Shropshire Star

Flashback to 1995: Boots, Bond and a visit from rugby legend in a busy month


Assistant district surveyor Malcolm Bridges checks out the slippery steps in Bridgnorth

Baffled council officials were putting their "sole'' into finding the cause of several accidents in a market town.

Back in November 1995 council divisional surveyor Grant Lester and his assistant Malcolm Bridges were marching up and down the steps which lead from The Grove estate to Bernard's Hill in Low Town, Bridgnorth, in different types of shoes.

Since September, there had been several accidents on separate flights of brick and tarmac covered steps which had unfortunately left residents nursing twisted knees and ankles.

As a result, county council officials were facing claims for damaged clothing.

The most seriously injured victim was an 82-year-old gentleman who suffered a broken shoulder in a fall on the brick steps.

Mr Lester told the Star at the time that he had spoken to residents who had identified two of the steps as particularly slippery.

Officials were carry out tests to look at the gradient, which it would be possible to ease by introducing another step between the two.

It was also hoped that the nearby tarmac-covered steps could be resurfaced.

Meanwhile, Rugby World Cup sensation Jonah Lomu was brought crashing down to earth by schoolchildren.

The New Zealand man mountain, who was literally one of the biggest names in world sport, weighed in at a whopping 22 stone but that didn't frighten pupils at Moor Park School in Ludlow.

Rugby player Jonah Lomu gets taken out during his visit to Moor Park school

Winger Lomu, who had swept Will Carling's England aside in the previous summer's world cup, spent an hour at the school chatting to pupils and signing autographs.

The Severn Valley Railway was on track to have its best Christmas in years, with more than 31,000 passengers booking to travel on the Santa Special steam trains.

Telephone lines at its Bewdley station headquarters had been jammed with bookings making it difficult for normal business calls to get through.

Dozens of seats were being snapped up on its Santa special trains.

Santa packs his bags for the short trip from Bridgnorth to Arley

"It's been phenomenal this year,'' said SVR marketing manager John Leach. "Everything we've touched has turned to gold."

All of its eight Christmas lunch dining trains were fully booked and their three Christmas carol trains had fully booked for weeks.

As it was the season of goodwill, SVR has dropped its 32-mile round trip adult fare by over £2, down to £7.50. Up to two children can travel for just £1 each, accompanied by an adult.

After the last train had run on New Year's Day the railway line would be reduced to allow a £10,000 renewal of bridge abutments on the over bridge at Highley station.

The normal winter weekend steam-hauled passenger service over the 16-mile line was revised to run as two separate services, between Kidderminster and Arley and between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade.

The work would mean that SVR spending on bridge repairs over the past four winters had passed £300,000.

Meanwhile Wolverhampton jeweller John Henn was invited to the star studded glittering premiere of the new 007 blockbuster Goldeneye.

The 34-year-old rubbed shoulders with Pierce Brosnan, the sixth actor to play Bond, at the London opening ceremony in Leicester Square.

John, whose shop T A Henn is in Princess Street, was one of six out of 280 Omega dealers who had been invited to the event.

The then Prince of Wales headed a glittering guest list at the royal premiere of the movie.

He mingled with the stars, including the new Bond, Brosnan, and his 12-year-old son Sean, who Brosnan explained was a budding musician who played the guitar. "At least it's not drums,'' the prince said.

He also told Tina Turner, who sings the film's theme: "You're amazing.''

Also drawing attention were Bob Geldof and his new love Jeanne Marine, 26, making one of their first public appearances together since his split from wife Paula Yates.

Dame Judy Dench, snew Bond girls Izabella Scorupco and Famke Janssen,Gotfried John, Desmond Llewellyn and Alan Cumming, as well as director Martin Campbell attended the premiere.

A second celebrity screening was also held in aid of the Prince's Youth Business Trust.

In the audience were Jonathan Ross, John Cleese, Shirley Bassey, Nigel Mansell, Bill Wyman, Damon Hill, Britt Ekland,Peter Stringfellow, Martin Scorcese, Chris Eubank, Simon and Yasmin Le Bon and Lindsey de Paul.

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