From January 27, 1989

While women were still fighting for gender equality in the late 1980s, a Kingston father-of-two was campaigning for recognition of his role as a house-husband, accusing the registrar of births, marriages and deaths of sexism.

Laurence Thompson, who lived in Hook, decided with his wife after the birth of their first child that she would carry on as a teacher in Surbiton, while he would give up his job as an electrician to look after the toddler.

When the couple went to Coombe Lane register office, they were told her occupation was not necessary, but his was obligatory and he could not write “house husband”.

Mrs Thompson told the Surrey Comet the couple was finally persuaded into describing her husband as a “party political secretary” as he had an unpaid
position as the membership secretary of a party.

She said: “What we object to is having to put down a previous job and pretend that his real work doesn’t exist. Men should be seen as carers. It is not fair in this age of equality.”

When their second child was born they were told again that his occupation could not be left blank because it could mean he was an ex-prisoner or had spent time in a mental institution.

After being contacted by the Surrey Comet, the register office said it was willing to make an

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50 YEARS AGO: January 29, 1964

Rifleman Frank Edwards, the First World War soldier who disobeyed orders and kicked a football during a dawn advance on German lines in 1915, died in Whitton, aged 71.

He was known as “The Mad Footballer of Loos”. He was shot in the leg and suffered gas poisoning while 61,000 colleagues died on the battlefield.

25 YEARS AGO: January 27, 1989

Television chef Michael Smith died of a heart attack at home in Richmond Road, Kingston, before he could finish writing his autobiography and in the same week he was to start shooting a new, live TV programme.

Mr Smith moved to Kingston for health reasons, and it was here he discovered his love for
English cooking.

10 YEARS AGO: January 30, 2004

MP for Richmond Park Jenny Tonge was sacked as Liberal Democrat International Development Secretary after saying: “The suicide bomber is truly born out of desperation.

"Many people say it is just another form of terrorism, but [...] I think if I had to live in that situation, and I say this advisedly, I might just consider becoming one myself."