ONE of the biggest issues of 2015 to impact upon the town – at least as far as external media is concerned (newspapers, radio and TV) is the ongoing saga of sordid stinks from Yorkshire Water and the campaign by local people to tackle them.
After more than a decade of experiencing foul odours and the prospect of another summer being ruined by the sickening stench coming from the Yorkshire Water Waste Water Treatment Works, patience finally snapped and a spontaneous campaign from local residents – largely organised via Facebook – led to an unprecedented rise in complaints and two demonstrations organised at the gates of the Yorkshire Water site at Saltend.
Surprisingly, the Hedon Blog article Patience of residents finally snaps! only made No. 21 in our list when compiling our Top Ten articles for 2015 (based on Blog statistics compiled by wordpress.com). And the bigger story Residents celebrate victory as Abatement Order issued against Yorkshire Water! was No. 30. In as far as the Hedon Blog has covered the issue since the blog started in February 2009 – we now even give the issue its own category Yorkshire Water Smells – then this must surely be the biggest story of the year. It reflects a significant development in the long campaign, which saw the ongoing efforts of local politicians basically side-stepped in favour of more direct action by local residents themselves.
To those who rang, emailed or used social media to complain about the smells, and to those who attended the two demonstrations which attracted the media attention, Hedon should offer its thanks; your actions contributed to the campaign leading to the Abatement Notice being issued against Yorkshire Water. And whilst this story still has to run with politicians, the local authority and Yorkshire Water itself tasked to deliver (particularly through YW’s £30m investment at the Waste Water Treatment Works), the actions taken by residents themselves are one of the most inspirational episodes of 2015.
Another event which marks an historical first for Hedon and deservedly takes our Top Spot No.1 position is the Hedon Festival – #HedFest15. Our photo gallery of the weekend published on the day after the festival had an unprecedented number of views on the Hedon Blog for one day with 12,799 viewings of the photographs.
Without a doubt HedFest which took place over Friday evening of 14th August, and Saturday daytime and evening of 15th August was the biggest event that has ever happened in the town and was summed up by the organising committee’s Chair David Thompson as “Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant and brilliant!”. We were also delighted to include a review of the poetry event at the festival by local writer Lucy Brooke: The Spoken Word – HedFest at the Shakespeare – More Please!
And we are pleased to confirm that #HedFest16 is coming…
So what else comprises our Top Ten?
At 10 and number 8 are the articles about the town’s newest pub The Hed’On Inn. Our announcement of the impending opening (No. 10) in August of Hedon’s new Micropub was heavily shared on Facebook and drew interest from across the district. But that interest had already been generated earlier in June when a licensing application had been submitted for a Micropub on Watmough’s Arcade (No. 8) which appeared destined to be called The Thirsty Pig… fortunately, regulars at licensee Shirley Bamforth’s other pub the Royal Mail in Thorngumbald suggested that Hed’On Inn would be much better! The Hedon Blog editor later reviewed the new Inn: It’s just the best bits of your favourite bar.
Humberside Police are a regular source of news for both Hedon Blog and HU12 Online and this includes requests to the public to identify suspects from CCTV footage, including this one from February (No.9): Hedon Shop Theft. These type of images do provide us with a dilemma; whilst these are obviously really useful at the time of publication and helps circulate the photos for the police, we do worry that because of the ‘permanence’ of the internet, whether a few months or years later it still serves a purpose having these discoverable on the internet?
Imagine a ‘suspect’ actually having been proven innocent but having their ‘wanted’ image out there. Or if a suspect has later been convicted, done their time or served their punishment, but again that CCTV image is still discoverable…?
At No. 7 is the three flat caps of HedFest! That’s my unofficial title for the article in April that announced HedFest to the world! HedFest – It’s a GO for summer Hedon Festival.
The Meat Trader opened in March and we had a first unique look behind the scenes at the butchers who make the business work each day. We also discovered the local links that the new business has with Hedon; for business owner Garry Bucknall it represented a return to the town where he spent his youth. We are delighted to report that the new business is doing well and is growing a deserved good reputation in the local area. Expect some news from The Meat Trader in the New Year.
It was also pleasing to meet local woman Camille as the new manager of Yorkshire Mobility in May.
2015 saw Co-operative Food quit the large supermarket area of business in favour of smaller convenience stores. This had two impacts locally. In Thorngumbald NewRiver Retail continued its efforts to demolish the Royal Mail pub (which it had acquired from Marston’s Brewers in 2014) in order to build a new convenience store for potential clients the Co-op. Whilst in Hedon (Preston South actually), the Co-op quit its Supermarket which will open as a new-style Netto in January 2016. The two articles we have published about Netto are numbers 5 (Co-op subject of Sale to a new look Netto) and 4 (New Netto store) in our list. We expect to publish information on the store’s opening in the first week of the New Year.
A car crashing into the Cooplands store in March provides our No. 3 spot. Whilst taking photographs of the crashed car at the time, we were unaware of the scale of injuries to local resident Vicki Whittaker who had been hit by the car. The car had lurched forward from the parking bay, went over the kerb knocking Vicki over and smashing into the front of Cooplands Bakery. Vicki was left with a severely injured leg and foot, leaving her unable to walk, needing crutches and wheelchair and requiring treatment for several months. The issue prompted concerns about another similar accident taking place and residents and Vicki herself lobbied the authorities for safety improvements. The Hedon Blog carried out a consultation exercise on whether bollards should be installed in the Market Place.
Sadly, the best-loved post about an individual subject (No. 2) was our report in March on the death of local character Neil Shillito. A prolific commentator on the Blog, I think Neil would have loved the fact that he’s still making an impact on these pages.
We also lost another one of the town’s characters this year with the sad loss of newsagent Tim Beckett.
Other popular posts this year included announcing the Hedon Town Council election results and the East Riding Council election results in May. Our St. Augustine’s Church Photo Challenge proved steadily popular throughout the year.
Local history has a niche on the Hedon Blog and Ripley’s Reminiscences remain popular and recently the search for information on the Old Keel Inn generated lots of interest. Personally, I am delighted to see that a really old article on Remembering Priestman has developed a kind of community around it via the comments.
It was also a delight to report on the Hedon Mace featuring in a London display at the Guildhall Art Gallery to coincide with the 600th anniversary of The Battle of Agincourt.
Other posts worthy of a mention.
Nice 2b Nice the charity founded by Dave Freer continues to inspire people to do wonderful things to provide surprise days many involving the local area and Hedon itself including this one: American Dream Truck brings VIPs into Hedon.
We continue to follow and support the continuing adventures of Harry Robinson the young jet ski competitor from the town. He has done wonders this year (Harry wins in front of home crowd and Jet Ski Amateur National Champ) and we look forward to his achievements in 2016 – and we also expect his dad Steve to take up his AquaX competitions again this year after a year off through injury.
We were pleased to celebrate a milestone this year of achieving One Million Views in May (currently at the time of writing stands at 1,212,864).
Just some ‘thank yous’ to Blog contributors: Rachel Cliffe, Malc Ripley, Katy Miller. But in particular a big ‘THANK YOU’ to all those who regularly send us news, information and notices – you are the Hedon Blog and we wouldn’t exist without your contribution.