2018 HAS been another busy and memorable year in our town and the Droitwich Standard has been there to bring you all the biggest stories first, both in print and via our websites.
A new Youth and Community Hub was mooted for Droitwich’s St Nicholas’ Church which was exclusively revealed by us in November and should come to fruition in the next 12 months.
We also broke the news that Droitwich was to get its first supported living housing scheme for people with autism and other complex needs. It will be built in the spring and bring with it around 50 jobs.
We have highlighted a number of issues across Droitwich over the past 12 months, including the issue of people parking in residential roads around Droitwich Railway Station and price increases at one of the station’s car parks.
We also backed the campaigns for new roofs in 2018 – the one at the Norbury Theatre where a drive was launched to raise £15,000 and repairs to the roof at St Andrew’s Church in Droitwich where plaster fell from the ceiling, forcing it to close.
Probably one of the most shocking stories of the year was the 70-year-old man left fighting for his life after being attacked at his home in Oldfield Lane, Ombersley, in August.
There was also the theft of medieval silver from St Andrew’s Church. The haul, worth more than £50,000 was taken in June. In September serving prisoner Paul Sheward, 31, pleaded guilty to the theft and was given an extra two years and six months behind bars for the crime.
The Wych Barge in Vines Park was also targeted by vandals and may now have to be removed.
We have also covered numerous police raids, operations and people being jailed.
In Droitwich commuters formed their own Rail User Action Group in a bid to improve the Spa’s train service and, after backing the move and promoting the group, The Standard was at the first meeting and will continue to support the group resolve the town’s rail issues in 2019.
The Droitwich Neighbourhood Plan was controversially suspended by the town council in September. Members of the Droitwich Neighbourhood Plan Management Group called for it to be restarted up again in December but the town council said it was remaining with its original stance and a Town Plan instead could be created by the new town council when it is voted in in 2019.
Businesses and town centres
Lidl announced it was building a store in the town and there was sad news for DIY enthusiasts when Homebase announced it would be closing its Droitwich store as part of restructuring plans.
There was also bad news in January when it was revealed 225 jobs could be lost at Doncasters Precision Castings, based in Vines Lane, as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
The World Cup
England’s great run in the World Cup gave us plenty to shout about in the summer and we had a great story about the regulars at the town’s Freemasons Arms pub who turned the town red and white by putting out 200 England flags ahead of the quarter final match against Sweden. The game was also shown on a big screen at the Hanbury Show.
Armistice Day centenary
We also covered numerous events from the Centenary of the end of the First World War, including the parade and exhibits and services held by schools, churches and other community organisations.
Loss of a community champion
In March 2018, Droitwich stalwart Keith Westray passed away in March at the age of 67. Tributes were paid to Keith who was well-known for his work with For Droitwich Spa and for playing the town’s fictional superhero Spa Man.
We are proud to have brought you all the news, sport and local events we have printed throughout 2018, weekly in the paper and daily online.
Our website has reached new heights again this year with more than 800,000 page views on the Droitwich site alone, up more than 250,000 on last year’s total.
See you next year
We will be back in 2019 to bring you all the biggest stories first and the best coverage of local events.
We would like to wish a happy new year to all our readers and advertisers and thank them for their support and interest.