IN a year in which the town discovered its links to Magnum P.I star Tom Selleck, residents have certainly had a lot to ponder over. An action-packed 12 months has seen the Reds lose at Wembley, the council finally receive so-called levelling up funding and Barnsley legend Sir Michael Parkinson die.

A number of local people have even picked up Royal accolades over the last year.

Chronicle chief reporter Jack Tolson reviews the last 12 months in Barnsley.


Barnsley finally received more than £10m in so-called ‘levelling up’ cash from the government, paving the way for town centre projects to pick up the pace.

The council had been unsuccessful in its previous Levelling Up Fund applications but revealed yesterday that its second-round bid - titled Barnsley Futures - was approved by ministers.

Cash was be used to fund an activity park next to the town’s forthcoming youth zone off Schwabisch Gmund Way, a wellbeing hub based at YMCA on Blucher Street and the creation of the Northern Academy for Vocal Excellence (NAVE), which will become a permanent home for Barnsley Youth Choir.

Nurses at Barnsley hospital walk out and join the Royal College of Nursing national strikes to secure better payment and more staff.

Nurses took to the hospital’s Gawber Road entrance, joining colleagues across the country in the two-day walk-out.

One nurse told the Chronicle: “It’s heartbreaking for us to walk out but we’ve done everything to help during the country’s time of need - the majority of us have gone above and beyond without a moment’s hesitation.”

Local footballer and bombshell Tom Clare joined Love Island in its ninth series to find love in the villa in Cape Town, South Africa.

Tom, from Darton, started his career at Oakwell in the Barnsley FC academy.

He reached the final and finished third.


Barnsley hospital Doctor Asim Salim travelled to Turkey to set up two medical camps and help the injured after a devastating earthquake killed more 59,000 people.

He travelled there twice with non-government organisation Humanity First UK.

Middleweight boxing champion Callum Simpson signed an exclusive promotional deal with Sky Sports as he eyed more titles this year.

He told the Chronicle: “This is the next chapter for me. It’s what I have worked my whole life for. I have been boxing since I was nine. To be boxing on TV is what all boxers want and it’s the opportunity to get the fights and belts I want in the future.”

Barnsley MPs Dan Jarvis and John Healey met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his state visit to the UK, to mark a year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Mr Jarvis said: “No one could fail to be moved by the spirit and strength of President Zelensky as he spoke, and we continue to be inspired by the defiance and bravery of the Ukrainian people since Russia’s reprehensible illegal invasion.”

MARCH (PD092006)

The Chronicle were given an exclusive tour around Barnsley Hospital’s new £7.3m intensive care unit. The 68-week programme officially ended in March after a former office block was demolished to make way for the project. The new unit will also enhance patients’ experiences and wellbeing with more appropriately-sized and spaced-out beds, better lighting and décor, as well as enhanced provisions for privacy.

These factors all contribute to shorter stays, quicker discharges, and speedier recoveries in general, hospital bosses said.

Barnsley band Civic Green had the chance to perform on their home stage in front of 11,000 people at Oakwell. The band were named after the green outside of the Civic Hall in the town centre by the original drummer Adam Wright, who used to use the area as a ‘misbehaving’ teen. They even earned the respect of then head coach Michael Duff who praised their performance.

Toddler Hope had a pacemaker fitted after already having three open heart surgeries in the first two years of her life, giving her family fresh hope. Parents Leanne Shirt and Mike Mike Pickersgill had a long week waiting for news whether Hope’s heart would start beating on its own. They also said her recovery was much faster than anticipated, stunning the doctors and nurses.

APRIL (SP660302)

Magnum PI star Tom Selleck said he was shocked to discover his ‘tarn’ links after researchers at the Chronicle - along with three private investigators - discovered his links to Barnsley on his maternal side. The Detroit-born actor had starred in the Hawaii-based crime drama television show that ran for eight seasons in the 1980s. A number of follow-ups ensued and it was revealed that his links to the borough were a lot stronger than anyone first thought. Lynn Dakin, originally from Monk Bretton, and her ex-husband John spent years working with Selleck at his California ranch at Hidden Valley.

It was revealed in April that raw sewage was pumped into Barnsley’s rivers for thousands of hours in 2022. Yorkshire Water release sewage when there is too much demand on their treatment works during rainy periods. One of the worst-hit areas of Barnsley was Darfield. The figures reveal that in 2022, two sewer storm overflows linked to water treatment plants between Darfield and Broomhill spilled a total of 94 times for a total of 1,138 hours - or about 40 days non-stop. Coun Trevor Smith, who represents Darfield, slammed Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency for their role.

Darren England took a step back from his Premier League refereeing when he came back to his roots this month. He took charge of a junior football match involving under sevens’ teams from Wombwell Main and Redfearns. After a difficult year, Darren is still refereeing at the highest level and is known world-wide as being one of the best officials in the game.


The Labour Party in Barnsley won a council seat in Penistone East for the first time in 25 years following the local elections in May. Labour won 15 of the 21 seats up for election, extending its majority in the council chamber. Coun Caroline Makinson also became the first ever female deputy leader of the council after Chris Lamb stood down. She said: “I put my name forward for the deputy leader role as I thought my experience would suit it well - I think in ten years I’ve done a lot on multiple committees so I have a good knowledge bank.”

Michael Duff’s Barnsley side lost in the dying minutes at Wembley to their local rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the play-off final. The Reds finished the game with ten men after Adam Phillips was sent off early in the second half, before Josh Windass fired the Owls to the Championship with a 123rd minute winner, leaving the Oakwell faithful heartbroken. Duff then left to manage Swansea - where he has since been sacked - and five of the starting 11 have also left the club.

Plans for a multi-million pound higher education hub were unveiled to the public to address a skills gap in the technology industry. As part of the project, Barnsley College will invest £12m to redevelop its Church Street site, once home to the Barnsley Mining and Technical College. It’s hoped that the hub will open to the public in 2024.


Heroic attempts to protect a crumbling hall from becoming overcome with out-of-control foliage - and finally being lost to the elements due to decades of neglect - continued in a bid to salvage a ‘vital part’ of Barnsley’s history after an MP backed a campaign to bring it back into use. Grade II-listed Grimethorpe Hall - which was built in 1670 for Robert Seaton - has long been the subject of a series of failed bids to bring it back into use since it was last occupied more than half a century ago. It was revealed this month that work would continue in a bid to save it.

It was announced in June that the town’s flooded mines which have been dormant for decades could be brought back into use to help solve an ongoing energy crisis - after council bosses admitted they are exploring plans to use the water to heat homes across the town. Engineers believe it is possible to capture residual heat from the water - which is hundreds of feet underground - as it re-fills naturally and remains at approximately 15C to 20C throughout the year.

Barnsley man and ex-Red John Stones helped Manchester City complete a historic treble and win their first Champions League title on Saturday. City beat Inter Milan 1-0 in Istanbul thanks to a goal by Rodri midway through the second half. It’s believed the Reds will pocket more money from their deal with Everton after Stones picked up his third trophy of the season.

JULY (SP662910)

STAFF members’ resilience - described as the key to the NHS’s remarkable longevity - was praised when local leaders came together to mark its 75th anniversary this month. The National Health Service was formed on July 5, 1948 and became the first universal healthcare system of its kind available to all and free at the point of delivery.

Quick-thinking gym members who helped save the life of a man who was stabbed twice during a daytime attack - before breaking his leg as he tried to escape - have been hailed as heroes. Jonathan Burton and two other locals, 37-year-old Lauren Rains and 27-year-old Blayze Brown, helped save the life of the young man. He was unfortunately left with life-changing injuries.

Dolly Parton tribute act Adele Foster was rejoicing this month after her account, which was removed by Facebook after new rules came into force, was reinstated. She said that 99 per cent of her work had come through the platform - but she’s now working again after the confusion.


Chat show host and Barnsley legend Sir Michael Parkinson died. He grew up in Moorland Terrace, Cudworth, and his father Jack worked at Grimethorpe Pit. He joined the Barnsley Chronicle in 1956 but his stay was short - he quit after a row with then editor Ronnie Yates about an article promoting Yates’ belief that hanging criminals was a good thing. Parkinson joined the Yorkshire Evening Post in Doncaster and met Mary Henneghan who would become his wife. He began his chat show ‘Parkinson’ on BBC1 in 1971. It ran until 1982 and from 1988 to 2004 on the BBC and until 2007 on ITV. One of his best friends, Dickie Bird, said: “’I’ve got a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye thinking about him. I’ve lost a fine friend, a special friend. There will never be another chat show host like Parkinson - he is a legend.” A blue plaque has since been installed at Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre in his memory.

A bloody face following a fall didn’t stop three Barnsley men completing the Three Peaks Challenge in memory of a one-week-old who died of an extremely rare disease. Luke Stephenson and his friends Dale Whitaker and Matthew Strutt took on the mammoth challenge in the latest part of their fundraising series. They’ve raised thousands of pounds for charity whilst on their journey, and they picked up a Proud of Barnsley award in November.


Rosehill House Residential Home, based on Keresforth Road in Dodworth, was closed by the Care Quality Commission just two years after being rated as ‘good’ - after inspectors found the site ‘placed people at risk of harm’. All of the residents, and most of the staff, were deployed to over care homes across the borough following the closure.

Chronicle sub-editor Ashley Ball completed the coast-to-coast challenge with his friends for charity. It was a fantastic effort by Ashley, who spent a number of days on his bike - raising thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support and Dementia UK in the process. Ride in numbers:

Kilometres covered: 349.85.

Counties passed through: Seven.

Elevation gain: 1,459m.

Estimated calories burned: 10.809.

Moving time: 22 hours two minutes.


Guests gathered to get a first glimpse of a renowned artist’s portrait of poet Ian McMillan. Ian, also known as the Bard of Barnsley, was the subject of Richard Kitson’s new work. He said: “It’s such a privilege to have my portrait painted by a wonderful Barnsley artist like Richard. Barnsley these days is a real hub of the arts thanks to people like Richard.”

One of Barnsley’s oldest shops officially closed its doors to the public in October after more than 100 years of service. Shoe repair shop H.E Payne and Sons officially opened in 1923, but co-owner Natalie Parkes was forced to shut up shop in its centenary year due to the cost-of-living crisis, the pandemic and changing consumer habits. She said: “Like many other businesses, independent or not, the pandemic has hit us extremely hard and whilst we have tried to battle on as long as we can, we have to now finally admit defeat.”

It was announced this month that a 15-year era for darts in Barnsley would end after the PDC called time on their tournaments at the Metrodome. It’s estimated that the move will leave a £1m blackhole in the town’s economy. The venue has hosted PDC tournaments since 2009, but the world’s top darting stars won’t be making an appearance again.


The former site of Elsecar Ironworks is set to be transformed after long-awaited £25m plans for a new heritage railway and rail college broke cover in November. The leader of Barnsley Council, Sir Steve Houghton, said he wants to make the site an area which will ‘thrive long into the future’. Included in the ancient monument’s plans, which have taken a number of years to be drawn up, include a new heritage railway, a rail college, outdoor events, and more.

The spectacular Proud of Barnsley awards, hosted by the Chronicle, made its return to the Metrodome in November. There was a record-breaking number of nominations - more than 400 in all - and a sell-out crowd of almost 550 packed into the Metrodome Arena to see the 18 awards handed out. It was the first time that the Sir Michael Parkinson Special Recognition Award was presented by Sir Michael’s son, Mike, who told the audience that Barnsley always had a special place in his father’s heart. Artist Ashley Jackson said he was thrilled to be the inaugural recipient. “I’ve had lots of awards throughout my life, but the greatest award ever is from Barnsley,” Ashley added. “It’s superb, I can’t believe it I still have to pinch myself.”

When Florence Boycott and Anne Brown were born in the town centre in 1923 televisions, computers and the internet were just a pipe dream - but 100 years later and the identical twins defied the odds by 700 million to one when they celebrated their birthday this month. They’ve lived through three monarchs, World War Two and a total of 20 different Prime Ministers - and even England’s World Cup win in 1966. They said that sweet treats and biscuits were the secret to a long life.


A Worsbrough Village teenager made history by being named as the youngest ever contestant to qualify for the Miss England event next year. Alexandria Crystal is currently 15, but will celebrate her 16th birthday just a few weeks before the semi-final which takes places at Viva, Blackpool, on April 7. It was her mum, Vicky, who put her forward in the competition. She said: “She was so shocked when I told her about it - I don’t think she’d have gone for it herself.” Alexandria is using her platform to attempt to raise awareness about dyslexia - a condition she suffers with.

Television star Helen Skelton was all smiles as she hosted a book signing at Cannon Hall Farm in December. The former Blue Peter presenter and Strictly Come Dancing contestant released her autobiography In My Stride in October, and was on hand to greet her fans and sign their books. The event took place at Cannon Hall Farm in Cawthorne, where she is currently filming hit Channel Five show Winter On The Farm with the Nicholson family.

The family of a youngster who is one of a handful of children her age battling juvenile arthritis praised her Christmas spirit - after she decided to embark on a toy donation project for kids who will spend the big day in hospital.

Hollie Kyle’s home on Nettlecroft, Monk Bretton, resembles a branch of toy giant Smyths due to the success of the appeal which has seen family, friends, her school and medics back her campaign.

She delivered the items to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where she received treatment for her arthritis for more than a year.