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Advertiser letters: Bethnal Green memorial and refugees

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 January 2018

Stairway to Heaven memorial at Bethnal Green Gardens. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Stairway to Heaven memorial at Bethnal Green Gardens. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Mike Brooke

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Joy Puritz, full address supplied, writes:

I was perturbed to read that there is a plan afoot to use the 75th anniversary of the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster of March 3, 1943, in which 173 people were crushed to death trying to enter the station, to launch a campaign to persuade the government to apologise officially, on behalf of the government of 1943, for having allowed the disaster to happen, and for blaming local residents for panicking on entering the shelter.

If the would-be campaigners think that the disaster occurred because the government authority, London Civil Defence Regional HQ, had refused Bethnal Green Council permission to make safety improvements to the shelter entrance, then they have been misled.

It is wonderful to see the memorial sculpture complete at last after all the great work done by the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust, in particular, the secretary, Sandra Scotting. I am dismayed at the idea of a campaign. There is no single body that one can blame for the tragedy.

Let the memorial service on March 4 be one of remembrance and mourning, not bitterness and resentment.

Keep refugees in this country

Julia Eriksen, Glebe Court, Bow, writes:

In her New Year’s speech, our prime minister wished us and our families a great year. After a holiday season spent with loved ones, it is easy to take this sentiment of being with one’s family for granted.

Sadly, many refugees who live in this country will not have the support of their family this new year. They have been separated from them by the horrors of war and persecution and need support more than ever, yet unfair and restrictive government rules prevent them from being reunited.

These restrictive policies include children who arrive in this country alone but are not able to apply for their mother or close relative to join them here.

We can reunite families if our MPs vote to change the rules that keep refugees in the UK apart from those they love.

On March 16, a debate will take place in Parliament that I am asking my MP to attend and vote to change these rules. Refugees have been through so much already, how can we expect them to integrate into our communities without family security and support?

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