Here's what happened in July 2017:

COUNCIL chiefs launched a campaign to design a new flag for Southampton, and they called on youngsters to design it, writes Josh Bourne. The plan was that the flag will represent the city’s heritage and character. Council leader Simon Letts, said: “I believe a flag for Southampton will allow residents to express pride in our community, celebrate our heritage and culture and raise greater recognition and awareness nationwide.” The competition was later won by eight-year-old Yihuan Han. The Portswood Primary school student went on to raise his design outside the Civic Centre, accompanied by Mayor of Southampton, councillor Les Harris. Yihuan said: “It was really nerve racking, but exciting.” Asked what it was like to see his design raised for the first time, he added: “I’m quite proud”. Yihuan’s design beat over 500 entries from school children across Southampton. The six finalists were put to a public vote by Southampton residents, of which 600 entered through the Daily Echo.

A DEVASTATING fire which tore through a garage bought “chaos” to a Hampshire town. More than 50 firefighters tackled a large blaze close to Hythe Pier which destroyed a garage and left one business suspending its work until the site was declared safe. Hampshire Fire and Rescue confirmed a garage in Prospect Place, near the pier, caught fire with crews rushing to the scene to battle the flames. The fire forced independent vehicle repair specialists Hythe Garage to cancel its work throughout the week. The Hythe Ferry, which connects villagers with Southampton, was forced to shut for over an hour as firefighters continued to damp down the blaze. Bus company Bluestar also postponed its service through Hythe due to the fire and police cordon around the affected area.

FAREHAM councillors voted in favour of plans to redevelop the town centre with a new restaurant complex, new shops, an arts centre, a new multi-story car park, and the construction of hundreds of homes. The council planned to build a new cultural and arts facility along with a 600-capacity car park and 150 homes. Leader Sean Woodward said: “We have a sustainable vision that will include new shops, homes and leisure facilities that will turn Fareham into a modern hub. This is also an existing vision which will bring the town centre into the 21st century as well as create hundreds of new jobs.”

THE Princess Royal landed at Solent Airport in Lee-on-the-Solent for an official visit ahead of the airfield’s 100th birthday celebrations in September. As part of her duties, the Princess unveiled a plaque to commemorate the anniversary. She also presented the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Volunteer of the Year award to Mike Saunders, who had spent 46 years in the coastguard and has responded to more than 3,000 incidents.

SAINTS legend Matt Le Tissier, pictured, received an honorary degree from a Southampton university and told graduates: “Go follow your dreams.” The talented midfielder remains the second-highest goal scorer for Southampton FC and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1990. He was also the first midfielder to score 100 goals in the Premier League and was famous for penalty-scoring ability – converting from the spot 47 times from 48 attempts. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sport degree from Southampton Solent University. Matt, 48, has had a long relationship with the university and often visits the campus to attend events and speak to students. On receiving his degree he said: “I’d like to thank Southampton Solent University for bestowing this honour on me. I feel quite proud – it’s a lovely gesture and one which I thought, growing up, I would never get.”

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn visited Southampton where he promised “proper school funding and ending university fees” at a rally. Mr Corbyn was presented with a Saints shirt by Labour’s Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead and local councillor Satvir Kaur. His visit was part of a nationwide tour of marginal seats after the general election in June.

FORMER Southampton schoolboy Will Champion and fellow members of the rock band Coldplay threw their support behind a new £25 million cancer research hub being built in the city. Coldplay made a “significant” donation towards the cost of the Centre for Cancer Immunology, at Southampton General Hospital. Will, whose mum died of the disease in 2000, said: “The work the University of Southampton is doing is truly ground-breaking and we are very happy we can support it in this way.”

THE family of a man who had his throat slashed praised the policeman who saved his life. PC Nick Spratt rushed to help Robert Holden after the 29-year old father of two was viciously attacked outside The Encore pub in Commercial Road, Southampton. The victim’s stepdad, said the officer held Mr Holden’s throat with both hands to stem the flow of blood. Tim Cropp said: “I want everyone to know what a fantastic job the officer did. He should get an award for saving Robert’s life – he’s a hero in my view.”