From our Archives: OAP in explosion drama

editorial image

1989: A brave elderly woman poured a bucket of water on herself after her kitchen was wrecked by a dawn gas explosion.

Gwen Julian, 82, then tried to phone to fire brigade herself to avoid bothering her neighbours in Broadfield Lane, Boston. But she couldn’t get through so had to hammer on a neighbour’s bedroom window for help.

Neighbour Moira Rutt, who looked after Gwen while her husband Jeff phoned the emergency services.

She said: “She’s one fantastic lady for her age. Just the shock would have killed anyone else, but she’s doing quite well in the hospital, and this week was sitting up and tucking into ice-cream even though her hands were in polythene bags.”

Jeff and Moira were awoken by a ‘massive whoosh’ at about 4.15am. A few minutes later there was a banging on their window.

They found the pensioner outside saying she had set herself on fire, but had the presence of mind to pour a bucket of water over herself.

Moira worked as an orderly at Pilgrim hospital, and visited Gwen regularly.

A Range Rover stolen by two Boston men was involvedin a high-speed police chase before crashing in the town .

The vehicle was clocked doing 78mph before hitting a parked car and fence. It then slid diagonally across Horncastle Road – ending up on its roof.

Both men survived and landed themselves in court.

Raiders broke into Boston’s postal sorting office in Main Ridge and escaped with a £90,000 cash haul.

PHOTO: Old Leake Primary School’s classes three and four staged a Trojan War, supervised by teachers Linda Cockerhan and Diana Hale. Pictured is the winning team.

1999: Firefighters plucked a toddler from a smoke-filled building in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

Thomas Crook was rescued and taken to safety along with four other people, aged 15-40, after acrid smoke billowed through the first floor of an apartment block on London Road, Boston.

The three-year-old was taken to Pilgrim Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, along with a neighbour, but both were later released.

An electrical fault on a stero caused the flames to engulf a flat near to the toddler’s home, causing mayhem in the building as smoke filled the first and second floor stairwells.

Firefighters had to break down door to rescue neighbours – along with four pet cats.

1969: Beryl Woodman got a shock when she opened her copy of The Standard and saw she was one of the entrants in the Miss Anglia beauty contest.

The 36-year-old, of Wyberton Low Road, Boston, had not even entered the contest.

“I think it was someone from the office who put my name in for a joke,” said Mrs Woodman, who worked for Sec Foods Ltd.

“They put my age as 21 and my measurements all wrong,” she said. “I will definitely not be entering the contest.”

Reluctant hero David Hackett rescued a boy from drowning in the River Witham.

David, 18, of Shaw Road, Boston, spotted another teenager in deep water and didn’t hesitate to leap to the rescue. He swam out to the struggling boy and helped him to reach the side of a passing boat. The oarsman then steered the boat to the river bank. David helped the lad onto dry land.

Boston had an unknown football maestro in its midst. Patch, the Jack Russell kept people entertained when he took to the ball, performing ‘headers’, and dribbling it with the end of his nose. He could even flip the ball over his head and catch it again on his nose in the style of a seal.

The plucky pooch belonged to 10-year-old Linda Clare, of Chester Way.

1979: There was a lucky escape for six horses at a Sibsey riding stables when hundreds of pounds of straw went up in flames.

Sue Bell, who ran the stables at South View, Sibsey Northlands, spotted the fire from her window and quickly released the horses into the safety of a field.

She said afterwards: “As it was my day off I was planning to go out for the day. It was a good thing I was there, otherwise I’m quite sure that the garage and stables would have gone up, and the animals too.”

The fire was thought to have been caused by spontaneous combustion in a polythene-covered straw stack.

Two or three Boston Grammar School boys, who pierced their own ears with pins, ended up in hospital for treatment to their inflamed earlobes.

A spokesman for the school said: “Their ears were so painful that no-one followed suit.”

Although Princess Margaret’s first visit to RAF Coningsby was meant to be a private one, it didn’t stop the 700 flag-waving children from turning up on the day to give her a rapturous reception.

The children, from five schools in Tattershall and Coningsby, made it a flag day for the princess before she began her tour of the base and all its activities.