Here is a run down of the news making the headlines in September and October 2023, in the fifth and penultimate end of year review story.

Prolific burglar Ben Kempster, 40, is jailed for four months to the relief of traders in September.

He broke into five premises in August and was caught, pleaded guilty and sentenced within days of the offences.

Watford Observer: Prolific burglar Ben KempsterProlific burglar Ben Kempster (Image: Herts Police)

Those targeted included Domino’s Pizza, in St Albans Road, and High Street businesses Creams Café, Popworld, Heather and Rose Health food shop and Hanako Japanese restaurant.

Fundraisers collected about £30,000 for a firefighter who may never walk again after a cycling accident. Liam Coffill, 25, praised the amazing generosity of colleagues and the community in helping him throughout his difficult “road to recovery”. He was cycling to Garston Fire Station where he works when he was involved in a devastating crash with a van, prompting an outpouring of support.

Watford Observer:

St John’s Catholic Primary School, in Rickmansworth, is included in a list of schools with confirmed collapse prone concrete Raac. Teachers continued to deliver face-to-face lessons for all pupils at a temporary modular building on site ahead of a rebuild approved before the issue came to national attention.

Former Watford resident Darren Bell, 54, is left “gobsmacked” after winning a £4.5million Omaze home in Norfolk.

The ex-paratrooper also won an extra £100,000 as part of the prize.

Watford Observer: Darren Bell, who used to live in Watford, won this £4.5m Omaze home in NorfolkDarren Bell, who used to live in Watford, won this £4.5m Omaze home in Norfolk (Image: Omaze)

Luther Blissett signs for Watford FC for a record fifth time – in an official role with the club he loves dearly.

Watford Observer: Deal done: Luther Blissett and Scott Duxbury shake on the club legend's new role

An inspection of Watford General Hospital mortuary found bodies stored on the floors of freezers due to lack of space – and corpses deteriorating due to lack of long-term storage. Similar issues were found at Hemel Hempstead – also part of the West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – when inspections by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) took place earlier this year.

The imminent closure of Iceland’s Watford branch has been described as a “shame” as it prepares to shut down a fortnight after Wilko. Confirmation, in September, that the shop in The Parade, Watford, will close permanently at 4pm on Saturday, October 14, was met with disappointment.

Watford Observer: Sign in the Iceland window.

Sports players, gardeners and drivers in Watford face paying more for services next year as the mayor warns of “difficult decisions” ahead. Peter Taylor says Watford council needs to meet the higher cost of running services, with fears the council could bust its budget by more than £3m.

A school playground’s revamp has finally been completed following a £100k donation from an anonymous organisation. The six-figure sum was gifted to Stanborough Primary School in Appletree Walk, Garston.

Watford Observer: Stanborough Primary School's new playground has been completed after a mystery £100k donationStanborough Primary School's new playground has been completed after a mystery £100k donation (Image: Stanborough Primary)

The family of a women who died when she was hit by a car while walking her dog in Croxley Green paid an emotional tribute describing her as “full of joy and laughter”. Cheryl Edwards, 62, from Croxley Green, died at the scene of the crash involving a black Volkswagen Golf. Her “beloved” pet dog Freddie was also killed during the incident on Sarratt Road.

Watford Observer: Cheryl was loved by her family.

Tom Fletcher, from boyband McFly, debuts his stage show book adaptation There’s a Monster in Your Show at Watford Palace Theatre ahead of its UK tour.

Watford Observer: There's a Monster in Your Show, by Tom Fletcher from McFly, debut at the Watford Palace Theatre.There's a Monster in Your Show, by Tom Fletcher from McFly, debut at the Watford Palace Theatre. (Image: Watford Palace Theatre)

October ends with a double-blow to the town’s nightlife.

Superclub Pryzm announced it is to close despite a recent campaign to save the venue. The Horns pub shut as manager Jane Giles said the traditional boozer, once a popular music venue, was “totally unsustainable.”