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Review of the Year part one: Honours, haircuts and designer bedrooms

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 December 2018

Students from Cobham Hall school. Picture: Cobham Hall School.

Students from Cobham Hall school. Picture: Cobham Hall School.

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As we prepare to welcome 2019, The Reporter takes a look at the first six months of the past year, and the biggest stories we have reported on. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the second half of 2018.

Jack Lipscombe, Year 8 pupil at The Ebbsfleet Academy who won the competition. Picture: David Wilson HomesJack Lipscombe, Year 8 pupil at The Ebbsfleet Academy who won the competition. Picture: David Wilson Homes

January

The year started with some good news. Music teacher Sandra Jane Booer got a BEM in the Queen’s honours, and petrolhead plumber Tom Harvey scooped a £100,000 Porsche in a competition.

London Bridge station finally unveiled its new look as part of the £1 billion Thameslink Programme.

The cost of tackling flytipping was put at £250,000 by Dartford and Gravesham councils as they took on over 4,000 incidents during 2015/6

A farming insurance specialist predicted more will happen if councils bring in more charges for disposing of waste.

Locations across the area were also used as a backdrop for a horror movie called The Left Hand Path.

The RSPCA revealed two Bean men ran cock fighting matches at a travellers’ site. Inspector Carroll Lamport said they were able to identify some of the venues seen in horror videos.

Darent Valley Hospital was told it could lose stroke treatment facilities to cut costs.

February

KCC was criticised for if gender pay gap, claimed Northfleet councillor Lauren Sullivan. The county authority assured critics it did not have a glass ceiling. Fresh figures found women were paid around 12 per cent less than men. Cllr Sullivan said there was “still more KCC can do to address” the issue.

A rise in burglaries saw north Kent police issue an appeal to home owners to do more to ensure their properties were protected. Only in February, there had been 30 break-ins across Gravesend and 50 in Dartford, all since the start of the year.

Students and staff at Cobham Hall School were thanked for their donation of their hair used to create wigs for children with cancer. Charity Little Princess Trust thanked the school for not only the hair, but also £500 to pay for the production of a single wig.

A consultation on A2 works to improve the Bean junction.

March

A snow storm called The Beast shut schools across the region jamming roads, rails, and businesses causing misery for everyone, unless you had a sledge.

Gravesham and Medway councils started talks to merge their human resources departments.

Nat West staff were praised by a judge jailing a scammer who demanded his elderly victim withdraw a fortune to pay for dodgy works at his home. Aaron Wiltshire, 31, from Slade Green was convicted of false representation and jailed for four years.

An international contest was launched to help get the world’s best landscaping designs for the new Ebbsfleet garden city.

Corporal Jonathan Bayliss from Dartford, was named as the RAF engineer who died when a Red Arrows jet crashed. He was on board the Hawk T1 when it came down in Anglesey. The pilot escaped with his life.

Gravesham council got tough with drivers flouting school parking rules.

April

Disposing of medicines past their use by dates came under scrutiny by health inspectors who told Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to do better.

The Care Quality Commission said there was a “lack of oversight and monitoring”.

Local MP Gareth Johnson voiced concerns over a national rise in dog thefts. He told the Commons: “Each and every week across England and Wales, some 80 dogs are stolen from their owners causing huge distress.”

Travelodge opened its first hotel in Gravesend – its 13th in Kent, creating 15 new jobs.

Michael Morris, 19, who had laughing gas and cocaine in his system when he killed two men in a car crash – he’s jailed for eight years at Woolwich Crown Court.

Altogether Safer helped victims of domestic abuse in its successful first year ensuring there was help out of hours too.

Mohammed Abdul who drove into a Gravesend nightclub injuring 13 told he’d stand trial in September charged with attempted murder.

May

More evidence the ambitious Paramount theme park was coming off the rails with the announcement a full planning application was being delayed. A promised 5,000 new jobs were set to be scrapped.

Gareth Johnson MP helped celebrate the sale of the 1,000 home sold under the Help to Buy equity loan scheme. It was at Phoenix Quarter, Dartford, and Mr Johnson backed the project saying: “I hope that this number continues to grow.”

A television fly-on-the-wall programme looking at how we all deal with death was announced by TV channel Together. The Hospice would be looking at the Northfleet based unit, Ellenor.

Hindus welcomes their first temple in North Kent when the Hindu Mandir in Manor Road threw open its doors. Trustee Vibha Kataria told us: “This is a dream come true for many Hindu families.”

An extension to Crossrail to Ebbsfleet is finally being considered.

June

What do teenagers want in their bedrooms these days? Jack Lipscombe, 13, knows – he won an award for his design of the perfect teen den. Andrew Henry, interior design expert and judge for David Wilson Homes, said: “Jack created a fantastic mood.”

Drivers should know not to stop in yellow box junctions, but Gareth Johnson, MP, wants government to let the council start fining those that do, in a bid to cut jams.

Over 1,100 home sit empty in Dartford and the council wants to do something about it to reduce waiting times for accommodation. The authority said owners are contacted annually to “find out the reasons why” they remain empty.

Ted and Marilyn Newton re-celebrated their £8 million lotto win by going back to the shop that sold the ticket to deliver a gold play station.

The regeneration of Gravesend town centre boosted by deal with developers Reef Group.

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