2020 has certainly been a year nobody could have predicted, but what have been some of the biggest stories for East Lancashire this year? Abigail Beaney looks back at a rollercoaster year


Warburtons respond to anger over halal symbol on bread loaves

Lancashire Telegraph: Warburtons respond to anger over halal symbol on bread loaves

BREAD firm Warburtons found themselves at the centre of a social media storm over a halal label on the bakery's products.

Labels on the much-loved loaves state the bread is both halal and kosher.

The bread has always been halal and has been certified for the last two-and-a-half years.

Blackburn school is officially one of the best in the country

Lancashire Telegraph:

A PRIMARY school finished 2019 on a high note after it was judged to be one of the best in the country.

St Barnabas and St Paul’s Church of England Primary School was placed 17th in the top 250 primary schools based on the Key Stage Two national curriculum tests which were taken by Year Six pupils in May 2019.

In December 2019, The Lancashire Telegraph reported how the school posted exceptional SATs results, which placed it number two in Blackburn ­— and it was the only school in the borough where children made well above average progress in all three subjects.

Amir Khan's wife selling furniture from their house on Instagram

Lancashire Telegraph:

AMIR Khan's wife was selling their house furniture while the couple moved out of their previous home.

The couple were living in a £1.2 million mansion in Bolton, but sold it to move to a new town.

Faryal Makhdoom Khan took to Instagram to reveal that she was looking for offers on the bespoke furniture and asked her followers to DM her offers if they were interested.


Euro Garages brothers to close award-winning Stanley House Hotel

Lancashire Telegraph:

THE award-winning Stanley House Hotel and Spa in Mellor shut this year putting 80 staff out of jobs.

News of the closure, which was announced in February, dismayed Ribble Valley economic development boss Cllr Stuart Hirst and local ward councillor Noel Walsh.

The hotel and spa complex was bought by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the Blackburn brothers who founded Euro Garages, as a private investment in September 2019.

Great Harwood couple's deli brings another independent business to 'thriving' town

Lancashire Telegraph:

A COUPLE who opened a deli in their home town said that the area was thriving due to the increase in new and independent businesses.

Sophie Johnson and Jordan Kemp, from Great Harwood, opened The Green Olive in Queen Street at the end of September in 2019 and have gone from strength to strength.

The 29-year-olds believe their early success was down to the support they had received from their community, and the fact they brought something fresh, new and exciting to Great Harwood at a time when independent businesses, such as Tipsy Cows, Tessa Clemson Yoga, Finch Bakery, Electric Thirteen Tattoos and 1B Tap House were creating a buzz in the town.

New owner reveals plans for historic former Thwaites stables

Lancashire Telegraph:

THE new owners of the stables block at the former Thwaites Brewery revealed they propose to turn it into 10 industrial units.

EP (Properties) Ltd. of Blackburn said the refurbishments should create new jobs near the town centre.

The scheme was revealed in backdated planning application by the firm, run by Zakir Issa, brother of the EG Group's bosses Mohsin and Zuber.


First coronavirus case in Blackburn with Darwen confirmed

Lancashire Telegraph:

THE first case of coronavirus in a Blackburn with Darwen was confirmed in March.

New figures released by Public Health England further show that number of people with the Covid-19 infection had almost doubled to 15 across Lancashire in a 24 hour period.

This news arrived as Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council said that local authority-run facilities, including leisure centres, would shut the following day.

Madness as Blackburn Big Mac lovers queue round the block for one last McDonald's

Lancashire Telegraph: Credit Lauren MetcalfeCredit Lauren Metcalfe

A VIDEO sent to the Lancashire Telegraph by one of our readers showed the absolute carnage that ensued after McDonald's announced they were closing all of their restaurants before the first national lockdown.

Fast food junkies were so desperate to get their hands on one last Big Mac, that they queued for the drive-thru along the full length of the dual carriageway close to the Whitebirk roundabout in Blackburn.

'At the age of 51, she doesn't want to be stealing plants from Blackburn Lidl'

Lancashire Telegraph:

A VULNERABLE woman who was regularly “conned” out of or robbed of her benefits was caught stealing plants worth £7.98.

Blackburn magistrates heard Angela Craig was in breach of a conditional discharge imposed two weeks earlier for another petty theft.

Craig, 51, of East Park Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to theft from Lidl. She was made subject to a curfew for four weeks between 7pm and 7am and ordered to pay £90 victim surcharge.


Three dogs and a budgie rescued after owner diagnosed with virus

Lancashire Telegraph:

THREE dogs and a budgie had to be rescued from a house after their owner was taken to hospital and diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Officers from the RSPCA were called to West Lancashire after they were contacted for help by a neighbour of the ill pet owner.

However, nobody was allowed to enter the house for 72 hours due to the risk of contamination, meaning the animals had to wait for a few days to be rescued.

Coronavirus lockdown: Anger at picnicking couples in Lancashire

Lancashire Telegraph:

AS LANCASHIRE residents were being warned that police patrols would be stepped up to enforce coronavirus lockdown restrictions over the Easter weekend, pictures emerged of people flouting the rules.

Pictures showing a couple sitting down for a snack in the mid-morning sunshine at the Brickcroft Nature Reserve in Longton suggest that the county’s compliance with the measures during the first national lockdown was far from universal – and, according to one “disgusted” local, the image did not paint a picture of an isolated incident.

Issa brothers' £350,000 donation to East Lancashire Hospitals

Lancashire Telegraph:

A MILLIONAIRE businessman donated £350,000 to hospitals in East Lancashire.

Zuber Issa, joint founder and CEO of the Blackburn-based EG Group, made the massive donation to the East Lancashire Hopsitals Trust charity, ELHT&Me.

Executive medical director of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Jawad Husain, and executive director of communications, Christine Hughes, accepted a cheque for £350,000, when Mr Issa dropped into the hospital’s Donation Station.


Porsche driver almost 100mph over the limit on M65

Lancashire Telegraph:

THE DRIVER of a sports car was caught while travelling at speeds of 144 miles per hour.

Officers driving on the M65 were shocked when a Navy Porsche overtook them at 125mph.

However things got even worse as the driver accelerated to a speed of 144mph as he entered a section of road works.

Royal Mail investigation after Great Harwood man claims postie 'chucked' letters at him

Lancashire Telegraph:

A MAN was left shocked, disgusted and embarrassed after a postman threw letters and a parcel at him, breaking a glass item inside.

The 33-year-old engineer from Great Harwood, who did not wish to be named, said the item, which was an anniversary gift from his partner, smashed on the floor, and he was left to pick up the rest of his post after the Royal Mail man walked off.

Boris Johnson's coronavirus message directly to Darwen man

Lancashire Telegraph:

A FORMER pub landlord who set up an online charity pub quiz which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds was recognised by the Prime Minister.

Darwen man Jay Flynn set ‘The Virtual Pub Quiz’ as a way to lift the spirits of residents near his local pub expecting 30 or 40 participants.

However, after a Facebook post publishing it went viral, the quiz attracted hundreds of thousands of people and earned the Guinness World Record for most viewers of a quiz YouTube live stream.


Lancashire pub chain The Seafood Pub Company goes into administration

Lancashire Telegraph:

A MULTI-AWARD winning pub group which operated some of the county’s most popular and highly-regarded eateries filed for administration.

The Seafood Pub Company, which among many others owned the Assheton Arms in Downham, the Oyster and Otter in Blackburn and Forest in Fence, had to call in administrators after having failed to secure funding since the coronavirus lockdown.

In 2019, it was reported that a series of one-off expenses such as system improvements, restructuring, and the exit of one non-core site, the Roaming Roosters farm shop and café in Higham near Burnley, were to blame for its £1.2m loss.

'You couldn't make it up' - MOT tester caught...for driving with out of date MOT

Lancashire Telegraph:

AN MOT tester was stopped by police and fined for driving a vehicle which was due an MOT in May 2019.

Lancashire Police TAC-OPs pulled the Vauxhall Astra van over on the M61 at Rivington Services between Chorley and Bolton.

PC Craig McCabe from Lancashire Police Tac-Ops said: "The driver admitted that the vehicle actually belongs to an MOT garage and the driver was an MOT tester."

Bee swarm: Up to 60,000 honeybees removed from The Mall, Blackburn

Lancashire Telegraph:

A HUSBAND-and-wife beekeeping team answered an insect SOS from a shopping centre and collected four swarms of honey bees from the The Mall Blackburn’s car park.

The 60,000 bees had settled on a smoking shelter on the roof of The Mall’s main car park in Blackburn town centre.

They were discovered by an employee who was shocked to come across the swarms, which prompted The Mall’s manager to call on Kath and Simon Cordingley, of the Bee Centre in Preston, for help.

Come back tomorrow for the top stories in East Lancashire from July to December.