Campaigners vigil at Archway Bridge to demand action to implement suicide safety measures
Campaigners held a vigil on Archway Bridge at the weekend to remember those who have died committing suicide at the site.
Around 60 people, including bereaved family members and politicians, joined hands along the bridge on Saturday, where they also demanded urgent safety measures be implemented to prevent more tragic deaths.
Last month 33-year-old Jonathan Culverwell-Landsberg, from Highgate, was the latest person to fall to his death from the bridge.
In 2010, there were a spate of suicides after three men died jumping from the Grade-II listed bridge in as many weeks.
Members of Mr Culverwell-Landsberg’s family stood side by side with Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett at the vigil, along with representatives from suicide charities.
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Haringey Council announced last week the bridge could soon have “anti-suicide” measures installed, including a new barrier about 1m to 1.5m higher than the existing rails, with the top angled inwards to prevent anyone climbing over.
Highgate resident and campaign co-ordinator Sarah Cope said: “It’s very encouraging that they are moving forward and we hope they will do it very swiftly before another tragedy occurs.
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“They said they would take action in 2005 and again in 2012 but nothing happened and two men have died since then so we are looking for a firm timetable this time.”
Ms Cope started the campaign to improve safety at the bridge with fellow campaigner Sue Hessel in 2010.
Some 800 signatures have been gathered on a petition calling for the safety measures and Ms Cope said this “showed the strength of feeling” about the issue.
“Saturday’s gathering was to remember those who have died and put pressure on the council to take immediate action,” she said.
“We are stepping up our campaign because we are so concerned that no action has been taken yet in terms of anti-suicide measures.
“It was really heartening that so many people turned up and showed they cared about this issue.
“We’ve gathered 800 signatures which I think shows the strength of feeling and a lot of people have contacted us whose lives have been touched by this particular problem, which has very widespread effects for families and onlookers.”
The council has been working with Transport for London on the new safety designs which are set to be presented to English Heritage next month – the organisation which will give the final go-ahead to any addition to the Grade II-listed bridge’s structure.
Ms Cope added: “I’m feeling tentatively confident that the council has now grasped how important it is to act immediately.”