Districts call for more cash for healthcare

A demand for more cash for Hertfordshire’s beleaguered health service was voiced on Monday as councillors from throughout the county called on the North West Thames Regional Health Authority to pay up. The unanimous resolution passed by the meeting of district councillors representing the 10 districts in the county at Welwyn on Monday follows the latest round of cuts posed or envisaged by budget deficits of £750,000 in South West Herts and £1million in North West Herts. The resolution calls on the Regional Health Authority to “redress” the underfunding of the districts.

[June 5, 1987]

Box-top protest

A conservation-minded hairdresser has mounted a box-top battle to save red telephone booths from the British Telecom axe. This week, as a squad of BT engineers toured the Three Rivers district and removed 70 red booths and replaced them with space-age canopies of smoked glass and stainless steel, heroic hairdresser David Lawrence made his own protest – perched on top of two phone boxes outside his shop in Station Approach, Rickmansworth. Senior management at British Telecom have ordered that next week 63 old-style phone booths in the Watford district will also be removed. The booths, designed more than 50 years ago, will be taken to a pound in Southall before being sold at auction.

[June 5, 1987]

Schools for girls may be merged

Speculation that Watford’s two girls’ schools could merge by 1990 has been fuelled as parents, staff and governors met this week to launch a campaign to secure standards in single sex education. Education chiefs are expected to scrutinise both Watford Girls’ Grammar and Westfield schools with an eye to amalgamating the two. On Monday 50 parents joined governors and staff at Westfield in Tolpits Lane to face facts that their school would be a target for change in the secondary education review. The number of applications to transfer to Westfield this autumn has been disappointing and both staff and governors feel the future of the school is in doubt.

[June 12, 1987]

Bank terror raid

Armed raiders threatened to shoot a terrified customer in the head and “blow away” a young cashier when they stormed a North Watford bank on Wednesday morning. And, as the two gunmen helped themselves to £3,800 in cash from the tills, frightened staff and public were forced to lie flat on the floor. The robbery happened at 9.50am at the St Albans Road branch of the Midland Bank. One of the robbers joined a queue before pulling out a sawn-off shotgun and pointing it at a man’s head. The other raider kept guard on the door armed with a silver handgun. After the raid, police think they probably jumped into a car and drove off along St Albans Road.

[June 19, 1987]

‘Spy’ in car parks

Installation of close circuit television cameras to combat car vandalism in Watford’s town centre multi-storey car parks has been ruled out. The ceilings are so low that the cameras would themselves be vandalised, councillors have been told. Security in the car parks is under continuous review and over the Christmas period, with the help of the police, surveillance was stepped up, without much success. Owing to the layout and inadequacy of lighting it was usually found that incidents were taking place on one floor while the patrols were under way on another.

[June 19, 1987]

Star boosts open day

Colin from Eastenders took a day off from Albert Square on Sunday to mingle with the crowds at the Animal Welfare Trust’s annual open day at its Bushey headquarters. And delighted organisers of the event maintain that the appearance of actor Michael Cashman helped boost the day’s takings to a record £2,080.

[June 19, 1987]

£50,000 raid

A Securicor guard was shot in the groin and a woman held hostage by a pistol-wielding robber in a daring £50,000 raid in Watford this week – the third armed robbery in the town in six days. The gunman snatched the cash from an armoured van outside the National Westminster Bank in St Albans Road, North Watford, on Tuesday lunchtime. Customers watched in horror as the raider followed the unsuspecting guard and his female colleague into the bank and, without uttering a word, fired a revolver into his groin. The robber grabbed the female guard and frogmarched her outside to the armoured van at gunpoint. A third guard inside the van was told to hand over the cash or the woman would die. The robber was handed two pouches containing £50,000 before dashing to a getaway car in Bushey Mill Lane.

[June 26, 1987]

Hospital staffing crisis

Cash-troubled Watford General Hospital has been forced to close its casualty department for four nights and shut an orthopaedic ward for the whole of July because of a shortage of nurses. The decision has been taken by hospital managers after three nurses left the accident and emergency department to have babies recently and another two emigrated to Australia. Their departure has left the department one-third understaffed and prompted fears that casualties would have to be turned away during the night for three or four weeks.

[June 26, 1987]

What was happening in the world in June 1987?

• New Zealand become the first nation to legislate against nuclear power (June 8)

• The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher, is re-elected in the UK for a third term (June 11)

• During a visit to Berlin, US President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall (June 12)

• With the death of the last individual, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow becomes extinct (June 17)

• Teddy Seymour becomes the first black man to sail around the world (June 19)

• Terrorist group ETA perpetrate a car bomb attack at an Hipercor market in Barcelona (June 19)

• Race riots break out in the Chapeltown area of Leeds (June 22)

• Iraqi warplanes drop mustard gas bombs on the Iranian town of Sardasht, marking the first time a civilian town is targeted by chemical weapons (June 28)

• The Royal Canadian Mint introduces the $1 coin, known as the Loonie (June 30)