Soccer and Soap stars raise cash for 1943 Bethnal Green disaster memorial

Relatives at Bethnal Green's unfinished memorial

Relatives at Bethnal Green's unfinished memorial - Credit: Archant

Football and soap opera stars and a graffiti street artist are all helping to complete a memorial in the East End of London to Britain’s worst wartime civilian disaster.

Signed shirts for Arsenal and Spurs and a signed EastEnders street sign are among lots up for auction to raise cash for the unfinished Stairway to Heaven memorial to the 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid shelter disaster in which 173 people were killed.

Comedian John Ryan and London Mayor Boris Johnson, who are celebrity auctioneers, are also putting under the hammer a work by Eine, famous for his alphabet lettering on shop shutters in Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Hackney’s Broadway Market.

Other items include a limited-edition print by Duffy of the famous Bowie album cover portrait now on show at the V&A Museum and an iconic Norman Wisdom photo by the late Terence Donovan, as well as period black and white snaps of the old East End by Fleet Street photographer Mike Pattison.

The 6.30pm auction on May 29 at Forman’s Fish Island Gallery in Stour Road, Old Ford, is helping to raise the rest of the funds needed to complete the memorial at Bethnal Green Gardens to the men, women and children who were crushed to death on the narrow staircase leading down to an underground public shelter during an air-raid alert.