10 Years Gone By - July 20 2006
PUBLISHED: 19:30 26 July 2016
Ten years ago, before she became an X Factor judge, the then Cheryl Tweedy made the front page of the Herts Advertiser when it was revealed that Sopwell House had hosted the "real wedding" of the pop star to footballer Ashley Cole.
Billed as the “wedding of the year”, this paper’s July 20, 2006 issue said that while a glamorous £500,000 blessing and reception was held in Wrotham Park near Barnet, the real wedding had been held at the St Albans hotel the day before.
But there was a shroud of secrecy over the small ceremony, because of a £1.5 million magazine deal for the exclusive rights to pictures.
Also a decade ago, parents were criticising education chiefs for “living in cloud-cuckoo land” for failing to be adequately prepared for a shortage of school places, affecting pupils in Harpenden and Wheathampstead.
In Harpenden, an unusual story emerged about the handing out of 300 personal alarms to sixth formers. And, Harpenden town council made a £500 grant to local police to buy a high-frequency Mosquito System, to be used in hotspot areas to disperse groups of young people. It was scoffed at as “political correctness gone mad”, with one St Albans councillor pointing out: “It’s not as if we live in a violent inner-city area of deprivation.”