Review of the Year 2012: January

THE departure – and arrival – of a football manager, the journey of a pet hamster, and the discovery of 40-year-old cereal boxes were among the headlines in the new year.

• STEVENAGE FC said goodbye to former gaffer Graham Westley and hello to new manager Gary Smith.

On his appointment, Smith said he believed Boro could achieve something “very special”.

Westley, meanwhile, headed to former Championship side Preston North End after taking Stevenage through two back-to-back promotions.

• A PUB was blessed by a village vicar, after the landlord read about the practice in a trade magazine.

Rev James Robertson blessed The Fox in Pirton, in what was thought to be only the third ceremony in the country of its kind.

Landlord Malcolm Kelsey said: “There’s a lot of community spirit in the village already so it seemed like a good idea.”

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• PLANS to double the size of Luton Airport were heavily criticised.

The owners of the airport announced they were looking to increase the capacity to 18m passengers an annum, up from 9m.

North Herts District Council, Stevenage and North Herts residents, and campaign groups all spoke out against the plans, which are still ongoing.

• A PET hamster thought to have been eaten by his owner’s cat was actually camping out in a garage several houses down.

Pipsqueak the hamster managed to escape his cage when it was broken into, and walked along the road, evading poison and cats.

He was found by garage owner Stuart, whose wife had overhead a conversation on the missing rodent in the playground, and returned to eight-year-old Callum Chalkley

• STAFF at a village post office discovered boxes of 40-year-old cereal behind a boarded up shelf.

Norma Fears, then owner of Whitwell Post Office, put one of the boxes on eBay which sold for �160.

She intended to donate that money, plus however much the other boxes made, to charity.

• COMMUTERS were up in arms after the announcement of six per cent rail fare hike.

The increase, announced by First Capital Connect, meant an annual Travelcard to London from Stevenage increased by �244.

Cllr Sharon Taylor, who protested against the plans, labelled it a “real blow”.

*Check back later today (Tuesday) to see what happened in February.

And view January in pictures, by clicking the link above right.