From our archives: Students ‘kidnap’ mayor at gunpoint

Boston College students 'kidnap' the Mayor of Boston Coun Dr John Wallis in 1984.
Boston College students 'kidnap' the Mayor of Boston Coun Dr John Wallis in 1984.

Boston mayor Coun Dr John Wallis was kidnapped at gunpoint by teenagers who demanded a ransom.

But thankfully this wasn’t a real crime - just a mock-kidnapping staged by Boston College students to raise money for rag week. The students formed a ‘snatch gang’ to nab him - but Coun Wallis didn’t come without a fight and met them at his door with a real double-barrelled shotgun. But the gang soon over-powered the mayor and bundled him into a car. Boston businesses played along and donated ‘ransom’ money to free the mayor - who was taken back to the college, held in a room and fed coffee and biscuits.

A Frampton mother said she was afraid to let her young son play outside their home incase he fell into an enormous trench dug by British Rail.

The huge L-shaped earthwork was put there to prevent gypsies from towing their caravans onto the disused railway line which ran beside the home of Val Halgarth.

“I’m frightened to death,” she said. “It’s dangerous for one thing and it’s such an eyesore. I’m worried about children playing on it, if it caved in they wouldn’t standa chance.”

She had told her son Gly, seven, to stay away.

British Rail said it was looking into her complaint.

A Fishtoft bird expert warned parents and children not to copy the film ‘Kes’ and try to keep wild birds of prey as pets.

Ian Pearl, of Scalp Road, issued there warning ahead of a Yorkshire Television screening of the British film.

He said it was illegal and dangerous for both hawk and child.

1994: A terrified boy was trapped inside a derelict building in Boston after it collapsed around him as he played with friends.

The 14-year-old was on the third floor of the former Johnsons warehouse in South Street and had to be coaxed down by firemen.

Chief Insp Duncan Gerrard of Boston Police said the boys were seen playing on the site by a taxi driver who saw part of the building collapse into the river and called the police.

Chief Insp Gerrard said: “We were faced with a problem – children had been seen in there and some had come out but we were unable to be sure whether they had all got out. The two youngsters who came out initially refused to give the police any help. When we arrived a lot of timber had spilled into the river. Inside there were huge piles of fallen masonry, bricks and timber, and it was a very dangerous situation. Parts were still falling when we were inside.”

Fire crews carried out a search of the building using thermal imaging equipment and found the boy stranded because the staircase had collapsed. He eventually climbed down on a pile of rubble and the building was made safe.


While many would have believed it impossible not to have heard of The Beatles in 1964 - that was the case of Alfred Chamberlain of Coningsby.

Mr Chamberlain, 90, said he believed in a quiet life, never watched television, and rarely listened to the radio.

So the pop hits of John, Paul, Ringo and George has simply passed him by.

Concert-goers in Lincolnshire complained that screaming girls at gigs by Billy J. Kramer and Gene Pitney ruined the experience for everybody else.

Richard H. Ryan said: “It’s a pity that this shrieking cannot be toned down.” Speaking about the concert at The Regal in Boston, he added: “The girls seemed to scream louder than ever.”

Mr Ryan said that screaming during the Gene Pitney gig became ‘almost deafening’.

He added: “When he crouched and shook a sexy knee the hysteria rose to a new crescendo!”

A Donington man was awaiting news of his daughter and son-in-law who were living in the earthquake-torn city of Anchorage in Alaska.

George White was eager to hear from his daughter as the American Embassy in London had no news on victims.

The following week The Standard reported he had received news they were well.

1944: An amazing story of an army deserter’s seven weeks hiding in the attic of an unoccupied house was told to Boston Magistrates Court.

The 21-year-old was alleged to have deserted from his army unit shortly after being called up for service.

The lad, who suffered with epilepsy since childhood, dared not go home to face his father’s disapproval so he stayed in unfurnished rooms in Wormgate, which were in the possession of the authorities, and made his home there.

A police detective said he forced access to the unoccupied house and went through a trapdoor in the ceiling where he found the man crouching in an ante-room in the false roof.

Able seaman Reginald ‘Tanny’ Blackham, of Boston, was home on sick leave after surviving a German bomb blast while in hospital.

Mr Blackham was receiving treatment following injuries sustained in the Anzio landings in the Mediterranean when enemy dive bombers targeted the hospital.

He spoke to The Standard of his experiences of the beach landings – one of which took place amid a ‘hail of bombs’ from the Germans.

One shell exploded near their boat – but the blast still blew Tanny and his comrades off their feet – some of whom received severe injuries.