WITH the year coming to a close, reporter Kate Banks decided the time was nigh to reflect on Messenger’s most popular social media stories of 2013.

As always, vastly varying subjects seemed to have captured our readers’ imaginations, with teen-sensation Justin Beiber, papier-mache comedian Frank Sidebottom and articles about weight loss success stories, proving most popular with readers.

However, by far and away the most popular story on Messenger’s Facebook page this year was a story about perhaps the most famous man in Altrincham, Market Dave.

The story actually first appeared on Messenger’s website in 2010, but such is the popularity of the maverick character that 1,849 people viewed ‘Market Dave makes welcome return to Altrincham’.

The second most popular Facebook story was ‘Premiership footballer wanted by police following hit and run collision in Hale’, which was read by 1,193 people and came about after cyclist Rob Lockhart was knocked off his bike by the soccer star in September.

Stories about the erection of a statue dedicated to the late Timperley comedian, Frank Sidebottom, have proved popular all year and was our fifth most read on Facebook in 2013 with 686 views.

And in sixth and eighth place on Messenger’s list of most popular Facebook stories of 2013 were about two Sale mums who lost 10 stone between them after giving birth, which were read 1,207 times in total.

Meanwhile on Twitter, although reporters at Messenger will never understand why, a story named ‘Pool closed after child does a poo in the water’ kept floating to the top of the most read list on our website and remained there for weeks.

The story, which like the Market Dave article was written some time ago, was shared a miraculous 1,317 times on Twitter.

More miraculously still, although he may have more than 45 million followers on Twitter, Justin Bieber is not even slightly as popular as a poo in a swimming pool with Messenger readers – as a story about him singing to a girl from Hale Barns while on the Manchester leg of his tour was shared a lowly 517 times.