17 stories that mattered most to you in 2017

Posted on - 30th December, 2017 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Preston News
The stories that mattered to Preston in 2017

2017 has been another busy year for Blog Preston.


We have written stories that have made you (and us) happy, sad, angry, laugh and more.

We’ve lost some of the most treasured members of our community and dealt with some terrible tragedies.

We have also seen the people of Preston rally together in the face of these stories.

And people keep hurting the Fishergate bollard.

These are the stories that really mattered to you this year according to our analytics tools.

17. Ben Ashworth dies after battle with bowel cancer

An inspirational marathon runner from Preston died after a long fight with bowel cancer.

Ben Ashworth, from Broadgate, passed away aged 38 with his family around him.

Ben Ashworth with his Berlin Marathon medal
Ben Ashworth with his Berlin Marathon medal

His wife Louise posted on the Ben’s Bowel Movements Facebook page to the thousands of people who have followed Ben’s battle with the disease.

16. Vigil planned after Manchester Arena attack

A peace vigil was held in Preston after 22 people were killed in an explosion at Manchester Arena.

A further 59 people were injured in the terror attack that claimed the life of Runshaw College student Georgina Callander.

15. Library saved 

Two community buildings in Penwortham were kept open thanks to a community council.

Penwortham Library and the town’s Young People’s Centre were both earmarked for closure due to Lancashire County Council cutbacks.

More: Penwortham library saved

The Town Council stepped in to take on running both the buildings, with a 40p per month increase in council tax for Penwortham residents to keep the doors open.

14. That bloody plinth

This continues to make you chuckle and wonder what on earth people are playing at.

The Fishergate plinth claimed many a new victim from September.

The scene in Fishergate saw yet another driver hit the bollard Pic: John/catterallwhite
The scene in Fishergate saw yet another driver hit the bollard Pic: John/catterallwhite

13. Parks praised

Five of Preston’s Parks were recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as some of the very best in the world.

They are among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces that received Green Flag Awards, a Green Flag Community Award and Heritage site status.

Preston parks have been earning plaudits again. Credit: Tony Worrall

The parks included were Winckley Square Gardens, Avenham & Miller Parks, Ashton Park, Haslam Park and Fishwick Bottoms.

12. Mental health unit opens at Preston

Help for those with mental health problems was added to Royal Preston Hospital.

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust brought in the Arkwright Unit.

It offers 24/7 facilities to those needing urgent mental health assessment or who are in crisis.

The unit has six chairs instead of beds and is a ‘short-term safe therapeutic environment’ – as demand for mental health services is increasing.

11. McDonald’s stabbing

A young male was taken to hospital following a suspected stabbing in Preston city centre.

McDonalds in Friargate and the alleyway into Lowthian Street near the Black Horse pub were sealed off.

Police outside McDonalds in Preston Pic: Benjamin Wareing
Police outside McDonalds in Preston Pic: Benjamin Wareing

The incident took place around 5.45pm on February 21 and Preston Police arrested a Preston man on suspicion of assault.

10. Preston cat cafe? 

This really put the er…cat…amongst the pigeons.

The potential owner asked the Preston community if they thought a cat cafe was a good idea.

More: Why a cat cafe in Preston is a terrible idea

They are generally controversial, and a guest piece from veterinary nurse Becca Schofield was very critical of the idea.

9. Sikh community feed the homeless

A food kitchen helped feed dozens of homeless Prestonians.

The city’s Sikh community launched their new monthly event.

The kitchen for the homeless in full flow
The kitchen for the homeless in full flow

Volunteers joined a worldwide moment to ensure those who need help are receiving it.

Under the cover of the city’s Fish Market canopy the soup kitchen was in full flow during this February evening.

8. Armed gang raid Penwortham bar

Staff who were cashing up were threatened with weapons and money was demanded.

Preston Police said the men made off with cash from the safe.

More: Armed gang take cash during Penwortham raid

It is understood one of the staff members was attacked with a hammer and another of the attackers had a gun.

7. Christmas rail specials

Christmas events are always exciting, particularly traditions.

A previous Santa Special steam train in the snow

The details of the Santa Steam specials at the Docklands museum may have been announced in August, but it wasn’t too soon for you to start planning.

6. Busted are coming to Preston

When it comes to live acts, nostalgia seems to be what gets you going.

The announcement that Busted were coming to Preston was by far the most excited you’ve been for a gig announcement.

More: Busted show announced for Guild Hall

We must give credit to Dan Morris at Guild Hall for continuing to pull off stuff like this.

5. War hero wins gold

A man from Bamber Bridge won gold representing the United Kingdom at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

Dave Watson, originally from Bamber Bridge, won the gold for Discus while also winning a bronze for Shotput in September.

Dave Watson (right) has triumphed at the Invictus Games

Dave lost both legs and his right arm when he stepped on a hidden bomb while on patrol with the 1st Battalion Scots Guards in Afghanistan in May 2010.

4. M65 flooded

Torrential rain forced the closure of the M65 near Preston.

Highways England and Lancashire Police had vehicles on the scene as rain lashed the motorway between junctions 3 and 2.

It was very dramatic and a lot of your interest no doubt came from this picture sent in to us by police.

Picture showing the westbound carriageway of the M65 Pic: Lancashire Road Police
Picture showing the westbound carriageway of the M65 Pic: Lancashire Road Police

3. Christmas at Winckley Square

Winckley Square was transformed into a winter wonderland in the run up to Christmas.

Following the Tales of Oz event, the Winter Wonderland showcase took over the whole of the grade-II listed Georgian gardens.

Santa, Mrs Christmas and the cheeky elves ran amock in the Square for kids enjoying the Christmas showcase.

Activities included visiting Santa in his cosy living room and receiving a gift, storytelling with Mrs Christmas and meeting the elves in their workshop.

The Christmas tree in Winckley Square has now been restored
The Christmas tree in Winckley Square

2. Harry Potter comes to Preston

An exhibition was held at The Harris to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ by J.K Rowling, in parallel with a major exhibition on the same subject at the British Library.

Rather fittingly, it all comes to a close today (December 30) after just over two months.

Muggles were welcome, of course.

Read more about the exhibition here.

1. Preston Bus takes you to the Love Concert in Manchester

And the most popular picture or post we posted all year was this nice touch from Preston Bus.

Preston in pictures Old Cock YardAngelo'sA Slice Of Avenham StreetBaker Street Bar SignWallace & Gromit Bench SculptureW H & J Woods, Tobacco Manufacturers21.04.17 - Preston [Treasure Hunter]The Demolition Continues 24-05-2022 a View more Advertisement Subscribe to the newsletter

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