REVIEW OF THE YEAR: January 2017

HMS Queen Elizabeth heralded a new era for the Royal Navy
HMS Queen Elizabeth heralded a new era for the Royal Navy
Royal Marines and sailors from HMS Bulwark Royal Marines squadron gathered on Eastney Beachin June 2016 for a poignant commemoration of the loss of landing craft during the 1982 Falklands Conflict

LETTER OF THE DAY: Hole in our armed forces budget needs closing

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We take a look back through The News archives over what has been another exciting year

PORTSMOUTH braced itself to welcome the biggest warship ever made in the UK into the city. The final preparations were being made to finish the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was made to usher a new dawn for naval power. They came following one of the busiest years for the Senior Service since the end of the Cold War.

Alex Thomson returns to a hero's welcome at Gosport after coming second in the Vendee Globe round the world race  Ian Hargreaves  (170211-1)

Alex Thomson returns to a hero's welcome at Gosport after coming second in the Vendee Globe round the world race Ian Hargreaves (170211-1)

In the previous 12 months, the navy had responded to Russian activity in the North Sea, English Channel and north Atlantic amid growing tensions between Moscow and the West. The force also supported EU and Nato-led operations in the Mediterranean and Aegean, as well as taking the fight to so-called Islamic State by supporting a US Navy task force in the Gulf.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, said the launch of HMS Queen Elizabeth was fantastic news for the navy and for Portsmouth.

A GOSPORT man was honoured with the British Citizen Award after he raised £12m for charities over four decades.

Les Heyhoe, a former Royal Navy writer, had been raising money since the age of 16, when he was living in Norfolk. His first fundraising scheme had been the collecting of aluminium ring pulls from drink cans. Les remarked that he loved the feeling of helping out those who needed it most. The British Citizen Award recognises the outstanding work individuals do in the community and the impact they have on society. Les Heyhoe received his award later at the Palace of Westminster.

POLICE started a six month operation to root out drug trafficking in Portsmouth. The team was lead by Detective Inspector Linda Howard, who within hours of drawing her team together for their first time, managed to arrest two people following a cannabis and cocaine bust at a city address. The unit was put together to target drug dealers coming in from London and other areas to sell hard drugs. Operation Fortress was meant to allow Det Insp Howard, a sergeant and eight constables to create ‘momentum’ in cracking down on drug dealings. The team covered Portsmouth as well as Fareham, Havant and Gosport.

A SCHEME to teach children as young as seven about mental health issues was launched by Portsmouth education and health bosses. The idea was to team up and help tackle problems such as stress, anxiety and depression in children under 10. The aim was to ensure pupils in primary and secondary schools did not develop problems – and also a desire to tackle social media’s influence over the lives of young people. It followed the unveiling by prime minister Theresa May, a package of reforms to support the most vulnerable in society, with emphasis on schools playing their part in supporting children.

YACHTSMAN Alex Thompson was greeted by ecstatic family and friends as he finished the around-the-world Vendee Globe race. Alex, who lives in Gosport, came second, which is the best he’d ever been placed in the yacht race. His position matched Dame Ellen MacArthur as the best ever Briton in the race. The 42-year-old passed the finish line of Les Sables d’Olonne at 7:40am, clocking in a time of 74 days, 19 hours 35 minutes and 15 seconds. He described the experience as ‘amazing’. He was met by his wife Kate and their children Oscar and Georgia, along with supporters from his team.

A FORMER Royal Navy officer was honoured for giving life-saving aid to a man who had been stabbed multiple times. Jonathan Waterhouse rushed to the aid his neighbour, Steve Burns, who had been stabbed multiple times and left for dead in Bevis Road, Gosport, in January 2016. Mr Waterhouse had heard shouts for help and went rushing out in his dressing gown. He helped stabilise Mr Burns. Because of his heroic act Mr Waterhouse was awarded the Chief Constable’s Certificate of Commendation by Hampshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney. Mr Waterhouse said he did ‘what any decent person would do’.