Stairway to Heaven Memorial

Thursday, 17 November 2016

2016 NEWS

Work has started on the final part of the Memorial. We spent an exciting day at the joinery workshop watching the teak being made ready. Now we have photos of the conicals being cut. They will be sited in the roof to allow sunlight to shine through onto the paving below. There will be 173 of them to represent each of the victims. Many of the families, friends, schools and lovely individuals and companies have sponsored the conicals. We have 2 left to be sponsored. If anyone is interested in sponsoring them just send an email to the address on the opening page of the website. Each conical will take one hour and 22 minutes to produce. It is such a precise and intricate process. We'll give you further updates when we have them.

At long last we have been give the legal agreement by Tower Hamlets Council to add the final part of the Memorial. Now we have given the go-ahead for the work to start to build the 'stairway' - the final part that will go on top of the existing plinth. The work is likely to take 4 months to complete so we are not expecting it to be in place and finished before February 2017. However, as the work progresses I should have a better idea on timings and will obvioulsy keep you updated on the progress. At least we are on the downward stretch at last. (Sandra, Hon. Secretary)
We had such fun in Victoria Park last Sunday afternoon. The Friends of Victoria Park kindly organised their last event for the season at the bandstand so we could collect donations. They also erected a gazebo with a stall to sell our goods and give out leaflets. The East London Late Starters band started the afternoon off in Victoria Park and then the Broken Swing Band continued entertaining us. Their singer was brilliant. The crowds gradually built up  and picnickers arrived and spread out around the Bandstand area. Then people started dancing to the music and it was a really fun afternoon. At first it was quite cool and very windy and it was difficult to keep the items on our stall, but then the wind died down, the sun shone and lots of people were kind enough to enquire about our Memorial and the Bethnal Green disaster, take leaflets, buy key rings and put donations in our buckets. We are extremely grateful to Richard Desmond of the FoVP and all the players and singers in the bands that entertained us all afternoon. And a big thank-you to everyone who put donations in our buckets and tin. We collected £340. As always, there were costs as we do not give anyone any payments or expenses from the charity. We all pay our own expenses out of our own pockets to ensure that all the donations are used towards building the last part of the Bethnal Green Memorial. So, a huge thank-you to all our helpers, Derek, Lee, Maria, Mike, Tracey, Sandra and Jodie. They were a great help, particularly as i had to rest my foot some of the time as i had recently had an operation on it.
We have been trying to move the project forward to enable us to complete the memorial and add the final 'stairway' on top. Unfortunately, with elections, holidays and various other distractions it has not been possible to agree the legal documents with Tower Hamlets Council. We hope this can be resolved as soon as possible as it is very frustrating for all of us trying to finish the memorial quickly. We will obviously keep you updated as soon as this has been resolved. Donations towards the final part of the project are always welcome. Please get in touch for more details.

In the meantime we have already auctioned a Spurs pennant and will have a number of other items to auction in aid of the charity in the coming months. We have a number of Churchill crowns in their cases, a hand-made bear, a bracelet with 173 gem stones, and the original plaque that was fixed above the station stairs to mark the disaster on the 50th anniversary. This was lost when TFL refurbished Bethnal Green tube station but it turned up at an auction a little while ago and was bought by one of our supporters who kindly gave it to us to raise funds towards the final part of the memorial. You can always follow the details on our facebook page or get in touch if you need more information.

Vinarius, the wine shop in Roman Road Market, 536 Roman Road, kindly organised a fund-raising event for us in May and raised £340. So, a huge thank-you to them and all their customers that took part for their generosity. Go along and buy some of their wine and say hello to their lovely staff.

The East London Garden Society planted all the lovely daffodils that brightened up our memorial garden in the spring. They plan to raise funds to maintain our memorial garden and other gardens in Bethnal Green. They are doing this through crowdfunding. If you would like to contribute please go to

There are just a few conicals left to sponsor, so if you have not sponsored one in memory of your loved one please get in touch as soon as possible. For just £200 you will have your name or business listed at the side of one of the victims on our website list. This list will also be stored at the Bishopsgate Institute and Tower Hamlets archives for posterity once the project has been completed.

The Memorial Service to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster took place on Sunday 6th March at 2pm at St. John's Church (next to Bethnal Green underground station). Our wonderful patrons, TV's DIY expert Tommy Walsh and Radio Historian Harry Harris were there, as always, plus lots of lovely Pearly Kings and Queens. After the Service we paraded across the road to lay flowers and wreaths on the memorial followed by a short blessing. Then everyone was invited to return to the church where refreshments were available plus an exhibition about the disaster.. 

There have been a few books published recently which include details about the disaster. Joyce Hampton  has produced 'Looking Back - A Century of Life in Bethnal Green' which makes a super present for any occasion. It details the history of the East London area in a very readable way, with lots of information about individual streets and families. It is a fascinating read for anyone that grew up or lived in Bethnal Green. And of course it includes details about the disaster. This can be purchased from the author on: or purchased through Amazon. 

Kate Thompson's paperback 'The Secret of the Singer Girls' is available from Amazon and is a great holiday read. The follow-up prequel is called 'The Secrets of the Sewing Bee'  and may still be available from bookshops for £6.99.

On Thursday 3rd March - the actually anniversary of the disaster - we did a charity collection at Bethnal Green tube station. Thanks to all our helpers and the generous local public we raised £244.96 as we had to cut short the collection due to unforseen circumstances.

Our first news for 2016 is that the teak finally arrived in the UK on 31st December and is now being tested to check all the joints etc are OK.  Once it has been passed by the experts then work can begin on carving the surnames in large letters all the way round the sides, putting in the framework, adding the roof and the angled conicals (that will allow the sunlight to shine through). This will all take quite a long time to complete, but we will keep you informed about the progress from time to time and hopefully have full details at the Memorial Service on 6th March at St. John on Bethnal Green Church (next to BG tube station) at 2pm. In the meantime photos of the teak being unloaded in the UK can be seen on the opening page of this website. 

Donations and sponsors for the conicals are still needed. So please contact me if you require any more information about that.  Best wishes for 2016

Sandra (Hon. Secretary). Email:

The good news to end the year is that the teak is on its way!!! At long last the delays during the year have been sorted out and the teak is on a ship and should land in the UK at the end of December.

This teak will be used to produce the final part of the Bethnal Green Memorial - the 'stairway'. It will then be down to the UK manufacturers to check it, carve the surnames in large letters all around the sides, and produce the roof that will have the 173 conicals in the top that will allow sunlight to shine through onto the paving below. These will represent the victims of the disaster.

We don't think this will be ready in time for the Memorial Service in March. However, we hope it will be completely finished not long after that. We will obviously keep you informed of the progress during 2016.

The Memorial Service to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster will take place on Sunday 6th March at 2pm at St. John on Bethnal Green Church (next door to Bethnal Green underground station).  All are welcome to attend and bring along flowers or wreaths, but please make sure there are no metal parts to these as they stain the memorial plinth and it is difficult to get the brown marks off.

The raffle of signed Arsenal football club memorabilia took place on 19th December. The 4 winners have now been advised and we thank everyone that took part as it raised £625. We are delighted with this final fund-raising event for 2015. 

If everyone that has promised us donations sends in their money in January that will leave us just under £3000 left to raise to complete the work on the top part of the memorial. We will keep you informed about this during 2016.
We could still do with some more conicals being sponsored, so if you are thinking about doing that in memory of your loved ones or just to sponsor a conical for a victim that has no known relative, please do so as soon as possible. More details can be obtained from the charity secretary via the email contacts on the front page.

Thanks very much to everyone that has supported us this year and for all your donations. It has kept us going during the frustrating delays with the teak. However, we now see light at the end of the tunnel at last and look forward to seeing lots of you at the official unveiling ceremony in 2016. We will keep you informed about the date of that when we have it.

Best wishes from everyone on the STH Memorial committee for a happy and healthy 2016.
from Sandra (Hon. secretary)
We have had a bit of a break during the summer to give our committee members a rest. We have all been fund-raising and working very hard to raise all the money we need for 8 years and are now hoping that enough people will sponsor the conicals that go in the roof of the memorial to help us complete our project on time. There are still conicals on the list (that appears here on our website) for people or businesses to sponsor.  You don't have to have any connection to the disaster. For £200 you will have your name or business website listed at the side of one of the victims. This list will not only appear on our website but will eventually be uploaded onto our facebook pages, stored at the Bishopsgate Institute and Tower Hamlets archives for posterity. If you would like more information please get in touch. Details appear on our donations page or you can email the charity office on 

The teak that will be used for the final part of the memorial - the 'stairway' - was ordered in April and there have been a number of delays and set-backs with preparing it for shipping to the UK unfortunately.  However, we hope this will be completed in the next few days and the teak should be on its way to us during October. We will send you more news when we get it.

A Guided Walk by the Whitechapel Society will take place on Sunday 4th October around the famous haunts of Bow with connections to Jack the Ripper, The Krays, the Suffragettes and other East London historical subjects including the Bethnal Green tube disaster. It starts at 1pm from Bow Road tube station and will last 2 hours and cost £10. Just turn up and pay on the day.

To help raise more funds our architect Harry Paticas has kindly produced a number of beautiful mounted photographs from his trip to China that can be purchased for £30 each. They can be viewed at the gallery cafe in the basement of St. Margaret's House, Old Ford Road (close to York Hall).. Contact us if you need more information.

Over the last few months there has been a number of fund-raising events organised for us: 
  • In June £1,350 was raised on the Ben Nevis Challenge by Brian Wood MC, Matt Ryan, Russell Smith and Monty Bath. Our thanks go to these guys for completing a gruelling challenge in dreadful weather 
  • The Genesis Cinema in Stepney screened Somi De Souza's wonderful film "I Remember, I Remember" which included interviews with some of our survivors.
  • Julian Apperley and The Hare pub in Cambridge Heath Road (close to the start of Mare Street) continues to raise money for us with the collecting tins on his bar. The last one produced £40.49 but he has been raising funds for us over the years totally at least £2000. He and his customers are brilliant to continue to support us. Pop along there sometime to enjoy some Real Ales.
  • The Askew Road Libary in West London also continues to raise funds for us. They raised £50 at their VE Day celebrations and we thank them and their wonderful visitors. 
  • Various talks around London and Essex have continued to raise more money. When talks are given by our Secretary Sandra she asks for a donation to the funds rather than a payment for her. The audience also usually contribute by putting donations in our collection tin too.  
  • Charity Flowers give us a donation every time somebody orders flowers through them. There are no delivery charges and the flowers are very fresh and long-lasting but you have to nominate our charity (Stairway to Heaven Memorial) for us to receive a donation.  This is only operating until February 2016 and then it will probably be closed.
  • Our guided walk 'All Change in the City' raised £30 in May. 

 Prior to this these were our earlier events:

Our recent station collections went well with £385.60 raised at Liverpool Street, thanks to the wonderful Pearly Kings & Queens who helped us for a large part of the day, and £304.97 at Stratford Station. Our thanks to all the helpers who gave their time freely, as always. There are no plans for any more station collections for a while.

Raju Vaidyanathan completed the marathon, despite his poor knees, in just under 6 hours, so we thank him very much.  If you put your name down on one of his sponsor forms could you please pay on our website?  If you are not sure what/if you sponsored him please get in touch and I can let you know.

We have 4 very brave people (all ex Army and one has the MIlitary Cross) undertaking the Ben Nevis Challenge on 20th June to raise funds for us. They will trek, ride and canoe up and around Ben Nevis. It’s a gruelling event, especially if the weather is not good. If you could sponsor them, even for a small amount, please go to:

On Saturday 6th June Tower Hamlets Cemetery will be holding their open day from midday to 5pm.  They have lots of lovely wildlife walks, activities and historical information during the day. There will be people there to show you to the graves of the disaster victims that are buried there too. It’s free to go in and there are refreshments available. The cemetery is a short walk from Mile End or Bow Road stations or you can park in Southern Grove or nearby. If you would like more information please let me know.

I’ve been wondering if people would like to get together at St. John’s Church on a Saturday morning, probably in July, for a chat and maybe a cup of tea or coffee to talk to others from the East End and see if anyone in the audience knew their relatives in Bethnal Green during the war. There are many families connected with the disaster that probably knew each other and there are some members of the same family that we have been able to reunite or might be able to reunite in future. If enough people would like to come along to this we will organise a date. I’d therefore be grateful if you could let me know if you would like to join in as soon as possible please. 

Please don’t forget our 2 books are still available to buy if you have not already done so (we now receive royalties for both) and they make good holiday reading: “The Secrets of the Singer Girls” by Kate Thompson is £7.99 (or half price in W.H. Smiths at present, or in supermarkets or Amazon) and Looking Back – A Century of Life in Bethnal Green” by Joyce Hampton, a history of life in BG from 1862 to more recent times, including her family history.  £9.99 + P & P direct from the author at:

Our wonderful patron, Tommy Walsh, had a new DIY TV programme series on BBC 1 from Monday 13th April at 11.45am, every day for just over a week. It’s definitely worth catching-up on BBC iPlayer as it is so informative.  Please spread the word.  Also, another of our patrons, Cheryl Baker (formerly Bucks Fizz), is touring in a super new show. I saw it in Dartford recently and its brilliant. At the end everyone was dancing in the aisles, clapping and singing along to all their hits as well as old and new songs. See her website for dates and venues around the country (everywhere from Leeds, Norfolk, Southend, Eastbourne, Isle of Wight, etc: Don’t miss a super evening’s entertainment.

On Saturday 14th March; R Kelly pie and mash shop at 284 Bethnal Green Road (that's the one just past Valance Road if you are walking from BG tube station) held a special event to mark their 100th anniversary. They were offering free pie and mash all day in return for a donation to our charity.  They had Pearly Kings & Queens entertaining and singing with a wonderful piano player. It was a good old fashioned 'knees up'. Robert Kelly said that his family had been selling pies, jellied eels and live eels to people of Bethnal Green for 100 years and he wanted to give something back. Many of his customers must have died in the Bethnal Green tube disaster, or been injured, or were survivors or rescuers. So it was a natural thing for him to want to help us to raise more funds towards completing our memorial. Our thanks go to Robert Kelly and his family for working so hard producing the pie and mash all day long, followed by bread pudding,and helping to raise over £2000 for us. We really appreciate their generosity.
We have now ordered the final part of the Stairway to Heaven Memorial to be manufactured, but still need to raise more funds to cover the final bill. We therefore hope that more businesses and individuals will be willing to sponsor one of the 173 conicals in memory of one of the victims for £200 each.   Sponsors will have their name/s (and website if required) listed on our website and in the archives at the Bishopsgate Library and Tower Hamlets for posterity.  A certificate confirming their sponsorship will also be issued so it can be hung on a wall.   We expect the 'stairway' part of the memorial to take approximately 7 or 8 months to complete so we will continue to raise funds until then. to ensure we have sufficient money to pay the final bills.           

The station collection at Mile End last week produced donations of £652.10. We will be collecting at Bethnal Green tube station on Friday 27th March and look forward to meeting many of our followers and supporters and hope the people passing through the station will be generous and put money in our buckets.

Our Memorial Service was a beautiful event on Sunday 1st March and we were blessed with lovely weather. The Service is a great comfort to those of us that lost loved ones and we thank Fr. Alan Green and everyone at St. John on Bethnal Green Church for organising it. Thank you also to everyone that came along to support us.  It is very gratifying to see the church so full and meet lots of wonderful people. The flowers and wreaths adorning the Memorial certainly take your breath away. Another wonderful site was when we crossed the road from the church to see a line-up of Firefighters forming a guard of honour at the side of the Memorial. It was a real 'wow' moment and very good of them to be there to remember their former colleagues who helped in the rescue and of course worked very hard during the War.

We had wonderful refreshments thanks in part to the Sainsbury's store across the road from the Memorial and also the wonderful beigel shop in Brick Lane. The army of helpers we had in the church in the morning buttering and filling 400 beigles, rolls and lots of cakes really made the time go much quicker than normal. So my sincere thanks to all of the helpers.

The great news that I was able to give out is that Canary Wharf PLC have given us £10,000 and Tower Hamlets Council have awarded us a further £25,000. This will now allow us to order the final part of the Memorial (the 'stairway')  to be manufactured. It will probably take 8 months in all to be shipped to the UK, cured, carved and fixed in place, but it gives us the hope that the Memorial project might be finished by the end of the year provided there are no unforeseen hitches. We will still have to continue to raise funds as we have assumed that various pledges and events that are planned for the next 2 months will raise the remaining money we need to be able to pay the final bills and also cover the VAT. Up until now we have been able to claim back the VAT portion on the building works. However, in the first stage of the project that money was refunded a month later. Now it is not return from the government fund for 3 months. And of course there is no guarantee that the new government will continue the Memorials VAT fund. So, we do need to have that money to pay out the bills in the first place. We therefore hope that more people will sponsor conicals in memory of the victims for £200 each, so please urge your family or businesses to help out with this.
2014 NEWS
A wonderful Christmas or New Year present would be for us to raise the last of the funds needed at last.  If you would like to sponsor one of the conicals in memory of one of the victims please contact us urgently. For £200 you will have your name (or that or your company) listed at the side of one of our victims. Businesses can have their website link on there too. This list will appear on our website early in 2015 and will eventually be stored at the Bishopsgate Institute and also the Tower Hamlets archives and libraries for future generations.  Please help us to start the work on the final part of the memorial early in 2015.

Our thanks to everyone that has helped and supported us this year. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas (or festive season if appropriate) and best wishes for a happy and successful 2015 from everyone on the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust committee.

Station Collections and future events: 
The recent station collection raised:  Leyton on 8th October £123.67; Bethnal Green tube station on 13th October  £318.73;  Shoreditch High Street (overground) on 7th November  £240.45;  Tottenham Court Road station on 16th November £200.13; Hackney Central was £213; Dalston Junction on 3rd December £254.79 and Surrey Quays on 9th December was £110.10. Our thanks to all our helpers that stand in the cold and wet during the day in shifts between 7am and 8pm, holding heavy buckets, especially Lynda Hiscoke who gets up at 4am to travel from Buckinghamshire to help out on the early morning shift.  Also, a huge thank-you to everyone who put money in our buckets.  We really appreciate everyone's contribution towards our charity project.  Helpers are always welcome, but please note that we do not pay any expenses - all our helpers are volunteers thankfully.  This ensure that every penny we collect goes directly towards building the final part of the Bethnal Green tube disaster memorial. We are also always happy to talk to anyone interested in helping us raise more money towards the final £46k needed to complete the project.

Saturday 15th November: – Alf Morris's charity party night raised £675 at the Conservative Club in Hornchurch. Our thanks to everyone that took part and helped out.

a) Our Cockney Night on Friday 10th October at the Working Men’s Club, Pollard Row, just off Bethnal Green Road was a super evening.  As you will see from the report and photos on the opening page of this website our wonderful Pearly Kings & Queens wokred their socks off singing and dancing around entertaining us. We also had a wonderful female duo singing wartime songs with voices like angels. All our entertainers gave their services free of charge and we are so grateful to them. Our brilliant compere - our patron Tommy Walsh - was, as always, the star of the show. He was so good at making sure the event ran smoothly and his hard work in the auction had to be seen to be believed.  He is so generous with his time and working hard for us, we wish to place on record our sincere thanks to him and his lovely wife Marie. 

Our thanks also for the kindess and generosity of the Behtnal Green Working Mens Club, particuarly to Steve and his helpers and Warren and Charlotte. Without their contribution towards the event we would not have raised as much as we did. the total was £1,436.64 Hopefully everyone that came along enjoyed themselves, if the waving of union flags and joining in all the songs was anything to go by it looked as if everyone was having a great time.

b)      The Kray twins talk was really fascinating and we learnt a lot about the notorious gangsters and their family.  In the audience was a man who had travelled all the way from Devon to hear the talk.  He has been interested in the family for many years and has agreed to do another talk next year with a slide show of some of the items he has collected about the Krays such as photographs, birth & death certificates.  The evening raised £305.92 and our thanks to Bill Beadle who gave the talk and Sue Lechmere who organised it, Barbara & Bev who provided the refreshments and everyone that came along.
c)      The play at the Brady Centre raised £69.56 and it was a really good night.  It was a one-woman show and quite amazing that one person could take so many parts and keep the audience totally on the edge of their seats throughout. Our thanks to Natalie Penn for writing and performing such a brilliant play and helping us to raise funds for our charity.
d)      Julian Apperley’s wonderful customers at The Hare pub in Cambridge Heath Road collected £53.70 in the tin on their bar. Sadly somebody stole the other tin, but we thank Julian and all his customers for being so generous. Go along and try out his Real Ales and put a few coins in the new collecting tin.

e) The Jack the Ripper walks by Ripper historian Edward Stow took place on Bank holiday Monday 25th August. Those who braved the weather were treated to a super guided walk and talk with historical facts about Bethnal Green as well as the man that Edward believes really was the Ripper.  He took us to where he lived, worked, his route to work (where most of the murders took place) and showed us exactly what happened in the first officially attributed murder. This was important as it shows how it ties in so well with the Ripper's true identity. Well done everyone for braving the rain and helping us to raise £135.

f) On 11th and 12th September Natalie Penn  wrote and performed a one-woman play about a young girl who befriends a black American GI in Bethnal Green during WW2.  It took place at the Brady Centre,  Bethnal Green, which is a great theatre. Sadly the audiences were not very large but those of that were there were really impressed by the brilliant acting and sharp dialogue. It was an excellent play and of course brought in our disaster as part of the plot.  The collection at the end raised £53.70 so we were really delighted with that and thank Natalie for helping us.  She is certainly a talent to watch out for.

g) The clairvoyance evening at Roman Cars, Roman Road, E3, on Tuesday 1st July was a packed affair. Keith Miller, the Medium, was very impressive, and had messages for many of the people in the audience. He was assisted by Jackie, a trainee medium.  The event raised £210 and we are extremely grateful to Keith, Jackie, Jan and all the staff at Roman Cars for organising such a great evening.


This week we were presented with a cheque for £10,000 by Mayor Boris Johnson. This was the grant that he had agreed to when I spoke to him on LBC radio last month. It has given us a much needed boost (see the full story below on 1st April).  We are now desperate to raise the last £65,000 in order to be able to complete the final part of the Bethnal Green Memorial. So please help by making your donations on our opening page. It doesn't matter how small the donation, it soon adds up. We really need to try to finish the memorial this year. Our survivors are desperate to see this completed, so for their sake please help us out.

Remember that none of our volunteers, committee members or myself, take any expenses or salary out of the charity funds.  We all do this as a labour of love. We all pay our own postage, travel, telephone, stationary, printing, etc, costs out of our own pockets to ensure that every penny donated goes directly towards building the final phase of the Stairway to Heaven Memorial.  That means no admin charges in our charity. There are not many charities around that can say that!!!
Sandra (Hon. Sec/Trustee)

If anyone would like to order the biography of music hall star Gus Ellen “A Cockney at Work. The Story of Gus Elen and his Songs” by Peter Norris please mention that you heard about it through the Bethnal Green Memorial’s cockney night and we will receive a donation for every book purchased. It also comes with a CD. Order through the website:

1st April
March was a very successful month for donations and collections. Then Tuesday 1st April brought a big surprise that I thought was an April Fool’s joke at first.  I was invited onto to Nick Ferrari’s LBC radio show again in the morning. I had been successful in speaking to Mayor Boris Johnson, when he was doing a phone-in on the show, on 3rd March. It was too good an opportunity to miss. I explained that it was the 71st anniversary of the disaster and said that I had paid £80 out of my own pocket to ensure that our elderly supporters had hot drinks and food at our Memorial Service the day before, as so many had travelled far. He was reported in the Evening Standard a few days earlier as agreeing to pay for the Memorial Service for the 7/7 bombings for the next 3 years. I wasn’t asking for that open-ended pledge, just for him to come down to see our Memorial on the Friday, read the individual plaques and put a large cheque in my bucket whilst I was collecting at Bethnal Green tube station!!  He said he couldn’t be there on the Friday but said he’d think about what he could do. So, when I was asked to appear again on the radio show on 1st April as he was doing the phone-in again I did not know what to expect. They played part of my previous conversation with the Mayor again and then Boris announced that he couldn’t give us all we needed, but would be giving a cheque for £10,000. That was a lovely surprise. He also praised the memorial and said that all Londoners should look up the details of the terrible tragedy that affected so many lives and also contribute to the rest of the money we need. So, it was a great boost to our project.

Lets hope that lots of people and businesses do just that. We think we need about £75,000 to finish the project, but we are trying to secure the teak for the ‘stairway’ right now and hope that the price has not increased since our last quote a year ago.

If any family or supporter is able to raise or donate £100 towards this final part I’m sure we will be able to finish the project this year.  Please spread the word around and help if you can. Thank you.

The Memorial Service on 2nd March was a beautiful event. I’d like to place on record our thanks to Fr. Alan Green, Rector of St. John on Bethnal Green Church for conducting such an uplifting Service. He was ably assisted by Fr. Tom O’Brien, from our Lady of the Assumption Priory, Jan McHarry from the London Buddhist Centre and Leon Silver, President of the East London Central Synagogue. Many of our committee members read out some of the 173 names of the victims, we mostly read out those that included our own family members. I always find this part very moving, particularly as I have grown to know the stories of most of those who died over the years I have been secretary. So they feel almost like part of my extended family too. It was good to see so many people there and our thanks go to Peter Sceats for performing the 2 songs he has written about the disaster. He has given us CDs to sell for the charity funds too. So if you would like a copy for £2 please let me know.

On 7th March we did a bucket collection at Bethnal Green tube station and were delighted to meet so many lovely people.  Thanks for all your contributions and support on the day and to our helpers too. We raised £467 that day so a huge thank you to everyone involved.

On 8th March we organised a race night at the Dorset Estate Social Club, though this was mainly arranged by Danny Johnston of Ladbrokes.  Our thanks for all their food and the great racing that was shown on the big screen, plus all their staff who worked really hard taking and working out the bets. And a big thank-you to the Social Club for letting us use their premises too.We raised £725.80 on the night and the club has since made a donation of £250 to the charity as well. So, we are thrilled with all that support.

Finally in March we did a bucket collection at Liverpool Street tube station and had the help of Pearly King of Finsbury, John Waters, his son Darren and Pearly Queen of Upton Park Christine Prosser. They are amazing. They work so hard and never take a penny in expenses for all the charity work that they do. We had other wonderful helpers during the day too and lots of lovely people stopped to talk to us, ask more about the project and of course kindly donated their loose change or notes.We raised £654 so we are really pleased with that.

Here's the end of year round-up for 2013:

Our 2014 desk calendars are now available (one page per month) with lots of photos of our events and people. Cost is £5 and if you are interested just let us know and we can either try to meet up with you or post one.

Our Trustee, Anna Reid organised a spot the ball competition. We hada coloured photo of a football match and you just needed to put some crosses where you think the ball should have been. The cost was £1 and it rasied £120. It was won by Barbara Schoner who received a food hamper as her prize
. Anna will do another competition in the autumn so if you would like to take part just let us know. Speak to Derek Spicer on 07722 162 168
Our final event of the year was the East London Fashion & Design exhibition at the Truman Brewery, off Brick Lane on 5th to 8th  December. We raised over £217 from this and am very grateful to Gideon Cleary for the opportunity to be part of it.

November was a magical month for fund-raising: The Gatehouse School in Bethnal Green presented us with a surprise cheque for £1,632 on Wednesday13th November which the children had raised by selling their school newsletter and cake sales. They all worked very hard and we are extremely grateful to them all for their magnificent efforts. 

The arts auction on Thursday 14th raised approximately £900 and the Festive Fair on Saturday 16th raised just over £515. Our thanks to everyone that donated or bought items at the fair and Auction, to our wonderful arts auctioneer, comedian John Ryan, to Mike Pattison for making the photos available and a special thank-you to everyone who bought items.
We still have the following artworks to sell. Let us know if you might be interested and we can send photos of the items for you to consider:

Charming watercolour of ‘Feeding the ducks’ by Sheila Biggs size 15” x 11 ¾ “  (upright) in its white card frame (showing a young girl feeding the ducks in a farm yard) £40; 

Watercolour “Farm on the Bridge” by Cherie Clark 11” x 13 ½ “ (landscape country scene) in its white card frame £40; 

Watercolour in glass & beachwood frame “A Shady day” by June Allen  15 ½  x 13” landscape country scene with tractor £75; 

Print in glass and dark wood frame “The Shambles, York” by Rennigon (upright) 9” x 6 ½” £20; 

Watercolour “Water lilies” by Rosina Ayton 11 ½ “ x*2 (mauve water lilies on a pond, upright in card frame) £25. 

China ‘pub’ the Barley Mow – the top lifts off.(approx 9” high and 6 “ wide). Any offer

China display teapot that looks like a kitchen dresser, approx 6 ½ ” high. Any offer

We still have different coloured filligree earrings for sale at just £1 a pack

We also have some beautiful hand painted china plates and dishes which I can email photos of if you think you MIGHT be interested in buying any

We also have some quite expensive investment paintings, but if you would like to see a photograph of any of our items just let me know and I can email it to you. Obviously if you are unable to travel to Bethnal Green to collect these items (or possibly other parts of London) then postage will have to be added. Hopefully this will leave us with approximately £80,000 left to raise in order to complete the Memorial. So anything you can do to help us towards this final sum would be much appreciated.

This has been such a busy year with so much happening and  i know that our webmaster has struglgled to keep up with all our events, as i have, so apologies if we have not managed to keep you updated. You can always go onto our facebook page ( or Twitter (@bethnalmemorial) if you want to keep more updated on current events as Edna and Anna manage to keep them very current for us. However, my thanks as always to Ian Reeves, our webmaster who does the work free of charge.
 ARTS AUCTION at Fish Island
The wonderful old photos of East London and the amazing artwork and paintings that had been donated or loaned to us by lots of wonderful east London artists was a real treat. We were lucky to have Mayor Boris Johnson and East Enders star Patsy Palmer help us out at the auction night. The proceedings were conducted by an amazing comedian, John Ryan, who kept people in laughter all evening and it wasn't until the end that we realised we hadn't even provided him with a drink.  he had been talking, auctioning and keeping us entertained for almost 3 hours and must have been gasping, especially as it was quite hot that evening.

Anyway, with his talents, Boris's charisma and lots of lovely people bidding we made just over £7200 from the auction.  My sincere thanks to all the artists that donated items to us and they were very generous, also to photographer Mike Pattison for the wonderful photographs of the old east End and to John, Patsy and Boris for their help with the auction, as well as all those kind people who bid for the items. And a really special thank-you to Lance Forman and his staff who allowed us to hold the exhibition and auction there for 5 weeks, so it was very generous of him and all his staff were so helpful and pleasant.

 MARCH 2013
It has been a really busy but exciting few weeks.

We had an amazing evening for our Parliamentary Reception on 28th February hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt. Hon. John Bercow, and arranged by our wonderful local MP Rushanara Ali. The Speaker’s House, where the reception was held, is a superb place and we had the use of 4 rooms with a 4-poster bed in the last room. The works of art in the rooms are very impressive. We enjoyed some delicious nibbles and wines thanks to sponsorship by Canary Wharf PLC.

As well as a very amusing speech by Mr. Bercow, who told us that his father grew up in Dalston, East London, our patron Tommy Walsh spoke about the disaster and the Memorial we are raising funds for. He asked for help from the local business representatives in the room. Rushanara made a lovely speech about the importance of remembering the disaster and all the people affected by it.

We were joined by our other patrons Cheryl Baker and Harry Harris, as well as Len Goodman (who lost an uncle in the disaster) and his new wife Sue, plus lots of lovely Pearly Kings & Queens and representatives from businesses all over the East End. Paddy Piano entertained us with some beautiful background music. It was such an enjoyable evening that nobody wanted to go home!!  Our thanks to all the staff at the Speaker’s House for all their help with the arrangements for the evening.


The Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust’s AGM took place on 19th March 2014. We approved the annual accounts which had been independently audited ready to send off to the Charity Commission.

All the existing trustees were prepared to continue in their role: Raju Vaidyanathan, Anna Reid, Barbara Spicer, Frank Summers, Mike Pattison, Lee Scotting, Sandra Scotting, Derek Spicer, Rev. Alan Green, Alf Morris (survivor),  Edna Austin, Sue Lechmere and Babs Clark (Survivor). Most of the trustees are either survivors, have lost a relative or have some connections to the disaster or are just very willing helpers. .

Full list of Trustees' roles and background
Alf Morris is a survivor of the disaster and he first met the architect Harry Paticas and called a meeting of those of us who were either survivors or related to the victims. The packed meeting hall adopted the Stairway to Heaven Memorial design and discussed the building of a memorial to the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster at the end of 2006. Our Pastoral Co-ordinator Rev. Alan Green is the Rector of St. John on Bethnal Green Church. Our other Trustees are our treasurer and fund-raising coordinator Derek Spicer (whose brother & sister died in the disaster), Barbara Spicer (who lost an aunt and cousin); Hon.Secretary Sandra Scotting (whose grandmother and cousin died in the disaster and her mother and aunt were survivors) who set up the charity in 2007; retired accountant Lee Scotting; marathon runner and fund-raiser Raju Vaidyanathan (youth worker); Babs Clark (who is a survivor); Anna Reid - who did a sponsored silence when working as a train driver (her Great Nan died in the disaster); Frank Summers is a project manager in a large building company and  helps as an unpaid consultant on the building works side; Edna Austin is expert on data and family history and works tracing people for her own agency;  Sue Lechmere (fund raiser) lost 3 members of her family in the disaster and Mike Patterson (his uncle died in the disaster) the new chairman. Our thanks to all the Trustees and other committee members who have worked so hard over the last year. Their help has been invaluable . Mike Patterson was elected as Chairman on rotation for the year and Alf Morris was elected as Vice Chairman and Founder to refresh the committee under the recommendation by the Charity Commission of 'good governance'.  We now just need to raise the last tranche of money to build the 'stairway' in order to complete the Memorial as quickly as possible.

All the Trustees pay their own phone, postage, printing, stationery and travel costs. Nothing is taken out of the funds of the charity for admin costs by the Trustees apart from the liability insurance which we have had to take out of the funds in the last year. This means that every penny raised goes towards building the Stairway to Heaven Memorial. All payments are part of the cost of building the Memorial itself which are being made in stages.

Tommy Walsh – formerly of Ground Force, Quest TV’s daily DIY show, Radio London's phone-in and in several TV & radio adverts with his catchphrase "Job Done" – give invaluable advice and help on the building side of the project, as well as appearing at many of our functions, talking to supporters and accepting cheques for publicity.

He is just as lovely in the flesh as he is on TV, so we are delighted about this. Tommy has lots of contacts and is helping us to reduce some of the costs of the Memorial. He still lives in the East End.

Cheryl Baker, formerly of Bucks Fizz, is also a local Bethnal Green girl who went to school there before becoming famous with her group and winning the Eurovision Song Contest. She performed in two of our plays and concerts and managed to ensure we had no overhead costs. She also kindly appears at events and liaises with school parties and at cheque presentations.

Harry Harris from Sky's Discovery Channel has helped to gain publicity about the disaster on TV and radio and supports many of our fund-raising events along with his family (including his sister Patsy Palmer). They also grew up in Bethnal Green.

Our thanks to all our patrons who do a great job of raising our profile.  Sandra (Hon. Sec)

 For more information please give one of us a call.
Sandra (Hon Sec/Trustee) 077324 60 444.

Derek Spicer (Fund-raising Trustee) 07722 162 168
If you would like to organise a stall or fund-raising event for us just contact me and one of us will help you as much as possible. Thanks,

If you have a child or grand child at school that has not had a visit from one of our trustees to give a talk about London during the War as a child and about the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster please let me have the school details and we will try to arrange it with their Head or history teachers. We don’t mind where it is. Likewise if you belong to a pensioners group, history society, WI, Townswomen's Guild or local club and would like us to come along and give you a talk about the disaster please let me know.

Sandra (Hon. Sec/Trustee) 077324 60 444

For more information about anything to do with the Memorial and the charity please ring Derek Spicer on 07722 162 168 or Sandra on 077324 60 444.