Gazette letters: New River Path, buses, Dementia Friendly Awards and Hackney Scouts jamboree

The swifts are growing along the New River Path in Woodberry Wetlands. Picture: WILL McCALLUM

The swifts are growing along the New River Path in Woodberry Wetlands. Picture: WILL McCALLUM - Credit: Archant

Awkward, gangly and constantly hungry they are cluttering the water’s edge with shrieks and squawks, competing for space with pedestrians and cyclists, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

It is amazing how fast they have grown - when I left the country six weeks ago many were but an egg in their mother's nest. Now, they stride and swim along the waterways with all the confidence of their human counterparts.

In just six weeks I missed out on witnessing them as young balls of fluff.

The swans have taken up their annual residence blocking the path to the north of Woodberry Wetlands as they seek some afternoon shade; and grey not-quite-grown coots wobble anxiously on flotsam down the New River Path.

Most exciting, however, were the screaming young swifts a few houses down from my own in Newington Green, not quite ready to fly from their wooden swift box attached to my neighbour's house, entirely dependent on whatever food is brought back to them by parents hunting above the Overground railway line.

Every morning you can hear the fledglings screaming their heads off, very nearly ready to spread their wings before beginning their life in the air migrating half way across the world each year.

To find out more about these incredible birds, both Islington Swifts and Hackney Swifts run regular walks through the neighbourhood.

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There are so many things that I could write about this week that it would fill at least two pages of your paper so I have decided to refer to a couple of them today, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

Firstly, last weekend Transport for London (TfL) brought in the changes to bus routes without adequate notice. Doing it this way was a disgrace because people turned up at bus stops only to find their expected bus never arrived.

I would not be surprised if a lot of people were late for work as a result on Monday morning due to this incompetence.

Even worse, last Tuesday I wanted to know whether a bus route I use about two or three times a year was still operating as before because I wanted to use it the following day and I had to wait for 33 minutes before they answered. Last Wednesday I arrived at the bus stop, but no buses turned up.

A person wanting the same route phoned TfL who said that a bus was due in three minutes. Ten minutes later she phoned again to be told the next one was due in two minutes.

The only buses that arrived at that spot were ones finishing there. The problem was a demonstration at parliament against the Mayor of London's policies.

There was no indication of a problem at the bus stop. I arrived late and very cross having had to walk. What my friends said about Transport for London is not repeatable in a newspaper.

Next it is announced the head of London Fire Brigade is leaving at the end of April 2020. In 1967 I was involved in an office fire and saw how quickly a minor incident can spread. Since then I have taken an interest in the subject.

I feel several people in the Grenfell Tower fire died when they could still be alive today.

Nominations for Alzheimer's Society's 2019 Dementia Friendly Awards are now open, writes Linda O'Sullivan, head of London Region, Alzheimer's Society.

Our Dementia Friendly Awards recognise, celebrate and promote the achievements of individuals, organisations and communities leading and inspiring a change that will transform the lives of people affected by dementia forever, challenging misunderstandings, changing attitudes and taking action.

There are nine categories, from the trailblazer of year, implementing an innovative idea, to the most inspiring young person of the year and dementia friendly organisations. This year we have one special award, in collaboration with Alzheimer's Society's 40th Anniversary, the lifetime achievement award, recognising meaningful action over 10 years or more, to positively impact people affected by dementia.

Visit, nominations close on Friday, August 9, 2019.

Good luck to Scouts from Hackney who are heading to North America, writes Bear Grylls, chief Scout!

In just a few days time Scouts from Hackney will be travelling 3,800 miles to wild and wonderful West Virginia, USA for the 24th World Scout Jamboree.

These are some of our best and every one of them will be an ambassador for the Scouts, the UK's largest mixed movement, helping prepare girls and boys with skills for life.

The 2019 Jamboree, jointly hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico, is set to be one of the biggest and most exciting yet. The theme is "unlock a new world" focusing especially on how we can create a sustainable world together.

I want to wish every single one of the Hackney Scouts good luck and safe travels.

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