IT HAS been another great year for your Bromsgrove and Droitwich Standards.
During 2015, we have been the first to break countless exclusive stories, led campaigns for change and highlighted important issues affecting our readers.
In Bromsgrove we revealed Aldi and Waitrose were both planning to build stores at either end of the High Street and a quirky story about Bromsgrove boys Oscar and Dylan Rees sending a teddy bear into space as part of a science project was picked up by newspapers and broadcasters all over the world.
In Droitwich, exclusives included the fact volunteers were needed for this year’s Remembrance Parade because of police cuts, the Chateau Impney Hill Climb being made a permanent event and also that a garage which had been illegally opening 24/7 without permission was scaling back its ours.
In our role as the two towns’ number one community newspaper, we have strived to highlight and investigate issues affecting residents
Among them, in Bromsgrove, has been the controversial leisure centre saga after the district council put forward plans to replace the Dolphin Centre but not the sports hall, which has been earmarked for demolition.
We also ran a campaign earlier this year to raise £10,000 to help five-year-old Bromsgrove Daniel Speed learn to walk, which hit its target after just 14 weeks.
Bromsgrove’s new Blue Cross centre was completed in 2015 and is now up and running. And when the officially opening is done, we will have our very own Bromsgrove Standard kennel there, because of the fund-raising and coverage we have given the project.
In Rubery in 2015 we ran a front page story, highlighting residents’ views that their village needed vast improvements. Following that story a meeting was set up (and several more have been held since) which has led to community groups being set up and an ongoing campaign to improve the village.
In Droitwich we had a national first – we were tasked by the town council of running a consultation for residents to have their say on which projects they would like to see receive New Homes Bonus cash.
We also highlighted the plight of the town’s Age UK desperately needing cash to continue its good work in the community and helped launch a campaign with the historic St Andrew’s Church to raise £100,000 for a new roof. The church is not only important historically, several groups meet there and it is used to stage elements of important events, including Charter Day, Saltfest and the St Richard’s Festival.
We have also made sure we covered all the important events, including the general and local elections, where we had reporters at both counts, Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Bromsgrove, Droitwich and Rubery, carnivals, festivals and the Christmas lights switch-ons.
In Droitwich we saw the Chateau Impney Hill Climb enjoy a highly successful return for the first time in more than 50 years, the Droitwich Festival, Charter Day to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the town’s charter and Salt Fest.
There has also been sadness in 2015 with the death of 11-year-old Finlay Church who raised more than £100,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Brain Tumour Research. He was a true inspiration to many and his parents Penny and Wayne have vowed to continue fund-raising for the two causes in his memory.
Several civic figures and well-known people also passed away this year, including former Bromsgrove District Council Chairman John Tidmarsh, former Droitwich mayors Glenise Noyes and Eileen Hope, Bromsgrove businessman Barry Beard and Steve Hammond, the chief brewer at Bromsgrove’s Bird’s Brewery.