Headline news from yesteryear

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HERE’S what was making the headlines in the St Helens Reporter 80 years ago this week.

Back in February 1932 a demonstration was held by a group of unemployed men on Market Green - followed by a procession to the Town Hall.

The protesters were calling for the abolition of the “means test” and the granting of rent allowances “in addition to ordinary relief”.

In other news a St Helens man was jailed for five months for entering into a bigamous marriage with a 15-year-old girl.

Robert Appleton signed a declaration stating that he was a bachelor so he could tie the knot with 15-year-old Margaret Stocks while still married.

A court heard that he had three children with his wife before the breakdown of their relationship as a result of his “persistent cruelty”.

A judge told Appleton: “You did a great wrong to this girl and you knew you were doing so.”

Meanwhile, Magistrates at the St Helens Police Court dismissed a charge of careless driving against Charles Humphries, of Eccleston, after he convinced them that he had been dazzled by sun shining onto the windscreen of his lorry.

Thomas Robinson, 51, told the court how he was driving a horse-drawn lorry laden with coal up Croppers Hill when he suddenly felt a bump at the rear. Two sacks of coal were ripped open and the tailboard was damaged.

And finally, John Lea, 60, a newly-retired postman, of Ardwick Street, Parr, was presented with the Imperial Service Medal after a sterling 39 years pounding the streets of St Helens.

Popularly known as “the singing postman”, Mr Lea’s cheery voice and smile made him “quite a noted character”.

Working mainly in the Parr, Derbyshire Hill and Sutton districts, he estimated that walked 16 miles a day as a postie - which equated to an incredible 187,000 miles through the course of his career!