It was a year that saw a number of notable deaths, including Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Hugo Chavez, the Pope’s resignation and a meteorite crash in Russia.
Former children’s TV presenter and DJ Jimmy Savile was named as the UK’s most prolific sex offender, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the Conservative manifesto for 2015 would promise an in-out referendum on EU membership by 2017, and two pressure cooker bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing five people and injuring a further 264.
Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was murdered by extremists near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, the Scottish independence referendum white paper was unveiled, whilst at the end of November, 10 were killed and many more injured when a police helicopter crashed into the Clutha bar in Glasgow. It came as Police Scotland began operations merging all the former forces in the country including Fife and Tayside constabularies.
The changing face of Dundee’s £1 billion waterfront project continued to make progress as Dundee City Council granted planning permission for the V&A Dundee and planners produced new images showing how the waterfront might look.
It came as work to complete a new £31.2 million Olympia leisure centre entered the final furlong with the finishing touches being applied internally ahead of an opening on June 24 with nostalgic thoughts about the outdated and soon to be demolished old facility at the V&A site.
Elsewhere in Dundee, the institution that was Dens Road Market closed its doors after 44 years. When the building, once referred to as “Dundee’s Petticoat Lane” – a reference to the famous market in the East End of London – opened in 1969, there were more than 80 stalls and shops in the market, attracting customers from as far afield as Aberdeen.
The world of literature was in mourning as Dunfermline-born author Iain Banks died aged 59, two months after announcing he had terminal cancer. He was best known for his novels The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Complicity.
The family of missing Glenrothes man Allan Bryant made multiple emotional appeals for their son to return home in time for Christmas. Allan was last seen leaving Styx nightclub at 2.02 am on Sunday November 3. Despite an extensive police operation and continued search of the new town, which included a police helicopter and specialist underwater search teams, no trace of Allan, or clue to his whereabouts, were found and he remains missing to this day.
There were unprecedented scenes at Kirkcaldy waterfront in early December as an estimated 2,000 “boy and girl racers” from across Scotland descended on the town’s esplanade to pay tribute to Hollywood actor Paul Walker. With more than 4,500 car enthusiasts invited via Facebook and more than 1,800 indicating they would definitely or maybe attend, convoys of vehicles travelled from as far afield as Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow to pay homage to the Fast and the Furious actor, who died the previous weekend in a car crash in California. Arranged through social media, the roads and car parks at the esplanade quickly became gridlocked amid a sea of headlights as participants in the commemorative ‘cruise’ slowly revved their way along the waterfront.
As the year drew to a close, memorials to the dead of the Tay Bridge Disaster were unveiled – 134 years to the day after the victims were killed. At least 59 people lost their lives when the bridge between Fife and Dundee collapsed on December 28 1879, sending a passenger train plunging into the Firth of Tay. The memorials, made up of granite panels on the Dundee and Fife sides of the bridge, tell the story of the disaster and list the known dead. Some believe the real toll was higher.
The year in sport
In a year that saw Sir Alex Ferguson retire as Manchester United manager and the Tartan Army invade London as Scotland lost 3-2 against England in a friendly, an undoubted highlight of the Tayside football calendar in 2013 was the Dundee v Dundee United Scottish Cup quarter-final tie in March that United won 1-2 before losing 3-4 to Celtic in the semi-finals. Derbies had been rare in recent years following Dundee’s extended stay in the lower division.
Perthshire skip Eve Muirhead celebrated after Scotland’s women won the World Curling Championship in Latvia. Later in the year, Muirhead’s rink won silver at the European Championships, where Scotland’s men took bronze.
Andy Murray’s rising star continued its ascendency as he won his second Grand Slam and first Wimbledon title by beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the All England Club. He warmed up by winning his third Aegon Championships title at Queen’s Club in June. Murray was deservedly voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Following disappointment at the London 2012 Olympics, Perth’s Eilidh Child was named Scotland’s Athlete of the Year. She won bronze in the 4x400m at the World Championships, following her fifth place in the 400m hurdles. Child was also part of the winning 4x400m relay team at the European Athletics Indoor Championships, having finished runner-up in the individual event
The year in culture
While Rihanna and Mumford and Sons were amongst the star attractions at T in the Park at Balado, the third Rewind Festival took place at Scone Palace a few weeks later featuring a host of classic acts from the 1980s era including Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), Ali Campbell’s UB40, A Flock of Seagulls, Level 42 and Howard Jones.
In September, the 65th and final RAF Leuchars Airshow took to the skies before the Fife base was transferred to the Army in 2015. Highlights included the Red Arrows and the last 617 Squadron flypast, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Dambuster raids. As part of the traditional Sunset Ceremony, the ensign was lowered over the last Leuchars show.
Some Top Gear viewers were bamboozled to see Highland Perthshire transformed into the Home Counties on an episode. Jeremy Clarkson tore around the picturesque landscape and, with tongue in cheek, said he was in the “motoring nirvana” of Hertfordshire “just 40 miles from London”. But Atholl Palace, Pitlochry High Street and even a “Welcome to Pitlochry” sign were clearly visible before Clarkson took to the open roads of Glen Shee.
In August, Tayside man Jim Dunbar revealed he had been diagnosed with “chronic lateness” – a condition which affects the same part of the brain as ADHD.
Meanwhile, readers flocked to The Courier website to read about a Perthshire scientist’s premature ejaculation treatment — and one of our more memorable headlines. One of the inventors of Viagra, who originally hails from Perthshire, was set to launch a treatment for premature ejaculation. Professor Mike Wyllie was keen to promote a spray-on medication. Premature ejaculation is a problem that affects at least one in four men, The Courier said.