AS 2018 rolled on, the news kept coming.

The second half of the year was filled with the fight to keep Chard's Cresta swimming pool open.

Elswhere, there were World Cup parties, green lights for new businesses in Chard and Ilminster, while a serial armed robber was jailed for life.


  • A FIRE tore through the Robertson-Huish family’s home, but it was just a few days before they were back on their feet thanks to the community’s generosity.
  • ILMINSTER was in the party spirit for the World Cup quarter final as England beat Sweden and the sports club’s BritFest was a resounding success.
  • AN INDEPENDENT Chard business was left shocked and out of pocket after a man smashed the shop window with an axe before escaping on a motorcycle.
  • AFTER 30 years of service, it was announced that Cresta swimming pool would be closing. A petition was launched by a local teacher to try and save the facility.
  • MORE than 50 people lost their jobs after a Chard-based RG Spiller collapsed after 37 years of trading.


  • ‘CHAOS’ was escalating at Chard’s Lloyds Pharmacy as tirades against staff continued and a man was even arrested for being abusive while in possession of alcohol.
  • SWIMMERS were thrown a lifeline by the county council after it announced the pool could be mothballed while residents came up with a plan to save Cresta from permanent closure.
  • A ‘HORRENDOUS’ crash left a car parts strewn across three gardens in Donyatt after warnings about speeding drivers fell on deaf ears.
  • PLANS for a new Lidl in Chard were given the go ahead by South Somerset District Council. Four months on from this, and work has recently started demolishing the old factory on the Tapstone Road site.
  • A FORMER Ilminster driver was handed a ban and a suspended prison sentence after leading police on a 115mph chase near Southfields roundabout. Kelly, 30, of Eastbourne Road, Taunton, was arrested after a dangerous police chase.


  • PLAN for a new Costa Coffee on the edge of Ilminster were revealed. The proposed site is on Southfield Enterprise Park, just off the A303.
  • PARISH councils lashed out after county council revealed cost cutting measures which included dramatically reducing the gritting network. One councillor branded the move as ‘a significant safety issue’.
  • NEARLY £1,000 was raised in memory of a ‘hard working’ father-of-five, Guy Warren, after a coffee morning in the town.
  • LEARNER driver Pawel Cymerman, 29, of Manor Close, did a u-turn in his car while on a mobile phone and after consuming a bottle of vodka with his friend at 10am, a court heard.
  • PLANS for the community to take over Cresta Swimming Pool were rejected. In a shock announcement Somerset County Council turned down the business proposal submitted by volunteers.


  • SOMERSET County Council netted £1.35 million from the controversial sale of one of its county farms – and further sales are on the horizon. Oxenford Farm in Dowlish Wake, came to auction at the Shrubbery Hotel in Ilminster on, where it was sold off in separate lots.
  • A ‘DANGEROUS’ serial criminal was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of his tenth armed robbery. Dion Kevin Levy, 40, of Queen’s Crescent, Stoke-sub-Hamdon, carried out two terrifying raids within five days of each other in January of this year.
  • MORE than 100 new homes could be built in northern Chard if planning officers decide the site is suitable for development. Barratt Homes has made initial enquiries about the possibility of building up to 140 homes on land to the east of Crimchard, north of a current residential area.
  • RESIDENTS of Ilminster were able to have their say on the first phase of the Canal Way development. Amended plans were submitted which would see 135 homes proposed to be built at the eastern end of the site - reduced from an initial design of 144 homes.


  • COMPANIES in Chard rallied around to save the town’s annual Hallowe’en event, spurred on by local businesswoman Kelly Leigh.
  • THREE people died and another left in a critical condition in hospital after a shocking crash on A358. A couple in their 70s, travelling in a Citroen, and a man in his 20s, the passenger in a Tigra, were pronounced dead at the scene.
  • THE derelict Horlicks site which has been left barren for nearly 20 years could finally be revitalised. A consultation was launched for the development of the Hort Bridge site at the entrance to the town, which has been an ‘eyesore’ since the closure of Horlicks Farms and Dairies in 2001.
  • THE hardworking team which sprung into action when tragedy struck at last year’s Chard Carnival have been named as finalists in the Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence.


  • SCUBA diver James Neal, whose devastating brain injury ended his career and almost wrecked his marriage, was given runner-up for a national award after his inspiring battle.
  • CHRISTMAS lights in Chard inspired by the viral children’s song Baby Shark have become an internet sensation of their own, being viewed more than six million times.
  • AN Ilminster business hosted a free festive feast for some of the town’s more isolated residents. The Kitchen on Silver Street provided a complimentary Christmas dinner to bring people together.