Editor’s comment: We can learn from the story of the ‘island’

The Island, published by Centerprise

The Island, published by Centerprise - Credit: on the record

Residents of the island

What a curious read this week’s history feature makes.

It concludes a three-week special in which we delve into the stories uncovered by A Hackney Autobiography, the social history app that launched last week.

I’d never heard of Stoke Newington’s “island” until a couple of weeks ago – forgivable, perhaps, since it was knocked down nearly two decades before I was born.

But I suspect there will be readers whose ties to Hackney run deeper, and further back, than mine, who have never come across this particular tale either.

However well we know it, Hackney can still surprise and amaze us – be it through quirky stories like this, or through the thousands of pounds raised for a grieving mother by friends and strangers.

Just as when tens of thousands of people signed a petition in the hope of securing schoolboy Abdul Hassan’s future in the UK, this story both sickens and comforts – the injustice is so severe, but the response so human, we’re not sure whether to cry or smile.

Little Maria and her mother need to be surrounded by love and support – not just in the form of donations, but through their family and friends.

Because however strong we can be for ourselves or our children, we are not islands – just as Stoke Newington’s island wasn’t really. At the best of times we rely on community, and while I make no presumptions about where Maria will grow up, Hackney has that in spades.

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That’s why so many people marched to the town hall to take a stand over knife crime.

That’s why it is vital the Pedro youth club stays open and continues delivering its life-changing and lifesaving work.

And it’s why so many are donating cash to help Maria and her mum.