‘Pens down, masks on’ was the motto for the start of the school with additional coronavirus measures being welcomed into classrooms across South Oxfordshire.

A consultation opened in Abingdon over controversial plans for a reservoir while over in Wallingford speed limits were decreased to 20mph for safety.


Tragedy struck after a 23-year-old man died when a tree fell on his truck and crushed him at the height of Storm Eunice. Jack Bristow, from Sutton Courtenay, was killed in Aton, Hampshire while he was working to clear fallen trees at the height of the storm.

His heartbroken friends paid tribute to the ‘loving’ dad who one called ‘one of the most kind and caring young people’.

In Wallingford, a large quantity of cash was stolen from The Keep bar after a burglar smashed through the front window.


A bad start to Mother’s Day this month as expectant mothers were forced to travel further after the reopening of Wantage Maternity unit and Cotswold Birth centre in Chipping Norton were delayed until August.

Women over in Wallingford meanwhile were starting a new running group after the murder of Ashling Murphy prompted safety concerns for women running alone.

Founder Nina Sarpong said: ““It pushed me to pull my finger out. I thought the group would be a nice legacy for Ashling.”


Plans for a long-awaited extension on the Wantage Health Centre in Mably Way was approved. The Health Centre is shared by the Newbury Street and Church Street GP practices and for almost a decade staff and patients have been waiting for an extension.

Meanwhile, an annual music festival organised by Wallingford Rugby Club was cancelled indefinitely – Rugfest.

The event which had been running for 11 years was last held in 2019 but the rugby club decided it was no longer financially viable to carry on.


Swimmers in Abingdon were desperate to see the Abbey Meadow pool reopen for the summer but told they need to wait despite other outdoor pools across the county opening early.

They were told they need to wait until July despite campaigners urging the Vale of White Horse District Council for early access.


Seventy years under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated across South Oxfordshire in June with picnics, parties, and more.

However, Abingdon had to switch up the Platinum Jubilee plans last minute after travellers moved onto Rye Farm Meadow.

Abingdon community services and events officer Andy Crick said the cancellation of one day, the first of four days of live music, was ‘unfortunate and a shame’.


Truck Festival returned with four days of rock and roll in July. The annual festival, held at Hill Farm, Steventon, saw 25,000 revellers enjoy a weekend of sunshine and music.

Headlined by Kasabian, Sam Fender, The Kooks, Bombay Bicycle Club and Blossoms, the event proved to be a huge success.


A murder shocked Wallingford this month – a town known for being the background of popular show Midsomer Murders – as Katie Hurmuz-Irimia, 40, was found dead at her home in Blue Mountains on August 30.

Her husband, Mihai Hurmuz-Irimia, 29, has been charged with her murder and is due to stand trial in February next year after pleading guilty.

Over in Grove, a budget supermarket was approved to be built on a green field east of Grove Road, next to Elm Farm Business Park.

Building of the Lidl will start in early 2023.


Residents, businesses, and authorities across the county mourned the loss of Queen Elizabeth II who passed away on September 19.

Flags were flown at half-mast and tributes flooded town halls and churches for the late monarch who reigned for 70 years.

There was further sad news for the residents of Wantage as the historic Wessex Mill in Mill Street announced it would be closing at the end of the year.

The mill, which has been operating since the 1800s, announced its closure due to rising electricity prices.

The Wessex Mill brand has been acquired by Doves Farm Food in Hungerford, which will milling grain under the Wessex Mill name at its site in West Berkshire.


Ghosts and ghouls were not the only thing to look out for this October with buses and vans being the biggest scare.

This comes after Simon Sharp, from Wallingford, was struck by a wing mirror of an X40 bus in St Martin's Street.

After receiving six stiches to the head, he urged Oxford Bus Company to change routes to no avail.

Over in Wantage a cyclist was ‘left for dead’ after the driver of a Vauxhall Vivaro van failed to remain at the scene after hitting a woman in her 40s by Pulpit Hill between Sparsholt and Childrey.

She has since recovered after being hospitalised by the driver has not been caught.


The Oxford Mail office was inundated with birthday cards this month after a medical marvel, Isabelle Goldsmith, asked for 1,000 cards from readers for her 9th birthday.

Isabelle, who lives with her parents in Charlgrove, was born with exomphalos meaning her organs are on the outside of her body.

She wasn’t expected to survive after birth so every birthday her parents endeavour to make her wishes come true – a total of 210 cards were sent in filling desk drawers to the brim.

In Abingdon, plans were submitted for a new junction off the A34 to help the flow of traffic throughout the town. The new slip road could be at the Lodge Hill Interchange.

A decision is to be reach in February or March of the New Year.


An un-festive start to the month after Toys UK in Broadway, Didcot closes permanently after a burglary.

A vanload of Lego was taken from the independent retailer forcing it to close its doors forever.

Meanwhile, a Freedom of Information request revealed temporary traffic lights on Abingdon Bridge has cost Oxfordshire County Council almost £87k to run.

Repairs to the bridge are due to be complete in the New Year.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @geeharland