OUR look back at 2014 in Croydon continues with a review of the main headlines in November...
THIS was the month of the great Croydon Council playing fields hokey cokey.
A report put before the council's cabinet initially stated that housing could be built on those school playing fields which were considered to be "excessive".
Simon Hall, cabinet member for finance, said schools found to have "surplus" space would be approached with a view to the land being used for affordable homes or council services.
But, by the end of the month, the council had performed an apparent U-turn, with leader Tony Newman stating no playing fields would be built on – plus a good old-fashioned spot of political spin to suggest it was never on the cards in the first place of course.
Former England cricketer Mark Butcher, who attended Trinity School, was among those to condemn the idea.
He told the Advertiser: "I appreciate housing is at a premium, but I think [developing on playing fields] is a very dangerous idea because you remove places for kids to be able to get out and run around.
A RETIRED firefighter was charged with beating his adopted son to death.
The body of dad-of-one Shaun McSweeny, 24, was found in the back of a car near Deptford Wharf after officers responded to a call saying a man was trying to put a body in the River Thames.
Police said the former All Saints CofE Primary School and Croydon College student was killed in Thornton Heath. A post-mortem examination found he suffered a blunt force to the head.
Colin McSweeny, 58, of Parry Road, South Norwood, was charged with murder and remains in custody.
A 21-YEAR-OLD knife crime crusader was named on a list of the world's 100 most inspirational women.
Eliza Rebeiro, who runs Lives Not Knives (LNK) from Croydon, was featured on the BBC list along with the likes of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and comedienne Ruby Wax.
She started the charity in 2007 aged just 14 to give young people a support network after two of her friends were stabbed, one fatally.
ONE particular story this month showed Croydon at its very worst – and best.
On November 14, the Advertiser reported how a thief had stolen a Poppy Appeal tin from the counter at Danny's fish and chip shop, in Old Coulsdon, leading owner Danny Tevfik to brand the man responsible a "scumbag".
But, within a week, eight-year-old Millie Timmins roused her family and schoolfriends and raised £52.52, to replace the charity cash stolen.
Sister Izzie, 6, even chipped in, adding another 60p from her own pocket money.
Mr Tevfik, who has run the shop in Marlpit Lane for three years, said: "I was nearly in tears when she gave me the money. It was just unbelievable."
THE care worker brother of a schizophrenic woman who died in a house fire in South Norwood said the care system failed his sister.
Janet Ramsey, 63, was found dead in the back lounge of her house in Waverley Road on November 14.
Her brother Tony Ramsey – who fears his sister started the fire that killed her – said she had fallen into a deep depression coming to terms with family bereavements and had threatened to take her life on a number of occasions, including one failed attempt in early September.
But Ms Ramsey, who was placed at the Royal Bethlem Hospital, in Shirley, was allowed to return to the Waverley Road house alone, despite her brother's pleas not to let this happen.
Mr Ramsey said: "Where is the care in the care system? I know at the end of the day this comes down to resources and I understand that, but how can you put a price on a life? She should not have been at home on her own."
AT THE ripe old age of 79, Darth Vader, aka the Green Cross Code Man, aka actor Dave Prowse returned to our screens.
Mr Prowse, who lives in Addisconbe, reprised his famous Green Cross character of the 1970s for a new series of adverts.
In an interview with the Advertiser, he also took time to talk about his other great claim to fame – his part as that Star Wars character.
"Star Wars has taken over everything I've ever done," he said. "I still go to lots of conventions all over the world which are fantastic. I enjoyed working on episodes 4, 5 and 6 but I think they dropped a clanger with the last ones; they were cobblers."
PLANS were announced in November for a major summer festival to return to Croydon for the first time in five years.
Croydon Council is planning a four-day event over a weekend at the end of July or early August 2015.
Ambition, as it has since been called, will be held across various indoor and outdoor venues in the town centre, with a number of high-profile acts earmarked to headline the stages.
John Bownas, the council's festival manager, said the event would be a very different entity to the Croydon Summer Festival, which ended in 2010.
He said: "Hopefully it will be something that anybody coming to town that weekend can enjoy."
QUOTES OF THE MONTH:
"It was quite upsetting everyone thought I wasn't used because of my accent. I could have done just as good a job, I wasn't going to say 'ooh arr lightsabre', but I have to live with that."
Croydon-based actor Dave Prowse on the decision to use his body, but not West Country accent, in the Star Wars films
"What faith can I have? What else can go wrong? Will one of their attorneys be the first man on Earth to have a baby?"
A frustrated Maggie Hughes after the Greek retrial of her son Rob's attackers was delayed for at least another year
"Luckily Shannen has been brought up quite broad-shouldered and to remember the whole 'sticks and stone won't break your bones' thing."
Rachel Holdsworth was shocked to learn Dr Salma Uddin had dubbed her daughter Shannen"obnoxious" and "grossly obese" in a patient report
"At the moment, I'm still angry and I still want blood. I want them gripping the rails. I want to see them suffer for what they did to me and my family."
Private investigator Jonathan Rees, who has twice been charged but not tried for the murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987, harbours plenty of anger towards those who falsely accused him