Flashback: Angry pensioners, a police officer attacked and a brother grateful for his little sister’s bravery

60-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

60-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library

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

1957:

More than 150 elderly people from Romford, Hornchurch, Rainham and Dagenham took part in a pilgrimage to the Labour Party conference to demand £3-a-week pensions.

Former aldermen and councillors, great-grandmothers, skilled engineers and former sports champions were among them.

Four coaches left Romford and Dagenham to join the 50-strong Brighton-bound convoy of pensioners’ buses.


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Ex-Alderman Robert Yeal, chairman of Romford’s disablement committee, summed up the determination of the protest pilgrimage.

He said: “I think it’s time something was done for the old age pensioners. I feel strongly about it, that’s why I’m here.

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“When you look at the cost of living, they just can’t struggle along.

“It must be a terrible position for people to be in, relying upon their old-age pensions.”

1977:

Detectives hunting a vicious gang who slashed a police woman’s face, hoped people on their way to Romford Stadium may be able to give them a vital lead.

Pc Hazel Knight, 27, was savagely attacked with a knife and kicked to the ground by three women and a man as her car was ambushed.

The drama happened in Chadwell Heath Lane, Chadwell Heath, when a dark coloured Mercedes Benz car forced Hazel – who was off duty – to stop.

Police hoped that people driving to the greyhound races at Romford Stadium at that time may be able to help them trace the attackers.

Hazel, who was due to leave the police force in a matter of days, was left lying in a pool of blood.

But she managed to get back into her car and drive to a friend’s house.

She was taken to King George Hospital, Newbury Park, with serious cuts to her face and arms and internal injuries.

1997:

A teenage leukaemia sufferer hugged his brave little sister and said “she is my key to life”.

Specialists treating the 15-year-old for chronic myeloid leukaemia could not find a donor for his bone marrow transplant, until 12-year-old sister stepped forward.

She proved a perfect match and he faced a much brighter future.

The boy, of Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Hill, said: “Most teenage brothers and sisters don’t get on but my sister is the bravest girl I know and we are the best of friends.

“When doctors told me that I needed a bone marrow transplant, I thought they would never find a match but my older brother and sister both volunteered immediately.

“Luckily, tests showed she was a perfect match.”

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