Flashback: A lucky dog, an L of a wait for learner drivers and £75,000 for an Ilford church

Rev Canon John Barnes, of St Mary the Virgin church in Ilford High Road, in 1996.

Rev Canon John Barnes, of St Mary the Virgin church in Ilford High Road, in 1996. - Credit: Archant

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

1956: A middle-aged widow sobbed with joy after winning a two-hour fight to in court to save her dog’s life.

Roma Lowe, of Clayhall Avenue, Ilford, pleaded with Essex Quarter Sessions Appeals Committee at Chelmsford Crown Court to save her Alsatian, Chips’, life.

Chips was, aside from her legal advisor, Ms Lowe’s only company in court to appeal the order to destroy the dog after he was deemed dangerous and unruly under the 1839 Police Act.

The dog had allegedly bitten three people on different occassions, one of whom was a policeman.

The court, moved by Ms Lowe’s plight, agreed to let the dog live but did not quash her conviction for failing to keep the dog under proper control.

She was ordered to pay 9s 6d.

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1976: Learner drivers in Redbridge were facing one “L” of a wait to take their tests after it was revealed Redbridge had one of the worst waiting list pile ups across the capital.

Applicants were waiting as much as seven months before they were given an appointment to take their test.

The reason was believed an increase in price to take the test that had kicked in in August, more than doubling the fee from £3.25 to £6.75, had seen a sudden rush of people signing up to try and get in under the wire.

A spokesman for the department of the environment said: “Inevitably, centres couldn’t cope with this sudden rush and therefore people are having to wait longer for their examinations.”

1996: One of the borough’s oldest churches raised more than £75,000 in nine months to fund some much needed restoration work to its damaged roof.

St Mary the Virgin, in Ilford High Road, appealed to corporate bodies, companies and the diocese of Chelmsford.

Canon John Barnes said he was pleased that work on the roof had begun at long last, but unfortunately poor weather had resulted in the church flooding over the weekend.

Work was expected to continue but another £100,000 was needed.