Gazette letters: Covid Christmas, pigeon tree, cars and Christmas charities

The Pigeon Tree in Springfield Park.

The Pigeon Tree in Springfield Park. - Credit: Archant

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Gazette readers this week.

Festive safety will prevent jobs and health hangover

Claire Poyner, Islington Green Party, full address supplied, writes:

London has been fortunate to be placed in Tier Two out of lockdown. But it was a close call and we could easily get pushed up to Tier Three after December 16 if we’re not careful.

To stay in Tier Two, protect our health and minimise the effect on jobs and the economy in 2021, it is important that we all keep to the current rules and act sensibly until a vaccine is rolled out.

Particularly, we all need to think sensitively about how to use the special rules for December 23 to 27 to meet up, enjoy ourselves and prevent loneliness without leading to a health and jobs hangover in the New Year.

As we approach the holiday season, new ways can be found to promote seasonal cheer.

Most Read

Perhaps we could decorate our windows with festive pictures and ornaments that can be seen from the outside?

Poem to a tree

A Hackney resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

In Springfield Park inside the gates,

Here stood the pigeon tree,

It had no blooms or long green leaves,

So was very plain to see.

Its trunk was grey and bark a-peeling,

And every branch a home,

To dozens of cooing feathery things,

Making dull monotonous tones.

The tree it was unique, you know,

The local council didn’t care,

Today they brought their chainsaw along,

And felled this tree so rare.

Two men, they cut and chopped with vigour,

Then fed the wood through a shredder,

The noise it was a deafening sound,

The council thinks that’s better.

The pigeons now will have no home,

Why does that sound familiar?

They’ll fly around like Noah’s raven

...cos every council’s similar?

The outcome of the story about the pigeon tree?

They’ll fly around the borough,

Then poop on thee and me,

Whereas in truth we’d much prefer,

They’d take their coo and call,

And dump their precious cargo,

On the local Town Hall!

Restricting cars

Christopher Sills, Hackney, full address supplied, writes:

The letter from the Green candidate for the mayor of London shows the quite clear distinction between the local Conservative Party and other parties operating in Hackney, in that we recognise that north Hackney is different from the rest of inner London. It is more dependent on the car than the rest of inner London and in this instance very like outer London.

The attempts made by politicians to restrict car use are rightly unpopular and I would urge Hackney Council to abandon all attempts because if they fail to do so, the only beneficiaries will be the lawyers and the Conservative Party in the mayoral and borough elections in 2022.

The elected mayor and labour councillors will be at real risk of losing and have no one to blame but themselves.

Stamp appeal

Terri Bush, volunteer stamp appeal co-ordinator, Bone Cancer Research, writes:

Christmas is coming and soon you’ll be getting Christmas cards in the post.

But what are you going to do with all those used stamps? The Bone Cancer Research Trust has the answer...The Bone Cancer Research Trust Stamp Appeal.

Getting involved could not be easier. All you need to do is save your used stamps or horizon labels from the UK or overseas. If you are a business, shop or public service, you could even have a collection box for people to drop off their stamps.

Your stamps will be recycled and turned into lifesaving funds.

Primary bone cancer can occur at any age, but affects mostly children, teenagers, young adults and the elderly. Every 10 minutes somewhere in the world, someone is diagnosed with primary bone cancer. Collecting used stamps is a simple way to make a huge difference.

You can order a free Stamp Appeal pack today by visiting: Or join the Facebook group: Bone Cancer Research Trust Stamp Appeal.

Please send your used stamps to BCRT Stamp Appeal, 20 Bowers Road, Benfleet, Essex, England, SS7 5PZ.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this urgent appeal.

Until there’s a cure...


Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London, writes:

The past few weeks and months have been incredibly difficult for businesses in the hospitality sector, which have been forced to shut their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We all know the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants has had a dreadful economic impact on the livelihoods of so many people, so the return of London’s night-time economy is to be welcomed by all who work and live in this great city.

But at Barnardo’s, we know from our long expertise as the UK’s largest children’s charity that there is another side to the bustling fun of London’s night-time economy; one sadly where those who seek to harm and exploit children and young people use the hours of darkness as a time to operate.

That’s why Barnardo’s is raising awareness of our Nightwatch training programme as night-time businesses seek to reopen.

Nightwatch aims to safeguard children and young people from child sexual exploitation (CSE) by increasing awareness of CSE among businesses and services working in the night-time economy. We know CSE is underreported, and the training Barnardo’s can provide to hotels, businesses, other agencies and partner organisations will ensure staff and volunteers are alert to the issue and take positive action when there are signs of CSE.

This could be the difference between someone coming to harm or receiving the help they need.

So far, we have provided training to over 1,000 night-time workers in London, including the Met Police and Transport for London, and this project has created a vital network of eyes and ears after dark that will help keep children and young people safe.

Thousands of night-time workers now know how to look out for children and young people who could be particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation, but we want to train even more so we can keep all children and young people safe at night.

For further information, email