The biggest news stories of 2022 in the Midlands

A look back at some of the stories which had a big impact in the region. Credit: ITV News

2022 was a year of true ups and downs.

As the country re-emerged from the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic, it had left its mark everywhere, on our institutions, businesses, and personal relationships.

Belts were tightened, after the financial losses or expenditure during lockdown, and some of the familiar Midlands landscape had changed forever - as businesses folded.

But here in the Midlands we had a huge celebration to look forward to.

Team England walk out during the Closing Ceremony Credit: Mike Egerton/PA

It was announced in 2017 that Birmingham would host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and plans continued despite the pandemic - which postponed other global events, like the Tokyo Olympics.

There were some setbacks along the way - the intended Athletes' Village didn't happen due to budget and time constraints, and shooting was excluded - which angered the Indian athletes.

But during the two weeks of sporting events, the sun shone on the West Midlands, the medals poured into the Team England coffers, and the second city got a PR boost the organisers could only have dreamed of.

It finished with a triumphant closing ceremony featuring Black Sabbath, Beverley Knight and UB40. And ITV Central went on the road - taking our double decker bus to the Games' festival sites around the city.

The Raging Bull during the opening ceremony Credit: Tim Goode/PA

As the war in Ukraine continued, and the temperature here dropped, the Cost of Living began to truly bite.

People began to take desperate measures, with a man warned to stop covering his house in cardboard for insulation and hundreds queuing for a hot meal in Birmingham city centre.

One NHS trust began to provide free meals for staff, and it was nurses and paramedics struggling to make ends meet, along with the huge pressure on services and ambulance waiting times, which led to a wave of strikes towards the end of the year.

RMT members at a picket line during a strike over work pay. Credit: PA

Members of the Royal College of Nursing and ambulance workers walked out, along with Royal Mail, border force and railway workers.

2022 was the year that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died, after a reign of 70 years, and King Charles III became the monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II coffin enters Westminster Abbey. Credit: AP

There was a huge outpouring of grief in the Midlands, with people making the journey to London to see the Queen lying in state.

A woman from Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire was the last person to see the late Queen at Westminster Hall before her state funeral.

The Midlands had a role in the funeral too - a modified Jaguar Land Rover carried the Queen on her final journey

There were stories of tragedy to reflect on too. Most recently, four young boys lost their lives after they fell through the ice on Babbs Mill Lake in Solihull. It devastated the local tight-knit community, with vigils held to remember the boys and their families, and thousands raised in their memory.

In June an explosion ripped through a house in Kingstanding in Birmingham, killing one woman and seriously injuring a man. Eye witnesses described thinking it was an earthquake.

Donna Ockenden led a review into failings at Shrewsbury Hospital Trust. Credit: PA

Scandals in our region's maternity services came to light. Senior midwife Donna Ockenden revealed in her independent inquiry that some 201 babies and nine mothers could have survived if Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust had provided better care.

She has now turned her attention to maternity care in Nottinghamshire.

It's been a turbulent time for our sports clubs. Derby County fans were put through the mill as their club's future hung in the balance for months. It was finally taken over by local businessman David Clowes.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest secured promotion back to the Premier League. Thousands of fans streamed into Old Market Square to celebrate.

Thousands of Forest fans gathered in Nottingham's Old Market Square to celebrate on Monday

For two of our rugby clubs, it's been a dreadful year. Both Wasps and Warriors entered administration and were relegated, blaming the impact of the Covid pandemic.

Bob Warman Credit: ITV News Central

And here at ITV Central we said goodbye to Bob Warman, after almost 50 years on screen in the Midlands.

Although he did pop back to say hello during our Christmas special programme.