Review of the year: January

JANUARY 2013 Cyclist Brian Robinson helped bring the Tour de France to our region.
JANUARY 2013 Cyclist Brian Robinson helped bring the Tour de France to our region.

Here’s our highlights from January:

l Mirfield cyclists were celebrating after helping to bring the Tour de France to our doorstep.

Organisers announced that the 2014 race would come through Kirklees when two stages are hosted in Yorkshire.

The route will include climbs popular with local cyclists such as Holme Moss, near Holmfirth, and Cragg Vale, near Hebden Bridge.

Mirfield’s Brian Robinson, who became the first Briton to complete the race in 1955, was among those who backed the bid.

He said: “I never though when I rode up Holme Moss as a youngster, I would see the Tour de France go there.”

Mr Robinson made several trips to Paris as a champion of Yorkshire’s bid to bring the Tour to our region.

Others from the town who played a part were Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt and Castle Hall Academy Lewis Hirst, who took part in a parade supporting the bid in London.

l The trial of three men accused of murdering 20-year-old Josh Hirst began at Leeds Crown Court.

Jurors heard Josh had his throat cut as he returned home from his girlfriend’s 18th birthday in August 2012.

He died in an alley near his home in Grove Street, Mirfield, as his father tried to get him to hospital. Joe Church, 21, of Redlands Close, Mirfield, and Aaron Smith, 19, of Savile Street, Emley, were found guilty of Mr Hirst’s murder after a four-week trial.

Church was told he would serve at least 25 years in prison and Smith at least 25 years, minus the 198 days they had spent on remand.

A third man was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter.

In November, Church failed in an appeal to have the minimum term of his sentence cut.

l A dedicated woman who had worked tirelessly for her community was recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. Marlene Chambers was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Thornhill Lees.

The grandmother-of-six said: “I thought it was a joke at first, then I thought it was a scam!”

Colleagues and friends nominated her for the award for the work she has done in the area, which included saving a children’s home from closure in the 1970s and a 12-year project to get a community centre in the village. She had also battled against plans to build on green belt land.

Other local people recognised in the Honour’s List included consultant plastic surgeon Oliver Fenton who was awarded an MBE for services to paediatric plastic surgery.

Mr Fenton, who lives in Dewsbury, regularly visits Romania and India where he performs operations on children with cleft lips and palates.