December 29, 2021 1.36 pm

Rewind: The Lincolnite’s 21 most read stories of 2021

It has been a busy, but testing year

No two days are ever the same in the newsroom and we’ve been reporting on stories throughout 2021 ranging from a farmer digging up a tank, and film crews in Lincolnshire, to a silly street name and a £350k Lamborghini.

Some of these more light-hearted and softer stories have helped to balance out the news of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Lincolnite has always been here to keep you informed throughout and we have taken a look back at 21 of the most read stories of the year (each headline contains a link to the full stories):

Lincolnshire farmer digs up tank which sank 70 years ago

Daniel Abbott was bursting with pride when he finally got the tank out. | Photo: Cathi Elphee

This incredible Lincolnshire discovery was by far the most read story on The Lincolnite website in 2021, with over 165,000 page views.

The Buffalo landing vehicle dates back to just after the Second World War and, after it sank during operation to construct a temporary dam, it hadn’t been seen since.

However, the tank had washed away during floods in 1947 was located and dug up by Lincolnshire farmer Daniel Abbott in Crowland earlier this year.

The vehicle was later sent to a restoration site before the man who found it searched for a museum to house it.

The Buffalo was carefully manoeuvred onto a trailer before being transported to a nearby restoration site.

Humber Bridge tragedies

The Humber Bridge | Photo: James Williams

A decision was made to temporarily close the footpaths on the Humber Bridge in April 2021 after a number of heartbreaking suicides.

Six people, including a teenage girl from Willerby, near Hull, lost their lives at the bridge between March 3 and April 3 this year, while it is estimated that over 200 people have died there since the bridge first opened.

The father of a young man who lost his life at the Humber Bridge said more needs to be done to prevent suicides in the area, but that closing the footpath was not the answer.

The footpaths reopened again on May 6 after a month-long closure, with extra signage placed along the walkway. As well as installing extra CCTV cameras, a new ‘wellbeing hub’ was opened at the site, staffed by specialist mental health and wellbeing volunteers.

This came after over 10,000 people signed a petition to improve safety measures at the bridge.

Lincolnshire on screen

A Warner Bros set van was spotted at Burghley House. | Photo: Stephen Daniels

There was excitement in Lincolnshire when film crews from Warner Bros were spotted at Burghley House in Stamford this year.

It is believed to be one of the settings for the new superhero film The Flash, starring Ben Affleck as Batman.

The film will be released in November 2022, according to IMDB.

Kitbag will be directed by Ridley Scott (left) and star actors including Joaquin Phoenix (right). | Photo: IMDB

Hollywood director Ridley Scott is also preparing to film in Lincoln in 2022 for part of his new period feature film – Kitbag – which stars Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte and Jodie Comer as his true love Josephine.

Additionally, Lincolnshire was a setting for Lapwing, a movie written, filmed and directed in the county. It was the feature film debut for both Lincoln-born screenwriter Laura Turner and local director Philip Stevens, and the movie received high praise from national media and film reviewers.

Lincoln-born Laura Turner (left) wrote Lapwing, which was directed by her fellow Yellowbelly Philip Stevens (right). | Photo: Richard Hall/Urban Apache Films

Lincoln-born actress Eliza Butterworth rose to fame after starring in The Last Kingdom. | Photo: David Reiss

Lincoln-born actress Eliza Butterworth also spoke to The Lincolnite this year about her career so far, and what she described as “seven amazing years” in The Last Kingdom.

Major plans on Horizon for RAF Scampton after Red Arrows move

Some detailed designs have been published on the Horizon Park website. | | Image: Horizon Park Website

Major plans for RAF Scampton, including a massive edifice to the Red Arrows, a 550 acre commemorative park for the RAF and Dambusters and a 65-acre filming and gaming studio could be on the horizon.

The Horizon Park venture website shows how the potential buyers could commemorate the site’s history, but also redevelop parts of it and provide “new and sustainable economic growth”.

Councils are cautiously welcoming interest in major plans to transform RAF Scampton as the area’s MP says it can’t be “just another theme park”.

The Reds flew over Wembley Stadium ahead of England’s Euro 2020 final this summer. | Photo: Royal Air Force

This comes after the MoD announced back in 2018 that RAF Scampton – the home of the Red Arrows – would be closed as part of cost-saving measures. It will go up for sale by the end of 2022.

It was later confirmed that the Reds will remain in Lincolnshire, but will move to RAF Waddington instead.

In February this year, the Red Arrows touched down at RAF Waddington where they temporarily operated for two weeks to asses how the iconic team can integrate into what will be their new base.

Skegness bar boasts £350k Lamborghini for new VIP area

The car instantly grabs your attention, mainly thanks to its chrome wrap! | Photo: The Lincolnite

The owners of a VIP lounge with a £350,000 chrome Lamborghini inside said it will be the most ‘exciting bar outside of London’ before it opened in Skegness in July.

The Hive on Grand Parade unveiled a fully road legal Huracán before lifting it onto the third floor of its nightclub complex.

It is part of the furniture and the star attraction of a Lamborghini-inspired VIP lounge, providing visitors with an up-close experience of a jaw-dropping 200mph supercar.

The tragic murder of Roberts Buncis

Marcel Grzeszcz (left), 15, was sentenced for the murder of Roberts Buncis (right), 12.

It is a truly heartbreaking story to look back on – Marcel Grzeszcz, who was just 14 at the time, lured Roberts Buncis to woodland and attempted to remove his head with a knife.

Roberts was stabbed more than 70 times in a “brutal and prolonged” attack in December 2020 and earlier this year Grzeszcz was given a sentence of detention at Her Majesty’s Pleasure and must serve a minimum term of 17 years in custody before he is eligible for release.

Although he is under 18, Mr Justice Baker lifted an anonymity order at the sentencing hearing, meaning Grzeszcz could be named by the media.

Cowley still talked about in Lincoln after departure

The Cowley brothers, Danny and Nicky, left the Imps in September 2019.

It was the end of an era when Danny Cowley and his brother Nicky left Lincoln in September 2019, but fast forward more than two years and they returned to the city with a new club and are still talked about locally.

The duo worked with the University of Lincoln earlier this year to inspire and motivate students with live-streamed Q&A sessions, and the announcement that they would be doing this caused a lot of excitement at the time, despite them no longer being in charge of the Imps.

After a spell in charge of Huddersfield, which ended in July 2020 after they kept the Terriers in the Championship, the siblings took over at Portsmouth. They returned to the dugout at the LNER Stadium in November this year for the first time since leaving Lincoln, which unfortunately ended in a 3-0 victory for Cowley’s current club.

Danny and his assistant and brother Nicky got the warm reception club legends like themselves deserve. Danny did a lap of the pitch to applaud the supporters both before and after the match, and said he will remember the reaction of the supporters forever.

The city still has a big place in the hearts of the Cowley brothers and, even before taking the Portsmouth job, Danny took up a role coaching his daughter’s under-12’s football team.

They may have been gone from the Lincoln dugout for over two years, but they still get remembered, for a variety of reasons, in the city even now.

Brave Ruby smiles on despite school nightmare

Ruby with mum and dad Nicola and Terry Oades | Photo: The Oades family

Among the many roles of a journalist is to hold people and organisations to account, and to expose incidents which should not be happening.

A mum pleaded with special needs workers to blow the whistle on neglect, speaking for the first time of the unthinkable abuse her daughter suffered at a school and care home near Lincoln.

Never-before-seen details of an internal investigation at Kisimul children’s home in Swinderby were shared with The Lincolnite, as desperate parents appealed for industry-wide change.

The document shined a light on gross misconduct at the hands of several members of staff against 14-year-old Ruby Oades, a child with extremely complex needs and just one of a number of young people implicated in investigations back in 2018.

Parents Nicola and Terry Oades were forced to realise every parent’s worst nightmare when they were handed a letter revealing their daughter had been routinely manhandled and dragged along the floor by her hands and ankles, punished with loud noises and mocked for ‘the way she talks’.

Kisimul confirmed to journalists that nine members of staff were involved in severe allegations of misconduct. As a result, all were dismissed, or would have been dismissed if they had not already resigned, and were referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Lincoln man dies outside hospital after being told of four-hour A&E wait

Norman Barker/James Salvator was proud to be gay and enjoyed attending pride events.

A mother spoke out about her frustrations after her fit and healthy 27-year-old son went to A&E at Lincoln County Hospital with chest pains, only to be told he would have a four-hour wait to be seen.

Norman Barker, who was known as James Salvator by his friends after changing his name by deed poll, collapsed and died outside the hospital after his family had also been told that there was a “two hour wait for an ambulance”.

The Lincolnite broke the story, which later appeared in the nationals, whilst reporters continued to contact the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) to ensure that both organisations were being held to account.

Norman’s mother Sue Atkin said she was not satisfied with the reply from EMAS, and also wants to take further action against the hospital.

An investigation into the service provided to Norman/James was carried out by EMAS’ Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), which found that the correct advanced life support (ALS) process was followed. EMAS spoke to the family and fully investigated what happened, but Sue still wants more answers.

EMAS is also supporting a system wide Serious Incident investigation, which is being led by the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, by providing all the relevant information around their involvement with the patient’s care.

We chased up ULHT again on December 23 for an update on the situation and were told that the outcome will be shared with the patient’s family when the investigation has concluded.

Police probe noise complaints after swingers festival

The footpath across Cow Common from Aisby to Oasby, nearby to where the festival took place. | Photo: Tim Heaton / Geograph

Police investigated reports of noise complaints coming from a swingers festival in Lincolnshire in July, which saw hundreds turn out in a field near Grantham.

Swingathon, the four-day X-rated event, was held in fields near Oasby off the A52 east of Grantham, between July 1 and 5. However, guests were not given the address of the venue until after tickets were bought.

Around 400 tickets were allegedly sold for Swingathon this year at £200 per couple, and entry was only available for people who had at least three personal verifications on their Fabswingers profile.

Unconfirmed reports at the time suggested that limited coronavirus guidelines were in place at the festival, including a lack of social distancing and hygiene facilities.

‘My 13-hour visit to Lincoln A&E’

Andy Osgerby shared an insight into his 13 hour Lincoln A&E experience.

Local butcher Andy Osgerby spoke about his experience at Lincoln A&E in the hope that his account, and those of other patients, would highlight an NHS at ‘breaking point’.

Andy, who is double-jabbed, said he suffered lung scarring post COVID-19, has asthma and become short of breath. His symptoms got worse, and after deciding to ‘soldier on’, he collapsed. He called 111 before attending A&E, where he spent 13 hours.

“If, like me, you’re far too poor to afford private healthcare, take my advice. Before you set off for your emergency, pack a lunch, a couple of decent books and a pillow,” warned Andy.

Parking cowboys strike again at Lincoln retail park

A parking charge notice was placed on the vehicle within 11 minutes of the driver being in Starbucks. | Photo: The Lincolnite

A controversial parking firm caused frustration to shoppers at a Lincoln retail park once again this year.

It wasn’t the first time people have complained about charges in the car park at the Tritton Road Retail Park, where Currys, Home Bargains and Pets at Home are located, among other retailers. The car park is operated by UKPC.

The Lincolnite has reported about the issue for over six years, and dodgy activity was previously uncovered, such as rule changes without warning and attendants allegedly encouraged to ‘bend the rules’ for bonuses.

However, each time we have tried to contact UKPC, they have failed to respond and many other people have also found them notoriously hard to get hold of.

When The Lincolnite asked the parking warden at the car park to explain the situation in October this year, he said he was “not allowed to comment”.

“Big cat” spotted in rural Lincolnshire village

A big cat reported as “a black panther” was spotted by a local resident in a small countryside village in Lincolnshire.

The animal was spotted by Jack Dillon in the village of Brandon, near Grantham, while at his grandparents’ house.

It was roaming around in a nearby field, and footage appears to show it much larger than a regular domestic cat. However, it does seem more like it was just a big cat.

New lease of life for Branston Hall

Branston Hall Hotel will now be called The Vedanta.

Branston Hall Hotel has been given a new facelift and renamed after being purchased for £4 million in July this year and taken over by a new owner

The hotel fell into administration at the end of November 2020 before being acquired by Avanti Foundation.

Part of the new lease of life for Branston Hall Hotel will see the name of the Grade II listed historic venue changed to The Vedanta, as well as offering a host of new services and facilities.

The multipurpose venue can offer weddings, school trips, family getaways and corporate days.

The sale will see the iconic Lincolnshire building transition from a hotel to a multipurpose countryside retreat, offering school visits, corporate away days, family getaways and weddings, among so much more.

There will be outdoor sports, nature trails, escape rooms, yoga and mediation tasters, as well as a spa, games room and locally sourced vegan and vegetarian food offerings.

Silly street name raises eyebrows in Lincoln village

A side street on Westcroft Drive has been humorously titled “fatty bum bum” on Google Maps.

This bizarre story caught the attention of over 30,000 people after “Fatty Bum Bum Street” in Saxilby appeared on Google Maps earlier this year.

Back in June, a driveway which has three houses alongside it on Westcroft Drive in Saxilby is officially part of that street, but the amusing name appeared on Google Maps to give it its own identity.

It seems, however, that since then the humorous name tag has been removed.

Climate projections show swathes of Lincolnshire underwater by 2030

| Photo: Climate Central

New projections of the Lincolnshire areas which will be at risk of flooding by the end of the decade show the urgency of the climate crisis

According to the map, most of the south of Lincoln would be lost to flooding, as well as villages to the east and west.

The east coast of the county and the wash would disappear entirely, with the map suggesting the Lincolnshire Wolds would become the county’s new seaside.

In the north of the county, large parts of Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Scunthorpe are set to be below the predicted flooding level by 2030.

Mother’s fury as daughter sent home from school over trousers

Ruby McCarthy pictured in the morning of the first day of term (left) and at the school gates (right).

It sparked a controversial debate when a furious Lincoln mother claimed her 13-year-old daughter was sent home in tears on the first day of term in September, as her ankle-grazing trousers were deemed inappropriate.

Lincoln Castle Academy said it had been “clear in communications home and in assemblies last term” over uniform expectations. However, Ruby McCarthy’s mother Natasha Scott was left angry by the situation and temporarily kept her daughter off school.

Ruby later returned to school wearing the same trousers and ankle trainer socks, without any problems being flagged up, her mother said, although the school claimed it had “not changed its stance”.

Final flights at RAF Waddington

Seven E-3D Sentry surveillance aircraft are based at RAF Waddington, where they are operated by Nos 8 and 23 Squadrons as the UK’s contribution to the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force. Photo: Cpl Paul Saxby/MoD

The Royal Air Force Boeing E-3D Sentry made its final flight home to RAF Waddington in August 2021 after 30 years of service.

The Sentry completed its final mission over Iraq as part of counter-Daesh Operation Shader.

The aircraft from No.8 Squadron had been deployed to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and was the latest and last deployment since 2015.

This year also saw the Royal Air Force Sentinel R1 aircraft complete its last operational flight from RAF Waddington after 14 years of service.

The aircraft was commissioned through engineering firm Raytheon UK in response to an Urgent Operational Requirement during Operation Herrick in 2008, for an Airborne Stand-off Radar.

Five aircraft were acquired and V (Army Corporation) Squadron, which is based at RAF Waddington, was reformed to operate the aircraft. It has flown around 32,300 hours and conducted approximately 4,870 sorties during its service life.

Jail for ex football manager who racially abused Priti Patel on Snapchat

Jake Henderson, 30, was jailed for 10 weeks for racially abusing the Home Secretary Priti Patel on a Snapchat video. | Photo: Nottinghamshire Police

A former manager of an amateur football team in Retford was jailed for 10 weeks this summer after uploading a racist outburst against the Home Secretary on Snapchat.

Jake Henderson, 30, recorded the video on Snapchat during a televised briefing from Home Secretary Priti Patel in January, where he uttered racial slurs.

Henderson, who had previous ties to a far-right organisation, used to manage Polo Pukz FC but was sacked after the 45-second video went viral on social media and received thousands of complaints.

He was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of sending by public communication a grossly offensive message. As well as this, one of the men who shared the video, 26-year-old Robert Cumming of Doncaster, was sentenced to six weeks in prison after he captioned the video with ‘haters gonna be hating’ and four laughing emojis.


Lincolnshire Police officer removed from duty after on-camera “assault”

Footage shows the phone recording of the incident on the A46 Lincoln.

A serving Lincolnshire Police officer will stand trial in 2022 on a charge of assault after an incident at the roadside of the A46 between Lincoln and Newark.

Jonathan Mellor, 52, is accused of assault by beating of Shane Price on May 26 this year, but pleaded not guilty at a hearing earlier this month.

After the incident, Mellor was removed from normal duties while a review and investigation by the force’s Professional Standards Department took place.

The case will next be heard at Nottingham Magistrates Court on May 11.

The previous coverage (with video) can be read here.

Popular Lincoln Steep Hill pub closes as landlords move on

Widow Cullen’s Well is located on Steep Hill in Lincoln. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

When The Widow Cullen’s Well pub on Lincoln’s Steep Hill closed in October it sparked a lot of debate, about what would be next for the venue, as well as its controversial rules.

The most recent landlords released a statement on Google confirming the pub closed permanently on October 7 this year and that it “will always have that special place in our hearts”.

Widow Cullen’s Well, which is part of the Yorkshire-based Samuel Smith’s Brewery chain, also closed in December 2018 with previous managers saying staffing cuts imposed by the brewery had left them unable to meet demand.

Some of the pub’s previous policies have previously caused controversy such as the three-strike rule for swearing and electronic devices inside the pub, as well as locals claiming it wasn’t allowing people in dressed in Steampunk attire.

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