BREXIT, Presidential elections, prime ministerial resignations, military and political coups, celebrity deaths, protests, war, famine, mass extinctions, Pokemon Go, the Icelandic football team - 2016 has been a year of huge global upheaval. But what's been making the headlines closer to home? DAVID MACKIE gives a rundown of what's been happening in Ryedale, from January to June:


- An award-winning entrepreneur from Kirkbymoorside who rescued a 100-year-old Ryedale sawmill from closure was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list. Emma Woods took over Duncombe Sawmill in 2003 as it faced closure and, with no industry experience, spent the next decade building a niche timber business employing eight people. Mrs Woods was invited to Buckingham Palace for an investiture ceremony later in the year.

- Tributes were paid in January to well-known Ryedale characters who passed away. David Snaith, who previously ran a book shop in Malton Market Place, was a familiar figure in the town where he had lived for a number of years. His friend Stephen Shaw said: "Those who knew him would delight in his his incisive and humorous comments on life and living." January also saw the funeral of racing legend Pat Rohan. About 500 mourners went to the church of St Leonard and St Mary in Malton. He was described in a eulogy by his old friend Tom O'Ryan as "a man generous in the extreme, and with a heart of gold."


- Malton and Norton town councils were asked to put forward ideas for possible future housing developments for the new Local Plan - but several councillors voiced concerns about existing infrastructure, congestion and flooding issues. A protest group called the West Malton Residents Group gathered on the streets to draw attention to congestion and air pollution.

- Scampston Hall was once again chosen as a filming location for a new film drama. February saw shooting on film drama 'Mad to be Normal' taking place in the stately home, with actors including former Doctor Who star David Tennant on set.

- There was outrage over outages in Leavening village in February. Villagers complained that power cuts had been happening for years and they'd had enough. They claimed the outages were affected local businesses, including stopping farmers from milking their cows and preventing the local pub from serving food, and also that their electrical appliances were being damaged.


- In March it was revealed that campaigners who had wanted to stop the Helmsley post office moving to a nearby Costcutters had failed, and the move was going ahead. Lizzie Rohan, chairman of Helmsley in Business and owner of No. 54 B&B, said: "We are very disappointed by the decision to relocate the post office in Helmsley. At the public meeting we held, 88 per cent were against the proposal. But we felt throughout that this was a decision which had already been made." A spokesman for the Post Office said the move will mean longer opening hours for post office services.

- Large crowds turned out in the spring sunshine to see the Flying Scotsman arrive in Pickering. The arrival of the legendary steam locomotive marked the beginning of an seven-day "residency" on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where it travelled between Pickering and Grosmont. All tickets sold out.

- A music festival was held in support of a charity set up in memory of stab victim Liam Miller. Organisers of the event at The Yard in Malton raised funds for L.I.A.M. (Laughter, Inspiration, Art, Music) that aims to help underprivileged young people. The three-day festival saw live music come from a large number of bands, singers and DJs, with the majority coming from the Ryedale area.


- Tributes were paid after the death of a 21-year-old student from Pickering. Robert Stephenson, a former pupil at Lady Lumley's School who was in the third year of an agriculture degree at Newcastle University, with honours in Agronomy, was hit by a taxi in York. Chris Headlam, Thornton Dale Cricket Club's first team captain, said: "The word gent is over used in this day and age but you were a proper gent and a pleasure to know." Since Robert died, a trust fund set up in his memory has raised a huge amount of money. As he was a keen rugby player and cricketer, the funds are set to help young people around the world participate in sport.

- The first glimpse of the newly-transformed Rievaulx Abbey was given in April. The museum and visitor experience at the old abbey was given a new lease of life by a £1.8m investment. "The museum now has objects that have never been seen before," said Liz Page, historic properties director at English Heritage. Elaborate medieval stone carvings, chess pieces and gold coins tell the story of the rise and dramatic fall of this, the first Cistercian abbey in the North of England.

- As the days started to lighten, concerns were raised about under-age drinking and vandalism at Orchard Fields and Castle Gardens in Malton. In April, they were subjected to vandalism and litter, including broken bottles and cans, for some time, as well youths gathering to drink alcohol. One local resident, who did not wish to be named, said she had been verbally abused when she confronted a group of six girls and boys drinking in the area. "I asked them politely to put their cans in the bins when they had finished with them and got a mouthful of abuse," she said. PC Jane Jones, of Malton Police, said: "We are aware of local youths going into Orchard Fields on a Friday and Saturday night. Police patrol it most weekends and youths are dealt with robustly if they are caught with either drink or drugs."


- Tributes were paid after two pilots crash-landed in a field near Castle Howard. Ajvir Singh Sandhu, 25, and Cameron Forster, 21, died when their plane crashed into a field at Whitwell-on-the-Hill. At an inquest held later in the year, coroner Michael Oakley heard that Mr Sandhu and Mr Forster, both trainee pilots at RAF Linton-on-Ouse where they flew Tucano planes, had chartered the so-called 'Slingsby Firefly' privately from Full Sutton airfield. They had been practising aeronautical manoeuvres at 4,500 feet when it went into a spin. Coroner Michael Oakley said: "Obviously they were endeavouring to get the aircraft under control but it didn’t have enough air to do so." He recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

- It was the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May - which again saw an incredibly low voter turnout. In fact, a number of polling stations across Ryedale had turnouts of less than 10 per cent of eligible voters. Figures showed that the lowest percentage turnout was at the booth at Weaverthorpe Village Hall, where just 7.7 per cent of the 401 potential voters cast a vote. The lowest number of voters at a polling station was at Bransdale in the North York Moors where, throughout the full day of voting, just four voters turned up. Out of an electorate of 29, this was a 13.79 per cent turnout. Julia Mulligan, the incumbent Police and Crime Commissioner who eventually won the vote, said after the election that the turnout was better than for the 2012 election - but "clearly there is still work to be done".

- At a meeting of the North Yorkshire County Council planning committee in May, an application by gas company Third Energy to 'frack' their well at Kirby Misperton was given approval by councillors, in line with the planning officer's recommendation. The landmark decision caused howls of protest from the anti-fracking demonstrators gathered outside. Two of them resolved, alongside the Friends of the Earth group, to challenge the decision at the High Court. The outcome of this challenge is not, at the time of writing, yet known.

- The Tour de Yorkshire swept through Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside. Despite a drizzly day, large crowds gathered to cheer on the cyclists as they sped by.


- During the Euro 2016 tournament which saw England crash out to a far superior Iceland side and Wales go on to the semi-finals, North Yorkshire Police continued to run their annual summer drink and drug driving campaign. Acting Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: "To drink or take drugs and get behind the wheel of a car is a completely irresponsible and selfish thing to do. North Yorkshire Police are, as ever, committed to getting these dangerous drivers off the road." In the month of June alone, ten people were arrested in Ryedale for drink and drug driving offences.

- Ryedale voted to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum. People of the district voted 17,710 in favour of leaving the European Union with 14,340 to remain. Turnout was 77.2 per cent. Ryedale MP Kevin Hollinrake, who was a 'Remainer', said: "We have the fifth strongest economy in the world and I have always said although our prospects were better in the EU, this country can survive outside. We have seen some knee-jerk reactions and although I think there will be some ups and downs, things will settle down."