THOUSANDS of athletes arrived in Weymouth to take part in the Ironman 70.3 triathlon. Wet weather led to a delayed start time and shortened swim leg. The full event involves a swim of 1.2 miles in Weymouth Bay, a cycle ride of 56 miles around the countryside, and then a run on the final stretch of 13.1 miles.

ENVIRONMENTAL activists took to the streets of Weymouth to raise awareness and to demand action on climate change. Extinction Rebellion held a Day of Action in the town centre, during which protesters and a samba band marched through the streets and onto the Esplanade. Members also drew chalk lines on walls to demonstrate where tide lines could rise to by 2099, based on predictions from climate scientists.

A LEATHERBACK turtle was spotted off the coast of Portland and was first mistaken for a basking shark. Sightings of the creature - the largest of all living turtles - are rare, and it had been four years since one was last seen in Dorset waters.

DORSET County Hospital was ranked as one of the country's best performing acute trusts after receiving top feedback from patients of all ages. The hospital was ranked seventh in the survey's overall, and fourth in how the trust has improved in comparison to the previous survey.

EMERGENCY services were praised after a late night rescue saw a person airlifted to safety after their boat crashed onto rocks in Weymouth. A major operation was launched after the individual blacked out onboard and their vessel ran aground.

WEYMOUTH and areas of Dorset were left underwater after high spring tides and bouts of heavy rain led to flooding across the county. Weymouth Harbour was put on a flood alert and parts of the town, including stretches of Commercial Road and the area surrounding the Town Bridge, ended up waterlogged.


CHAT show host Lorraine Kelly was named a patron of the Gill Harler Fund, a Dorset-based charity which raises awareness about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Gill Harler, from Weymouth, was chosen as a finalist of Lorraine’s Inspirational Woman of the Year Award in 2016 for her determined campaigning, but passed away just three months later. Lorraine was invited to represent the charity by Gill's daughter, Karen.

THE lantern which gave Portland Bill its iconic sweeping beam was switched off in preparation for its removal. Planned upgrades to the lighthouse involved replacing the lantern with a flashing LED light, which was reported to be more energy efficient and have a range of 18 nautical miles.

FANS were disappointed after the Dorset Knob Throwing Festival was cancelled for 2020. The decision, made by Kingston Mauward College who hold the event, received national attention from BBC Radio 1 breakfast show host Greg James, whose grandmother lives in Weymouth. The DJ said he hoped he could inspire a comeback sooner than expected.

THERE was outcry after Dorset Council planned a 41-mile diversion route around a 65-foot stretch of the A352 near Dorchester, which was closed for sewage works. The usual route along the road takes less than two seconds to cover, while those who took the proper diversion added an hour to their journey. Officials said the lengthy detour was necessary as it had to use A roads.

WEYMOUTH was once again awarded Purple Flag Status, which recognises high standards in managing the evening and night time economy, including providing a safe and enjoyable night out.


TRIBUTES were paid to Les Ames, dubbed 'Mr Portland', who passed away peacefully at the age of 100. Mr Ames, a former town, borough and county councillor who was mayor of the borough twice and island mayor three times, devoted more than 40 years of his life to local politics. He had served in the RAF before moving to Portland with his wife, Jean, in 1953. Mr Ames was made an MBE in 2006 and an Honourary Freeman of Portland in 2014.

A TEAPOT belonging to a Dorset resident sold for £1m at Duke's Auctioneers in Dorchester. The stamp on the teapot's base was identified as being that of the Chinese emperor Qianlong who reigned between 1735 and 1796. The item was initially estimated to sell for a few thousand pounds but sparked an international bidding war between 10 buyers, before a final price of £1,040,000 concluded the auction.

A MYSTERIOUS ship, 45 metres in length, arrived in Weymouth after travelling from Little Russel, a channel running between the isle of Herm and Guernsey, where it had been anchored for several days. The MV Jireh was then towed into Portland Port after sustaining a power failure, while the crew was looked after by a seafarers' charity. Dorset Police announced that an operation was being led by Border Force officials and that the International Transport Workers Federation had been informed.

DORCHESTER was revealed as the UK's healthiest town based on the number of independent takeaways and high street fast food outlets there are per resident. The only McDonald's serving Dorchester is on the outskirts of town, although construction is underway for a KFC beside the football club.


A GIANT navy aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, anchored in Weymouth Bay en route to Portsmouth from America. Capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft, the boat is the Royal Navy's largest and most powerful vessel and stopped off in Weymouth so that part of a squadron from Yeovilton air base could disembark. The ship had been overseas for three months, taking part in extensive aviation trials and various other engagements.

A YOUTH worker chained himself to a bench in Weymouth town centre to highlight what he claims is 'shocking' poverty in the area. Tom Lane, principal youth worker at Steps youth club, handcuffed himself to a bench in St Mary Street after government data revealed 30 per cent of children in Weymouth and Portland now live in poverty.

A 21-YEAR-OLD from Weymouth won the chance to present the early breakfast show on Radio 1 on Sunday, December 29. Rhys Gunter volunteered at Air 107.2 in Weymouth before studying radio and digital production at the University of Westminster. While there, Rhys produced and presented shows on the student radio station Smoke Radio, which won Best Student Radio Station at the 2019 Student Radio Awards. Radio 1 supports the awards and invited Smoke Radio to present a number of shows over Christmas.

THE general election saw the Conservatives re-elected in Dorset. Richard Drax retained his South Dorset seat with more than 30,000 votes, while Chris Loder secured the Tory seat in the West Dorset constituency.