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Mixed reaction to giant peace dove and multi-faith lights in Seven Kings

PUBLISHED: 14:02 24 October 2012 | UPDATED: 14:19 24 October 2012

Last year's Seven Kings christmas lights being switched on by the Mayor

Last year's Seven Kings christmas lights being switched on by the Mayor

Archant

The multi-faith festive lights planned for Seven Kings have provoked a mixed reaction from the public.

Instead of a Christmas tree, councillors chose to install an illuminated dove and light displays symbolising world religions outside the train station.

Cllr Barbara White said she was “excited” that this year’s lights would recognise multiple celebrations, including Eid-Ul-Adha, Diwali, the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev sahib, Christmas and Hanukkah.

Redbridge Council’s Area Five Committee allocated £11,500 for decorations in Seven Kings and Goodmayes.

Cllr Ali Hai said he thought the budget was “excessive”.

He added: “It’s all about priorities and my view is it’s good to have lights but it’s not on the top of the list for Area Five.

“We will make the most of it and I hope it makes residents happy and helps businesses.”

But Jacquie Grieve, of Redbridge Faith Forum, welcomed the new lights.

She said: “It’s nice to have something that includes all the festivals of light.

“I hope people feel the dove is suitable symbol for Christmas. You always see it on cards and it’s a universal symbol of peace and goodwill.

“There are a lot of people who identify with a faith in Redbridge and if this brings them together, that’s got to be a good thing.”

The lights will be switched on tonight at Seven Kings train station, in High Road, at 5.45pm and at Goodmayes Clock Tower, in Goodmayes Lane, at 5.30pm.

We asked people at Seven Kings train station what they thought...

Shane St Louis, 26, Seven Kings

“I don’t really like the idea. Christmas is a celebration for one religion so I don’t really get why others need to be included. I grew up with Christmas so I don’t know why it has to be changed.”

Mandy Kaur, 29, Seven Kings

“I think it’s a great idea. I doesn’t make any difference really. Christmas is Christmas so it should still be more of that but it’s multicultural here now so this reflects that.”

Sophie Pinner, 16, Chadwell Heath

“I think it’s a fantastic idea because we live in such a multicultural area, especially with all the different schools. It’s inspirational to include all the faiths here for the first time.”

Peter Ilaabuchr, 33, Seven Kings

“It’s so early in the year to put lights up but it’s good to represent all the religions. I think it’s a more up-to-date way of doing festive decorations.”

Shiraz Ali, 33, Seven Kings

“It will be better to look at than a log and definitely better than nothing. It will be nice to have something for everyone to admire, hopefully people will like it.”


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