This week 10, 20, 30 years ago

10 years ago

A high-flying academic was on Cloud Nine after reaching the world paramotor championships.

London South Bank University’s Barney Townsend was set to represent Great Britain in Segovia, Spain, this summer.

Barney, who was a senior lecturer at the Elephant & Castle University’s Department of Engineering and Design, hoped Team GB could win gold in the international summer contest.

Barney, 29, who took up the sport five years previously and was recently crowned British National Paramotor Champion, was spending around 40 hours a month training.

He said his academic background had helped him reach the top level of the extreme sport.

He said: “As a design engineer, I’m trained to think in 3D space and take a mathematical approach to problems, which helps on the strategic element of the complex navigational tasks.

“My colleagues have been very understanding if I’ve needed to go off to competitions. Clearly, I teach my timetabled classes.”

Stars including Keira Knightley have helped a film studio and costume firm in its bid to buy its South London premises.

Sands Studios wants to buy the building in Rotherhithe after a series of rent hikes.

The studio, which worked on films including Bel Ami, has raised £1.7million after investments from Knightley, John Hurt and Derek Jacobi.

20 years ago

A toddler cheated death after falling 20ft from a second floor window onto concrete.

Two-year-old Renee Messam fell from her home in the Peabody Buildings in Southwark Street, Bermondsey, after crawling through a window.

Mum Leonie, 22, was out at the time and had left her daughter in the care of her partner Darren Sambacail, 23.

Renee escaped without any broken bones, but doctors at Lewisham Hospital kept her in for observation and X-rays for two days.

New figures showed thousands of homeless people were turning up on South London town hall doorsteps desperate for somewhere to live.

Families and single people in 1,778 households were accepted as homeless by Lambeth council, 1,229 by Lewisham and 1,446 by Wandsworth.

Government homelessness figures were not available for Southwark, but other statistics had shown a similar issue.

A spokesman for homeless charity Shelter said: “We would hope to see authorities ensuring as many people as possible are not just put into B&Bs.”

A proud father found an uplifting way of celebrating the birth of his son – wrapping himself in bandages and stringing himself up between two trees.

Mark McGowan decided to pull the eye-catching stunt because he couldn’t find the words to explain how he felt when his baby Benjamin came into the world.

Peeping out from behind the bandages, he dangled from the rope for four hours outside Camberwell College of Art.

The performance artist from Church Mead, Camberwell, said he was protected by a harness in case the rope gave way.

30 years ago

New York cops reeled with horror when they heard how a British bobby collared a killer single-handedly.

The shock for the US police came as Peckham beat bobby Sergeant John Porter gave evidence at the trial of gangland executioner Leon Virgo at Manhattan Supreme Court.

They heard how Virgo may have killed 17 times, but Peckham’s finest did not hesitate to slap on the cuffs after a tip-off that the criminal was living on the North Peckham Estate.

Virgo was sentenced to life on two murder counts, with 15 others held on file.

Sgt Porter said: “The American police could not believe I had just gone in and arrested him without back-up.”

Anti-terrorism chiefs wrapped a veil of secrecy over their operations to counter the IRA bombing campaign in London.

South Londoners had felt the force of the bombers three days earlier when they destroyed a signalling control box beside tracks between Wandsworth Common and Clapham Junction stations.

The bombing came less than a fortnight after three other explosions, including a blast at London Bridge station which injured 28 people.

Scotland Yard was refusing to make public any details of the security response, including crucial timings of when and by whom the IRA’s coded warning messages were received.

Lions manager Bruce Rioch faced having to drastically trim his squad as Millwall tried to improve their finances.

During the summer, Rioch had been handed just over half of the £2million which Millwall banked from the sale of striker Teddy Sheringham, and used the cash on new players.

Marc Falco, John Colquhoun, Colin Cooper, Phil Barber, Ian Bogie, Chris Armstrong and Aidan Davison all came in.

But the depressed state of the transfer market meant the Lions boss was finding it hard to find buyers for any of the “old guard” he was selling.

Compiled by

Main Pic: A paramotor pilot




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