England

England 2016: People and pictures

composite image

England's 2016 wasn't just all politics and death. Admittedly, quite a lot of it was politics and death. But it was also the year in which the world's heaviest ever red cabbage was grown, when a gay rights kissathon was staged in a supermarket and there was a sea change in the way Gypsy communities worship.

BBC News Online looks back at some of the events, people and pictures of England's past 12 months.

January

Image copyright MoneySavingExpert.com

Teenage money-saver Jordon Cox hit the headlines in January when he discovered it was cheaper to travel home to Essex from Sheffield if he flew via Berlin rather than take the train.

A one-way train ticket home would cost £47, so he opted to travel from East Midlands Airport to Berlin and then fly from Berlin to Stansted - a 1,017-mile journey saving him a princely £7.72.

Mr Cox, who began collecting money-off coupons to help with the weekly household shop when he was 15, now has more than 12,000 followers on Twitter, works for MoneySavingExpert, and gives tips on TV and radio.

February

Image copyright Dan Kitwood

February was when Capt Eric "Winkle" Brown, the Royal Navy's most decorated pilot, died at the age of 97.

During World War Two, Capt Brown flew fighter aircraft and witnessed the liberation of Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

He caught the bug for flying when he was just eight - his father, a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War One, took him up in a biplane.

"There was no second seat, but I sat on his lap and he let me handle the stick," he told the BBC in 2014.

He also held the world record for flying the greatest number of different types of aircraft - 487.

March

Image copyright PA

March saw dozens of people from across the UK walk up to 100 miles (170km) to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the Northumberland coast.

The annual Northern Cross pilgrimage started 40 years ago. Each group carries a cross which, once on the island, is decorated with flowers.

The event culminates on Easter Sunday when the crosses are carried around Lindisfarne village "in celebration and witness to remind all the tourists of the reality of Easter".

April

Image copyright PA

A 27-year campaign by families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster finally saw the behaviour of Liverpool fans on that fateful day exonerated.

An inquest jury found the supporters did not contribute to the danger unfolding at the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's ground on 15 April 1989 and returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Families were seen hugging each other in the public gallery and some punched the air. Afterwards, many campaigners gathered outside the courtroom, including this relative of victim Keith McGrath.

Ninety-six people died in the disaster.

May

Image copyright PA

The world's largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, arrived in the UK in May.

It's 361m (1,187ft) long - the equivalent of four football pitches - and can carry 6,780 passengers.

On board are 23 swimming pools and 20 restaurants.

June

Following the EU referendum in June, the BBC visited the Erdington area of Birmingham - which has been described as a "Little Poland" - to gauge the reaction there.

Wioleta Szatkowska, originally from Gdansk, works at Polish shop Tanioszka. She said she thought many of her compatriots were "scared" of the result.

"If we must go back, we don't have a house - what do we come back to? I have been here 10 years. My husband is here. My daughter is at school here.

"Many people are on benefits, but I work. This is not good for people who pay their taxes.

"I think England does not realise what it is doing. What happens if we all have to go home? Who will do our jobs?"

July

Image copyright Getty Images

Hundreds of people lined the streets of the Batley and Spen constituency to pay their respects to Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in June.

People applauded and threw flowers, including these two young boys who laid white roses.

Posters and placards were placed along the route pledging to "Love Like Jo".

August

Image copyright PA

About 200 people descended on an east London supermarket in August for a mass "kissathon", after a security guard passed on a woman's complaint about a gay couple holding hands.

Thomas Rees and Joshua Bradwell were in Sainsbury's on Hackney Road when they were beckoned outside by the guard and criticised for their affectionate behaviour.

Sainsbury's later said sorry and offered the couple a £10 voucher.

September

Image copyright Malvern Autumn Show

September was a proud month for David Thomas from Cornwall, who grew the heaviest ever red cabbage - smashing a 90-year record.

The 23.2kg (51.1lb) vegetable was the star of the show at the National Giant Vegetable Championships, held at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Mr Thomas insists there's no secret to growing giant veg: "You just need the right seeds to start with, plenty of room, good soil and a bit of luck".

October

Image copyright RSPCA

This horrible x-ray was taken of a dog found buried alive with a nail in its head in Teesside.

A couple walking in Kirkleatham Woods in Redcar heard whimpering and found the terrier-type animal in a mound of earth. Although they took it to a vet, the dog's injuries were too severe to save it.

RSPCA inspector, Nick Jones, called the action "horrifying and inexplicably cruel".

November

At a time when large numbers of people are drifting away from formal religion, BBC religious affairs correspondent Alex Strangwayes-Booth discovered huge numbers of Gypsies and travellers have joined a new movement called Light and Life.

Those who join give up drinking alcohol and fortune-telling. The Gypsy-led Pentecostal movement is centred on charismatic preaching, praying in tongues and miracle healing.

This is a picture of a family at one of the church's UK conventions.

December

Image copyright Lancashire Fire

A huge fire ripped through a scrapyard near Accrington in December, sending plumes of smoke across the area and closing part of a nearby motorway.

About 400 old vehicles went up in flames and it took several days to dampen down.

More on this story