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Farewell 2012 - a real year of celebration and change
WELL, that was 2012 - a year of celebration and change.
Wirral has partied with the rest of the nation to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and welcomed the Olympic torch when it visited the borough. It has also been a year of massive change at Wirral council.
We have also had to time to celebrate, with nominations for national awards.
Wirral's highs and lows have filled our pages during the last 12 months. Here are just some of some of them....
In January Cammell Laird shipyard boss John Syvret was made a CBE in the Queen's New Year Honours for services to the maritime industry.
Former Conservative councillor for Hoylake, Jacqueline Hall, received an MBE for services to the community of Merseyside and Dr James Kingsland an OBE for services to general practice.Unilever staff from Port Sunlight joined colleagues across the UK in strike action in a dispute over pensions.
Unions claimed the company's plans to axe the final salary pension scheme would see retirement income of thousands of staff slashed by up to 40 per cent.
A pereguine falcon was released back into the wild by the unlikely hero who rescued it – a Birkenhead traffic warden.
The bird of prey was nursed back to health at RSPCA Stapeley Grange wildlife centre in Cheshire after being brought in by hawk-eyed Lee Gallagher.
Plans to renovate a historic building in Port Sunlight were approved by Wirral’s planning committee.
Councillors gave their seal of approval for the Grade II-listed Hesketh Hall in Boundary Road to be converted into 13 self-contained flats. The move was hailed as "the start of the renaissance" in the town.
In February a couple from Eastham launched an appeal hoping to raise thousands of pounds for equipment that would improve their disabled daughter's life.
Nicoll Baker and partner Steve needed to raise around £20,000 to pay for a special wheelchair-adapted room for 11-year-old Aleks who suffers from Rett Syndrome.
The Prime Minister David Cameron promised to look into 'shocking' claims made in the Anna Klonowski report.
The inquiry looked into the claims of whistleblower Martin Morton, a former Wirral social services employee who was bullied and forced out of his job after revealing systematic financial abuse of vulnerable people in council care.
Jeff Green was voted in as Wirral Council's new leader. The Conservative leader replaced councillor Steve Foulkes, who faced votes of no-confidence during a full council meeting at Wallasey Town Hall.
Cllr Foulkes faced calls from the leaders of both opposition parties to stand down following the recent Anna Klonowski report.
In March, Robert Law from Rock Ferry was one of two patients to receive an apology from the transplant service after they contracted cancer from donated kidneys.
Mr Law, 59, and Gillian Smart, 46, from St Helens, were both given the life-saving transplants at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
Plans to demolish grand Victorian houses directly opposite Birkenhead Park triggered strong opposition from heritage groups.
Keepmoat Homes wanted to build eight new houses following demolition of the Victorian properties at the junction of Laird Street, Bray Street and Park Road North.
West Kirby student Kirtana Vallabhaneni was named the UK Young Scientist of the Year.
The talented pupil from West Kirby Grammar School was one of 360 shining young stars chosen to showcase their work to a world-class panel of judges.
Boundary Commission plans to scrap the South Wirral parliamentary seat and create a complex cross-river constituency met with an avalanche of opposition.
The proposed new Mersey Banks seat would see New Ferry, Bromborough and Eastham grouped with parts of Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Helsby and Weaverham near Northwich and also include Hale Village and Ditton, near Widnes on the north side of the Mersey.
In April stories making the headlines included the appointment of David Allison as Wirral Hospital’s new chief executive. It followed the departure of Len Richards following criticism over management of hospital services.
In the same month around 12,000 bikers took part in the 32nd Wirral Egg Run. The world-renowned event saw riders set off on a 20-mile journey to Clatterbridge Hospital to deliver Easter Eggs for sick children and raise cash for charity.
In May Labour election candidate Janette Williamson issued a full apology for an offensive tweet about the Duke of Edinburgh.
Voters went to the polls and Labour gain seven seats across New Brighton, Upton, Prenton, Liscard, Bebington, Pensby and Leasowe wards. Cllr Phil Davies became council leader.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited Wirral Credit Union's office in New Ferry to celebrate the organisation’s 20th anniversary and learn more about a Tranmere Community Project were on the schedule.
On June 1 Thousands turned out to see the Olympic Flame pass through Wirral. An estimated 60,000 people lined the relay's route with 25,000 filling Birkenhead Park for a massive festival of sports and fitness.
Families old and young poured into the park to see the once-in-a-generation event and cheered passionately as the Flame passed from Spice Girl Mel C to Wirral's Olympic Gold cycling champion Chris Boardman.
In July a river of pink flowed through Birkenhead Park as almost 4000 women took part in Wirral's Race For Life, raising more than £200,000 for cancer research.
Graham Burgess, one of the UK's most dynamic bureaucrats, was appointed Wirral council’s new chief executive.
The authority's fifth chief executive in two years, he took over at a time when the council was mired in controversy in the wake of a major investigation by local government watchdog the Audit Commission into the award of a £40m highways and engineering contract by the authority in 2008.
In August, pressure grew to reverse a controversial decision transferring vital surgery from Wirral’s main hospital to Chester.
Protestors against the move are hoping to have it declared invalid by seeking High Court permission for a judicial review.
NHS Wirral stirred a hornets’ nest after its board voted to move the centre for vascular services from Arrowe Park to the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Council leader Cllr Phil Davies revealed to the Globe he would ask then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to intervene.
In September a planned visit to Wirral by former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson sparked controversy.
Tyson, once-styled 'The Baddest Man on the Plant' was due to call in at a series of local boxing gyms to hold master-classes with youngsters.
Councillors called for the visit to be cancelled.
Organiser and ex-boxer Kenny Rainford said the reaction locally to the visit had been "positive." He said: "People are really looking forward to it."
In October campaigners took to the streets in protest at plans to take vital vascular surgery away from Wirral. The demonstrators organised a march to Arrowe Park Hospital.
Wirral-born Hollywood director Alex Cox returned to the borough this mont to host a question and answer session about his life in film.
Alex, from Bebington, visited Hoylake Community Centre for Hoylake Community Cinema’s screening of classic western For a Few Dollars More.
In November hundreds of angry council workers descended on Wallasey Town Hall as Wirral's ruling cabinet met to allow consultation to begin on a major package of cuts.
The ruling cabinet was asked to approve measures designed to save around £40m over the next year, putting services and thousands of jobs at risk.
A railway guard was convicted of the manslaughter of Wirral teenager Georgia Varley after he signalled for a train to move as she was leaning against the carriage.
Christopher McGee, 45, from Wallasey, gave the signal for the driver to depart as Georgia, 16, from Moreton was leaning against the window from the platform.
He was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence at Liverpool Crown Court and jailed for five years.
Wirral's unsung heroes were in the spotlight in November as their hard work was recognised at the first-ever Wirral's Golden Globes Awards ceremony.
The glittering event, held at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton, celebrated the borough's best during a night of tears, smiles and laughter.
Among the galaxy of local celebrities who turned out to pay tribute to Wirral’s heroes were Great British Bake-Off TV star Paul Hollywood, comedian Stan Boardman, singer Steve McFarlane, renowned journalist and poet Peter Grant and Radio Merseyside story-teller/musician Cath Roberts.
Among the deserving winners was Foster Carer of the Year, Diane Rourke, who has been taking in youngsters for more than 10 years.
Julie Ann Cochrane-Walsh scooped the award for Parent of the Year for bringing up and looking after her ex-partner’s two children who have learning difficulties.
In December Wirral shipyard Cammell Laird secured a multi-million pound contract, safeguarding hundreds of jobs.
The Ministry of Defence extended its Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) maintenance agreement with the Birkenhead-based company until 2018.
More than two thousand people watched the annual Light Up A Life switch-on for Wirral Hospice St John's on December 2.