Flashback: A blacksmith turned painter, a shotgun robbery and an Elvis impersonator

Elvis Presley takes a break from singing during his stint at Las Vegas.

Elvis Presley takes a break from singing during his stint at Las Vegas. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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

1958:A 61-year-old former blacksmith found he was able to make a new living, by selling incredible paintings he had been producing throughout his entire life.

Harry Monk, of South Park Crescent, Ilford, finally swapped the forge for an artist’s studio when he turned 60, and finally had the time to devote all of his attention to the true passion of his life – painting.

Mr Monk, who had moved to Ilford in 1923, had watched his father painting when he was a boy, but soon surpassed his old man in quality and skill.

And all those years wielding a heavy hammer at the anvil had left the former Woolwich Arsenal employee with a deft touch and fine eye for detail.

His own portrait of the Queen, based on a photograph he bought the copyright to, was so good some people even thought it was better than Pietro Annigoni’s official 1955 work.

1978: An Ilford detective who stumbled into an attempted bank robbery and managed to get two of the thieves arrested was awarded a high commendation by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

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David Scrivener was off duty when he walked into a bank in Buckhurst Hill as a gang of robbers held the place up for £5,000.

One raider immediately thrust a shotgun into his face and threatened to kill him, but as the gang made their exit moments later Det Scrivener decided to bravely give chase.

And that meant that one of the thieves actually fired a shotgun blast at him in the street, missing him by inches.

Det Scrivener immediately called the incident in on his police radio, and within 30 minutes two of the thieves had been arrested.

1998: Youngsters forgot all about their teddy bears and got all shook up when they met a top Elvis Presley impersonator at a Barnardo’s charity event in Barkingside.

Elvis Wade, who had been impersonating The King for more than 25 years, held the event at Barnardo’s Village for the charity’s Hamara Family Project, which was aimed at helping children from impoverished backgrounds in Walthamstow..