12 of the most inspirational Merseyside moments of 2021

From walking 2,500 miles in a pair of Speedo swimming trunks to revolutionising a multi-billion pound global industry.

<p>Sam Batley and the residents of DJK House. Image: Sam Batley </p>

Sam Batley and the residents of DJK House. Image: Sam Batley

World’s best teacher nomination for Liverpool deputy head

David Swanston with pupils at St Vincent’s School. Photo: David Swanston

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The finalists were shortlisted from over 8,000 nominations and applications from 121 countries around the world.

The teacher works as deputy principal at St Vincent’s School, West Derby, a specialist school for sensory impairment. Although he didn’t win the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, he spoke of his pride at being nominated.

Joanne Anderson becomes first black female mayor

Joanne Anderson signs the oath as Mayor at Liverpool Town Hall in May. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Anderson became the UK’s first black female to become a directly elected mayor of any major city.

“It’s really important visually and symbolically to have a black person and woman in the highest elected office in local government,” National Museums Liverpool historian in residence Laurence Westgaph told LiverpoolWorld.

The former Labour councillor, who represented the Princes Park ward from 2019, won 59.2% of the vote while independent candidate Stephen Yip came second with 40.8%.

Westgaph said: “During the time when Joanne came of age in the 1980s, Liverpool was labelled as one of the most racist cities in England.

“In light of the city’s history when we originally had elected mayors - these people were slave traders, merchants or plantation owners - now we have come full circle.”

She joins other women in leadership positions across the city in 2021. Emily Spurrell was elected as Merseyside’s police and crime commissioner and Serena Kennedy became Merseyside Police chief constable.

UK’s biggest ever painting by a single artist unveiled in Ainsdale

Giant mural on the side of Toad Hall, Ainsdale. Image: Paul Curtis

The UK’s biggest painting by one artist was revealed in Ainsdale.

The mural was painted on an area equivalent to the size of four tennis courts.

It has been created by Liverpool artist Paul Curtis, who is best known for creating the iconic For All Liverpool’s Liver Birds artwork in the Baltic Triangle.

Liverpool scientists get OK for world’s largest robotic telescope

A 3D render of inside the enclosure showing the telescope structure during a typical night’s observing. Image: Kinsonov Architects / LJMU.

The £24 million, four-metre-diameter telescope will be able to respond quickly to explosive and rapidly-fading astronomical events such as supernovae and also aid the search for new planets.

The New Robotic Telescope will be built by an international consortium led by the UK’s Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Spain’s University of Oviedo and the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands.

The project has received £4 million funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council to allowing building to get underway.

The telescope, which will be located on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, is to be solely manned by a small team of around a dozen staff at the LJMU “control centre” working on the telescope from Liverpool.

GBBO star Lizzie an inspiration for people with ADHD and dyslexia

Lizzie poses with her final bake on GBBO. Image: @BritishBakeOff/twitter

Liverpool-born Lizzie Acker, who was a contestant on this year’s Great British Bake Off, revealed that she is severely dyslexic and is on the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) spectrum.

The 28-year-old had the GBBO presenters and audience in stitches with her bizarre stories and quick wit during the popular show.

Lizzie was pictured on her Instagram page with the latest GBBO cookbook The Great British Bake Off: A Bake for all Seasons featuring judges recipes and favourites from the 2021 bakers.

She said: “For anyone to see themselves in a book is surreal, but for me it feels super odd. I am severely dyslexic and on the ADHD spectrum. I don’t read books, so having recipes I came up with in a book is mind blowing.”

Liverpool chosen as location for ‘world-leading’ Pandemic Institute

The Pandemic Institute at The Spine: Image thepandemicinstitute.org

The multi-million pound Pandemic Institute is located in The Spine, at Paddington Village and is dedicated to helping the world “prevent, prepare and respond more effectively to pandemics”.

Liverpool was the first city globally to undertake a city-wide smart COVID-19 testing pilot in November 2020, which cut transmission rates by a fifth. The city also hosted large-scale pilots, including nightclub events, to test the impact of the spread of COVID-19.

G7 arrives in Liverpool and Japan’s foreign minister plays impromptu rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine

Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is applauded by G7 counterparts after playing “Imagine” on a replica of John Lennon’s piano.

In December, the city welcomed foreign secretaries of state from all over the world as part of the series of G7 summits.

It ran for three days, with mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson saying that “the eyes of the world will be on Liverpool and we have a fantastic story to tell.”

Merseyside company set to make multi-billion pound global industry eco-friendly

An image of what the completed Glass Futures facility could look like. Image: Glass Futures

The £54 million Glass Futures project for the eco-friendly ‘rebirth’ of the glass and drinks industry is due to start in St Helens.

Glass Futures is to open the world’s first accessible test and trial furnace facility as part of the project.

The plant is being built at the former United Glass site in Peasley Cross and is due to be completed in 2022.

The not-for-profit research and technology organisation is collaborating with some of the largest companies in the global glass industry to help deliver a net zero product.

Sam Batley’s life-affirming journey

Sam outside his exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery. Image: Sam Batley

A former drug and alcohol addict who turned his life around to become a photographer, poet and author moved into his first home near Liverpool’s Lark Lane and inspired a film about his life.

Sam Batley, 30, moved out of Damien John Kelly (DJK) House, an abstinence-based recovery centre in Wavertree for adult men.

His recovery included volunteering at the Open Eye Gallery on Liverpool’s waterfront and he also started One Day At A Time Boys, which used art to help his fellow residents document their different experiences of recovery.

Sam showcased the work of the group on the exterior wall of the Open Eye Gallery in 2021.

The exhibition also documented the production journey of a film called Three Bull-Mastiffs in a Corner Kitchen which was shot over four days during the pandemic in Manchester starring people in recovery, including Sam.

During 2021, the movie was shown at film festivals around the world including Moscow Shorts International Short Film Festival and the Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival.

It won Best Up North Film at the Bolton Film Festival in October which means the film can now enter the BAFTAs British Short Film Award.

Everton break ground on new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock

What Everton ‘s new stadium development at Bramley-Moore Dock will look like.

Everton Football Club held a ceremony at Bramley-Moore Dock to mark the breaking of ground in the construction of its new home.

Everton also revealed it will acknowledge the history of slavery at Bramley-Moore Dock with a lasting memorial on the site of the club’s new stadium.

Speedo Mick’s epic 2,500 mile charity trek

On the road again - Speedo Mick sets off on the next part of his fundraising walk

The charity fundraiser, known as Speedo Mick, said he was ready to “lie down for about three months” after his journey which saw him walk across the UK and Ireland in all kinds of weather including Storm Barra.

His five-month Giving Back Tour Go Fund Me page has raised more than £203,000 for charity and he has supported disadvantaged young people and the homeless.

Liverpool unites in the face of tragedy and adversity

Liverpool’s faith leaders outside the Women’s Hospital. Image: LCC

In the aftermath of the terror attack on Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday the whole city united.

The bomber Emad Al Swealmeen was killed as his device exploded in a taxi driven by David Perry, who survived.

Chief constable Serena Kennedy, mayor Joanne Anderson, Merseyside police and crime commissioner Emily Spurrell and Combined Authority metro mayor Steve Rotheram issued an open letter hailing the ‘proud and multi-cultural’ city in wake of the bombing.

The letter said that Liverpool “and the wider Merseyside region always pull together at times like this and the pride of all our communities is there for all to see. This is an area defined by its friendliness, kindness and spirit of togetherness”.

Balloons are released during the vigil. Photo: @PA/twitter

The city came together again after the shocking murder of 12-year-old Ava White. Hundreds of people gathered in central Liverpool to remember the murdered schoolgirl at a vigil and again at her funeral.

Ava’s father, Robert Martin, said: “We would like to say thank you to everybody for their ongoing support during this devastating time.

“Thank you to every one of you for your kind messages and donations.”