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Celebrity support to save King Edward Memorial Park

Celebrity support to save King Edward Memorial Park

Steven Berkoff, Delia Smith and Helen Mirren joined comedian Lee Hurst last week adding their personal endorsements to the campaign.

Resident action group SaveKEMP are asking Thames Water to consider alternative construction sites for the Wapping supersewer. Their response is “no comment” despite receiving a petition of over 4,500 signatures.

Delia Smith described the plans as “quite simply idiotic” highlighting the shortage of green space in our community.

Tower Hamlets mayor Luftur Rahman meets Thames Water today after the unanimous vote by the Full Council on 2nd February.

Campaign update from SaveKEMP

Wapping words from SaveKEMP’s vice chairwoman Emma Puosi Dunsire on the campaign’s progress since marching in protest to City Hall on 16th March.

Another week of busy campaigning has gone by leaving us tired but satisfied with our progress. We have bagged another celebrity endorsement (Delia Smith) and we had another round of appearances on websites all over the world, courtesy of Dame Helen Mirren. But we are especially pleased with those activities that engage our community directly.

As you well know, King Edward Park is the meeting point of four different Tower Hamlets’ wards: Wapping, Shadwell, Limehouse and Stepney. The more the campaign progresses the more these different communities come together. Every day we find ourselves meeting and liaising with people from different parts of the borough and that makes our campaign all the more important.

This week, we were invited to the Limehouse Forum meeting by Mark Slankard, head of the group and owner of the Urban Bar. It was a great chance to meet more of our neighbours and to spread the word about Thames Water’s plans. It was also a nice occasion to get to meet this amazing group of people, after the meeting, over drinks at The Narrow with manager Simon Brencher. They have accomplished a lot for Limehouse so their advice and experience is certainly very welcome.

Friday was a particularly busy day. We had a school assembly at St Peter’s, Wapping, where the kids of Year 5 presented our campaign to the other children. Working with the school has been a real privilege and we must thank Mr Johnson, the supporting staff and Ms Dickson, the Head teacher, for making all this possible. Of course a great thank you goes to Toni who worked hard and to the kids themselves who were absolutely brilliant. As part of their Persuasive Writing lessons, the children wrote letters to Her Majesty to convince the Queen to save our precious park. Some extracts were read out at the assembly. Seeing the children’s commitment was very moving and made our efforts all the more worthwhile.

We left the school to head right to Shadwell Mosque, a smaller community compared to the Darul Ummah’s but still very friendly and lively. We will continue our work with the Muslim Community and next Friday we will be in Wapping to take signatures there. The response from the local Mosques has been great and has given us the chance to come together with some amazing activists that work really hard for our Tower Hamlet community.

We left the Mosque to stop at St Paul’s Shadwell Church where we met Vicar Ric Thorpe. King Edward VII Memorial Park rests within this parish and therefore the congregation is eager to get involved. We are looking forward to work with them.

The last act of this very eventful week was a meeting with Mayor Luftur Rahman and Cllr Alibor Choudhury who came out on a Sunday to talk about strategies for the campaign. Our Mayor will be meeting Thames Water tomorrow to make sure they stop pretending they have not heard about the motion passed on 02nd Feb 2011, when the Full Council unanimously voted a motion against works in any part of the park.

Lutfur, we are all behind you on this one!

Memorial benches in King Edward Memorial Park

Thames Water’s plans will remove all of the memorial benches in the park but families have not been consulted.

Memorial benches in King Edward Memorial ParkLast week Emma met Michelle Ryan and Donna Parnell who bring flowers to the Ryan family memorial bench in King Edward Memorial Park every month.

The bench seen here is dedicated to Michelle’s father (Michael), mother (Joan) and brother (Gary) who sadly died within 18 months of each other in 2006/7. Donna was Gary Ryan’s partner.

Michael Ryan worked as a Lightman on the Thames for 25 years and half his ashes were scattered on the river beneath. The family loved the park which had a view they called their own.

A second bench nearby is dedicated to Michelle’s Aunt (Emily) and Uncle (Henry).

What’s next for SaveKEMP?

The petition against Thames Water’s plans has over 4,500 signatures and the fight to save King Edward Memorial Park continues with support from across the community. A meeting with John Biggs and Boris Johnson’s office will take place on 31 March.

To follow and support the campaign visit the SaveKEMP website or find them on Facebook and Twitter. As Helen Mirren said:

I hope that the beautiful King Edward VII Memorial Park Green continues to be a garden space for the many local people who have nowhere else to enjoy a garden environment.


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  • http://www.benchmemorials.co.uk/ MemorialBench

    I think the petition is great, I’ll be sure to sign.