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 July to September.

JULY

A DAMP and dreary Sunday morning was brought alive when 10,000 people came to catch a glimpse of the Olympic torch as it passed through Huntingdon.

Melanie Hare, 43, started the Huntingdon leg before passing the flame to 91-year-old Warboys man Reg Whittaker.

Other torchbearers came from further afield and included Formula One team boss and Queen’s Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes and MTV presenter Laura Whitmore. All received an energetic and loud welcome from the crowd.

“It’s never going to come through the town again so we had to come,” nine-year-old Katie Strange, of Godmanchester, said.

A HOUGHTON firm played a key part in the stunning London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.

Director Danny Boyle wanted a map of central London to dominate the floor of the Olympic Stadium - but needed something that would withstand the weight of thousands of participants during the show and its rehearsals while also having visual impact.

Up to the plate stepped Le Mark, which produced 225 individually-printed rolls of high-impact vinyl, each weighing 35kg, which were glued in a massive jigsaw to the wooden floor of the arena.

Managing director Stuart Gibbons said it took four months to scale up and print the design and lay it in the stadium.

YOUNG people joined forces with paramedics, firefighters and police officers to produce a hard-hitting road safety film.

St Ives-based charity Young Lives was commissioned by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership to design a youth-led road safety campaign aimed as passengers and drivers aged between 16 and 25.

Working with youngsters from the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Nacro), the results was Think Future Not Funeral - a film full of gritty realism that was not for the faint hearted.

Posters advertising the Think Future campaign went up in Cambridgeshire schools and hospitals while the video, which is available on YouTube, was shown to pupils across the county.

“We want to shock people,” said 17-year-old Kaya Williams from Alconbury, who played a part in the film.

AUGUST

IF 2012 belongs to anyone, it is Olympic and Strictly star Louis Smith.

The 23-year-old, who trains at Huntingdon Gym, scooped silver in the pommel horse final at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, as well as a bronze medal in the men’s artistic final.

As if that wasn’t enough, the gymnast later won BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, wowing audiences with his array of dancefloor skills.

Louis will get back to down to the serious business of training in 2013, where the target of a gold medal at Rio in 2016 will most certainly be in his sights.

A FILM revealing the secrets of Godmanchester’s Roman past was made by a museum curator.

Kate Hadley, who helps to run Godmanchester’s Porch Museum, convinced people across the town to allow their private collections to be captured in photographs.

Her hard work allowed the museum to build up a collection of about 300 pictures of Roman artefacts found in the area, which included pottery, brooches and coins.

“I knew that various people had been collecting loads of things but I didn’t expect them to be so beautiful or so important,” she said.

“Real treasures have emerged from the project, including a world class figurine of a horse, dating from the second century.”

BRYN Dymott failed in his attempt to swim breaststroke across the English Channel - but succeeded in raising more than £4,000 for charity.

The St Neots father-of-two, who lives in Love’s Farm, had to abandon the 21-mile quest to swim to northern France after seven-and-a-half hours in the water because, with temperature at little more than 10 degrees, hypothermia set in.

“It was as if I was falling asleep for seconds at a time,” Mr Dymott said, as his body began to react to the water temperature.

“I’m gutted and very disappointed because I’d prepared so well and I don’t really know why this happened.

“There’s a good reason why only nine people have swam breaststroke across the English Channel!”

He plans to have another attempt in 2015.

SEPTEMBER

HORROR came to the streets of St Ives as an out-of-control car ploughed into two pedestrians in the town centre, causing them both serious injuries.

Eyewitnesses described seeing a woman in her 20s dragged underneath the Honda Civic as it sped along Market Hill, while an elderly woman was thrown over the roof of the vehicle as she crossed The Pavement.

It crashed into a shop, a sign post and other vehicles as it careered around two tight bends and came to rest after colliding with iron railings in front of the town’s Oliver Cromwell statue.

Jennifer Armes, 32, of Abbotts Crescent, St Ives, said: “A lot of people were screaming and crying and there were some people who had to jump out of the way. I thought he was going to hit me. It was terrifying.”

A FORMER policeman was reunited with the cop car he used on the beat 40 years ago.

Ex-traffic officer Tony Peters, of Clayton’s Way, Hartford, spotted the four-door Ford Lotus Cortina Mark II - known to him at “Tango 8” - being advertised in a copy of Classic Cars magazine.

Mr Peters was reunited with the car 40 years after a picture of him and colleague Pc John Cooper was taken standing with the vehicle, which was now been restored to its former condition.

“Seeing the car again was brilliant,” Mr Peters said.

“I got to drive it again. It didn’t feel the same as it did but I’m glad it was saved from the scrapyard.”

PRINCE Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, marked a significant day in Godmanchester’s 800-year chartered history by officially unveiling the new town sign.

More than 200 people, including children from St Anne’s and Godmanchester primary schools, came to see him reveal the new signs before he toured the area, seeing a display by Godmanchester in Bloom and being presented with a basket of flowers by five-year-old Summer Wood.

Councillor Christopher Vane Percy, the mayor of Godmanchester, said it was a “perfect day”.

He added: “I am really proud of the town and thank the community for organising a year-long programme of events for our 800th year.”