50 years ago

April 15, 1960 FULHAM MAN LEAVES TO CYCLE ROUND THE WORLD OFF to achieve his life's ambition is 40-year-old widower, Mr Gilbert Thomas Jones, a former postman.

Last weekend, he set off from his top-floor bed-sitting room in Parsons Green, on his heavily-laden bicycle, and rode to Dover to begin a cycling trip around the world.

A keen cyclist since boyhood, Mr Jones, who is tall and handsome with prematurely grey hair, told a Chronicle reporter that he and his wife had planned to see the world on two wheels.

But they never embarked on the journey because his wife was ill for 11 years before she died 18 months ago.

Mr Jones originally planned to start his journey last September, and left the job he had been in for eight years - as a postman in Victoria - in order to prepare for it.

He advertised for a companion for the trip and his fellow cyclist on the journey is Mr Jack Fuke, a 37-year-old builder, of Canning Town.

An experienced traveller, Mr Fuke got as far as Singapore on a previous trip round the world by truck.

Mr Jones and his friend expect to be away at least two years, and plan to ride through France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Iraq, Iran,

Pakistan and India before reaching Singapore.

It is their aim to get to Australia, and from there, either America or Canada.

Throughout their journey they intend taking jobs wherever possible to finance the trip.

All the work of preparation has been carried out at the home of his parents, Mr and Mrs A.V. Jones, of New King's Road, where he kept his cycle.

The travellers intend sleeping under canvas wherever possible, and included in the equipment Mr Jones is taking is a tent, sleeping bag and cooking utensils.

25 years ago

April 19, 1985 BATTLING PENSIONERS DEMAND TV LICENCE CUT A GROUP of angry Fulham pensioners vowed this week they would go to prison rather than pay the full £58 television licence.

They are fighting for a large reduction in the fee for all elderly people and have launched a campaign to change the law.

The protesting pensioners who have refused to renew their licences, live in Clem Attlee Court.

Dot Bitmead, of Tom Williams House, who is leading the group, says it is unfair that pensioners who live in sheltered accommodation only have to pay 5p for their TV licences.

"We think all pensioners should be treated alike," said 65-year-old Dot.

"We're asking for a respectable licence fee and they should give it to all of us, not just certain groups.

"Sheltered housing residents are not poor people.

"We all have the same fixed income and we have the right to be treated the same."

The other four pensioners who are making a stand are Edie Blackburn, 63, of Tom Williams House, 70-year-old Doris Osbourne of Helen Wilkinson House and Jan and Richard Hodge of Maton House. Jan is 63 and Richard is 73.

Dot said: "We are quite willing to go to prison.

"We are going to stick this fight out until we win."

On Monday night campaign supporters attended a public meeting at Fulham Town Hall which was organised by Age Concern.

Fulham's MP, Martin Stevens, Hammersmith's MP Clive Soley and Lord Banks were due to be the speakers at the meeting on TV licences for the elderly.

As far as Dot and her friends are concerned, it is time that pensioners stood up and fought for their rights.

"We think the time has come for pensioners to stand up for what they want."