Gazette letters: Violence, new plaque, buses, hospice and Carribean pupils

We must talk about what is going on in Hackney. Picture: PA IMAGES

We must talk about what is going on in Hackney. Picture: PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

As church leaders in Hackney we are hearing from our church members about the crisis in our community which is being shown through the acts of violence now in the public eye, write Hackney Ecumenical Borough Deans Group.

While we still want to say that Hackney is a great place to live - because we believe that to be the case - there needs to be a new look at what it is that we are doing or not doing to break the cycles of violence and drugs which exist within this and other local communities.

There is not enough talking about what is really going on, particularly when people may know something. There is real and palpable fear.

As Christian leaders in Hackney we believe that there is something powerful in the story of Easter which we are celebrating at this time. It is the possibility of hope in the face of despair, a belief in the possibility of transformation.

We have no reason as Christians to shy away from violence - it is at the heart of our story - and we can never allow the wonder of the resurrection of Jesus make us forget the violence of the cross on which he died. But we do have a particular way of speaking about it and of responding to it.

The culture of our day might expect Jesus to stand among his friends and say, ‘where were you, you let me down, I’m going to get back at you.’ But he doesn’t do that. He stands among them and says ‘Peace be with you.’

Of course there are practical things which we can do to express our outrage, and churches across the Borough are planning various events to pray, call for change, and stand in solidarity with victims and their families.

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And we are asking: How can we support families to be better and more confident parents, how can we raise our voices and offer ourselves as part of the solution?

Martin Luther King, who was murdered 50 years ago this week, spoke out and so must we, because by so doing ‘the truth will set you free’.

We are praying for peace in our communities but also for those who know more, to be brave and come forward and talk about what is going on, for all of us to face up to our responsibilities, particularly concerning young people so that no more innocent lives are lost on our streets.

On my way to maintain the Columbia Market war memorial, I took the opportunity to visit the Shoreditch Civilian War Memorial, in St Leonard’s graveyard, writes Geoff Twist, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Stoke Newington.

It is good to see recent restoration and cleaning of the memorial stones.

However, there has been no correction to the error on these, which state that a list of names of those buried there are on a memorial in another part of the cemetery.

I discovered, as historian to the CMWM, that this “grave” is a cenotaph, and the memorial should have been placed near the appropriate burials in New Southgate cemetery. This misplacement probably resulted from the unwillingness of Shoreditch Council to pay the enormous annual fee of some £8 to keep it in good order. All these details are held at Hackney Archives which also holds the list of those who are remembered in the memorial.

Sadly the memorial seat in New Southgate cemetery, which had the names list, was demolished some years ago, and the graves have been overfilled and reused. The overfilling of such graves is becoming common practice.

Would it not be possible to add a small plaque to the memorial, informing any visiting family, of the whereabouts of the list of names?

There are a couple of things that Alexander Henriques (Gazette letters) might try to alleviate his problem with the 106 bus, writes Tom Uprichard, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Stoke Newington.

The TfL website will give him the time before the next bus arrives at his stop, so he’d leave the house just in time to catch it. If it’s a longish wait, then walking could be an option. Lordship Park to Finsbury Park isn’t all that far, and at least he’d know how long it would take him. Coming home, there is a Countdown indicator at the first stop on Blackstock Road and the wait/walk option applies there too.

Bon voyage.

I write in response to your article, “Terminally ill people are dying in hostels”, writes Margaret Clifford, clinical lead consultant, Palliative Medicine, St Joseph’s Hospice, Mare Street.

As the local hospice in Hackney we are aware there are many people with terminal illness living in hostels in the borough who don’t currently access our services. We have been working with some of the local hostels to see how we can help as we recognise there is a real need and we are very keen to provide the right care, either in the community or in the hospice.

For many people there is the fear that a hospice is somewhere you go to at the end of life to die. We can help in so many other ways, with symptom control, helping with mobility and independence, complementary therapies and a range of social activities. Our focus is on trying to help people to live as well as possible right up to the end of their lives. To do this we work with GPs and other health and social care professionals including hostel staff.

If you think you could benefit from our care, either see your GP for a referral or refer yourself. Call First Contact on 0300 303 0400.

I taught in two Hackney secondary schools between 1972 and 1995. Many of my students were from the Caribbean and would have been born in the early 1960s, writes Ann Mir, née Lissack.

I am so angry that this situation has arisen. If any of my previous pupils need any assistance please e-mail me:

I confess I was at first apprehensive about teaching students whose background was so new to me BUT teaching in Hackney was a very rich (learning!) experience and I hope I contributed. We had some negative reactions in the 1970s and 1980s taking school trips to France and Germany but my worst one was Welwyn Garden City!