December 31, 2022 10.30 am This story is over 16 months old

Rewind: 22 of The Lincolnite’s most read stories of 2022

Taking a look back through the year

A teenager with the highest GCSE history grade in the country, a woman who literally raised a few eyebrows, and even an April Fool, were among the most read stories in The Lincolnite in 2022.

The stories range from highlighting key issues such as the state of hospitals in the county to some of the softer stories which have helped to bring a bit of light-hearted relief at what, at times, has been a very difficult year.

The Lincolnite has always been here to keep you informed throughout the year and we have taken a look back at 22 stories which were among the most read (each headline contains a link to the full story):


Parents disappointed as free school holiday meals set to end with £95 grant

Dinners are another regular cost for parents | Photo: Adobe Stock / Monkey Business

Parents who received free meals during school holidays said they were dismayed with a final one-off grant in the summer.

This story from May 2022 was the most read of the year and certainly a big talking point, with over 103,000 views.

The £95 per child grant was due to cover until September and was funded by the government’s Household Support Fund. The vouchers gave parents some much-needed relief during school holidays.

Lincolnshire County Council was later given a further £5.46 million to cover October 2022 to March 31, 2023. The authority allocated a one-off payment of £100 per child, which parents should have received by the end of November 2022.


April Fools! RAF Scampton to become Lincolnshire International Airport once Red Arrows move out

RAF Scampton is to become Lincolnshire International Airport once the site closes as a Royal Air Force base.

April Fools are always a bit of fun, but this year’s about RAF Scampton set to become the Lincolnshire International Airport certainly attracted a lot attention with over 81,000 people intrigued by the ‘plans’.

Many people appeared to fall hook, line and sinker for the story which joked about what could happen after the Red Arrows’ permanent move to RAF Waddington this year. It is understood that it even caused the county council to field calls about it from surprised, and concerned residents.

The ‘proposals’ suggested that the base will be operational as an airport by the end of 2023, with the hope of offering worldwide travel across a host of popular holiday destinations – from Cancun to Kavos.


Lincolnshire teen earns highest GCSE history grade in the country

Charlie Blair, 16, stole the show with her GCSE results, which earned her the best history marks in the country. | Photo: Kesteven & Sleaford High School

In August this year, a 16-year-old girl from Sleaford wowed her school by getting 11 GCSEs at the top grade, as well as scoring the highest marks of anyone in the country in her history exam.

Charlie Blair, a student at Kesteven and Sleaford High School, plans to stay on at the high school to study her A-Levels in biology, German, and history.

The return of exams for the first time since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic was a daunting prospect for some students, but Charlie’s remarkable achievement is certainly one to be proud of. She previously said she is planning for a possible carer in the armed forces after her education.


Viral Lincolnshire mum claims to have ‘biggest eyebrows in Britain’

Grimsby mum Sammie-Jo Hailford asked people to rate her smile on TikTok and the video, at the time, had attracted more than 5.4 million views. | Screenshot: TikTok

A mum from Grimsby who claims to have the ‘biggest eyebrows in Britain’ says trolls threatened to call social services on her because they think she isn’t ‘fit to be a mum’.

Sammie-Jo Hailford, 27, started using liquid liner to paint her eyebrows bigger over a year ago and has posted multiple viral TikTok videos.

The mum-of-two said she gets trolled online and laughed at in the streets, but she has no plans to change her eyebrow look anytime soon. She then got her boyfriend involved in the bizarre viral craze.


Gogglebox celebs attend wedding of Paul Chuckle’s son at Lincolnshire venue

Paul Chuckle with his son Jack (left) on his wedding day, which was attended by stars from Channel 4’s Gogglebox (right). | Photo: Cleatham Hall/Sophie Sandiford

‘To me, to you’ or is it ‘I do?’ The youngest son of one half of the famous Chuckle Brothers television duo got married in a ceremony at a Lincolnshire venue earlier this year, and it was attended by some celebrity faces from Channel 4’s Gogglebox.

Cleatham Hall, near Gainsborough, said it “felt totally honoured to host the wedding for Paul Chuckle’s son Jack and his beautiful bride Emma” – the new Mr and Mrs Elliott.

Guests at the wedding included Gogglebox stars, siblings Sophie and Pete Sandiford, who have featured in the popular Channel 4 show since 2017.


Mental health tragedies in Lincolnshire

Teacher Simon Stones (left) and teenager Henry Tucker (right) both sadly died.

The topic of mental health continues to be a big talking point and sadly too many people took their own lives across the county in 2022, and there were two stories especially which affected local communities.

Tribute to “inspiring” Lincoln teacher who died in tragic A46 incident

An “inspiring” teacher sadly died after an incident on the A46 Lincoln bypass in April and tributes quickly poured in for the popular man.

Simon Stones, worked as a teacher of history, politics & government, and sociology at The Priory Academy LSST for 22 years.

Headteacher Jane Hopkinson said: “Mr Stones will be deeply missed by everyone at LSST, where he was liked and respected by countless friends, colleagues and students.”

Autistic teen took his life under stress of ‘constant monitoring’

An inquest in October heard how a 14-year-old boy wracked by mental health issues took his own life at home last year.

Henry Tucker had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and anorexia nervosa.

Both he and his family struggled for support while the NHS in Lincolnshire was stretched by the early demands of the coronavirus pandemic.


Meet the Lincoln man boasting Peter Capaldi and Paul Weller as collaborators

Richard Clarke (middle) is the creator of Monks Road Social, the record label which released actor Peter Capaldi’s (right) album last year. | Photo: Richard Clarke

A Lincoln man is the mastermind behind a record label and musical collective which boasts the likes of Peter Capaldi, Paul Weller and a former Oasis member on its list of collaborators.

Richard Clarke, 52, was born in Lincoln and grew up in the Monks Road area before moving out to Notting Hill in London, where he is currently based. Around ten years ago he took his passion for music and set up a label called Monks Road Records, named after the area of Lincoln he spent his early years in.

The label itself has had its fair share of big-hitting names, most notably producing former Doctor Who and The Thick Of It actor Peter Capaldi’s album St. Christopher last year.


Four in a Bed superfan delighted after his Lincolnshire B&B wins the C4 crown

David Coulam owns Village Limits in Woodhall Spa and was a proud winner of Channel 4’s Four in a Bed. | Photo: David Coulam

Whenever local people appear on television shows it usually captures the attention of a lot of readers, and this once again proved to be the case when Village Limits and co-owner David Coulam featured on Four in a Bed earlier this year.

David owns Village Limits in Woodhall Spa with his partner Leigh, and he appeared on the popular Channel 4 show with his best friend Kim Goodman.

Filming took place last summer, about nine months before the show was aired this year, so David had to keep the outcome a secret for a long time. He said: “I’m probably one of the biggest fans, so to be on the show was absolutely amazing.”


Former nurses share horror experiences of “dangerous” Lincoln A&E

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire hospitals have been really feeling the pressure this year and, whilst some have spoken highly of their care and treatment, two former nurses described Lincoln A&E as being “dangerous” and sparked a big debate on the issue.

Former nurse shares horror experience at “dangerous” Lincoln A&E

A former nurse described the A&E department as “a very dangerous place” with “patients on the floor, holding their heads in their hands” after her frustrating experience.

The 65-year-old disabled woman, who wished not to be named, said she was a nurse in Lincolnshire for over 40 years from 1975, including at Lincoln County Hospital, and is “ashamed” to have ever worked there, as “it is so terrible”.

Another former nurse shares “bedlam” experience at “dangerous” Lincoln A&E

A second retired nurse came forward to criticise the “dangerous” medical practices at Lincoln County Hospital – sharing her story of alleged “bedlam” at A&E.

The nurse said that she was left in A&E for 14 hours while requiring a catheter, bringing on a urinary tract infection.


Inside the Force: 24/7 – Lincolnshire Police on TV

Sergeants Dan Cooper and Rosy Elkins, who both featured in Inside The Force: 24/7, outside South Park Police Station. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The strain on funding and resources at Lincolnshire Police came to the fore multiple times during the second series of Channel 5’s Inside The Force: 24/7, but what else did we learn from the show?

The eight-part series produced by Mentorn Media on Channel 5 was filmed as the lockdown restrictions eased in summer 2021, and the final episode aired on Monday, May 23.

One factor shown on numerous occasions was officers having to attend incidents on their own. Although two police sergeants we spoke to were both unphased by this, the show highlighted the tough the situations officers at Lincolnshire Police have to deal with.

We caught up with two of the police sergeants – Dan Cooper and Rosy Elkins – after the series had finished to find out what it was really like to be on the show and what they took away from the experience.


Ridley Scott’s Napoleon: How Lincoln Cathedral transformed into Notre Dame, roamed by Joaquin Phoenix

Hollywood director Ridley Scott and actor Joaquin Phoenix were among the big names in Lincoln for the filming of Napoleon.

The film highlights the rise to power of Napoleon Bonaparte in the late 18th and early 19th century, has used a few working titles, including Kitbag, Marengo, and Napoleon.

Sculptures were brought into the cathedral, lorries were delivering items for the set, and extras were dressed in their best 18th century garments for the film shooting; it was a sight to behold in Lincoln.

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite


Heartwarming tributes to much-loved RSPCA inspector

Tributes continue to flood in as people remember much-loved RSPCA inspector David McAdam. | Photo: RSPCA

Heartwarming tributes were paid to a much-loved RSPCA inspector earlier this year, who had dedicated 31 years of his life to rescuing animals across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Former paratrooper David McAdam from Mansfield sadly passed away at the age of 57 on February 11, leaving behind his wife Tina and daughter Cara who are devastated by their loss.

Over his career David helped save thousands of animals and gave advice to hundreds of people about caring for their pets. He also brought to justice those who had committed serious animal cruelty offences.

Dave dedicated 31 years of his life to rescuing animals and saving many of their lives. | Photo: RSPCA


North Hykeham Relief Road

The £212 million North Hykeham Relief Road was highlighted as one which needs “accelerating” in a government “growth plan” which was launched in September.

The North Hykeham Relief Road is hoping to submit a planning application next year and start construction in 2025 without the government support, linking the A46 Pennells Roundabout to the Lincoln Eastern Bypass – completing the ring round around Lincoln.

Under a list of schemes the government considers high priority in order to promote sustainable growth, the North Hykeham Relief Road is described as an “infrastructure project which will be accelerated as fast as possible, aiming to get the vast majority starting construction by the end of 2023”.

It was estimated that it will cost between £179 and £212 million, and bosses have previously said they want it to open by November 2028.


Red Arrows meet Tom Cruise during turbulent year of change

Hollywood actor and Top Gun star Tom Cruise was the new ‘wingman’ for Lincolnshire’s Red Arrows when he met them at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire.

Although this was a truly memorable moment for the iconic team, 2022 has been far from ideal for the Red Arrows.

Wing Commander David Montenegro, who is the Officer Commanding for the RAF’s Red Arrows team, was reported to have been suspended over claims he had an affair with a junior colleague, which resulted in her getting pregnant.

At the time, he was the latest pilot to reportedly be reprimanded by the RAF, following the launch of an inquiry into an apparent “toxic” culture at the Red Arrows.

Claims of misogyny, bullying and sexual harassment have tarnished the Red Arrows in recent months, with two pilots being sacked from the team and now the top commander being suspended until further notice.

Flight Lieutenant Damon Green was the first pilot to be reportedly sacked from the display team, following sexual assault allegations, and his sacking was followed by fellow Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge, as Red 4 was hit with sexual harassment claims.

This all came in what should have been a more positive year for the Red Arrows after their move from RAF Scampton to RAF Waddington.


Boris Johnson’s visit to Lincolnshire in his final year as Prime Minister

PM visits Lincoln (L-R): Daniel Ionescu, Founding Editor of The Lincolnite, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney and Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Lincolnshire in February, including The Lincolnite newsroom to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, devolution and levelling up.

Joined by Conservative Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, the former Prime Minister sat down to an interview with the Greater Lincolnshire news team, fresh from a windy runway meeting with military analysts at RAF Waddington.

He also visited a seafood factory in Grimsby, before spending time with several local MPs in the evening – see our round-up of his visit in pictures here.

After Boris’ resignation as Prime Minister, and a brief spell by Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak took on the top job in government and in December this year he visited RAF Coningsby to announce a new air combat programme with leading nations across the world.


Abandoned buildings making the headlines

See inside abandoned sea fort near Grimsby, sold at auction for £490k

Chris Harrison and his son Lewis went for a look inside Bull Sand Fort. | Photo: Chris Harrison

A Grimsby man with a passion for jet skiing went inside an abandoned armour-plated World War One sea fort in the Humber Estuary, not too far from his home town.

Bull Sand Fort, built between 1915 and 1919 sits three miles from Grimsby, and can only be reached by boat or helicopter…well, and jet ski! It sold for £490,000 in late July this year. This comes after its sister fort on Haile Sand sold at auction in 2018 for £117,000.

Chris Harrison has a big passion for water sports, in particular jet skiing, and went out to visit both sea forts during the summer.


Cold War nuclear bunker near Louth sells at auction for £31k

This Cold War nuclear bunker near Louth went under the hammer at auction. | Photo: SDL Property Auctions

A Cold War nuclear bunker near Louth went under the hammer at auction in November this year before being sold for £31,000.

The bunker was originally bought by 63-year-old Army veteran Mark Colledge, who paid £12,500 for the underground vault in Legbourne, near Louth, back in 2003. No details have been revealed yet on the identity of the bunker’s new owner.

It was constructed in the late 1950s and the site was originally designed to provide protection for three observers to survive a nuclear attack, with food and water provided for 14 days.


Last Dambuster George “Johnny” Johnson dies, aged 101

George ‘Johnny’ Johnson standing in front of the Bomber Command Memorial in Lincoln. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

This year sadly saw the loss of George Leonard “Johnny” Johnson, the last original member of the RAF 617 Squadron’s famous “Dambusters” raid.

Sq Ldr Johnson was a bomb-aimer in the 617 Squadron, which destroyed key dams in Germany’s industrial heartland during World War Two.

On his 100th birthday in 2021, he spoke of his love for Lincolnshire and said he ‘still thought of it as home’. He added that being a Dambuster was a “thrilling experience” and he felt “honoured to have had the chance to take part.”

He died peacefully at a care home near Bristol overnight on December 7 this year, aged 101.


Ex Lincolnshire Police officer launches OnlyFans page

Leanne posted this photo on her Instagram during the same week as Halloween. | Photo: @theleaway on Instagram

A former Lincolnshire Police officer who quit after allegations of “bullying”, and controversy caused by ‘fake sick leave’, launched an OnlyFans page this year.

Leanne Carr, who appeared in police promotional material during her 14-year career with the force, caused controversy in 2018 when she posted holiday photos on social media while reportedly on sick leave. She resigned in November 2020, claiming on social media that she was subject to “bullying, harassment and victimisation”.

The fitness model then saw her social media following grow and she now has around 131,000 followers on her verified Instagram page.


Meet the man who builds miniature models of 1946 Lincoln

Richard Budge loves making models of Lincoln High Street from the past. | Photo: H.h. Benning

A Lincoln man has a passion for making miniature models of the city of his birth, with particular focus on the year 1946.

Richard Budge, who goes by the author name of H.h. Benning for his work, moved to Brittany in France around 20 years ago, with his wife and youngster of four children, where he continues to make the models.

When asked about the inspiration for his work, Richard said: “A life-long love of railways and many years of modelling, with Lincoln being somewhere that I wanted to tackle, and nostalgia for the city of my birth, and sadly, a place where I’ve spent far too little time.”


Gogglebox star poses for photo with new ‘Skeg Vegas’ sign

Gogglebox star Izzi Warner recently visited Skegness and got a photo with the new sign. | Photo: Izzi Warner Instagram

Gogglebox star Izzi Warner posted a photo with the ‘Welcome To Fabulous Skeg Vegas Not In Nevada’ sign after filming for the Channel 4 show.

Izzi, who has appeared in the popular show with her sister Ellie since 2015, shared a photo of herself posed in front of the sign on Instagram, which gained over 11,000 likes. The sign continued to get more popular, and appeared in various places on social media.

The sign is almost an exact replica of the one in Las Vegas, which was built in 1959. The Lincolnshire one was made by RD Signs from Dinnington, Sheffield, and it was put up outside Skegness Raceway stadium in May 2022.


Jake Quickenden and Kerry Katona enjoy hotdogs at Lincoln Christmas Market

During The Lincolnite’s livestream of the Lincoln Christmas Market, we saw Jake Quickenden and Kerry Katona sampling one of the food stalls. | Photo: The Lincolnite

Some might say this could be the wurst story, but the video of Jake Quicken and Kerry Katona tucking into some food at this year’s Lincoln Christmas Market was among the most popular.

During The Lincolnite‘s Facebook livestream walkthrough of the Christmas Market, we noticed Jake and Kerry Katona enjoying hotdogs at one of the stalls on Castle Square.

Scunthorpe-born Jake gave us the thumbs up of approval as he enjoyed a meal-on-the-go after being part of the official opening of the event.


Suez Canal all over again! Boat stuck on Fossdyke Lincoln

A boat stuck between the waterway at the Fossdyke Navigation in Lincolnshire. | Photo: Canal & Rivers Trust

Lincolnshire had its own Suez Canal moment in November, as a loose boat got stuck and blocked passage on the Fossdyke Navigation.


MyLocal Lincolnshire is the new home of The Lincolnite. Download the app now