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That was the week….: May 1988: “police search for body in Mucking tip”

That Was The Week That Was – 29th April 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.

MP Hits at Alton

Tory MP for Billericay, Teresa Gorman, allied herself with campaigners fighting the controversial Alton Bill by attacking the Bill’s author Liberal David Alton, claiming that his eventual aim was to outlaw abortions completely.

The Bill, as proposed, merely sought to reduce the window of opportunity for a foetus to be legally aborted.

In an interview for Independent Radio, she stated: “Mr Alton’s intentions are quite clear – he wants to deny women their inalienable rights.

“It is a monstrous attack on women. It is their body, to decide what they want to do. The vast majority of abortions are carried out on women who either don’t want a child for very good reasons, or have been told the baby will be deformed in some way.

“Mr Alton has been using some appalling and atrocious tactics to win over the sympathy of the country. But there are many sincere and well meaning men in Parliament who I am sure won’t let him get away with it.

“Abortion should be available as it is today. People seem to forget that any woman wanting an abortion still has to have the consent of two doctors.

“If Mr Alton has his way, this will be changed to two doctors plus a psychiatrist. His measures will lead to thousands of babies being born each year which are clearly not wanted.

“It is totally untrue that there are thousands of people waiting to foster children. There are thousands of children in care who cannot be adopted or fostered because nobody wants them.

“This situation will only get worse. Mr Alton’s Bill is an affront to any woman who wants to exercise her God-given rights over her own body.”

Bravery Award For Scouting Brothers

Ian and Paul Wade, from Digby Road in Corringham, were the first Thurrock Scouts to be awarded the Certificate for Meritorious Conduct in over 20 years.

The awards were given to the brothers for their quick thinking in saving a fellow Scout from serious injury when his clothing caught alight during a camping trip with the 1st Corringham Scouts at the Stanford-le-Hope District campsite in Winsfield Heights.

Nick Wilkinson, District Commissioner, praised the brothers, saying: “The two lads acted very promptly to the emergency, rolling the lad on the ground and pouring water onto him to put out the flames.

“He was taken to Billericay Burns Unit which said if Ian and Paul hadn’t acted so promptly then he would have been scarred for life.”

The two brothers also received badges with their certificates.

Ian, 13, and Paul, 15, received their awards from outgoing District Commissioner Bob Jarvis before the St George’s Day parade.

Union – Council Link Over Jobs

In an effort to save up to 400 jobs, Thurrock Council joined forces with unions.

New Government legislation brought in was forcing the council to put services out to competitive tender. The first service to be affected was refuse collection which had to be put out to tender by August 1989.

This would be followed by January 1990 by parks, street cleaning and building cleaning with catering and vehicle maintenance being up for grabs by December 1990.

The Act expected to see a substantial reduction in the council workforce with an Audit Commission estimate being a reduction of around 30 per cent.

Estimates of the Thurrock Council workforce at peak times, including seasonal workers, put the total workforce figure at 1,400 people.

Councillors, managers and union officials met to discuss the competitive tendering policy.

Nigel Thomas, Director of Technical Services, stated: “We are united in our ideas about the way forward.

“Like the trades unions, we want to keep our services in-house and we believe that by working together we can achieve our objectives.”

Regular meetings between the three parties were to be held to examine and review each affected service in an effort to keep control of them.

Search For Body

Wandworth detectives started the search for a woman’s body at Mucking Tip near Tilbury on 27 April.

Sandra Midlane, 23, failed to return to her Chiswick home following a visit to her husband’s Fulham flat, prompting the hunt for her body.

Initial searches of the areas surrounding their homes bore no fruit so the police switched their focus to Mucking, where a new consignment of domestic refuse arrived from London on 27 April.

Martin Fennel of Cory Waste, owners of the Mucking site, stated: “We transport up to 15 per cent of London’s refuse down river, and we are helping police locate a specific part of it.”

Stephen Midlane, an unemployed man of 30, had been charged with the attempted murder of the couple’s two young sons.

Discovering A Success Day!

Discovery Day returned to the borough to the delight of charities and organisations dealing with the care of the disabled. The event was hosted at the Civic Hall in Grays and was well supported by exhibitors and members of the public.

Chairman of the Toy Library, Sue Tilly, said: “It’s a great launch for our toy library, it’s the best publicity we could get.

“We hope we will encourage parents, especially those with children who have special needs, to come along.”

The Toy Library was set to open on 2 June at the Spastics Hall, Bridge Road, Grays.

British Telecom, demonstrating equipment designed for deaf customers, made a surprise presentation to the Crossroads Care Attendant Scheme of a visual display unit, keyboard and printer.

The Snowdon Club in Stanford catered to the needs of the physically impaired to enable them to lead fuller lives.

Secretary Alice Revell commented: “This is the second year we have been had the stand and we’ve managed to get a couple of new members. It was well worth coming.”

But all were in agreement that Discovery Day is a useful event because it lets helpers show what is on offer and people with special needs find what is available to help them.

Please Note: Errors in the final two paragraphs of the last news item above are copied directly from the Gazette. The final paragraph may or may not be part of the quote in the previous paragraph so it has been copied exactly as printed.

Historical Note: The Gazette for 29th April 1988 was in election fever mode with coverage of all the candidates in the upcoming election.

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