IT has been a year packed full of news and a lot has happened across Basingstoke and Deane, the Advertiser looks back at some of those iconic moments.


The year started with the shocking news that yet another pub was closing in the region due to energy price hikes and a drop in turnover. The Weyhill Fair pub in Weyhill was forced to close because of the various challenges the pub industry was facing, according to its landlady Claire Revius.

She announced on Facebook that the 18th-century pub would officially close at 5pm on Sunday, January 8. Claire told the Advertiser that she was sad to leave her beloved pub, but she had no option. She also thanked her current and past staff for their support.

Andover Advertiser: This came after a charity, Andover VIPs (Visually Impaired People), closed after 30 years of helping blind or partially sighted people in the area. It shut down due to a lack of membership and volunteers.

In the following week, a non-profit initiative that had been giving youngsters free prom dresses also shut. For four years, full-time working mum Kate Lamb had been supporting Andover residents in financial difficulties who would otherwise miss out on proms. But she announced in January that she was forced to close the Andover Prom Dress shop with immediate effect.

Andover Advertiser: January also saw a new health hub providing essential health checks and clinics for patients opening in Andover town centre.

In the same month, a mystery substance that looked like 'fuel' appeared running through the River Anton sparking fears of an 'environmental disaster'. The noxious substance was first noticed by passers-by on January 16. It upset residents who said they were fearful of the damage it was causing to the river and its wildlife.


There were further closures in February as an Andover music festival organiser announced that the event would no longer take place. Marie Ponting said Andover Rocks, a festival that had been running for seven years to improve people's mental health through music intervention, would cease because it was time for her to focus on her own business and family.

On February 4, a Longparish pub had some famous visitors to the delight of fellow customers and the landlords. After performing in the Engine Rooms Southampton, indie rock band Kula Shaker travelled along the A303 and visited The Plough Inn for Sunday lunch. The legendary band were on their way to a show in Bristol when they decided to stop at the pub.

Andover Advertiser: In February, the manager of Andover Foodbank who has helped those in need through the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis retired from her role after 12 years. Jenny LeLean started as volunteer manager at the foodbank in 2010, before progressing to become the manager.

The month also saw community coming together to help a man whose kebab van was attacked by a gang. Sedat Celebi, who is known by locals as Adam, runs Adam’s Best Kebabs and Breakfast, the only takeaway in the Kentsboro area, near Middle Wallop. On February 9, Adam’s van was attacked by a group of five men after they attempted to steal a gas canister bottle and refused to pay for the food they had ordered.

The online fundraiser, organised by Middle Wallop resident Alana Hollister, raised more than £1,000 for Adam.

On February 24, a lorry driver was jailed at Winchester Crown Court for 12 years for killing three people in a crash on the A303 near Andover. Tina Ince, 58, Thomas Watson, 30, and Alexandra Britton, 28, died instantly when Michal Kopaniarz crashed into a stationary food truck on August 25, 2021.


Andover residents woke up to see a blanket of snow covering the town after it fell overnight in March. People went out and about and were enjoying the snow in Andover as many schools announced closures or later start times. While youngsters enjoyed making the most of the late snowfall not everyone was enamoured with the wintry conditions with travel disruption across the country.

Andover Advertiser: On March 13, a family-run furniture business was devastated by fire after a blaze broke out and ravaged its warehouse.

The huge fire broke out at The Dormy House, in Walworth Business Park. More than 100 firefighters from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Rescue Service, and also crews from Dorset and Wiltshire and Royal Berkshire, rushed to the scene and worked to put out the fire for more than 24 hours.

According to the warehouse staff, the fire broke out at around 9.30am. There was a large amount of smoke coming out of the estate and nearby residents were told to close their doors and windows.

In March, a former Andover town councillor was found guilty of raping a child who he groomed.

Adam Buckenham, 47, was on trial at Winchester Crown Court where he denied 14 charges including rape, sexual abuse of a child, taking indecent photographs of a child and voyeurism. He had pleaded guilty to six other charges.

Following the week-long trial which started on Monday, March 6, Buckenham was found guilty of eight counts of rape and all other charges by a jury that deliberated for four hours and 59 minutes. Later in July, he was jailed for 15 years for these offences.

March also saw Andover’s popular ‘Second Sundays’ market returning.


The month started with Test Valley Borough Council deferring its decision on a plan to build 102 dwellings in Andover, saying the proposal is ‘like a Swiss cheese – full of holes’.

Taylor Wimpey was looking to build 102 dwellings along with a retail convenience store and a sub-station on land west of Finkley Farm Road in East Anton. The plan later got permission in July in another council meeting.

Further in April, organisers of Andover’s popular soapbox derby were forced to cancel the annual event due to increased expenses and the cost-of-living crisis. The shock announcement was made by Andover Community Events on social media, to the disappointment of residents and previous competitors.

Andover Advertiser: April saw an Andover service that provides care and support for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs being told it needs to improve following an inspection.

Opportunities for Adults and Children, run by Purple Oak Support at The Wellington Centre, in Winchester Road, Andover, was visited by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in February and a report published in April said it ‘requires improvement’ overall.

Inspectors visited after receiving concerns relating to the quality of care, leadership and governance.

Andover New Street clinched the Wessex League Division One title in April with two games to spare as they defeated their closest challengers Newport team 4-1.

Andover Advertiser: Andover New Street celebrating the title winIn the last week of April, yet again a mystery substance, which looks like fuel, was spotted flowing through the River Anton – four months after a leak caused great concern to residents and wildlife lovers.