THIS IS the final part of the review of the year 2017 in the Basingstoke Gazette.

Below is a round-up of the biggest and most interesting stories that happened in October, November, and December.


OCTOBER began with the eviction of a group of travellers from a South Ham park after a number of concerns about antisocial behaviour.

The group set up camp on Russell Howard Park on the evening of Wednesday, September 27.

Many residents complained about noise and the group disturbing the community in the aftermath.

Police received reports of fly-tipping, a large bonfire and children firing catapults at wildlife. A pigeon was shot with a catapult and then killed in one incident.

On Saturday, 30 September police used their Section 61 powers to evict the group from the council-owned land. The group left later that day and the council spent £275 on cleaning up the park.

A MEMORIAL bench for a man who died from a brain tumour which was vandalised earlier in the year was replaced as a part of the renovation works that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) was undertaking in the area.

The memorial bench of Toby Carnell put up in Victory Green, Brookvale, was pushed over by vandals in July, leaving the family devastated.

It was initially thought that there would be no hope of a replacement, as the family would have originally had to have paid for a new memorial bench. However, it was decided the bench would instead be fully replaced as a part of the wider renovation.

The replacement took place just in time for Toby’s birthday on October 10.

RECORD numbers of people flocked to Basingstoke Sports and Social Club as the annual OctoberFest event returned.

More than 8,000 visitors across October 14 and 15 descended on the Fairfields Road venue to enjoy a variety of real ales from across the region with nearly 220 different beers and ciders, and new for this year, craft ales which were sold in a new third quiet marquee.

For the ninth year the event was organised by the Wessex Heritage Trust and featured a range of stalls, live entertainment and a bouncy castle for the younger visitors. It was reported that there was no trouble and the atmosphere was enjoyed by a record number of people on the Friday works night out, and record numbers on the family day on Sunday.

TOWARDS the end of October work got under way to plan for what is on the horizon for Basingstoke and Deane in the second half of the century.

Horizon 2050, an event organised by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC), saw councillors, council officers, businesses, residents, community and voluntary groups, come together at DeskLodge in Basing View on October 17.

The group gathered views on what the long-term future of the town should look like. In the new year, these initial thoughts will go out to wider public consultation to hear from more residents, businesses and those with an interest in seeing the area thrive after the first half of the century.


NOVEMBER was kicked off with a two-day rail strike by South Western Railway (SWR) with around a third of rail services in the region axed on November 8 and 9.

This followed the RMT union instructing its guards members to go on strike due to the ongoing dispute between the union and SWR over the future role of guards on trains.

The strikes left commuters packed on to crowded trains or having to take replacement rail bus services.

ON HALLOWE’EN Joshua Dempsey, aged 14, a pupil at Bishop Challoner School, generously collected food donations to help the less fortunate rather than go trick or treating for Hallowe’en.

He set up a collection table in Appleton Drive for Basingstoke Foodbank between 6pm and 7.30pm on October 31, and posted his endeavour on Facebook asking for donations.

During this time, Popley resident Joshua received over 120 items, including from people who had driven to Popley just to donate.

Joshua undertook the act of generosity as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award.

His donation to the food bank in November included 12 cans of soup, 12 tins of tomatoes, six puddings, two cartons of coconut milk and nine packets of pasta.

BASINGSTOKE fell silent to remember the fallen at the year’s mayoral remembrance service.

Basingstoke and Deane’s mayor Councillor Paul Frankum, Basingstoke’s MP Maria Miller, and a 94-year-old Second World War veteran were among those who joined in the parade and service held on Sunday, 12 November at Basingstoke’s war memorial.

Reg Bryant, a 94-year-old former artillery soldier, who now lives in Popley, was one of the many people who joined in the mayor’s remembrance service outside the Civic Offices in London Road. The Remembrance Sunday service began with a parade of the mayor’s party, then a flypast from RAF Odiham preceded the Last Post and Exhortation, followed by two minutes’ silence at 11am.

A WOMAN went on a mission to raise enough money to bring a stray cat that was “only days from death” to England from Ayia Napa.

Vicki Patterson from Bramley was on holiday in Ayia Napa when she found a tiny, malnourished stray kitten.

She took it to the vet and decided to try and set up a fundraiser to help with the costs of £500 which included vet bills that would allow her to transport the kitten to the UK to have a better life with her sister.

Vicki decided to name the kitten Leo because she believes he is a fighter, she appealed to the public to help her raise enough money to bring Leo home. Vicki managed to raise enough to bring Leo back to the UK with help of The Gazette readers.


DECEMBER began with a generous gift from a National Lottery winner from Basingstoke who, with her godson, gave a children’s hospice grounds a Christmas makeover on December 5.

Tammie Pickett, 38, won a £1,000,000 prize on a National Lottery Scratchcard just before Christmas 2016. In 2017, she helped Naomi House & Jacksplace turn their grounds into a winter wonderland with a delivery of Christmas lights.

The hospice provides hospice care for life-limited and lifethreatened children and young people. She was joined for the big switch-on by her four-yearold godson, Frankie O’Connor, celebrating with the staff at the hospice. The delivery of the lights allowed the hospice to create the winter wonderland of their dreams.

WIND and rain did not dampen the spirits of the more than 80 Santa Clauses who braved the freezing weather as they took part in the first ever Festive Fun Run for Pelican Cancer Foundation.

It was held at the War Memorial Park on Sunday 10 December and more than £6,500 was raised which will fund Pelican’s clinical research into advancing precision surgery in the treatment of bowel, liver, bladder and prostate cancers.

Participants of all ages ran around a 5km or 10 km course after a warm-up by Cormac Lisle-Fenwick from Fitness First and scores of family and friends turned out to support the runners. Speaking about the event, mayor Councillor Paul Frankum said: “Despite the awful weather, we saw so many warm smiles and a sense of achievement as each person went past the finish line.”

TRIBUTES were paid to the Ashmansworth-based TV presenter Keith Chegwin who died at the age of 60 following a long illness.

The star, best known for hosting children’s game show Cheggers Play Pop, died at home on December 11 after battling a progressive lung condition.

Cheggers became a household name as a TV presenter of shows such as Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, Cheggers Plays Pop and Saturday Superstore.

More recently he took part in Dancing on Ice in 2013, Celebrity MasterChef and Celebrity Big Brother in 2015. His family described Keith as “a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend.”

DECEMBER also saw Santa swap his sleigh for a taxi to deliver hundreds of early gifts to children around Basingstoke.

Jon Strudwick, company manager for Delta Cars, dressed as Father Christmas to deliver festive cheer to nurseries and pre-schools in and around the Basingstoke area on Monday, 18 December.

He cruised around to give out presents, like colouring books, crayons, story books, puzzles, games and chocolate treats a week before Christmas day.

The company hopes to make giving out presents an annual event, with ideas already forming for next year’s endeavours. It is only able to get to 10 places in a day, so the places are limited. Nurseries can get in contact about next Christmas.