Jellyfish, giant waves and armed police have all made it into the top ten most read stories of 2013.

FROM an angry wren and giant waves to a jellyfish invasion and a Bideford man’s personal insight into his battle with cancer, it’s been a busy year on the North Devon Gazette website. Hundreds-of-thousands of you have been visit the Gazette website to read the news as it breaks, so let’s take a look back over the ten most popular stories of 2013.

1. A video of a former wren handing MP Nick Harvey an expenses envelope at Barnstaple’s Remembrance Day parade topped the list this year, with more than 100,000 people reading the story online. Fiona Laing was enraged at what Mr Harvey called an ‘honest mistake’ when he claimed back £7.20 in expenses for attending a Remembrance Day event in 2011. The video on the Gazette’s YouTube channel has had more than 79,000 hits, receiving hits from all over the world.

2. An influx of jellyfish on North Devon’s shores was the second most popular story on the web this year. Readers sent in photographs of the alien-like creatures on beaches all across the region, with thousands of people visiting the Gazette website to read the Red Cross’s advice on treating jellyfish stings.

3. When armed police closed off the Strand in Barnstaple last month, the Gazette was the first to break the news. Officers were at the scene for hours until the man, who was charged with possessing an imitation firearm, eventually surrendered himself to officers. The case is still ongoing.

4. When North Devon felt the wrath of St Jude in November, high waves came crashing into Ilfracombe, destroying parts of the sea wall. Dozens of readers sent in their photographs and videos of the damage, and our photo gallery was the fourth most read story of the year.

5. Thousands of people logged on to the Gazette website in February after a man reportedly found a ‘kidney’ in his KFC meal. The gruesome photos proved a hit with the story receiving hundreds of shares on social media.

6. North Devon’s first free school, Route 39, opened this year, but it wasn’t without an obstacle or two along the way. When Torridge District Council rejected plans for the school’s temporary location at the Milky Way Adventure Park, it became our sixth most read story of the year.

7. When Chivenor Business Park fell victim to a suspected arson attack in November, the Gazette was the first on the scene and our photo gallery showing the devastation at the scene was viewed by thousands of people. Around 40 vehicles were destroyed in the fire, and police are still investigating.

8. Flash flooding across North Devon in August saw readers sending in their photographs of the damage. Our gallery showing Ilfracombe’s Lidl store under several feet of water made it into the top ten stories – and Ilfracombe’s second appearance on the list for a weather related story.

9. A family’s appeal to find a man who vanished from his home in Bideford in December was shared by hundreds of people on Facebook. The story received several thousand hits as readers rallied together to try to find Caleb Jarvis. As the Gazette went to press, Caleb was still missing.

10. A Bideford man’s touching first-hand insight into his battle with cancer is the final addition to our top ten. In his own moving words, Anthony Grills talked about the shock of his diagnosis, and his determination to stay alive for his family.

To view all these stories, as well as the latest North Devon news, as it happens, visit www.northdevongazette.co.uk.