HERE we continue our review of 2020, looking at what went on between October and December.



THEATRES, music venues and museums left fighting for survival in the face of ongoing coronavirus restrictions received hundreds of thousands of pounds in emergency aid.

The Oxford Playhouse, Old Fire Station and The Bullingdon were among Oxford venues to benefit from a slice of the Government’s £1.6 billion Culture Recovery Fund, which has been welcomed as 'an incredible lifeline' for recovery.

The Playhouse in Beaumont Street, which is suffering a massive cash shortfall after having to axe its entire programme and close, received £458,000.

The Bullingdon music venue in Cowley Road recieved more than £212,000.


TRIBUTES were paid to a mother and her three children who died in a horrific crash on the A40 just outside Oxford.

Zoe Powell died alongside her two daughters, Phoebe, eight, and Amelia, four, and their six-year-old brother Simeon.

Her husband Josh, 30, and their 18-month-old baby girl, Penny, survived the crash.

Mr Powell paid tribute to his loving family.

He said: “I had been blessed with four wonderful children, whose thirst for life and hunger of adventure kept me busy but in the best possible way.

“As I look to an uncertain future, I reflect on the fun that we had as a family, with feelings of sadness that it was cut so short.

“Now we have the time to readjust and grieve, this is the challenge of the abundance of loss we feel as a family.

“Thank you to those who have respected our space and supported us thus far, and given us the time and space to do this.”


BUSINESSES and food banks across the county stepped up to support vulnerable children after Conservative MPs voted against providing free school meals outside term time.

Oxfordshire's Tory MPs were among those who helped to vote down footballer Marcus Rashford’s bid to extend free meals for disadvantaged students in the school holidays.

In Oxfordshire 10,127 children are eligible for free school meals.

Across October half term local, businesses offered to help feed any children going hungry.

More than 20 businesses, volunteer organisations, and religious organisations county-wide helped feed children over these holidays.



A GIANT snake was thought to be on the loose in Oxford after a man and his granddaughter found a shed snakeskin near a busy road.

Alan Drewett and his granddaughter Amelia, seven, made the discovery next to the Eastern By-Pass, under the Old Road bridge, with experts confirming it had the pattern of a boa constrictor.

The section of skin measured five-and-a-half feet, but the snake could be several feet longer in total.

The boa's whereabouts remain a mystery.

Boa constrictors are non-venomous, but have been known to kill large animals by squeezing them to death.


More than a quarter of children in Oxford were already living in poverty before the coronavirus pandemic started, a study revealed this month – and the figure may have grown.

Data collated by the End Child Poverty Coalition revealed that, in the run-up to March 2020, a total of 7,061 children were living in families that were below the breadline in Oxford.

This equates to 26 per cent of all children living in the city being classified as living in poverty – which represents a small decrease over the last five years.

But the city council said there were ‘still too many are living in deprivation’.

It is also uncertain yet how the pandemic will affect the number of people living in poverty in the city in the long term.



The Churchill Hospital in Oxford was one of 50 hospital hubs chosen to roll out the initial wave of jabs in December.

On December 8 the first person in Oxford, Nicholas Woodthorpe, received the Pfizer jab.

Another early recipient was Anne Wagner, who works as a team manager for the acute hospitals team based at the John Radcliffe Hospital.


A FORMER Post Office manager was one of six who had their convictions overturned in court.

Horspath sub-postmaster Vipinchandra Patel had his conviction for misappropriating funds officially quashed in Southwark Crown Court on December 11.

The conviction related to the long-running Post Office Horizon scandal.

The scandal saw hundreds of sub-postmasters convicted of crimes including false accounting, fraud and theft when accounts showed unexplained shortfalls and discrepancies.

It is now widely thought that this was a result of faults in the Post Office's Horizon IT system.

Mr Patel said he felt as though he could ‘start living again’.


OXFORDSHIRE was put into Tier 4 restrictions at one-minute past midnight on Boxing Day.

This means the county is in the highest coronavirus restrictions in the country to help curb the spread of the virus.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said in a press conference two days before Christmas: "We all know that 2020 has been a hard year and it's ending in this festive period which is going to be very different."

He said the variant of the coronavirus is spreading at a 'dangerous' rate and that it was 'absolutely vital' that we 'act'.

Tier 4 means you cannot leave your house without a reasonable excuse, people are encouraged to work from home if they can, and all non-essential retail will close.

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