A snapshot of life in June 2001

Trewins’ bright future

More than 100 full and part-time jobs are to be created at Trewins in the Harlequin shopping centre, Watford, following the store’s decision to trade on Sundays from September. Sunday trading will coincide with a new name, John Lewis Watford. Managing director Mr Gordon Stenton said: “Watford is flourishing as an economic centre and we wanted to offer customers more of a chance to shop with us at weekends. The change of name is so the many new residents living further out from Watford will find it easier to locate their local John Lewis.”

[June 1, 2001]

Fans pay tribute in Graham Taylor book

Scores of well-wishers have flocked to record messages of goodwill to retiring manager of Watford Football Club Graham Taylor. Almost 100 people, including entire families, have written personal messages of thanks to the local hero at a special stall set up two weeks ago at Watford Town Hall. Mr Taylor, who is to be honoured with the freedom of the borough of Watford, will be presented with the pages at a civic reception in autumn.

[June 1, 2001]

New unit to open

The new inpatient unit at the Peace Hospice in Cassiobury Drive, Watford, will receive its first patients next week. The opening of the 12-bed unit this year, following years of fundraising, coincides with the hospice’s tenth anniversary. The unit cost £1.8million and took 65 weeks to build. Ninety per cent of the funding for the unit is voluntary and £1.5million a year will have to be raised to keep the facility open.

[June 1, 2001]

Britain’s ugliest robber

A man who carried out a knifepoint robbery was so ugly that BBC’s Crimewatch couldn’t find any actors to play him in a reconstruction. The thug, dubbed “Britain’s ugliest robber”, frightened mother-of-three Rachel Wright when he held her up at knifepoint as she pulled onto the drive at her home in Watford Road, Radlett. Detective Constable Mick Trotman, who is leading the investigation, said: “He had a big, wonky nose, no teeth and squinty eyes. It was not a pretty sight. The victim commented on how ugly he was. Fortunately, she was unhurt.” BBC spokesman Rosanna Ixer said Crimewatch had “trouble finding anyone as grotesque” as the suspect for their dramatic reconstruction.

[June 1, 2001]

Sun Printers deal crumbles

The derelict Sun Printers site in Watford could lie abandoned for another year, as a deal to redevelop it has fallen through. The massive cost of ridding the site of chemical contamination, caused by rusting underground ink storage tanks, is believed to have scared off developers Dencora Properties. News of the failed deal has renewed fears from the community about the future of the site. The building in Whippendell Road, which has been unused for more than ten years, is an eyesore to neighbours and a magnet for vandals and children. The failed deal has prompted Watford Council into talks with its solicitors, to find out if it can force consultancy firm Andersen – the site’s administrators – to properly secure the building, or demolish it.

[June 15, 2001]


Chart-busting R’n’B trio Mis-Teeq pulled in the crowds at the Virgin Megastore in the Harlequin shopping centre, Watford, last week for an exclusive record signing of their new single, All I Want. Streams of fans filtered through the main entrance from 5.30pm to catch a glimpse of the sassy three, who were predicted to knock Shaggy off his number one slot in the UK singles chart. The new single follows the release of their debut single. Why, which dominated both the dance and garage scene throughout January and February, and can still be heard in fashion stores around the country.

[June 22, 2001]

WFC to be floated on stock exchange

Watford Football Club’s directors are to increase their investment to help contribute more than half the £5million the club is hoping to raise by floating on the stock exchange. The holding company of Watford FC, Watford Leisure, is seeking a listing on the Alternative Investment Market, the subsidiary stock market for small and developing companies. Following the signing of Gianluca Vialli as manager, Watford hope to back the Italian with more cash in an attempt to regain Premiership status. All the club’s ten directors will be increasing their investment, including Sir Elton John, who was understood to have had a minimal holding up until now.

[June 29, 2001]

Plans for 300-home estate

Plans for a 300-home housing estate on the former Metropolitan Station Approach site in Watford are set to be considered by Watford Council by the end of September. The site had been used for industrial units, including a waste transfer station – leading to complaints by residents of dirt, noise, rat infestation and traffic problems. New housebuilder Linden Homes Chiltern wants to turn the site into a flagship development. News of the plans for 300 homes, landscaping, children’s play area and a substantial public square have been welcomed by neighbours.

[June 29, 2001]

What was happening in the world in June 2001?

• Several members of the Nepalese royal family are killed in the Nepalese royal massacre (June 1)

• The popular Bratz, rival to the Barbie doll, debuts (June 1)

• Gyanendra, the last King of Nepal, ascends to the throne after the massacre in the Royal Palace (June 4)

• Tony Blair’s Labour Party is elected for a second term in the UK general election (June 7)

• Protests occur in Manipur over the extension of the ceasefire between Naga insurgents and the government of India (June 18)

• The Fast and the Furious, starring Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, premieres (June 18)

• Mexican artist Frida Kahlo becomes the first Hispanic woman to be honoured on a US postage stamp (June 21)