REVIEW OF THE YEAR: July 2017

Thousands packed onto Southsea Common for the Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK
Thousands packed onto Southsea Common for the Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK
Police warn people not to go on Twitter while driving

Man caught tweeting on M27 prompts police warning

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

Portsmouth’s Race for Life was hailed by organisers and fundraisers as ‘inspirational’.

The News launched a campaign to limit the use of highly-addictive fixed odds betting terminals

The News launched a campaign to limit the use of highly-addictive fixed odds betting terminals

Southsea Common was transformed into into a sea of pink as more than 3,000 people packed onto it to support or join the annual fundraising women and children-only running event.

The total raised over the weekend, which involved groups or individuals running, joggoing or walking 5k or 10k, was £430,000 for Cancer Research UK. Jenny Ashworth, who was part of the team behind Race for Life, said: ‘It’s been inspirational to watch – everyone’s been amazing. Portsmouth has been great. This has been a celebration of life as well as a chance to remember those that have died.’

A mum told the horrific story of when her four-year-old daughter was left injured by a hit-and-run driver.

Mum Tiffany Ellmore was walking with little Eliza-Lillie in North End, Portsmouth, when a car mounted the kerb and hit the youngster. Ms Ellmore described the moment: ‘It was so horrible because I saw her head hit the bonnet, it was awful. She cries in her sleep over what happened and she thinks every car is going to hit her now.’

A blaze ripped through the home of a terrified pensioner on Hayling Island

A blaze ripped through the home of a terrified pensioner on Hayling Island

A disabled man was conned out of £500 after being approached by a woman who offered to help him with his shopping.

Peter Smith, 70, who relies on his wheelchair to get around, was delighted when a stranger offered to help him, only to find out she had tricked him into handing over his bank card and pin. Mr Smith, of Nuffield place, Landport, told The News that: ‘I have been well and truly stitched up.

‘I am 70 years old and thought I would be above that sort of scam.’

The con outraged Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, who said: ‘Mr Smith’s story is a heartbreaking one.

They did it! Thousands took to the seafront for Race for Life

They did it! Thousands took to the seafront for Race for Life

‘The government must do more to tackle scams and support victims of these increasingly sophisticated and distressing crimes.’

The News called for restrictions on ‘highly addictive’ fixed odds betting terminals that have devastated many lives across the city.

Working with Portsmouth City Council, the paper lobbied the government to impose a £10 per spin restriction on machines, as gamblers could then wager up to £100 per game on the machines. Over £53m was spent on betting machines across Portsmouth, Fareham, Havant and Gosport in 2016 alone.

Councillor Winnington said: ‘We are calling for these machines to be less harmful then they already are. It is just not right that people can spend so much money in one go. They are far too addictive and something needs to be done.’

A widow spoke of her terror when she feared she’d ‘lose her home’ in a blaze that ripped through her shed and spread to her house.

Jean Robertson, 78, was upstairs in Fernhurst Close, home, on Hayling Island, when she saw her garden engulfed in flames. The neighbouring property was also badly affected, while much of Mrs Robertson’s kitchen and roof was destroyed. Talking to The News, she said: ‘I saw the flames and instantly went into zombie mode, the whole thing was very surreal, it felt like a nightmare.’

Four crews from Havant and Hayling Island attended the scene, however the cause of the fire remained a mystery.