Bexleu review of the year: September and October

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 December 2012

September: former MP Jim Wellbeloved died

September: former MP Jim Wellbeloved died


In the fifth of a six-part series between now and New Year’s Eve, we look back at the stories that made the headlines in Bexley in 2012. It was quite a year for the borough.

October: administrator Matthew Kershaw released his plans for South London Healthcare TrustOctober: administrator Matthew Kershaw released his plans for South London Healthcare Trust


The controversial first council leader of the borough of Bexley has died.

Jim Wellbeloved, who became leader when Bexley became a London borough in 1965, passed away last week aged 86. He was also MP for Erith and Crayford from 1965 to 1983 and hit the headlines when he was one of 28 Labour MPs to defect to the Social Democrat Party in 1981.

Mr Wellbeloved fought for the seat in the 1983 general election but he was narrowly defeated by current Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett.

Mr Evennett said: “When I was elected as his successor Jim could not have been more helpful and supportive with regards to constituents’ casework and local issues.

“My condolences go to his family at this sad time.”

He is survived by his wife Mavis, three children and four grandchildren.

Also this month:

It was revealed restaurants in Bexley are some of the worst in the country for food hygiene.

Bexley Invicta, which focuses on gay-friendly football, played its first competitive match.

The website of South London Healthcare trust was targeted by hackers.

Bexley taxi driver Jim Walker released a 3D board game based on London Bridge.


South London Healthcare Trust should be broken up just three years after its formation, administrator Matthew Kershaw recommended today.

The Trust, which manages Queen Mary’s in Sidcup, the Princes Royal in Farnborough and Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich, was placed in to administration by the government in July- the first time such action has been taken against an NHS organisation.

Mr Kershaw published a draft report in which he stated the preferred option for the Princess Royal in Farnborough was for King’s College Hospital to acquire it.

He also recommended that Queen Mary’s in Sidcup should be made into a health campus.

One of the more controversial elements of Mr Kershaw’s report was for the closure of Lewisham Hospital’s A&E.

It would leave Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham boroughs – an area which serves 750,000 people - with just one emergency department.

All of Lewisham’s patients should go to Queen Elizabeth- which took on patients from Queen Mary’s two years ago when its A&E closed.

John Lister, from campaign group London Health Emergency, said: “This is a formula for absolute disaster for people living in south-east London.”

Matthew Kershaw said: “The financial problems at SLHT are so significant that radical action is needed now, as the current situation is unsustainable and patients want and need reassurance about their local NHS.

“For the first three years of its existence, SLHT generated a total financial deficit of £154 million. The Trust is forecast to have an accumulated debt, relating of annual operating deficits, of £207 million by March 2013.

“These proposals not only address the situation, but will I believe actually achieve a sustainable improvement in the quality and safety of both emergency and planned healthcare for the two million people who live in south-east London.”

A public consultation begins tomorrow and ends on December 13.

Also this month:

A 33-year-old man was convicted of the murder of BBC lighting technician Paul Gunner in Welling.

Vandals damaged the Crayford War Memorial for the second time.

People in Bexley remembered the Great Storm on the 25th anniversary.

It was announced Bexley Police might be forced to share its police chief with a neighbouring borough in a cost cutting measure.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bexley Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Bexley Times