Review 2012: September and October

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In the latest part of the Chron’s annual review of the year, we look back at some of the biggest stories which made the news in September and October.


September 6

It was announced that work to demolish the Greyfriars bus station in Northampton would begin in 2014. Northampton Borough Council published a detailed timescale for the demolition which showed the building, once labelled ‘the mouth of hell’ by Grand Designs television presenter, Kevin McCloud, will begin to disappear from July 2014.

September 13

A Northampton funeral director is celebrating after being given the title of National Embalmer of the Year. Mark Elliott, aged 32, who owns Mark Elliott Funeral Services in Kingswell Street, received the accolade at The Good Funeral Guide 2012 awards in Bournemouth.

Council bosses were left red faced after an “administrative error” led to a 15-month old child being sent a letter to invite him to speak at the Guildhall about the future of council housing alocation in the town. Young Oakley Barrett was invited to attend a focus group at the council to give his views on proposals which could significantly affect the future of the way social housing is allocated and managed.

September 20

A plate commemorating Queen Victoria’s wedding was among discoveries made by archaeologists at a site in Northampton town centre. Historians moved onto the St John’s car park site, near Royal & Derngate Theatre, to see what was undeground before construction work began on The University of Northampton’s halls of residence.

Northampton was victorious in this year’s East Midlands in Bloom Best City award, but it was revealed that it was the only town that entered.

September 27

Two men from Northampton completed a journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats, which they started wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts. George Mahood and Ben Cocks managed to complete the 874-mile trip after starting with no money, no bikes, no clothes and no food.


October 4

Four Northamptonshire police officers were banned from Twitter by Wootton Hall bosses for sending “inappropriate” messages. The officers were told to leave the social networking website because they breached force rules.

October 11

It emerged firefighters in Northamptonshire were called out 15 times in the past four years to rescue people who were so obese they could not get up. The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that fire crews were called to help people who had fallen over or become trapped and also to provide assistance to paramedics who were unable to lift patients due to their size.

October 18

A gang of would-be rioters, who took part in copy cat violence in Northampton during last summer’s nationwide unrest, received custodial sentences totalling more than 17 years. The 11 defendants, aged between 17 and 22, were among 30 people wearing hoods and masks who gathered in Abington Park on August 2011, at the height of the riots taking place in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Judge Richard Bray told them: “This took place at the height of last summer’s riots which caused considerable suffering and damage to the public. You must have known this and yet you were prepared to join in copycat disturbances.”

October 25

A student who was left fighting for her life after the fatal Lava & Ignite crush told the Chron she was “not the same person” a year after she was caught up in the nightclub tragedy. Abigail Atakora, aged 22, from south east London, travelled to Northampton from her university in Canterbury, where she studies early childhood studies. As she left the club she was caught up in the crush that claimed the life of Nabila Nanfuka, aged 22, and Laurene-Danielle Jackson, aged 19. Abigail was left in Northampton General Hospital for 10 days, and lay unconscious for two-and-a half-days. She said: “I’ve been out since, but I haven’t been to a place like Lava & Ignite. I don’t want to go to a place like that and have something happen so I am just taking care of myself. I’m not the same person who I was last year.”

October 25

The remains of the walls of Northampton Castle were discovered during an archaeological dig ahead of the 
£20 million redevelopment of Northampton railway station. Experts from Northamptonshire Archaeology dug a trench within the area currently used for short-stay car parking, and discovered part of an old stone wall, a stone line drain and a late-Saxon pit. Andy Chapman, senior archaeologist with Northamptonshire Archaeology, said: “I didn’t expect this level of preservation. It is really well preserved. The pottery is medieval, it is exactly the right date. It is a really interesting find.”