Thursday, 26 April 2012

Ilford Territorial Army Centre - provide Olympic assistance

2 Puma Helicopters to be present at Ilford Territorial Army Centre

During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Ilford's Territorial Army Centre on Gordon Road is to be used as a base for 2 Royal Air Force Puma helicopters.

An additional 90 personnel will live at the site from mid-July until shortly after the Paralympics.  Consisting of crew members from the 33 Squadron, RAF Benson and support staff.

Ilford was picked for its secure communications infrastructure at the defence owned site and compliance with planning nand Civil Aviation Regulations.

A number of familiarisation flights during late April and a major national exercise will take place form 2nd - 10th May 2012, to test the Armed Forces support for the Police. The Aircraft will arrive for their stationing on 12th July 2012.

Every 3 - 5 days planes will need to go back to their RAF base for testing and will be replaced by one that has been tested.  Changeover will occur between the hours 09:00 - 17:00 to minimise local disturbance.

Flight paths will involve quick climbs to a height that reduces noise level.  However residents are warned that take-off and landing will involve considerable noise.

The Officer commanding 33 Squadron invites residents of Ilford to meet him and his crews and to see the helicopters at Ilford Territorial Army Centre on 4th May from 15:00 - 19:00 and on 7th May from 15:00 - 17:00.  

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

No Drinking Zone signs to be installed on Green Lane

Wilson with PC Janek Stabrawa

The East Ilford Business Partnership has been successful in obtaining No drinking signs for Green Lane.  This was part of a campaign to end the antisocial behaviour attributed to excessive drinking in our area. Under Redbridge's “Designated Public Place Drinking Zone” (DPPDZ) which has now been extended to include Green Lane and other areas of Clementswood and  Mayfield ward, it is now illegal to drink on designated public streets.

With two off licences and a pub in the vicinity we have always been a high risk area for this type of crime.  In recent years however due to a difficult economy, forced relocations from Olympic zones and other factors, the number of homeless people in the borough has increased.

Our thanks to Clementswood Safer Neighbourhood Police team who attended 2 Police meetings at our community centre and endorsed our request for the local signs.  The team have used the new signs as an opportunity to challenge this type of behaviour ad have quite successfully reduced the local problem.

Simon James from Redbridge ASBO Team said in a recent email:

"I am waiting for a date from the Street Lighting Team to place the signs you have requested as well as others in the new DPPO.  I have requested the date be 25th – 27th April as I am not in on the Mon or Tues.  Once I have received confirmation of the date these will be placed I will advise you accordingly."

The three locations for which we had requested No Drinking signs are:

1. Junction of Stanley road with Green Lane
2. Junction of Connaught Road and Green Lane
3. Junction of Gordon Road and Green Lane

Learn more about the Cumulative Impact Zone here:

View map of protected areas:

Read about the night spent in Ilford Police cells by a local pub landlord trying to fight the local antisocial drinking:

Here is what the Ilford Recorder said:

Free Zumba for women and Bollywood Dancing for children at Clementswood Community Centre!

The East Ilford Betterment Partnership and British Pakistani Christian Association has secured funding via the Redbridge CVS   “Fit for Fun” programme. The scheme  encourages  groups in Redbridge to improve their fitness levels and self worth by giving groups a chance to have 20 weeks of FREE exercise training.

The sessions will be held at Clementswood Community Centre located  at 14a Connaught Road, Ilford, Essex  IG1 1RN at the following times:

If you would like to take part in this unique opportunity please contact the group for the start date

Zumba for women every Friday  evening from 19:00  - 20:00

Bollywood for Children every Tuesday afternoon from 17:00 – 18:00

The classes are open to all members of the public however due to a shortage of space, we ask local people to contact us early to book your place. Bookings will be reserved on a first come first served basis.  A start date will be fixed once we have completed ourt list of potential participants. 

Please contact  Wilson Chowdhry the centre co-ordianter for more information.  Tel: 020 8514 0861 Fax: 020 8514 2438

Ranbir Singh from Hindu Human Rights Group shares interfaith harmony peace message

Image provided by visitor Amita Sharma

On 1st March 2012 Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group delivered a presentation to mark the Hindu festival of Holi. Known as the festival of colours.  Ranbir said;

"Holi is the festival of Spring celebrated traditionally by throwing coloured powder and coloured water over all and sundry. Discarding social norms helps to enhance the atmosphere of excitement and joy which the festival brings. It is for this reason that I feel Holi can also mark the occasion of lowering social barriers which can help different communities to come together and celebrate what we have in common because in Hindu folklore it demonstrates the victory of good over evil."

Holika was the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashyap who used her powers for furthering evil and hence was burned to ashes. It is for that reason that large bonfires are burned during Holi and in many parts of India, a dummy of Holika is burned on the fire.

The main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, or DhulhetiDhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing scented powder and perfume at each other. Bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi), after which holika dahan prayers are said and praise is offered. The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam inSouth India.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2009, Holi (Dhulandi) was on March 11 and Holika Dahan was on March 10. In 2010, Holi was on March 1 and Holika Dahan was on February 28. In 2011, Holi was on March 20 and Holika Dahan was on March 19.
In most areas, Holi lasts about two days. Holi lowers (but does not remove completely) the strictness of social norms, which includes gaps between age, gender, status, and caste. Together, the rich and poor, women and men, enjoy each other’s presence on this joyous day. No one expects polite behavior; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement, fun and joy.
Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the festival Holi. The festival has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring's abundant colors and saying farewell to winter. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating events present in Hindu mythology. Although it is the least religious holiday, it is probably one of the most exhilarating ones in existence. During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw colored powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

End of an era: Fauja Singh of Ilford quits running marathons at 101!

Wilson Chowdhry with Fauja Singh just before 31st March 2012 Park run in Valentines Park.

Fauja Singh at 101 became the oldest ever Marathon runner this year whilst running the London Marathon.  After the race he confirmed that this was his final London Marathon after celebrating 9 years of these charity runs.  This year he raised £1000 and ran the race in 7 hours 49 minutes smashing his target of 8 hours 25 mins.

I had the privilege to run with him at a Local Park run in Valentines Park and was astounded at his efforts to encourage others and endurance at his ripe age.   He has spoken of continuing to run shorter distances and will continue his role of being an ambassador for his sport.

The Ilford recorder described his achievement this year:

Read the full BBC report on his retirement  here: