THE earth moved for Swindon in the early hours of Wednesday morning this week in 2008.

“An earth tremor, measuring 5.2 on the Richter Scale, hit at 1am.

“Its epicentre was near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire but the effects were felt throughout the country.

“In Swindon there was widespread confusion as to the cause of rattling window panes, with suspicions ranging from ghosts to burglars and even mice.”

Some people guessed what was happening, including Cara Barrett and Matthew Buy, who ran the Roaring Donkey pub in Old Town.

Cara said: “We shouted out of the window to our friend who was outside, smoking a cigarette, and asked him if he’d felt the earthquake. He said he thought it was just the garage door closing, so we felt a bit stupid.”

Antony De Souza was originally from Goa, a location which is no stranger to seismic activity, but revealed that the Swindon earthquake was the first he had experienced.

“My wife and I both woke up because the house was shaking,” he said.

“When I said I thought it could be an earthquake, my wife just laughed and said, ‘Don’t be silly - earthquakes don’t happen in England.’”

The earthquake was Britain’s most severe since one in 1984 in North Wales. The only casualty was a man in Yorkshire who suffered a broken pelvis when the roof of his attic room fell in.

Back in Swindon, the only fall of a building was a carefully scheduled one.

“It once provided a safe haven for Swindon’s homeless,” we said.

“But Davis House will soon be no more after demolition teams moved in this week. The former Salvation Army-owned hostel will be razed to the ground as part of ongoing plans to transform Swindon town centre.

“The Carfax Street building was bought for £2.4m last April and has been standing empty since August. But the adjacent NHS walk-in centre, which was bought for £2.3m more than a year ago, will only be demolished once alternative premises can be found for the service.”

We added that the site was to become part of a new development, Exchange and Arena, which was set to cover 17 acres and include office space, homes and leisure facilities. What nobody foresaw at the time, of course, was the impending global economic crash.

The new medical centre, in Islington Street, eventually opened its doors in 2017 as part of the Kimmerfields development.

Booth House, which replaced Davis House, celebrated its 10th anniversary that same year.

In showbusiness news, the Wyvern Theatre made an announcement about a show not even scheduled to begin rehearsing for many months.

As far as audiences are concerned, Panto Season tends to cover the Christmas period and perhaps a little of the new year, but for many theatres there is no beginning or end.

The curtain has barely dropped on one year’s final performance before they’re scouting for the stars of the next.

The Wyvern was quick off the mark in 2008, securing the services of Shaun Williamson.

Best known for his role as the hapless and tragic Barry Evans in EastEnders, which he played until the character’s death in 2004, he had later appeared in Ricky Gervais comedy Extras - and as Meat Loaf on Celebrity Stars in their Eyes.

We said: “The former soap star takes on the role of Abanazar in this year’s Christmas show, Aladdin. Tickets for the show are already selling at record levels, but now the theatre has announced Shaun will star in this year’s show, organisers are hopeful tickets will sell even faster.”

As if this were not enough excitement pantogoers were promised something called Bogglevision, a technological innovation which meant the genie would be able to move around the theatre.

Other effects were to include a 3-D tour of Aladdin’s cave and a ride on a magic carpet.

The week also saw the Adver announce the winner of Fit Fellas, a competition we ran in conjunction with the Marriott Swindon to find the most desirable young man in our circulation area.

Nominations had been invited from readers, and each finalist was questioned by a panel of judges. One of them, radio presenter Roo Green, gave an insight into some of the criteria used: “Wit, intelligence and a twinkle in the eye can make me go weak at the knees, regardless of how you look.

“However, saying all that, if you have firm thighs that look like they could crack walnuts - I will probably propose marriage.”

The eventual runaway winner was 22-year-old bar manager John Edmonds from Old Town who worked at The Spot, whose premises are no home to the Kenzo Kitchen restaurant.

John revealed: “My colleagues entered me for a stitch-up but I went along with it - it’s all for fun, so why not?

“I’d like to say thanks to everyone who got behind me and voted.”