Flashback: A boy saved from drowning, readers fundraise for a miracle cure and school meals concern

The colours this autumn have been stunning and this photo in Valentines Park shows the different col

The colours this autumn have been stunning and this photo in Valentines Park shows the different colours in the trees with a touch of sun, but still with the dark clouds in the background - Credit: citizenside.com

A look back at the stories of the day, this week, 60, 40 and 20 years ago.

1957: A baby boy was saved from drowning in a “quicksand” of mud in Valentines Park by the quick thinking of a workman.

Billy Fawkes, 3, had been riding his tricycle through the park on his way to buy sweets with his brother Stephen, 5, when he slipped and fell into a mud-filled gully.

Only Stephen saw his brother, still astride his tricycle, sinking beneath the mud.

But Billy’s strangled cry just before he was sucked under attracted the attention of an Irish workman, who pulled him to safety just in time.


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Billy and Stephen’s parents said they moved to Auckland Road, bordering the park, because “a park is so safe for tiny tots to play in”.

1977: Recorder readers raised £1,000 to fund a miracle cure for a four-year-old whose life had been blighted by meningitis.

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Michael Adoor, of Balfour Road, Ilford, was struck with the disease when he was only three-months-old. He had lived in a world without sight, sound or movement ever since.

But three weeks after his story appeared in the Ilford Recorder, staff and readers had raised enough money to send him for treatment at an American clinic.

The clinic, in Philadelphia, had developed a technique for activating brain cells.

Michael’s mother Avis Adoor, 46, said “I just do not know how to thank everybody. I can’t believe the kindness that has been shown.”

1997: School catering staff and councillors expressed concerns about the future of school meals after the service was contracted out to a private provider.

Redbridge’s in-house service lost the contract to Initial Catering Services, which would begin providing meals to the borough’s 70-plus schools in May.

In 1995, Initial Catering Services had its contract with 10 per cent of Stockport’s schools terminated, allegedly due to poor food quality, size of portions and hygiene. One concerned dinner lady said: “We feel very disappointed and believe that the service will deteriorate at the hands of the private company.”

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