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Rowdy cycling campaigner Anita Frizzarin: ‘Why I get so angry at Islington councillors’

PUBLISHED: 16:45 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:22 17 November 2017

Cycling campaigner Anita Frizzarin in Archway. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cycling campaigner Anita Frizzarin in Archway. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

She’s the rowdy cycling campaigner who doesn’t care what people – particularly Islington Labour councillors – think of her. But what drives Anita Frizzarin’s anger? The Gazette finds out.

Cycling campaigner Anita Frizzarin in Archway. Picture: Polly HancockCycling campaigner Anita Frizzarin in Archway. Picture: Polly Hancock

If you’ve ever been to a council meeting at Islington Town Hall, chances are you’ve seen Anita Frizzarin kick up a massive stink and get chucked out.

She’s the unruly cycling campaigner with a reputation for disruptive behaviour at meetings. She’s driven by anger – anger at the council’s supposed lack of action to make cycling safe in Islington.

Does she attend town hall meetings, the Gazette wonders, to deliberately cause trouble?

“A lot of the time it’s accidental,” Anita says. “But when they sit there talking bollocks I can’t help but say so very loudly.”

Anita, 59, of Wedmore Gardens, Upper Holloway, has lived in Islington since 1985.

“How long have I been trying to make a fuss over cycling with Islington Council? Probably 20 years. But nothing’s changed, so that shows I’ve been completely useless for 20 years! They have always been very anti-cycling, I don’t know why.”

When the Gazette calls Anita, she whoops with laughter as we tell her we’d like to write a profile piece.

Cycling campaigner Anita Frizzarin in Archway. Picture: Polly HancockCycling campaigner Anita Frizzarin in Archway. Picture: Polly Hancock

But she’s serious when the topic turns to her cause: “As I get older myself, I realise not many older women cycle. I also realise very few kids cycle. A large number of people have diabetes, and one of the reasons is a lack of movement.

“I will not accept Islington’s roads being so dangerous that people would rather not get on their bicycle. Cycling should be everywhere as it’s very simple exercise. We need to make the roads tolerable.

“That’s where my anger comes from at council meetings. I am sick and tired of hearing the councillors talk rubbish in the town hall. All they do is repeat the exact same speeches about cycling being good in Islington. You go to the council meetings and see all this Labour back-slapping.”

Yet Anita claims she has little interest in party politics.

She’s not a Green Party member as “they would probably chuck me out for being too loud”. In principle, she supports Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader and her local MP. But she is reconsidering “because if he gets in power the government will be like Islington Council”.

Surely, then, Anita should stand for council and try and enforce change from within?

“In a different world,” she ponders, “in a different system. But no. I’d listen to them for five minutes and want to go to the pub to get drunk.”

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