NOSTALGIA: ‘Moon Baby’ lands near Boston in 1969 and Phantom Menace opens in town in 1999

Year Five and Six pupils at Wyberton Primary School are pictured 20 years ago as they prepare to stage their version of William Shakespeare's popular fantasy comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Year Five and Six pupils at Wyberton Primary School are pictured 20 years ago as they prepare to stage their version of William Shakespeare's popular fantasy comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • 1969: Donington’s ‘Moon Baby’ and American flag flown in Boston
  • 1999: Star Wars fever fails to grip town and RAF searches for lost engine parts

Fifty years ago, 1969 ...

* A competition in the Standard to find Lincolnshire’s ‘Moon Baby’ – the child born nearest to the time of Moon Landing – had seen the runner-up prize go to a Donington infant.

Andrew Melbourne was born to Rita Melbourne, of Quadring Road, Donington, at 4pm on July 20 – about five hours and 20 minutes before the Apollo lunar module touched down (British Standard Time).

Andrew, who was given the middle name Neil in honour of the mission’s commander, Neil Armstrong, received a guinea from the Standard as a consolation prize.

He finished second to Gary Wilson, who was born at 6.35pm to Mrs G. Wilson, of Metheringham.

He took the middle name Aldrin after Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon.

Moon Baby Andew Neil Melbourne with parents Rita and Trevor.

Moon Baby Andew Neil Melbourne with parents Rita and Trevor.

The competition was the idea of Squadron Leader Joe Holderness, formerly with the Standard, who at that time was living in North Devon in retirement.

He donated £5 for the baby born in Lincolnshire nearest to the time of the Moon Landing.

In Boston, the success of Apollo 11 was marked with the flying of the Stars and Stripes from the Assembly Rooms.

Twenty years ago, 1999 ...

I’m upset with the amount of people we’ve had in so far – I was expecting a full house every night.

* After all the hype, merchandising, and advertisements, it seemed Star Wars fever had bypassed cinemagoers in Boston.

The Regal Cinema had found itself with empty seats every night for the latest instalment in the sci-fi saga, The Phantom Menace.

Only 180 people showed up on the opening night at the 300-seater cinema, snubbing a chance to see the world’s most anticipated film a day before its British release – despite competitive ticket prices of £3.

“I’m upset with the amount of people we’ve had in so far – I was expecting a full house every night,” said proprietor Jack Judd. “It seems people would rather enjoy the hot weather or save money and watch a film on video.”

* The RAF was asking people to look out for pieces of an engine lost from a £20 million Harrier GR7 just before it crashed a fortnight earlier near Surfleet.

Surfleet villagers narrowly avoided disaster when the plane plummeted into a field not far from their homes and exploded on impact.

The engine pieces were wanted as part of an investigation into the accident and could have been spread out over a wide area, the RAF said.