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Voice35Years: Topping the charts and breaking records

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Daley Thompson, pictured above in 1980, was featured in a double page spread

IN ITS launch year, many thought 'The Voice' newspaper would fold after a few editions as it had to attract substantial advertising revenue to make it viable to cover its print cost and maintain staff. So after missing a week from the first edition, the newspaper gradually settled on a weekly deadline and was able put out its third edition on September 18, 1982.

This week, as we continue to celebrate 35 years of publishing The Voice, we will look at some of the stories which featured in the third edition.

The front page cover story read ‘Hackney family acquitted’, and reported on the court case of a east London mother and her daughter who were acquitted of grievous bodily harm with intent against a white family at the Snaresbrook Crown Court. The mother and daughter were accused of threatening the white family after a fight had broken out between them on the estate they lived. The trial had lasted five days and was picketed by various community groups from east and north London.

Also featured on the front page was a story about 16-year-old Colin Douglas from Tulse Hill School in south London who had won a place at Keble College, Oxford, to read philosophy, politics and economics – part of an informal agreement between The Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) and the University Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge.

READ ALL ABOUT IT: From left, the edition’s front page ran a story on a mother and daughter acquitted of GBH; a man’s tragic story of sight loss featured on page three and Greenwich Council’s Ros Howells (now Baroness) shared her story on page nine

The lead story of page three, headlined ‘Police cover-up’, reported on the sad story of Newham father-of-two, Luk Fordorjour, who had lost his sight in one eye after a brutal racial attack on him by white thugs in Forest Gate. Fordorjour, originally from Ghana, was driving his minicab in the area and when he stopped outside the local pub, a group of white youths started throwing stones at his car. He and his passenger came out of the car protesting but they were kicked and punched and Fordorjour was seriously injured. When he identified his assailants to the police, no action was taken, and he later claimed that when the police came to interview him at the hospital, they were only interested in knowing if his driving licence and other documents were in order.

Also featured on page three was a story about Muslims in Shepherds Bush, west London, who had defied a ban imposed on them by Hammersmith and Fulham Council for using a family house as a mosque. The Mosque Committee had decided that until the Council could provide them with a proper place to worship, they would continue to use the banned mosque on Godolphin Road.

In this edition, The Voice also had a one-on-one interview with Ros Howells, director of equal opportunities at Greenwich Council for racial equality – a post she had held since 1981. In the interview, Howell, (now known as Baroness Howells of St. Davids after she was elected to the House of Lords), said:

“The most important part of my job is to teach the younger generation the history of black people as well as the British history. To tell them that black people were people living their lives in their own countries as free and proud people when the British captured them and exported them as slaves.”

CHART-TOPPER: Junior Murvin was at the top of the reggae charts with Bad Man Posse at the time the third edition of The Voice was published

The Voice also ran a double-page spread on decathlon champion Daley Thompson after he broke the world record at the European Championships in Athens that same year. The Voice reported that Thompson was in devastating form, as earlier in May he had raised the world record to 8,730 points, and in Athens he smashed it further to 8,774 as he took the gold medal.

In The Buzz section, which featured the music charts, Junior Murvin was still holding on to the top spot in the reggae charts with Bad Man Posse, while Gregory Isaacs had taken over the reggae album chart with his popular Night Nurse album. Aretha Franklin was still on top of the soul album chart with Jump To It, while in other entertainment news, Kid Creole and the Coconuts had announced nine more dates to their UK tour to celebrate new album Tropical Gangsters. Roots reggae band The Cimarons were also getting ready to embark on their 21-show UK tour and editor Flip Frazer previewed the tour in this issue by interviewing the group. He wrote:

“Cimarons have based their philosophy on live appearances and they can take credit for spreading the reggae world in many corners of Europe.

“History also credits them for being the first reggae band to reach Africa.”

Each week we will be digging into The Voice archive and publish a front cover from its first year of publication as we look back over 35 years.

The Voice is celebrating its 35th birthday this year. Share your Voice memories, comments and birthday wishes on social media, using the following hash tag: #Voice35Years

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