As the year comes to an end, we reflect on a few of the most memorable faces we have reported on over the past 12 months.
1. Arron Banks
Thornbury-based multi-millionaire Arron Banks donated £8m to the Leave.EU campaign ahead of the EU referendum and has been dogged by allegations ever since, with the National Crime Agency investigating possible criminal offences. In November 2018 the Information Commissioners’ Office confirmed he would face fines of up to £135,000 due to breaches of personal data. Banks denies any wrongdoing, tweeting “so what?” after the fine was announced.
The street artist made headlines in October when a shredder hidden in the frame partly destroyed Girl with Balloon just after it was auctioned by Sotheby’s in London for £1.04m. A video released the following day revealed that it was Banksy himself who planned to destroy the artwork after it was sold, although the failed stunt is said to have increased the painting’s value by a minimum of 50 per cent.
3. Ben Stokes
The attention of the world’s media was focused on court 1 at Bristol Crown Court in August for the trial of England cricketer Ben Stokes, following a late-night street brawl on Clifton Triangle. After 30 hours of testimony, the all-rounder was acquitted of all charges after the jury accepted that he had acted in self-defence.
4. Berlinah Wallace
In her flat in Redland in September 2015, Berlinah Wallace attacked her partner with acid. Mark van Dongen ended his life in a euthanasia clinic in January 2017 due to the severity of his horrific injuries. A murder trial was held at Bristol Crown Court in May, and Wallace was sentenced to 12 years – a life sentence – for throwing a corrosive substance with intent, though she was found not guilty of murder.
5. Briony Williams
Bristol-born Briony was a firm favourite in the series and narrowly missed out on reaching the final of this year’s Great British Bake Off. Despite being a full-time mum with only five years of self-taught baking experience, she exemplified humble competence from the very first episode, creating a biscuit selfie of herself and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Since leaving the show Briony says she is unsure of what she intends to do next but remains excited for any opportunity to carry on baking and get her recipes out there.
6. Chloe Ball-Hopkins
The BBC Radio Bristol reporter became the UK’s first wheelchair-using beauty pageant finalist in April 2017 after discovering that no other wheelchair user had participated. In July this year, Chloe continued her campaign of visibility by launching a disability-friendly waterproof jumpsuit in collaboration with ASOS, which was commended by Vogue.
7. Clare Reddington
Since joining Watershed in 2004 for a six-month project, Reddington has risen to the position of creative director and in August took over as CEO. She intends to continue the development of the Watershed into an even more diverse and successful space, and towards the end of this year revealed major redevelopment plans.
8. George Livesey
After opening his restaurant Bulrush on Cotham Road South in 2015, the chef and owner added a shining star to his CV in October. The restaurant became the fifth in Bristol to earn itself a Michelin star, and was commended by the judges for its creative and well-judged flavours and combinations.
9. Herman Gordon
University of Bristol students clubbed together in May to raise over £1,500 so that Herman Gordon and his wife could afford to fly to Jamaica to visit family. Herman, who has worked as a cleaner at the university for a decade, was told that, after brightening the days of the students, they wanted to return the favour. He was reduced to tears in a video that went viral.
10. John Volanthen
The IT consultant from Long Ashton did what many thought was impossible in July: bringing 12 young football players and their coach safely back to the surface after they became trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. Volanthen helped to co-ordinate the complex rescue that claimed the life of one rescuer after the boys had been stranded for nine days. He attributed his caving skills to time spent exploring Wookey Hole, where, in 2004, he set the world record for the deepest dive in a British cave – 76m.
11. Judah Adunbi
After mistaking Easton resident Judah Adunbi for wanted man Royston McCalla in January 2016, PC Claire Boddie discharged her taser and hit Adunbi in the face. She was acquitted of assault in May of this year. Adunbi himself alo faced trial this year after being accused of using racist language by staff in a betting shop on Stapleton Road, but was found not guilty.
12. Lando Norris
Born in Bristol in 1999, Lando Norris is set to be the youngest ever Formula One driver. He will race in the 2019 season for McLaren. Currently, Lando sits in second place in the Formula Two Championship.
13. Liv Little
Since graduating from the University of Bristol in 2016, Liv Little has founded – and is now the editor-in-chief of – gal-dem, a magazine created by and for women of colour. In February, Liv appeared on the cover of Voguealongside the likes of Labour MP Stella Creasy and Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker, in a feature about the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage.
14. Michele Curtis
The artist, who was brought up in Easton by Jamaican parents, has embarked on an ambitious project to celebrate the seven saints of St Paul’s. She completed her second mural, depicting Dolores Campbell, a foster carer to more than 30 children and lifelong campaigner for racial equality, just after the 50th anniversary of St Paul’s Carnival in July.
Thousands of people have called for Ursa, artist Jamie Gillman’s bear sculpture, not to be removed from the Bearpit. With a petition to stop plans for the statue’s removal hitting 3,500 signatures, it means there will now be a council debate. “Perhaps now we can have some transparency and this debate can be conducted in the public arena rather than behind closed doors,” said Richard Jones, former vice chair of the Bearpit Improvement Group.
16. Vanessa Kisuule
Writer, poet and performer Vanessa Kisuule was named Bristol’s second City Poet in February, taking on the role from Miles Chambers. It was a busy year for Kisuule, who performed at mayor Marvin Rees’ State of the City Address in October and toured both in the UK and internationally at slam poetry events. Also in October she was named one of three artists who will be documenting the transformation of the Temple Quarter as it becomes the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.
17. Viv Faull
The first female bishop of Bristol in 500 years arrived into the city by boat in October to music from the Easton Salvation Army band. Bishop Viv’s official enthronement was a hugely symbolic affair. Before entering the cathedral, she knocked with her staff three times on the west door to be allowed into the building. Among the congregation was John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, Viv’s previous boss.
18. Zoe Power
Artist Zoe has had a very busy year. This summer she created a striking mural for Bristol Women’s Voice at Upfest, and designed a sculpture for Gromit Unleashed 2. Her latest work is an illuminated installation on Festival Way close to Bedminster Cricket Club called Electric Moon.
Read more: ‘This year has been quite magical’