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1943 Tube Disaster appeal gets £100,000 Town Hall boost

PUBLISHED: 11:55 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:09 05 October 2010

Tower Hamlets mayor at Sunday's memorial with surviviors and relatives

Tower Hamlets mayor at Sunday's memorial with surviviors and relatives

CAMPAIGNERS raising funds for a permanent memorial to Britain’s worst wartime civilian disaster are getting a £100,000 Town Hall boost to their funds. The surprise announcement was made last night by Tower Hamlets council after members had been moved by Sunday’s emotional 66th anniversary service to the men, women and children who perished in the Bethnal Green air-raid shelter disaster of 1943

By Else Kvist

CAMPAIGNERS raising funds for a permanent memorial to Britain’s worst civilian disaster of the Second World War are getting a £100,000 Town Hall boost to their funds.

The surprise announcement was made last night by Tower Hamlets council after members had been moved by Sunday’s emotional 66th anniversary service to the men, women and children who perished in a stampede in the Bethnal Green air-raid disaster on March 3, 1943.

Cabinet member Marc Francis told the East London Advertiser: “What struck us was when the names of the 173 dead were read out at the memorial and you realised how many wives, mothers and children were among them. These were all Bethnal Green people.”

TIME TO ACT

The decision to make the contribution was made at last night’s ruling Labour group meeting just before the public meeting to decide next year’s council tax.

Council Leader Lutfur Rahman said: “The time has come for us as a local authority to make a proper contribution.”

It will bring the amount raised so far to £170,000. The target is £650,000.

One of the survivors, Alf Morris, now 79, was a boy of 13 when an air-raid warden pulled him clear of the crush and saved his life.

He was “almost lost for words” this morning when the Advertiser broke the news to him.

“I was not expecting that,” he said. “I thought we had to fight it all the way.”

Now the Stairway to Heaven’ campaigners led by Alf plan to lobby London Mayor Boris Johnson tonight when he chairs a public Question Time in London’s East End being held at Bethnal Green’s York Hall—ironically just 300 yards from the site of the 1943 air-raid shelter disaster.


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