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Croydon review of the year - September

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AN EXTRAORDINARY story which made national news led the headlines in September...

IN ONE of the most shocking stories of 2014, the Advertiser exclusively revealed that apparent "exorcisms" of children were taking place in the early hours of the morning on a South Norwood street corner.

We witnessed a group of eight people congregating in the early hours on successive days and chanting in a group around a toddler behind South Norwood Leisure Centre.

They were heard to say "release your spirit" and "get the demon out" while the child stood in the middle of the group.

After we alerted the police, officers attended the scene the following day to warn those involved of the potential impact their activities could have on the area.

However, legal experts told the Advertiser the group were not breaking the law.

FORMER council leader Mike Fisher resigned as Conservative opposition leader after it emerged he had secretly accepted a £10,000 pay increase in his final year in charge.

Cllr Fisher took the rise at a time when cuts, including the £60,000 axing of several school crossing patrols, were being made following a reduction in Government funding.

His successor, Labour's Tony Newman, suggested the acceptance of a 18 per cent rise was "an act of hypocrisy and betrayal" but his predecessor was initially defiant and refused to stand down.

However, as the storm around him grew and his former cabinet colleagues refused to publicly back him, Cllr Fisher did eventually step aside, saying that he hoped "people will forgive me for my lapse in judgement".

Tim Pollard, one of Cllr Fisher's deputies, took over as Tory leader.

THE people of South Norwood opted against becoming part of Scotland – but instead voted for their own independence.

A grand total of 268 votes were cast in an unofficial referendum staged by the South Norwood Tourist Board (SNTB), a week before the serious business kicked off north of the border.

The residents of SE25 backed the forming of its own state, with 143 voting for the area to become the People's Republic of South Norwood.

The movement's leader, Paul Fearon, declared September 12 a public holiday in the new "state".

A SCHOOLBOY who survived life-saving surgery became the face of a charity's national advertising campaign.

Ten-year-old Dan Harris, from Purley, spearheaded the British Heart Foundation's Bag It Beat It campaign, appearing on a YouTube video and other promotional material to encourage more people to donate goods to its charity shops. Only a year previously, Dan underwent major open-heart surgery to potentially save his life. The video depicted the Margaret Roper school pupil showing off his scar in "super boy" style, as an inspirational show of the BHF's vital work.

HUNDREDS of children did not return to school as building work delayed the start of the new term.

Four schools in Croydon were unable to open as planned because new buildings were not ready.

Work took place at 17 schools in the summer as part of efforts to meet demand for places, but up to 1,500 pupils were unable to go to school on time as a result of the delays.

QUOTES OF THE MONTH:

"Nothing has gone to his head, his feet are still on the ground. He is still the same boy, he is just more lovely." 

Ray Harris on his son Dan, who survived open-heart surgery to front a major advertising campaign for the British Heart Foundation

"I do not want this mistake to damage my reputation and the reputation of the Conservative Party, which I have been proud to represent for over 20 years." 

Cllr Mike Fisher resigned as Tory leader after he admitted giving himself a 'secret' pay rise while running the council

"Some people don't understand because they think it's just a cat, but it's not. She was a member of the family." 

Alison Moss, from New Addington, was devastated after her pet cat was found beheaded in a neighbour's garden

"I've got the waxing down to a fine art – only about 15 minutes each day – involving a combination of Vaseline and beeswax, one of which has a gorgeous melted marshmallow smell." 

James Dyer, a call centre operator for Allianz Global Assistance, on owning (and looking after) 'Britain's second best moustache'

Croydon review of the year - September


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