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Flashback: A tragic teenage love story, social services crisis and heartbroken pensioners

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 December 2016

40-years-ago

40-years-ago

Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this week 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

1956:

A teenage love story which ended in tragedy unfolded in Romford Coroner’s Court when a 16-year-old Romford County High School girl said she broke off an acquaintanceship with a 17-year-old Romford Technical School boy, because he was “a bully and very moody”. After an unsuccessful attempt to renew the friendship, the boy stabbed himself to death 200 yards from the girl’s home.

The young girl told coroner Beccle and the court the story of her first meeting with the 17-year-old and the final parting outside her home. It was on a Saturday afternoon, after he had walked home with her that she told him she did not wish to renew their friendship. Before he rode away on his bike, she told him “I’ll see you around sometime,” but he replied, “You won’t.”

1976:

Romford MP Michael Neubert was to probe a claim that the staffing situation at Havering Council’s social services department was so critical a child might of died.

The move followed a demonstration in London by hundreds of Havering’s white-collar workers, against public spending cuts. And it was underlined by further savage cuts intimated and fears of a 50p a week rate rise.

Havering’s 90 social workers were struggling to come to grips with case-loads which increased by 26 per cent during the past year.

Mr Neubert planned to meet social workers and council chiefs to find out how serious the crisis was.

After meeting delegates from Havering’s branch of the National and Local Government Officers’ Association at Westminster, he said: “I am most concerned at the state of affairs in my constituency.

“I want to be assured council staff can cope with their case-loads and sacrifices are made elsewhere to support genuine human need.”

1996:

Two Romford pensioners were heartbroken after being told to choose between their council flat or family pet.

Gwen Roberts, 74, and her partner Len, 84, of Rush Green Gardens, Rush Green, lived in a council flat with Ben, their 14-year-old golden labrador for eight years without trouble.

Mrs Roberts said: “No one said anything about Ben.

“But then we had a visit from a council official who said we could be evicted unless we got rid of him.”

The family pet had lived with the couple since he was a puppy but council officers from the environmental group gave the couple a week to rehome Ben after, it was believed, some neighbours complained.

Mrs Roberts said: “I can’t believe we have to do this.

“Ben is our friend and all we’ve got. He can’t have more than another year left, but we cannot face moving at our time of life. It all seems so unfair.”

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