Gazette letters: Covid, LTNs, art from waste and Alzheimer’s funding

Hackney Faiths Forum Day of Prayer held on May 3.

Hackney Faiths Forum Day of Prayer held on May 3. - Credit: Cllr Ian Rathbone

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

Stay hopeful together as Covid restrictions tighten

Cllr Ian Rathbone, convenor, Hackney Ecumenical Borough Deans Group, writes:

Back in May, in the middle of the first lockdown, Hackney Faith Forum organised a Day of Prayer. Now we face another such period.

Hackney is a place where we see the wonderful vision of people of all faiths and none, from all parts of the world, living side-by-side.

That’s so clearly seen every day in Cazenove Road where Muslims, Jews, Christians and others live alongside one another.

People of faith live by hope for things unseen, something outside of themselves, something which is independent of human constructed views and beliefs.

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And it’s something we can all do together – sometimes with fun and other times in seriousness – that stretches across all the boundaries of class and social standing, that helps to keep our society together through thick and thin.

We have this common threat to our lives at the moment and as we get together as people of faith (even though socially distanced), we hold out that hope which comes from knowing more than just ourselves.

That hope is what we share – that we will survive, we will learn and adapt as we have done in the past, and continue to struggle for a better future for our children and ourselves.

The motto of the London Borough of Hackney is ‘Justitia Turris Nostra’ which translated from the Latin means justice is our tower or justice is our strength and that describes what Hackney has been for many; a place of refuge and safety for those fleeing persecution and injustice. A place where as a refugee, you can become hopeful, despite some unhelpful attitudes in society. And there are others born here, or who come from elsewhere to live in London for a while who also have their hopes.

At the end of the Day of Prayer in May, we sang (online together) Bill Withers’ song Lean on Me. We may all need to lean on one another as we go through this next period of time. And my prayer back in the earlier lockdown was: “Bring hope, give us reassurance in our hearts, and confidence in our thinking, and strength in our spirits to move forward as the community here in Hackney, Amen.”

We can make a new way out of the pandemic situation – together as a community – moving forward together in a new and hopeful way. Let’s all find our hope.

Voting request

Mesut Yilmaz, Stoke Newington, wrote to Cllr Susan Fajana Thomas:

I am a resident in the ward you stood in and were elected to represent.

I have been made aware that a motion is to be put before you to end these low traffic neighbourhood schemes/temporary traffic measures/road closures and what I and many in our borough believe to be undemocratic and unconsulted measures that are an assault on our mobility and access to services.

I therefore lend my voice and direct you, as an individual elected to represent me, consult me, be the bridge between the local authority and I, to vote to remove these measures immediately.

I do not agree that councils have license to do as they please, that manifesto references are gospel, nor do I believe that an election is ever a green light for an administration to run riot.

This is my voice and as part of a collective voice, I am instructing you to end this assault on daily life and this affront to local democracy.

Please respond with how you will vote on the motion. I have not requested an explanation.

Please respond promptly and be advised that your response and the course you will take in council chambers will determine whether you have officially broken my trust.

Yours is a position of trust, not of authority, and Hackney Council will do well to remember that.

Please note that your response on this matter will determine whether you or your party colleagues and volunteers will ever be welcome on my doorstep ever again.

The actions, reasoning and agenda of this council is nothing short of a betrayal. This is your chance to put it right, before it becomes an unforgivable betrayal.

I look forward to your brief written response and to seeing these measures removed with immediate effect.

Art installation

Alan Gibson, Richmond Road, London Fields, writes:

Thank you for the heartlifting story issue about local children constructing an installation entirely from waste materials (Gazette).

It said much about their skill and ingenuity and it highlighted the urgent need for waste recycling.

But it was a shame that you were not able to give more space to the image of the magnificent Pajaki-style installation.

I was also dismayed by the fact that its display at the Stour Space Gallery finished five days before the newspaper’s issue date.

Would it be possible to carry a bigger image of the installation in a future issue please?

Fundraising amid the pandemic

Linda O’Sullivan, Alzheimer’s Society head of region for London, writes:

Every Autumn, Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk events across the UK see thousands of people come together to raise money to help defeat dementia.

Sadly, this year, coronavirus meant we had to cancel the large-scale events we all know and love.

Instead, we asked people to step out and support us by doing their own personal walks from July to October, in line with government guidelines.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and generosity of 1,295 supporters across London who signed up and helped raise over £1.2 million for Alzheimer’s Society.

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in Memory Walk this year and made a difference to people affected by dementia.

Our services have been used over two million times since lockdown began, showing people need us more than ever.

But we’re facing a significant loss of fundraising income because of coronavirus.

As Memory Walk season ends, please consider donating to our Coronavirus Appeal or join one of our next fundraising events, like Elf Day on Friday, December 4 or any date that suits you.

Sign up for a free fundraising pack at