On Sunday 3rd March, local MP Rushanara Ali attended the 70th anniversary memorial service of the Bethnal Green tube disaster at St John on Bethnal Green Church.
The Bethnal Green tube disaster was the biggest loss of civilian life during the Second World War. 70 years ago on the night of 3 March 1943, a large crowd attempted to shelter in the tube station during an air raid. Tragically, about 300 people became trapped as they slipped and fell on the steps at the south entrance to the station, which resulted in a crush that left 173 people dead and many injured.
Rushanara Ali said:
“I was delighted to attend and read a poem at the 70th anniversary of the Bethnal Green tube disaster. It was an honour to be with the survivors, victims' families, the countless volunteers and benefactors who have provided endless support to preserve the memory of the 173 people who lost their lives here in the heart of Bethnal Green on that night.
"The Stairway to Heaven Memorial is a testament to the diversity and strong sense of community spirit in the East End. It is crucial that we are able to honour the memory of the children and adults who once lived in this community. With this memorial we can now be certain that they will be remembered by future generations.
"This time last year our efforts were focused on raising funds for the Stairway to Heaven Memorial project. I am really pleased that, for the first time ever, we have been able to mark this occasion by laying wreaths on the bench of the memorial itself.
“I thank the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust and all those involved for a wonderful memorial service. I congratulate them for their hard work in creating this memorial and public space to remember and honour the victims of this terrible tragedy, and wish them all the best in completing this project."
The project has now reached its final stages, however the charity requires further donations to complete the installation of the inverted 'stairway'. Last week Rushanara Ali joined forces with the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon John Bercow MP to host a reception at the Speaker's House to raise awareness about the work of the memorial campaign and to thank the volunteers and supporters.