Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, November 20, 2014)

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The Northumberland Gazette delves into the archives to remind readers of stories from the past.

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, November 18, 2004

The owners of 40 beach huts at Embleton are set to pay less council tax. The discount is to be increased from 10 per cent to 40 per cent because the bungalows – which have no mains electricity or sewage – cannot be occupied during the winter. The residents have seen their council tax almost double since discounts for second-home owners were slashed from 50 per cent to 10 per cent in April. Alnwick District Council this week agreed to cut the bills on properties where there is a restriction on occupancy, a decision which will lose them £10,000 a year. Barbara Braysher, chairman of the Embleton Links Bungalow Owners Association, said: “We feel it is unfair that we are being given the same discount as second-home owners when our bungalows are little more than glorified huts.”

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, November 16, 1989

Firebugs struck on Bonfire Night to devastate the Barresdale play area. Special safety surfaces went up in flames, causing nearly £1,000-worth of damage and leaving Alnwick Town councillors distraught at the latest incident to hit the troubled playground. Now the council is left to pick up the pieces after what Coun Ray Farnsworth called ‘an appalling act of vandalism’. Revealing the incident to fellow councillors at last week’s full-council meeting, Mayor Tom Deedigan said that hopes were high someone would be brought to justice for the crime. He said: “The response from the public has been very good – people have come forward and it is a step in the right direction.” The matter now goes to the top of the playground committee’s agenda, which has to decide how best to deal with the problem.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, November 20, 1964

Off to London this morning with promise of a new lease of life at the end of the 300-mile journey is a little Red Row girl, six-year-old Shirley Elliott, born with a hole in her heart plus an added complication of a leaking valve. Dark-haired Shirley was six weeks old when doctors told her miner father James and his wife Norma of the child’s condition. They advised the parents to wait until she was older before sending her for surgery. In the years between, hospital visits followed with monotonous regularity. The operation, which will be carried out in a few days’ time by Professor Bentall in Hammersmith Hospital, will last for several hours. Afterwards, Shirley will stay in hospital for probably six weeks. “She ought to be fit again in about a year’s time,” her father said yesterday.