REVIEW OF 2013: January

This is The West Country: Paralympic Games heroine Deb Criddle. Paralympic Games heroine Deb Criddle.

PARALYMPIC Games heroine Deb Criddle was celebrating after being made an MBE in the New Year Honours list.

Deb, from Trull, claimed one gold medal and two silvers at the London Games in 2012 on her mount LJT Akilles.

The athlete, who had her arm amputated in 2003 following a motorcycle crash in the 1980s, said she was 'surprised' by the honour.

She told the County Gazette: “I was very pleased because I didn't expect it.

“Even though I'd been in the Paralympics with the team it was a complete shock to be included in the New Year Honours list.

“I'm surprised so many people from the Olympics and Paralympics were honoured, but I think they just didn't want to miss anyone out.”

A COUPLE from Minehead were celebrating after scooping an incredible £1million win on the EuroMillions.

Roger and Kath Whitehouse bought their winning ticket in Swindon where they had visited family - and Roger had been admitted to hospital with angina.

The retired gas engineer told the County Gazette: “I went to hospital on the Saturday and they let me out on New Year's Day, so I bought the ticket at about 6.20pm that evening.

“At first I thought we'd only won £8.20 until I checked the raffle number at the bottom. We're lucky we've got good kids around us that have helped us through it.”

The couple said they hoped to take their two children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren on safari in Kenya.

PEOPLE in Taunton reacted angrily to the news that diggers would move in to tear up part of the town's new £3million Castle Green development.

It emerged Wessex Water was due to move onto the area in March, though bosses at Taunton Deane Council insisted they would not dig up the iconic paving stones.

However, Roger Fenge, from Taunton, said: “I couldn't believe it when they told me they are digging it up. As a taxpayer I wonder why it was not done before.”

HEAVY snowfall turned Somerset into a blanket of white, forcing the closure of dozens of schools and trapping drivers in their cars.

In West Somerset, 57-year-old postman John Bircham died after suffering a suspected heart attack while attempting to dig out his car.

WATCHET harbour master George Reeder was hailed as a hero after jumping into the freezing water to rescue a six-month-old baby.

Sam Cooper was in his pushchair when a sudden gust of wind blew him into the water as his horrified mum Kate looked on.

Mr Reeder, 63, dived into the water and with the help of others was able to bring the tot to safety.

He said: “I was working on the Esplanade when I heard a lot of commotion and screaming.

“At first I thought a dog had fallen in but then the mother was screaming 'That's my baby!'. I jumped straight in.

“I reached out and turned the buggy over and got it to the side of the quay so the people there could pull it up with a rope.

“When I got out I ran to see if he was OK and it looked like he was starting to breathe, so that was a big relief.”

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