For this week’s nostalgia, we will be going back to 2001 to see what was going on in the Reading and the surrounding areas.

For many people, the events of 20 years ago are still fresh in the memory of several residents, who remember certain experiences as if they were yesterday.

So, what was going on two decades ago?

At the beginning of the year, one of West Berkshire’s MPs vowed to help put the area on the ‘cider map’, as the first cider and perry orchard was inaugurated.

The late David Rendel, who was the Liberal Democrat politician for Newbury, visited Shefford Woodlands in the county to plant the first batch of trees along with Alice and Roy Bailey from the Lamboune Valley Cider Company and Charles Byram-Cook who was the landowner.

That same month also saw some silverware be presented at Reading’s Madjeski Stadium

At the start of January 2001, the Royals’ Adi Viveash was named at the club’s Player of the Month for his performances in December 2000.

His displays in the final month of the previous year saw him play six matches and score once which was in a 3-1 win over Cambridge United on December 2, 2000.

The goal, which was his second of the season (his first was against Wycombe two months previously), was scored inside the first minute against the Us.

At around the same time, a video featuring six people with learning difficulties from the Reading Adult Centre has won first prize in a road safety competition.

The 16 minute video called ‘Stride Ahead in Safety’, shows the group using traffic islands and zebra crossings whilst demonstrating how to cross roads safely when going through parked cars.

The clip was filmed in Caversham and Reading.

Cllr Pepe Ruhermann, who was responsible for Reading’s social services at the time, said: “Their hard work on the video could help save lives in the future.”

Speaking on being informative, 2001 was the year that young animal lovers in the area were able to find out more about the creatures that lived in the city and beyond.

This was due to a new website that was launched for children and teenagers, with it being set up by Wokingham District Council’s Countryside Services.

Countryside ranger Lisa Stevens said: “Every year, the rangers at the countryside service are contacted by a number of students wanting information about their local country parks for school projects.

“The website not only provides this, but, students can also contact us by email to get more information.”

The website, www.wokingham.gov.uk/countryside is still available to this day.

That same month saw the late Cormac Murphy-O’Connor receive a promotion in the Catholic Church by the Pope.

Mr Murphy-O’Connor, who was born in Reading, became the a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in 2001, whilst also being the Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

His presentation as the official Cardinal took place in February 2001 in Rome.

In lighter news that year, rugby players such as Barry Everitt, Conor O’Shea and Jarrod Cunningham added their weight to Dermot Clancy’s home launch.

The development company got the team of rugby stars to help promote the new development in Berkshire.

That same year also saw one of the most extraordinary schools to ever be written in the Chronicle’s history.

In June 2000, a balloon was released at Hillside Primary School by pupils to celebrate a millennium party.

A note was attached to each balloon asking for it to be returned to Hillside with details of where it was found.

By the end of July 2000, teachers thought the competition was over after a balloon was found on the France/Germany border, which was declared the winner.

However, to everyone’s amazement, a Sarah Lewington’s balloon was returned to the school in January 2001, after it was discovered by Mount Vesuvius – the volcano that destroyed the Italian cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD.

Headteacher Ann Griffin said: “Sarah was absolutely delighted when I went into class and told her the news – everyone was so surprised.”

That same month (January 2001), saw school children in the area play on a playground that was designed…by the children.

The youngsters at Katesgrove Primary School were allowed to choose how the new play area should look like thanks to Reading Borough Council.

Staying with schoolchildren, that month saw pupils at St May and All Saints Primary School in Coley help each other via a peer mediation scheme.

This was introduced as both schools were planning to merge come that September.

Finally, 2001 saw the then educational minister, Margaret Hodge, visit the Caversham Nursery.