THE second full week of April, 2002 saw the news agenda dominated by the funeral of the Queen Mother.
She had died, aged 101, on March 30, and 10 days of national mourning were ordered.
On the day of the funeral, the Adver produced a special edition with a black masthead and sent reporters to mingle with the people - more than a million of them – who lined the route of the cortege in London.
We also tracked down local people with stories of Her Majesty.
One was former police officer Colin Reeves, who recalled stopping a speeding limousine with two colleagues in Ermin Street, Stratton St Margaret, one day during the 1970s.
We said: “As he approached the car he realised that, sat smiling in the back, was the Queen Mother.
“As soon as the officers stopped the car, a detective got out and explained who they had just stopped.
“The detective had allowed the driver to break the limit for security reasons. The event took place during the Cheltenham Races.”
The Queen Mother’s only official visit to Swindon had been to open the headquarters of the Bible Society at Westlea in May of 1986.
Chief executive James Catford said: “The Queen Mother was a great advocate for the Bible Society and will be truly missed.
“Having a much loved figure who was a strong Christian as patron helped to give our work a high profile the world over.”
Away from royal matters, an unusual interesting lot came up for sale at Dominic Winter Book Auctions, which had yet to move from Maxwell Street in Swindon to its later headquarters in Cirencester.
“Nearly 100 years ago,” we said, “a six-strong gang of workers cracked open a bottle of Dry Monopole champagne to mark the completion of an extension of the GWR Works Carpenters’ Shop.
“After draining it, they buried it in the foundations, along with a letter to the future, which they all signed.
“They wrote: ‘October 19, 1904. Office extension gang. This bottle was duly placed in the presence of the undersigned six honest British workmen on the above date, in all solemnity and reverence.’”
The bottle, unearthed when the site was being turned into part of the Swindon Designer Outlet, was sold for £120 against an estimate of only £50.
Back in modern Swindon, it would be some time before the Jubilee Clock and the shiny water feature were installed.
In the meantime connoisseurs of debate over town centre aesthetics had to content themselves with marvelling over a new bike shelter at the junction of Fleet Street and Bridge Street. It had reputedly cost the taxpayer £17,500 and stood in a pedestrianised area.
Comment reached our letters page.
“I have exhausted my capacity for amazement at the ineptitude of Swindon Borough Council,” began one correspondent.
“Why on earth should cyclists be supposed to park their vehicles in the centre (as opposed to the outskirts) of a pedestrian area? Do they not know the meaning of the word pedestrian?
“Furthermore, in the creation of their mechanical mushroom, have the planners not been informed that rain, in its precipitation, rarely falls perpendicular; that is to say, the fossilised mushroom will provide precious little protection?”
The mushroom has since been removed, although bikes can be tethered to the rails it once loomed over.
A rather more welcome civil engineering project was announced in Blunsdon, where local people were delighted to learn that they were to have their bypass after long years of campaigning.
Local councillor Doreen Dart said: “Hundreds of people have had this on their minds for more than 30 years.
“It was the hope and dream of, I suspect, almost everybody in Blunsdon.”
The bypass was completed in 2009, and the section A419 which it relieved, and which traffic once thundered along at all hours of the day and night, is peaceful.
The Adver was doing all it could to assist the police with their ongoing search for Linda Razzell.
The 41-year-old Swindon College support worker and mother-of-four had disappeared on March 19 while on her way to work.
She had left her red Ford Escort in Alvescot Road and walked through an alleyway leading to Upham Road and Drove Road.
Her mobile phone, the last trace of her, was found in the alleyway.
We ran stories about the case every day, and handed our standing display boards to the police for distribution with posters showing her face.
Toward the end of the week, on what would have been her 42nd birthday, there was an appeal from her brother, Graham Davies, for further information from the public.
“She is a family woman and enjoys writing fiction and poetry,” he said. “It is completely out of character for her to disappear.”
Linda has never been found. Her former husband, Glyn, who also appealed for information about her disappearance, was jailed in 2003 for her murder.