WINNERS of the Best Christmas Window Award were announced as Floral Couture, in Weymouth, and Head 2 Head in Dorchester. The Dorset Echo had teamed up with Wessex FM, Dorchester Chamber for Business, Dorchester BID and the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce to award prizes to the best dressed commercial Christmas windows in the area. The winning businesses were awarded £100 for their efforts in this festive competition.

A POPULAR TV show, Celebrity Five Go Camping, saw five celebrities set up camp at Burnbake Forest Lodges and Campsite near Corfe Castle. The Channel 5 show featured former Eastenders stars Michelle Collins and Joe Swash, comedians Bobby Davro and Stephen Bailey, and Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker. The show also broadcast scenes from Purbeck and the five stars taking a ride on the Swanage Railway.

DOZENS of cannabis plants were found growing inside lorry containers during a police raid near Dorchester. A significant amount of the Class B drug was seized and two men from the local area were arrested. Police released images of the plants which were seen to be growing under heat lamps in the four containers.

PHOTOGRAPHERS across the county snapped pictures of the supermoon lunar eclipse, which occurred when the sun, earth and moon were aligned. The full moon appeared to glow red as it was covered by the Earth's shadow. The moon was also near its closest approach to the Earth, which made it appear 10 to 15 per cent larger in the sky.

A MULTI-AGENCY rescue operation was launched after a 15-year-old girl became stuck in the mud at the Fleet near Weymouth. A crew from Portland Fire Station were joined by two fire engines and a technical response team from Weymouth Fire Station. They used specialist mud rescue equipment to allow rescue teams safe access to the casualty. Several ambulances and police cars also attended.


TWO to 30cm of snow was reported to have fallen across Dorset as temperatures dropped to below freezing, with coastal and inland areas affected. Schools across the county were closed with planes at Bournemouth Airport grounded and the Studland Ferry suspended. Three car accidents were reported within close proximity of each other, on the B3351 near Corfe Castle, but no serious injuries were sustained. Gritters used approximately 1,800 tonnes of salt to make driving safer.

A "DOPEY" French bulldog discovered a Second World War bombshell on the beach at Studland. Four-year-old Gus unearthed the ordnance before his owner, Gary Wells, called the emergency services. The army's bomb disposal unit arrived, checking the device was safe before removing it from the area. According to Mr Wells, Gus' actions were particularly remarkable as he never picks up a stick, chases a ball or digs any holes.

A WOMAN from Weymouth discovered a small pearl in an oyster that she bought from Weyfish, a fishmonger in the town. Esmee Nicholls, 77, was enjoying her seafood with her husband Roger when she felt something hard in her mouth. The owner of Weyfish said that nobody in 40 years had ever found a pearl in their oysters, while Neil Strudwick, owner of Goldcrest Jewellers in Dorchester, said that the odds of finding a pearl in an oyster naturally is about 12,000/1. The value of the pearl would depend on its size, colour and quality.


A SUSPICIOUS item was discovered on Weymouth Beach, prompting a visit from the army's bomb squad. A 100m cordon around a section of The Esplanade was put in place and some businesses were evacuated. Police said it was possible the item - described as having a 'weathered look' - was uncovered during the levelling works on the beach.

DORSET County Hospital welcomed a mini Tesla electric car onto its Kingfisher Ward, allowing young patients to drive themselves to surgery. The car was donated by Bournemouth-based R Symonds Ltd and is a scale version of the Tesla Model S. Designed for children aged three to eight, the car recreates the feel of a real Tesla with a rechargeable battery, headlights, a horn, and even an MP3 sound system.

THE Flying Scotsman steamed in Dorset and spent five days hauling carriages from Swanage to Corfe Castle and Norden. It then went on display to members of the public at Corfe Castle train station for just over two weeks. The world's most famous locomotive cost £7,944 to build and was completed in 1923 by the London and North Eastern Railway, later becoming the first in the UK to haul a train at 100mph.


HUNDREDS of protestors marched through Dorchester to show their opposition to plans to build 3,500 homes on the outskirts of the town. Campaigners included representatives from Save The Area North of Dorchester (STAND) and town crier Alastair Chisholm, who said: "If we lose that countryside, we will never get it back again." The plans were put forward by Persimmon Homes, who also proposed the building of a new school.

A MEMORIAL was unveiled at the Chickerell Airfield site by former servicemen Peter Price and Colin Pomeroy. The airfield played an important, if rather unrecognised, role for many years between the First World War and the late 1950s. The memorial commemorates the site's importance in history and the personnel who served there, and comes after a long period of planning between charity Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust (ABCT) and authorities.

WEYMOUTH Sea Life Adventure announced the arrival of a baby Humboldt penguin. After difficulty feeding, staff at the centre made the difficult decision to hand-rear the chick, whose parents are Preciosa and Sequoia. The baby was looked after in a safe quarantine area away from public view.

ACTRESS Pauline Quirke, star of Broadchurch and Birds of a Feather, visited the Inpatient Unit at Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester. She spoke with patients and families about their experiences of the hospice, before being given a tour of the unit and talking to staff about the services they provide. Pauline was said to have fallen in love with the Jurassic Coast after starring the hit ITV drama Broadchurch, which was filmed in West Bay.