As the year comes to a close, we are looking back on some of the biggest news stories which have taken place on our patch. 

Here, we are looking at what happened in the first quarter of the year between January and March to kickstart this four-part review. 


At the very beginning of the new year, two Oxfordshire towns were handed the very-unlucky titles of being the worst places to live in the UK.

Didcot and Abingdon were both listed as worst places to live in the country according to an annual survey by the satirical website iLiveHere.

Oxford Mail: Abingdon and Didcot named some of the worst places to live in the UKAbingdon and Didcot named some of the worst places to live in the UK (Image: Archive)

On January 7, we reported that one of Oxford’s historic pubs shut its doors for the final time.

The Grapes, in George Street, announced its closure with a notice on the front door of the boozer.

Oxford Mail: The Grapes in Oxford The Grapes in Oxford (Image: Archive)

READ MORE: Oxford pub The Grapes on George Street shuts forever

During January, Clarkson’s Farm star Jeremy Clarkson made the news for a number of reasons.

Firstly, he responded to a Chadlington resident’s complaint that traffic to his farm shop caused “chaos” in the area.

Mr Clarkson said the woman could have used a different road 'instead of moaning'.

"There are three roads from Chadlington to the A361. She could have used one of the other two instead of moaning,” he wrote on Twitter.

READ MORE: Jeremy Clarkson’s Meghan Markle column pulled after 17,500 complaints

Following this, the motoring writer-turned-farmer had his application for a 60-seat cafe or restaurant at Diddly Squat Farm rejected by West Oxfordshire District Council. 

Oxford Mail: The star's planning application was refused The star's planning application was refused (Image: Archive)

On January 20, new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras were installed in Bartholomew and Cornwallis Road in Cowley.

The cameras were installed to catch those who are illegally driving through bus lanes.

Oxford Mail: ANPR cameras were installedANPR cameras were installed (Image: Archive)

Two teenagers were seriously injured in a shocking late-night attack on January 21.

Forensic teams and a specialist police dog unit were still investigating the incident in Nightingale Avenue, more than 12 hours after emergency services initially rushed to the scene.

The male victims, both in their late teens, were assaulted and left seriously injured at around 11.40pm on Friday night.

Oxford Mail: The teens were seriously hurt in the shocking attackThe teens were seriously hurt in the shocking attack (Image: Archive)


Oxfordshire County Council’s controversial decision to only serve vegan food at events was met with a protest.

Local farmers staged a protest at County Hall on February 8 and insisted the authority should be supporting local produce.

Oxford Mail: The protest took place outside County Hall The protest took place outside County Hall (Image: Archive)

On the eve of Valentine's Day, Thames Valley Police launched a murder investigation after Keith Green was stabbed to death in Banbury.

Oxford Mail: Police at the scene-watch in Howard Road, Banbury, on Monday, February 14Police at the scene-watch in Howard Road, Banbury, on Monday, February 14 (Image: Archive)

READ MORE: Banbury knifemen found guilty of murdering Keith Green

On February 18, Storm Eunice was one of the biggest news events - both nationally and locally - as it caused widespread disruption, destruction and saw a local man killed.

23-year old Jack Bristow from Sutton Courtenay was killed after a tree fell on his truck, whilst he was working to clear trees in Hampshire during the height of the storm.

READ MORE: More than £9,000 raised in memory of Jack Bristow killed in storm Eunice

Oxford Mail: Jack Bristow was killed during the storm Jack Bristow was killed during the storm (Image: Newsquest)

Just one day later, Oxford United were hit with the devastating news that U’s legend Joey Beauchamp died aged 50.

In a statement, the club said: “The thoughts of everyone at Oxford United are with the family and friends of Joey Beauchamp, who has passed way aged 50.”

Oxford Mail: Joey Beauchamp died aged 50Joey Beauchamp died aged 50

On February 22, an Oxford Mail investigation revealed there is a “culture of cover ups” at Oxford University, where students are made to “keep quiet”.

Oxford Mail: There is a culture of cover ups at the universityThere is a culture of cover ups at the university (Image: Archive)

READ MORE: Oxford University accused of creating ‘culture of cover ups’ where students told to ‘keep quiet’ 

Towards the end of the month, Britain’s first zero emission zone (ZEZ) started in Oxford when the city’s pilot was launched.

The controversial traffic measure scheme charges road users a daily fee to enter the ZEZ between 7am and 7pm, unless they are exempt.

The exempt vehicles include zero emission vehicles, such as electric cars, which can enter the pilot area free of charge.

At the time, councillor Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for travel and development strategy, said: “The ZEZ pilot is a very important step towards our aim of moving towards a zero carbon transport system in the county. 

“I want to thank all the residents and businesses who sent us their feedback and worked with us as we developed the pilot.

"Over the next year we will learn from this pilot and continue working with our communities before expanding the ZEZ. 

“Poor air quality is a public health risk for everyone. The ZEZ will reduce toxic air pollution in our city and while making Oxford a safer, cleaner and better place for people who live and work here and for those who visit.” 

Oxford Mail: The ZEZ scheme began in Oxford The ZEZ scheme began in Oxford (Image: Archive)


On March 1, pharmacology researcher and mother-of-two Dr Ling Felce, 35, was killed at The Plain roundabout.

The cyclist was killed by Robert Whiting, 40, who was behind the wheel of the DAF tipper lorry that collided with her.

READ MORE: Tributes paid to 'brilliant' Dr Ling Felce who was killed in The Plain cycle tragedy

There was an outpouring of grief from the local community and hundreds of people turned out to remember her at a vigil on March 8.

Oxford Mail: Ling Felce was killed on The Plain roundabout Ling Felce was killed on The Plain roundabout (Image: Archive)

On March 3, an inquest was opened into the death of Oxford United ace Joey Beauchamp.

The coroner's court heard the 50-year-old former winger was found hanged at his Kidlington home.

Oxford Mail: Oxford Coroners CourtOxford Coroners Court

Oxford United’s past and present came together to remember club legend Joey Beauchamp at his funeral on March 25.

Among those to pay their respects to Beauchamp were former players and teammates including the likes of Anton Rogan, Chris Hackett, Jamie Brooks, Mark Angel, Matt Elliott, Nigel Jemson and Paul Powell.

Head coach Karl Robinson and academy manager Dan Harris also attended the funeral, which was scattered with yellow shirts and scarves.

Oxford Mail: Oxford United fans paid farewell to Joey Beauchamp at his funeralOxford United fans paid farewell to Joey Beauchamp at his funeral (Image: Archive)

As March drew to a close, teenager was attacked with an 'unknown' object at school.

Thames Valley Police received a report of an 'incident' at Aureus School in Didcot on March 28.

Investigators say the student, a teenage boy, was assaulted with an unknown object and was left with a minor injury.

Oxford Mail: The incident happened at Aureus School The incident happened at Aureus School (Image: Ed Nix)


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing:

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