Sports fans in Otley enjoyed a great start to the New Year when it was confirmed that the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France would pass through the town. Olympic medal winning local cyclist Lizzie Armitstead responded by saying she was looking forward to a “pretty special” day.

A team of local experts, assembled to help protect Ilkley against over-development, was about to unveil the basis of a strategy for the town’s future. Members of the Ilkley Future Group have drawn up draft policies for housing, employment, business, transport, health, education and other issues, which could affect how the town develops.

A former teacher of deaf and blind children who has been involved with the Riding for the Disabled Association for more than three decades learned she was receive an OBE for her services to the organisation. Judy Olby, of Langbar, Ilkley, is also chairman and trustee of Otley and District RDA Group.

Leeds Trinity University at Horsforth announced that TV presenter Gabby Logan would become its first chancellor. Gabby, who was born in Leeds, was the first female presenter of a live football match and was one of a select few presenters given the honour of covering the London 2012 Games for the BBC. Leeds Trinity was granted full university status in 2012.


Vandals caused damage amounting to thousands of pounds to decorative lighting put up just last year to improve Ilkley town centre. The Jubilee Lights were installed to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. But in the early hours of a Saturday morning vandals caused damage to lights in nine trees along The Grove and the bandstand by cutting wires.

Councillors began working on a strategy to help Ilkley make the most of an expected surge in tourism surrounding the 2014 Tour de France visit. Members of Ilkley Parish Council planned Ilkley Cycling Club and tourism businesses, and two councillors plan to bring their proposals back to the council this spring.

A historical weapons expert from Otley spoke about his role in working out the final moments of King Richard III. Bob Woosnam-Savage was part of the team who confirmed that a skeleton found beneath a car park was that of the monarch. Mr Woosnam-Savage, a curator at the Royal Armouries Museum, came to this conclusion about how Richard expired: “The main wounds were from a halberd, which took a slice of his skull off at the back, and a puncture wound from a long-bladed dagger or sword.”

The family of a little boy who was born with brain injuries launched a campaign to help him to walk. Little Wes Knight, who has cerebral palsy, could not crawl or sit and is unlikely to be able to walk without special treatment in the USA. A website – wesleyswish.org – was set up to help raise £95,000 for the operation and three years of intensive physiotherapy.


A consortium of local businessmen, many of whom were involved in the conception of Ilkley Beer Festival, announced ambitious plans for the Wharfe Valley’s first brew pub in Ilkley. A six-figure refurbishment project includes a major overhaul of The Albert Inn on Church Street and include the integration of a micro brewery in a barn in the back yard.

A strategy to put cycling “at the heart” of Otley’s community was unanimously approved by town councillors. The Do You Ride? initiative, drawn together by cycling organisation Otley Sportive, sketched out an action plan to encourage more people to take up cycling and make conditions in town safer for those already on two wheels.

Alistair Brownlee proudly displayed his MBE, after it was presented to him by the Queen, at Buckingham Palace. The 24-year-old triathlete from Bramhope, received the award after taking gold in the event at the London 2012 Olympics. His 22-year-old brother Jonny, came away with bronze, making the pair the first British siblings to stand on the same podium in an individual event for more than a century.

It was announced a national retail chain could join a long-established cycle retailer at the landmark site of a former Ilkley car showroom, in a proposed redevelopment scheme. Ilkley business JD Cycles said it was planning to move into the former Nidd Vale showroom, Skipton Road, and negotiations with an unnamed national retailer were said to be at a “very advanced” stage. Nidd Vale’s showroom and garage, once owned by local business Glovers Garage, closed in December 2011.


The carnage created by two bombs in Boston was described as being like a “war scene” by an Ilkley runner, who reached the finish line only eight minutes before the first explosion. Ilkley Harriers member, David Brown, 46, of Ben Rhydding, was standing 100 yards away when he saw the first blast out of the corner of his eye.

A new era beckoned for one of Otley’s oldest industrial sites as demolition work on the former Garnet paper mill was completed. Nearly all of the old mill buildings were knocked down as preparation work finally got underway for a 194-home redevelopment. The move marked the disappearance of part of the town’s industrial heritage but also some long-anticipated progress on a new housing scheme by David Wilson homes.

Heart surgery resumed at Leeds General Infirmary after days of uncertainty over its future. All operations at the unit were temporarily halted after NHS figures suggested the unit had a death rate double that of other centres. But medical bodies, doctors and other experts questioned the accuracy of the data, which they said was unverified and not fit to base such a decision on.

Artists geared up for a second fight to save studios on a growing Ilkley cultural trail from a plan to convert them into houses. The town’s art community successfully got behind a campaign to keep the historic Back Nelson Road units as workshops earlier in 2013. But the developer behind the plan appealed against the council’s refusal to grant planning permission.


Brollies, waterproofs and wellies were much in evidence at a fun-packed, but decidedly soggy, 204th Otley Show. The rain fell persistently throughout the morning of the event but those who braved the weather were rewarded with impressive horse, livestock, poultry and crafts and produce displays. They also witnessed some death-defying stunts courtesy of Mark Stannage and his family.

Blazing sunshine and a turnout of thousands of people made for the most successful Ilkley Carnival in recent years. Visitors and townspeople alike crowded on to town centre streets to watch the parade - this year well-attended by schools, pre-schools and other organisations from across Ilkley. A funfair and dramatic entertainment on East Holmes Field, including horseback stunts, falconry and historical re-enactment, attracted crowds to the main carnival field.

Firefighters, paramedics and search-and-rescue teams carried out a dramatic rescue of a climber trapped by falling rocks on Ilkley Moor. Calder Valley Search & Rescue Team and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance were among emergency teams called out on bank holiday Monday when climber Ian Routledge was pinned by a loose block which trapped his arm as he was ascending “The Buttress” on Ilkley Moor.

History teacher Rick Rogers used Abba songs to help his GCSE students remember key historical facts. The ingenious system of revision used reworked songs which were posted on YouTube – along with apologies to Bjorn and Benny. The curriculum leader of history at Benton Park School in Rawdon, could be seen singing the pieces whilst accompanying himself on guitar.


A bar supervisor was commended for his heroism in overpowering a masked robber who threatened to shoot him and his two staff members. Richard Dewhirst, supervisor at Bar t’at, on Cunliffe Road, Ilkley, pinned robber Philip Gibb to the floor after he demanded the £13,000 takings, brandishing what looked like a gun. Gibb, 31, of Woodlands, Ben Rhydding, was jailed for four years after admitting robbery at the pub at about midnight on June 3.

Councillors called for a full response from West Yorkshire Police over concerns for the future of policing in Ilkley, as opening hours at the town’s police station are set to be slashed to just one day a week. An Ilkley parish councillor wanted assurances that the number of police officers will not be reduced in the next 12 months. The Riddings Road police station cut its hours amid a West Yorkshire force-wide review of front desk opening hours.

A little Harry Potter magic helped bring out the crowds to a combined Rawdon Fun Day and Walk of Smiles. Actor Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the blockbuster movies, turned up to support the event in his role as patron of the charity Bethany’s Smile. The Walk of Smiles was the fourth organised by 13-year-old schoolgirl Bethany Hare, who at that stage had raised more than £38,000 to help sick children.

The Vicar of Otley blasted the Government for benefits changes he claimed were forcing people to rely on food banks. The Rev Graham Buttanshaw, part of the Otley Food Bank steering group, said: “Shockingly, it often feels like this Government is presiding over a return to the judgemental attitudes and social divisions of Dickensian Britain, while Labour seems too frightened of public opinion to stand up for the poorest among us.”