Flashback: Family made homeless, a football club chairman dies and a race hate dog attack

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library

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

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library


Carrying their possessions on their backs, a mum and her four children trudged slowly from Suttons Hostel, Hornchurch, in the drizzling rain.

They were starting the new year homeless.

Rosina Hibbert, 37, who had been in the hostel for seven years, was evicted from Suttons.

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library

Essex County Council, which controlled the hostel, ordered the family to Abridge Hostel, which Rosina described as “10 times worse than Suttons”.

Families in the Abridge Hostel had to live in communal huts, with each family allocated a space in which to huddle together.

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Husbands and children over 15 were not allowed in and two of Mrs Hibbert’s children were older.

She said: “I would never leave them.

“I am not going to Abridge.”


Vic Nicholls, well-known chairman of Romford Football Club, died on Boxing Day.

For four years, he had suffered a heart condition and just before Christmas, he was taken to Harold Wood Hospital where he died, aged 77.

His wife Margaret, 78, was staying at the home of her youngest son Keith in Billericay.

The couple lived at Colchester Park, Harold Wood.

Since his retirement from the Civil Service 17 years earlier, Mr Nicholls devoted all his time supporting voluntary work.

He had been vice-chairman of the Havering Community Health Council, chairman of Harold Wood Hospital League of Friends, vice-chairman of Romford War Memorial Old Folk’s Club and vice-president of the Romford Carnival Association.

Havering Council’s public relations officer Norman Chisman said: “His death is a tragic loss and he will be missed from the Havering scene.”


Three race hate thugs whipped up their bull terrier-type dog into a vicious frenzy and then set it loose on a five-year-old Indian girl.

The child, from Goodmayes, was with her father and other family members shopping in Romford Market when the three thugs began walking behind them, shouting racial taunts.

The girl’s 34-year-old dad told police they continued walking, trying to ignore the taunts, which did not stop.

Pc Paul Donnelly, of Romford police, said: “Suddenly, they set the brown bull terrier-type dog onto the child, yelling and shouting at it.

“It tried to bite the child but her father fended it off with a shopping bag which the dog ripped with its teeth.

“The attackers fled towards Market Link when the father used his mobile phone to call the police.”