REVIEW OF THE YEAR: February 2017
We take a look back through The News archives over what has been another exciting year
A YOUNG Fratton girl with a rare chromosome disorder was said to be the only girl in the world with her condition.
Alyssa-Mae England, then-eight, was diagnosed with a disorder so rare that it does not have a name and doctors are unsure how to treat it. Alyssa-Mae suffers from unbalanced translocation, meaning some of her chromosomes have swapped, but unequally, leading to congenital heart disease, epilepsy and multiple urine infections. Mum Zoe, 35, told The News ‘It has been hard but we’re just taking each day as it comes.’
Five people were arrested after the repossession of a beloved arts centre triggered chaos.
Portsmouth City Council changed the locks on the Art and Soul Traders centre, in Victoria Park, overnight, despite agreeing that supporters could hold a fundraiser to try and keep the arts hub in the community.
Police were accused of ‘taking a sledgehammer to a nut’ as officers made arrests and used pepper spray on individuals who were protesting. The council claimed the arts centre managers were repeatedly informed that the lease was going to expire, however no effort was made to get in touch and discuss a new premises. It is now a cafe.
The News revealed that Hampshire police had made £120, 000 in a deal that saw them hand out claims leaflets when they were called to road crashes. Car Call Ltd handed over £24,000 a year to Hampshire Constabulary from 2011 to 2016 in exchange for traffic police giving out adverts. Policing officers were investigated after two motorists made complaints. The deal was finally ended in November 2016, two years after concerns were raised about the police ‘selling’ to ‘vulnerable’ drivers.
Michael Lane, a Hampshire police and crime commissioner, said: ‘While the arrangement was lawful, concerns were rightly raised. I took my decision to give notice and end the agreement with Car Call.’
Royal Navy officers and a Portsmouth MP made a plea to build more auxiliary ships to see the city regain its title as a world-class hub of shipbuilding excellence.
Supported by Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt and leaders at GMB, the Royal Navy were fighting to have a new breed of Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships built ‘as soon as possible’. Gary Cook, GMB’s ex-regional organiser for Portsmouth, told The News that the current RFA ships were ‘falling to pieces.’ ‘They’re unreliable and have got to be renewed,’ he continued. Plans for new RFA ships were confirmed in 2015, however many at GMB urged the government to ‘step up the pace’ of naval shipbuilding to keep the nation’s shipbuilding industry alive.
A 49-year-old diver from Southsea was enjoying his diving experience in Mozambique, until he surfaced and discovered his boat had vanished and sharks were gathering beneath him.
Ian Peach, alongside his diving group, faced a three-hour crawl back to shore when their diving boat had vanished. ‘We were like sitting ducks. If the sharks had wanted to take us, they could have,’ said Ian.
The group suffered from exhaustion, dehydration and severe sunburn and were eventually found by a search party. One of the boat’s tanks had become lose and he lost site of the marker buoy as he was trying to reattach it. However, Ian urges that the diving nightmare ‘has not put him off’, as he plans another diving expedition in Costa Rica in 2018.