Flashback: A homeless pregnant mother, a successful boat builder and a hospital tragedy

Stories that made the news 60, 40 and 20 years ago


A 20-year-old mother - expecting her second baby at any moment - was dreading the hour she would be called into Oldchurch Hospital.

For there would be no home Joyce Shelvey could return to - not even the caravan that had sheltered her family for four months.

The Shelveys had been given "move on" orders - a threat that had been hanging over their heads since they came to the district.

They were unable to park on any caravan site in the area. And they had no prospect of getting a flat or house.

"We've had nothing but bad luck since I left the RAP last April," said husband Michael, 22.

Most Read

While his wife was in hospital, lorry driver Mr Shelvey was taking his two-year-old daughter to work with him.

"We can't afford to send her a nursery," explained the parents.

Their precarious existence had begun seven months earlier when they left Cornwall because of accommodation and employment difficulties.


The success story of former Dury Falls schoolboy Colin Burns and his partner Vic Pascoe did not have a promising beginning.

But the pair now owned a gleaming Rolls-Royce each, had a factory with an 80-strong workforce and enjoyed a reputation as Europe's largest manufacturer of boat kits for sailing enthusiasts.

Colin, whose parents were still living in Hornchurch, said he left school at 15 and met Vic as they commuted into London together where they worked in publishing and advertising.

At 17 they decided to go to Jersey and find seasonal work. They started working at a boatyard and when it went bust they bought a are hill and deck, brought them home and began working on them in a shed in Ardleigh Green Road. Gradually their work impressed and they got orders.

By 1979 their company Colvic Craft had 27 different models featured at the Boat Show, Olympia.


The parents of a woman who died after a string of hospital blunders told how they hoped to care for her five-year-old daughter after receiving £20,000 in agreed damages on her behalf.

Catherine Fennymore, 35, died in July 1995 after doctors at two Surrey hospitals failed to spot she had a life-threatening kidney infection.

Her parents, who were living in Collier Row, finally came to the end of a four-year legal battle to win compensation for Catherine's daughter. They hoped they would be able to use some of the money to help her daughter go to university when she was 18.

Lawyer Christopher Hough told the court Catherine had died "as result of admitted negligent treatment at both hospitals".

He added: "The particular tragedy of this case is that there were at least three opportunities for the hospitals to identify and treat her illness. Had that been done, she would have made a full recovery and would be alive today."