An estimated 15,000 people swelled the streets of Newmarket to get a glimpse of the Olympic torch in July. The flame made its way through the town from Noel Murless Drive, past Fred Archer Way and into the High Street where town fundraiser Cheryl Scotland-Wigg carried the torch for the penultimate leg of the relay. The other torchbearers from in and around Newmarket included Stetchworth-based jockey Frankie Dettori, Olympian Goldie Sayers, crash survivor Aaron Bettoney, triathlete Maxine Lane and health service executive Sara Dunling.
Town mayor George Lambton led the parade at Newmarket Carnival with the Newmarket Journal carnival princess, Abbie Pollock, and attendants Paris Farrell and Louise Rogers. The winning float competition was from Ditton Lodge Primary School, and entertainment on The Severals included traditional games, fairground rides, stalls and sideshows.
Cheers and applause greeted Michelle Obama as she visited RAF Mildenhall to meet members of the military and their families. The First Lady of the United States jogged into a hangar on the base where 150 people were waiting. The visit was part of a four-day tour of the UK, which saw her lead the US delegation to the Olympic Games.
The Paralympic flame visited Exning Tennis Club, brought by a member of the 2004 Athens Games wheelchair basketball team, Jenny Nagorski. The club, which also celebrated its 60th anniversary was chosen as a stopping point because of its work to help promote and run a wheelchair tennis section of the club.
Pensioners from in and around Newmarket made their annual trip to Great Yarmouth for the Gredley Day Trip. About 850 people boarded 19 coaches for the 24th trip to the coast, paid for by businessman Bill Gredley. The day-trippers enjoyed a lunch of fish and chips and a performance of Forever in Blue Jeans at the Britannia Pier.
September had a dramatic start when fire ripped through the roof of Bedford House Stables in Newmarket. Forty firefighters struggled for five hours before finally extinguishing the blaze, which left the roof of the Luca Cumani-owned stables completely destroyed. The nine horses that were in the stables at the time were safely evacuated and no one was injured.
Thousands of people came from near and far for a rare chance to peak behind the doors of some of Newmarket’s most historic and successful racing yards. Newmarket Open Day saw some of the town’s high-profile equine residents stretching their legs up the canter. There was a demonstration of horses swimming and 30 yards opened their doors, as well as a host of attractions including the National Stud, the National Horseracing Museum, Rossdale’s veterinary practice and the Newmarket Equine Hospital. The event raised £100,000 for Racing Welfare, the New Astley Club and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
The Journal launched a camapign, Fly the Flag for Union J, to drum up support for X Factor star Jamie ‘JJ’ Hamblett, who reached the live finals of the talent show with boyband Union J. Jamie, a former Newmarket stable lad, and his bandmates, Josh Cuthbert, Jaymi Hensley and George Shelley, made it all the way to the semi-finals before being eliminated. The 24-year-old singer started working in Newmarket’s racing industry at the age of 16. He has worked for top town trainers Ed Vaughan and Sir Michael Stoute, and most recently for John Gosden’s Clarehaven Stables.
The Newmarket Sausage joined the ranks of the Cornish Pasty and Melton Mowbray pork pie by becoming the 50th British food product to be awarded protected status by Brussels. The historic sausage will now carry a badge declaring its Protected Geographical Indication Status.
The Journal’s campaign for a permanent memorial to wartime codebreaker Bill Tutte was hailed a success. A working group’s plan is for the memorial to be sited in front of the Rutland Arms Hotel and be part of a complete redevelopment of the area. The sculpture design selected will feature five stainless steel sheets, perforated to resemble punched paper tape, a reference to messages sent by the Lorenz code machine, which will reveal an image of Tutte’s face when viewed from a particular point.
Youngsters from schools in Newmarket and Exning walked their way to a new world record. More than 1,900 children stepped it out with Children in Need’s Pudsey Bear and easily broke the record for the number of youngsters in a walking bus. The record-breaking feat was organised by Olive Millington, headteacher of Laureate Community Primary School, and was held on Newmarket College field. It involved pupils from Laureate, All Saints, Houldsworth Valley, Exning, Paddocks, Ditton Lodge, St Louis and the Colourbox and Stepping Stones pre-schools.
Fifty lanterns lit up Newmarket’s streets as part of a celebration to mark the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights. The Mayor of Newmarket, George Lambton, led the lantern parade to the clocktower where crowds had gathered. The parade was organised by Newmarket Town Council.
Bill Gredley served up another winner for Newmarket’s senior citizens as they were treated to three courses of traditional Christmas fare courtesy of the Stetchworth-based businessman. Over two days, 700 pensioners enjoyed a Christmas lunch at bloodstock auctioneers Tattersalls, which has hosted the event for 10 years.