Flashback: An honoured trade unionist, a chess whizzkid and a Christmas miracle

Goodmayes Park, where an abandoned baby was discovered 20 years ago.

Goodmayes Park, where an abandoned baby was discovered 20 years ago. - Credit: Archant

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

1956: A dock labourer from Barkingside was thrilled to discover that his fight for workers’ rights had earned him a place on the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Herbert Stanley Baker, 61, of Kirkland Avenue, earned the respect of both fellow workers and upper level management at the Port of London Authority, where he worked as a permanent labourer, due to his honesty and integrity.

Working mainly from a tobacco warehouse at Victoria Dock, Mr Baker spent 47 years fighting for “steady and responsible” trade unionism.

For his hard work, Mr Baker received the British Empire Medal.


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Alderman A M Young, commonly regarded as the “father” of Ilford Council, was also named in the honours list.

1976: A 14-year-old chess wonderkid who had taken the borough by storm was amazed to be named captain of Ilford’s adult chess team.

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Philip Green, of Derwent Gardens, Redbridge, first began playing chess at the age of six.

“I’m always looking to improve my game,” he told the Recorder. “But my only real aim is to enjoy chess.”

The teenager was eliminated from an early round of the 1976 Islington Congress, one of the country’s biggest chess events.

“It was a good experience,” he said afterwards. “I won two games but was quite pleased as I was up against adults.”

Philip’s next aim was to try to raise the £5 needed to re-enter the competition the following year.

1996: A sad Christmas tale had a happy ending when a miracle baby who survived an hour abandoned in a park in freezing temperatures was reunited with his schoolgirl mother.

Little Joseph was found by chance when a street cleaner walked through Goodmayes Park to use the public toilets.

He was lying face down with the umbilical cord still attached and was taken to Harold Wood Hospital’s special baby care unit where he was declared healthy.

And happily, after a sudden change of heart over the Christmas period, his mother came forward and the two were happily reunited.

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