Flashback: A ruined birthday, a letter from Elvis and three lucky dogs

Elvis Presley. Picture: RCA Recorder/PA

Elvis Presley. Picture: RCA Recorder/PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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

1957: A family in Beehive Lane, Gants Hill, were left devastated when a car containing all their gifts for their 4-year-old daughter’s birthday was stolen from outside their home.

The Grayle family had spent more than £60 on new dresses and toys for their daughter Susan on a spree in Ilford, but in order to not spoil the surprise for the young girl agreed to keep the gifts in their Ford Anglia parked outside.

But to their dismay when they woke the next morning they discovered both rear windows had been smashed and someone had run off with all the bags.

A local residents’ group helped raise more than £40 to help the family buy more presents.

1977: An Elvis superfan was amazed when the American music legend finally replied to a piece of fan mail she had sent three years previously – and totally forgotten about!

Eliza Davis, of Castleton Road, Goodmayes, was shocked when an airmail letter dropped through her letterbox with a stamp declaring it had been posted in Memphis, Tennessee.

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It had been sent from the desk of Mr Presley himself, from his Graceland home, but the mystery only deepens.

“When I opened it the first thing I saw was the signature with his name printed underneath it,” said Eliza.

“I thought maybe my husband had arranged it as part of a birthday present but then I started reading and it said about responding to my correspondence.

“I don’t doubt I sent it because I definitely would have, he’s my favourite singer. I just wish I could remember when or why.”

1997: Three dogs that had been on their last legs were given a new lease of life when they were reunited with the groomer who sold them as puppies.

Jonathan Myer, of Chadwell Heath, had run a number of kennels throughout Essex in the 1980s, and was reunited with alsatians Jonny. Skip and Mickey, when their owner sadly passed away.

The dogs, aged 8-12, were thrilled to discoer the size of Mr Myer’s garden.