Review of the year: February

THE month started with a whiteout as heavy snow brought chaos to Comet country. Some schools had to close as 8cms of snow fell making many country roads impassable forcing hundreds of people to stay at home as public transport was cancelled and train serv

THE month started with a whiteout as heavy snow brought chaos to Comet country. Some schools had to close as 8cms of snow fell making many country roads impassable forcing hundreds of people to stay at home as public transport was cancelled and train services reduced.

Students at St Christopher School, Letchworth GC even built an igloo as the snow fell deep and crisp and even.

Herts County Council warned that salt stocks were running low as the freeze continued and the A&E department at Lister Hospital said more patients were coming through the door suffering from injuries caused by falling in the big freeze.

Locomotive enthusiasts were going full steam ahead to mark the 50th anniversary of their group. President of the Stevenage Locomotive Society, Andy Lickfold said: "This is a hugely important milestone for us. We still have some founder members in the society. I doubt there are many similar societies elsewhere in Britain that are still going strong."


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The bells finally tolled on one wedding photographer's business. Michael Muir, 63, closed the doors for the last time at his shop in Station Road, Letchworth GC, after more than 40 years.

Mr Muir said: "It was sad having to close the shop but it is a fact of life that fewer people are getting married the traditional way in a church any more. Church marriages are at their lowest level since Victorian times."

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A power surge in the electricity mains was blamed for an explosion and the cutting of gas and electricity supplies in Gaunts Way, Letchworth GC. The surge was so great it melted underground cables and left residents without gas or electricity for more than 48 hours. The Red Cross was called in to help care for people and serve hot drinks and St George's Church was opened as an emergency reception centre for residents.

One resident Dan Aldridge, 72, told the Comet: "The first we knew there was a problem was when the house lights flickered. The central heating then went haywire, rattling as it tried to re-ignite, and then there was a bang nearby when an outside meter exploded off the wall of another house."

The axe finally fell on a multi-million pound redevelopment plan on an estate in Letchworth GC with developers blaming the recession. North Herts Homes, The Howard Cottage Housing Association and developer McCann Homes were behind the plan to regenerate Ivel Court on the Jackmans estate.

North Herts Homes' chief executive Kevin Thompson said: "This is very disappointing news but entirely understandable in the present economic climate."

Valentine's Day 2009 will be a date Jade Gillett and her mother will never forget. But romance was not in the air when Jade suddenly started giving birth to her second child, a bouncing 7lb 7oz baby boy, delivered by her mother who took instructions over the phone given by a paramedic.

The drama started when Jade, 20, got out of the bath at her home in Ripon Road, Stevenage, and went into labour. She had to call her Mum Theresa Gillett at her home in Wisden Road for help.

"I went into the bedroom and my partner Adam called my Mum. She got here in 10 minutes and soon afterwards Mum was delivering my baby thanks to instructions given to her by Adam who was talking to a paramedic on the phone." Soon after the delivery an ambulance arrived and mother and baby were taken to Lister Hospital where they were found to be none the worse for their ordeal.

It was announced that the controversial plan to alter flight paths over Comet country that would have seen planes flying low over the north of Stevenage and the east of Hitchin would be revised after a public outcry. The National Air Traffic Service (NATS), which manages Britain's airspace, wanted to redirect flights across the South East, including those in and out of Luton.

But following a barrage of protests Ian Hall, NATS director of operations, said: "In some areas we hope to present an alternative route for consideration, to allow a degree of choice in the area affected.

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