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Review of the year 2018 part two: Loo roll, medical mix-ups and rats

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 January 2019

Santathon in aid of Saint Francis Hospice. Dagenham and Redbridge Foodball Club, Victoria Road, Dagenham RM10 7XL.

Santathon in aid of Saint Francis Hospice. Dagenham and Redbridge Foodball Club, Victoria Road, Dagenham RM10 7XL.

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Following on from yesterday's look back at the first six months of 2018, we continue our review of the year with a round-up of the biggest news stories from the last six months.

Firefighters were called to reports of grass alight in the rear garden of home on Northumberland Avenue. Photo: David IronsFirefighters were called to reports of grass alight in the rear garden of home on Northumberland Avenue. Photo: David Irons

July

A Romford band helped raise more than £1,700 for a Hornchurch family after a fire tore through the home of two band members.

Jason Rutland has opened his new comic book shop called Comic Book Heroes.Jason Rutland has opened his new comic book shop called Comic Book Heroes.

Amanda Freestone, 46, was with her partner, Mark Ellis, 51 and two daughters Lily-Rose, 12 and Poppy 11, at band practice when they received a worrying call from their neighbour telling them that their house was on fire.

Members of The Royal British Legion Band and Corps of Drums Romford set up a crowdfunder to raise money for the family.

Tesco staff in Hornchurch came to the rescue after a customer was stuck on the loo without any toilet paper. Whilst sitting on the toilet, Morph Hollands, 40, tweeted: “@Tesco im presently sat in your Hornchurch store on the loo. Could you please advise me on my next course of action as I would really not like to resort to the one sock problem.”

Around 70kg of cocaine was found. Picture: Met PoliceAround 70kg of cocaine was found. Picture: Met Police

August

A 50-year-old man living in a gas cupboard at Harold Wood Hall for more than a year was returned to prison after spending a year on the run from police. One resident told the Recorder: “I can’t believe he has been living there. It can’t have been very big or very comfortable.”

A Romford resident fulfilled his lifelong dream and opened a comic book store on Station Road. Jason Rutland, 51, beamed: “It really is a dream come true. I love coming to work every day but because it is what I’m passionate about, it doesn’t actually feel like a job!”

When opened, the package contained two sets of prescription medication, as well as a piece of paper detailing the intended recipient's full name, date of birth, NHS number and recent medical history (pixelated to protect her privacy). Photo: Matt ClemensonWhen opened, the package contained two sets of prescription medication, as well as a piece of paper detailing the intended recipient's full name, date of birth, NHS number and recent medical history (pixelated to protect her privacy). Photo: Matt Clemenson

September

Officers from the Met’s Violent Crime Taskforce seized an estimated 70kg of cocaine, with a street value of £3.5million, from an address in Heather Gardens, Collier Row. A loaded handgun with ammunition and approximately £100,000 in cash were also discovered.

Armistice 100: The Romford Remembrance parade and service from the town centre to Coronation Gardens.Armistice 100: The Romford Remembrance parade and service from the town centre to Coronation Gardens.

A Hornchurch-based shopkeeping couple launched a soup kitchen to help the homeless. Homeless Eats was set up by Peter Singh and Dolly Kaur, using a trailer to donate fresh Indian food including samosas and chapatis to those most in need. Peter said: “We’re helping others. We just want to do something.”

October

Santathon in aid of Saint Francis Hospice. Dagenham and Redbridge Foodball Club, Victoria Road, Dagenham RM10 7XL.Santathon in aid of Saint Francis Hospice. Dagenham and Redbridge Foodball Club, Victoria Road, Dagenham RM10 7XL.

A Hornchurch resident was stunned when he opened a parcel he thought contained jerk chicken sauce, and instead found a box filled with prescription medicines and the detailed medical history of a woman from Middlesbrough. Rather than jerk chicken, the Saunton Road local was delivered plasters, tablets and a trove of personal, sensitive data.

A ‘History and Heritage’ piece of the Recorder’s revealed that in 1831, a husband auctioned their wife for just 30p at the Romford Market after just one month of marriage. Back then, public sale of a wife was regarded as ‘transferring her to a new partner’ because divorce was often too expensive for poor citizens.

November

The people of Havering came out in their droves to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War on a special Remembrance Sunday. A resident from Vicarage Road, Hornchurch, paid tribute by building a war memorial in his front garden decorated with several plaques and 900 poppies.

A pregnant woman from Romford and her partner discovered rat babies nesting in their car following an infestation of rodents in their building. Siobhan Wheele, 28, said: We noticed a horrible smell coming from the car. We popped the bonnet and found 10 or so baby rats. My husband rolled up his sleeves and cleared the rats out himself.”

December

A huge debate erupted over the future of a beloved social venue in Romford marketplace when the operators of The Retailery announced they would not be able to continue running the site in the new year.

This was due to a funding dispute with Havering Council which meant the Retailery was not offered business rates relief, but the council disputed this, saying that as the Retailery’s operators had not been granted charity status they could not legally provide such relief. This too was disputed.

And staff at Saint Francis Hospice offered their sincerest thanks to the people of Havering after the Havering-atte-Bower institution was able to raise £210,000 in 2018 to continue providing invaluable end of life care.

One of the charity’s biggest events, the Santathon fun run, is a staple of the charitable calendar.

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