix Potter in an 150th anniversary event of the author’s birth. - John Davey, the new Uttlesford District Council chairman, was sworn into office. He said he was “delighted and honoured” to take the role. This December, Cllr Davey was married for the first time at age 70.

June: - Antiques Roadshow used Audley End House to host two episodes in its 39th series. Fiona Bruce called the site “beautiful”. The episodes were shown in September. - The summer Rose and Floral show, hosted by Saffron Walden Horticultural Society, was a blooming success. - Starbucks in Saffron Walden charged some customers months-worth of coffee in one go, and the chain took money from other people for the same coffee twice. For one unlucky card-user, it was £70 at once, and another had £40 taken twice. It was caused by a technical error in the system, which is now fixed. - The decisive referendum result saw the majority of Uttlesford voters want to leave the European Union – though it was the closest district in Essex in the poll.

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July: - Saffron Centre for Young Musicians had its first annual concert. The players, who were aged from six to 18, performed jazz, classical, contemporary and folk. - Duxford Imperial War Museum’s Flying Legends show attracted aviation enthusiasts to see Spitfires and a Corsair among other aircraft on show. - Republican US senators surprised a Saffron Walden landlord when they visited his pub. Jeff Leach, of the Old English Gentlemen in Gold Street, welcomed James M Inhofe from Oklahoma, Roger Wicker from Mississippi, and Pat Roberts from Kansas. They ate their very first mince pie. - Steeple Bumpstead came third in the Essex Village of the Year competition.

August: - It was announced that Beales in Market Square will close after Christmas – there has been no announcement yet as to what will take its place. - A Radwinter World War Two veteran received the highest honour awarded by France, for his service in helping to liberate the country at the end of the war. Leon Simmonds, who was “very touched”, was given Chevalier Legion D’Honneur. - Top hairdresser Georgia Maynard at Riccio Hair Design in Saffron Walden won silver in a national competition for her colouring work - the Goldwell National Colour Zoom.

Fiona Bruce at Audley End

Fiona Bruce at Audley End - Credit: Archant

September: - Dancing in the Square in Saffron Walden attracted more visitors than ever for a night of jiving, twisting, and conga. The event also raised £505 for charity. - The Huntsman won the fourth annual Duxford Soapbox Derby for the second year running. - Around 4,000 people gathered on the Common to watch Grease, hosted by Saffron Screen to celebrate its tenth anniversary. - Controversy surrounded Saffron Walden Town mayor Sarfraz Anjum when he took his official chain to Pakistan. He said it was an official trip, but opposition councillors said it was not insured and he did not have permission.

October: - The draft Uttlesford Local Plan was presented to the press for publication, and then pulled soon afterwards. It is still a controversial topic now, and the revised version is due to be published in 2017. - Brave women from Saffron Walden who suffered from breast cancer strutted their stuff on the catwalk in Cambridge, in a fashion show that raised money for Addenbrooke’s biospy equipment. There was also another charity fashion show at the dress shop in Saffron Walden, Fanny and Frank, which raised money for £800 for Home-Start. - The Bishop of Lahore visited Saffron Walden, and attended a special service at St Mary’s Church along with a senior envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

November: - Donations poured in to help a nursery that the Reporter featured, which had been burgled for the third time in just over a year. The selfless people wanted to help buy CCTV, and replace stolen toys. - It was announced Carver Barracks in Wimbish will close by 2031. - Fireworks lit up Saffron Walden, with around 1,200 people turning up to see the show. Celebrity comedian Ed Byrne attended, tweeting it was a “very good fireworks display”.

December: - Saffron Walden Christmas lights switch-on event was ram-packed with hundreds of people who wanted to meet Santa, do late-night shopping, and enjoy live entertainment. - Motorcyclists-cum-Father Christmases from Saffron Walden Motorcycle Club delivered presents to children at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. There were 377 Santas on bikes rode along the A603, making quite a festive sight for drivers on the road. - A hero milkman filled with Christmas spirit reunited a lost cockapoo with their owners, after tracking him down at 4am. In a similar incident, another milkman found a lost passport and traced who it belonged to on Facebook.

Cllr John Davey has taken over the chains of office from Cllr Stephanie Harris, the outgoing chairma

Cllr John Davey has taken over the chains of office from Cllr Stephanie Harris, the outgoing chairman. - Credit: Archant

The fireworks at Saffron Walden Common

The fireworks at Saffron Walden Common - Credit: Archant

Walden Bikers pose for a group photograph before riding out of town to join the Cambridge Bikers Chr

Walden Bikers pose for a group photograph before riding out of town to join the Cambridge Bikers Christmas Toy Run. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

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