The year in review: What 2020 was like in North Norfolk

Magnificent rainbow painted on the playground at Sheringham Community Primary School and Nursery by

One of the stand-out images of 2020 was a drone photograph by Chris Taylor, showing a magnificent rainbow painted on the playground at Sheringham Community Primary School and Nursery, by the children of local critical care workers. - Credit: CHRIS TAYLOR /

2020 has been an unprecedented year, and there has been no shortage of news to report on in north Norfolk. Here, we take a look back at some of the biggest stories and most memorable moments from the past 12 months. 

The year got off to a cracking start thanks to the New Year's Day fireworks display at Cromer Pier, which drew more than 10,000 spectators. 

Clifftop caravans had to be moved at Trimingham after a collapse sent tonnes of sand and silt plummeting onto the beach below.

And plans to reopen the Suffield Arms in Thorpe Market were revealed by Gunton Arms owner Ivor Braka. The once-popular pub had been shut for more than nine years. 

An image from a drone of the cliff fall at Trimingham, taken on January 7, 2020. Image: BlueSky UAV

There was a large cliff fall at Trimingham at the start of 2020. Image: BlueSky UAV - Credit: BlueSky UAV Specialists

Plans for two wind turbines at Bodham and Hempstead were finally given the go-ahead by the Planning Inspectorate after a long battle with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC). 

Concerns were raised over anti-social behaviour in Sheringham after a video emerged of a man in his 60s being knocked over by a group of teenagers. 

Aylsham midwife Cruella Jones created a spectacular mosaic made of thousands of binned materials to adorn the walls of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Midwife Cruella Jones with her artwork entitled Life Through Intervention created using discarded me

Midwife Cruella Jones with her artwork entitled Life Through Intervention created using discarded medical waste. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Police made a fresh plea for information that could help solve the cold case killing of Aylsham 18-year-old Susan Long, to mark the 50th anniversary of her death.

A former psychiatric hospital for young people, Rowan House, in Buxton, was put up for sale with a guide price of more than £2 million.

Communities across north Norfolk pulled together to form support groups and help vulnerable members after the first coronavirus lockdown was announced. 

Mark Frosdick, animal control officer for the North Norfolk District Council, with a couple of the B

A new batch of bagot goats were finding their feet at Wiveton Hall in March. Here a couple of the newborns, who would eventually graze the cliffs at Cromer, are pictured with animal control officer Mark Frosdick. - Credit: Denise Bradley

David Tillyer, a paramedic who is based at Cromer Ambulance Station, was "bowled over" by the round of applause he got at Lidl in appreciation of his work during the pandemic. A stranger also paid for his shopping. 

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Further details of a proposed £500 million light railway network linking Peterborough to Great Yarmouth via stops including Sheringham, Cromer and Holt were revealed.

And in another sign of the times, Pat and Brian Cottrell, of Holt, spent their diamond anniversary self-isolating at home.

Pat and Brian Cottrell, of Holt,with the great-grandson Zac, who is 22 months old. Picture: Supplied

Pat and Brian Cottrell, of Holt, with the great-grandson Zac. In a sign of the times, the couple marked their diamond anniversary self-isolating at home. Picture: Supplied by the family - Credit: Supplied by the family

More than £15 million worth of coronavirus-related emergency holiday grants had been paid out to north Norfolk's holiday let owners, but there were concerns some owners were taking advantage of the scheme. 

Calls to have the Sheringham and Cromer Crab and Lobster Festival go vegan were greeted with a backlash. 

And NNDC faced calls to reopen its public toilets as the lockdown restrictions were eased and visitors began to return to the coast. 

Holt faced upheaval as the town's only supermarket, Budgens, burned to the ground in a blaze later blamed on an electrical fault. 

'Non-essential' shops were allowed to reopen for business, with owners expressing optimism about the coming tourist season. 

Plans for a new £4.8 million cancer treatment centre were announced for Cromer and District Hospital.

Fire at Budgens in Holt Picture: Lee Smith

At fire at Budgens in Holt. - Credit: Lee Smith

Traders in North Walsham hit out at what they saw as an attempt to pedestrianise the town's Market Place "by stealth".

Bob White, owner of Showcase Gallery, leads protests against North Walsham road closures. Picture: C

Bob White, owner of Showcase Gallery, led a protest against North Walsham road closures in July. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk saw an influx of visitors from other parts of the country as international travel restrictions fuelled a staycation boom.

The region said farewell to boy 'superhero' Benny Pitcher, from East Runton, who lost his fight with a rare form of brain cancer, aged just six.

The North Norfolk News front page of July 30 had a tribute to little Benny Pitcher. 

The North Norfolk News front page of July 30 had a tribute to little Benny Pitcher. - Credit: Archant

Lifesavers were kept busy as warm weather drew thousands to north Norfolk's beaches - more than 40 people were rescued after getting into trouble in one weekend alone.

Sophisticated organised crime gangs were targeting the district's farms in thefts of GPS equipment. 

And variety returned to Cromer Pier with a socially-distanced substitute show for the traditional Seaside Special.

Resident musical director, Nigel Hogg, centre, with the masked-up ushers ready for the Strictly Vari

Fun returned to Cromer Pier's Pavilion Theatre in August, when Nigel Hogg, centre, produced a 'Strictly Variety' show to make up for the lack of the usual Seaside Special. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Angela Morris from Walsingham suffered "indescribable" pain after being bitten by an adder at Holt Country Park, the first recorded case of a snake bite at the park in many years.

A plan to pedestrianise part of Aylsham's centre and make it more accessible for people living on the town's outskirts was revealed. 

And there was outrage after chocolate spread was smeared over gym equipment at North Walsham's Memorial Park.

Member of Parliament for north Norfolk, Duncan Baker and chairwoman of Walcott Parish Council, Pauli

North Norfolk Duncan Baker and Walcott Parish Council chairwoman Pauline Porter after tonnes of sand were thrown from the beach into the village during a storm. Picture: Duncan Baker - Credit: Duncan Baker

A clean-up began after a fierce storm blow tonnes of sand onto roads and people's gardens in Walcott at the end of September. 

A murder investigation was launched after a man was stabbed in North Walsham.

Mundesley residents criticised the removal of mental bolts from a Second World War gun emplacement.

Twins Tommy and Eva completed The Team Tommy's Marathon Month to help raise much-needed funds for li

In October, three-year-old Wroxham twins Tommy and Eva Monument completed a 'marathon month' challenge to raise money for life-changing surgery for Tommy. - Credit: Archant

A campaign to stop the county council closing Holt Hall outdoor education centre gathered pace. 

Sheringham Town Council was forced to apologise to two volunteers in a long-running dispute between two coronavirus community support groups.

A temporary supermarket opened in Holt while plans for a replacement for the lost Budgens store were put in place.

County council leaders voted to put Holt Hall up for sale. 

An investigation was launched after crew members were injured in an explosion on a crabbing boat near Cromer.

And the body of a 50ft-long sperm whale washed up on the beach near Weybourne.

Our 'shop local' campaign was in the spotlight on the North Norfolk News' December 3 front page.

Our 'shop local' campaign was in the spotlight on the North Norfolk News' December 3 front page. - Credit: Archant

*What were your highlights of 2020? Share your thoughts in the comments below.