Megan Wallace explores the Barnsley Chronicle archives from this week in 1999.

PRIVATE detective Irving Watkin knew his days working undercover were over soon after he appeared in a television programme last year.

He had been the star of the ITV documentary ‘Divorces From Hell’ in which he was hired to track down an errant husband who had dumped his wife and run off with another woman.

Millions of viewers saw him hiding up a tree for hours trying to snap photographic evidence and then rummaging through rubbish bins for clues.

Days after the programme went out on prime-time TV, he was on an undercover mission at a pub in Barnsley when one of the regulars recognised him.

In Text Promo Image

He tried to persuade her not to blow his cover but without success. Minutes later, the DJ announced that the star of the ‘Divorces From Hell’ programme was in the pub and invited him on stage to draw the raffle numbers.

“It was a bit embarrassing because I was supposed to be working undercover that night but once the woman had clocked me, there was nothing I could do other than grin and bare it,” said Irving.

PUT your feet up and have a breather!

Marathon man Steve Jeffery can finally take the weight off his feet after completing the world famous New York marathon.

Steve, 33, flew Stateside to compete in the Big Apple’s 26 mile race and managed to complete it without stopping in just four-and-a-half hours.

He was number 17,900 odd to finish the race out of 38,000. Steve and a colleague raised £3,300 for the National Meningitis Trust, thanks partly to sponsorship from his workplace Lloyds TSB in Cheapside.

STUDENTS from Seattle to Sydney are being helped to study via the internet thanks to a programme developed at Barnsley College.

Around 150 teachers and industry trainers from USA, Australia and Singapore are currently enrolled on the 16-week, how-to-teach online course and another 300 are expected to sign up soon. In recognition of their efforts, the duo behind the course were presented with an award at an ‘Oscars’ style ceremony.

Barnsley College lecturer Fred Pickering and Sheffield College colleague Julia ‘Jools’ Dugglesby were handed their awards by professor David Melville, chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council.

A BARNSLEY man who says karaoke ruined his life has won a ten year battle to ban it from the pub next door.

Albert Holmes, of Higham Common Road, says he has had to put up with the sound of the pub singers in the Hermit Inn vibrating a shared wall between the two buildings most Saturday nights. He claimed the noise got so bad that he had to spend thousands of pounds building an extra wall downstairs to block out the music but he still couldn’t get any peace in his bedroom.

DISABLED Rona Hurst was determined to get ahead when she was turned down for a place at Barnsley College. She enrolled at another college where classes were taped because she could not hold a pen or pencil.

At home she would painstakingly type her work using her right little finger and using her other hand as support. Tonight Rona, 32, of Bronte Close, Monk Bretton, who has cerebral palsy will be honoured as she joins fellow students at Dearne Valley College at its annual awards ceremony. Rona was twice rejected for a place on an introduction to counselling course at Barnsley after tutors expressed concerns about her problem with speech.