Review of the Year: May - August

Passengers Louise MacLellan and Jamie Cockburn jump up holding placards in front of the first Tram. 'Pic: Ian Rutherford
Passengers Louise MacLellan and Jamie Cockburn jump up holding placards in front of the first Tram. 'Pic: Ian Rutherford
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The trams finally began to take passengers while we all went Games and ice bucket challenge crazy

MAY

IT was the day many thought would never come. T-Day was set for May 31. At 5am on that Saturday, the first tram carrying paying passengers would make its way through the city.

Everything ran like clockwork with 40,000 travelling on the first weekend.

We had news of a GP crisis in the Lothians with warnings that 33 new surgeries were needed to cope with demand.

And this is the month that Mark Turley, the £120,000-a-year director of the council’s services for communities ­department, was suspended over the Mortonhall ashes scandal.

Contrasting emotions for the Capital’s football fans this month. Hibs were relegated with the last kick of the ball to join Hearts in the Championship. The first time in 125 years there has been no Capital club in the top flight. Manager Terry Butcher would soon exit.

Across the city, however, there was optimism as Ann Budge got the keys to Tynecastle and wasted no time in shaking things up. Craig Levein was drafted in and commercial activities revamped on what was billed ‘Budgement Day’.

Licensing leader Eric Milligan dismayed police by denying links between the number of licenced premises and anti-social behaviour. There would be more on that story later.

May saw victory in the Evening News campaign to name a street after Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly, and this was also the month we honoured Edinburgh’s heroes at the first ever Pride of Edinburgh Awards.

JUNE

The battle to build a new high school on Portobello High was finally won after being cleared by the government. Parents backed by the Evening News Get it Built campaign were jubilant.

The Commonwealth Games baton arrived in the Lothians on its journey to Glasgow with thousands turning out to the street.

We also enjoyed a mini-heatwave – remember that? At one point Edinburgh was hotter than Rio, though sadly not for long.

The Champions of Tennis event, which was due to be held at Raeburn Place, and feature the likes of John McEnroe and Tim Henman was cancelled at the last minute with organisers blaming the complex roof.

Hibs welcomed Alan Stubbs as their new manager as the Easter Road side set about planning life in the Championship.

We also had news that 200 people had been caught dodging fares on the trams!

Down in Stockbridge, the new owner of the iconic St Stephen’s Church was ­revealed as Rockstar Games supremo Leslie Benzies who said it was a philanthropic purchase to keep it in ­community use.

JULY

Scotland went Commonwealth Games crazy. All eyes were on Glasgow and boy did the city deliver.

The opening ceremony set the scene for a stunning 11 days of sport with many stars from Edinburgh and the Lothians picking up medals. Who could forget the bravery of Lynsey Sharp or the golden performances of the likes of Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall and Josh Taylor?

Then there was the Tom Daley show in Edinburgh as the diving events took place at the Commonwealth Pool. An unforgettable month.

Speculation mounted once again that we might soon be hearing the pitter patter of tiny panda paws at the zoo. Alas Tian Tian once again failed to deliver. Maybe next year?

Apple confirmed what was Edinburgh’s worst-kept secret, that they would soon be opening a new store at the east end of Princes Street. In July, it looked like an opening was imminent but it would take a few more months of fine tuning before the doors opened.

Edinburgh Airport hit its milestone of ten million passengers in a 12-month period this month. The next target for chief Gordon Dewar and his team was to record the same in a ­calendar year.

It was announced the spirit of Margo MacDonald would take part in the ­referendum campaign. Husband Jim Sillars revealed plans for a Margo-
mobile tour to bring his late wife’s message to voters around the country.

The Evening News launched the Shockingly Easy campaign along with the family of teenager Jamie Skinner who died on a Saughton football pitch. The campaign aims to put defibrillators in every sports club in the Lothians.

The festival carnival was held in Princes Street Gardens bringing crowds of thousands into the city ­centre. Tom Jones meanwhile rocked the castle on the same bumper weekend. The mother of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular pleaded guilty in court this month to killing her son.

AUGUST

August was the month when Edinburgh – along with much of the rest of the world – went Ice Bucket Challenge crazy. The social media phenomenon saw us chuck buckets of freezing water over our heads and donate to charity for the privilege. Brrrilliant.

Plans were unveiled for a £40 million national film studio to be built in the shadow of the Pentland Hills. The Evening News reported on Scotland’s Hollywood on the front page. We also led calls to honour our Commonwealth Games stars.

A row over al fresco dining outside the Caley hotel sparked a memorable Evening News headline. Remember the trams? We revealed Edinburgh was footing a £16,000 daily bill to service its borrowing. May be some time before it starts making money...

Better news for the festivals. Record ticket sales were credited with making the Fringe the biggest and best ever.