Remember unsung heroes

Alan Lee MBE, Elmstead Close, Old Corringham, writes:

During this pandemic I believe all staff at the City of London Cemetery & Crematorium deserve to be mentioned in the local Newham Recorder.

Their excellent service has been maintained through these difficult times, caring for the needs of the bereaved.

I visit the grounds on a regular basis and they are still kept to their usual high standards whilst facilitating a higher number of funerals than usual amidst this Covid pandemic.

I’m aware of (and rightly so) a number of different professions being recognised as frontline workers, however, I’ve personally not read anything relating to those working within the funeral industry.

This industry in general has been highly impacted by Covid and the services and standards have remained in place throughout.

Casting your vote

John Saunders, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford and member of Newham Voting for Change, writes:

On May 6, Newham residents will be able to choose between two methods of governing their borough in the future; either to continue with the current system of a directly elected mayor (DEM) or to move to a committee system where all elected local councillors have their say in council decisions.

The government and many political commentators keep calling for the introduction of more directly elected mayors, claiming that they give more power to local authorities and a greater voice to their residents.

People have not been convinced, however, because since 2000, of the referendums held on the introduction of a DEM, I believe 40 refused while only 18 accepted - and of these, three voted to abolish the mayoralty a few years later.

Newham, one of the few local authorities in England and Wales to have a DEM, is facing this choice on May 6. I believe the government likes DEMs because they enable it to strike deals more easily with authorities with a single person in charge rather than with a whole council.

Whether these deals benefit local people or not depends on the judgement of the mayor. Mayors are accountable to the people who elect them – but only once every four years. The electors of Newham have a choice between keeping the DEM or adopting the committee model.

Under the committee system, the council leader would have to reflect the views of the whole council and be governed by the decisions of the committees – and every councillor would be a member of a committee.

This means that residents would have two or three local ward councillors who have real influence in the council and would therefore be able to represent their views and interests more effectively.

Directly elected mayors do not give their residents a greater voice, the committee system does.

Cancer champions

Newham Recorder: MacMillan Cancer want the candidates for London mayor to agree to three pledgesMacMillan Cancer want the candidates for London mayor to agree to three pledges (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

Sarifa Patel and Kris Chadwick, Macmillan Cancer campaigners, write:

Hundreds of Londoners have signed an open letter urging London mayoral candidates to become cancer champions once elected.

We are asking the candidates to pledge to stand up right now and support the 210,000 people living with cancer in the capital who need support now more than ever.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, thousands of vital cancer treatments, appointments and care were postponed or cancelled. Since the start of the pandemic, 15 per cent fewer people in London have started cancer treatment compared to the year before. Macmillan Cancer Support hears every day from people in desperate need of help. People still can’t get the timely support they need and the emotional impact of the outbreak is continuing to take its toll on people already struggling.

The mayor of London can be the voice of people living with cancer and work with Macmillan to offer vital support. So, we are asking the candidates to agree, if they are elected, to:

  1. Work with Macmillan to make sure everyone knows how to get cancer support.
  2. Meet people living with cancer from London within the first 100 days of getting elected.
  3. Take part in World’s Biggest Coffee Morning this September to help raise funds for people living with cancer.

We think cancer matters. Do you?

Maths fun

Jenna Lloyd, schools service manager, NSPCC London and South East, writes:

Children’s lives have been turned upside-down due to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, with many spending extended periods of time out of school.

The NSPCC’s Childline service has heard from thousands of children who have found this time really challenging. Some have felt overwhelmed with home-schooling, whilst others have missed their friends and family, and many have seen their mental health deteriorate.

To help us be here for children and young people as lockdown restrictions ease, and to remind them how Childline can support them, we are encouraging schools across the country to get involved in the NSPCC’s Number Day on Friday May 7.

Primary and secondary schools can sign up for the annual fundraising day to enjoy maths games and challenges. This year, we’ve created a new game called Buddy’s Key Challenge where pupils can complete maths puzzles to create a key that can unlock a door so the charity’s mascot Buddy can visit their school.

There are different activities for all age groups and teachers will be provided with relevant resources.

The money raised from Number Day will help the NSPCC in its mission to make 2021 a better year for children.

  • To sign up, visit the NSPCC’s website, search for Number Day and fill in your school’s details using the registration form.