Ilford pensioner turfed off allotment

An Ilford pensioner is angry and distraught after being turfed off her allotment for ignoring three ‘dirty plot’ notices.

Dimela Yekwai, 64, of Vicarage Lane was angered to receive a letter from the Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society on Friday to say she cannot keep her plot because of its unkempt state.

“I am not giving them the key, they will have to get the police first,” said Miss Yekwai who rents a plot on the Vicarage Lane South allotments.

“It was part of my healing programme when I had a stroke in 2003.I have had an allotment there for quite a while,

“The allotment is a crucial part of my life -I’ve got my strawberries there.

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“My allotment is really important to me and my well being. I am angry and upset.”

Miss Yekwai, who works part time with excluded children, accused the society of having a ‘dictatorial attitude’

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“They just see what they want to see,” she said. They are taking liberties with me as a pensioner.

“It’s part of my psyche, for me it’s not a jungle.”

Ed Oliver, secretary of the Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society, told the Recorder it sent Miss Yekwai three letters since October 2011 before notifying her of the committee’s decision to end the agreement.

“We were very lenient and allowed her to continue,” said Mr Oliver.

“I can understand she’s upset. She’s had her second chances. On Sunday she was responsible for the fire brigade being called out.

“Bonfires are banned, there are posters. She should know that.”

Miss Yekwai said her grass fire was in a ‘self contained burning cylinder’.

“I just had it in my mind it was summer time I could burn grass,” she added.

Miss Yekwai also claimed she was prepared to pay someone to help her keep the plot tidy.

Responding, Mr Oliver said: “If people don’t tell us, we don’t know.

“We don’t want to throw people off. The reason people get dirty plot notices is because there is a long waiting list for plots.

“People see grassy plots and wonder why they can’t have one.”

Mr Oliver said Miss Yekwai can appeal the committee’s decision.

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