A new decade is welcomed in with much optimism but reports of the spread of a new coronavirus coming out of Wuhan China caused concern, with the first case being reported in the UK on 29 January. Bush fires raged in Australia.
We started the new year with features in both magazines on getting fit and healthy – how important that would turn out to be for the year ahead.
We also looked at the plight of the dormouse, took a look back at Christmas events that had taken place in 2019 and reviewed The Coventry Arms and The Old Beams – ah a time before social distancing was even a thing.
The month brought much trepidation. Cases of coronavirus were spreading around the world, with 37 countries reporting their first cases.
In local news we reported that motorists were being reminded to get eye tests – not realising how ironic that would turn out to be. Teenagers were sentenced for stealing Beryl Bikes, an environmental disaster hit Ferndown and we ran a feature putting great local charities in the spotlight.
The first COVID-19 death in the UK was reported – a woman in her 70s. The UK Government warned that the virus would spread in a significant way. Global cases exceeded 100,000. Prime Minster Boris Johnson announced strict rules across the entire UK plunging the nations in to lockdown.
We featured the coastal warrior Roy Beal on our front cover of March 4Dorset with an in-depth report into the healthy obsession of beach cleaning. There was an article on how we could all help hedgehogs in 2020.
Viewpoint brought the news that Wimborne Market will close after 165 years. The ‘Mad Hatter’ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani were featured attracting crowds in Bournemouth while filming the BBC One documentary War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita.
The roads fell silent the, shops were closed, bars and restaurants boarded up as hospital admissions swelled. There was clapping on the doorstep. People were only allowed out for essential travel or one form of exercise a day and the leader of the free world Donald Trump was suggesting bleach and light as potential cures for COVID-19. The new world had started, it was scary and nobody new how it was going to end. The UK records 10,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 1 million COVID-19 cases were confirmed globally.
Our 4Dorset April was the last magazine to go to print before lockdown was called. By now we were covering the developments of the pandemic but also continuing to shine a light local news of which there was still plenty to report.
April also saw our first ever online-only edition released. We were unsure how it well it would be received – we are happy to say it was a huge hit. People still wanted their local news fix and we were happy to be a reliable news source.
Dominic Cummings the Prime Minster’s closest adviser is embroiled in a scandal following a trip to Durham in March, breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules and an infamous trip to Barnard Castle for an eye test. Cummings would later apologise and keep his job as Boris Johnson’s adviser. May also saw the sickening news of the death of George Floyd who was killed by police in America during his arrest. News of his death shocked the world.
With it now not possible for us to produce printed magazines, both 4Dorset and Viewpoint went online-only in May. 4Dorset was our special Life in Lockdown issue; featuring real life stories from people living in lockdown. Young and old, near and far 15 unique reports of how people were coping. Coming from places as far flung as Canada, USA, Turkey, Dubai and Australia.
Viewpoint focused on how businesses were coping and adapting to life in lockdown as well as keeping our readers up to date with the latest community news including a report from a Julia’s House nurse who had returned to the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.
Black Lives Matters protests were held in countries across the globe defying national lockdown measures. The statue of the slave trader Edward Colton was toppled in Bristol and dumped into Bristol Harbour. As fear grows that more statues around the UK will be targeted many are either removed from public display or boarded up for protection including the statue of Baden-Powell on Poole Quay.
4Dorset online reported on the devastating fire at Wareham Forest, the hordes of rubbish dumped at Durdle Door after swathes of people descended onto the beauty spot during the hot weather, World Bee Day and a whole host of top tens.
In Viewpoint news of unrest at BCP Council is reported after a vote of no confidence in the leadership. We also had a report on Sir Stirling Moss the legendary racing driver who died on 29 May; a call for a ban on disposable BBQs in the New Forest and a reunion of Viewpoint’s editor with her mother after three months of not being able to visit the care home she lives in.
June also saw us publish our last online only magazine before we are able to recommence printing again.
The UK began to emerge from lockdown with restrictions being lifted on 4 July. People were encouraged to go and spend to support businesses. The chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Eat Out to Help Scheme. This Government scheme will allow diners to get up to 50% off their bill at registered restaurants from 3 – 31 August.
4Dorset July was back in print, with a new look and a hint of more change to come. Viewpoint was also printed again with a fresh new look and front cover design.
Exam fiasco. Pupils voiced their discontent with the controversial grading system. More protests occurred this time by students and there were calls for Gavin Williamson to resign as education secretary. After days of government hardline a spectacular U-turn is confirmed with all A level and GCSE results based on teacher-assessed grades.
The change hinted at in July 4Dorset is announced in August, with the magazine changing its name to Dorset View – a certain change in uncertain times. The front cover featured a photo of the comet NEOWISE, which last visited earth some 6,800 years ago.
Viewpoint saw the end of a 40-year search. Viewpoint’s editor finally photographed the elusive Dartford Warbler, a bird she had been searching for since the 1980s. The bird was finally tracked down on Parley Common.
After suppressing the virus throughout lockdown and with cases remaining relatively low in the summer, the UK started to see a worrying rise in case numbers and hospital admissions – was this the start of a second wave?
Dorset View reported on a Bournemouth women winning a £500,000 London home, how lockdown had inspired one mother to home school and a call to ban cruel rabbit hutches. While in Viewpoint we read how a double amputee had scaled the Matterhorn and Ferndown racer Josh Malin’s had achieved a knockout performance at Knockhill – more about Josh to come.
Tiers all round. The local tiers system is introduced in the UK to try and regain control of the escalating coronavirus pandemic. The PM Boris Johnson says he does not want to impose a second national lockdown.
Our magazines featured two local heroes on their front covers in October. Dorset View had a picture of Oly Rush who had just smashed his Swim Jurassic challenge for charity. Oly swam the 100-mile coastline to raise awareness about plastic pollution and raise money for Clean Jurassic Coast and Go Paddle charities.
Viewpoint featured Josh Malin the Ferndown racer who was leading the 2020 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge with only the final round to go – could he go all the way and become a champion in 2020?
The US presidential election took place with Joe Biden beating incumbent Donald Trump to the White House. Trump cried foul and claimed voter fraud but not evidence was provided and cases in numerous states got thrown out. Across the pond the UK was grappling with rising coronavirus cases and the country was plunged into its second national lockdown on 5 November for four weeks.
In Dorset View, we reported on the merger of three key local hospitals, how Remembrance was to be observed across the region with tighter restrictions in place and also the launch of our new website dorsetview.co.uk, which replaced dorsetview.co.uk
Viewpoint looked at how Christmas would be different this year with reports from Ringwood, Verwood, Fordingbridge and Salisbury detailing their varied intentions for the festive season.
Brexit in the news, Christmas cancelled at the 11th hour, mutant variant of coronavirus discovered, chaos at the ports. If the year started badly it was heading towards a disastrous ending.
An extremely tough and challenging year came to an end with some positive news in Dorset View – Ferndown racer Josh Malin did indeed win the title in the final race of the season, a real nail-biter right to the end. We also looked at Wimborne’s scaled back Christmas celebrations and offered up a couple of festive treats from Flavours School of Cookery.
And so we ended the year with Viewpoint and a very different festive season. The magazine was packed full of local news stories you have been used to all year. We hope you have enjoyed reading our magazines throughout 2020 and look forward to 2021 with hope and optimism for a brighter future.
We wish you a Happy New Year!
From all the team at Viewpoint and Dorset View
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