Review of the Year: Elephants and a fairytale proposal

World record attempt for most people dressed as Harry Potter for World Book Day 2015 at Tanbridge House School.
World record attempt for most people dressed as Harry Potter for World Book Day 2015 at Tanbridge House School.

2015 was the year of elephants, hundreds of Harry Potters and a fairytale proposal, but how much do you remember? Here’s a look at some of the news items that were featured in the West Sussex County Times:

January: Novartis uni campus idea

DM15113070a.jpg Virginia McKenna meets the Elephantastic Ele's of Horsham at Strada, East Street. Pictured with staff L to R Alice Wodhead, Lucia Cantarella and Salvo Riggio.

DM15113070a.jpg Virginia McKenna meets the Elephantastic Ele's of Horsham at Strada, East Street. Pictured with staff L to R Alice Wodhead, Lucia Cantarella and Salvo Riggio.

Mixed reactions greeted a proposal to build a University of Brighton campus on the vacant site left by Novartis. Concerns about infrastructure and parking were countered with the prospect of job creation and an economic boost to the town. The idea was officially scrapped in May after government funding fell through.

March: Tanbridge House School - Harry Potter World Book Day Guinness World Record

Pupils at Tanbridge House School set a Guinness World Record on World Book Day for the largest gathering of people dressed as Harry Potter. Pupils from years 7 and 8 turned out in home-made costumes to participate in the reading related challenge. A total of 521 people took part, more than double the previous record.

June: John Lewis opening

After 25 years in Piries Place, Horsham’s Waitrose relocated to a new John Lewis store in Albion Way in June. The much anticipated £11 million project created 200 jobs and took 11 months to complete. Clothing retailers H&M and Joules also announced plans for new outlets in the town.

July: Report on expansion at Gatwick

Following a tense wait, the Airports Commission recommended expanding Heathrow over Gatwick, but left the possibility of a second runway at Gatwick on the cards. Both Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council voted against expansion at Gatwick earlier in the year. A government decision on which airport will be expanded has been delayed until late 2016.

August: Shoreham Airshow disaster

Tragedy struck when a vintage plane crashed into the A27 during the Shoreham Airshow on August 22. The Hawker Hunter aircraft claimed the lives of 11 people and left 16 injured after it failed to complete a loop. A permanent memorial is planned to honour those who lost their lives, and a fund has been set up to help those most affected by the disaster.

August-September: Elephantastic

A safari of colourful elephants came to the Horsham area for the summer as part of the Elephantastic fundraising project. More than 125 organisations purchased one or more of the model animals for the community event, which was opened by the actor Brian Blessed in late July. The decorated elephants found new homes and raised a mammoth total of £16,000 at auction for the Born Free Foundation in November.

North Horsham development

Debate surrounding the hotly contested proposals for up to 2,750 homes in North Horsham and a business park north of the A264 continued throughout last year. A target of 800 new homes a year until 2031 was confirmed in a final vote on the planning framework from Horsham District Council in November. There was concern that delaying agreement on a plan would leave the council open to speculative development, although many councillors had reservations about the details.

November: London to Brighton Vintage car rally

The annual vintage car rally drew hundreds onto the streets when the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run returned to West Sussex. The popular car pilgrimage made its way through Crawley High Street on its way through the county. TV and radio presenters Chris Evans, Ken Bruce and dancer Natalie Lowe joined the public for tea and cakes on Crawley’s London Road. An auction for seats on the bus raised £350,000 for Children in Need.

November: Leisure Centre plans approved

Plans for a new £12.3 million leisure centre in Broadbridge Heath were finally approved by Horsham District Council in November. After the council announced the centre would close without replacement four years ago, users launched a long but successful campaign for a new one. The modernised building will not replace the indoor athletics facility known as the ‘tube’.

December: Fairytale proposal on stage at Horsham theatre

A play at the Capitol theatre in Horsham gained a very happy ending when an actor proposed on stage to his girlfriend and fellow cast member. Martin Bracewell got down on one knee to pop the question to Becca Attfield on the final night of the show they were performing in. She said ‘yes’. It is thought to be the first on stage proposal in the theatre since it was redeveloped in 2004.

What are your memorable events of 2015? Tweet to us @wscountytimes or get in touch on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wscountytimes.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage at www.wscountytimes.co.uk

2 Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wscountytimes

3 Follow us on Twitter @wscountytimes

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

The County Times – always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.