IT WAS a big year of news with royal weddings, brave rescues, light rail, tragic crimes and dramatic wins and losses.
News of the death of one of the greatest lead guitarists the world has ever known, Phil Emmanuel, was the most-read story on Newcastle Herald’s website in 2018. The musician, with links to the Hunter, and his brother Tommy played together as the Emmanuel Brothers and graced stages all over the world with names such as Chet Atkins, Duanne Eddy, America, Hank B Marvin, John Farnham, Jimmy Barnes, INXS, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson. He definitely holds a special place in Newcastle’s heart.
The tragic loss of young Lake Macquarie man Brayden Asser also shook the local community this year.
The 20-year-old snapped up an apprenticeship not long out of school and had started to carve out his own path as an apprentice roof plumber, a job he “absolutely loved”.
Tragically, it was while working on the job that an incident cut the young man’s life short. He was remembered for his love of the beach and his “mad bodyboarder” skills.
There was also hope in 2018, in one of the most amazing stories to come out of the year. A worried father who hired a helicopter in a frantic bid to find his missing son- it was like something out of a movie.
Samuel Lethbridge had been driving back from the Central Coast, but never arrived home.
His father Tony's mind raced, he recalled an accident from a few years earlier along the same stretch of the Pacific Highway. That driver wasn't found for five days. With cash in his hand, Tony walked into the Lake Macquarie Airport and asked for a helicopter to search for his son. Tony’s brother, Michael, took the flight while Tony waited for news from the family home at Blacksmiths. It didn't take long.
Within 10 minutes, they received information that a car fitting the description of Samuel’s vehicle had been spotted just off the Pacific Highway near Crangan Bay. Immediately Tony began the frantic drive out to the site and not only did they find his son, but he had survived the crash and the pair were reunited.
In sport news, the tumultuous year for the Newcastle Knights got people talking.
The top story for the year was about five Newcastle Knights NSW Cup players being stood down for one game for breaching team protocols in Auckland. From here, the city had a fascination with new signings, contract talks and the new-look team for 2019.
The community also rallied around Newcastle lifesaver Jessica Collins who was injured in a freak surfing accident on the Gold Coast.
Miss Collins, 24, a former Australian surf lifesaving representative, had no feeling below her shoulders after fracturing the C5 vertebra and damaging her spinal cord while surfing with friends at Snapper Rocks. She had fallen and hit a sand bank. Since the accident she has been an inspiration, pushing on to try and regain her old life, always with a smile on her face.
See the full list of the year in news here:
TOP NEWS STORIES
TOP SPORTS STORIES
TOP PHOTO GALLERIES
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