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2002 in the United Kingdom


2002 in the United Kingdom

2002 in the United Kingdom:
Other years
2000 | 2001 | 2002 (2002) | 2003 | 2004
Individual countries of the United Kingdom
England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales
Sport, Television and music

Events from the year 2002 in the United Kingdom. This year was the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II.


  • Incumbents 1
  • Events 2
    • Undated 2.1
  • Publications 3
  • Births 4
    • Full date unknown 4.1
  • Deaths 5
  • References 6



  • January – Ford unveils its all-new Fiesta supermini, which is due on sale in March.
  • 7 January – It is announced that a record of 2,450,000 new cars were sold during 2001, breaking the previous record set in 1989. The Ford Focus was Britain's best selling car for the third year running.[1]
  • 14 January – The end of the Foot and Mouth crisis is declared after 11 months.[2]
  • 8–24 February – Great Britain competes at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, and wins 1 gold and 1 bronze medal.
  • 9 February – Princess Margaret, the Queen's younger sister, dies after suffering a stroke at the age of 71.[3]
  • 15 February – Funeral of Princess Margaret takes place at Windsor.
  • 18 February – Thoburn v Sunderland City Council decided.
  • 19 February – Ford ends 90 years of British car production with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs after the last Fiesta was made at its factory in Dagenham. However, the plant will be retained for the production of engines and gearboxes, and Ford will continue to make commercial vehicles at its plant in Southampton.[4]
  • 20 February – Andrew Aston, a 29-year-old Birmingham cocaine addict,[5] is sentenced to 26 concurrent terms of Life imprisonment – officially the longest prison sentence imposed on any criminal in England and Wales – for murdering two elderly people in robberies and attacking 24 others.[6]
  • 27 February – Ryanair Flight 296 catches fire at London Stansted Airport.
  • March – Vauxhall unveils the all-new Vectra family car, which is due on sale in Summer.
  • 11 March – BBC 6 Music, the first new BBC Radio station in decades, is launched.
  • 21 March – Amanda Dowler, 13, goes missing on her way home from school in Surrey.
  • 22 March – A woman known as "Miss B", who was left quadriplegic last year as a result of a burst blood vessel in her neck, is granted the right to die by the High Court.[7]
  • 29 March – Coal mining in Scotland, which has a history stretching back more than 800 years,[8] comes to an end with the closure of Longannet coal mine in Fife after it floods and the owners go into liquidation, putting more than 500 people out of work.[9]
  • 30 March – Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, dies aged 101 at Royal Lodge, Windsor.[10]
  • 4 April – Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's funeral procession from the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace to Westminster Hall to lie in state.
  • 9 April – Funeral of Windsor.
  • 23 April – A badly decomposed female body is found in the River Thames; it is feared to be that of Amanda Dowler.[1]
  • 24 April – The body found in the River Thames is identified as that of 73-year-old Mrs Maisie Thomas, who was last seen alive near her home in Shepperton just over a year ago and whose death is not believed to be suspicious.[2]
  • 25 April – Two 16-year-old twin brothers are cleared of murdering 10-year-old Damilola Taylor, who was stabbed to death in South London 17 months ago.[11]
  • 29 April – As part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations, the Queen dines at 10 Downing Street with the five living prime ministers who have served under her; Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan and Edward Heath. She is also joined by several relatives of deceased former prime ministers, including Clarissa Eden, Countess of Avon, widow of prime minister Anthony Eden.[12]
  • 1 May – Airdrieonians, of the Scottish Football League Division One, go into liquidation with debts of £3million. They are the first Scottish senior side to go out of business for 35 years.[13]
  • 4 May – Arsenal win the FA Cup with a 2–0 win over London rivals Chelsea in the final.[3]
  • 8 May – Arsenal win their second double in five seasons (and the third in their history) after a 1–0 away win over defending champions Manchester United.[4]
  • 10 May
  • 24 May – Falkirk Wheel boat lift opens in Scotland, also marking reopening of the Union Canal for leisure traffic.
  • 27 May – Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown appointed as the international community's High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.[16]
  • 28 May – Stephen Byers resigns as Secretary of State for Transport.
  • 2 June – The England national football team's World Cup campaign, hosted jointly by Japan and South Korea, begins with a 1–1 draw against Sweden.[17]
  • 3 June – The "Party in the Palace" takes place at Buckingham Palace, London for The Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations.
  • 4 June – The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh ride in the gold state coach from Buckingham Palace to St Paul's Cathedral for a special service marking the Queen's 50 years on the throne. In New York, the Empire State Building is lit in purple for her honour.
  • 7 June – England beat Argentina 1-0 in their second World Cup group game, with the only goal of the game being scored by captain David Beckham.[18]
  • 10 June – First direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans carried out by Kevin Warwick in the University of Reading.
  • 12 June – England qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup despite only managing a goalless draw against Nigeria.[19]
  • 15 June – England beat Denmark 3-0 in the World Cup second round and reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1990.[20] Ironically, the far-right British National Party had declared its support for all-white Denmark before the World Cup due to the England team featuring black players.[21]
  • 21 June – England's hopes of winning the World Cup are ended by a 2–1 defeat to Brazil in the quarter-finals.[22]
  • 25 June – Jason Gifford (27) is shot dead by armed police in Aylesbury after brandishing a shotgun and a machete in a residential street.[5]
  • July – London City Hall is opened on the south bank of the River Thames, designed by Norman Foster.
  • 1 July – Rochdale Canal, crossing the Pennines, reopened throughout for leisure traffic.
  • 3 July – Decapitation of a statue of Margaret Thatcher: a man decapitates a statue of the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on display at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London.[23]
  • 5 July – The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, designed by Daniel Libeskind, opens.
  • 8 July – John Taylor, a 46-year-old parcel delivery worker from Bramley in Leeds, is sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 16-year-old Leanne Tiernan. Leanne was last seen alive in the city centre on 26 November 2000 and her body was found in the Yorkshire countryside nine months later. Police believed that Taylor may have been responsible for other unsolved sex attacks and murders in the Yorkshire area, and the trial judge has warned Taylor to expect to spend the rest of his life in prison.[6]
  • 9 July – Clydebank F.C. of the Scottish Football League Second Division become defunct after a takeover by the owners of the new Airdrie United club, who take their place in the Scottish league and continue the tradition of senior football in the town of Airdrie following the recent demise of Airdrieonians, whose stadium they will play at.[24]
  • 12 July – Ribble Link waterway opened for leisure traffic.
  • 13 July – Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art opens in the converted Baltic Flour Mill at Gateshead.
  • 22 July – Rio Ferdinand becomes the most expensive player in English football when he completes his £29.1million move from Leeds United to Manchester United.[7]
  • 23 July –
  • 25 July – The Commonwealth Games, hosted by Manchester are opened by the Queen. The event also marks the opening of the City of Manchester Stadium, which will host the games. It will be partly remodelled after the games are over to become home of Manchester City F.C. from August 2003.
  • 30 July – Heavy rain overnight results in the floods in Glasgow.
  • August – An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Barrow-in-Furness results in seven deaths and 172 cases throughout the month, ranking it as the worst in the UK's history and fifth worst worldwide.
  • 4 August –
    • – 10-year-old girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman go missing in Soham, Cambridgeshire.[27]
  • 5 August – Police and volunteers in the Soham area begin the search for Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.[8]
  • 7 August – Police investigating the case of the two missing Soham girls seize a white van in nearby Wentworth and admit they are now looking at the case as a possible abduction.[9]
  • 12 August – A possible sighting of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman is reported by a local taxi driver who claims to have seen the driver of a green car struggling with two children and driving recklessly along the A142 into Newmarket on the evening the girls went missing.[10]
  • 13 August – Two mounds of disturbed earth are found at Warren Hill, near Newmarket, in the same area where screams were reported on the night that Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman went missing. It is initially feared that the mounds of earth were the graves of the two girls, but a police examination fails to uncover any link to the girls.[11]
  • 16 August – Ian Huntley, caretaker of Soham Village College, and his girlfriend Maxine Carr, are questioned in connection with the disappearance of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, but are released after seven hours in custody.[12]
  • 17 August – Following the recovery of items of major interest to the police investigation, Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr are re-arrested on suspicion of murder as police admit for the first time that they fear the missing girls are now dead. Several hours later, two "severely decomposed and partially skeletonised" bodies are found in the Lakenheath area; they have not been identified but police say that they are likely to be those of the two missing girls.[13]
  • 21 August – Ian Huntley, detained under the Mental Health Act, is charged with the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. His girlfriend Maxine Carr is charged with perverting the course of justice. Both are remanded in custody.[14] Meanwhile, police confirm that the two bodies found at Lakenheath are those of the two girls.[14]
  • 20 September – Police confirm that human remains found in woodland in north Hampshire are those of Amanda Dowler, who went missing in Surrey six months ago. A murder investigation is launched.
  • 22 September – An earthquake in Dudley is felt throughout England and Wales.[28]
  • 1 October – Main provisions of National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act (of 25 June) come into force in England, including renaming and merger of existing NHS regional health authorities to form 28 new strategic health authorities, and introduction of Primary Care Trusts to be responsible for the supervision of family health care functions.[29]
  • 9 October – A judge decides that Ian Huntley is fit to face prosecution for the Soham Murders.
  • 14 October – The Northern Ireland Assembly is suspended following allegations of spying in "Stormontgate".[30]
  • 23 October – Estelle Morris resigns as Secretary of State for Education, explaining that she did not feel up to the job.
  • 25 October – Memorial service held at St Paul's Cathedral for the victims of the Bali bombing, which killed 26 UK citizens.
  • 1 November – Diana, Princess of Wales' 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.
  • 13 November – Firefighter's strike begins.
  • 15 November – Moors Murderer Myra Hindley dies in West Suffolk Hospital at the age of 60 after being hospitalised with a heart attack. She was in the 37th year of her life sentence and had spent the last decade attempting to gain parole, having been told by no less than four Home Secretaries that she would have to spend the rest of her life in prison, having previously increased her minimum term from 25 years to 30 years during the 1980s, and then to a whole life tariff in 1990. Media sources report that the Home Office will soon be stripped of its power to set minimum terms for life sentence prisoners, and Hindley had been widely expected to gain parole in the near future as a result.[15]
  • 20 November
    • German anatomist Gunther von Hagens conducts a public autopsy in a London theatre; the first in Britain in more than 170 years.[25]
    • 40 years after the first James Bond film was made, the 20th film is released in British cinemas as Pierce Brosnan bows out as Bond in Die Another Day after four films in seven years.[31]
  • 23 November – The Miss World beauty competition is held in London after rioting in the Nigerian capital Lagos prevent it being hosted there.[25]
  • 24 November – Home Secretary David Blunkett rules that four convicted child murderers should spent at least 50 years in prison before being considered for parole. This ruling means that Roy Whiting, Howard Hughes, Timothy Morss and Brett Tyler are likely to remain behind bars until at least the ages of 92, 80, 79 and 81 respectively.
  • 26 November – Politicians in England and Wales lose their power to set minimum terms on life sentence prisoners after the European Court of Human Rights and the High Court both ruled in favour of a legal challenge by convicted double murderer Anthony Anderson. Anderson had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988 and the trial judge recommended that he should serve a minimum of 15 years before being considered for parole, but the Home Secretary later decided on a 20-year minimum term.
  • 30 November – Girl band Girls Aloud are formed from the five female contestants who win the ITV talent show Popstars The Rivals.[32]
  • 10 December
    • [33]
    • Cherie Blair apologises for the embarrassment she caused in buying flats with the help of convicted fraudster Peter Foster.
  • 12 December – The latest MORI poll puts Labour four points ahead of the Conservatives on 37%, while the Liberal Democrats are enjoying a new high in popularity with 24% of the vote. [16]
  • 15 December – On the Record, the BBC's flagship political programme, finishes after 14 years on air.
  • 19 December
  • 22 December – Sound of the Underground, Girls Aloud's first single, is the UK's Christmas number one.[36]


  • BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development), the country's first large-scale zero energy housing development, of 99 homes in Beddington, London, designed by Bill Dunster, is completed.
  • Over 50% of the UK population (well over 30 million people) now has internet access.
  • Car sales in Britain reach a record level for the second year running, now exceeding 2.5 million for the first time. The Ford Focus is Britain's best selling car for the fourth year in a row, and Ford Motor Company retains its lead of the manufacturers for British sales, which it has held since 1975. Ford has a total of four model ranges among Britain's top 10 selling cars, for the first time since 1989. Vauxhall, Peugeot, Renault and Volkswagen also enjoy strong sales.



Full date unknown



  1. ^ "UK car sales hit record". BBC. 7 January 2002. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "2002: UK declared free of foot-and-mouth".  
  3. ^ "Princess Margaret dies". BBC. 9 February 2002. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Dagenham: End of the line". BBC. 19 February 2002. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Killer gets 26 life sentences". BBC. 20 February 2002. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Sins of the father". BBC. 3 July 2003. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "'"2002: Woman granted 'right to die. BBC News. 22 March 2002. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  8. ^ [17]
  9. ^ "Grim future for deep coal mine". BBC. 29 March 2002. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "2002: Queen Mother dies". BBC News. 30 March 2002. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  11. ^ "2002: Brothers cleared of Damilola murder". BBC News. 25 April 2002. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008. 
  12. ^ "Queen dines with her prime ministers". BBC News. 29 April 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  13. ^ "End for Airdrie". BBC News. 1 May 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  14. ^ a b McGuinness, Ross (16 March 2009). " 
  15. ^ "Footballer jailed over stolen car". BBC News. 10 May 2002. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Alex Todorovic (27 May 2002). "Ashdown takes over in Bosnia".  
  17. ^ "Sweden hold drab England".  
  18. ^ "England's sweet revenge". BBC News. 7 June 2002. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  19. ^ "England labour to last 16". BBC News. 12 June 2002. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  20. ^ "England brush Danes aside". BBC News. 15 June 2002. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  21. ^ [18]
  22. ^ "Brazil end England's dream". BBC News. 21 June 2002. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  23. ^ White, Michael (4 July 2002). "Thatcher statue decapitated". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "Airdrie buy Bankies". BBC News. 9 July 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  25. ^ a b c Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006.  
  26. ^ [19]
  27. ^ "2002: Police 'concerned' for missing girls". BBC News. 4 August 2002. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008. 
  28. ^ "Dudley Earthquake Macroseismic". Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  29. ^ "National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002".  
  30. ^ Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 652–653.  
  31. ^ [20]
  32. ^ Patterson, Sylvia (5 October 2008). "Girls uninterrupted". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  33. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2002". Retrieved 13 February 2008. 
  34. ^ "Three guilty of teenager's murder". BBC News. 19 December 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  35. ^ "Danielle's uncle jailed for murder". BBC News. 19 December 2002. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  36. ^ Branigan, Tania (23 December 2002). "Girls Aloud hit number one for Christmas". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
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