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VIDEO AND PICTURES: As one year draws to a close and another begins, we take a look back through the Island Echo archives and review the past 12 months in pictures.

Here is a reminder of some of the breaking news stories (out of 3,500 articles we published) that made the headlines in 2017. You can also see our video highlights above.

We would like to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year!

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The first breaking news story of the year was once again highlighting a boat that had run aground at the entrance to Bembridge Harbour, this time on 2nd January.

After more than 40 years in service Floating Bridge 5 bowed out, although now many would like to see her return due to the continuing problems with the replacement chain ferry.

Much like 2016, the start of 2017 proved a busy time for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service as they tackled a converted barn fire at a farm in Calbourne. They also dealt with a fire on board a Wightlink ferry at Fishbourne.

An elderly man in his 80s was left fighting for his life after being hit by a car in Sandown.



A young woman escaped with her life after ploughing through railings and into the River Medina in Newport. She had been drink driving and was saved by quick-thinking Police officers.

On the same night, fire crews were called to a fire at a property in Shanklin – next door to a previous large incident. A number of people were arrested on suspicion of arson but no charges were ever brought against them.

Crash, bang, wallop was certainly the theme of February with collisions in Cowes, Newport, Brading, Brading (again)Ryde, CarisbrookeAshey, LakeGurnard, Calbourne, Rookley and a fairly serious smash on Brading Downs.

In Rookley, a shop was saved by fire crews after a small blaze broke out in the flat above and in Ventnor armed Police arrested a man armed with a shotgun at a former hotel.

Further searches were carried out in the Luccombe area for missing London man Robbie Gibson. He remains missing.



It was all change at the top in March as the Isle of Wight Festival was sold to Live Nation and Red Funnel was put on the market for a cool £250million.

3 men were arrested on suspicion of drugs offences when their boat crashed into the Cowes Breakwater.

The Island’s emergency services were once again kept busy with small fires and road traffic collisions, including a Mini that left the road at Wootton. Fire crews also rescued a male stuck in the rocks at Totland.

The Chief Executive of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Karen Baker, stepped down in this month.



The political landscape of the Isle of Wight changed when Andrew Turner stepped down as MP after more than 15 years. It followed some ‘homophobic’ remarks made whilst giving a talk to a Sixth Form class at Christ the King College.

The principal of Sandown Bay Academy also quit in April at the start of a troublesome year for the school.

HM Coastguard teams were called into action at East Cowes when a woman slipped and sustained serious injuries. The Needles Coastguard Rescue Team called for the help of the Coastguard helicopter to winch an injured woman from Mottistone Down.

A roof fire broke out at Clatterford resulting in a number of fire appliances from across the Island attending the scene to dowse the flames. The same could be said for a large fire in Shanklin. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a successful outcome in Newport when a man died following a bungalow blaze at Pan.

In Ryde, firefighters worked to stop a garden fire spreading to a house at Swanmore and it was a happy ending at Ryde Canoe Lake when firefighters got wet and helped rescue an injured goose.

Police were called to an armed robbery at The Co-Operative store in Ryde, which resulted in St Helen’s man Adam Ghali being sent to prison.

In the courts… Ryan Cooper was sentenced to 6 years for killing Jeff Stacey in February 2016 and Kevin Finch received life for raping an 18-year-old girl in Niton.



Police issued a warning about a rogue batch of ecstasy tablets circulating on the Isle of Wight after 2 teenagers were admitted to hospital. In other crime, a 44-year-old man was charged following a robbery at St Helen’s Post Office.

Rather embarrassingly, the new Cowes Floating Bridge was pulled from service by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – the lack of an operational floating bridge would become a common occurrence throughout 2017.

Ascensos were revealed as the company opening up a new call centre on the Island with the creation of 600 jobs.

Following the horrific terror attack in Manchester, the presence of Armed Police on the Isle of Wight was stepped up. The Island’s Armed Response Unit were called into action at Anglesea Street Car Park, Ryde.

Back on Brading Downs… a fairly minor crash resulted in a large scale response including the attendance of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.



Police launched an investigation into a ‘vicious assault’ on a 20-year-old man at his home in Ashey, Ryde. Forensic officers descended on the house after the incident – which involved a bladed article – was reported to authorities.

Bob Seely was elected the Isle of Wight’s MP in June’s General Election, which saw Conservatives retain control of the seat. Mr Seely won with a huge majority.

A capsized boat was hauled ashore by the crew of Freshwater Independent Lifeboat in June. Thankfully, no one was injured.

A fatal road traffic collision claimed the life of Cowes motorcyclist Peter Kilshaw at Porchfield.

Firefighters were kept busy with a sinking boat house at Embankment Road, Bembridge. The local Coastguard Rescue Team were also involved in the incident. The same Coastguard officers rescued a woman from a cliff path at Forelands in June also.

It was a busy month for HM Coastguard with units from Ventnor and The Needles involved in the search for a dog at Blackgang Chine and a man was led to safety at St Lawrence. A woman died in the sea off Ryde.



A man was inches from certain death when his Mini came to rest teetering on the edge of Culver Cliff near Sandown. Members of the public helped the distressed man from his vehicle before the arrival of Coastguard teams.

The crew of Bembridge RNLI spent part of July ‘swanning around’ when they recovered an inflatable swan from the sea off Bembridge.

In the same month there was an unusual visitor at Sandown Airport when a technical issue resulted in a Merlin helicopter becoming grounded at the airfield.

A medical episode in one of the hardest-to-reach areas of the Isle of Wight ended with a risky helicopter evacuation for one man at Devil’s Chimney, Luccombe.

A partial building collapse at Alexandra Gardens in Ventnor resulted in a large emergency response to the area and an exclusion zone being established.

A salvage operation got underway on Sandown Beach when a boat washed ashore during the night.

Shocking, a man was stabbed in broad daylight in Shanklin. Just hours later and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance was back on the Island when a teenager overdosed in Sandown.



After many years of waiting ASDA finally opened its doors on the Isle of Wight. The new store created a price war on petrol, with other supermarkets dropping the price of petrol and diesel to match ASDA’s.

Newport Town Centre was closed to pedestrians and traffic when a man took up position on the roof of Starbucks. The town was shut again when a seagull got stuck on the roof of nearby Next.

In Ryde, a boat fire in the harbour sent black smoke billowing into the skies.

Specialist forensic officers searched a property in Newport after a man was arrested on suspicion of drugs offences. Mainland resources were called into action.

Tragically, a second life was claimed on the Island’s roads when a car rolled into a field off Military Road. A cyclist was seriously injured in a collision on Lushington Hill, Wootton.

2 people were rescued by Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat after getting caught by the tide at Luccombe. The duo, 1 of which was a child, were taken back to the safety of Shanklin beach.

Wightlink revealed the name of their new flagship in August and Ryde firefighters raised over £5,500 in their Everest13 challenge.



An unusual call for help was picked up by the Island’s emergency services when they received reports of a car having crashed into Ryde Canoe Lake. Police were able to extricate the driver, who had suffered a medical episode.

A fire at AJ Wells in Newport led to a large response from the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service in September, as did a fire on board one of the Wightlink ferries in Yarmouth – the second fire of the year for the cross-Solent operator.

It was a happy ending for man’s best friend when HM Coastguard successfully rescued a much-loved dog from a cliff in Niton. And height proved to be no problem for the firefighters of Freshwater who were able to rescue a jackdaw from the top of a church in Brook.

The inaugural Fairweather Festival took place at Los Altos Park, Sandown with top headline acts such as Professor Green and FooR.

A third life was claimed on the Island’s roads in September when 20-year-old Mikey Mason died at the scene of a crash on Brading Downs. Just a few days later a motorcyclist suffered serious injuries in a crash at Northwood.



It was happy days for the Staffords and Burnetts in Niton when they won big on the Postcode Lottery.

A couple who found themselves stuck in an extremely remote location at the bottom of Blackgang Chine were rescued by Coastguard helicopter. Amazingly, the duo escaped uninjured and drove themselves home.

It was another lucky escape for the driver of a Ford Fiesta which ended upside down in a stream in Havenstreet.

Disgraced teacher Thomas Goodey was jailed for 4 years for sexual offences against boys.

A solicitors in Ryde evacuated their St Thomas’ Street building after smelling what was described as chemicals. Fire crews were called to the scene but failed to locate any toxic fumes.

Sadly, a body was discovered at the bottom of a chine in the West Wight.

It was announced in October that Isle of Wight Pride 2018 would host UK Pride.




Ninham Farm was at the centre of one of the largest fires of the year when a barn was engulfed by flames – no one was injured in the fire. The incident came just after an unconnected fire at nearby Alverstone.

On the other side of the Island, in Freshwater, a garage was severely damaged by fire.

Road traffic collisions had a big part to play in making the headlines in November after a car ended up down an embankment on Middle Road, Calbourne and another on its roof in Totland. A hire car was damaged when the vehicle rolled between Bembridge and Yaverland.

In Shanklin, a car came to rest on the edge of a wall overlooking the sunny seafront. Firefighters managed to secure the vehicle before it plunged 20ft to the road below.

Fears of fire station closures were ignited when a service review document was leaked to the press.

Zoo favourite Zena, the white tiger, passed away in this month.



Terry Ramplin’s Long Lane Christmas Lights switched on for the 18th year running and Islanders enjoyed Island Echo’sLight up the Wight’ guide and competition.

The main road from Sandown to Newport was closed at Arreton when a propane gas lorry began leaking at the Gore Basin biomass plant.

Island Echo exclusively revealed that Christ the King College owed over £800,000 for the leasing of the Sixth Form buildings, which prompted a week of political point scoring.

Icy conditions led to a number of minor crashes across the Island including on Brading Downs, where the ice resulted in 2 vehicles colliding heavily. No obvious reason could explain why a car ended up on its roof on top of a hedge in St Helens. A car also ended up on its roof in Rookley, near The Chequers Inn.

The iconic Priory Bay Hotel near St Helens was sold for an undisclosed amount to Aria Resorts in December.

Armed Police descended on Arthur Street in Ryde when concerns were raised about the safety of a man inside a property.


We’re ready for 2018… are you?

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