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Review of the year 2019

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 December 2019

Animal rescuer Tracy Sheehan with the 11 abandoned cats at the Celia Hammond Trust in Canning Town. Picture: Ken Mears

Animal rescuer Tracy Sheehan with the 11 abandoned cats at the Celia Hammond Trust in Canning Town. Picture: Ken Mears

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Remember these? We look back at some of the stories we reported on in 2019

Michael Campbell, centre, was one of the West Ham fans to be involved with the advert. Picture: Matthew Walder/M&CSaatchiMichael Campbell, centre, was one of the West Ham fans to be involved with the advert. Picture: Matthew Walder/M&CSaatchi

January

Eleven cats put into cardboard boxes and left to die in a Stratford alleyway were saved.

A woman heard meowing coming from the boxes and called the Celia Hammond Animal Trust. Animal rescuer Tracy Sheehan went to collect them and said they were very friendly and appeared to be former pets.

She said: "We can only assume the intention was for them to die as surely everybody knows animals need to be able to breathe to survive."

North Beckton Primary School headteacher Alison Helm and pupils celebrate. Picture: Ken MearsNorth Beckton Primary School headteacher Alison Helm and pupils celebrate. Picture: Ken Mears

The Newham Community Heroes awards were presented. The five winners were Lorraine Tabone (fundraising); Sadia Nakimera and Annette Daniells-Smith (community impact); Pereways Azam (contribution to sport) and Edward Wingate (lifetime achievement).

Pastor Sally Mann, of the Bonny Downs Community Church, wrote a book about her community.

She is the fourth generation of her family to have lived in the area around Flanders Road, East Ham, reported the Recorder.

Businesses at the Stratford Centre signed up to the City Safe scheme. Picture: Jon KingBusinesses at the Stratford Centre signed up to the City Safe scheme. Picture: Jon King

February

Newham University Hospital staff were celebrating after the trust that runs it was taken out of special measures for quality after four years.

Managing director Tony Halton said: "We've come a long way and there is a lot to be proud of."

West Ham fan spoke of his pride at starring in a national TV advert.

Michael Campbell was among 250 football fans from around the country seen showing their passion in a clip for Coca Cola, which has a partnership with the Premier League.

Towards the end of the commercial, as the music stops, Michael addresses the camera saying: "We're West Ham, we ain't singing".

It was revealed Newham Council had received more than 1,000 complaints about potholes in 2018.

The figures from the Federation of Small Businesses also showed the council spent £322,646 repairing potholes during that year, reported the Recorder.

March

A blue plaque was unveiled to honour West Ham's first woman mayor, Daisy Parsons.

She became the borough's mayor in 1936, was at the forefront of the East London Federation of Suffragettes and was made an MBE in 1953. She died in 1957.

The plaque was unveiled at Stratford Town Hall to mark International Women's Day.

Postmen and women in Stratford started a six-month trial of zero-emission e-Trikes.

Dozens of students and knife crime experts met at Newham Sixth Forum College to share knowledge in a bid to counter knife crime.

People from the Red Cross, Royal London Hospital and anti-violent crime charities took part.

Pc Peter Wilson said: "I genuinely believe that the majority of young people who carry a knife don't intend to use it. They only think they're going to have it there for their own protection."

April

More than 2,300 Easter eggs were collected and handed out to underprivileged children.

The appeal, run by Canning Town charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, saw businesses, community groups and individuals donate throughout Lent.

Newham Council was fined £145,000 after confidential information about more than 200 suspected gang members ended up in the hands of rival groups.

A council employee had sent an email to 44 people that contained redacted and unredacted versions of the gangs matrix - a police intelligence database, reported the Recorder.

The council joined 30 other local authorities by declaring a climate emergency. The move commits the borough to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Thousands of people called for the council to release a stray dog that faced being put down even though there was a loving home waiting for her.

May

Dad Shakil Malji, of Forest Gate, said he could not describe his happiness after the NHS agreed to fund a "wonder drug" for his baby daughter who had a rare genetic condition.

Nine-month-old Maryam had type 1 spinal muscular atrophy which affects eating, drinking and breathing.

North Beckton Primary School, East Ham, was among the best in England according to figures from the Department of Education and watchdog Ofsted.

A popular headteacher said unaffordable house prices had led to his decision to resign.

Paul Halliwell announced he would be leaving St Bonaventure's in Forest Gate in September to begin a new role in his home city of Liverpool.

He said: "As excited as I am to take on a new challenge, I would not have considered a move if continuing to live in Newham was a possibility. The rents for a family house are too high and I am unable to secure a suitable mortgage, even on a headteacher's salary."

June

A campaign was started to raise money for what could be the world's first hand-cranked rolling footbridge.

The bridge, for the River Lea at the disused Cody Dock, Canning Town, was the brainchild of Tom Randall-Page.

He said: "I wanted to create something people would want to come and see."

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Twenty councillors signed a petition against plans for the MSG Sphere entertainment venue in Stratford.

The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) wanted to build a live music hub on land west of Angel Lane. More than 900 people had signed the petition, fearing noise, light and air pollution and anti-social behaviour.

But some businesses welcomed the extra money the venue would bring to the borough's economy.

Around 20 squatters occupied the Grade I-listed Passmore Edwards Library building in East Ham, saying they were promoting the idea of squatting as a way to use empty buildings.

July

A crowd of young people stopped traffic as they took part in the Life is Worth Living march against knife crime.

An estimated 1.200 people walked from Canning Town to Stratford Park to demonstrate that young people can break free from violent crime.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged residents to be proud that the biggest investment in the capital's cultural industry for more than 100 years is being built on their doorstep.

He was at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, to break ground at the £1.1billion East Bank culture hub where the BBC, V&A, London College of Fashion and Sadler's Wells are expected to open bases. A time capsule was buried at the site.

London City Airport launched a 12-week consultation on its vision for the next 15 years. It could double its passenger numbers in a decade but would need current restrictions to be lifted.

August

A mobile dental service treating homeless people celebrated one year on the road.

The community dental services van is a fully-functioning surgery on wheels. Cleaning, fillings, making dentures and taking out teeth are the most common jobs.

An experimental traffic scheme aiming to reduce the amount of traffic crossing an East Ham bridge resumed three weeks after it was paused due to protests.

The six-month pilot scheme to restrict access on the Browning Road bridge was due to start on July 29 but Newham Council halted it the same day to allow further consideration of residents' concerns. The council introduced the scheme following a study which showed more than 80 per cent of vehicles travelling from Romford Road used the area as a cut-through to High Street North.

Stratford street dance crew IMD Legacy, reached the final of the world hip-hop dance championship. They finished seventh - the highest placing ever achieved by a UK group in the competition's 18-year history.

September

Police produced a computer-generated image of a man whose skeletal remains were found in Forest Gate in 2016.

Officers found the remains in a blue sleeping bag at a disused factory in Upton Lane. Analysis of the teeth suggested he died between 2003 and 2006.

The council approved £180m plans to demolish buildings next to the Stratford Centre and replace them with 423 homes, a hotel, office block and shops.

Inspirational youngsters were presented with Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Awards at two ceremonies.

The stray dog saved from being put down following a public outcry, died after a series of seizures.

Clapton Community FC was offered the lease at the Old Spotted Dog stadium in Upton Lane, Forest Gate, by freeholder Star Pubs & Bars.

A spokesman for the fan-owned club said: "We're thrilled with the announcement and can't wait to outline our vision to them and to the public."

October

Twenty businesses pledged to offer their premises as havens for youngsters in danger of violent crime following a campaign led by school students.

The firms in the Stratford Centre signed up to the City Safe scheme after 60 young people marched

through the mall in March in a bid to reclaim the space as one they feel safe in.

Four Cumberland School pupils were praised for coming to the aid of a man who fell over near their school.

Destiny Kasa-Vubu, Fatmata Janneh, Djannifer Injai Jaguite and Rhian Cross-Levy got off the bus to help the man, thought to be in his 70s, after he slipped over in the rain.

More than £10,000 was raised in memory of 15-year-old Baptista Adjei who was stabbed to death in the Broadway, Stratford.

The money was donated on a fundraising pay set up to pay for the North Woolwich boy's funeral. The target figure was £3,000 but more than triple that was collected in two days.

November

MasterChef presenter John Torode served up Christmas dinner as a treat for Newham University Hospital staff.

The contract for the controversial Silvertown Tunnel was finally signed, signalling work can begin in 2020.

The design, build, finance and maintain contract went to the Riverlinx consortium. It was revealed the tunnel was expected to open in 2025 and both it and the Blackwall Tunnel will introduce charges. The cost for each type of vehicle was yet to be determined. The Project GP surgery in Plaistow started offereing patients online consultations in a bid to avoid closing after most of its clinical staff went on maternity leave.

Dr Farzana Hussain said: "If I didn't do this, the surgery would have to shut because we would not be able to provide the service. Without it, we couldn't look after our 5,000 patients."

The Newham Chamber of Commerce business awards recognised the borough's best.

December

A pregnant woman whose waters broke five weeks early in Westfield Stratford City praised the shop workers who came to her aid.

Angela Cook was in Mamas and Papas. She said: "It was a scary time but made so much easier by the people in the store."

Baby Laney was delivered by emergency C-section, weighing 5lbs 5oz.

East Ham and West Ham Labour MPs Stephen Timms and Lyn Brown retained their seats in the general election despite a poor showing nationally for their party.

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