Flashback: Crammed hospitals, ‘life-or-death’ emergencies only and Lottery Jackpot millionaires

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

40-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.

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

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


Hospitals in Romford and Hornchurch had beds available for emergency cases only.

They were crammed with patients suffering from serious chest complaints aggravated by fog and frost.

That week, local hospitals were given an official red warning, which meant they should only accept severe cases.

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

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

This was because beds were needed for urgent London cases where smog victims had crowded hospitals.

A Gidea Park doctor said young teenagers in his area were suffering from an epidemic of influenza of the “lingering and consistent form”.

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Medical authorities stressed there was no cause for alarm.

They said the influx of cold spell victims was not exceptional for this time of the year and was not going to deprive those requiring it of immediate attention.


One of the borough’s major hospitals shut its doors to all but “life-or-death” cases as the national public services dispute took a firmer hold.

The shutters went down at Harold Wood Hospital as ancillary staff walked out in support of their national pay claim.

The accident and emergency department was closed and all patients who could be moved were sent home.

Later in the day, staff at Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, began working to rule.

There were fears that the borough would be left with no hospital casualty facilities after a radio news broadcast said Oldchurch was taking only “life-or-death” emergencies.

But health administrator Peter Payne denied this although Oldchurch had been on “red alert” taking emergencies and selected waiting list patients only since Christmas.

A spokesman for the Regional Health Authority forecast the dispute would mean suffering for the people of Havering.


Two Havering women were toasting their new lives as millionaires after scooping the National Lottery Jackpot of £7.8million.

Friends Carey Pearson, 29, from Collier Row and 36-year-old Sharon Brown from Harold Hill, were the lucky winners of the National Lottery Jackpot when they matched all six numbers to scoop £7,868,414.

Factory worker Sharon and sandwich deliverer Carey appeared stunned at a Camelot press conference in central London as realisation of the huge win they were going to share sank in.

Carey said: “We were both eating boiled eggs in front of the telly when the draw took place.

“I noticed that we had four numbers but then realised we’d matched all six.”

The pair celebrated their winning numbers with a bottle of champagne left over from celebrating the birth of Sharon’s sister’s baby.

Sharon said: “We weren’t screaming and shouting.

“We were more gobsmacked and it’s still really hard to get our heads around it.”

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