Mad Mac escapes unhurt

Daredevil driver Mick Croft had a miraculous escape on Sunday when he walked away unscathed from a car stunt which went spectacularly wrong at Bovingdon airfield. Mick, a decorator from Rickmansworth, survived unhurt after his stunt car sailed more than 100 feet over a line of cars, cartwheeled twice and came to rest upside down on the tarmac. After being helped from the wreckage, he still managed to do a lap of honour for the 2,000 fans who had turned up to watch his courageous stunt.

[September 5, 1986]

Back to school uncertainty

An uncertain future faced Hertfordshire schoolchildren as they returned to school this week, with question marks over three major issues, teachers’ pay, the introduction of the new GCSE examinations and the county review of secondary education. Although there is an air of reasonable optimism that the teachers’ pay demands can be settled, both employers and teachers are still waiting for the Government to accept the agreement.

[September 5, 1986]

Launch of new sports magazine

Britain’s new weekly sports magazine was launched in Watford this week at Odhams-Sun printers. Sportsweek is being published by British Magazine Publishing Corporation and 240,000 copies rolled off the presses earlier this week. The 68-page full colour magazine went on sale yesterday and will come out every Thursday.

[September 12, 1986]

Dog tournament

It was more than just walkies and sit for some 60 top dogs who gathered in Croxley Green on Saturday for a dog agility tournament hosted by world-famous animal trainer Barbara Woodhouse. Competing pooches had to clear a whole obstacle course of jumps and tests in the first ever dog agility tournament in this county.

[September 12, 1986]

Town’s greatest entertainment

It was a day when just about everything went right for the largest entertainments event in Watford’s history. The day was run jointly by Watford Council and The Variety Club of Great Britain and began with the arrival of 923 handicapped and underprivileged youngsters from all over the country. Many wore elaborate costumes and colourful make-up to join in with the general theme of clowning. A grand parade of floats, bands, majorettes, Sunshine Coaches and clowns got the day off to a loud and vibrant start. The procession reached Cassiobury Park by 12.30pm. Soon the park was transformed into a mass of colour as people turned up in their hundreds to enjoy the September sunshine.

[September 12, 1986]

Rise in violent crime

Violent crime in Watford has risen by an alarming 35 per cent this year – well above the county average of 19 per cent. Watford police are appealing to the public to help them fight their increasingly difficult war against local law breakers. It is the increase in violent crime – 140 assaults, woundings and robberies, compared with 104 last year – that concerns police most.

[September 19, 1986]

Families save homes

Hundreds of council tenants have won the fight to save their homes from demolition by Hertsmere Borough Council. The council has backed down from its plans to redevelop the Herne Road Estate in Bushey after a panel of council representatives received a frosty reception at a public meeting last week. Officials were also handed a 377-signature petition from local residents rejecting proposals to pull down council houses to make way for new flats.

[September 19, 1986]

Herts Games

More than 2,000 sportsmen and women descended on a wet and windy South West Hertfordshire on Saturday to take part in the annual Herts Games, which were being held in Three Rivers for the first time. Despite the rain, Three Rivers Sports Coordinator Dominic Coburn was able to report a full day of highly competitive sport. “All the events were finished, including the bowls and archery, which was quite an achievement in the rain,” he said.

[September 19, 1986]

Elton backs the Hornets

Elton John, the rock star chairman of Watford Football Club, is the Watford Observer’s number one fan. He arranged an all-expenses paid trip to Miami for Sports Editor Oliver Phillips last week to prove the point. Elton, in the middle of a four-month concert tour of the US and Australia, is still right behind the Hornets, despite the fact that he has not seen them play since last season.

[September 26, 1986]

Test tube babies

Watford General Hospital could be the first district hospital in the country to have a National Health test tube baby scheme. But it all depends on the generosity of the community. On October 10 the hospital is launching a £150,000 appeal called Babywatch, to buy a range of new equipment for the maternity unit. If it gets more – say £25,000 – then in vitro fertilisation will be possible in Watford.

[September 26, 1986]

What was happening in the world in September 1986?

• Cathy Evelyn Smith is sentenced to three years in prison for the death of actor John Belushi (September 2)

• Four bomb attacks take place over 12 days in Paris (September 5-17)

• Pam Am Flight 73 is hijacked at Karachi International Airport by four Abu Nidal terrorists (September 5)

• Whitney Houston wins the third MTV Video Music Awards (September 5)

• Desmond Tutu becomes the first black Anglican Church bishop in South Africa (September 7)

• Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet survives an assassination attempt in which five are killed (September 7)

• The Oprah Winfrey Show is broadcast nationally for the first time (September 8)

• Margaret Thatcher officially opens the first phase of the Nissan car factory at Sunderland (September 8)

• US professor Joseph Cicippio is kidnapped and held hostage for the following five years by Islamic radicals in Beirut (September 12)

• An earthquake hits the city of Kalamata in southern Greece, killing 20 people and completely destroying one-fifth of the city (September 13)

• GCSE examination courses replace O Levels (September 19)

• 35 countries sign a disarmament accord in Stockholm (September 22)

• RUN-DMC becomes the first rap group to hit the top 10 with Raisin’ Hell (September 26)

• Cliff Burton, the second bassist for Metallica, is killed in a bus accident (September 27)

• The USSR releases US journalist Nicholas Daniloff after he was confined on spy charges (September 29)

• Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed details of the Israel covert nuclear program to the British media, is kidnapped in Rome (September 30)