Recorder letters: Ilford in bloom, cycle lanes, KMT, violent crime, female RAF pilots and drink tea for cats

PUBLISHED: 12:30 08 March 2020

Spring dafodills around St Peter's Church, Aldborough Hatch. Picture: RON JEFFRIES

Spring dafodills around St Peter's Church, Aldborough Hatch. Picture: RON JEFFRIES


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

Walk and enjoy glory of nature

Ron Jeffries, Spearpoint Gardens, Aldborough Hatch, writes:

Spring has burst out in Aldborough Hatch, on the edge of London's green belt, just off the A12, where at St Peter's Church some 6,000 bulbs are in flower.

Your readers are invited to take a few minutes to walk around the churchyard and the newly created Millennium Memorial Garden, to sit on one of the benches and to enjoy the glory of nature - in a world where we are in danger of missing out on the simple beauty of life. You will be very welcome.

Safe bicycle lanes for everyone

Caroline Russell, London Assembly member, Londonwide, writes:

The mayor claims to have met his target of tripling protected space for cycling but has only been able to do so by counting lots of disconnected sections of cycleway and routes around entire junctions, including some as short as 100m.

Fudging numbers and data is an old trick we're used to seeing in election years, but the people actually using cycle lanes to take their daily journeys know there's a long, long road ahead before London really becomes a 'byword for cycling'.

Londoners deserve safe, properly protected bike lanes so anyone, aged eight to 80, can choose to go by bike to their local shops, to work, school or the park. There's still far too much of London's street network that is hostile to people getting around on a bike.

Kenneth More Theatre is now back in action

Ken Gaunt, Greenslade Road, Barking, writes:

Just to let you know, old and new patrons of The Kenneth More Theatre, that the KMT is now back in action.

With its very successful panto which was as sell out. The KMT has some very good shows lined up, Our House Madness the Musical performed by IODS and choreographed by Lorraine Porter and hopefully the Palmerstone Dancers then Arabs vs Asisans a stand up comedy show. Bugsy Malone by Vision Culture and Leisure, Thorougly Modern Millie by Forest Musivcal Theatre plus many shows for the kids.

Additionally, the KMT has started showing films on a Monday morning for £5 with tea included. Films to come are The Apartment March 9 and The Graduate on April 13.

Come along to the KMT and pick up a brochure of what is coming.

The management will look forward to seeing old and new patrons.

Causes of violent crime are complex

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Unmesh Desai, Labour's London Assembly Policing and Crime spokesperson, writes:

Keith Prince's latest column fails to provide the full picture about Sadiq Khan's efforts to tackle the scourge of violence in our capital.

The causes of violent crime in society are deeply complex but have been made far worse by Tory Government cuts to the police, youth services and councils. But Sadiq has a plan to tackle violent crime that's both tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime.

He's putting an extra 1,300 police officers on the streets by taking difficult decisions including increasing council tax by 26p a week.

He's investing £70m in community projects to create more positive opportunities for disadvantaged young Londoners.

And his new 'public health' approach to tackling the root causes of violence includes a new £14m a year Violence Reduction Unit focusing on things like reducing school exclusions.

Meanwhile the Tory candidate, Shaun Bailey, personally helped to implement massive Tory cuts to police and youth services when he was Youth and Crime Advisor to No 10. We mustn't give the keys back to the person who crashed the car in the first place.

Celebrating female RAF trailblazers

Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, chief executive, RAF Benevolent Fund, writes:

This International Women's Day (March 8) the RAF Benevolent Fund are celebrating the female RAF trailblazers who embody the motto of the Royal Air Force - Per Ardua Ad Astra (through adversity to the stars).

These women have served our country with huge distinction and in doing so have continued the legacies of their predecessors, the WRAF and WAAF who bravely fought during the First and Second World War.

One of those trailblazers is Caroline Paige, the first transgender officer to transition openly while serving in the UK Armed Forces in 1999. Lauded as a tactical expert on battlefield helicopter operations, Caroline enjoyed a 35-year career in the RAF. She has spent the last 20 years championing diversity in the workplace and knows from her own experience, talking about these issues helps people understand themselves and the people around them.

For Kirsty Murphy, the RAF's first and, to date, only female Red Arrows pilot, inspiring young girls watching the acrobatic team's jaw-dropping displays was the best part of the job. During her 17-year career in the RAF, Kirsty trained as a GR4 Tornado pilot and since leaving the service has flown with the Blades Aerobatic Display Team.

As the RAF's first female Air-Vice Marshal, Elaine West climbed to the top of her profession. She has since become a trustee for the RAF Benevolent Fund, continuing her work looking after the welfare needs of the RAF Family.

All three of these remarkable women have gone on to do remarkable things since leaving the RAF and we are proud to call them friends of the RAF Benevolent Fund, supporting our work providing assistance to serving and retired personnel and their dependants.

Help cats in need

Zoe Thompson, fundraising mass participation officer, Cats Protection, writes:

Are you a cat lover who enjoys baking? If so then Cats Protection would like your help to raise money for cats in need by hosting a Pawsome Afternoon Tea event in April.

Organising an event is easy and you can hold the event in your home, workplace or school. This year, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Bake Off star Kim-Joy are supporting the event by providing their own recipes to help support the cause.

To register for a free Pawsome Afternoon Tea pack and to view Tim and Kim-Joy's recipes, please visit

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