In Pictures

Pictures of the Year: UK

We've picked out a selection of our favourite pictures taken during the past year around the United Kingdom. Some are dramatic moments, others have a touch of humour, but all sum up the past 12 months.

Image copyright Ben Birchall/pa

The year began in much the same way the previous one had ended, with some very bad weather, which saw more than 5,000 homes and businesses flooded and many rivers in southern England reaching their highest recorded levels.

Here, photographer Ben Birchall, of the Press Association, managed to capture this dramatic moment as waves broke against Porthcawl harbour in Bridgend.

Image copyright Nick Ansell/pa

For some, the cold weather at home was not enough - the UK's top athletes headed to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, returning with 26 medals, surpassing the three-medal target set by UK Sport.

Image copyright Sean Dempsey/pa

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, seen here with her husband Charlie Brooks, was cleared of all charges in the phone-hacking trial, though the man who followed her into the editor's chair, Andy Coulson, was convicted. Royals, celebrities and victims of crime were among those whose phones were hacked by the paper.

Image copyright Anna Gowthorpe/pa

In April, Ann Maguire, a teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic College, in Leeds, was stabbed to death in front of pupils. In November, 16-year-old Will Cornick was given a life sentence after he admitted the murder. The judge said he had shown a "chilling lack of remorse" and ordered him to serve at least 20 years, saying he might never be released.

Image copyright Chris Jackson/getty images

A sea of ceramic poppies was laid in the moat of the Tower of London - 888,246 flowers in total, each one representing a British or Commonwealth military death in World War One. The final poppy was laid on 11 November, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice to end the War in 1918.

Image copyright DAMIR SAGOLJ/reuters

The World Cup was held in Brazil, producing one of the most exciting competitions for years. Sadly, England's run did not last beyond the group stage, with the team taking just one point from three games.

Image copyright Ben Birchall/pa

Leaders of the three main Westminster parties found they had to make room for a competitor this year as Nigel Farage's UKIP party gained support, winning by-elections in Clacton and Rochester and Strood.

Image copyright Stefan Rousseau/pa

Despite looking like a couple of commuters who've missed their stop, Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson were out canvassing for votes in June's Newark by-election, a seat the Conservative Party managed to hold on to. In August Boris Johnson said he would stand to be an MP again at next year's general election, but it was "highly unlikely" he would one day stand to become Conservative leader, as there was "no vacancy".

Image copyright Nigel Roddis/getty images

Photographing politicians can occasionally result in a picture that becomes a story rather than just an illustration of one. While in Manchester the Labour Party leader donated money to a woman begging on the streets, an act that was criticised by the founder of the Big Issue magazine, John Bird, who said Ed Miliband was a "role model to many of us" and should know that giving money to beggars would keep them on the streets and lead to more problems. Some of the press took a different angle, questioning the amount Mr Miliband had donated. A Labour Party official said he had given a handful of change.

Image copyright Chris Radburn/pa

With an election due next year Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "I just think the Conservatives are kidding themselves and seeking to kid British voters if they are claiming that it's possible to balance the books, deliver unfunded tax cuts, shrink the state and support public services in the way that everybody wants. It just doesn't add up." He is pictured here during a visit to a day nursery in Colchester, Essex.

Image copyright Andrew Milligan/pa

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, took the country to the polls in a referendum for independence. It was expected to be close, but in the end 55% voted No and so the United Kingdom remained intact. Mr Salmond then stood down as SNP leader and First Minister, before announcing his intention to stand for a seat at Westminster at next May's general election. Here, he kicks a ball during a Street Soccer Scotland photocall at Fernhill Community Centre in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire.

Image copyright Chris Jackson/pa

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry headed to Yorkshire to witness the start of this year's Tour de France cycle race in July. Later in the year, it was announced the duchess was expecting her second child.

Image copyright Matt Crossick/pa

The hot ticket of the year was Glastonbury Festival, tickets for which sold out in record time back in October 2013. For those who made it through the doors there was the usual mix of music and bad weather, but these festivalgoers lit up the night in neon suits.

Image copyright Christopher Furlong/getty images

At the age of 17, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner. The teenager was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls' education. She now lives in Birmingham.

Image copyright Ben Birchall/pa

And finally, the Tough Mudder, which takes place in Oxfordshire each year, offered a chance to test your stamina over a 12-mile assault course.

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