10 years ago
A florist whose family have been running a stall at a famous South London market since 1900 has sold his last bouquet.
Christopher Tomkins began helping out on the C.W. Tomkins Florists stall East Street Market when he was just 10 years old.
But he dismantled the stall, opposite The Good Intent pub in East Street, Walworth, for the last time on Christmas Eve.
The 56-year-old, who was born in the Old Kent Road, said rising rents and the poor economy had left him struggling to make a living.
Businessman Mr Tomkins said: “My family has been on this pitch with this flower business since my grandfather started it in 1900.
“It’s a great shame to be finishing and I’m very sad but with the recession and the rising cost of renting the stall, I didn’t have any choice.”
His grandfather, John Tomkins, first traded from the pitch, before it was taken over by his son, Bill Tomkins.
A valuable handkerchief by modern artist Tracey Emin was stolen from a charity.
The Oxfam shop in Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill got the white cotton item from an unknown donor.
It was given in on Saturday, December 17 and put on sale for £300, but staff discovered it had been stolen four days later.
The handkerchief was in a plastic box on display in the shop window and had “Be Faithful to your Dreams Tracey Emin 1999” embroidered on it.
Christine Bleathman, who volunteers part-time in the shop, said: “We have loyal customers who look out for us, but as a charity shop we can’t afford CCTV.
The handkerchief had pride of place and the staff are incredibly upset about it.
“It is the less well-off who have been deprived by this act.”
20 years ago
A mobile phone company agreed to stall controversial plans for a reception mast opposite a school.
Under pressure from parents and staff at John Burns School in Wycliffe Road, Battersea, and Wandsworth councillors, Orange agreed to postpone installation.
It first applied for permission for the mast two years earlier, before stricter guidelines were introduced.
Under newer rules, school governors had to be consulted before any mast was put up near a school.
Plans to build a school on a park were facing fierce opposition from people living around the proposed site.
Southwark council was working with the Department for Education and Skills, plus the project’s sponsors, the City of London Corporation, to create the new school on the site of Paterson Park, off Lynton Road, Bermondsey.
But residents claimed it would take up a valuable open space and create more traffic than surrounding streets could cope with.
Councillor Patrick Kelly, cabinet member for education, said: “I understand these people are angry they are going to lose their park, but the facilities that will be created on the school site will be of a much higher standard for the community to use.”
Hundreds of lights, each one dedicated to the memory of a lost friend or relative, lit up a 40ft Christmas tree in a ceremony at Trinity Hospice.
BBC newsreader Nicholas Witchell flicked the switch in Clapham to turn on the lights.
They formed part of the hospice’s Light Up A Life campaign, which involved donations being made in exchange for a light on the tree.
Around 300 people made their way to Clapham’s Holy Trinity Church in a candlelit procession to a service where fellow BBC newsreader Huw Edwards joined Mr Witchell to give readings.
30 years ago
Lions manager Bruce Rioch warned the clubs trailing Millwall midfielder Alex Rae it would take a big offer to secure a transfer.
Rioch’s warning came after First Division high-flyers Manchester City were linked with the highly rated Scottish under-21 midfielder.
The Lions boss said: “I haven’t had any contact from Peter Reid at Manchester City, but the papers are full of stories saying he’s interested in Alex.
I don’t want to lose him, and if clubs really are interested in Alex they’ll have to come up with an excellent offer before I’ll even consider parting with him.”
A heroic survivor of a fatal motorway crash carried out a further act of bravery at her friend’s funeral.
Sarah Cooper, 14, showed incredible courage when she helped fellow Army cadets who were injured when their minibus overturned on the M20 at Farningham, Kent.
Four of the 10 teenage cadets died as they were flung from the back of the white transit van into oncoming traffic.
Sarah, of Dorset Road, South Lambeth, kept her composure to present Rachel McGuinness’s beret and belt to the girl’s grieving parents at Lambeth Cemetery in Blackshaw Road, Tooting.
Electronic whizz-kid Aaron Ludlow had become quite a celebrity at school for his skills at computer games.
Aaron, nine, a pupil at St James School in Marine Road, Bermondsey, had been given a console and games for Christmas a year earlier.
But Aaron sailed through the games in just a day, even when they were set to the hardest possible levels.
Main Pic: A valuable hankerchief was stolen from a charity shop ten years ago this week.
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