Oil spillage pollutes river

A major environmental disaster was averted in Watford’s Cassiobury Park when walkers reported gallons of diesel spilling into the River Gade. Swans, ducks and other water fowl were left fighting for their lives as a result of the spillage. But a National Rivers Authority spokesman said the toll could have been much greater if the hazard had not been reported so quickly. Mrs Theresa Wilson was one of the first to discover the creatures in distress. “Some excuse for a human being has obviously thrown this stuff into the Gade without any thought for living things,” she said. “I would like to catch them and make them drink it.”

[November 4, 1994]

Debonair bank robber jailed

Women jurors burst into tears at the Old Bailey as a dashing “Champagne Charlie” bank robber was jailed for 16 years. Steven Ifield, 25, netted more than £55,000 from his robbery spree, which involved a bank raid in south west Hertfordshire. He was only arrested after a night blowing his haul on bubbly and call girls because he was illegally parked. A woman sobbed loudly in the public gallery as the verdicts were announced – and soon four women jurors were also crying.

[November 4, 1994]

Soccer book signing

Watford footballers kicked off a WH Smith promotion by signing copies of Oliver Phillip’s centenary book about the club. Team members (from left) Jamie Moralee, Dominic Ludden, Tommy Mooney and Keith Millen took part in the event, which attracted a queue of fans to the Harlequin store last Thursday.

[November 4, 1994]

Parents get last word over measles jab

Catholic schools in south west Hertfordshire have not joined the ban on the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, saying parents should make their own decision for their children. The Catholic public school Ampleforth for boys, which is based in Yorkshire, began the row over the nationwide immunisation programme. This has left health department bosses, who fear a massive measles epidemic this winter could leave many children dead or brain damaged, worried that their innovative programme will be a failure. But the vaccinations are going ahead as planned at St Joan of Arc RC School in Rickmansworth on Wednesday.

[November 11, 1994]

Fun of fireworks

The skies lit up over south west Hertfordshire at the weekend as the traditional firework displays were held across the district. Vicarage Road’s display was cancelled because of building work at the stadium, but the large shows at Cassiobury Park in Watford and the Metropolitan Police Sports Club in Bushey went ahead with the usual vigour. Saturday’s display at Cassiobury Park was certainly one to remember, as it was described by organisers as “better than ever”.

[November 11, 1994]

Village in fear

Two dangerous criminals were still on the run from The Mount Prison in Bovingdon yesterday after a violent breakout 24 hours earlier. Their escape has renewed fears that the troubled prison is not equipped to copy with high-risk inmates. Bovingdon villagers have been growing increasingly worried by the number of violent offenders being transferred to the low security prison early on in their sentences.

[November 18, 1994]

Lottery fever sweeps through town

People in Watford have been gripped by the “lottery fever” that has swept the country since the launch of the National Lottery on Monday. The lottery outlet in WH Smith in The Harlequin was besieged by eager lottery customers, selling £4,500 worth of tickets in the first two days. Lottery assistant Mr Gary Kibble said: “There were queues for most of Monday and Tuesday. There was a classic moment when two women bought 100 separate tickets, and they took a while to process.”

[November 18, 1994]

Shop woos bike buyers

Staff at a new cycle shop in Watford tried out some of the pedal power on offer. The new Cycleopedia bike shop has opened at 78 Merton Road catering for everyone from children to the serious cyclist. Pictured celebrating the opening of the shop are, from left, Louise Maynard, Daniel Smith and Jon Sanger.

[November 18, 1994]

Shopping campaign

Shopkeepers in Kings Langley have launched a campaign encouraging villagers to make more use of stores in the area. Many fear businesses could start to close unless people start to shop at local stores more frequently. And they hope the programme will make villagers realise that many enterprises in Kings Langley are endangered. Trade at village stores has fallen dramatically since last summer when the A41 bypass and the Sainsbury superstore in Apsley, both opened. Many shop owners believe business will suffer further now the new Tesco has opened in Jarmans Road, Hemel Hempstead.

[November 25, 1994]

What was happening in the world in November 1994?

  • The first conference devoted entirely to the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web opens in San Francisco (November 4)
  • A letter by former US President Ronald Reagan, announcing that he has Alzheimer’s disease, is released (November 5)
  • The space probe Ulyssus completes the first passage behind the Sun (November 5)
  • The student radio station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides the world’s first internet radio broadcast (November 7)
  • Chandrika Kumaratunga becomes the first female president of Sri Lanka (November 9)
  • Voters in Sweden decide to join the European Union in a referendum (November 13)
  • The first passengers travel through the Channel Tunnel (November 13)
  • Michael Schumacher wins his first Formula One World Championship (November 13)
  • Voters in Norway decide not to join the European Union in a referendum (November 28)
  • Convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is clubbed to death by an inmate in the Columbia Correctional Institution gymnasium (November 28)