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Saturday, July 24, 2021

A year in review: July 2020

July marked a rather mild mid-winter in Newcastle and, whilst worries of the COVID-19 pandemic reigned, Newcastle Weekly was able to provide its readers with some great stories.

Here’s what happened in July 2020.

Life’s just rosy on Lorn farm

When you buy a rose farm, you would think a certain finesse to lovingly tend to the flowers would be instinctive.

For Denise Duffield-Thomas and her young family, it was the start of a learning curve.

Denise had never thought about buying a country property before, but, when the renowned Lorn Rose Farm was listed on the market, she wanted in.

“I started reading Country Style Magazine and I just fell in love with these country cottages, so I put an alert on my phone for country cottages just to look and then I saw this place came up,” she told Newcastle Weekly.

Read more here.

From Maitland to MasterChef

Eight years ago, Andy Allen was a name few people knew.

He was an electrician living in Newcastle who had little clue about where his life would go but, after pursuing a dare from one of his best mates, he’s become a household name.

Andy won MasterChef Australia in 2012 and earlier this year he returned to television screens across the country as a judge.

Andy said the experience as a judge has been “special from the get-go”.

Newcastle Weekly was also lucky enough to feature some of Andy’s scrumptious recipes – available here.

Click to read more about Andy’s story.

Rachael Clancy
Rachael said it’s challenging but she doesn’t know any different. Photo: Peter Stoop

Fostering hope: Rachael’s work makes a difference

In July, Newcastle Weekly was able to feature the story of foster mum Rachael Clancy, a remarkable woman who’s warming embrace ran in the family.

“My family started fostering when I was 11 and, growing up, we always had kids coming into the family to stay permanently,” she said.

“For me, it was a privilege to do that journey with the kids, I’ve always wanted to adopt a child later in life.”

“They were struggling to find a home for a beautiful little girl, so I took up the challenge, moved out of a share house with all of my friends and moved into a house on my own and started the life of being a mum.”

Read Rachael’s story on our website.

Flash flooding causes chaos

In late July, flash flooding posed an enormous challenge for Newcastle’s emergency services.

A heavy downpour on a Sunday afternoon saw areas of Wallsend, Callaghan, Mayfield, New Lambton, Broadmeadow and the wider Hunter swallowed by water, leading to several successful rescues.

One of the most serious incidents involved a bus with 10 passengers that was caught in floodwater near the University of Newcastle.

“Inside the bus, the water was coming into the fourth or fifth row of seats so, initially, the passengers were directed to the back of the bus and then taken out by a boat,” Newcastle SES representative Garry Luxton said.

Click here to see the story on our website.

Backlash over motion to rename fountain

In light of the global conversations about race after the death of George Floyd, City of Newcastle announced it would consider renaming council buildings and features so they would be “culturally appropriate”.

Councillor Allan Robinson labelled the City’s decision as “embarrassing”.

One of the sites under consideration was the Captain James Cook Memorial Fountain in Civic Park.

Part of this decision included removing two Captain James Cook memorial plaques attached to the Civic Park Fountain, which state: ‘To commemorate the Bi-Centenary of the Discovery of the East Coast of Australia 1770 – 1970.’

Read on here.

Rocky faced a big battle this year.

Rocky’s story: How a photo can save your life

Two-year-old Rocky Sefo faced a battle most adults could not even imagine.

Since he was just four-months-old, he has been fighting for his life against retinoblastoma – an eye cancer that begins in the retina that most commonly affects young children.

“When he was about four months old we noticed that he had a bit of a lazy eye and I remember one night, while I was doing the dishes, looking over at him while he was having some tummy time he had a reflective spot in his eye a bit like a marble or cats eye,” his mum Kara says.

According to updates from Rocky’s parents on the ‘Rocky’s Fight‘ Facebook page, Rocky is still undergoing treatment, and has since received a glass eye.  

To read Rocky’s story in full, visit our website.

Postpone the wedding date, again

The COVID-19 pandemic meant that a lot of couples had a difficult decision to make about their big days.

Natalie Orlando had to postpone her wedding day twice due to the pandemic and said “it just made sense to wait”.

Natalie and her husband-to-be are now planning to marry in March 2021.

“I honestly can’t believe that every supplier was able to exchange dates for us, we’ve been so lucky with the team we’ve chosen,” she said.

Read more about Natalie’s big day journey here.

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