The stories that made Swanage News headlines in 2021

It’s been an eventful year for Swanage and the surrounding area and Swanage News has been there to keep you up to date.

Here’s a selection of the stories that made the headlines in 2021.

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Exterior of Wareham Hospital

Wareham Hospital

January

The year opened with news that all non essential shops in Swanage would close as the country headed into a third national lockdown as Covid numbers soared.

Police intervened to send two carloads of visitors to Durdle Door back to Coventry with a fine for being in breach of Covid legislation.

The first over 80s in the Swanage area received their Covid jabs.

Wordsworth House Care Home was appealing for staff after 34 of its 40 residents tested positive for Covid, along with 30 of its staff.

Exterior of Allnatt centre in swanage
Allnatt Outdoors

Allnatt Outdoors closed

February

The Allnatt Outdoors closed down making all of its staff redundant after losing 97 per cent of its income due to Covid restrictions.

Parts of Shore Road were closed and residents warned to stay away as large frothy waves struck the coast.

Swanage Pier won a grant of nearly half a million pounds from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for its restoration project.

A member of the public got a surprise when they discovered an unexploded World War Two mortar at Swanage Pitch and Putt.

Sea foam on the pavement
Caroline Abbott

Freak weather conditions turned Shore Road into a location for a foam party!

March

Swanage Town Council opposed plans for a new housing estate and a site for gypsies and travellers as proposed in the draft Dorset Local Plan.

Meanwhile, the Campaign to Protect Rural England was urging support for a plan to create a Dorset National Park.

Kings Road East at the junction with the High Street was temporarily closed to allow zebra crossing markings outside the library to be reinstated.

It was announced that the annual Purbeck Arts Weeks festival was to be moved to later in the year over concerns about Covid restrictions.

Flag flying at half mast at St Mary's Church

The flag was lowered to half mast at St Mary’s Church as the news of the death of Prince Philip was announced by Buckingham Palace

April

The ribbon was cut to mark a £2.5 million refurbishment of the Co-op.

The bells of St Mary’s Church in Swanage tolled 99 times to mark the death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Swanage lifeboat went to the rescue of a boat that got pinned against the Sandbanks Ferry, after it tried to evacuate passengers when the ferry broke down.

It was announced that Swanage Carnival was being cancelled for this year because of uncertainty caused by Covid.

Exterior of Wordsworth House

Wordsworth House

May

Following chaotic parking, a vehicle tow away zone was announced for Ferry Road in Studland.

Campaigners protested about plans to scrap the Swanage and Purbeck Ambulance Car.

Swanage elected its first Labour mayor, councillor Avril Harris.

There was sad news that following the death of 16 residents from Covid, the care home Wordsworth House in Swanage had closed.

Princess Royal at St Albans
NCI

Princess Anne arrives

June

It was revealed that Swanage Air Cadets branch was to close because of changes needed to the old building in order to meet Covid restrictions.

The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, flew into Swanage to meet volunteers from the National Coastwatch Institution.

Local sailor Sam Whaley won the national Waszp championship.

Swanage Hospital told people not to turn up for treatment but to ring an NHS helpline and book an appointment first.

Aled Jones

Aled Jones

July

Concerns were expressed over plans to sell a wildflower meadow gifted to the National Trust to developers.

A number of businesses were forced to close as Swanage was caught in the national ‘pingdemic’ as people isolated after contact with positive Covid tests.

Live theatre returned to The Mowlem as Swanage School staged their Little Shop of Horrors production.

Crowds flocked to the Prince Albert Gardens to see presenter Aled Jones in the first Songs of Praise filming of hymn singing for 18 months.

Albert Memorial in Swanage

The newly erected obelisk in Prince Albert Gardens

August

Beach huts on the seafront sold out within hours of becoming available for the summer.

Erection of the obelisk in memory of Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, that lay in ruins for 50 years was completed.

The Mowlem was forced to postpone the opening of its summer season show because a member of the production team tested positive for Covid.

District nurses in Swanage and surrounding areas were issued with electric bikes.

wingwalker plane half submerged in the sea
Alex Cason

Wingwalk plane crashes in sea

September

The owners of Divers Down, the UK’s oldest diving school, revealed they were planning to retire and putting their business up for sale.

The Sandbanks Ferry service was suspended after a wingwalker plane that was part of the Bournemouth Air Festival, crashed into the sea.

The King’s Arms in Langton Matravers announced it was running part of the pub as a village shop, after the post office next door had closed down.

Swanage Coastguard joined the rescue of a sailing yacht that ran aground on the nudist beach at Studland.

Swanage Hospital Minor Injuries Unit

October

Councillors considered reverting the name of Darkie Lane in Ulwell, back to its historical original name of Dark Lane, after holidaymakers complained it was offensive. Later, Dorset Council decided to keep it as Darkie Lane following a consultation with residents living in the lane.

It was announced that Bovington was to be the venue for Extreme E, an international extreme motor racing event for electric cars.

Swanage Cricket Club received a long awaited grant to allow them to push ahead with plans to improve the pavilion.

After a successful local campaign, NHS bosses reversed their previous decision and allowed people to turn up at Swanage Hospital Minor Injuries Unit without an appointment.

Swanage Fire crew with dog
Swanage Fire Station

Woman and her dog rescued

November

The main A351 Sandford Road was closed after it was blocked by pine trees blown across the road by strong winds.

A woman and her dog were rescued after a fire broke out in a building in the centre of Swanage.

Plans to replace the Swanage Town and Herston Football Club sports hall were back on track after it closed in the spring.

Damage to the roof forced the closure of the church in Worth Matravers.

Studland Fire
Amelia Coffen

Heath fire

December

Firefighters battled a blaze that caused damage to Studland heathland.

Swanage Town Band performed Christmas carols at the newly refurbished bandstand.

It was revealed that the post office in Swanage plans to move to a new location in 2022.

Shopkeepers in the town expressed dismay at the lack of shoppers in the run up to Christmas.

Christmas light switch on in Swanage 2021

Christmas lights in Swanage

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