Happy New Year: We take a look back on our top 10 web stories of 2012

From escaped Emus to flooding, we’re looking back on the most popular stories in North Devon for 2012.

It’s been a busy year in North Devon, and hundreds of thousands of you have been visiting the North Devon Gazette website to check out the local news as it happens.

From floods to escaped emus, the Gazette website has been breaking news every day throughout 2012.

Here we look back at the top ten most read stories.

1. Top of the list, tens-of-thousands of you viewed our regularly updated piece on the Braunton flooding in December. Our photo galleries were the most popular feature, and we also provided video footage, live travel updates and useful contacts for those affected by the flooding, which one local businessman said was the worst he’d seen in the village since 1962.

2. Our second most viewed story of the year detailed a planning application submitted for a new marina in Northam in January. Thousands of you voted in our poll with 33 per cent in favour, 33 per cent against the marina and 33 per cent saying they didn’t really have an opinion. The planning application is still being considered by Torridge District Council.

3. A landslide on Saunton Beach in November was our third most popular post of the year. We had some great photos sent in by our readers and an eyewitness report stating the roar had been like that of a jet plane taking off.

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4. A giant Irish visitor sparked interest in January when a huge weather buoy washed up on Woolacombe beach became out fourth most read story of the year. The intriguing visitor had drifted 270 miles from the Irish marine weather buoy network before arriving in North Devon.

5. Our video of a jack-knifed lorry which became wedged in Barnstaple High Street was fifth on the list. In March the McDonald’s lorry became stuck outside the Wimpy restaurant after a ‘classic sat-nav problem’.

6. Tributes for Gregory Matthews, who died in a collision in March was the sixth most read story on our website in 2012. Friends called him ‘inspirational’ and ‘one of the most beautiful, happiest, funniest and most outgoing people.’

7. An emu which escaped from its home in Barnstaple and was ‘detained’ by police was our seventh most read story of the year. The runaway caused a national media frenzy in November, but Betty the emu was later safely reunited with her brother Reg.

8. Our eight most read story was a picture special of the Olympic Torch relay coming through North Devon. The event saw thousands turn out in the streets to mark the momentous occasion and watch the torch be carried by inspirational people. We captured the moments in our photo galleries and videos.

9. A piece reporting on speculation Robbie Williams had visited North Devon in November was our ninth most popular story of the year. We reported on local rumours but confirmed the star had not been staying in the Saunton Sands Hotel after a mystery helicopter was spotted there.

10. A tragic car crash that claimed the lives of two young people at Loxhore Cross in June was our tenth most read story of 2012. Emma Kift and Johnny Popple lost their lives in the collision which occurred in the early hours of the morning.

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