Post memories: Christmas Day 1959 shooting, girl saves baby from blaze, and disabled boy makes remarkable progress at nursery
PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 December 2019
The stories that made the news 60, 40 and 20 years ago...
December 30, 1959
Four men were injured in a shooting during the early hours of Christmas Day in Dagenham.
A 27-year-old Dagenham man was charged the following morning with shooting one of the men with intent to murder him.
Elsewhere, a two-week strike at Springcot's bedding factory ended after management increased their pay rise offer. While the 250 strikers had asked for a higher hourly rate, they decided to accept after being told they wouldn't receive holiday pay unless they returned before Christmas. Production at the Whalebone Lane factory was brought almost to a standstill when the strike was called on December 8.
Meanwhile, after inspecting 11-storey blocks of flats at Hendon, the council's housing committee is considering building multi-storey flats here. It is thought this would provide a partial answer to the critical shortage of building land locally - although blocks of flats are expensive to build compared with houses.
January 2, 1980
A heroic 12-year-old girl saved her baby cousin from a blaze at her aunt's third-floor flat in Barking.
Julie Ruglys used her body as a shield and was badly burned as she stumbled from the inferno, cradling her two-year-old cousin in one arm and protecting his face with her hand.
Speaking from her hospital bed, Julie recalled the fire broke out in seconds.
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"We were watching the film Little Women when the set exploded and showered sparks," she told the Barking and Dagenham Post.
"A huge flame shot out the back, hit the ceiling, set the papers chains ablaze and spread to the Christmas tree."
Her aunt had popped out to see a neighbour and heard the children screaming.
Julie also helped her brother, 13, and three-year-old cousin get out, after her eight-year-old sister had already fled.
In another lucky escape, a mother of two is at home recovering with a broken arm after her car overturned in a crash.
December 29, 1999
A four-year-old boy who had been severely handicapped since birth was making an astounding recovery at a Dagenham nursery.
Brandon Hillier of Dagenham couldn't walk or talk when he started going to the Noah's Ark nursery a year earlier, but had made such remarkable progress that a psychologist said he may be able to attend school.
As the director of nursery, the Rev David Burns, told the Post: "He was immobile when he came to us with very little co-ordination.
"He found it difficult to respond to anything or anyone by sound or sight... He attempted to speak for the first time the other day and he brought tears to one member of staff's eyes."
Elsewhere, a teenager was in a critical condition after falling eight floors from a block of flats in Barking.
The 13-year-old had climbed out a window and was believed to have been making his way along the ledge to a landing before he fell 80ft on to concrete below, reported the Barking and Dagenham Post.
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