The 10 most read stories of 2010

What a year 2010 was! The Lincolnite was founded in May, and since then we covered almost 700 stories from across Lincoln. Now we revisit our most read topics.

Giant rats at Lincoln factory

A pair of two foot rats were captured at a factory in Lincoln in August, after beasts of similar size were found in Bradford earlier in the year. There was much debate over the origins of the animals, with speculation that it might be a South American coypus. But because the rodents did not have the distinctive orange teeth seen in the species, it remains a mystery over the exact source of the captured animals.

One of the two giant rats.

Heavy snow hits Lincoln

The last day of November was marked by a traffic carnage in Lincoln as large amounts of snow fell over the city, brewing the perfect storm with sub-zero temperatures. In the aftermath, dozens of schools were closed for several days, as snow kept falling through the beginning of December, and grit reserves were halved. We marked the full extent of the early December snow fall in over 100 photos submitted by our readers.

Christmas market gets cancelled

By far the biggest toll of the heavy snow fall in Lincoln was the traditional Christmas market uphill, which got cancelled over fears for visitors’ safety. Many traders were angry at the cancellation because of perishable stocks, but in the end the City Council decided to give refunds for stall fees. The total bill for the council for cancelling the Christmas market is estimated at over £260,000.

Prime-time telly bashing

Lincoln received a dismissive mention on prime-time television on October 11 on E4 in the comedy show The Inbetweeners. The remark was made during an argument between characters Mr Gilbert and Will. In the argument, teacher Mr Gilbert was trying to convince student Will to tell him who had been vandalising flowers in the neighbourhood. When Will could not tell him, Mr Gilbert said: “You’ve got until Monday to find out, otherwise it’s goodbye first-rate education, hello the University of Lincoln.” To which Will replied: “I’d been to Lincoln and it’s a s**thole.” Opinions were split on the remarks, but most Lincolnites took it lightly in the end.

One of the infamous lines.

Vito Cataffo dies

Vito Cataffo, owner of five Italian restaurants in Lincolnshire, and with shares in 30 other restaurants, died on September 28, at the age of 59. Cataffo had health problems, including diabetes, and his health had deteriorated. He owned the Gino’s and Zucchini’s restaurants in Lincoln, as well as Via Iataliano in Newark, and Passion Restaurant in Bologna, Italy. He also had restaurants in Grimsby, Louth, Sleaford, and was set to open a new eaterie in Grantham in mid-to-late October. Cataffo, who achieved national acclaim following a six-part Channel 4 series Dolce Vito, was looking forward to celebrating his 60th birthday in November.

Filling the market gap

After the Christmas market was cancelled, several lower-profile markets tried to fill in for the thousands of visitors expected to descend upon the city. The Healthy Hub was the first to hold an alternative market and an encore the week after. The city also saw a veggie alternative market and one in North Hykeham. None of the four markets were as packed as the original, but they helped several stallholders to offload some of their perishables.

Mystery illness kills dogs

A Lincoln man’s dog was the latest to die of a mystery illness in September, after going for a walk in Nottinghamshire’s Clumber Park. He took his two dogs to the popular walking area in Sherwood Forest, along with his daughter’s pet dog. Later that day, when all three dogs collapsed and were almost comatose, one dying shortly after. The death is an addition to a string of mystery illness in the area. Last year eight dogs died from similar symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhoea. Conservationists Natural England carried out tests in the park, which concluded that the illness was not due to man-made poisoning, but a natural phenomenon.

Making Lincoln shine for Christmas

Thousands of people gathered in the city centre on November 18 to count down the seconds to the switch-on of the Christmas lights. Among them was Lincoln’s own Batman and BBC actor Colin McFarlane, who turned on the lights at the War Memorial just after 7pm. However, Harry Potter star Chris Rankin (who plays Percy Weasley) was unable to join McFarlane (as previously announced) on stage due to illness. With background music by the Salvation Army Band, Mayor of Lincoln Geoff Kirby and Lincs FM’s Rob Hammond kept the crowds going until light up time.

Lincoln’s own Batman and BBC actor Colin McFarlane.

Lining up for Katie Price

Hundreds of people lined up outside WH Smith in July to get a glimpse of former glamour model Katie Price and her autograph. She came to the city for a book signing for her new novel Paradise. The visit is not her first time in the county. Due to her love for horses, she is a frequent visitor to the Burghley Horse Trials held in Stamford, South Lincolnshire.

Stood up by the Harriers

The 16 RAF Harrier jets that were due to have their final fly-past the Lincoln Cathedral on December 15 left hundreds disappointed. Many stopped at 2pm across the city, looking up to the skies above the cathedral, waiting for the final flight of the jets. Dozens of people also went to the castle observation point to watch the spectacle, while others were on the castle grounds waiting for the show. Even down hill people stopped in areas with good visibility. But an hour later they were all left disappointed, as the jets did not dip down across Lincolnshire at all because it was too cloudy. The jets flew at high altitude, so people could not hear or see them.

Other notable mentions: