1950: A flying saucer was reported over Swindon by a Ferndale Road man, Kevin Fisher, about half an hour after similar sightings in Chippenham. Mr Fisher dismissed the suggestion that the object might have been a firework. He described it as large and giving off a blue-white light as it revolved. “It was visible for about 10 seconds and it just seemed to dissolve,” he said.

1950: Mr Day, of Spring Gardens, was digging parsnips in his garden when he unearthed a parsnip with no fewer than 21 tails of varying lengths and thicknesses.

1961: Staff at the new Princess Margaret Hospital were feeling like a person who has had half of their house built and was waiting for the other to be completed. Since Princess Margaret, pictured, laid the foundation stone in 1957, features completed included the casualty department, an operating theatre block and a temporary ward, but a four-storey ward block, a nurses’ training school and a new boiler house were still being constructed.

1961: Swindon Corporation was in the midst of preparations for a new road layout in the town centre. The plans included the demolition of the Whale Bridge and the construction of a roundabout on the site at the junction of Princes Street and Fleming Way. Negotiations to buy part of the HC Preater garage site, which was necessary for the change to go ahead, were under way.

1971: Lechlade Art Exhibition opened with its largest number of paintings to date – about 170. In previous years organiser Nora Russell had staged the exhibition at her home in the town, but it had outgrown that venue and moved to a new one, a large bungalow in the grounds. Mrs Russell had been staging the exhibitions for eight years, with the proceeds going to charity.

1971: Swindon MP David Stoddart opened a fundraising bazaar for Swindon Deaf Association at its headquarters, Whitbourne House, in Park South. He took the opportunity to call for more official support for people with hearing problems.

The world

1783: The last public hanging in England took place at Tyburn (now Marble Arch in London) - forger John Austin was the last to die there.

1867: Scientific genius Marie Curie was born in Warsaw. She and her husband Pierre shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 and she was awarded a second Prize in 1911 for her discovery of radium.

1872: The Marie Celeste, the ill-fated brigantine, sailed from New York - and was found mysteriously abandoned near the Azores some time later.

1917: The Bolshevik Revolution, led by Lenin, overthrew Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky’s government.

1967: Henry Cooper beat Billy Walker and became the first and only boxer to win three Lonsdale Belts outright.

1974: Lord Lucan disappeared, following the murder of his children’s nanny and serious assault of his wife. He has never been seen since.

1980: Actor Steve McQueen died.

1990: Mary Robinson was elected as the first woman president of the Irish Republic.

BIRTHDAYS Billy Graham, evangelist, 99; Dame Gwyneth Jones, soprano, 81; Jean Shrimpton, former model, 75; Joni Mitchell, singer, 74; Su Pollard, actress and comedienne, 68; Lindsay Duncan, actress, 67; John Barnes, former footballer, 54; Sharleen Spiteri, singer, 50.