It’s almost 2023 which means the time has come to look back at what made the headlines in and around Watford over the last year.

Over the festive period, we’ll look back month-by-month over 2022 at the biggest stories in the Watford Observer's Review of the Year.

There’s no earlier time to begin than New Year itself when the annual honours list showed appreciation and recognition to the most extraordinary people in our area.

Among those in the 2022 New Year's Honours list was Bushey’s Stewart Colin Powell (MBE) for services to people with polio in the UK and to the criminal justice system, human rights charity (A4IDteam) and former chairman of the community safety partnership in Watford, Yasmin Batliwala (MBE) and Kings Langley’s and former Watford Observer journalist Paul Rees – now chief executive at the Royal College of Psychiatrists – for services to mental health and to equality and diversity.

President of Watford Premier Netball Club, Gillian Williams, was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to netball, while Watford’s Sara Khan was given a DBE for services to human rights and counter extremism.

Elsewhere, our coverage of the infamous Woodmere Avenue width restriction continued.

The controversial bollards had gone viral in the autumn of 2021 after collisions were recorded by a newly-installed resident’s camera.

Dramatic videos released at the beginning of the year showed a car nearly tipped onto its side as calls for a solution grew louder.

There was real shock over in Apsley after artefacts and the visitor centre at the Frogmore Paper Mill was destroyed in a fire that emergency services said was started deliberately. Two boys have been charged with arson.

Fortunately the oldest mechanised paper mill in the world was not harmed but the incident caused extensive damage potentially worth upwards of £100,000.

Frogmore Paper Mill said it lost the café, gallery, shop, workshop, museum and teaching/conference space on what has been a “tumultuous year for the history books”, but in its December newsletter it has promised to “be back even better than before”.

Read more: Visitor centre at Frogmore Paper Mill 'damaged beyond repair'

Watford Observer: Fire at the Frogmore Paper Mill in Apsley Fire at the Frogmore Paper Mill in Apsley (Image: Simon Tuhill, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue)

In Watford, a man was jailed after he attacked a 19-year-old in the town centre in 2020.

O'Dean Boothe, 22, lunged at his victim with a blade near Costa Coffee in High Street in front of "shocked" shoppers on February 7, striking his upper left chest.

In court, judge Michael Simon told Boothe, of White Hart Lane, Tottenham, it was "fortunate" the punctured lung sustained by the victim was not as "serious" as first thought.

Boothe was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and jailed for four years and four months.

Read more: Man jailed for Watford high street stabbing

Watford Observer: O'Dean Boothe was jailed in connection with a stabbing in Watford High StreetO'Dean Boothe was jailed in connection with a stabbing in Watford High Street (Image: Newsquest/Hertfordshire Constabulary)

And finally, a subject that certainly drew an array of opinions in the Watford Observer comments.

Watford Borough Council was considering changing the names of street names that it believes are linked to slavery – such as Rhodes Way, Clive Way, Colonial Way and Imperial Way.

The idea had been pushed by Labour’s Asif Khan – who accused Watford mayor Peter Taylor of “bottling” it after he confirmed there were no plans to change any existing street names.

Cllr Khan said he was "disappointed" the council isn't "grasping the opportunity" to look at renaming streets which may have a "negative" historic connotation.