Here's the second in our three-part look back at what has been making the news headlines in West Dorset this year.

See the first part here.


  • Bridport saw the end of an era when Frosts announced it was to closes its doors with the loss of seven jobs. Adrian Franklin sold the lease of the West Street store, that sold everything from newspapers to kitchen equipment, household wares, stationery,watches and toys, to national chain Tofs.
  • Bridport Museum reopened its doors following a complete transformation. Since it closed in September for renovation, passers-by were often caught peering in through the windows to try and catch a glimpse of the huge changes and new galleried inside.
  • A woman was left shocked after driving around Bridport not knowing a family of blackbirds had set up camp in her engine. Lydia Hill returned to her car in West Bay after two weeks to discover a family of blackbirds had taken shelter in her engine.
  • Bridport ‘stands with Manchester’ as community leaders condemned the terror attack which killed 22 people. It was the worst terrorist incident to take place in Britain since the July 7 attacks in 2005.


  • Bus routes through Bridport, Beaminster and Lyme Regis were under threat after a company deregistered services. Campaigners labelled the potential closure of 'vital' services as 'disgraceful' after Damory deregistered routes including the 40 service, which operates between Bridport and Beaminster, the 71 Lyme Regis circular route - as well as the 73, 44 and 210 services.
  • Proposed homes for the controversial Vearse Farm development were deemed as no longer at risk of flooding, according to the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency gave Hallam Land Management’s revised plans to build 760 homes, a new school and a care home in Symondsbury the thumbs up - but campaigners labelled the decision as 'scandalous.'
  • Beachgoers were shocked to witness people jumping off a cliff in an extreme sports display. West Bay Coastguard responded to reports of three Base jumpers jumping from East Cliff, West Bay, onto the crowded beach below. Base jumping involves jumping from a manmade structure or natural geographical feature and then deploying a wing suit or parachute to descend to the ground.
  • A former Lyme Regis school pupil suggested the town should host the premiere of the Jurassic World 2 film next year. Joseph Samuel Rogers, 25, who has two books to his name, Running. Nothing. Something, and A Spectrum Of Settlements, said Lyme is ideally placed to put on a red-carpet event. Mr Rogers said: “Lyme Regis is a beautiful English town on the south coast which, in approx 1811 became a worldwide phenomenon after the discovery of a fossilised Ichthyosaur on a nearby beach by local woman Mary Anning."


  • It was announced that a West Dorset special school would be given funding to provide more places after it was revealed that more than 70 children with special needs or disabilities were being educated outside the county. Dorset County Council agreed to provide £550,000 to create 14 more places at Mountjoy School in Beaminster.
  • Councillors gave the green light to pump millions into improving flood defences in West Bay. A new £8 million project aimed at improving flood prevention measures at West Beach, East Beach, and Park Dean embankment at West Bay, went before councillors at West Dorset District Council’s strategy committee which voted unanimously in favour of contributing £3m towards the scheme.
  • A family of four thanked lifeguards after their boat sank near Lyme Regis when their dog refused to get onboard. Joe Coles, 56, spoke out after crew from the Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat rescued his family and his dog, and took them to the safety of the shore.
  • Plans to fine beggars £100 went before councillors as they sought to crackdown on people asking for money as a 'lifestyle choice.'


  • It may have been pouring with rain but there was plenty of heat involved in the annual – and infamous – Marshwood nettle eating contest. The overall winner was 35-year-old Jonathan Searle from Solihull who munched his way through 70 feet of nettles in the allotted time.
  • A new extension to a west Dorset museum was nominated for an award - for the worst architectural design of the year. Lyme Regis Museum unveiled its new £1.5 million Mary Anning Wing extension last month, and writer Geoff Baker put the project forward for the Carbuncle Cup, awarded by Building Design magazine.
  • A West Bay lifeguard braved new heights to raise funding for the RNLI. RNLI lifeguard Emily Nineham and her colleague Charlie Lawrence jumped out of a plane at 10,000ft in a tandem skydive to raise money for the life-saving charity.
  • Almost exactly 200 years after it was made, to commemorate the death of someone with the initials ‘I.W.’, a mysterious mourning ring was discovered by a metal detectorist in a field near Beaminster. The man who found it, Colin Spiller, a 44 year-old building maintenance worker from Chard, Somerset, said it was a 'fantastic find'. Mr Spiller was taking part in a metal detecting day with about 50 other enthusiasts in a farmer’s field in Burstock. The ring was expected to fetch up to £1,200 at auction.