Leek's first ever road safety rally was held on the new Cattle Market site. It attracted 59 motorists who undertook rigorous tests .Drivers who exceeded the speed level, for instance, were penalised. April 1962 also the first use of the panda crossing in the country although it was not accepted their flashing lights caused some confusion. Road users had a reason to be worried as national road deaths were double they are now. Little consideration was given to safety in car design. The newest range of Ford the Zodiac was being advertised. Its selling points were the style and the speed. It could cruise at 100 mph. The women motorist who might be interested in buying a Zodiac need not be intimidated as the motoring correspondent wrote reassuringly “Ladies will welcome the lightness of the controls, feather like clutch and the rising ratio steering making manoeuvring finger tip easy”
A survey carried out by McKenzie Secondary School in Cheadle revealed the popularity of smoking amongst the pupils with 79 students smoking regularly. A number routinely smoked at home with a boy of 11 and a girl of 12 the youngest smokers. This should not be a real surprise as smoking was a common activity with many participating in the habit. However medical opinion was already at this time pointing out the health risks. In the 1950s a study of some 40 thousand doctors over 20 years, confirmed the suggestion, based on which the government issued advice that smoking and lung cancer rates were related. The teacher who carried out the research in Cheadle felt that a combination of a lack of decent role models and peer pressure was responsible for the high number of smokers. He was surprised by the pocket money many of the students were getting, some as much as £1 a week!
A good news story about the young people was coverage of the Scouts Show over a three day period held at Leek Town Hall. I was intrigued to read that the founder of the Gang Show Ralph Reader had strong connections with the town having contact with local scouts since 1939. In 1961 he visited Leek and was made guest of honour . The Scout Show of 1962 had high production values with favourable notice of two numbers “ Wedding Group” and “Brighton”. It was indicated that in the production of the show the Leek Scouts had been helped by London.
There was comment in the editorial section of the paper on the disenchantment that the electorate had with the local Councils which showed itself in low turnouts at elections. Councils excluded the press from its meetings (a position that was being rectified in law following the passage of a Private Members Bill by one Margaret Thatcher). The editor believed that confidence in councils could only be improved if the community was better informed of Council's plans. Some of the questions that were vexing the Councillors of the time were the growing menace of vandalism in Leek Town Centre. Outrage was expressed at the removal of 22 tulips from a flower bed outside the Nicholson Institute and the growing problem of old buses being parked on Ladydale and being used as weekend bungalows.
The Fox Destruction Society held its annual dinner at the Hotel Rudyard with 190 supporters and guests attending. The guest of honour Mr PM Johnson the Council pest officer felt that the society were doing a really worthwhile job in keeping down such a large number of pests. Although the thought occurred to me on reading this that if the society were really committed to keeping down fox numbers then they should have had one on the menu.
Windsor Davies former Leek teacher was now seeking fame as a TV actor. He had a lucky break when the actor John Paul fell out with the TV company over his pay and left. The TV program in question was the “Probation Officer” Davies who was about to begin a distinguished career in TV was contracted to take Paul's role and was being paid £160.