Review of the Year - 2023

Review of the Year – 2023

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December | Nobel Prizes

And so, the end of another year has arrived, where do the years go? it feels only like yesterday that we here sat here writing our review of 2022. And so, this year has brought many interesting events, and for many will be remembered as the first full year of the new Monarchs reign.

The year began in the usual way with Big Ben chiming his bongs still shrouded in scaffolding, A display of 12,000 fireworks filled the sky above the river Thames, as crowds of 100,000 gathered on the banks to watch the extravaganza. Those of us at home, watched these fireworks sandwiched between the New Years concert this year hosted by Sam Ryder.

Of course, the fireworks in London followed those that had already occurred in the time zones to the east, for example at L’Arc de Triomphe, France and before that in Marina Bay, Dubai and even earlier at the Sydney Opera House.


And his mama cries‘Cause if there’s one thing that she don’t needIt is another hungry mouth to feedIn the ghetto

Mac Davis (performed by Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley)

Lisa Marie Presley

Our review of the year begins with the sad death on the 12th of January of Lisa Marie Presley. Lisa Marie was the daughter of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll Elvis Presley, and the only heir to his estate. In her own right Lisa Marie was a singer and songwriter, having hits like, Lights Out and Dirty Laundry as well as hits as a duet with her late father including In the Ghetto and I Love You Because. Lisa Marie from a small bowel obstruction following bariatric surgery she had undergone.

It was on the 15th that Bruce Gowers died at the age of 82. He was a famous television and music video director. Some of his work includes Bohemian Rhapsody and Stayin’ Alive. In an illustrious career he won many awards including 3 Emmy awards in 1973, 1982 and 2009.

Judd Trump winning the Masters

It was on the evening of the 15th that the 2nd Snooker Triple Crown tournament of the season took place at Alexandra Palace. The Snooker Masters Championship was won by Judd Trump who beat Mark Williams 10 frames to 8.

Our January review ends on the 25th when Chris Hipkins succeeded Jacinda Ardern as the new Prime Minister of New Zealand, the 41st in New Zealand’s history. Chris Hipkins took over just six days after Jacinda announced her resignation.


What’s it all about, Alfie?Is it just for the moment we live?What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?Are we meant to take more than we giveOr are we meant to be kind?And if only fools are kind, AlfieThen I guess it’s wise to be cruel

Lyrics by Burt Bacharach

At the start of February, The US announced it was tracking alleged Chinese spy balloons over the Americas, one in particular had drifted from Yukon to South Carolina. This particular balloon was shot down on the 4th, as another balloon had been spotted hovering over Colombia and Brazil. At the time there was a lot of talk of this developing into a diplomatic crisis, gladly this never occurred.

Burt Bacharach

The music world went into mourning on the 8th when Burt Bacharach died at the age of 94. Burt Bacharach was an American composer, pianist, songwriter, and record producer and is considered as one of the most influential and important figures of 20th Century popular music. Over the years over 1,000 different artists have worked with Burt Bacharach performing songs he has written or had him produce music for them.

We touch on an event that occurred on the 11th which brought criticism of the British press and how they reported the attack and murder of Brianna Ghey, who was a 16-year-old transgender girl. Brianna was stabbed in Culcheth Linear Park, Warrington. 2 15-year-olds were arrested for this murder and were being tried at the time of writing. The press was criticised for ‘publicly disrespecting’ Brianna in their coverage, with BBC and Sky not stating that she was transgender in their initial reports. The Times newspaper amended their original story to remove the word ‘girl’ and included Brianna’s deadname, before re-amending to add girl and remove her deadname. May Brianna rest in peace.

We turn our attention to the green agenda for the 14th when The European Parliament approved the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in the European Union from 2035. The European Council cited the need to combat climate change in Europe as well as to promote electric vehicles.

The Russian State Duma voted to withdraw Russia from 21 conventions of the Council of Europe on the 16th. This vote was in line with the decision made in Moscow last March. It was stated that unless there were attempts to discriminate against it, Russia would stay party to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing terrorism.

2 sad events took place on the 19th of the month. The first event was the discovery of the body of Nicola Bulley, a 45-year-old British woman who had been missing since 27th of January. It is thought that she drowned in the river Wyre.

The second sad news on the 19th is the death of Dickie Davies, 94. Dickie was a television presenter. Dickie most notably hosted The World of Sport from 1968 until 1985. He then stayed with ITV and presented their coverage of Boxing, darts, and snooker. He was also part of their 1988 Seoul Olympics.

On the 21st Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was suspending their participation in New START, a nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States. The treaty was designed to limit the nuclear arsenal, the suspension of the treaty imperils the last remaining pillar of arms control. The 2 countries hold 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.

John Motson

We return to sad news with the death of legendary football commentator, John Motson died on the 23rd. John Motson had been the voice of BBC Football for 50 years. He is well known for his voice behind the mic calling some of the most memorable moments in football. Not only is he famous for his voice, but also for his long sheepskin coat.

Betty Boothroyd

Not only did the football world mourn in February, so did the political world as the only female speaker of the House, Betty Boothroyd died at the age of 93 on the 26th. Betty Boothroyd was the first speaker of the house that we remember, and probably will live longer in the memory than any subsequent holder of the post. When she was an MP, she represented the Labour Party in the constituency of West Bromwich West.

We return to the hot topic from a few years ago on the 27th as the United Kingdom and the European Union reached a further agreement surrounding modifications to the Northern Ireland Protocol. This agreement became known as the Windsor agreement, and in simple terms it relates to goods crossing the Irish Sea. The agreement introduced the ‘conceptual’ idea of green and red lanes reducing checks and paperwork on goods for Northern Ireland, separating them from goods at risk of moving into the EU Single Market.


We’ll show you what we can doWith a load of balls and a snooker cuePot the reds then screw it backFor the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and blackSnooker loopy nuts are weWe’re all snooker loopy

Charles Hodges and David Peacock (Chas and Dave)

We start our review of March 2023 with the result of the Women’s World Snooker Championship, which concluded on the 4th. The Championship was won by Thai player Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan (Baipat Siripaporn). The final was between the eventual winner and Bai Yulu, with the result 6 frames to 3.

The first death of March that we review is that of Mystic Meg on the 9th. Mystic Meg was born Margaret Anne Lake in 1942. She died at the age of 80.

Mystic Meg

Mystic Meg became prominent in the public eye mainly down to her appearance on the first National Lottery draw her Mystic Meg predicts section became a regular segment in the broadcast.

Over in China, an unprecedented result in the Chinese Presidential election on the 10th saw the National People’s Congress unanimously re-elect incumbent President Xi Jinping as the President of the People’s Republic of China for a third term. The constitution stipulated that a President could not serve more than 2 terms, the constitution was changed to unlimited terms in 2018.

Fosbury flop

On the 12th Richard (dick) Fosbury died. He was an American high jumper considered one of the most influential athletes in the history of track and field. At the 1968 Mexico Olympics, Dick won gold. In the process of winning the gold, he revolutionised the high jump with a ‘back-first’ technique which has been referred to as the Fosbury flop. This technique is what we see in competition today.

On the 14th OpenAI launched GPT-4, their latest version of its hugely popular AI chatbot. This version can respond to images – providing recipe suggestions from photos of ingredients, not only that but it can writ captions and descriptions. Building on the version from last year (2022), this version can process 25,000 words. Concerns were raised about AI that one day it could take over many jobs’ humans currently do.

History was made on the 17th when The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights. This was the first arrest warrant against a leader of a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

More history occurred on the 23rd, this time in the athletics world, where a ban against transwomen who have gone through male puberty on competing in female events by World Athletics who are the global governing body for athletics.

Once again, the entertainment mourned a legend of screen and stage in the form of Paul O’Grady on the 28th at the age of 67.

Paul O’Grady as Lily Savage

Paul O’ Grady is probably most well-known for his alter-ego Lily Savage, dressed in drag as Lily, Paul had the country in stitches across many TV shows and live stage shows. Lily wasn’t the first time that he had appeared in drag, as he also played Roxanne in ITV’s Police Drama, The Bill. During the ‘noughties’ Paul killed off his alter-ego and became a TV legend of presenting in his own right with The Paul O’ Grady Show and Paul O’ Grady: For the Love of Dogs. He will live on with audiences across his many roles and shows over the years.

The Red Roses with the 6 Nations Trophy

The 29th of the month saw the Women’s 6 Nations rugby culminating in a win for England. Throughout their campaign, the Red Roses hadn’t lost a game against the other 5 nations: France, Wales, Scotland, Italy, and Northern Ireland. Congratulations to the Red Roses.


What is love, ’cause baby I don’t knowI got a funny feeling in my heartIf this is love it feels like butterflies

So tell me baby is this how it starts

I know I’ve never felt like this beforeYou’re like a drug you got me wanting moreI’ve got to let you know, I’ve got to let you know
David Foster, Michael Rose, Nicholas Foster, Paul Cooper, Takashi Matsumoto

In an exciting addition to our ‘den’ on the first of the month we launched our Charity of the Year initiative.
For the year 2023-24 we are supporting Julia’s House, we chose them for the vital work they do for children and their families in most cases during their short lives together. Julia’s House have 2 hospices: 1 each in Dorset and Wiltshire.


You can support us support their amazing work using our JustGiving page:

We thank you in advance if you decide to donate, and please remember to only donate if you can afford to.

NATO hit the news on the 4th when Finland was admitted into the alliance becoming the 31st member. With Finland joining the alliance doubled their border with Russia.

On the 6th the first Women’s Finalissima was played at Wembley. The Finalissima is an intercontinental football match played between the winners of the most recent European and South American championships, and therefore was held between England and Brazil. The victors were England on penalties 4 – 2, after a 1 – 1 90-minute game. And therefore, England won the inaugural trophy.

Paul Cattermole

The 6th saw the sad news of the death of S club 7 star Paul Cattermole, who had died at the young age of 46. Paul will always be remembered for his time in S Club 7, initially from 1998 until he left the band in 2002, before returning in 2014 for their reunion tour. The band was due to go tour again this year, following his death the band did go on tour but as a 5-piece without Paul and his ex-partner Hannah. During their original time together, the group had 4 TV series, 4 UK Number 1 singles and a Number 1 album. Paul lives on through his music.

A true icon of the sixties sadly died on the 13th, the icon was no other than Dame Mary Quant. Dame Mary was one of the designers given credit for miniskirt and hotpants. Without Dame Mary modern fashion may have been very different!

On the 14th the European Space Agency (ESA) launched their Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) whose mission it is to go in search of life in the Jovian System. The explorer is not due to reach its target exploration zone until 2031.

The day after the launch saw the annual Grand National horse race at Aintree. The start of the race had to be delayed due to security breaches at security fences around the track from protesters. The race was eventually won by:

Horse: Corach Rambler,
Jockey Derek Fox,
Trainer Lucinda Russell.

There was one equine fatality in the race, Hill Sixteen who was injured at the first fence where he almost died instantly. The horses’ trainer believes that the protestors contributed to the horse becoming hyper and not taking off at the first fence. Hill Sixteen had never fallen in his 27 previous races. Over the Grand National week of events a grand total of 3 horses died, including Hill Sixteen.

Returning to Space and its exploration on the 20th as Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starship rocket, the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, launched for the first time in a test flight from Texas. Sadly, for Elon Musk, the rocket exploded just four minutes into its maiden flight!

2 entertainment icons died on the 22nd of the month. The first being Barry Humphries at the age of 89. Barry’s name may not be instantly recognisable, however his characters that he played over his career, we are sure will be. Barry is the body behind Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson. The Australian will forever be remember by ‘her’ possums with that purple hair and big glasses and will continue to make people laugh through repeats of the shows.

Len Goodman

The second entertainment icon to die on this day was none other than Mr ‘SEV-ERN’ himself Len Goodman at the age of 78. Len became famous as head judge of UK’s Strictly Come Dancing from 2004 until 2016 as well as Dancing with the Stars in the US from 2005 ‘til 2022. Len was much more than just a TV head Judge, he was a professional ballroom dancer in his own right, as well as a dance teacher and dance competition adjudicator. If that wasn’t enough Len also ran a ballroom dance school in Dartford, Kent.

The annual London Marathon took place on the 23rd. This was the 43rd running of the marathon. This was the first year since 2019 that the race was held in its traditional Spring slot, as the last 3 had been run in the autumn due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year the winners were:

Men: Kelvin Kiptum (Kenya) (2:01:25)
Women: Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) (2:18:33)
Wheelchair Men: Marcel Hug (Switzerland) (1:23:44)
Wheelchair Women: Madison de Rozario (Australia) (1:38:51)

In the non- elite runners’ ‘race’ there were over 48,000 finishers ranging from 18 years old to 90. Adele Roberts broke the record for a Marathon runner with a stoma bag.

The last death of April for us to look at is Jerry Springer who died on the 27th. Jerry is famous for his Jerry Springer show from 1991 to 2018. Most notable for its on-stage confrontations from the participants. Whilst this is what made him famous, Jerry had a career as a town councillor in the US, becoming the 56th Major of Cincinnati in 1977. Jerry did at the age of 79.


God save our gracious King!
Long live our noble King!
God save the King!
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the King.

National Anthem

May began with a bank holiday, and as is tradition, it was the Snooker World Championship final. This year’s final was won by Belgium’s Luca Brecel, who beat Leicester’s Mark Selby by 18 frames to 15. The World championship is the last tournament of the Snooker season and the 3rd triple crown event of season.

After 3 years on the 5th May the World Health Organization ended their declaration of COVID-19 as a global health emergency, after a total of 1,191 days, however they do continue to refer to it as a pandemic.

King Charles III Coronation

The big event of the year took place on the 6th, with the coronation of HM The King, Charles III, and HRH Queen Camila. The official crowning of the couple as King and Queen of the United Kingdom and Realms of the Commonwealth. The ceremony was held in Westminster Abbey. The ceremony is the formalising of His Majesty as King as he acceded to the throne immediately after the passing of his late mother HM Queen Elizabeth II at 15:10 on the 8th of September 2022. His Majesty’s coronation service was shorter than that of his mother’s and at the peak of viewing of 20.4 million people. King Charles’ coronation was the first of the 21st Century, and he was only the 40th monarch to be crowned at Westminster Abbey since 1066 and the coronation of William the Conqueror.

A week after the coronation, all eyes were again the UK as it held the annual Eurovision Song Contest at the Liverpool Arena. This was the 9th time the nation had held the contest:

For winning previous year’s contest:
1982, and

The other occasions have been in place of the previous year’s winner, as was the case this year due to the events still occurring in Ukraine, the years the contest was held was:
1972, and

This year the contest was won by Swedish entrant Loreen with her song Tattoo. Sadly, the UK’s entrant Mae Muller with the song ‘I Wrote a song’ finished in 25th place with a grand total of 24 points, beating only Germany who amassed 18 points on the night.

Steve’s 20-Mile walk route

On the 14th Steve took part in a 20-mile charity walk for our Charity of the Year – Julia’s House. Having spent 8 and a half hours walking through the hills, fields and historic stones of Wiltshire, Steve completed his walking challenge. The reason this was a challenge as we explained in the lead up in our advertising posts, is that Steve is not a big walker. By the end of the JustGiving page, the walk had raised £530 pounds to help the work of Julia’s House. The one downside was that Steve had planned to do some lives on social media for his supporters, sadly the mobile in the countryside did not allow this. We are profoundly grateful to everyone who donated and supported Steve on his walk and look forward to doing something different for charity next year.

The 24th saw the death of music legend, some would say was simply The Best, Tina Turner. She has been referred to as the Queen of Rock and Roll. Tina died at the age of 83. Tina has sold more than 100 million records through her career, which spans her time while performing with her husband (at the time), Ike, before having a solo career in her own right. Over the years, Tina Turner has belted some of the classics that are instantly recognisable like, River Deep, Mountain High, What’s Love Got to do With It? The Best and Private Dancer to name but a few. Tina Turner released 9 studio albums, and she will live on in her music.

Every year, during May 2 of the most prestigious motor races take place on the same day, this year was no different. On the 28th in Monte Carlo, the Monaco Grand Prix took place. After 78 laps of the just over 2-mile-long circuit, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the chequered flag with Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine) completing the famous podium. Later that afternoon, UK time, in Indianapolis the Indy500 took place. It was the Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden who was first to cross the finish line after 200 laps of 2.5 miles. Josef was followed over the line by Marcus Eriksson in his Chip Ganassi Racing car and in 3rd place was Santino Ferrucci racing for A J Foyt Racing.


You’re simply the bestBetter than all the restBetter than anyoneAnyone I’ve ever metI’m stuck on your heartI hang on every word you sayTear us apartBaby, I would rather be dead

Imad Roy El-amine, Blaise Railey, Andrew Neely, Daniel Stanfill, Anthony Ramos

To start June, we turn our attention to the events over in Ukraine. It was in the early hours of the 6th that the Nova Kakhovka dam in Kherson was destroyed. The destruction of this dam threatened the region with devastating floodwaters. It is believed that the Russian forces blew up a section of the dam in order to hinder a planned Ukrainian counter-offensive, although the Russian authorities have denied this. The dam stood at 30 m (98 ft) tall and 3.2 km (2 mi) long; the breached segment was about 85 m (279 ft) long. This led to 5.61 m (18.4 ft) average level of flooding in the Kherson region.

Le Mans Circuit

Every year the motorsport world looks forward to 1 race more than any other, of course we are referring to the 24 Heures du Le Mans (24 Hours of Le Mans). This year the race was known as the Centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans, to mark the 100th anniversary of the great race. In actuality thought the race was the 91st to be held, since 1923.

The different category winners of the race were:

Ferrari AF Corse (51 Car) driven by:
James Calado (United Kingdom),
Antonio Giovinazzi (Italy),
Alessandro Pier Guidi (Italy).

Inter Europol Competition (34 Car) driven by:
Albert Costa (Spain),
Fabio Scherer (Switzerland),
Jakub Śmiechowski (Poland).

LMP2 (Pro-Am)
Algarve Pro Racing (45 Car) driven by:
James Allen (Australia),
Colin Braun (USA),
George Kurtz (USA).

Corvette Racing (33 Car) driven by:
Nicky Catsburg (Netherlands),
Ben Keating (USA),
Nicolás Varrone (Argentina).

We now take a look at 2 political deaths that occurred in June, 3 days apart. The first of which was on the 12th when Silvio Berlusconi died at the age of 86. Berlusconi was an Italian politician who served as Italian Prime Minister 3 times: 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006 and 2008 to 2011. He also served as a member of Parliament and was twice an MEP (Member of the European Parliament). Berlusconi also owned AC Milan from 1986 until 2017, and at the time of his death was the 3rd most wealthy person in Italy.

3 days later on the 15th we heard of the passing of Glenda Jackson who died at the age of 87. Glenda was an actress and a Member of Parliament. She was one of the few artists who have claimed the ‘American Triple Crown of Acting:’ Academy Award (2 won) (Oscars), Emmy Award (won 3 times), and Tony Award (won 1). In her political career, she represented the labour Party for 23 consecutive years.

Titan Submersible

It is with sadness that we continue with more sad news on the 18th, when Titan, a submersible operated by OceanGate, imploded during a mission to the view the wreckage of the Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland., Canada. Communication was lost between the submersible and its mother ship Polar Prince 1 hour 45 minutes into the dive. It was not until the 22nd that a debris field was found, confirming the implosion of the craft and the death of all 5 people on board:

  • Stockton Rush, (61) OceanGate Chief executive and co-founder,
  • Shahzada Dawood (48), a Pakistani-British businessman,
  • Suleman Dawood (19), the son of Shahzada Dawood.
  • Hamish Harding (58), a British businessman, aviator, and space tourist,
  • Paul-Henri Nargeolet (77), a former French Navy commander, diver, submersible pilot.

Back to the on-going Invasion of Ukraine, when on the 23rd the Wagner Group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, began an armed conflict with the Russian military. The group managed to seize the city of Rostov-on-Don as well as parts of Voronezh Oblast. On the 24th the group withdrew, following a peace agreement that was brokered by the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Craig Brown

The football world was in mourning once again on the 26th as the news of the death of former Scotland Manager Craig Brown was announced. Craig is famous for being the longest serving Scotland football manager, holding the post from 1993 until 2001. Craig guided the Scottish football team to qualification for Euro 1996 and the World Cup in 1998. He went on to manage Preston North End, Motherwell, and Aberdeen. He retired form management in 2013 and appointed non-executive director of Aberdeen. Before he was a successful manager, Craig had played the game for Rangers, Dundee, and Falkirk as a Wing half.

Bassett Business Brunch

Steve was lucky enough to be asked to speak about mental health and wellbeing at one of the network groups that we attend. He was pleased to speak to a group of 20+ business owners about the importance looking after mental health. We will be speaking again at this group, Bassett Business Brunch, in 2024, do look out for more information of when we will be there.


It’s been seven hours and 15 daysSince you took your love awayI go out every night and sleep all daySince you took your love awaySince you been gone, I can do whatever I wantI can see whomever I choose

Prince Rogers Nelson

July began with the launch of a brand-new social media app on the 5th. Threads owned by Meta Platforms Inc was launched as a rival to Twitter. It came following the announcement of more restrictions on the Twitter platform, including the limit of posts a user can read on the site, although it was said to be a temporary restriction. Twitter had also announced that to use Tweetdeck users would need to be verified. Threads was launched with none of these restrictions. Owned by the company that owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, Threads had been billed as Instagram’s text-based conversation app allowing users to keep the same username and follow the same accounts as they do on the photo-sharing platform. In the first 5 days, Threads grew to more than 100 million users.

The 14th saw the commencement of a strike over a labour dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) by the American actors’ union SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). This union strike was alongside the Writers Guild of America (WAG) which had started on the 2nd of May. The strikes were over changes in the industry caused by streaming and its effect on residuals, as well as other new technologies like AI and digital recreation. It marked the first time that actors initiated a labour dispute in the U.S. since the 1980 actors strike and the first time that actors and writers have walked out simultaneously since 1960. The combined impact of the strikes resulted in the loss of 45,000 jobs, and ‘an estimated $6.5 billion’ loss to the economy of Southern California. The WAG strike ended on the 27th of September, with the SAG-AFTRA strike ending on November 9 at 12:01 a.m. PST.

SwinDog – Hotdog

SwinDog – Dog Rogers

It was a big month for our Charity of the Year, Julia’s House who launched their Big Dog Art Trail on the 15th. Throughout the summer until September there were 30 larger-than-life balloon dog sculptures across Swindon, as well as 42 Swinpups, all taking part in an art trail. Of course, the trail was all aimed at raising awareness of Julia’s House and the fantastic work that they do. We completed the trail 2 and a half times!

All eyes were on SW19 of the weekend of the 15th and 16th as the Wimbledon Tennis Grand Slam winners were decided, after 2 weeks of non-stop tennis on the famous courts. This year’s winners were:

Men: Carlos Alcaraz (Spain),
Women: Markéta Vondroušová (Czech Republic),
Men’s Doubles: Wesley Koolhof (Netherlands)/Neal Skupski (United Kingdom),
Women’s Doubles: Hsieh Su-wei (Chinese Tei Pei)/Barbora Strýcová (Czechia),
Mixed Doubles: Mate Pavić (Croatia)/Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukraine).

Wheelchair Tournaments:

Men: Tokito Oda (Japan),
Women: Diede de Groot (Netherlands),
Quad Singles: Niels Vink (Netherlands),
Men’s Doubles: Alfie Hewett (United Kingdom)/Gordon Reid (United Kingdom),
Women’s Doubles: Diede de Groot (Netherlands)/Jiske Griffioen (Netherlands),
Quad Doubles: Sam Schröder (Netherlands)/Niels Vink (Netherlands).

Juniors Tournaments:

Boys: Henry Searle (United Kingdom),
Girls: Clervie Ngounoue (USA),
Boy’s Doubles: Jakub Filip (Czechia)/Gabriele Vulpitta (Italy),
Girl’s Doubles: Alena Kovačková (Czechia)/Laura Samsonová (Czechia),
Boys’ 14&U: Mark Ceban (United Kingdom),
Girls; 14&U: Luna Vujović (Serbia).

Invitation Tournaments:

Gentlemen’s Doubles: Bob Bryan (USA)/Mike Bryan (USA),
Ladies’ Doubles: Kim Clijsters (Belgium)/Martina Hingis (Switzerland),
Mixed Doubles: Nenad Zimonjić (Serbia)/ Rennae Stubbs (Australia).

2 Major films were released on the same day of July, the 21st. The 2 films were Barbie and Oppenheimer. The 2 were being paired as a major internet and cultural event known as Barbenheimer. On their opening weekends they made:


USA Earnings:                            $162 million
International Earnings:            $194.3 million


USA Earnings:                            $82.5 million
International Earnings:            $98 million


USA Earnings:                            $244.5 million
International Earnings:            $292.3 million

That is a massive $536.8 million in one weekend for the 2 movies!

Tony Bennett

The music world mourned a try legend on the 21st as Tony Bennett, born Anthony Dominick Benedetto died at the age of 96. Tony Bennett was an American jazz and traditional pop singer as well as a painter. He received many accolades for his musical work, including 20 Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Primetime Emmy Awards. Tony Bennett was named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree. He also founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, New York. With 50 million sales under his belt and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Tony Bennett is sure to be remembered for a long time to come.

During a heatwave on Rhodes, Greece tens of thousands of tourists were forced to flee scared for their lives as the island burnt amid wildfires. Officials have described it as the largest evacuation in the country’s history. Our TV screens in the UK on the 23rd was full of images that looked like the whole island was on fire.

This year’s yellow jersey was won on the 23rd and was won for the second year in a row by defending champion Danish cyclist Jonas Vingegaard. The gap back to second placed Tadej Pogačar from Slovakia was 7 minutes and 29 seconds.

We end the review of July, on the 26th with the news of the death of Sinead O’Connor. This for us was one of those ‘Hair stand on the back of your neck moments’ as we were sat waiting for a quiz to begin, listening to Sinead’s most famous song, Nothing Compares 2 U, as the news of her death broke. Throughout her career, Sinead used her platform to raise awareness of important subjects such as child abuse, human rights, racism, organised religion, and women’s rights. She was never one to shy away from talking about her experiences and her own mental health struggles. In 2018 she converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat while continuing to record and perform under her birthname.


I’m up in space, manUp in space, manI’ve searched around the universeBeen down some black holesThere’s nothing but space, manAnd I wanna go home

Amy Victoria Wadge/Max Wolfgang/Sam Robert Robinson

We arrive in August, which started on the 1st with the news that the world’s oceans had reached a new record high temperature of 20.96°C (69.73°F). The previous record from 2016 was 20.95°C (69.71°F). It was also reported that July was the hottest month on record for globally averaged surface air temperatures. July reached an average temperature of 16.95°C (62.51°F), this was well above the previous record of July 2019 16.63°C (61.934°F).

Helen Housby – England Netball Roses

Throughout the first week of August, all eyes were on Cape Town as the Netball World Cup took place. It was a good tournament for the England Roses who made the final for the first time since the format changed, breaking the status quo of New Zealand Vs Australia finals. The England Roses have suffered semi-final defeat 7 Semis to date (1991, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019), before this year making it to the final. We sat and watched hoping that the girls could go all the way, but sadly they came up short against the Australians who beat the roses by 61 goals to 45. The Roses will be hoping to go one step further in 4 years times on Australian soil.

Michael Parkinson

On the 16th another legend of the entertainment world passed away. Michael Parkinson died at the age of 88. He will forever be known for his self-titled chat show Parkinson which had 2 runs: 1971 to 1982 and 1998 to 2007. During his chat show he interviewed the great and good of the world. One such interview that will stay in the memory for a lot of people is the infamous interview with Emu.

Michael Parkinson was also an author and worked on the radio. The Guardian has described him as ‘The Great British Talk show host.’ He lives on through the videos and interviews available online.

Between the 20th July and the 20th August the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand. Just like the England Roses earlier in the month, it was a good tournament for the England women who made it all the way to the final, which was held in Stadium Australia, Sydney. The final was Spain against the England Lionesses. Sadly, for the Lionesses they were on the end of a 1 -0 defeat, although most expected the defending European Champions to win the title.

Sadly, the final of the Women’s World Cup was overshadowed by controversy. As the medals were being handed out to the Spanish girls, Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales kissed Jennifer Hermoso on the lips, despite her visible displeasure. Rubiales’ actions drew criticism and there were calls for his resignation. This was not the only incident that courted attention of Rubiales, as he was filmed at the end of the match pointing at the Spanish players before grabbing his crotch. He was further criticised for this as he was standing next to the 16-year-old Infanta Sofia (2nd in line to the Spanish throne). Later Rubiales gave an erratic speech on the 25th, after which he was suspended from his role. It was on the 10th of September that Rubiales subsequently resigned as president. He was later banned from football-related activities for three years. There is currently (at time of writing) a criminal complaint relating to alleged coercion being investigated.

Mary Earps wearing the England Goalkeeper kit

While we are focusing on the FIFA Women’s World Cup, we do need to focus on a controversy caused by England kit supplier Nike. It was on the 20th of July that the story broke that Nike do not produce replica women’s goalkeeper shirts for commercial sale. England number 1 Goalkeeper Mary Earps said, ‘she had been trying to find a way for the shirts to be produced, including discussing with both the FA and Nike and offering to front production costs herself, for some time.’ She went on to say that she was quite hurt by the fact that fans cannot buy women’s goalkeeper shirts and that it sends the wrong message to young players that goalkeeping is not an aspirational position to play. It is even more shocking when you realise that Nike do produce replica men’s goalkeeper shirts in limited numbers.

Moving away from the football World on the 23rd we saw India‘s Chandrayaan-3 become the first spacecraft to land near the south pole of the Moon. The space craft was carrying a lunar lander named Vikram and a lunar rover named Pragyan. The 3 main objectives of the mission were:

  1. Engineering and implementing a lander to land safely and softly on the surface of the Moon.
  2. Observing and demonstrating the rover’s driving capabilities on the Moon.
  3. Conducting and observing experiments on the materials available on the lunar surface to better understand the composition of the Moon.

It was on the 23rd when a plane crash occurred near Kuzhenkino in Tver Oblast, approximately 100 kilometres (60 mi) north of its departure point in Moscow. On board the plane were members of the Wagner Group including their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, who had led a rebellion exactly 2 months earlier (See June in this review). Everyone on the plane died, and it is thought that it was destroyed on the orders of the Russian President Vladimir Putin possibly for Prigozhin’s rebellion and open criticism of the Russian Military Defence.


I hear her voice in the mornin’ hour, she calls meThe radio reminds me of my home far awayDrivin’ down the road, I get a feelin’That I should’ve been home yesterday, yesterday

John Denver/Mary Catherine Taffy Nivert-Danoff/William Thomas Danoff

This year the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have been busy as on the 2nd they successfully launched Aditya-L1, which is their first solar observation mission. The space craft will travel 1.5 million km (932,000 miles) from the Earth which is about 1% of the Earth-Sun distance. India’s space agency says it will take four months to travel that far. When it gets there, it will orbit the sun at the same speed as the Earth. The mission objectives are:

  1. To observe the dynamics of the Sun’s chromosphere and corona:
    • To study chromospheric and coronal heating, the physics of partially ionised plasma, of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and their origins, of the coronal magnetic field and heat transfer mechanisms, and flare exchanges.
  2. To observe the physical particle environment around its position.
  3. To determine the sequence of processes in multiple layers below the corona that lead to solar eruptions.
  4. To study space weather, and the origin, composition, and dynamics of solar wind.[16]

Swindon Wildcats Logo

The Link Centre, West Swindon

September saw a rollercoaster of emotions for our Swindon Wildcats. During the off-season, the Link Centre closed the ice pad in order to undertake crucial energy efficiency works and plant improvements. In total an investing £300,000 went into the project. The works will see the ice pad lifted, old and inefficient plant replaced, and a new state-of-the-art drying cooling system installed. This meant that the season launch event was put back a week, but the rink was ready in time for the traditional on-ice presentations of the players to the fans. This was followed by 2 weekends of high quality and anticipation inducing excitement for the season ahead.

Unfortunately, disaster struck on the 17th when heavy storms saw a month’s worth of rainfall in Swindon in just one night, in a statement on the centre’s website, a spokesperson said:

‘The Link Centre will remain closed for the foreseeable future
following the damage caused by extensive flooding and
storm damage earlier this week.
Over the past few days, we have been
working with specialist contractors and loss adjustors to
assess the damage which unfortunately is
significantly worse than originally anticipated.
Many key operational areas have been damaged by the flood water,
 in addition to public spaces.
For example,
electricity supplies, pumps, heating and ventilation systems and drainage.’

This closure meant uncertainty for all users of the Link Centre, and not just our Swindon Wildcats. It meant that with the facility closed, fixtures had to be re-arranged. With thanks to MK Lightning, Bristol Pitbulls and Cardiff Devils, the team were able to hold 3 Home-Away-from-home Games. It would be 91 days before the Swindon Wildcats would return to home ice on the 16th of December.

Grand total for Big Dog Art Trail

Following the end of Julia’s House’s Big Dog Art Trail all the art sculptures went for auction on the 19th at Steam Museum in Swindon. We are pleased to report that the grand total raised from the sale was an impressive £165,800! An amazing amount of money for a wonderful charity, we were pleased to be able to be in the audience to watch these pieces of art sold.

On the 20th Archaeologists working near Zambia’s Kalambo Falls found what they say is the world’s oldest wooden structure. It had been embedded in clay and further protected by a high-water table. Apparently made from the logs of a large-fruited willow tree and was intentionally created roughly 476,000 years. This specimen was made before the advent of Homo sapiens and points archaeologists and historians into thinking they have a vastly higher cognitive ability than has been previously ascribed to such ancient ancestors. Before this discovery, the oldest wooden structure known was only 9,000 years old!

On the 21st Rupert Murdoch announced his retirement and passed his businesses on to his son Lachlan. Rupert Murdoch led News Corp and Fox, and formerly Sky Group. On standing down he became chairman emeritus.

Joy in the sport world for Europe as they retained the Solheim Cup. The tournament took place from the 18th to the 24th. Europe lifted the Waterford Crystal trophy following a 14-14 draw in Spain.

We end the month with sad news of the felling of a famous tree. On the 28th, news spread that the Sycamore Gap Tree had been deliberately chopped down during the night before. Police had put a cordon in place and started an investigation. As part of the investigation, Forensic Investigators were seen taking measurements and samples from the remains of the tree and photographing the area. One of the investigators was reportedly heard saying ‘In 31 years of forensics I’ve never examined a tree.’ Northumbria Police said that a man aged 60, and a 16-year-old boy who were arrested would not face any further action, whilst 2 men in their 30s have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and were released on Police bail. Historic England have reported part of Hadrian’s Wall, where the tree stood, had sustained some damage following the felling of the tree. Hadrian’s Wall was constructed between AD122 and AD130.


Three lions on a shirtJules Rimet still gleamingNo more years of hurtNo more need for dreaming

David Baddiel/Frank Skinner/Ian Broudie

Following on from the success of Europe’s women in the Solheim Cup in September, it was the turn of the Ryder Cup men on the 1st. The result was the same with Team Europe coming out on top in Italy. The final score was 16.5 to 11.5 to Europe.

Staying in the sport world as on the 7th in the Qatar Sprint Race, Max Verstappen sealed his 3rd Formula 1 World Driver Championship in what is weekend 18 of 23, although 1 weekend was postpone due to floods in San Marino His team had already won the Constructors Championship in Japan on the 24th of September.

We are sad to have to review the events of the 7th and 8th of October this year. In the early morning of the 7th a rocket barrage of at least 3,000 rockets launched by Hamas with vehicle-transported and powered paraglider incursions into Israel. Hamas fighters breached the Gaza–Israel barrier, attacking Israeli civilian communities, military bases, and a music festival near Re’im, which resulted in 1,139 deaths. Of these deaths:

695 Israeli civilians, (36 children),
373 members of security forces, and
71 foreigners.

Sadly, this total does include an unknown but significant number of friendly fire deaths. Not only were there deaths from this incursion, but around 250 Israeli civilians and soldiers were taken hostage to the Gaza Strip, including about 30 were children.

The attacks were denounced by at least 44 nations as terrorism, while many Arab and Muslim countries blamed the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories as the root cause of the attack. Since the 7th, the day has been stated as the bloodiest in Israel’s history. The attacks on the day make this the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.

On the 8th Israel’s Security Cabinet formally declared war for the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

Christopher Luxon,
New Zealand PM

14th saw the New Zealand general election. The election was won by The National Party under the leadership of leader Christopher Luxon, who becomes the third Prime Minister New Zealand have had this year! The incumbent Labour Party suffer the worst result for an incumbent party in modern New Zealand History.

On the 17th we return to the Hamas-Israeli war as an explosion occurred at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, where displaced Palestinians are taking refuge. There were many fatalities reported, with estimates varying significantly, from 100 to as many as 471, depending on the source of the information. Both sides of the conflict blame each other for the explosion.

Sir Bobby Charlton

It is back to the football world on the 21st, as it said goodbye to yet another of the legendary 1966 England World Cup winning squad, Sir Bobby Charlton. Sir Bobby played midfield or centre-forward and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. In a playing career that spanned 24 years he scored 211 times in 652 games. He played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Waterford, Newcastle KB United, Perth Azzurri and Blacktown City. In his international career he scored 49 goals in his 106 caps for England. He also had a managerial career with Preston North End. Sir Bobby will always be remembered for being one of the Busby Babes, and as a World Cup Winner. With his passing there is now just Sir Geoff Hurst of the class of ’66 remaining.

Just 2 days later and the Football world was once again in mourning with the news of the death of Everton FC Chairman Bill Kenwright. Bill was also a West End theatre producer and film producer. He will however forever be remembered for his chairmanship of Everton. Bill Kenwright died at the age of 78. Fans of Everton’s closest rivals Liverpool FC will be forever grateful to him for the support he has given the club and the families and survivors of Hillsborough. It was Bill who initiated the iconic image of the boy and girl dressed in red and blue respectively on the evening of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report being published. The Image went on to be the cover of a charity single. Bill also gave a speech in support at the Hillsborough Memorial Service held at Anfield in 2013.

We are ending the month of October review on a truly sporting angle. The 28th saw the final of the Rugby World Cup held at the Stade de France, Paris. The final score was South Africa 12 – 11 New Zealand. This was South Africa’s 4th World Cup title.

Adam Johnson tribute

Adam Johnson #AJ47

We end the October review with the tragic events that occurred on the Ice at the Utilita Arena Sheffield. During a match between the Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers a tragic accident occurred which resulted in the death of Panthers player Adam Johnson. Adam wore the jersey number 47, which has subsequently been retired by the Panthers. Adam suffered a serious cut to the neck from the skate of another player (Matt Petgrave) while on the ice and was rushed to hospital. Sadly, the news we dreaded came true and Adam sadly passed away from his injury at the age of 29. There was an outpouring of grief from all around the Ice hockey world from fans, players and other clubs who could not believe what had happened. There are a few who have considered this incident to be less of an accident and have said as such on social media. Adam’s death hit a lot of people hard. The accident has seen the voluntary induction of neck guards for players, although this is not mandatory by the regulatory body. The players are now wearing 47 stickers on their helmets as a tribute. Referee Ions who wore number 47 in the Elite league has announced he will no longer wear the number in tribute to Adam.


Adam Johnson (#AJ47)
You Will Never Skate Alone
Gone But Never Forgotten


And now and then
If we must start again
Well, we will know for sure
That I will love you

Now and then
I miss you
Oh, now and then
I want you to be there for me
Always to return to me

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr

We start November with some techy news, On the 1st The UK held the first AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. At the summit which lasted 2 days 28 countries signed a ‘world first agreement’ on how to manage the riskiest forms of artificial intelligence. In attendance at the summit was the USA, China, and the EU, among others.

After a week of build-up, The Fab Four (The Beatles) released their last ever song. The song has been 45 years in the making, with the opening bard being written back then by John Lennon and All 4 of the Beatles appear on the track:

Paul McCartney,
John Lennon,
Ringo Starr, and
George Harrison.

It is the last song that will be attributed to all 4 of them. The song entitled Now and Then was released as a double-A side with the 1962 debut Love Me Do. The perfect full circle ending to this iconic band.

On the 6th The death toll in Gaza from the on-going war between Israel and Hamas was reported to have reached over 10,000. The US President spoke with the Israeli PM and called for a ‘Humanitarian pause’ in the fighting to allow an increase in the flow of aid to civilians who badly needed it.

On the 9th news from New York saw surgeons say they had performed the world’s first complete eye transplant on a man. Although the eye has been transplanted it is not definite that the Aaron James will regain his vision. Aaron survived a high-voltage electrical accident and underwent 21 hours of surgery that replaced half of his face. The breakthrough has been called a ‘pivotal moment’ in the quest to restore sight to millions of people. Dr Eduardo Rodriguez, one of the surgeons on the team said:

‘The mere fact that we’ve accomplished the first
successful whole eye transplant.
with a face is a tremendous feat
many have long thought was not possible,
We’ve made one major step forward and
have paved the way for the next chapter to restore vision.’

Following on from medical breakthroughs, there was a political breakthrough when the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the United States between the 14th and 17th. It was the first time that the Chinese Premier had been to the US since 2017. The visit was aimed at holding a key summit with U.S. President Joe Biden. Both countries agreed to reopen their suspended military communications and to cooperate against the increasing climate crisis.

The 2023 Cricket World Cup came to an end on the 19th, it saw Australia beat India to win the trophy. The tournament was held in India, which means that they suffered a home defeat. Australia won by 6 wickets. From their 50 overs India scored 240 runs, while in their innings Australia scored 241/4 in 43 overs.

On the 22nd Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day ceasefire, this was and so far, (a time of writing) is the only pause in fighting since 7 October. During the ceasefire which started on the 24th many Israeli hostages were released, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

Terry Venables

It was sad news again for the football world on the 25th as the death of ex-England Manager Terry Venables was announced. Terry guided England to 3rd place at Euro96 which was held in England. A player in his own right, Terry played for Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, QPR and Crystal Palace as a midfielder. He made 508 club appearances and scored 50 goals and was capped by his country once.

On the 26th the Junior Eurovision Song Contest was held in Nice, France. It was a home win for the country as their act Zoé Clauzure won with her song Coeur. As for the United Kingdom’s entry they finished 4th, with the group called Stand Uniqu3 and the song was entitled Back to Life.

Following the New Zealand General Election (See October) Christopher Luxon announced the formation of a coalition Government with support from ACT and New Zealand First on the 27th. This makes Christopher Luxon, the third New Zealand Prime Minister of the year.

We end November with the news of the death of 2 notable people. We first look into the political world as former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alastair Darling died at the age of 70. Throughout his political career, Alastair held several Secretary of State roles before becoming the Chancellor under then Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Alastair represented the Labour Party in the constituency of Edinburgh Southwest from 1987 until 2015 (Edinburgh Central 1987-2005).

Shane McGowen

The 30th was also the day the entertainment world mourned the passing of The Pogues front man Shane McGowan. The Pogues are probably most famous for their Christmas hit with Kirsty McColl, Fairytale of New York. The Pogues identified themselves in the Celtic Punk genre of music. Shane was born on Christmas Day in 1957, and during his music career he had 9 hit singles (including with The Pogues) and 11 UK Top 40 albums (Including with The Pogues). Shane’s legacy will live on through his music, but in particular at Christmas with The Fairytale of New York.


Snow is falling
All around me
Children playing
Having fun

It’s the season
Love and understanding
Merry Christmas everyone

Bob Heatlie

On the 3rd the first of the Snooker Triple Crown events of the season took place, the UK Championship. The event took place at the Barbican Centre, York, and was won by Ronnie O’Sullivan for an 8th time.

It was on the 6th that Google DeepMind released the Gemini Language Model. This release is Google’s most capable model yet. It is designed to function as a foundational model integrated into Google’s existing tools. Google claims this model has advanced ‘reasoning capabilities’ to ‘think more carefully’ when answering tough questions. The world of AI continues to develop.

Over a 3-day period from the 10th through to the 12th saw the presidential election in Egypt. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi swept to a third term as Egypt’s president with 89.6% of the vote, he faced no serious competition. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the country’s 6th President.

As the polls closed in Egypt on the 12th the COP28 climate summit was taking place in Dubai. For the first time in the 30-year history of the conference there was a consensus reached by the countries attending to transition away from fossil fuels. A truly momentous moment in the fight against Climate change.

Steve Halliwell

On the 15th it was announced that Emmerdale’s Zac Dingle actor Steve Halliwell had died at the age of 77. He had spent 29 years on the soap. Before he was on the soap, he had a career as an apprentice engineer and worked in cotton and paper mills. He has had other roles on television including in Cracker, Heartbeat and Coronation Street.

Serbia were holding their parliamentary elections to elect members of the National Assembly on the 17th. The elections were initially scheduled to be held by 30 April 2026, but the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, called a snap election in November 2023. The results show Miloš Vučević’s SNS Coalition take an additional 10 seats in the assembly making their share 130 seats with a vote share of 48.01%.

Over in the Red Sea a deteriorating security situation was reported due to reported attacks on vessels by Houthi rebels on the 18th. A number of shipping companies announce a temporary suspension of their operations, including oil giant BP. This looks a news story that will go through into 2024.

This year the annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year show was again moved to a weeknight as opposed to the traditional Sunday evening. The evening of the 19th was a celebration of the year in sport, an opportunity to mark the passing of the sporting stars that have left us this year and to celebrate the achievements of those in the sporting world. This year’s edition was the 70th in the history of BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The awards of the night went to: 

Sports Personality of the Year:
(Public vote)

1st Mary Earps
2nd Stuart Broad,
3rd Katarina Johnson-Thompson 

Helen Rollason Award:
Fatima Whitbread

Coach of the Year:
Pep Guardiola

Team of the Year:
Manchester City

Young Sports Personality of the Year:
Mia Brookes (16), Snowboarding

Lifetime Achievement:
Sir Kenny Dalgleish

Unsung Hero:
Desmond Smith

World Sport Star:
Erling Haaland

December really does seem to have been the month of elections, on the 20th the Democratic Republic of the Congo went to the polls. The results saw a sweeping victory for the incumbent President, Félix Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress with 72.89% of the vote.

Brianna Ghey

We return to a story that we looked at earlier in February. On the 20th the trial of those accused of the murder of Brianna Ghey, ended after 3 weeks of evidence. Both defendants were found guilty of the murder of Brianna. The Jury deliberated for 4 hours and 40 minutes before coming to their guilty verdict. Judge Mrs Justice Yip indicated that life sentences would be forthcoming.

The following day on the 21st Mrs Justice Yip ruled that anonymity orders protecting the identities of the convicted murderers would be lifted, therefore they would be named during the sentencing hearing which is scheduled to take place on 2nd February 2024.

We have 2 events on the 21st, the first event was the ruling by the European Court of Justice that threats by FIFA and UEFA to sanction football clubs that want to join the European Super League are unlawful. The league was originally announced and received backlash from fans, and the wider football world in April 2021. The competition was announced with 12 European clubs joining the league:

AC Milan,
Atlético Madrid,
Inter Milan,
Manchester City,
Manchester United,
Real Madrid, and
Tottenham Hotspur.

The ruling of the European Court of Justice does not mean that a competition like the ESL must be approved.

On the same day, over in Prague, a student opened fire in the philosophy department building of Charles University, the shooter was a student there. Police have not released the shooter’s name. The shooter is responsible for the worst mass shooting in the Czech Republic’s history, killing at least 14 people and injuring 25 people. Prague Police Chief Martin Vondrasek said that police believe the shooter had killed his father, earlier in the day in his hometown of Hostoun. Based on a search of his house, police also believe that the shooter killed another man and his 2-month-old daughter on the 15th in Prague.

Over in the Israel-Hamas war on the 22nd, the reported death toll in Gaza has passed 20,000, almost 1% of the population, surpassing the casualties in the 1948 Arab-Israel War.

Christmas Day sees 2 annual traditions for families to huddle around the tv. 1 of these goes back decades, the other only a few years. The first is the annual address to the nation by HM The King. This year was His Majesty’s second Christmas Message. This year he was filmed at Buckingham Palace in front of a living tree, with natural and sustainable decorations for the first time, marking His Majesty’s ongoing environmental efforts. The tree is to be replanted.

The second, more recent tradition for families was the annual adaptation of a Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler children’s book. This year it was the turn of Tabby McTat. The BBC who aired the show states:

‘In the bustling heart of London, Tabby McTat (Sope Dirisu),
a singing cat, and his busker friend Fred (Rob Brydon)
entertain passing crowds, and the pair are ‘purrrfectly happy’.
One day, while Tabby McTat takes a stroll, he stumbles upon a
friendly feline named Sock (Susan Wokoma).
Then fate takes an unexpected turn when a thief steals
the buskers’ hard-earned money.’

Tabby McTat follows in the footsteps of:

2009 – The Gruffalo,
2011 – The Gruffalo’s Child,
2012 – The Room on the Broom,
2015 – Stick Man,
2017 – The Highway Rat,
2018 – Zog,
2019 – The Snail and the Whale,
2020 – Zog and the Flying Doctors,
2021 – Superworm, and
2022 – The Smeds and The Smoos.

We are excited to see what the 2024 edition might be.

On the 29th having returned to the Better, Link Centre Ice rink, as discussed in September, our Swindon Wildcats qualified for the NIHL National cup semi-final. On their return to the rink the team had to win 5 of the 6-cup qualification games and hope for some help from elsewhere. It was the 27th when Peterborough Phantoms lost to the MK Lightning that qualification became clear, and the team knew a win on the 29th and they would qualify, the team won out 8-3 winners on the night to take the last available Semi-final spot. A truly fitting end to the first half of the season.

Nobel Prizes

This years Nobel Prizes were awarded to:


Moungi Bawendi,
Louis E. Brus, &
Alexey Ekimov,

Discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.


Claudia Goldin,

Research into female income and employment.


Jon Fosse,

Innovative plays, prose and style, which has come to be known as Fosse minimalism.


Narges Mohammadi,

for her works on the promotion of feminism.


Pierre Agostini,
Ferenc Krausz, &
Anne L’Huillier,

Experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter.

Physiology or Medicine

Katalin Karikó, &
Drew Weissman,

Their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.

And finally….

As 2023 draws to a close, we hope that you have enjoyed our review of the year.

We would like to wish
All our customers, suppliers, family and friends,
A VERY Happy New Year!

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