posted: 11 March 2011
Commemoration Service for the 68th anniversary
of the disaster
Tommy also helped us read out the names of the victims while 173 candles were lit on the altar by Rev. Green and Revd Brian Ralph from St. Barnabas Church. It was also good that Leon Silver of the East London Central Synagogue was present to give words of comfort as part of the Inter Faith Forum Steering Group. The church was pretty full so we are grateful to everyone who came along, especially as so many had long journey s with difficult Sunday engineering works .
The Service was very comforting and beautifully organised by Revd. Preb. Alan Green (Rector of St. John’s Church). He is also our Pastoral Trustee. It was great to have Rushanara Ali, the MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, read the first Lesson and our Patron, Tommy Walsh, gave the second one.
After the Service the procession crossed the road where flowers and wreaths were laid and a blessing given by Rev. Alan Green. T he area at the top of the underground stairs wa s a sea of colour and many people stopped to look at them and ask what it was all about. Refreshments were available back at the church, courtesy of Tesco’s in Bethnal Green Road and the beigel shop in Brick Lane and we are extremely grateful to them, and also to Derek Spicer’s family for working so hard all day to butter and fill the rolls and prepare the rest of the food and drinks and serve everyone in record time. On such a cold day they were very welcome and many of the congregation stayed for quite a while eating, drinking and talking to each other. We were delighted to be able to unite at least 3 different sides of one family that did not know each other. I know that a lot of the survivors and families found the Service moving, yet uplifting, and lots of people seemed to they enjoy talking to other people who might have been their neighbours during war time.
It certainly is a very special day for so many of us and hopefully you will have seen the coverage on the ITN news that evening, particularly Tommy Walsh’s comments which were spot on.
The local Tower Hamlets councillors (Amy Whitelock, Lesley Pavitt, Carlo Gibbs and Alibor Choudhury) had organised a meeting the day before with the Mayor, Lutfur Rahman and a representative from the Trust to talk about funding for the Memorial. The Mayor and councillors are certainly fully behind us and very supportive and want to see the memorial built as quickly as possible. They have agreed to release the funds they ring-fenced for us, so that we can start building the foundations before the end of the summer. The architect & design team have to finish the design specifications first, put out tenders for the work and materials and then we should know precisely what the costs will be. Hopefully a lot of them will be prepared to help us out by doing it pro bono or at very much reduced fees. The committee had already agreed unanimously to go ahead with the foundation work anyway as we believe that it will keep up the momentum and obtain the rest of the money much quicker that way when people see the work going on. We are hoping for sponsorship due to all the publicity we have received recently. So work has already started on this by the design team and we will update you further over the next few months. The hope is that we might be able to complete the memorial in time for next year’s anniversary or soon after and an extra prayer was requested for that at the Service.
With goods and donations given at the Service we raised £1112.88, which we are really delighted with and want to thank everyone there for their generosity.
Evelyn Teichmann's photographs of the service.
Evelyn Teichmann has kindly made photographs of the occasion. available on Flikr.
The set of photos is called:
"Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Disaster 68th Anniversary Commemorations
6 Match 2011".
Chris Stanfield’s images of the event
Chris Stanfield has kindly made images of the event available on YouTube.
His collection is entitled:
"BETHNAL GREEN UNDERGROUND DISASTER COMMEMORATION SUNDAY 6th March 2011".