Flashback: French glamour, a polio panic and a long-awaited crossing

Romford Recorder Flashback

Romford Recorder Flashback - Credit: Archant

1957:Romford was abuzz with the news that the glamourous Mayoress of a French town was planning a return visit less than a month after leaving.

Romford Recorder Flashback

Romford Recorder Flashback - Credit: Archant

The leader of the town of Colombes, which was one of Romford’s global sister cities, announced her intention to hold a second visit to Romford in a letter to Romford’s own mayor, Cllr W S Gardner.

Mayoress Mme Raymonde Bouchu timed her quick-fire return to coincide with the visit of 20 Colombes school-children as part of a foreign school exchange program.

A party of French officials were also slated to arrive with Mme Bouchu, including the Colombes Town Cryer and the town’s deputy mayor.

The school exchange was scheduled to take place on July 22, exactly a month after the Mayor’s arrival for Carnival Day on June 22.

Romford Recorder Flashback

Romford Recorder Flashback - Credit: Archant


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1977: Havering’s healthcare professionals admitted they had worked “flat out” for six months to make sure a borough-wide polio vaccination drive had been a success after one four-year-old victim sparked a panic.

The young girl was told she couldn’t receive the vaccination after she showed up at Rush Green Hospital for a booked appointment, leading some parents to assume the borough’s vaccination supplies were running low.

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A spokesperson for the Barking and Havering Area Health Authority was forced to come out and confirm the girl was not vaccinated as she had arrived at the hospital with the flu and doctors had deemed the process to dangerous for her weakened immune system.

A Havering Council spokesman estimated that 80,000 pupil had been immunised against polio in under two weeks after parents rushed their children to hospital for jabs upon hearing rumours supplies were running low.

1997: A road accident prompted Havering Council to give priority to a two-year-old campaign for a pedestrian crossing outside a Gidea Park school.

An 11-year-old Royal Liberty schoolboy was left recovering at home after being involved in a collision with a car as left the Upper Brentwood Road school.

And in the wake of the accident, a council spokesman confirmed the school’s crossing had been selected as a priority and that a full investigation had been launched.

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