A snapshot of life in December 1993

Stadium stake-out

The Hornets have secured a new signing who is strong in the air and good on the wings. Buzz is a common buzzard whose services have been secured to drive away the hordes of pigeons from the Vicarage Road stadium. He is helping the football club in their fight against the winged invaders who are causing an unsightly mess and smell to the spectator areas. The bird of prey is an employee of Nature’s Way, a company which specialises in pest control by natural methods. Buzz is let off to fly around the stands and his imposing silhouette is enough to send the pigeons fleeing in fright.

[December 3, 1993]

Work experience

A question mark is hanging over the future of the work experience programme in South West Hertfordshire because Government funds for the scheme have run out. The money came via the Technical Vocational Education initiative, a five-year scheme contributing 50 per cent of the funding, which has now finished. Hertfordshire County Council’s education department financed the other half of the scheme and looks likely to continue doing so. But the rest of the money still needs to be found and schools, the careers service or the Training and Enterprise Council could be asked to dig into their reserves.

[December 3, 1993]

Costco warehouse

Shopping US-style is coming to north Bushey next year but so is confusion and concern about traffic in the area, critics claim. On Tuesday members of Hertsmere Borough Council reached legal agreement with Costco allowing the American retail giant to begin building its membership-only warehouse in Hartspring Lane. Part of the agreement is for Costco to give £50,000 to the borough council for traffic calming measures in the area. But according to the area’s Hertfordshire County Council representative Michael Colne, the situation is becoming more and more unclear as to exactly what traffic calming measures will be introduced. County Council officers want to put in a unique chicane system that is not being used anywhere else in Hertfordshire.

[December 3, 1993]

Under the hammer

If your loved one is a keen Watford Football Club supporter, the perfect Christmas present for them is just about to go on sale at Sotheby’s. A Cartier ruby, onyx and diamond brooch designed as a Watford FC rosette is part of a jewellery collection set to be auctioned by former club chairman Mr Elton John on December 14. More than 90 pieces of Mr John’s jewellery are to be sold. A pair of diamond set spectacles – an unmistakeable Elton John fashion accessory – has rainbow-coloured lenses and is estimated at £2,000 to £3,000, while the ‘jewel’ of the collection is the gold and diamond encrusted walking cane which the star is seen holding on the cover of his album Ice on Fire.

[December 10, 1993]

Club is thrown lifeline

Youngsters are facing a happy New Year in Chorleywood after the storm clouds lifted over the future of the village’s youth club. The club, which boasts dozens of members, has been forced to use a base in West Hyde since November. Members have been driven to and from the village by volunteers in a bus, but fears were growing the club would struggle to survive without a regular home in Chorleywood. Their worries have now been allayed with the news the club will not only have a base next year, but may even have a choice of location.

[December 17, 1993]

Sunday shoppers

Massive queues formed at every car park in Watford at the weekend as Sunday shopping in the run-up to Christmas proved a huge success. With nearly every store in The Harlequin and High Street open, the town became a Mecca for shoppers from miles around. Although the open doors presented a temptation, many found themselves stuck in queues as the car parks and ring road struggled to cope with the volume of traffic. While shoppers were unhappy with the parking situation, store holders were rubbing their hands with glee. Clements managing director Mr Jamie Rankin welcomed the Government’s decision on Sunday trading laws. He said: “Thank goodness this confusing situation has been resolved at last. People obviously do want to shop on a Sunday.”

[December 17, 1993]

Low levels of crime

Violent crime levels are lower in Hertfordshire than anywhere else in the country, according to new Home Office figures released this week. While people in other well-heeled southern counties like Cambridgeshire are now more likely to be raped, mugged or assaulted than their counterparts in depressed industrial areas like South Yorkshire, Hertfordshire is still the safest place to live. The crime figures are set out in a national league table with Hertfordshire firmly at the bottom. They show that only 281 people out of every 100,000 have been the victims of violent crime in the county last year.

[December 24, 1993]

What was happening in the world in December 1993?

• NASA launches the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair a flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope (December 2)

• Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is gunned down by police (December 2)

• In New York, six people are murdered and 19 injured in the Long Island Rail Road massacre, a racially motivated mass shooting (December 7)

• The Transitional Executive Committee holds its first meeting in Cape Town, marking the first meeting of an official government body in South Africa with black members (December 7)

• A serous storm hits western Europe, killing 11 people in England (December 8)

• Andrea Bocelli makes his classical debut at a concert in Italy (December 28)