Gazette letters: Drovers Centre, child abuse victims and child cancer transport

Service users of Drovers Day Centre protesting against its closure in August. Picture: LUCAS CUMINSK

Service users of Drovers Day Centre protesting against its closure in August. Picture: LUCAS CUMINSKEY - Credit: Archant

Are Jeremy Corbyn and Labour councillors so sure of the Irish vote in Britain they fail to support fragile and infirm Irish elders, by closing their last lifeline and refuge, the Drovers Daycentre at the Cally, writes Róisín Ní orráin, Islington, full address supplied.

I don't remember a public meeting in the town hall or elsewhere, to discuss such a destructive move.

The £170,000 cost of building repairs, is small change for this Labour council, who squandered nearly half a million on a court case and subsequent measures, to keep dangerous, polluting and carcinogenic barbeques turning Highbury Fields, a once place of healthy walking and running, and its adjoining childrens' playground, into a 1950s London smog.

Has Richard Attenborough's, Greta Thunberg's and Extinction Rebellion's message on environmental damage (I have witnessed BBQ burns on the living wood bases of Highbury Fields trees) not reached Islington's Labour?

The impoverished Irish were the human cargo on the cattle boats that brought them from their families and communities in Ireland to arrive at King's Cross and settle around the Cally.

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They fought bravely in two world wars winning the highest honours. They provided battlefield nurses and doctors, homefront teachers, domestics, post office staff, labourers, the skilled workers who built Islington housing stock and town hall, the amazing men from the west of Ireland who built London's underground and used these skills to breach the German lines in WW1. In WW2, some 400,000 Irish men and women braved torpedoes and bombing to leave Ireland and sail to Britain to join the British forces, winning 11 Victoria Crosses and 780 awards for gallantry. In the Battle of Britain, 1,000 Irish pilots and crew lost their lives. Many Irish civilians won gallantry awards including two young Irish nurses, both awarded George medals.

They have suffered greatly since the Brexit vote, being blamed for keeping Britain in the EU when they have not the power to divest themselves of the British colonial presence in Northern Ireland. Only Britain can return our six counties.

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Only a miniscule part of any development is affordable houses and yet Labour are sacrificing the health and wellbeing of Irish elders at the Drovers to develop this site. I don't recall seeing any photos this decade of an Irish family being presented with keys.

The Drovers provides elders with health giving companionship and saves the NHS considerable monies. It's a last place of refuge for the descendants of the immigrant Irish whose hard work has kept Islington coffers topped up for decades.

The most fitting way to show respect is to protect the descendants of those who sacrificed their lives for the welfare of elders, the young and the vulnerable.

A school poem (in the Droving Days by A B Paterson) sums up the situation

"Only a pound!" and was this the end - only a pound for the drover's friend.

The drover's friend who has seen his day. And now was worthless and cast away.

As Christmas draws ever nearer, why not get the little ones excited for the big day with a Letter from Santa? writes Victoria Goodman, community fundraising manager, NSPCC, London.

It's a great way to bring joy to your own family, whilst knowing you're making a positive difference to the lives of children who may need it most this Christmas.

We know that on average at least two children in every primary school classroom has suffered some form of abuse. You can help us be there for them and provide the necessary support at Christmas and all year round. For every Letter from Santa, we suggest a donation of £5, which goes a long way to helping children.

Our practitioners provide advice and support, listen to concerns about a child, and offer general information about child protection.

To get creating your family's personalised Letter from Santa, and start spreading the festive cheer, visit the NSPCC website:

It's bad enough that families have to deal with the devastation of their child having cancer, but many are struggling with the cost of taking their child to hospital and many are being plunged into debt, writes Helen Lam, fundraising engagement manager, CLIC Sargent, London.

In the last 12 months, 4,450 young cancer patients and their families across the UK have spent around £5 million simply travelling to treatment.In the UK it's an average 60 mile round-trip to hospital for their treatment, with many travelling much further. This isn't by choice. Many young cancer patients have to travel to specialist cancer centres around the UK to get the care they need - they can't just go to their local hospital. That 60 mile trip can cost families an extra £180 a month when treatment is at its most intense.

On top of the emotional and practical stresses of cancer, this isn't right or fair.

In the run-up to the general election, we're asking the public to send a message to all party leaders, calling on them to commit to a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund if they become the next prime minister. They can do this by signing CLIC Sargent's electronic postcard, which will be shared directly with all party leaders. Go to

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