IT has been an eventful 2019 and here we look back at some of the biggest stories of the year.

In the first part of our two-part review, we look back at some of the stories making the headlines from January to August. See tomorrow for the biggest stories from the second half of the year.


The year got off to a bad start with the news that police officers from across Bolton were called to more than 180 incidents as people turned out to celebrate the New Year.

We also reported on how an 80-year-old woman was left without heating and power for 10 days at Christmas, spending hours on the phone trying to get help. Enid Brooks, of Tonge Fold Road in Bolton, has chronic health conditions and woke up to a power failure on Christmas Eve, causing plugs, heating and lighting to not work. The issue was finally resolved on January 2.

In better news, Bolton was named as the host for two matches at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. The University of Bolton Stadium will host an England men’s group match as well as a quarter-final fixture, it was announced.


A councillor who called Britain a “junior partner” in the Second World War kept his paid role at Bolton At Home despite a petition calling on the housing association to remove him. Cllr Kevin McKeon made the comments during a debate about Brexit at a council meeting on January 23, prompting 600 people to sign a petition calling for his sacking.

Meanwhile, it was announced a derelict area of Bolton town centre will be transformed into a £35 million homes development. The block of 258 apartments and four town houses is proposed for land fronting St Georges Road between Bark Street and Back Bark Street. The plans from Bolton-based company Forshaw include private cinemas and gyms for residents. The development forms part of Bolton Council’s £1bn masterplan to redevelop the town centre.


Fashion designer and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham designed a new line of trainers inspired by Bolton. The ‘Reebok Victoria Beckham Bolton’ is a remake of the iconic Reebok Classic Bolton design from the 1990s. The original trainers took their name from the town, due to it being the birthplace of the Reebok brand.

Elsewhere, a Bolton News special report found that 26 schools across the town relied on donations to provide pads and tampons for young girls suffering period poverty — where people cannot afford to buy sanitary products. The newspaper unveiled a campaign to collect sanitary products to donate to the period poverty initiative, the Red Box Project, which supports the schools in need.


Prime Minister Theresa May visited Bolton where she took time to see Bolton Lads and Girls Club. The then Prime Minister toured the building, meeting with a dance group, watching a basketball game and dropping in on an art lesson.

Sticking with politics, there was huge controversy with the news that a proposed broadcast of Question Time would no longer be hosted in Bolton after BBC bosses chose to relocate to London because of Brexit.

The BBC’s flagship political programme hosted by Fiona Bruce was set to be filmed in the Albert Halls in front of a live audience but due to the Parliamentary tussles surrounding Brexit the show was relocated.

The BBC said it wanted to make sure its panellists would be able to attend but the decision to move was criticised in Parliament by Bolton West MP Chris Green who said: “Given that the Question Time broadcast which was due to be shown from Bolton was cancelled in favour of London, can we have a debate on how well our national broadcaster represents the nation as a whole?”


In a foretaste of what was to come later on in the year, Labour conceded control of Bolton Council, making way for the Conservatives to take power for the first time in 40 years.

Smaller parties refused to prop up the group which remained the largest party despite a devastating defeat in the local elections. Those parties chose to support the Conservatives who have a third of the council seats.

The Tories promised opposition parties the opportunity to work together for the “genuine good” of the whole borough by creating a more open and transparent council.

In a statement, the Labour group said: “The Conservatives have been out of power in Bolton for 40 years and there is clearly a reason why Bolton people have continually rejected them. This year’s election was no different – the Conservatives did not win a mandate.”

Hundreds of people shared why they love Bolton as part of a new social media campaign. Social media was swamped within hours of the launch which urged people to complete the following sentence: ‘I love Bolton because…’

Bolton-born TV and radio presenter Vernon Kay was quick to shout about his fondness for the borough. He tweeted: “#iloveboltonbecause It’ll always be home. Great town, even better people! Never short of a chat, always happy to give you a “Y’All rite?!


Thousands of fans packed out the University of Bolton Stadium to watch superstar singer Rod Stewart while behind the scenes crisis continued to engulf troubled Wanderers.

Non-playing employees had not been paid for April after the club entered administration following relegation from the Championship. As a result, the club’s supporters trust set up a food bank to help beleaguered staff.

Meanwhile, a dairy distribution centre was fined £25,000 after environmental health inspectors discovered rat droppings, a mouldy walk-in fridge and a dirty toilet.

Medina Dairy Bolton Ltd, on Tonge Bridge Way, Tonge Fold was prosecuted by Bolton Council for a total of 22 hygiene offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations.