Melton people who made the headlines in 2021

The pandemic dominated our lives once again but there were plenty of other stories hitting the headlines over the last 12 months in the borough of Melton.

By Nick Rennie
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 3:32 pm
Jolli Waterland (left) outside her new Melton restaurant, Kristie's, with sister Dominique Carnall, mother of the late Kristie Bishop, whose memory inspired the eaterie EMN-211229-081500001
Jolli Waterland (left) outside her new Melton restaurant, Kristie's, with sister Dominique Carnall, mother of the late Kristie Bishop, whose memory inspired the eaterie EMN-211229-081500001

We take a look back here at some of the people and the issues we reported on in 2021.

JANUARY

A Melton farmer raised hundreds of pounds for the local air ambulance by dunking herself in animal water troughs in near freezing temperatures for seven days running.

Pc Davey Rawlings, of Melton and Rutland Police, who has been named Leicestershire Police's Dedicated Neighbourhood Officer of the Year EMN-211229-081414001

Comparing her love of open water swimming with her fundraising challenge, Justine Sore said: “It is a very different experience getting your kit off in a field in the middle of January and stepping into a freezing animal water trough.

“Day three was probably the toughest one because I had to stand around for 20 or 30 minutes while my son broke through the ice and on day five the wind was very cold as I got in.”

FEBRUARY

Melton policeman Pc Davey Rawlings was celebrating being named Leicestershire Police’s ‘Dedicated Neighbourhood Officer of the Year’.

Richard and Ann Sage who have retired as owners of Craven Street Stores in Melton EMN-211230-152046001

He has played a pivotal role in thwarting drug dealers in the town and working to prevent vulnerable people getting involved in crime.

Pc Rawlings, who says his young son calls him ‘a real life super hero, said: “A lot of my work involves safeguarding duties which don’t make the headlines.

“It’s a lot of identifying individuals that are at risk...and just trying to reduce the risk for that person.

“It’s all about making it hard for drug dealers to set up in the town and not making it an inviting place for them to stay.”

Justine Sore picks the ice out in near freezing temperatures to complete one of her fundraising dips in an animal water trough at her Melton farm EMN-211229-081348001

MARCH

Thousands of local schoolchildren returned to classrooms in March after the national easing of Covid restrictions but they had to wear face coverings and undertake testing before going in.

Executive headteacher at Melton’s John Ferneley College, Christine Stansfield, said: “It is a pleasure to finally get back to business.

“Our students have adapted brilliantly to all the safety measures and controls in place, including the wearing of face masks and are collectively working together to keep our school community as safe as possible.”

Helen Cliff with donated footwear for the refugees at Scalford hotel EMN-211229-081513001

APRIL

Flags were flown at half-mast following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99.

Mayor of Melton at the time, Councillor Malise Graham, said he was ‘deeply saddened’, and added: “He has been a dedicated father, grandfather and great-grandfather to his family and our thoughts are with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and her family at this time.

“On behalf of the Borough of Melton, I would like to thank The Duke of Edinburgh for his long and dedicated service to us all.”

MAY

Family members and friends of Melton woman Kristie Bishop, who lost a long battle against drug addiction, gathered for the opening of a new town restaurant which was launched in her name.

Simon Johnson, residential partner at Shouler and Son EMN-211230-151841001

Jolli Waterland, opened Kristie’s, in Sherrard Street, to keep her niece’s memory alive and to send a message to others to show more understanding to those caught up in drug-taking.

Jolli said: “Kristie had a smile which would light up a room.

“After she went into rehab we had 18 months with her and we saw the real her.

“We will remember the real Kristie and the message we want to send out through this place is ‘don’t judge a person by what you think they are like’.”

JUNE

As the county council threatened to reject government funding towards a south link to Melton’s approved partial bypass following a row with the borough council over forward funding, more than 2,000 people signed a petition calling on the authority to accept it.

The campaign was backed by a letter, signed by leaders of all Leicestershire district councils, which stated: “This is completely unacceptable and whilst it may be Melton today, it will be the other districts in time and we stand united in saying this is unacceptable and no way to secure the infrastructure needed.

“Furthermore, your approach is doing serious damage to Leicestershire’s reputation and potentially our ability to secure funding in the future.”

JULY

In a year when it celebrated it’s 175th anniversary of trading in Melton, Shouler and Son closed their Wilton Road site and moved the property sales and lettings side of the business to its other premises on Kings Road, where its agricultural, commercial and professional services and the company’s auction room are run from.

Simon Johnson, the firm’s residential partner, told the Melton Times: “We’ve seen major changes in customer habits and we are changing with the times with this move across town.

“Most of our communications are done by phone, by email and online because people have all the information at their fingertips without having to come in and pick up the details from the office.

AUGUST

A Melton postal worker gave revealing insight into low morale at the town’s Royal Mail delivery office because of extra work caused by staff shortages and abuse from members of the public.

Thousands of parcels and letters were not being delivered when they should be each week and opening hours had been cut back at the caller’s office, off Thorpe Road.

The employee, who declined to be named, said “I have never seen anything as bad as this, never seen so many unhappy people, staff members in tears and physically and mentally exhausted - it’s a disgrace.”

SEPTEMBER

Helen Cliff worked with the charity, Care4Calais, to regularly deliver clothing and toiletries to asylum-seekers who were living for short periods at Scalford Country House Hotel while their applications were processed.

She said: “I wish local people could see the looks of gratitude and the smiles on their faces.

“Some of these people are not much older than my own sons.

“One day I did get back home and looked at my 16-year-old and burst into tears because I was feeling so emotional.”

OCTOBER

Melton MP Alicia Kearns spoke about being ‘heartbroken’ by the murder of her friend and fellow Conservative MP, Sir David Amess, who was repeatedly stabbed during a public surgery in Essex and the verbal abuse and threats she receives from constituents: “I get stopped and shouted and screamed at in the street. On a daily basis people email me saying that I am a piece of dirt, and scum.

“This is every day. With politicians it’s targeted and personal against you as a person as well as the job you are doing.”

NOVEMBER

It was the end of an era for a popular Melton corner shop as the Sage family sadly cut its ties with Craven Street Stores after running it for 70 years.

Richard Sage took over the shop in 1984 after his mother, Betty, ran it from 1952.

On his final day, after deciding to retire with wife Ann, Richard said: “People have become friends rather than customers over the years.

“It’s the friendships you make over the years and being part of the community which we have enjoyed more than anything.”

DECEMBER

David Houghton, who co-ordinates the dozen of volunteers who keep the town’s Covid vaccination centre running, said they had worked more than 8,000 hours there in the last year.

He said: “It is people from all walks of life. If you talk to them they all say they want to give something back to the community.”

Melton Borough Council leader, Councillor Joe Orson, delivers a petition to County Hall calling on Leicestershire County Council to reconsider its intention to reject £15milllion in government funding towards a proposed southern link to Melton's approve partial bypass EMN-211230-151750001
Murdered MP, Sir David Amess, pictured with Melton MP, Alicia Kearns EMN-211230-152001001
Melton Lions Club volunteers pictured marshalling queues at the town's Covid vaccination centre EMN-211230-152128001
Royal Mail's Melton Mowbray delivery office EMN-211230-151916001