2012 was a year of success and celebration for Huntingdonshire - but there have been challenging times too. ANDREW PAPWORTH looks back on the the period April to June.

APRIL

DAIRY Crest announced the closure of its plant in Fenstanton, with the loss of 250 jobs.

The milk company decided to transfer the 'polybottle' activities on its Huntingdonshire site to other plants in Gloucestershire, London and Derbyshire after missing out on a £75million investment programme.

Cath Speight, from the Unite union, said the closures would be a "massive blow" and urged the firm's management to rethink but the closure went ahead in November.

A ST NEOTS couple came up with a recession-busting way to way to get a foot on the property ladder.

Whereas most couples start out with a small flat or modest house, Lindy and Martin Bornman bought a single garage near to their rented house in Rye Close, Eynesbury for £6,500.

They decided to use it as an addition to the two-bedroom end of the terraced home they have shared since 2004.

"This way I get to increase the size of my house and gain an extra room," Mrs Bornman said.

The couple made the place homely by putting up pictures and book cases.

ANGLIAN Water launched the region's biggest ever water-saving campaign in a bid to tackle drought.

The Huntingdon-based water company urged people to reduce their daily water usage by 20 litres as a hosepipe ban was put in place following one of the driest winters on record.

The rainfall over the winter months was 79 per cent lower than average - the lowest since 1910.

The Environment Agency warned that pressure on water resources could increase over the summer but, as it turned out, they needn't have worried - after the hospipe ban was declared, rainfall in April was more than double the average.

MAY

INDEPENDENTS scored strongly in the Local Elections in May, increasing their control on St Ives Town Council and gaining widespread support in district council seats.

Labour won its first seat on Huntingdonshire District Council for 13 years after Patrick Kadewere beat HDC chairman Jeff Dutton by nearly 100 votes to win Huntingdon North.

UKIP won full control of Ramsey by winning all three of the district seats, whereas the Conservatives lost St Neots Eaton Socon to former Liberal Democrat and now independent Derek Giles.

The Lib Dems worked hard to keep Councillor Mike Shellens in Huntingdon East and succeeded in defeating Conservative heavyweight Sir Peter Brown, who was the former agent to ex-Prime Minister John Major and current MP Jonathan Djanogly.

LOLA was forced into administration after cashflow problems caused the closure of the business.

The beloved racing brand, which was established in 1958 and moved to Huntingdon in 1970, struggled to survive as a result of the economic downturn and a HM Revenue and Customs decision not to pay ongoing research and development tax credits.

It cut jobs throughout the year and finally ceased trading on October 5, after concluding that selling the business as a going concern would not be possible.

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly called it a "sad day for Lola Cars".

WORK began on a £6.8million flood alleviation scheme in Godmanchester.

Properties within low-lying areas of the town were considered to be at significantly flood risk, the Environment Agency said.

The scheme, which involved some of the defences being built in people's back gardens, provides protection to more than 500 homes and is set to reduce the flood risk from five per cent to one per cent in any year.

Geoff Brighty, area manager for the Environment Agency, said: "The contribution by these townsfolk is magnificent - they may not themselves be at flood risk but they are doing a civic service to their community by allowing us to take forward this work on their land."

JUNE

UNION Jack bunting was out across Huntingdonshire to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Dignitaries including the Venerable Hugh McCurdy, Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech, and deputy lord lieutenants Derek Bristow and Victor Lucas attended a flag-raising ceremony outside the Huntingdonshire District Council headquarters at Pathfinder House.

Guests then moved into the Civic Suite, where a refurbished portrait of the Queen was unveiled.

Elsewhere a Lancaster Bomber swopped three times over St Ives, much to the delight of the crowds, and Somersham Gardening Club's party featured 19th Century games and entertainment.

THE future of the district was put in the hands of the people as the Huntingdonshire Matters consultation was launched.

The project, run by a number of key partners including the district council and NHS Cambridgeshire, was designed to uncover the main issues, problems and challenges that people, groups, businesses and organisations face or expect to face.

After getting comments from members of the public, a conference was held on September 11 to look at the issues and how they could be tackled.

Groups met again at Wood Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester on November 13 to present some ideas on how to solve some of the main themes, which were education and skills, older people and younger people.

Councillor Nick Guyatt, HDC's deputy leader, said at the launch of the scheme: "We want for Huntingdonshire that we have co-created together."

WOOD Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The shelter, which is now Europe's largest animal rehoming centre, has rehoused about 75,000 animals since its opening in 1987.

In 2011 alone, the charity rehomed a staggering 2,507 cats and 1,469 dogs - an increase of 13 per cent on the year before because of the effects of the recession.

Despite tough economic times, the charity said it remained committed to providing the best possible care to all its animals.

"We have always said we wanted to be at the cutting edge of animal welfare," chief executive Dennis Baker said.

"Our aim is to use innovative and groundbreaking processes to take better care of animals and with continued support and people's generosity we are able to do that."