Memorial Service Sunday 7th March 2021
The Memorial Service to mark the 78th anniversary of the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster took place online at 2pm on Sunday 7th March. Fr. Alan Green, Rector of St. John on Bethnal Green Church, kindly agreed to conduct the Service. It was viewed live on Zoom and a recording of the Service was available on YouTube and Facebook after the event. The names of the victims was read by members of the charity committee whilst 173 candles were lit on the altar and photos of the victims streamed at the end of the Service. This is the link to view the Service on Zoom or app use:
Meeting ID: 871 9807 1363 Passcode: 986480
Raffle draw - July 2017
Our online raffle was drawn at the Holiday Inn, Brentwood, by the Manager, Mrs. Donna Plane, who can be seen picking out the tickets (with the hand-made bear and some of the prizes).
FLAY is a Fisher of Bears and one of a kind. He is made from the finest German mohair and completely hand stitched. His eyes are Victorian shoe buttons, and paws and pads are ultra suede. He is filled with recycled cotton fibre and poly pellets. It is not suitable for children under 5 years old. The necklace has 173 gems, freshwater pearls, emerald, opal laboradite & amethyst chips. The centre piece is mother of pearl to respect the Pearly Kings & Queens. It evokes angel wings. The spacer beads are silver plate, as is the clasp, which looks like the underground sign. The necklace is handmade by Gill and would normally sell for £130. All 15 winners have been notified and their prizes will be winging their way to them over the next week. Thanks to everyone that took part and to all the wonderful people that donated prizes, especially the bear, the necklace, the vouchers for Kelly’s pie & mash, Pellici’s and Ashted pub. You have all been very generous, so a big thank you to everyone that took part. We raised £400 as all the prizes were donated.
Helping at the event were our Chairman Mike Pattison, Treasurer Derek Spicer and Accountant Lee Scotting who can be seen in the picture with the lovely bear that was won by June Cray. The wonderful Robert Kelly (below) seen holding a prize voucher for our raffle which we plan to draw next month. The voucher is for 6 people to have pie, mash, liquor and jellied eels, plus apple pie & custard, tea or coffee at R. Kelly’s famous pie & mash shop in Bethnal Green Road.
Maria and Nevio Jnr Pellici (above right) with their voucher for a meal for 2 at Pellici’s famous restaurant in Bethnal Green Road. Beverley (middle)with her voucher for £25 for food and drink at The Brewery, Ashtead, Surrey, and another prize a bottle of Mumms Champagne.
Strictly Len attends Bethnal Green Memorial Service. March 2017
Len Goodman (from Strictly Come dancing) joined our patron, TV’s Tommy Walsh, and local MP Rushanara Ali at the Memorial Service last Sunday at St. John on Bethnal Green Church. The names of the victims were read out during the Service while 173 candles were lit on the altar. After the Service several Pearly Kings & Queens led the parade across the road to lay flowers and wreaths on the unfinished Bethnal Green Memorial accompanied by Mayor John Biggs and many survivors, rescuers and relatives of the victims.
Fr. Alan Green led the Service speaking about how history affects our lives and how the people that died in the Bethnal Green tube disaster affected all our lives and need to be remembered for ever. Leon Silver, from the Nelson Street Synagogue, said that there were people of all religions that died that night but it made no difference as they were all individuals that will be remembered by the wonderful Memorial that we have all worked so hard to erect.
The report by charity Secretary Sandra Scotting began by thanking St. John’s Church for organising such a wonderful Service, which is so welcome for all the relatives and survivors each year. Len Goodman was thanked for joining us to remember his uncle (Richard Coleman). And the wonderful Pearly Kings & Queens, who come to the Service every year and help out at fund-raising events, were also thanked for their continued help. Dr Joan Martin MBE, was applauded for being with us once again this year. Joan was the A & E doctor on duty at the Children’s hospital in Hackney Road, on the night of the disaster, attending to adults and children. Joan was 101 years old last November and is an amazing woman.
Sandra then explained how frustrated we all were by the delays last year, as the legal agreement to add the ‘stairway’ on top of the partially built memorial took 8 months to finalise with the local Council. This was due to red tape, health & safety and other rules. This final part could not be manufactured until that agreement was in place otherwise it would have cost a lot of money to insure and store it. However, once the Council’s agreement was signed in December, work commenced on the teak ‘stairway’ at long last. The surnames of the victims have been carved into the sides in large letters and is nearing completion. Work on the roof is progressing well. Photographs were on show for the congregation to see after the Service.
Channel 5 Programme. 11th April 2017.
Channel 5 interviews some of the survivors of the Bethnal Green Tube disaster.
Survivors Ray Lechmere and Babs Clark plus rescuer Bob Saxon, being interviewed for the programme.
Daffodils blooming around the Memorial. March 2017
The Memorial is looking lovely at present with a sea of colour thanks to the hard work of the East London Garden Society and Len & Isabel Passmore who have been planting bulbs in and around the Memorial Garden and making it look so good for this special anniversary month.
Charity Sponsored Run March 2017
A sponsored 5k run took place at Victoria Park on Saturday 4th March, organised by Chris Payne & Mark Cazaly for two charities, including ours to raise funds for the final installation work. Several people took part in aid of our charity, including the two organisers plus Glen Turner, Jodie Lynn with her dog Betty, and two friends. Betty the dog received her own medal for running all the way and donations in her name too.
Cleaning up the Memorial March 2016
The local Firemen from Bethnal Green station helped us to clean up the Memorial ready for the next Memorial Service. John, Lee, Mike, Sandra and Babs spent the morning cleaning up the wording on the plaques. The firemen did a pressure wash before having their photo taken with Babs (who loves a man in uniform!!).
September 2016 Fund raiser- Band Stand in Victoria Park
The Friends of Victoria Park put on a fund-raising event for us at the Band Stand with singers, musicians and dancers. Lots of people came along and had a picnic on the grass and looked at our stand. Thanks to everyone that contributed to the collection and our helpers Lee, Derek, Mike, Maria, Sarah, Sandra and Jodie.
November 2016 - The teak being prepared
The teak for the ‘stairway’ part of the Memorial is being prepared. Harry Paticas, our architect who designed the Memorial, plus Chairman Mike Patterson, Lee & Sandra Scotting, visited the factory and met the men who are working on it.
Bucket collection - Liverpool Street Station - May 2015
The wonderful Pearly Kings & Queens helped us collect money at Liverpool Street station in May. Bob, Doreen, Darren and John helped Derek, Lee and Sandra during the day.
Ben Nevis climb - Presentation July 2015
Three wonderful guys did a sponsored climb of Ben Nevis for our charity and presented their cheque for £1,385 to Chairman, Mike Pattison, & Treasurer, Derek Spicer
Whitechapel Library Awareness Day, November 2015
Lee and Maureen manning our stall at the library.
Dr Joan Martin's 100th Birthday Party November 2015
Lots of people joined Dr Joan for her very special 100th birthday party in West London. Dr Joan was the doctor on duty at the Queen Elizabeth’s Children’s hospital on the night of the disaster.
Dorset Club Race Night March 2014
Families and friends enjoyed a night of music, racing and drinking at the Dorset Club, just off Hackney Road. The winner on the night was our charity as we were raising funds to complete the Memorial. The pre-recorded horse races were seen on a big screen.
University of East London Exhibition and talk May 2014
Dr Toby Butler launched the Bethnal Green Memorial Project, a resource for schools, along with interviews of many of our survivors and relatives, thanks to a lottery grant. He was followed by Sean Dettman who had produced a book about the history of the disaster. Visitors to the University saw the large display exhibition stands that the group had produced.
Jack the Ripper Walk - August 2014
Those that braved the weather for the Jack the Ripper guided walk on bank holiday Monday 25th August were rewarded with a very comprehensive talk about Jack the Ripper. In particular we learnt about the man that our guide, Ripper historian, Edward Stow, thought really must have been the evil
murderer himself. We were taken to the place where he lived, his route to work (where virtually all the murders took place) and despite the rain were given detailed evidence about his first officially attributed murder. This involved Sue Lechmere laying down in the road – in the rain – while the
circumstances were explained. The poor thing must have been soaked to the skin by the end. The connection with one of the Bethnal Green tube disaster victims was revealed and everyone agreed it was a fascinating account of that grizzling time in London. We ended the walk in Spitafields, opposite a very convenient Poppies fish & chip shop which offered great food and a dry seat.Our grateful thanks go to our guide for braving the weather and to Sue for getting wet while we looked on. Sincere thanks too to all the brave souls who joined us despite the rain and helped us raise £125. Those that didn’t missed a really interesting couple of hours.
Cockney Party Night - October 2014
Our cockney night Club in Pollard Row (just off Bethnal Green Road).took place on Friday 10th October 2014 at The Bethnal Green Working Men’sThere were lots of Pearly Kings & Queens to start the evening off with a good old fashioned sing-along and some saucy cockney rhyming slang songs too. This was followed by the Majorettes Wartime Show, performed by Jessica Brett and Holly Gray of Dream Worldwide Productions which was brilliant. They had lovely voices and were very energetic with this very unusual show which had us all singing along and waving our flags too. The event was compered by our wonderful patron, TV’s DIY expert Tommy Walsh. He also conducted an auction of items that were kindly donated by local shops. We would like to thank Tommy and all the Pearlies and Jessica and Holly who all performed free of charge. Also, a huge thanks to Steve, Warren and Charlotte at the Working Men’s Club who provided the venue and a delicious sausage & mash meal and buffet during the interval. Thanks also to all those that came along on the night and were very generous with the raffle and auction. Everyone seemed to enjoy the event and we raised just over £1,436 towards the final stage of the memorial which is partially built in Bethnal Green Gardens.
Bethnal Green Tube Station Collection - 2014
Charity chairman Mike Pattison collecting at Bethnal Green underground station, along with our committee members and volunteers. We raised £319.23. So a big thank you to all our helpers and to those who put money in our buckets.
Survivors open Starbucks - November 2014
Babs Clark and Alf Morris (both survivors of the Bethnal Green tube disaster) were thrilled to be asked to cut the ribbon to open the new Starbucks opposite our Memorial in Cambridge Heath Road.
This used to be Nico’s Cafe but it now is a delightful coffee shop with 4 choices of cup sizes. Derek Spicer, our treasurer, can also be seen in the photo with his collecting bucket. After the ceremony Babs was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and Alf with a bottle of wine. The District Manager of Starbucks, Mark Colclough Noble, said that Starbucks is pledged to help raise awareness about the disaster that happened so close to their premises and to raise funds for the charity. They are also hoping to supply some of the refreshments for the Memorial Service next year. Apart from having lovely local staff working there they also serve great coffee!!
Kray Twins - talk
Bill Beadle, Vice President of the Whitechapel Society, gave a fascinating talk about the notorious Kray twins and their family at St. John on Bethnal Green Church hall in September. From their parents’ life to the brothers’ gruesome gang warfare, right up to the end of their life in prison, Bill had
a great deal of detail to impart.
After theinterval there was a Question and Answer session and in the audience was Wayne Lear who had travelled all the way from Paignton to Bethnal Green to hear the talk. He has written a book ‘Krays from Cradle to the Graves’ (available on Kindle) having studied the family for many years and collected lots of photographs and documentation including birth and death certificates. He was able to fill in a few more details about the life of the gangsters and their family’s roots in the East End. The evening also raised £305.92 for the Bethnal Green tube disaster memorial
fund and our thanks go to Bill Beadle for giving up his time for the event.
Parliamentary Reception - February 2013
The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, organised a Parliamentary reception, along with MP Rushanara Ali and our committee members, to mark the 70th anniversary of the disaster. We had lots of food and drink arranged by Parliament’s caterers and had invited many of the supporters that had helped us over the years as well as a few VIPs. Speeches were made by Mr. Bercow, our Patron Tommy Walsh and Rushanara, all praising the work we were doing to bring the Memorial to fruition so that everyone involved in the disaster will never be forgotten. Len Goodman and Cheryl Baker were also there, as well as lots of Pearly Kings & Queens. Also, our architect, Harry Paticas, with his model of the Memorial to show everyone. It was a very special evening, one we will remember for a very long time, and it was wonderful to look out over the River Thames from Mr. Bercow’s part of the Palace of Westminster.
Arts Auction, Fish Island, helped by Mayor Boris Johnson - May 2013
London Mayor, Boris Johnson, helped June Cray to auction some of the many paintings and photographs that had been donated to our charity and were being exhibited at Fish Island, thanks to Lance Foreman. Boris really got into the swing of the auction and was brilliant. Eastenders actress, Patsy Palmer, brought along a signed ‘Albert Square’ signpost which Boris helped her to auction, along with her brother Harry Harris (one of our patrons), before posing with the committee members and Pearly Kings & Queens. He then went back to work on his bike!
Quiz Night in Barkingside - June 2013
The hall was crowded for our fun quiz night at the IRDSA Hal, Barkingside. Delicious fish & chips was served half way through and the final winners enjoyed their chocolates and wine prizes. The real winner was our charity with the money raised on the night.
Open house tours - September 2013
Harry Paticas gave talks & tours about the partially built Memorial for the Open House weekend with lots of visitors. Mayor Leslie Pavitt stopped by and can be seen with Harry admiring the Memorial.
Auction of photographs at Bethnal Green Library - November 2013
Mike Pattison exhibited lots of his black and white photos taken in the East End at Bethnal Green library and many were auctioned off by comedian John Ryan. Mayor Leslie Pavitt also popped in to see the photos and Mike was able to explain more about how he took them.
The Fountain pub fund-raiser - September 2012
June Blackman’s pub, The Fountain, in Sceptre Road, (between Globe Road and Bethnal Green library) organised a fund-raising event on Saturday 8th September with darts and pool competitions and a bumper raffle. The pub was decorated with lots of Union flags from the Jubilee and Olympics events so looked really festive. Lots of her regulars turned up to participate and for the delicious buffet that she had provided, not to mention the 94 raffle prizes!! So when you won, you chose from the beautifully wrapped boxes of all different shapes and sizes, not knowing what was inside.
Harry Paticas at the Royal Academy
Harry Paticas, of Arboreal Architecture, had his model of the Memorial accepted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. 2012
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is open until 12th August and his work is on display in Room number VI, catalogued as 1126 Proposed Bethnal Green Memorial. Scales 1:3. It is for sale at £12,000, if you are interested in purchasing it please contact Sandra.
Bethnal Green Councillors' sponsored run - 2012
The Bethnal Green Councillors took part in a sponsored run in Victoria Park on a cold but sunny March afternoon in 2012. So far they have raised a magnificent £3,745. (See below) all the councillors at the starting line ready to run, along with Derek Spicer our treasurer.
Cheryl Baker thanks the children
Cheryl Baker, from former Bucks Fizz, one of our new patrons, went along to the Kingswood Educational Centre in Ashford, Kent to meet some very special children from the Brightstone School on the Isle of Wight. The 9 year old pupils from Class 4 had all been given £1 each to find ways to raise as much money as they could. Cheryl spent ages talking to each one of the pupils to discover what they did. Some bought a sponge and bucket and cleaned cars, some did washing up duties, others walked dogs or did a variety of household and garden duties. We were really amazed to learn that they had raised £600 for our charity and were delighted when they presented the cheque to Cheryl. She then posed for photographs with each of the children and signed autographs. They are certainly an amazing group of children and we are extremely grateful to them for all their hard work and support for our Memorial and thank Cheryl for spending so much time with the children.
Collection Day at West Ham Football Stadium
It was a really wet day, so the fans were not really in the mood for donating into our bucket, but thanks a million to all our helpers who stood out in the rain to raise some money for us.
Family Fun Day - 25 June 2011
We had a great family fun day on Saturday 25th June 2011 at The Hare pub 505 Cambridge Heath Road, E2, thanks to its licensee Julian Apperley who organised it all. The children loved the balloon modeller and the rest of us enjoyed the ‘race night’ as well as the excellent choices of beer at the pub, the music and a brilliant buffet. It was great for the children to be amused by Lennie Nosa, the balloon lady during the day. She had them all tied up in balloons of all colours and shapes!!
Before everyone arrived Barbara & Bev Spicer went shopping for the food for the buffet. The Beigel Shop in Brick Lane donated 100 beigels to us and Tesco’s provided most of the fillings, cakes, sausages and more rolls, etc. with the balance being paid out by the Spicer family. So our thanks to all those involved. Janet Collett and Sandra helped Barbara & Bev to butter and fill the beigels and then we were all able to put the food out on the tables in the pub in time for lunch. However, there was more than enough to last throughout the day until closing time and most people were able to take some food in ‘doggy bags’ as they left for home. Our patron, Tommy Walsh, joined us at the pub in time for the race night to begin and remained there until well into the evening.
I don’t think he won any of the other races, but he bought a horse in the final race and that won, much to everyone’s delight. He very kindly donated his winnings to the charity and also auctioned two bottles of spirits that were part of the prize. Our special thanks go to him for spending the day with us and making the event go with a swing and being so generous too. By the time all the money was counted the pub had raised £633.13 for us, but that is not the end of it. Julian still has some sporting memorabilia that he put on EBay to raise money for the charity. Then on 1st October Julian bravely undertook a Skydive – something he has never done before – and was sponsored by people in The Hare pub. Thanks to everyone involved, especially Julian and all his staff
Foresters Scooter Club - May 2011
On Sunday the wonderful Foresters Scooter Club of Woodford organised a fund-raising event at the Misty Moon pub in Bethnal Green Road. It was a great sight with all the scooters lined up on the pavement outside the pub. They caused quite a lot of attention as there were so many of them.
Their members have been raising money for us since March and carried on at the pub. Ian Bonner organised it and singer/songwriter Pete Sceats (both of whom lost relatives in the disaster) sang the most amazing version of the Led Zeplin classic ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to us. We had some of our goods to sell too and the whole event raised £622.41. So that was really brilliant and we would like to thank Ian, Pete and all the rest of the members of the club for such a fantastic effort and we look forward to seeing them all again soon. Ian and Peter can be seen with Derek Spicer and Christine Foley from our committee.
London Marathon 2011
Our wonderful marathon runner, Raju Vaidyanathan, who is also one of our trustees, completed the London Marathon in 5 hours 51 mins despite suffering from a very painful knee. It was also extremely hot on the day and lots of the athletes appeared to be struggling in the difficult conditions. We even got burnt just standing on the sidelines waiting for him to come by, so it must have been really hot for the poor runners. We did give Raju the option of giving up when we saw him at the 22 mile stage, but he insisted on finishing. So we are very proud of him and thank him very much for all his hard work in the training and running on the actual day as well as those that sponsored him.
Commemoration Sevice for the 68th Anniversary - March 2011
The Service was very comforting and beautifully organised by Revd. Preb. Alan Green (Rector of St. John’s Church). He is also our Pastoral Trustee. It was great to have Rushanara Ali, the MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, read the first Lesson and our Patron, Tommy Walsh, gave the second one.Tommy also helped us read out the names of the victims while 173 candles were lit on the altar by Rev. Green and Revd Brian Ralph from St. Barnabas Church. It was also good that Leon Silver of the East London Central Synagogue was present to give words of comfort as part of the Inter Faith Forum Steering Group. The church was pretty full so we are grateful to everyone who came along, especially as so many had long journey, with difficult Sunday engineering works.
After the Service the procession crossed the road where flowers and wreaths were laid and a blessing given by Rev. Alan Green. The area at the top of the underground stairs was a sea of colour and many people stopped to look at them and ask what it was all about. Refreshments were available back at the church, courtesy of Tesco’s in Bethnal Green Road and the beigel shop in Brick Lane and we are extremely grateful to them, and also to Derek Spicer’s family for working so hard all day to butter and fill the rolls and prepare the rest of the food and drinks and serve everyone in record time. On such a cold day they were very welcome and many of the congregation stayed for quite a while eating, drinking and talking to each other. We were delighted to be able to unite at least 3 different sides of one family that did not know each other. So many of the survivors and families found the Service moving, yet uplifting, and lots of people seemed to enjoy talking to other people who might have been their neighbours during war time. It certainly is a very special day for so many of us and hopefully you will have seen the coverage on the ITN news that evening, particularly Tommy Walsh’s comments which were spot on.
The local Tower Hamlets councillors (Amy Whitelock, Lesley Pavitt, Carlo Gibbs and Alibor Choudhury) had organised a meeting the day before with Mayor Lutfur Rahman and a representative from the Trust to talk about funding for the Memorial. The Mayor and councillors are certainly fully behind us and very supportive and want to see the memorial built as quickly as possible. They have agreed to release the funds they ring-fenced for us, so that we can start building the foundations for Phase 1 before the end of the summer. The architect & design team have to finish the design specifications first, put out tenders for the work and materials and then we should know precisely what the costs will be. Hopefully a lot of them will be prepared to help us out by doing it pro bono or at very much reduced fees. The committee had already agreed unanimously to go ahead with the foundation work anyway as we believe that it will keep up the momentum and obtain the rest of the money much quicker that way when people see the work going on. We are hoping for sponsorship due to all the publicity we have received recently. So, work has already started on this by the design team and we will update you further over the next few months. The hope is that we might be able to complete the memorial in time for next year’s anniversary or soon after and an extra prayer was requested for that at the Service. With which we are really delighted with and want to thank everyone there for their generosity. Goods and donations given at the Service we raised £1112.88.
Chris Standsfield also made images of the event available on UTube.
His collection is entitled: “BETHNAL GREEN UNDERGROUND DISASTER COMMEMORATION SUNDAY 6th March 2011”.
Cockney Music Hall at St. John's Church - March 2011
The cockney night at St. John’s Church was very well supported and it was great for everyone to enjoy a really good sing-song. Thanks to all the performers and the Pearly Kings & Queens who kept everything running smoothly.
70th Anniversary of the Blitz - September 2010
Last Saturday we held the 70th anniversary of the Blitz at Bethnal Green library. This was a very interesting afternoon on 4th September commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Blitz and talking about the Stairway to Heaven Memorial project. But everyone who spoke about their time during the War gave us a fascinating insight of what it was like to live through it. Sean Dettman spoke about his book on the disaster and started a very interesting and thought-provoking discussion about who was responsible for the tragedy. He also signed copies of his book about the event and we had lots of goodies for sale and postcards available for supporters to write to the Queen, Prime Minister and Mayor Boris Johnson, urging them to help us. The afternoon was opened by Cllr. Denise Jones and we are very grateful to her for talking about her support for our project and the need to preserve the heritage of East London. Also, our thanks to Chloe who read some great book extracts and poems from the wartime. She was dressed in 1940’s style and made us all feel very envious of the fashion of the day as she looked so beautiful. Thanks must also go to Richard Bolt and all the staff at Bethnal Green library for making this event possible. You will be pleased to know that we raised £199.17 from donations and sale of goods.
Fun Race Night - 2010
We held a fun race night on Saturday 25th September at All Saints Church Centre, Ash Road, Hartley, Kent. It really was a fun evening and everyone really enjoyed themselves. As well as having a good night out, with a fish & chip supper, we raised £530.50 for the charity.
Fireworks Night, Victoria Park - 2010
The fireworks display event in Victoria Park on Sunday 7th November organised by Tower Hamlets Council certainly went with a bang. We were given permission to collect donations during the evening on 3 gates so we had 14 wonderful volunteers spread out along the perimeter, including John & Darren Walters, Pearly King and Pearly Prince of Finsbury, who always work so hard collecting money for us. The fireworks themselves were brilliant and it was completely free to go in. Our patron, Tommy Walsh, opened the proceedings and spoke about our project and hoped that the spectators would be generous when they see our collectors on the way out. We were therefore delighted when we all finished counting the money at the end as we raised £2,080.24. We would like to thank all those who gave money to our collectors and also to Tower Hamlets Council for allowing our charity to collect at the event. Also, a really big thank-you to all our volunteer collectors as it was a cold night (though dry, fortunately) and the buckets were pretty heavy by the end of the evening. We could not have managed without them all.
The Fountain Pub, Sceptre Road
The Fountain pub in Sceptre Road (off Globe Road and behind Barmy Park) raised £600 for us 2 weeks ago with a snooker & darts tournament and also donations in the bottle on the bar and a ‘guess how much was in the bottle’ competition. So, our sincere thanks to everyone who took part and particularly to June, the landlady, and her husband, John, for their help and support. June’s sister died in the disaster.
Keith Miller, Medium/Clairvoyant Evening - July 2010
Another clairvoyant evening took place on 28th July and was very impressive. Most people in the audience seem to receive messages. We raised £345, which included donations, so it was also a very successful event financially. We would like to thank Keith very much for all his hard work in conducting the evening, completely free of charge, and also to Lesley and the staff at Eastbourne House (Globe Town Community Centre) for allowing us to use their premises free of charge. It was a great evening.
New Patron - Tommy Walsh - 2010
Tommy Walsh – of Ground Force, Quest TV’s daily DIY show, and several TV adverts has agreed to be our charity patron. He is just as lovely in the flesh as he is on TV, so we are delighted about this.
ommy has lots of contacts and has been able to help us to reduce some of the costs of the memorial. With his help we hope that it will bring us closer to being able to start building before too long.
Keith Miller, Medium/Clairvoyant Evenings - December 2009 and Janaury 2010
Keith Miller, medium/clairvoyant, held an amazing evening with a packed room on Monday 13th December at Oxford House and again in Roman Road in January. Keith gave out amazing messages of comfort to lots of people all in aid of our charity fund due to his family’s involvement in the disaster.
Bid for Jamie Oliver's Latest book - "30 minute recipes" - 2009
We have Jamie Oliver’s latest “30 minute recipes” book which has been signed by Jamie himself. The official price is £26, although it is being discounted in some shops, but they are not signed by Jamie, so ours is probably worth nearer £30 – £40 and was donated by his father to our charity. Please let us have your sealed bids urgently.
W. English & Son - Sales Days
The October sales day raised £925 and we also received a donation from the Foresters Charity Stewards for £300 on the same day. We are extremely grateful to both organisations for their help and support to our charity.
There didn’t seem to be very many people around on Saturday for our Christmas Fair at English’s funeral directors in Bethnal Green Road (not surprising as it was bitterly cold), so we didn’t think we had done that well. However, we were extremely surprised when we added up all the money to find we had raised £1046.50 (and no foreign coins!!). So it was a brilliant result and most unexpected. See below our Treasurer Derek Spicer with Mother Christmas Evelyn Teichmann.
W. English & Son - the grand total
This takes the total raised by W. English & Son, funeral directors in Bethnal Green Road, over the last 2 years since they started to help us, to just over £20,168, which is absolutely magnificent. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the bosses of English’s for all their help and support over this time and particularly their staff Terri Fitzpatrick (who is quite poorly at present) and her husband, Den, plus Sue Camilleri and David Kemp who all organise the events on their days off and it is a very long day for them. Thank-you also to everyone who donated goods over the last 2 years and to all the helpers who work their socks off all day, not only setting up, but selling and helping to pack away and clear up at the end as it is a very long day. This includes Sandra, Lee, Derek, Kerry, Babs Clark, Joan & Tom, Frances & Jo Speakman and Evelyn Teichmann (who was dressed as Mother Christmas). Most of us stood outside in the cold all day to attract people to the Fair. Some of us had red noses to match Rudolph’s as it was so cold. We were there from 7am until gone 7pm. Thanks to all who donated and Barbara and Bev Spicer who helped gather in lots of goods for sale too. It brings to an end two wonderful years of fund-raising for our memorial fund.
Bigger thanks! November 2008
You will also be delighted to know that the sale on Saturday 29th November 2008 by W. English & Son, raised the princely sum of £600.05. Their staff all came in again on their day off and worked so hard for us. We were amazed when we realised at 4pm that they had practically sold everything. We are absolutely delighted with all their efforts as it means that they have effectively raised over £1400 for us, more than any other local business or company. So we are extremely grateful to them for all their help, which has been invaluable.
Christmas Fair - Update - 22 November 2008
Our Christmas Fair at the Tramshed on 22nd November 2008 was a bit hectic, but very worthwhile. There was quite a rush of people coming through the doors when we opened up. The children enjoyed the cuddly toy tombola, lucky dip and face painting as well as all the toys and games for sale. The adults had loads to tempt them with wonderful refreshments, delicious cakes & quiches, bric-a-brac, handmade Christmas cards, paper, gifts, tombolas and raffles, as well as the chance to see the new model and views of the what the Memorial will look like. We raised £834.47 by the time we packed up, which was magnificent, as everything had been donated, so there were nothing to pay out at all. Our thanks go to the Tramshed for letting us use the hall, everyone who came along to help on the various stalls, all those who donated goods for sale or to raffle etc., and everyone who braved the icy cold wind on the day to come along and spend money and make it such a successful day.
Alf's Fund Raising Dance Night
Alf Morris’s fund-raising dance night at the Hornchurch Conservative Club on Friday 14th November 2008 was a sell-out and a great success. Alf raised a magnificent £865 and organised it with the help of his wife Vera and his family. So well done to Alf. Our thanks go to Hornchurch Conservative Club and the entertainer, Peter James, for giving their services to the charity for the evening. Also Somerfield for helping towards the food costs.
Big thanks to W. English & Son, Funeral Directors
We are very grateful to W. English & Son, the funeral directors in Bethnal Green Road, (near the old police station) as their wonderful staff ran a sale for us on Saturday 8th November 2008 and raised £386.87. Their staff all came in on their day off and made tea, coffee, biscuits and mince pies for visitors and committee members. They had loads of things for sale (clothes, bric-a-brac, videos, DVD’s, books, etc) and despite the dreadful weather stood out in the rain with us, enticing people to come in and buy. It was very successful and at the end of the day Terri Fitzpatrick handed us a cheque for £100 as a donation from W. English & Son. This was ON TOP of the money raised that day, so we are very, very, grateful to everyone at the funeral directors for their kind help. Their sale on 15th November 2008 raised a further £425 for us, so a really big-thank you for all they have done for us. They provided most of the funerals for the Bethnal Green tube disaster victims back in 1943 and it is good to know that they are still helping to support us now.
Liverpool Street Station - Collection Day, 30 May 2008
Thank you to everyone who helped Sandra at the Liverpool station underground station collection on Friday 30th May, especially Derek, Raju, Lee, Susan, Dee, June, Joan, Kim, Babs, Angela and Roger. And a huge thank you to our wonderful Pearly Kings & Queens who helped out for a lot of the time too. Everyone worked so hard as it was a gruelling day standing up for so long and we had competition from another charity that had collectors working in the mainline station part. But it was all worth it as we collected £311.60 (plus 6 foreign coins), which was much better than expected. So thank you to all the helpers and all the people who gave money in the tube station. It is very much appreciated.
London Mini-Marathon -April 2008
Jessica Sapiano, aged 13, completed the mini marathon on the same day as the main marathon. She was 1st in her age group, running for Tower Hamlets. It was a great effort and we are all very proud of Jessica. So a big thank-you to Jessica and her friends and family that sponsored her. Well done and congratulations to both our marathon runners. We are very grateful for all their hard work and efforts. Please make it worth their while by sending in your sponsor money soon.
London Marathon - April 2008
Raju Vaidyanathan ran the London Marathon on 13th April brilliantly and reached our stand at the 22mile point, on the way back, at 3.30pm. After that he mostly jogged the rest of the way and finished in 5.32 hours. The last 3 miles proved the most gruelling so we are very grateful to him for completing the race. It’s difficult to know how he fitted in all the training between work etc, and we are very proud of his magnificent effort.
Reunion/Get-together - Saturday 12 April 2008
It was good to see so many survivors and families of those who died at the
reunion/get-together event on Saturday 12th April. We hope it helped a lot
of you by being able to talk about the Bethnal Green tube disaster to people who understood or were in the same situation.
Margaret McKay met Susan Butler, daughter of the lady that saved her life when Margaret was just 6 months old, and her mother handed her to Susan’s mother. Margaret’s mother did not survive the disaster, so if she had not been passed over to Susan’s mother then Margaret would not be here today. Sadly, Margaret’s father did not tell her anything about her late mother, so she is desperate to find out if anybody knew her mother – Ellen Ridgway or the Edwards family – who lived in Brierly Street before the disaster, please contact the committee. Also, there was a lady who apparently owned a shop in Bethnal Green who wanted to adopt Margaret when her mother died. We are still trying to trace her as she would also have known Margaret and her family at the time. We think she might have attended the 65th Anniversary Memorial Service.
Margaret would also like to speak to the other children under 16 who lost a parent in the disaster and had to collect the money in the trust fund at the Town Hall when they were 21 years old, as she did. There were 6 children in all, so Margaret would like to speak to the other 5.
Barry Woolnough only found out after his father had died, that his first wife and daughter had died in the disaster. Barry found a folder of papers with the death certificates, photographs and cuttings about the tube disaster in it and put two and two together. His father had said nothing to him about it and had obviously married again and Barry was his only surviving child. Barry came to the reunion and was lucky to meet a lady who lived opposite his father at the time of the disaster and therefore knew his first wife and daughter and they were able to speak at some length which has helped Barry too.
Alf Morris, our Chairman, gave an account of the dreadful experience he suffered being pulled out alive. Many of his friends were not so lucky. Alf is still trying to trace the family of Mrs. Chumbley, the warden who saved his life by pulling him out, initially by his hair, then managed to get her arms under his and pull him out. He owes his life to her. If you lived in Bethnal Green in 1943 or earlier and would be able to talk to some of the survivors about their deceased relatives (that you might have
known at the time) please get in touch. Tel: 01474 702513
Collection at Leyton Orient Football Club
The collection at Leyton Orient football club on 22nd March raised approx £432 plus a few foreign coins, so it was well worth braving the snow and cold. This was thanks to Derek Spicer for organising it and Leyton Orient football ground management for allowing us to collect on the day and to print a report in the match programme. Also, thanks to the wonderful Pearly King, John Walters, and his son Darren and sister Peggy for walking around with their buckets. They made quite a spectacular show and really helped the collection as well as appearing on Sky TV too. Also thanks to Rev. Kevin Scully for talking about the disaster to the supporters during the interval and of course to all the supporters who contributed to the collection. We are very grateful to everyone for their help.
The 65th Anniversary Memorial Service, 2nd March 2008
What a week it has been! The article in the Daily Mail on 28th February kicked things off. After that the phone didn’t stop ringing. Alf Morris, our chairman, was interviewed on TV, radio and in newspapers constantly. The rest of the committee also appeared in print and on radio in the hopes that as many people as possible knew about the upcoming anniversary. The Memorial Service on Sunday 2nd March at St. John on Bethnal Green Church was, I hope those who attended will agree, moving and comforting.
There were many tears shed that afternoon, particular as the names of the 173 people were read out. Being Mothering Sunday made it all the more poignant. Fr. Alan Green conducted a perfect Service in the packed church, judging by the reactions and comments of all those who spoke to us afterwards. His Address also gave us hope and encouragement to carry on with the work of trying to erect a fitting Memorial over the steps where the tragedy occurred.
Following the Service the committee members were introduced and an update on fund-raising. Then Bernard Kops read from his autobiography. Bernard is a true East Ender, a prolific author, playwright and poet who has written extensively for radio and TV. He wrote the first TV programme “It’s a lovely Day Tomorrow” about the disaster in the mid 1970’s. His reading was a very moving description of the event from one who was there and felt the pain of the day and the resulting reprisals that followed. It brought spontaneous applause from the congregation.
We then all walked across the road (with the traffic held at bay, thanks to the wonderful local police) and crowded around the top of the steps while everyone laid flowers and wreaths on the railings above the stairs where our loved ones died.
The Last Post was played, a minute’s silence held, then Reveille – thanks to 444 (Shoreditch) Sqn Air Cadets Band (who also entertained everyone outside the church before the Service).
The TV and still cameras continued to roll and Alf was interviewed again and photographed with Cllr. Ann Jackson, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Cllr. Joshua Peck and Andrew Rosindell (MP for Romford), who were on hand to offer their help and support (along with Andrew’s mother) and also John Biggs from the GLA. There was a full complement of representatives from Tower Hamlets council and Transport for London plus Commander John Ludgate (Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London), Pearly Kings & Queens, and the Emergency Services who will be honoured on the memorial due to their invaluable help at the time of the disaster. Thanks was given to all those who attended, particularly the many survivors and families of those who died. It was the first time that some had visited the church since that dreadful night, when it was used as a makeshift mortuary. It took a lot of courage to join us.
Everyone was then invited back to the Church for refreshments – kindly donated by Tesco’s of Bethnal Green Road, to watch the DVD produced by Mauro Galluzzo and his fellow students at St. Mary’s college, plus the exhibitions of photographs and cuttings supplied by Doreen & Diane Kendall and the local historical society. The committee members were very thankful for all the support, especially with the donations given on the day which amounted to just over £1000.