Review of the decade: The Redbridge news the Recorder brought you throughout the 2010s
PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 January 2020
Now that 2019 has drawn to a close it’s time to sit back and take a look at some of the biggest news to have come out of Redbridge over the last 10 years.
2010 - Hearse clamped on way to funeral
As the decade kicked off, the Recorder launched a borough-wide "Clamp-aign" to put the pressure on cowboy clampers targetting drivers on private land across Redbridge.
The matter came to a head in August 2010 when a hearse that had been parked outside a funeral home was clamped by an independent company in Barkingside High Street.
Cold-hearted Securak clampers nabbed the hearse, which had been about to drive to a funeral and was waiting for a coffin and flowers to be loaded onboard, as the chauffeur pulled up behind Gilderson & Sons funeral home.
It was parked just yards from the firm's back doors, but clampers swooped as it was technically parked on land belonging to another business.
The incident, one of a long list of clamping complaints reported during the Recorder's clamp-aign, happened on the same day the government revealed it was introducing stricter controls on cowboy clampers.
2011 - People power saves library
People power won the day in February 2011 when Redbridge Council announced it was dropping controversial plans to close Goodmayes library.
The proposed closure of the library in Goodmayes Lane, prompted more than 5,700 people to sign a petition.
Everyone from school headteachers to councillors hit out at what they described as an "ill thought through" proposal.
And with town hall chiefs buckling to pressure and scrapping the money-saving proposal a month after announcing it, nampaigners had a message for people in Redbridge: "Your voice can be heard."
But there was a twist in the tail.
Deputy Council leader Cllr Ian Bond confirmed that the local authority couldn't afford to fund the library past April 2013 unless savings were made.
It was also revealed that Redbridge Council was working on a potential funding deal with neighbouring Barking and Dagenham Council in an attempt to find a longer-term solution to the borough's £300,000 library funding problem.
2012 - Dad hit by train lives to tell tale
A 34-year-old dad admitted he was lucky to be alive after he survived being hit by a train speeding through Goodmayes station and walked away with no serious injuries in November 2012.
Warehouse clerk Stephen Wright was struck while standing at the edge of the station's platform, but somehow suffered no more than whiplash and swelling.
That is despite the fact the commuter train, which was not scheduled to stop at the station, may have been travelling at around 70mph.
Mr Wright, of Upton Park, said: "My aunt said God was rolling with me. There's no way I should be here."
After picking up his two sons from Barley Lane Primary School, Huxley Drive, Chadwell Heath, Mr Wright went into the station in Goodmayes Road at around 6.30pm, and was feeling sick.
He stepped to the edge of the platform to be sick on the tracks and standing on the yellow line leaning over when he was hit by the train, but thankfully suffered no serious injuries to the amazement of doctors.
Five teenage boys proved themselves heroes in June 2013 when they risked their own lives diving into a lake to save a lost dog that had got itself into difficulties while swimming.
The lost pomeranian was fighting to stay afloat in South Park lake, Ilford, but the teenagers came to its rescue just in time.
Edward Cerniauskas, 15, and his friends were on their way to play football when they heard its terrified barks and jumped a fence, before helping each other down the steep, slippery bank and wading in.
Goodmayes councillor Barbara White watched as the dramatic rescue unfolded in the park, in South Park Road, at about noon on Sunday, June 16.
She said: "The boys deserve a medal for what they did for that little dog."
The pomeranian emerged with its long fur soaked with water and caked with mud but was otherwise unharmed.
Owners came forward a few days later. In the meantime he was cared for by a dog warden.
2014 - Squatters take over shut pub
Squatters moved into the derelict Doctor Johnson pub in Clayhall in May 2014 in the hopes they could open an artists' sanctuary inside the empty building.
The squatters from Suspense Property Guardians (SP) got into pub in Longwood Gardens and were hoping to strike a deal with the owners.
Their 41-year-old leader - known only as "Gee" - told the Recorder: "We swept the front of the building just to let residents know something is being done about the mess."
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But businesses in the area, along with ward councillor Alan Weinberg, were angry they had moved in.
Cllr Weinberg said residents "abhored" the squatters and urged the building's owners to act.
Sharon May, 53, who ran cafe Freshly Made opposite the pub, called the situation "an absolute tragedy".
She added: "It is turning into a slum, it's a shame."
The squatters were eventually removed, and the Doctor Johnson has now been turned into a supermarket.
2015 - Don't build here!
A fight to prevent 800 homes being built on Oakfield Playing Fields in Barkingside that would last years kicked off in January 2015, as a number of organisations vowed to fight the proposals.
The sports site had been listed in Redbridge Council's Local Plan as a location for development, but senior officials at the FA, England and Wales Cricket Board and Sport England demanded the council withdraw its proposals.
The sport governing bodies said they "strongly opposed" plans to build homes on the playing fields site, which has 12 full size and nine junior size grass football pitches, four cricket grounds and two pavilions.
They also revealed they would challenge the council's decision publically for as long as they could.
The fight to save Oakfields would eventually come to an end after a lengthy Planning Inspecorate inquiry led by inspector David Smith sided with campaigners in September 2017.
2016 - Return of the brick bandits
A scourge of brick bandits made 2016 a year of misery for many Redbridge residents, as thieves that became known as "the hole-in-the-wall gang" ran riot.
The thieves struck repeatedly throughout Goodmayes and Seven Kings during a three month spree between February and May, stealing as many as 300 bricks - valued at around £2 each - at a time from garden walls.
The Metropolitan Police began an investigation but confirmed that it was forced to close the case file without any charges being levelled.
The brick bandits went quiet from May onwards, but returned to their thieving ways in November with thefts being reported in two Ilford locations and two residential roads in Goodmayes.
One of the victims in Ilford confirmed the real cost of the thefts was "pure cost and worry".
He added: "Police time, my time, insurance - the insurance premiums alone have gone through the roof.
"If only these people realised what real damage is done."
2017 - They died on our streets
As 2017 drew to a close the Recorder launched its "Winter is Coming" campaign, which aimed to help rough sleepers across the borough by raising money for its homeless support services.
Four men from Redbridge's homeless community died in the last two weeks of November.
The news of the tragic deaths, which were deemed not suspicious by police investigators, prompted us at the Recorder to consider what we could do to help.
And so on December 7 2017 we launched our campaign to help raise £2,500 for the Salvation Army, and each week we spoke to volunteers or rough sleepers to help raise awareness across the borough.
Thanks to the generosity of our readers, we smashed that target at 2pm Monday, January 22 2018.
Captain John Clifton who runs the night shelter alongside his wife Captain Naomi Clifton, said: "It has been so exciting to see the community coming together to support their neighbours on the street."
2018 - Bye Bye Bodgers
It was the end of an era in February 2018 as Ilford bid a very fond "bye bye Bodgers" to the department store which had been a favourite of residents across Redbridge for 127 years.
Ilford's much-loved Bodgers, in Cranbrook Road, brought the curtain down on its long association with the town when the final sale was rung up on the tills on Wednesday, February 28.
Bodgers, part of the Morleys Stores Group which ran eight other stores across London and the south east, had been a feature of the town since 1890.
David Hordle, managing director of the Morleys, said: "It has been an emotional time for everyone concerned in a remarkable business which has been part and parcel of life in Ilford for so long.
"Morleys has been very aware of the affection in which Bodgers has been held in the community and the reaction of our loyal customers during the period of the final closing down sale has only served to confirm that special relationship."
2019 - Thank you for raising £21k to help homeless
Following on from the Recorder's work on the "Winter is Coming" campaign back in 2017, we joined with the Salvation Army and a number of businesses across the borough for the Redbridge together campaign.
That campaign came to an end in April 2019, and we were delighted to be able to announce that Redbridge Together had raised £21,123 and 13 pence.
And, on the back of the public awareness raised by the campaign, Redbridge Council had also pledged a further £600,000 funding boost for the borough's homeless support services - specifically the Project Malachi scheme to build more temporary accommodation.
During the campaign, Redbridge businesses were encouraged to offer work experience to former rough sleepers through a scheme run by charity Business in The Community Scheme (BITC) - five people gained employment in a year thanks to that added help.
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