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Rabbi remains ‘positive’ after Pokémon Go makes Ilford’s Holocaust Memorial Garden a pokéstop

PUBLISHED: 18:13 15 July 2016 | UPDATED: 20:18 15 July 2016

Pokémon Go users have been catching all kinds of pokémon in Ilford. Picture: Ajay Nair

Pokémon Go users have been catching all kinds of pokémon in Ilford. Picture: Ajay Nair

Archant

A rabbi welcomed the use of a Holocaust memorial garden as a pokéstop, calling the smartphone game it is part of an “opportunity to engage”.

Holocaust memorial in the parkHolocaust memorial in the park

The comments come after people from all over Redbridge immersed themselves in the augmented reality game Pokémon Go following its UK release yesterday.

The game involves players catching pokémon – or “pocket monsters” – from geographical locations. Players can also congregate at meeting points such as pokéstops to progress in the game.

The Holocaust Memorial Garden at Valentines Park, Cranbrook Road, Ilford, is one of many well-known landmarks in the borough, which have now become pokéstops.

“It’s interesting,” said Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, of Chabad Lubavitch synagogue, Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill.

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE Ilford Chabad (Jewish centres in Gants Hill and Buckhurst Hill)Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE Ilford Chabad (Jewish centres in Gants Hill and Buckhurst Hill)

“On one hand it’s a bit disrespectful, but on the other hand people might actually learn about something that they didn’t know existed.

“It might make people stop and think why it’s there, it’s an opportunity to engage. I think it’s more a positive than a negative.”

However, children’s charity NSPCC warned parents about the dangers of youngsters going out to find pokémon, airing concerns about adults using it to prey on children.

A spokesman said: “Pokémon Go is setting a precedent as the most successful reality game app on the market. It’s very disappointing that child safety isn’t at its heart.”

Pokémon Go users have been catching all kinds of pokémon in Ilford. Rob Bolt, 22. Picture: Ajay NairPokémon Go users have been catching all kinds of pokémon in Ilford. Rob Bolt, 22. Picture: Ajay Nair

However, gamers playing in Ilford town centre today praised Pokémon Go for getting people out of their homes to see new places, exercise and socialise.

“It’s a great way to get out of the house,” said Anjali Patel, 20, from Ilford.

Rob Bolt, 22, from Kent, who was playing during his lunch break, said: “It’s pretty cool – there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just a fun thing and there’s a lot of potential here.”

Arjun Sharma, 19, from Wimbledon, said it was the “future of getting healthy”, but Ayesha Akhtar, 21, from Uxbridge, said it had the potential to become “addictive”.

Pokémon Go users have been catching all kinds of pokémon in Ilford. Ayesha Akhtar, 21. Picture: Ajay NairPokémon Go users have been catching all kinds of pokémon in Ilford. Ayesha Akhtar, 21. Picture: Ajay Nair

“You’re trying to get pokémon not interact with humans,” she added. “You could have a good virtual life but not a good life in reality – we’re becoming consumed by the virtual world.”

Other pokéstops around Ilford include Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford Hospital Chapel, Ilford Hill, and Vine United Reformed Church, Riches Road.

Shopping centre Exchange Ilford and Ilford station are pokémon gyms – where players use their pokémon battle other pokémon.


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