Megan Wallace explores the Barnsley Chronicle archives from 2002.

HIGH-FLIERS Adrian Eldridge, Andrea Large and Ryan Sandberg are celebrating after graduating from the Royal Air Force College.

They have passed their 24-week initial officer training course, which included physical and ground defence training, leadership and management skills, adventure training in Scotland and air experience.

Their graduation parade took place outside the college in Cranwell, near Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

Acting pilot officer Ardian, 27, from Higham, joined the RAF after leaving Barnsley College with an HND in leisure studies. He previously worked for a bank in Leeds.

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He will begin his professional training at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland.

Flying officer Andrea, 29, from Cudworth, served for 12 years after attending Willowgarth High School.

Flying officer Ryan Sandbag, 22, joined last December after graduation from Loughborough University.

PHIL DAVIES’ innovative website helped cut the number of empty shops in Rotherham and he’s hoping to do the same for Barnsley.

Rotherham had 147 empty buildings but after launching the website to publicise the units, services and visitor attractions, it dropped to 28.

Barnsley’s Town Talk website is still in the early stages but he hopes for the same success.

He said: “Rotherham is a lot like Barnsley, it’s not a particularly sexy town but people didn’t even consider it. We built its profile.

“For me, working in Rotherham was like playing football for a team I didn’t support so I’ve moved to Barnsley instead.

“We’re hoping it takes off here too.”

MEMORIES have been flooding back for Teresa Walker, who has returned to Barnsley for the first time in 37 years.

When she left, Barnsley was a quaint market town, but she still knows her way around.

Teresa has been in Perth, Western Australia since 1965 and is visiting her sister-in-law Norah Hoult with her husband Ray, 58, and youngest daughter Sophie, 18.

Many things have changed and the town centre was a big surprise.

“It looks the same on the perimeter where the older buildings are, but the market and Cheapside are totally different,” she said.

“It was little, wooden stalls when I left. The lay-out of streets hasn’t really changed and I was looking for the big stork for Bailey’s children’s shop at New Street, but it’s gone.

“And there are far more pubs than I remember. In fact, I cannot believe how many there are now.”

A VILLAGE church has been saved from closure after locals rallied to raise thousands of pounds for vital roof repairs.

The congregation at St Paul’s Monk Bretton was told last December that it would not survive another harsh winter without extensive repairs.

A grant of £181,000 had already been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund but to access it, church goers needed to raise an extra £29,000.

Church leaders warned unless cash to pay for the repairs could be found, it faced indefinite closure. An appeal was launched which brought in a further £11,000 grant and a house-to-house collection another £10,000.