Review of the year 2013: August

Comet editor Darren Isted and Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland stand in front of the Surgicentre in S

Comet editor Darren Isted and Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland stand in front of the Surgicentre in Stevenage after news of it's closure - Credit: Archant

August saw the Lister Surgicentre change hands, Gazza in court and an epic swimming challenge.

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne - Credit: Archant

• The privately-run Lister Surgicentre in Stevenage was taken over by the NHS following an earlier inspection found patients’ health and welfare was at risk.

Andy Nation after reaching Dover on July 26

Andy Nation after reaching Dover on July 26 - Credit: Archant

The centre was bought from Clinicenta Ltd for in excess of £53 million.

• Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne was fined £1,000 after pleading guilty to assault while drunk at Stevenage Railway Station.

Gascoigne admitted grabbing the neck of guard Jack Sherrington when he got off the train on July 4 and another charge of being drunk and disorderly in a public place.

He was ordered to pay a further £145 court costs and £100 in compensation to Mr Sherrington.

• A planned lane expansion of the A1(M) was scrapped and replaced with a scheme described as a ‘backwards step”.

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Prime Minister David Cameron announced last October that a section of the hard shoulder would be opened to traffic at junction 6 heading northbound to Stevenage from 2014.

However, the Highways Agency revealed it will instead be undertaking a £2.2m government-funded project next year in a bid to ease congestion – without using the hard shoulder.

• A grandfather who broke his neck the previous year was forced to halt his attempt to swim across the English Channel as part of a 147-mile challenge.

Andy Nation, 63, had to pull out only 10 miles from the French coast due to pain in his neck, which was broken in a fall at his home in Knebworth.

His feat was in aid of Herts MS Therapy Centre in Letchworth GC and Herts Air Ambulance.

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