Recorder letters: Knife crime, parking, mouse traps, polio and organ donation

PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 December 2017

These knives were seized by police at Westfield Stratford on Boxing Day. Picture: Twitter@MetTaskforce.

These knives were seized by police at Westfield Stratford on Boxing Day. Picture: Twitter@MetTaskforce.


Letters from Recorder readers this week

A knife takes more than one life

Danny O’Brien, founder of Anti-Knife UK, writes:

During 2017 Anti-Knife UK shockingly reported via social media over 280 fatal stabbings, not just in London but across the whole of the UK.

Sadly, stabbings have now become so frequent the element of shock no longer exists. Three hundred families this year alone will be missing a family loved one this Christmas due to knife crime.

But the heartache doesn’t stop after Christmas…it is a lifelong gut-wrenching ache.

Life, of course, goes on around these families they watch their lost loved one’s friends enjoying marriage, happiness and having children of their own, thus further deepening the gaping chasm that can never be a full heart again.

The families of the victims of knife crime are further tortured with police investigations, elongated court trials, especially if the defendant denies the crime…families trying to stay strong so that justice is done and then and only then can they allow themselves to crumble in their grief.

Many unfortunate families are further stress-layered with the financial costs that a funeral brings; after all it goes against the grain, the natural order, for a parent to bury their child…it is so wrong…so terribly, terribly wrong and these families can be plunged into unexpected debt.

Some parents split up and in a number of cases the family needs to move out of the area because the memories are just far too painful.

There is also the matter of the family of the murderer for they too must come to terms with the stark reality that a member of their own family has taken a life – killed, murdered – but they will, in many cases, have visiting hours with their loved one within prison walls, reach across a table and hold their hands in comfort, waiting for the day they get their family member back; no gaping chasm in their hearts…unlike the family of the victim whose loved one will never return – for their visiting hours are within a cemetery’s gates, no warmth to be had clasping a hard granite headstone above a cold, cold grave.


Alternative parking scheme suggestion

Josephine Haworth, Wanstead, full address supplied, writes:

The new proposal is to implement residents’ parking for about half of the roads on the Aldersbrook Estate leaving the other half to bear the brunt of having vans from other boroughs parked in our streets.

In practice, given that we are voting again on this proposal, this means that the parking scheme will be implemented for the entire estate.

The matter of Northumberland Avenue (one of the roads whose residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of the scheme) raises other issues. If Northumberland Avenue were to become residents’-only parking or meter payment, this would in effect restrict access to Wanstead Park for dog walkers and those who wish to just walk in the park to take advantage of its beauty and fresh air.

The park is an amenity to be enjoyed free of charge to all, not just to local residents.

I would urge Redbridge Council to consider a scheme such as is in operation in Capel Road, where, at the Manor Park end, walkers can park free for up to four hours.

This could easily be implemented on the Wanstead Park side of the road.

It would preclude commuters and workers from other areas leaving their vehicles all day, or for many days at a time.

Alternatively, the parking scheme used around Hampstead Heath and Kenwood could be used: here, metered parking ends at 12 noon, allowing those from outside of the borough of Camden to walk on the heath, or to swim in the ponds, without penalty.

Where can I get glue mouse trap?

Mr A Still, York Road, Ilford, writes:

I went to get glue mouse traps at the 99p shop in Cranbrook Road. I was told the council has forbidden them from selling this product.

Here in York Road, we have a plague of mice/rats.

Poison doesn’t work, they just get fatter. Glue traps are the only answer.

If the council have stopped the 99p shop stocking these, can they please tell me where I can get them?

We can beat polio and post polio

Ted Hill MBE, CEO, The British Polio Fellowship, writes:

December 16 marked 100 years since the birth of science fiction writer, Arthur C Clarke, who contracted polio in 1962.

Polio returned in the form of post polio ayndrome (PPS) and led to Clarke’s death in 2008.

The former patron of The British Polio Fellowship would be concerned that three decades from his original diagnosis, we are still fighting to support 120,000 people in the UK with PPS – a neurological condition for which there is no cure and for which people still wait up to eight years for a diagnosis.

A common theme in Clarke’s writing, is the notion that evolution improves the lot of people generally; and while the battle to beat polio has evolved over the last 30 years – as has the science and technology to help those with PPS – not enough see the benefits.

Properly managed, PPS can be controlled, lessening the burden on the NHS, while good equipment and orthotics can dramatically improve patient quality of life.

2017 saw significant steps taken to raise awareness of PPS, with a BBC Lifeline Appeal and PPS Day at the Scottish Parliament.

As British Polio approaches its 80th anniversary in January 2019, we don’t need strange powers to beat polio and PPS; just the will to put an end to an odyssey that has already gone on for far too long, to transform polio from science fact into science fiction.

If you want more information, contact the British Polio Fellowship on 0800 043 1935 or visit

Organ donation saves lives

Dr John Chisholm, BMA medical ethics committee chairman, writes:

The launch of the government’s consultation this week on introducing an opt-out system for organ donation is a welcome next step following Theresa May’s announcement of the intention to change organ donation laws in England.

For those patients in north, central and east London anxiously awaiting news of an organ donation, among the 6,500 on waiting lists throughout the country, the progress made towards presumed consent will provide some hope of making it easier for those wishing to donate to do so.

As well as providing an opportunity for groups to have their voices heard and to ensure the safeguarding and protection of the interests of the various parties involved, the consultation will hopefully increase public awareness of the process and lead to more discussion of organ donation within families and between friends, so that over time, donation becomes more normalised.

The government must now ensure that the resources are available to facilitate the expected increase in donations resulting from the proposed changes. Over 50,000 people are thought to be alive today due to organ donation.

Ultimately, this is about saving lives and any move towards making it easier to do so is welcome.

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