Flashback: Sea Cadet heroes, parking problems and a miracle baby

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

20-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.

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

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

1958:

Two Romford Sea Cadets rowed across choppy waves in a broken-down motor boat to rescue five people clinging to an upturned cabin cruiser at West Mersea.

With the boat’s owner, Harold Wood fishmonger Ken Sarling, they hauled a girl and her father aboard before speed boats arrived to take up the other survivors.

The girl’s father, non-swimmer William Blunson, of Leyton, died before the boat reached the land.

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

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


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If their own engine had not broken down that morning, the three rescuers would have been miles away from the spot.

Cadets Bill Ranson, 17, and Dick Bradfield, 17, were fishing for flounders and eels in Mr Sarling’s boat when the 12-footer cabin cruiser Seasprite passed them.

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Four holiday-makers were sitting on the top and two stood below.

Seconds later, the cadets heard terrified screams as a wave heeled the cabin cruiser over, flinging the crew into the sea.

1978:

Saturday parking problems around Romford’s multi-million pound town centre was so bad that shoppers faced a “keep out” campaign.

Havering Council was considering wooing shoppers to Hornchurch and Upminster in a bid to stop traffic congestion in the heart of Romford.

The need for urgent action had been revealed in a top level report about the borough’s transport system.

The study concluded that parking on Saturdays in Romford had reached “capacity level”.

And the report urged consideration of an attempt to try to persuade shoppers to use alternative shopping centres at the weekends.

Councillor Peter Marsden said: “At the moment, Romford is at capacity level. I think there are times, such as Christmas, when there is a problem getting any more people into the stores as well as the car parks.”

1998:

Jordon Martin’s parents were told he only had two days to live.

Fast forward to 1998 and he was a bouncing 14-month-old.

The brave Harold Hill youngster had already undergone four heart operations and faced three more so his proud parents Lisa, 27, and Michael, 32, were marking the anniversary of the day their world almost fell apart.

She said: “He was just seven weeks old when our local doctor told us he had a slight heart murmur and I began noticing over the next couple of days he wasn’t eating, drinking or breathing properly.

“A health visitor took one look at him and told us to get him to the hospital and that’s when our nightmare really began.”

But a year on, Jordon continued to fight against his condition.

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