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13 November 2014

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You are in: London > London Local > Tower Hamlets > Spare Time > Another step on the Stairway to Heaven

Campaigners for the memorial

Stairway to Heaven fundraisers

Another step on the Stairway to Heaven

Fundraisers working towards a memorial to the war-time victims of the Bethnal Green Tube disaster take another stride towards their goal.

There is still no memorial to the worst civilian disaster of the 2nd World War, which took place in the Underground station at Bethnal Green on 3rd March 1943.

A small, but very active group is trying to put that right.  When it comes to goodwill and support they are rich, but the group is still some way short of the funds needed to build the memorial. 

On Saturday 22nd November there was an opportunity to see the latest model of the planned design.  It was on show at a fund-raising Christmas Fair, organised by the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust, which raised over £800 towards their target.

Proposed memorial at Bethnal Green Underground

How the memorial could look

The proposed memorial is already designed and has planning permission.  A quick glance at it reveals why the fundraisers have chosen to call it the Stairway to Heaven. 

The name is also fitting because the disaster occurred on the steps to the tube, which at the time was used as an air-raid shelter.  A salvo of anti-aircraft rockets in nearby Victoria Park meant large numbers rushed to the safety of the tube, causing a terrible crush.  In no time at all some 300 people tumbled into the stairwell, where 173 perished - most were women and children.

While the Memorial Committee has been in touch with many people who were affected by the disaster, they are still trying to trace more survivors and families of those who died. 

Boris Johnson meets campaginers and the architect

Boris Johnson meets campaginers and the architect

Derek Spicer is one of the committee members behind the event last Saturday and says, "All our supporters and people in Bethnal Green are working so hard to raise the money we need for the Stairway to Heaven Memorial......If any of the local businesses would like to sponsor a step or part of the Memorial in return for having their name or company logo etched on the side we'd like to hear from them."

Indeed there were so many items left over for sale from the Christmas Fair that the group will run another stall by English's, the funeral directors in Bethnal Green Road next Saturday.

If you want to contact the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust, you can either reach them through their website (see the link at the top of this article) or call Derek Spicer on 07722 162 168.

last updated: 24/11/2008 at 19:16
created: 20/11/2008

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