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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 17:18 GMT
2002 in focus
A look back at the major UK stories of 2002. In the Queen's Golden Jubilee year, the Royal Family suffers two bereavements. Two UK government ministers quit and the prime minister's wife is forced to explain her dealings with a convicted fraudster.


Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret
The princess had been suffering ill-health in recent years
On 9 February, Princess Margaret dies "peacefully in her sleep" at the age of 71 after suffering a stroke. A funeral service is held in Windsor on 15 February, attended by 450 members of family and close friends.




Queen Mother
The Queen Mother's coffin is carried out of Westminster Hall
The Queen said the outpouring of affection for her mother had been 'overwhelming'
Just six weeks later on 30 March, the Royal Family suffers another bereavement with the death of the Queen Mother at the age of 101. A funeral service is held on April 9, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and attended by dignitaries from around the world.



Potters Bar train crash
Scene of the Potters Bar rail crash
An HSE report blamed faulty points for the derailment
On 10 May, a train ploughs off the tracks at Potters Bar station, Hertfordshire, killing seven people and injuring 70 more on the train and the platform. A decision on a public inquiry into the crash is not due to be made before spring 2003.



Stephen Byers quits
Former Transport Secretary Stephen Byers
Byers said his resignation was 'the right thing to do'
On 28 May, the transport secretary quits his job after months in the media spotlight. His troubles began after he stood by spin doctor Jo Moore, who sent an email on 11 September saying it was a good day "to bury" bad news.



Queen's Golden Jubilee
Queen Elizabeth II
The Golden Jubilee celebrations were hailed a success
On June 4, the Queen watches from the balcony at Buckingham Palace as one million people join a spectacular climax to the Jubilee weekend. A three-hour-long parade followed the previous night's pop concert at the palace.




Holly and Jessica
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman disappeared on 4 August
On 30 August, a service is held to celebrate the lives of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Their bodies were found dumped in a woods almost two weeks after they went missing from their Cambridgeshire homes.



Estelle Morris resigns
Former Education Secretary Estelle Morris
Morris 'didn't always enjoy the job'
On 23 October, the education secretary quits saying the job was too important to have "second best". Estelle Morris' resignation follows controversy over A-level marking and delays in vetting teachers for the new school year.




Butler trial collapses
Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell
Mr Burrell 'never realised' what he told the Queen could clear him
On 1 November, Diana's former butler Paul Burrell is cleared of stealing from the princess' estate after it was revealed that he had told the Queen that he was keeping some of her possessions. He is later paid a reported 300,000 for his account of his ordeal.



Firefighter strikes
Firefighters on a picket line
The Army was poised to cover for striking firefighters
On 13 November, the first national firefighters' strike for 25 years begins with troops attending hundreds of call-outs within hours. The 48-day strike over pay is followed by another eight day walkout, before the industrial action is halted ahead of renewed negotiations.



Cherie apologises
Cherie Blair
Cherie Blair's statement lasted eight minutes
On 10 December, a tearful Cherie Blair apologises for the embarrassment she caused in buying flats with the help of convicted fraudster Peter Foster. The statement fails to halt the media storm surrounding the controversy.



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