Flashback: Romford FC, fight to save a hospital and efforts to send a little girl to Disney World before she went blind

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library

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

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library


Romford Football Club were almost certain to turn professional at the end of the season.

They had applied to join the all-professional Southern League and were strongly fancied to be accepted when clubs and officials of the league were due to meet the next week.

Romford FC chairman Lord Macpherson said at the Romford Sportsmen’s Association dinner that the existence and development of Romford FC depended on turning professional.

20 years ago.

20 years ago. - Credit: Romford Library

The club had progressed from the London and Athenian leagues to the Isthmian League.

Romford’s application to the Southern League was another step forward.

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He said: “This has been in the back of our minds since the club was founded 30 years ago.

“Since that time, the population of Romford and district has grown to 350,000.

“We feel this area needs a good-class side.

“But we can no longer provide top quality football under the amateur code.”


A massive campaign was launched throughout Havering to save Romford’s Victoria Hospital.

This followed shock news that health chiefs planned to turn most of the place – known popularly as the “Vic” – over to offices.

At the same time, offices in another part of the hospital were being converted into a clinic.

Staff erected a protest banner over the hospital entrance and organised a petition.

Shops and hospitals collected hundreds of signatures in a bid to keep the Victoria open.

Barking Community Health Council agreed to protest to health secretary David Ennals about Barking and Havering Healthy Authority’s office proposals.


A former Havering Young Citizen of the Year and his wife were desperately racing against time to raise enough money to send their four-year-old daughter to Disney World before she went blind.

The hero who rescued four people trapped in a wrecked car, and his wife discovered that their little girl was suffering from an inoperable brain tumour that was pressing on the optic nerve and causing her to lose her sight.

The little girl’s mother said: “I can’t really describe how we both feel.

“Three weeks ago we didn’t realise that there was a problem.

“Then we were told that she had a brain tumour and was going to go blind as a result.”

The little girl was undergoing chemotherapy treatment but doctors at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London told her parents that the tumour was too deep in her brain for them to be able to operate.

Fundraising efforts were being co-ordinated at the Texaco garage in Billet Lane, Hornchurch, where staff set up a number of money-raising events as soon as they heard the news.