That was the week…..March 1988

That Was The Week That Was – 11th March 1988

By Myles Cook

HERE IS the latest in our series of features looking back at some of the news items to be found in the Thurrock Gazette archives from 25 years ago.

Two Lovely Girls Who Ready To Take On The Royal Duties of Carnival

Jackie Memory, 19, was selected as Corringham’s Carnival Queen, beating off challenges from ten other lovely ladies at Corringham Hall in Springhouse Road during the selection process on Saturday 5th March.

Meanwhile Kerry Eve, 16, won the title of Thurrock Carnival Queen at the selection process at the Bridge Road Leisure Centre in Grays.

Top Tory Is Out Of The May Election

Chris Hammett, councillor for Grays North for six years and one of the Conservatives’ most experienced borough councillors, was ‘sacked’ by his party executive.

He was re-selected for candidature but the Thurrock Conservative Association executive refused to endorse his selection, putting forward their own choice, Lloyd Brown.

Brian Beardwell, Association Chairman, stated that: “There is nothing sinister about this. It is purely and simply the replacement of one candidate with another who was considered better.

“Some people felt, perhaps, he had not done his job as well as he might.”

Mr Beardwell refuted claims that there was a Right-Left conflict in the party but confirmed that Cllr Hammett was on the left wing of the party. He stated that he personally felt that the executive’s candidate would be “a bit more vigorous and serve the community better.”

John Bass, leading member of the Grays North branch, resigned as vice-president in protest stating that: “Chris Hammett has served the area well for six years and I am amazed he has been treated this way.”

He continued: “I know of no official reason why this has been done.

“I can only presume people want someone from their own school of thought in that position. But I actually live in North Grays and I am well satisfied with the job Chris Hammett has done.”

Your Heart Relies On A Lottery

Heart disease, responsible for nearly a quarter of all deaths in Thurrock each year, was becoming heavily dependent on raffles and lotteries for Orsett Hospital, it was claimed. Investigation and treatment of heart disease was being funded more and more by charity.

As the health service cash crisis bit deeper, consultant cardiologist at Orsett Hospital, Dr Donald Woodgate, feared that patients awaiting vital surgery faced a lottery of a different kind, stating that: “Because of a shortage of money the London Chest Hospital is limited in the number of catheters and operations it can carry out.

“What is more alarming is that the hospital has told us it can fit no more new pacemakers before March 31.

“It’s very sad. When people become ill and become an emergency they will be treated, but people who can wait simply have to wait longer.”
Despite voluntary groups having raised thousands for vital equipment for Orsett and Basildon Hospitals, the increased demand for services was beginning to put a strain on available resources.

Dr Woodgate commented that: “Orsett and Basildon are both relatively new and were commissioned with new equipment. The majority has been replaced and updated from private funds

“I don’t think this is a bad thing. A lot of people ask what they can do to help us and we are duty bound to channel their generosity in the right direction.”

He said that although bed closures and nursing shortages placed a growing burden on local health services, the cardiac and coronary care units had not been seriously affected so far.

Groans As Gipsy Site Is Chosen

Thurrock’s planning chief, Cllr Arthur Clarke, accused Essex County Council of ignoring borough planners by wanting to set up a permanent gipsy site in North Stifford rather than Orsett.

The site chosen by the county council was Pilgrim’s Lane which would be a much-needed second official gipsy encampment.

Thurrock’s planning committee drew up a list of conditions they wished to have met including the replanting of shrubs and trees, facilities for storing and collecting waste, no storage of scrap metal or commercial vehicles and reassurances that the site would not cause a disturbance to nearby residents.

Mrs Ann Geaney, Thurrock council leader, stated that there were already gipsies living in an unofficial encampment in Pilgrim’s Lane. “People are already worried about their dogs and the work they are doing there.

“These gipsies are already demonstrating that they can’t behave themselves. We must have a means of removing people who are causing trouble.”

Thurrock Council comments were passed onto the county council who had final say on how the site was built and controlled.

Man Jailed For Working While On Benefits

Michael James Price of Darwin Road, Tilbury was jailed for three months for one weekend’s work for a South London security firm whilst claiming unemployment benefit.

Mr Price denied one charge of falsely claiming unemployment benefit.

Grays Magistrates were informed that Mr Price had benefitted by just £26 for the weekend of ‘moonlighting’. He had two previous convictions for offenses of a similar nature.

Magistrates imposed the maximum sentence for a single offence, telling him that it was a deliberate act on his part.

In Other News…

Council leader Mrs Ann Geaney pleaded for a halt on the amount of mineral extraction in Thurrock claiming that the borough had been abused in the past.

Thurrock Council saved more than £250,000 on a massive housing project by managing the contract for the work itself.

Rates in the borough rose by more than £2 per week for an average household.

Top orthopaedic surgeon Alan Gardner was forced to turn away patients in constant pain. It was claimed that he could be the first of many to do so.

Thurrock’s local Top 20 included Rick Astley with “Together Forever” at number one and Kylie Minogue hanging onto number two with “I Should Be So Lucky”.

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