Gazette letters: Congratulations, enironment, shop for charity, breast screening and BAME children

Dabirul Choudhury has raised more than £200k for over 50 countries across the world including the UK and his home village...

Dabirul Choudhury has raised more than £200k for over 50 countries across the world including the UK and his home village in Bangladesh. Picture: The Choudhury family - Credit: Courtesy of the Choudhury family


I, too, join Atique Choudhury in congratulating his father Dabirul Islam Choudhury for the immense efforts in raising £200,000 for victims of coronavirus in the UK and abroad (Hackney Gazette), writes Josephine Hatch, Hackney Downs.

This awful disease disproportionately affects older people with underlying health conditions and, also, some racial and ethnic minority groups.

But as a second wave looks set to grip the UK and countries around the world we are seeing more elderly people, alongside more middle-aged people affected.

It’s a fight we must win to save lives and the economies around the world but within all the national headlines it’s great to find some real local heroes quietly going about their business raising money and supporting those in need at home and abroad.

Mr Choudhury’s efforts were rightly acknowledged as he became a Pride of Britain finalist and was praised by the likes of Labour leader Keir Starmer.

At 100-years-old his fundraising exploits – like Captain Sir Tom Moore – are quite astounding and an example to us all.

I’m sure many take inspiration from his story.

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I write to voice my 100 per cent support for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and the fine (and brave) work that Hackney Council are doing by giving streets back to the people , writes Kevin O’Sullivan, Cycle Legal.

I cannot believe the entitlement of motorists.

If you’re sitting in traffic and not having fun, it’s not so that you can turn up at the Town Hall with a cob on, it’s so that you can wake up to the pollution, congestion, obesity, diabetes, laziness, anger, road rage and more that is caused by your choice of moving around a cycling city with a world class transport system .

Unless you’re seriously disabled, or transporting urgent and bulky medical supplies around , what on earth are you complaining about ?

At the end of September the government decreed that English schools were forbidden from using anti-capitalist material in teaching and that they were to classify “anti-capitalism” as “an extreme political stance”, writes Sasha Simic, West Bank, Stamford Hill.

Two weeks on and Sir David Attenborough is arguing that “the excesses the capitalist system has brought us, have got to be curbed somehow” if the planet is to survive and for a “working eco-system in which everybody (has) a share”.

Will the new Tory guidelines mean Attenborough’s work will now be banned from schools for arguing “an extreme political stance”?

And given Sir David has just teamed up with Prince William to launch the “Earthshot” award – something they both hope will become the “Nobel Prize for environmentalism” – does that meant the state now classifies both Attenborough and Prince William as “extremists”?

If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas a bit differently this year, our Charity Shop Challenge will help you think outside the box when it comes to your festive shopping, writes Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director, British Heart Foundation.

Our high street shops and eBay and Depop stores are packed with countless unique treasures waiting to be discovered, making your gifts all the more meaningful this year. There are also plenty of good quality furniture and homewares on offer too, if you’re giving your home a festive spruce.

Every pound raised in our shops and online stores help us support the 670,000 people living with heart and circulatory diseases across the East of England, many of whom are at increased risk from Covid-19. Now more than ever, we urgently need your support this Christmas so we can continue funding life saving breakthroughs.

The BHF’s shops and stores are now back up and running, with measures in place to keep staff, volunteers and customers safe.

To get involved in the BHF’s Charity Shop Challenge, simply head to your nearest store or browse the BHF eBay shop for unique and affordable gifts. You can also share your finds on social media using the hashtag #BoughtAtBHF.

To find your nearest shop please visit:

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, but we know that early detection is our strongest tool in significantly boosting the chances of recovery, writes Jennette Arnold OBE, London Assembly member, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.

Whilst it is understandable that routine assessments had to be paused to allow the NHS to deal with the pandemic at its peak, it is vital that cancer screening capacity is now boosted to both get on top of the backlog and meet the level of demand.

It is a positive start to see reassurances from the NHS that 400,000 screening invitations have been sent out in recent months. We now need to amplify the message that women should feel confident that they can safely attend these potentially life-saving appointments, amidst the pandemic.

The arrival of autumn has been a difficult time for children and families across London with the impact of Covid-19 once again affecting all of our lives with new social restrictions and increased uncertainty, writes Lynn Gradwell, director of Barnardo’s London.

At Barnardo’s we know that families in black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities have been hit hardest by the virus and in London more than a third of the families we support are from these communities.

Official statistics show black people are four times more likely to die of the virus compared to white people, while the pandemic and recession are worsening existing inequalities. As a result, children in black and Asian communities are suffering bereavement, mental health problems and fear for the future - yet many remain hidden from essential support services and have often been left to suffer in silence.

They urgently need support to deal with a complex and unique range of issues which is why Barnardo’s in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, and with the support of the Covid-19 Support Fund established by the insurance and long-term savings industry, has launched ‘Bolo’ - the UK’s first specialist helpline of its kind for black, Asian and minority ethnic children and families impacted by the pandemic.

Bolo is a word used in many languages, meaning ‘speak’ or to be invited to speak, and our new helpline can provide advice, signposting and support from trained specialist advisors and therapists – who are from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds and able to speak a range of languages including Punjabi, Urdu, Mirpuri and Hindi.

Barnardo’s is proud to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges faced by vulnerable children and young people.

Black, Asian and other minority ethnic families can call our Bolo helpline for specialist support on 0800 151 2605 or visit to access the live webchat and resources.

In these uniquely challenging times, we are also working in partnership with government, business and other charities through our wider See, Hear, Respond service to support those who need us most. Children, young people, parents and carers can call the support line on 08001 577015 to request help.