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Letters of the week (15/10/15)

“Marvellous Macmillan coffee morning”

I’d like to thank everyone who came to my Macmillan Coffee Morning on the Dickens Estate, Bermondsey, on September 25.

I’d like to thank my daughters Jo and Rachael, my husband Jim and my sister Maria for all their help. I’d like to thank the Boatman pub for their generous donation of £220 and the Dickens Estate Tenants’ and Residents’ Association for their donation of £95 and free use of Wade Hall.

Finally I’d like to thank Nancy of Greens Florists, Katie of Gillets florists, all the ladies, David for his cake and not forgetting my little Lottie.

It’s always been my aim to raise £1000 and this year we managed it. Thank you to everyone who gave so generously.”

Sheila Woolgar, Bermondsey

“We need more graves one way or the other”

In regards to your article (‘Controversial woodland cemetery plans voted through’, Southwark News 8th October 2015) about woodland space for new burials, as Vice chairman of the London association of funeral directors, I have brought this to the attention of my members at our last three monthly period meeting on Monday, October 5th .

Most London funeral directors are concerned about the problem of the lack of cemetery space that so many boroughs will be faced with in the near future, for residents not only of Southwark, but also almost every in London.

I have been informed that  Wandsworth will be introducing a new system for the reclamation of a grave where that grave has not been used for over 75 years. The council will painstakingly have to try to contact the next of kin to allow this to happen, but it is a way forward in helping the bereaved to inter there loved ones rather than go for the option of cremation.

Maybe Southwark Council will endorse this option in the near future.

If not the people of Southwark must support the council in trying to find more green space for the burial of their loved ones.

I can understand that the re-use of an exisiting grave will not be everyone’s choice. However, it is a thought for a way forward in helping our people go ahead with their wishes of internment.

Michael Thorpe, Vice – Chairman London Association of Funeral Directors  ( Southern District), F.A.Albin & Sons, Bermondsey


“Good on council for free fireworks display”

I think that it’s a great idea by Southwark Council to make this year’s firework display in Southwark Park a free ticketed event, especially after last year’s fiasco.

I do, however, hope that they publicise the fact that it will be a ticket only event better than in a small article tucked away on page 18 in Southwark News.

It needs to be a full page advert giving people notice well in advance of the event. Otherwise there are going to be thousands of people turning up at the gate with no tickets and it will be even more chaotic than last year!

Also, I hope that they provide a way for people (like the elderly) who don’t have access to the internet, to get tickets.

Tony Moorcroft, Bermondsey

“Should the council have given £1million to Tate Modern?”

The decision by Southwark Council’s Cabinet to contribute  £1m to the Tate Modern without any consultation and being more specific about the additional benefits they have secured for Southwark residents, has raised an unfortunate question mark over the legitimacy of the donation and the Cabinet’s judgement.

Last month the Cabinet agreed to give the final million pounds of the capital works to deliver the Tate learning suites in the Tate Modern extension project, but claimed not to have enough time to carry out a public consultation exercise. This despite the report stating that the council had been discussing the contribution “for some time”. For this and other reasons Liberal Democrat councillors attempted to call the decision in for further scrutiny.

As one of the ward councillors for the Tate Modern, I am hugely proud to have one of the most successful modern art galleries in the world in our borough.  The issue here, however, is not the gallery, it is whether at a time of reduced resources, this is the most appropriate and effective way of spending public money, especially at a time when we are making cuts to our own services.

For these reasons I decided to carry out my own consultation of residents in my ward to find out their views and whether they were for or against the contribution. In total 58% (36) were against, 37% (23) were in favour (although just over a 1/3 of those in favour also had reservations about either the size of the contribution or the lack of consultation) and 5% (3) were neutral.

While it is right for the Council to look beyond our formal statutory responsibilities, and support the valued cultural institutions in our borough, this doesn’t negate the need to be accountable for public money and carry out meaningful consultation with residents. The failure of the Cabinet to ensure this happened has sadly made the decision more controversial and probably reduced public support for the contribution.

Councillor David Noakes, Deputy Leader of Southwark Liberal Democrat Group


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