Look back at 2021 on Sheppey part 2

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July

It was the end of an era as plans were announced to shut down a popular nightclub. Generations of islanders had danced the night away at Layzells in Minster, formerly Warners Holiday Camp, since it opened 70 years ago. It should give way to a suite of dental surgeries.

In Sheerness, there was jubilation as a controversial program banning cars from driving on the High Street was lifted after more than a year. Traders had staged weekly protests against the shutdown, introduced due to Covid measures, claiming it had devastated trade.

Samantha Edgar gives her support to England ahead of the Euro 2020 final match against Italy on July 11. We’ve lost

His withdrawal coincided with Freedom Day when rules on social distancing and mask wearing were relaxed nationwide.

Meanwhile, homes, football fans and pets across the island were adorned with St George’s Cross as they dared to dream that England could win the Euro. But after a biting final, Italy finally triumphed on penalties.

August

The month began with a horrific accident, in which a circus performer fell more than 16 feet from a trapeze in front of a shocked audience.

Performer Megan Christian lost her footing during a routine as Santus Circus visited Barton’s Point Coastal Park in Sheerness. After neck surgery, she reassured fans that she was recovering well and would return to the Big Top soon.

Emergency services at Santus Circus at Barton's Point Coastal Park in Sheerness after a trapeze artist fell during a performance.  Photo: James Bell
Emergency services at Santus Circus at Barton’s Point Coastal Park in Sheerness after a trapeze artist fell during a performance. Photo: James Bell
Whitstable's Pelo Sea samba group led the first pedestrian-only 'green' summer carnival parade in Sheerness
Whitstable’s Pelo Sea samba group led the first pedestrian-only ‘green’ summer carnival parade in Sheerness

In court, a computer consultant accused of stabbing former paratrooper Sheppey Luke Sullivan to death during a cocaine and alcohol frenzy was cleared of the murder. The 31-year-old parents have vowed to keep fighting for answers over their son’s death.

And Sheerness hosted its very first ‘green’ summer carnival, with a parade of walkers, wheelchairs and strollers replacing the usual trucks, cars and floats.

September

A disused nightclub that once attracted big names in showbiz like Chas ‘n’ Dave and Jim Davidson had visitors of a different kind – Kent Police.

A raid on the old Merlins complex in Leysdown found 3,000 cannabis plants growing there in four separate rooms. Five men have been charged with cultivating drugs.

Staff try to round up motorists queuing for fuel at Tesco, Sheerness
Staff try to round up motorists queuing for fuel at Tesco, Sheerness

Also in court, three family members and an accomplice assaulted a man at an Eastchurch holiday park in front of terrified children, armed with knives and a baseball bat.

Jason Taylor Jnr and Snr, Oliver Taylor and Carl Allam have been jailed for a combined total of almost 10 years.

A metal detector was able to keep a 400-year-old silver peddling ring, worth around £ 18,000, discovered during a treasure hunt in Eastchurch.

But the drivers weren’t so lucky. They faced traffic jams at pumps for several weeks after a delay in deliveries sparked a wave of panic buying that saw many foreclosures dry up. The army was finally forced to fill the shortage of tanker drivers.

October

One of Sheppey’s more established residential homes has been ordered to stop taking people after the Care Quality Commission watchdog released a damning report on conditions there.

Whistleblowers have lifted the veil on the failures of The Little Oyster in Minster, which accommodates up to 64 people with physical and learning disabilities. Some residents’ call bells for help were turned off and choking hazards were identified.

Little Oyster car home on The Leas at Minster
Little Oyster car home on The Leas at Minster
Time flies: Engineers at Smith of Derby use a crane to remove the 119-year-old Sheerness Clock Tower.  Photo: Donna Mansi
Time flies: Engineers at Smith of Derby use a crane to remove the 119-year-old Sheerness Clock Tower. Photo: Donna Mansi
Sheerness town center looked odd with its 119-year-old clock tower lying horizontally on the ground waiting to be taken away for restoration
Sheerness town center looked odd with its 119-year-old clock tower lying horizontally on the ground waiting to be taken away for restoration

The face of Sheerness town center was weathered to the point of unrecognizable when its iconic clock tower was removed from its 120-year-old home.

It was taken apart for several days before being driven to Derby for a £ 160,000 restoration. When it returns next spring, it will be in its original green and gold colors. A crowd gathered to wave at him as he began his 187-mile journey.

Strangers have come together to help mend the broken heart of an 11-year-old boy after the death of his beloved parrot. Postman Billy Freshwater found a note Alfie Springate wrote to her pet, addressed to Heaven, during his Sheerness tour.

Following a call on Facebook, he managed to find a replacement bird with a new cage.

Alfie’s father, Clinton Whitehouse, said: “There are some really nice people on this island.”

Alfie Springate of Sheerness with Stanley
Alfie Springate of Sheerness with Stanley

November

The only way was Essex … at least if you wanted your Covid booster shot.

Islanders trying to book through the NHS vaccine website were directed to the Southend Civic Center, charged just 7.6 miles away. Those who did not want to make the boat trip, however, would have found their “nearest center” to be in fact a 128 mile round trip.

Bam, a Japanese Akita, reportedly swam from Sheppey to Seasalter after fleeing his home due to fireworks on November 5
Bam, a Japanese Akita, reportedly swam from Sheppey to Seasalter after fleeing his home due to fireworks on November 5

MP Gordon Henderson said he was pressing health officials to make more locations in Swale available.

Bam the Japanese Akita also had an epic journey. Frightened by fireworks on Guy Fawkes night, the dog fled his home in Leysdown and was miraculously found five miles away, roaming the waterfront at Seasalter the next day, after crossing the Swale at the swimming.

And by sticking with the animal news, The Rats managed to put Sheppey in the national spotlight. Rodents gnawed at cables at the Sheerness Tesco gas station, stopping gas prices at 134.9 per liter – Britain’s cheapest.

December

Much like last year, Covid has dominated the news agenda in the run-up to Christmas, with the new Omicron variant sweeping the nation and questioning festive plans and events.

But those who dutifully followed the government’s advice to get their boosters faced shameful scenes. Elderly patients were forced to queue for more than three hours in sub-zero temperatures in a supermarket parking lot to get theirs. It was so cold that at least one person collapsed while waiting.

The queue to have a Covid reminder stretched around the Tesco supermarket in Bridge Road, Sheerness
The queue to have a Covid reminder stretched around the Tesco supermarket in Bridge Road, Sheerness
Owner Mark Seabrook at Banks Restaurant in Minster, the former Prince of Waterloo pub
Owner Mark Seabrook at Banks Restaurant in Minster, the former Prince of Waterloo pub

But there was better news to end the year. The island was in full swing with the unveiling of Sea Cadets plans for a stunning £ 6million training facility, the launch of a fine dining restaurant at the Prince of Waterloo pub in Minster and Swale’s advice unveiling a £ 20million regeneration vision for Sheerness seafront.

* Stay on top of everything about Sheppey in 2022 by purchasing the Sheerness Times Guardian and using Kent On Line


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