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  21st Apr - The AGM, talk and review

Market Place Market Place
Note the new building in the photo on the corner.
Regent Street Regent Street
Note the 'Old Red Lion Hotel'
Chapmangate Chapmangate
Note the independent chapel built in 1807 to the left.
Latest Updates
The latest news of the 'Pocklington and District Local History Group'

Past News Stories back to 2007.
Short Talks Evening
21st January 2016

Denis MoorThe Battle of Flamborough Head and the search for the wreck of the "Bonhomme Richard" by Denis Moor. Denis was assisted by Jo Green to tell the story of the Battle of Flamborough head that took place in 1779. A fierce sea battle took place between the French warship the Bonhomme Richard commanded by the colourful character Jean Paul Jones fighting the British fleet as part of the American War of Independence. HMS Serapis was taken and boarded by the crew of Paul Jones and following the fierce sea battle of cannons firing at close quarters, the Bonhomme Richard sunk, off the coast of Flamborough Head, after their crew had already taken possession of HMS Serapis. Denis was a keen deep sea diver in the York sub aqua club and in the 1960's was called to look at some wreckage found in fishing nets. It could not be positively identified but on the night Denis brought pieces of wreckage including an old bilge pump. A fascinating talk from a living Pocklington legend of 86 years of age!

William RichardsonThe Astronomers of the Pocklington area by Andrew Sefton. In the early nineteenth century, Pocklington and the local villages of Allerthorpe, Bielby and Seaton Ross produced contemporary astronomers, mathematicians, sundial makers and opticians and telescope makers. Using the journals of William Watson, Andrew speculated that they all used to meet at the house of William Watson in Seaton Ross where he had an observatory. Thomas Cooke made lenses and founded a large business in York making telescopes and navigation instruments. His younger brother Barnard founded an optical instruments shop in Hull still operating today. John Smith from Bielby was a sundial maker who finished his days in Stockton in the North East. William Rogerson and William Richardson from Pocklington became assistants to the Astronomer Royal in Greenwich, London. As a coincidence, the speaker mentioned he was also a founder member of the York Astronomical Society which started in 1972.
Voices from the past
Recordings of the Pocklington WW1 veterans
19th November 2015

Billy HarrisonThere was a good attendance on the evening as 'The York Oral History Society' kindly provided us access to the recordings made in 1980 & 1981 by York historan Alf Peacock of a few Pocklington residents who took part in the World War 1. Some of their stories gave an insight into the noise, terror, friendship and loss witnessed by many who took part. The first hand accounts of five veterans included Thomas Flint, Charles Richardson, Stanley Robson, Hawksworth (Oxy) Barker and Bill Harrison all from Pocklington and Nunburnholme. Thomas Flint recalled his early memories of growing up in Pocklington in late Victorian and Edwardian times. The recordings were accompanied by pictures and WW1 films. A set of unique pictures were also provided by a descendant of Herbert Richardson (who worked at Warter Priory) taken from his own camera. He took it with him to Mesopotamia and they accompanied the sound track of Oxy Barker who took part in the same campaign. To learn more about the remarkable story of the discovery of these recordings and the York Oral History WW1 project click here and to buy their book with free CD, click here. Picture is by kind permission of Peter Halkon from his book "Bill's Book" about the life of Billy Harrison published by Hutton Press.
30 Years a Pocklington news photographer
22nd October 2015

Roger PattisonRoger Pattison gave us a unique presentation of life and events in and around Pocklington for the last 30 years as a Pocklington newspaper photographer. Roger explained his first interest was in music and was in various local folk groups and bands in the 1970's. One of the first bands was 'Prussian Blue' formed out of the recording studio at Bishop Wilton with Dick Sefton. See their first TV appearance at 'Look North' TV studios in Leeds in 1973 by clicking this link. His next band had a photo shoot in Burnby Hall Gardens for the cover of their first record single which was recorded at Pollen Studio in Bishop Wilton. He explained it sparked his interest in photography and the developing of photographs in his own darkroom. From there the Pocklington Times asked him to take photographs and when they folded he joined the Pockington Post as their freelance photographer. Roger took photographs of every event including; mayors, cake stalls, fires, car crashes, fund raising events, school events and recorded old buildings and shops long since closed or demolished. Three videos were shown of the three decades accompanied by his own background music that he created himself, made for an unforgettable evenings entertainment.
The Roman Roads of Yorkshire
17th September 2015

Mike Haken1Mike Haken gave us an outstanding talk, that had the audience of 50 enthralled from beginning to end. MH4He called into question our understanding of Roman roads with a humorous and very knowledgable lecture. He also demonstrated how some historical facts and figures should be questioned because of the research he and his team have done. An excellent evenings entertainment.
Outside events and walks
16th & 25th July 2015

A walk around Burnby and Hayton (16th July)

Burnby WalkThe evening started with a tour around Burnby church. Although there is no mention of the church in the Domesday book, It is first mentioned in an account of the first rector Roger de Fiskerton in 1288. Over the centuries the church has been altered and restored on many occasions. An interesting village walk followed which included the home constructed by the jockey Simeon Templeman from proceeds of his Derby win on Bloomsbury in 1839. Thanks to Lesley Craven for showing us around Burnby Church and to David Nicholson for walking us around Burnby village.

The group then moved to Hayton to convene in the old school room where items of village history were laid out to view. Some old illustrations of the old Hayton Hall were visible and the school room built on the old entrance way to the old Hall. A tour of St. Martin's church ensued with a look at the corbel stone heads and the remains of a medieval wall painting. Finally the evening was rounded off by a look around Hayton mill which was the family home of the Etty family. The father of the famous York painter William Etty was the miller there. Thanks to John Green for showing us the Old Mill and talking on the Etty family, to Peter Green for the tour of Hayton Church and to Mick Bettison for explaining about the village history in general at the village hall.


"Pocklington church stone" by Richard Myerscough

Richard MyerscoughA small group was led around Pocklington church on the 25th July by Richard Myerscough to look at the origins of the stone in Pocklington Church. The tour was so fascinating that we plan for him to give a talk in a full group meeting. Richard intends to write a book on the origins of the stone of East Riding Churches.

Burnby Hall followed by Magna Carta
18th June 2015

GeraldineTwo talks:

'Burnby Hall Gardens its history and heritage; past, present and developing the future", by Geraldine Mulcahy-Parker, Burnby Hall's Heritage Lottery Fund project officer. Geraldine explained part of her her agenda, is an aural history project interviewing local people with memories of Major Stewart, as well as an HLF bid to repair the lakes and restore the Edwardian potting sheds. Volunteers are needed to help with the project, please contact Burnby Hall if you wish to participate.


"Pocklington & The Great Charter - local links to Magna Carta 800 years on" by Phil Gilbank

phil magna carta

Phil investigated all the many local links to the creation of one of history's most famous and significant documents the Magna Carta signed at Runnymede in 1215, and the talk complemented many of the events running up and down the country to commemorate the 800th anniversary.

The 100 days of Waterloo
21st May 2015

Godfrey Bloom gave an entertaining and informative talk on the Battle of Waterloo to commemorate 200 years since the battle took place. His knowledge of every aspect of the battle and the tactics used by the opposing forces of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington with Blücher was demonstrated to an attentive audience in the Rugby Club venue. Godfrey's delivery without the use of any notes or visual aids was an impressive presentation from an accomplished public speaker. Picture shows Phil Gilbank introducing Godfrey to the history group audience.
Godfrey Bloom
Tom Sayer- "I was there"
10th May 2015

TS1Tom Sayer aged 93 is stepping down as Chairman of the 102 Squadron Association and decided to talk to the people of Pocklington about his experiences of being a WW2 Bomber Pilot and how he flew out of Pocklington Airfield as pilot of a Halifax bomber plane. Simon Kularatne (whose father was also a pilot who flew out of Pocklington) interviewed Tom. He gave a remarkable account of his training in Canada, his bombing missions, his many close calls for him and his crew. They were shot on many occasions by enemy fire, and then after surviving over 30 missions, moved to training glider pilots in readyness for the D-Day landings. Tom's often moving account of his life as a pilot in wartime Pocklington gave a vivid account of the period and will leave a lasting impression in the memory of all the large audience in attendance in Pocklington Church.
Flying Man celebrations 2015
9th/10th May 2015


Flying Men, Women and Children

A Halifax Bomber engine was fired up on West Green. Pocklington hears the sound of a Halifax Bomber engine again.
Inside the Church
The 'Flying Man' Cafe
The History Group display
John Nottingham and Bernard Ross discuss the Airfield Model
23rd Apr 2015

AGM 2015Jo Green kicked off the 2015 AGM for the 8th successive year. She outlined the objectives of the group and concluded on a very successful year. She surprised the group by announcing her resignation from the chair but adding she was willing to take the role of Secretary. Treasurer Peter Green showed a healthy situation for the finances of the group, but added a cautionary note that the group should increase it's income by raising the door entry fee, because other sources of income were declining, such as reduced book sales. A vote was taken to canvas opinion on the possible increased charge. Jo proposed Phil Gilbank as her successor and was seconded by Andrew Sefton, who gave a vote of thanks to Jo for all her past work over the last 8 years leading the group. Our president Roger Bellingham presided over the change. (Picture shows Jo Green handing over the Chairman's role to Phil Gilbank).

2015/16 Re-Elected Committee: Chairman - Phil Gilbank, Secretary – Jo Green, Treasurer – Peter Green, Archivist/Webmaster – Andrew Sefton, Committee – Denis Moor, Paul Jennings, David Rumbelow, Chris Bond, Jane Henley (representing the villages) and David West. One vacancy exists for one more committee member. Roger Bellingham is Honorary President. The AGM was followed by a review of the year by Andrew Sefton and Phil Gilbank. Photographs found during the year were shown as well as 3 old films. *Update* - Heidi Woodhouse has agreed to rejoin the committee on the vacant committee seat.
Burnby Lane Iron Age Dig
19th March 2015

A packed audience in the Oak House listened intently to the startling news of an exciting discovery of an Iron Age cemetery in Burnby Lane on the site of the new housing development being built there. David Wilson Homes kindly arranged the update evening for the people of Pocklington with the cooperation of the town council and Pocklington & District Local History Group. Phil Gilbank introduced the evening and Paula Ware from MAP Archaeological Practice Ltd explained the exciting finds. Geophysical surveys were undertaken and 14 trenches were initiated. So far they have found 38 square barrows and 82 burials and they are still excavating the site. Burnby Lane has to be placed in importance alongside other iron age sites such as Arras, Burton Fleming, Garton Slack, Wetwang and Rudstone. These seem to be Parisi people as spears and a sword has been found and burial rites seem to be in line with others found on the wolds. The bodies are generally in a crouched position facing east but some face west and some have been buried in wooden coffins. They have some grave goods including brooches, bangles, pots and weapons. Because of what they have found, the site has now been raised to international importance. Many questions were asked and one member of the audience asked for a forum where updated information can be shown. This website will provide updated information whenever it is released.

Burnby Lane Dig(1)
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Phil Gilbank introduces the evening

Paula Ware presents the finds
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The history group's biggest ever attendance
A skeleton found on the site
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Jo Green and John Brown examine the finds
Much interest in the finds
Two Talks
19th February 2015

Hunt 1970sphil winePhil Gilbank and Andrew Sefton stepped in at short notice after a talk cancellation to give two short talks that they had already given to other groups in the area. The first was "Pocklington history & Wine" followed by "Bishop Wilton through time - including old film clips". Phil gave an amazing number of links to wine and Sherry with both Pocklington and Kilnwick Percy. This included "Croft Original", Harveys Bristol Cream and Gonzalis Byass and the Vavasour wines. Andrew Sefton followed with a brief history of Bishop Wilton followed by some old film of Bishop Wilton taken in 1960 and the 1970's by his brother Robert.

The Wolds Wagoners
22nd January 2015

The Wagoners are a fascinating topic with recruits drawn from all around this locality. Sue Cartledge presented on how the local men's horse skills were utilised for the national good by Mark Sykes of Sledmere. The old court house was full to capacity and everyone appeciated Sue's excellent presentation with many audience members having family connections to the Yorkshire Wagoners’ Special Reserve.
wolds wagoners
A Wartime Evacuee
20th Nov. 2014

MichaelFordMemories of the Second World War at Pocklington were revived when Pocklington and District Local History Group met in their November meeting. Jim and Margaret Ainscough gave a presentation about a young evacuee, Michael Ford, who was a pupil at Hull’s Hymers College which shared Pocklington School’s facilities until the end of 1942. He maintained detailed and warm recollections and friendships of his wartime experiences right up to the time of his death in 2013, and Michael passed on everything he remembered about Pocklington to Jim and Margaret Ainscough when they were writing the book 'Pocklington at War'. For three months he was billeted in the servants’ quarters at Burnby Hall but he was bullied by the older boys. So he was sent to live with the local blacksmith. Joe Scales, his wife Elsie and their daughters Maud and Brenda welcomed Michael, as he said, as “an honorary member of the family”. They lived on Summerson Terrace, in one of the town’s first council houses. There was no electricity, only three rooms had gas lighting and it had an outside toilet. But Michael described it as “a little piece of heaven for what it lacked in material attributes it more than compensated in cleanliness, comfort and family warmth”. Michael and the family remained lifelong friends. Michael’s vivid recollections of the war included looking out of his bedroom window one moonlit night to see a German fighter-bomber flying low over Victoria Road. He wrote, “How it cleared the church tower I don’t know”! He also recalled additional prep sessions in the old Wesleyan chapel schoolrooms on Chapmangate, of other evacuee children from a deprived part of Sunderland who were also sent to Pocklington, and of being sent out to help the war effort by pulling carrots in a field off Percy Road; and his story provided a fascinating insight and tribute for Thursday night's talk. Photo shows Michael Ford in the grounds of Burnby Hall in the autumn of 1939.
The Fallen Heroes Exhibition
31st Oct - 7th Nov 2014

Pocklington's Fallen Heroes exhibition to commemorate the town's World War One heritage and those who gave their lives in the conflict got underway with a memorable opening ceremony on Friday 31st Oct. 2014, at Pocklington Arts Centre. An audience of over 150, which included several descendants of Pocklington's fallen heroes, were welcomed by the town mayor, Councillor Paul West, who then received a regimental plaque from Lieutenant Colonel Graham Whitmore in memory of all the Pocklington men from his regiment who died fighting in the war. Gareth Hughes, head of history at Pocklington School, takes annual parties of school pupils to Flanders; and he is the author of a recently published guidebook to its battlefields and cemeteries. He set the context of the war, spoke about how his grandfather's experiences in 1914-18 first sparked his interest, and how he helps the young people he leads on the trips to try and understand the conflict. But the undoubted stars of the evening were two of Pocklington's World War One veterans who are no longer with us. Pocklington & District History Group archivist, Andrew Sefton, played an audio visual presentation that included the reminiscences of local men Billy Harrison and George Barker, who were interviewed for an aural history project in York circa 1980. Billy Harrison was born in Nunburnholme, started out as a gardener at Warter Priory, and became a well known local character and musician. He signed up at Pocklington in February 1917 and within weeks was in the front line in France. His interview was played to the captivated audience as he described going over the top with his platoon of 120 men, and how only ten survived unscathed. The fitting finale was provided by the singing of George Barker. A film was played of a memorial parade showing many of Pocklington's World War One veterans marching through the town in 1932, and Barker's moving renditions of the songs he sang in the trenches, such as 'Long Way to Tipperary' and 'Pack Up Your Troubles', were added as a soundtrack. The videos and sound tracks were running on a continuous loop in the exhibition. The exhibition closed on the 7th Nov. 2014.

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The Mayor of Pocklington Councillor Paul West welcomes everyone to the Fallen Heroes exhibition opening at the Arts Centre

Pictured before the Fallen Heroes exhibition are (l to r): Councillor Martin Ratcliffe, Deputy Mayor of Pocklington; Gareth Hughes, WWI author and keynote speaker; Lieutenant Colonel Graham Whitmore, Army Liaison Officer from 15 (North East) Brigade in York; Rowan Blake-James, Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding; Andrew Sefton, Pocklington & District Local History Group archivist; and Councillor Paul West, Mayor of Pocklington.
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Lieutenant Colonel Graham Whitmore, Army Liaison Officer from 15 (North East) Brigade in York presents a plaque to Paul West, Mayor of Pocklington
A profile of every one of the 53 fallen heroes was on display
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Phil Gilbank and Andrew Sefton who put together the exhibition
Martin Cooper who did the original research next to the lighted candle and 53 poppies at the exhibition - one for each of the 53 Pocklington men who died in WWI.

All photographs above by kind courtesy of Roger Pattison

The Parisi
20th October 2014

Peter HalkonDr. Peter Halkon is an acknowledged leading authority on the Parisi tribe in East Yorkshire. His archaeology excavations of the Hasholme boat, led to a better understanding of a large inlet of water from the Humber named the River Foulness. The valley of the river was a centre of early Iron Foundries which cast the weapons and wheel rims for the chariots of the Parisi peoples of the wolds. These spear and chariot burials are unique to East Yorkshire and the Paris basin, with 'Par' being an ancient word for a spear. The Romans feared these warrior peoples and built a line of defensive forts surrounding the wolds from near Scarborough, round to Malton, Buttercrambe and Hayton (which Peter excavated). A full attendance in the Arts centre enjoyed Peter's accomplished delivery and stunning visuals. A memorable evening enjoyed by all. Peter's book 'The Parisi: Britains and Romans in Eastern Yorkshire' is available from all good booksellers.

Richard III and the Middleham Jewel
25th Sep 2014

Kate GilesMiddleham JewelDr. Kate Giles examined the jewel which is held on display by the Yorkshire Museum in York, and related the messages conveyed on the jewel with its possible links to Richard III of York. The story of the finding of the Middleham jewel had much intrigue, suspense, crime and mystery. The final purchase of the jewel was made by the Yorkshire Museum for £2.5 million. Kate gave a gripping presentation with one attendee saying it was the best one and half hours entertainment he had experienced for a long time.

Seaton Ross Walk
3rd July 2014

A very interesting and well researched walk in Seaton Ross, kindly both led and researched by Jane Henley, with many glimpses into the past. Although most of the houses have been either re-built or regenerated in the 19th c., many of them have fascinating stories to tell. Quite a lot of the history seems to be dominated by Wm Watson, there have been other influential residents, including the Cook family who among other things ran a mustard mill at the North end of the village. The Church is interesting, brick-built in late 18c., on the site of a former Norman place of worship. There are also 2 Methodist Chapels, both close to the Church. The walk went past an unusual 'Village Garden', with a variety of flowers, and some very good mature apple trees. The visit ended with a kind invitation from John Rowbottom to see the old mills. One was a former 5 sail windmill; now sadly a mere shell. Next to the windmill is a steam driven mill, formerly with a beam engine, now fitted with a fine example of a 19c traction engine. Although the engine is a runner, it cannot drive the mill. We all repaired back to the village hall, where cake and tea were consumed with enjoyment, whils we looked at many images of the past in the form of collections of photographs, some on the walls, and some from Andrew Sefton's Local History archive.
(Report by Peter Green.)

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Inside St. Edmunds Church

William Watson's sundial above the door
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Jane Henley explaining the history
Outside dial cottage
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The mill workings
A surviving Windmill
Pocklington in 1260
15th May 2014

jon kenny

Barbara English has carefully transcribed an Extent for Pocklington from 1260 and presented to the group copies for us to consider and discuss. It therefore developed into an interesting workshop and debate about the occupations and society status in feudal Pocklington. It was even found that a couple of surnames such as Goddard and Colley survive in the town today. Her transcription can be viewed here.
Flying Man celebrations 2014
10th/11th May 2014

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60 Flying Men, Women and Children

Phil Gilbank, the 2014 Jester, accepting the challenge of Thomas Pelling's memory
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Pocklington Super Heroes
The 'Flying Man' Cafe
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The History Group display
Bernard Ross's impressive Airfield Model
The Pocklington Church Plate
25th April 2014

Phil GilbankNot a History Group event but notable historical news. Phil Gilbank showed and talked about Pocklington's church plate treasures. All Saints has a marvellous collection of church plate of the 17th,18th and 19th centuries that includes some outstanding examples of the work of leading 17th century silversmiths. Many pieces of the church plate have a fascinating story to tell, and Phil related some of these stories, including the silver chalice that has a connection to Bing Crosby, and a brass alms dish from the 1880s with links to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. He is seen holding the special chalice that Phil discovered was made by a renound York Goldsmith John Plummer who actually was from Pocklington. The Chalice has the arms of the Belt family and dates from the 17th century.

The AGM and Town Crier
24th Apr 2014

jon kenny

Jo Green was re-elected for the chair and outlined the objectives of the group and concluded on another successful year. Treasurer Peter Green also showed a healthy situation for the finances of the group.
2014/15 Re-Elected Committee: Chair & Secretary– Jo Green, Treasurer – Peter Green, Archivist/Webmaster – Andrew Sefton, Committee – Phil Gilbank, Dennis Moor, Paul Jennings, David Rumbelow, Chris Bond, Jane Henley (representing the villages) and David West. Roger Bellingham is Honorary President. The AGM was followed by an inspirational talk by Geoff Sheasby (Pocklington Town Crier) on the history of Pocklington Criers and a photographic review of the year including the "World Premiere" of the oldest film of Pocklington in existence. It was recently discovered and has been transferred to digital format. It was filmed on 20th November, 1932, and shows soldiers and the Pocklington Cadets marching in Barmby Road and Railway Street, on a WW1 Memorial Parade.
The Rise and Fall of the Dolmans
20th Mar 2014

jon kenny

Pocklington school is 500 years old this year and it was appropriate that the story of the school founders, the Dolman family, be told in the school library. An old boy Phil Gilbank gave a comprehensive review of the rise in fortune of the Dolman family and their downfall caused by their devotion to the catholic faith, and usually backing the losing side in any conflict. Chris Rock created some super illustrations to accompany the event.
Community Archaeology
20th Feb 2014

jon kennyJon Kenny is community achaeologist for the city of York. His role is to involve local communities into taking an active role in the participation of researching and excavating local sites of interest. He has a number of local groups participating and gave examples at North Duffield, Bilborough, Stockton, Strensall, Broughton, Hessay, Hornington and Copmanthorpe. The possibilities for Pocklington were discussed and there seemed to be interest expressed. If you would like to get involved please contact the committee members. Link to York Community Archaeolgy Website.

Member Short Talks
23rd Jan 2014

1960 film
Short Talks open evening (Above is a still from the cine film taken in 1960)

1. Peter Green and Mike Skelton - "Rocks of Ages"
Considering the East Riding has mostly chalk and soft limestone, what did the locals use to build the churches? Mike and Peter gave us a talk on where the stone was sourced from, how it was transported and how it was used and how the masons applied their own masons mark.
2. David Rumbelow - "A formidable Tudor lady"
David talked about Joan Ackworth, who was lady of Pocklington Manor, and colourfully presented the life and times of the tudor court of Henry VIII in which she lived and participated.
3. Phil Gilbank- "Harry Wood MM, VC – the tragic hero".
Phil stepped in to give the talk about a most fascinating man Harry Wood from Newton on Derwent, whose life story almost sounds a work of fiction. He won the Military Medal for heroism in the first world war, only to return later to win the Victoria Cross for bravery, and then by a wicked twist of fate to die of shock in 1924 when he saw his wife run down in a car accident.
4. An Old Film of Pocklington and Woldgate School around 1960 by Robert Sefton.

Andrew showed his brothers 9.5mm cine film of Bishop Wilton village life, Pocklington and Woldgate school, recently scanned by the Yorkshire Film Archive.

Past News Stories
News Stories from 2013
News Stories from 2012
News Stories from 2011
News Stories from 2010
News Stories from 2009
News Stories from 2008
News Stories from 2007