Flashback: A long-delayed marriage, chaos at a carnival association and a shop’s mystery fire

Redbridge Carnival 1974

Redbridge Carnival 1974 - Credit: Archant

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

1957: A 33-year-old war hero finally married the girl of his dreams to bring about the end of a politically-forced seven-year seperation.

Capt Christopher Portway, of the Territorial Army, was married to his Czech sweetheart Anna at St Mary’s Church in Ilford High Road.

In 1950 the pair were watched by armed guards bearing machine guns as the young man slipped an engagement ring on Anna’s finger, but as the Cold War began in earnest it seemed any chance of a happy ending was disappearing.

But, after six years had passed, Christopher read how MP Fenner Brockway helped persuade the Czech government to reunite a couple in London with their daughter in London after an eight-year separation.

After successfully persuading the authorities to let Anna come to England, Mr Brockway was the guest of honour at the pair’s wedding.

1977: The resignation of the newly-elected chairman of the Redbridge Carnival Association was shrouded in mystery – the second shock resignation to rock the organisation in a month.

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The tensions that forced Howard Bretman to resign had been bubbling below the surface since Cheryll Edgell and two other association members had left in a row over the failed reelection of chaperone Margaret Overton.

“My position as chairman has become untenable,” Mr Bretman said.

“I persuaded the carnival court to complete their yearly commitments after they resigned, but I did not have time to clear my action with the committee.

“At the next committee meeting it was agreed almost unanimously to accept the girls’ resignations.”

1997: A mystery fire which broke out in a flat during the early hours of Tuesday morning left the owners of the shop below devastated.

Yvonne Kay and Marilyn Marks, who own the Casual Affairs ladies clothing shop in Ilford, were left distraught by the damage done to their stock once the fire was put out.

Mrs Kaye said: “I can’t believe it, we haven’t even been here a year yet.

“We are coming up to the busy season and had just got all the brand new stock in the store.

“Now all those clothes are ruined, a whole brand new season, that’s what’s so bad.”

The cause of the fire remained a mystery.