Recorder letters: Armed Forces Day, red card, Woodford Town Football Club, Loxford Park and critical care beds

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 July 2018

The Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Debbie Kaur-Thiara conducting the flag raising at the Town Hall to celebrate Armed Forces Day. Picture: KEN MEARS

The Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Debbie Kaur-Thiara conducting the flag raising at the Town Hall to celebrate Armed Forces Day. Picture: KEN MEARS


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Armed Forces Day ‘shambles’

John Bowers, Royal British Legion (RBL) standard bearer, Barkingside, full address supplied, writes:

I write to express my disappointment with Redbridge Council for the lacklustre Armed Forces day “flag raising” event on Friday morning on the steps of the Town Hall.

Together with three of my fellow RBL standard bearers from Ilford, Chingford and Leytonstone branches, we made the effort to parade in honour of those who currently serve to keep this nation safe from harm.

Whilst I thank the mayor’s office and the events team for organising the AFD Flag Raising Ceremony, it was, to say the least, a great disappointment.

The sound system, which was essential to the event, did not work correctly and the mayor’s address to the small crowd that gathered nearby, was almost incoherent, as was the fanfare for the flag raising. Then, when it came to singing God Save the Queen, the music could not be heard at all until mid-way through and then it jumped back to the start. In the words of some who attended, “it was a bit of a shambles”.

In past years, for AFD in Redbridge, we have had a marching band, numerous RBL, AJEX and RSA standards, Chelsea Pensioners, local Army, Navy and Air Cadet contingents and representatives from the emergency services. This year we had the mayor and deputy lieutenant, a handful of councillors, our MPs, half a dozen cadets, a few veterans and four RBL standard bearers.

By way of contrast, on Saturday I paraded at the Waltham Forest AFD Parade/fun day which stepped off at 11.30am behind a pipe and drum band. There were sixteen standards, Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Air Force Cadets, an historic police car and a strong contingent of legion members and veterans in a column that stretched almost a quarter mile and which culminated with a sunset parade on the green outside the Assembly Hall. Later, in the hall, there was a music event entitled “Rock the Troops” which raised funds for the Royal British Legion.

I cannot believe what occurred on Friday in Redbridge could be wholly attributed to a lack of funding. The standard bearers, cadets and veterans do not charge for their services (in fact, we had to pay £4 just to park up for the event) and, if invited, the Chelsea Pensioners and members of the emergency services will normally volunteer for the price of a cup of tea and a bit of cake.

It appears that there is now no motivation within the council to honour our services personnel and perhaps there is also a lack of organisational skills to put such events together If other cash strapped boroughs can manage to put on a good AFD Parade, why can’t Redbridge?

Red card invented by headteacher

Rob Meyers, Barkingside, full address supplied, writes:

Where would football be today without the red and yellow cards? Who knows?

What we do know is that they were invented by local Barkingside headteacher Ken Aston who joined Newbury Park Junior School in 1953.

Amongst some amazing achievements, Mr Aston was also a FIFA World Cup referee. He also started a chess club at Newbury Park School and in 1979; Ken’s last year at the school, the club became national champions.

Ken was married to Hilda in March 1940, just two months before Ken entered the army.

Good news for old football ground

Brian Challis, president, Essex County Referees Association, writes:

I am delighted to read that Redbridge Council have approved the development of the former Woodford Town Football Club ground in Snakes Lane which has been unused for over 15 years.

I am old enough to remember what a successful club it was in the 1950s and at one time had the late Johny Haynes from Fulham FC play for them on loan for a while. Also in my early days as a referee I was often appointed to officiate on the ground, despite living locally.

The development is badly needed in the area and I wish the Foundation sports director every success and hope he gets the support from the local community.

You never know, history may repeat itself and Woodford Town Football Club will return to Snakes Lane.

Spend some cash on Loxford Park

J Robinson, full address supplied, writes:

Having read in the Recorder that Clayhall Park will be having £1.6million spent on it, people in Loxford are wondering if they are still in the borough of Redbridge.

When local people ask for improvements in the park, they are told “the council cannot afford it”.

We used to have tennis courts, cricket and football pitches, with training at weekends, crazy golf and paddling pool – all gone.

We had an outdoor bowling green, now converted into a beach area. It was a great event, having been chosen to receive the sand from the London Olympics but it has not been used by schools or others as planned. In fact, the only ones who have used it are the English Beach Football Team for weekend training, but the facilities are nil, not even a toilet.

There is no regular park attendant. It would be good to have someone in charge, including ensuring the gates are properly opened and closed/locked on time.

The park has been neglected for years.

We understand that we are at the other end of the borough but it would be good to have some of these facilities back to encourage the children to enjoy playing outdoors and have more exercise.

Join call for more critical care beds

Bob Archer, Andy Walker and Lee Burkwood, Green Party, Pete Mason, Socialist Party, write:

Life-saving critical care beds were often full at both Queen’s and King George hospitals last winter. This has led to increase in cancelled operations and has put patients at increased risk of harm. Some of the beds at Queen’s cover north east London, Essex and Kent.

We go to 10 Downing Street on midday on July 12 to support Keith Prince AM and Cllrs Michael Deon Burton, Nic Dodin and Dennis O’Flynn to support a cross party and cross borough campaign for more funding for extra critical care beds this coming winter. It would be great if any Recorder readers could join us on the day outside the gates of number 10 to give Keith, Michael, Nic and Denis some support.

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