Anne Barlow Remembered – by her partner, Geoff Horsnell

As some of you may remember, Anne Barlow was chair of the Wanstead Society until her death in 2010. Anne died of secondary bone cancer, so my immediate reaction was to approach Cancer ResearchUKin order to make a donation to funding directed at research into bone cancer. I was most surprised to learn that there was no money going to that particular form of the disease. Cancer ResearchUksuggested that, if I could think of a suitable project, then they would open a fund stream for me.

 Anne liked her music. In fact there were two pieces of music directly associated with Anne. The first is a setting of a poem written for the two of us by my sister when Anne first fell ill and subsequently set to music. The second is a rather obscure piece of Vivaldi, called “Ah ch’infelice smpre” from Cantata RV684 “Cessate omai cessate”, which Anne heard on the radio at the end of 2009 and had wanted to include in her singing lessons. Unfortunately, cancer caught up with her before she could start to learn the piece. I proposed to record these two pieces and sell the resulting CD single with the proceeds going to Cancer Research. They, in the meantime, had set up “The Anne Barlow Cancer Fund” to receive the funds.

The money will go towards clinical trial of a new class of drugs called bisphosphonates which, it is believed, might stop bone cancer in its tracks for some people – a worthwhile cause indeed.

Burglary up 15% in Redbridge – Wanstead, Snaresbrook & Aldersbrook vulnerable

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Crime in Redbridge has risen by 3.7% since January 2011 with burglary seeing the largest increase with a 15% rise.

Wanstead is the second highest place for burglary in the borough, and it looks set to increase.

Sources told the Wanstead Society that, with heightened security in Stratford, criminal gangs from those areas are fanning out into neighbouring areas – namely Wanstead, Leytonstone, Ilford and Barking – as it has become too dangerous for them to operate near the Olympic site.

Of course, all of this coincides with a general reduction in police numbers across England. The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level for a decade with just 135,838 police officers in September 2011 – 6,012 fewer than the 141,850 there had been a year earlier. Police civilian numbers have also fallen by 11% over the same period.

Chief Constable Peter Fahy, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead for workforce development, told the BBC that it was “not surprising” to see a fall in the numbers of officers as most police forces had seen significant cuts.

“We will shortly enter the most difficult financial year for policing in living memory but forces have the plans to cope with what will be a most challenging time,” he said.

With crime up, police numbers falling and Wanstead Police Station still under threat, the outlook for Wanstead, Snaresbrook and Aldersbrook looks grim.

What makes this issue so topical is that there is a Mayoral election on 4th May this year. Who ever wins will have financial control over London’s police force for the next 4 years.  Whilst there is a lot of focus on the Olympics – which is only right – what happens after? Police budgets are going to be even tighter than they are now, and the MET will be looking for a saving.

When the political candidates come knocking on your door – ask them this: “Do you intend to keep Wanstead Police Station open, with a staffed counter service if you win?”

Listen to what they say. It might just influence how you vote.

This is what we are fighting against – this is why we exist!

Front Garden Parking 2

Our partners at Living Streets, formally the Pedestrian Association, have undertaken an audit in a section of Ilford called the Commonwealth Estate with the aim of  promoting how it could be improved. Reading their report is a very sad experience. Ilford, with its once beautiful double fronted Victorian homes, has been destroyed over the last half century.

Parking in front gardens has lead to the removal of any green or pleasant frontages, pavements are cracked, there are no street trees and the rise of rented accommodation and absentee landlords who turn large homes into small flats has left the area scarred and barren, void of its once pleasant street scene.

This is what we are fighting against, and why the Society exists. Without the Society keeping an eagle eye on what developers are doing, it could all so easily happen to us!

The Society campaigns for good quality, and sympathetic development that seek to preserve and enhance our community. We lobby the Council for good quality public realm improvements, such a better lights and paving, and seek to aid developers and businesses with advice on how best to renovate our historic buildings.

Don’t let this happen to Wanstead. Join the Society and help support us protect our community. Wanstead is worth keeping.

Rise of the rats – but where are the bins?

Park Litter 1

The Wanstead Society has been campaigning for the installation of more bins, with lids, on Christchurch Green.

Sadly we have not been getting very far, as observed by some of our eagle-eyed members who have sent in these photos of Christchurch Green taken on a Monday morning following a sunny weekend. As you can see, it’s not the prettiest of sights.

Now, we have to be fair – if some people weren’t so irresponsible with their litter there would be less of a rat/fox problem in Wanstead. So it’s not just a Council issue, it’s a Wanstead problem that we all must take control of.

However as can be seen, a few more bins, with lids, in the park wouldn’t go amiss… so if your listening Redbridge, please help!