Flashback: Mayoral elections, a happy ending and an operation gone wrong


40-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

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


Romford’s Tory councillors launched a mayoral bombshell. Breaking with tradition, they put forward an opposition candidate, Mrs Clark-Lewis, to the Labour group’s choice for mayor-elect, Cllr William Stanley Gardner.

Voting on the rival candidates would take place at the council’s annual meeting.

The Conservative group’s decision challenged the customary practice of not opposing a mayoral candidate backed by the council.

A letter sent to Alderman W Pike, acting leader of the Labour group, by Cllr P F Broadhead, leader of the council’s Conservative minority, gave his reason for deciding to oppose Labour’s mayoral nominee: “The mayor should be non-political so there should be no political bias in the holder of the office.”


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The courage of Linda Timothy in her three-year fight against crippling disease was rewarded with a special brand of happiness. Linda, 27, abandoned hopes of ever marrying and running her own home when she learned she had multiple sclerosis.

But Cupid smiled on her and she announced plans to marry. Her husband-to-be was Royal Navy leading steward Mick Elks, 33, who served with the submarine fleet based at Plymouth. And the couple began home hunting for a bungalow which could be especially adapted to take Linda’s wheelchair. Proudly showing her solitaire engagement ring, Linda, of Cross Road, Romford, talked happily of wedding plans and the landmarks in her life over three years.

After she was given the diagnosis, she went on holiday to her sister’s home near Plymouth where Linda met Mick.

He later proposed in a long-distance telephone call from Scotland. She said: “I was over the moon – I just couldn’t believe it was happening at first.”


A patient at Romford’s Oldchurch Hospital came round from an operation to discover surgeons had operated on the wrong leg.

The victim of the amazing bungle, who did not want to be identified, had to undergo another operation on the correct leg and was recovering from the double dose of surgery. Havering Hospitals NHS Trust said it would be carrying out an investigation.

The consultant in charge of the case apologised to the patient and his family. The incident came three weeks after a coroner called for urgent changes in the way the children’s casualty unit at Oldchurch was run following the death of a 23-month-old girl. This followed another incident in 1996, where an 87-year-old woman, who was admitted into hospital with a slight stroke, contracted pneumonia and died after breaking both hips in separate falls while she was staying at the hospital.