Flashback: A rare songbird, a diesel disaster and a burned altar boy

A male Marmora's Warbler, photographed in Sardinia, Italy. Photo: Francesco Veronesi

A male Marmora's Warbler, photographed in Sardinia, Italy. Photo: Francesco Veronesi - Credit: Francesco Veronesi

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

1957: Birdwatchers from across the UK flocked to Valentines Park when a rare songbird from the Mediterrenean settled there for four days.

The rarely spotted Marmora’s Warbler is most commonly found on the warmer island climates of Corsica and Sardinia, but experts believed a prolonged period of high temperatures across Europe had allowed one to fly 900 miles north to the admittedly less tropical Cranbrook Road.

The small, long tailed, large-headed bird, believed to be a male, was soon spotted by avid twitchers due to its distinctive song.

Michael Norse had travelled from Newcastle to see the bird over the weekend, and told the Recorder: “A friend of mine who now lives down here called me up and said everyone was making a fuss of this small bird with big red eyes.

“I had a look through but couldn’t decide what it would be, so I had to come down here myself and check it out.”

1977: An oil spill that saw 600 litres of liquid diesel spill over a busy road caused chaos for an entire day.

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The incident occurred at around 4pm on Romford Road in Hainault, when a tanker on its way to a building site suffered a sudden rupture.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “We had to corner off the spillage while we cleared it up so no one would skid on it.”

1997: An 11-year-old altar boy suffered burns to his face and back after a freak accident in which his robes caught light during a church service.

The boy, of Cambridge Road, Wanstead, was assisting the priest as Our Lady of Lourdes Church when he brushed past a candle.

But the quick thinking actions of the horrified congregation helped prevent the 11-year-old, from being more seriously hurt.

Members of church attending the service leapt to the rescue to douse the flames with wet towels before an air ambulance arrived on George Green.

The youngster was taken to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital burns unit where he was treated for burns to his left cheek, ear and his back.