Channelling The Olympic Spirit To Save Hospitals

Council Leader Julian Bell writes:

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Wow! What a summer we have had. 2012 will last long in the memory not for the sometimes appalling weather but for the magnificent London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games including the fantastic torch events. It really was a magical experience that just seemed to get better and better.

My abiding memory will be the great community spirit there was as everyone young and old from all backgrounds joined in the celebrations. Be it at both Northala Fields torch events or in Walpole Park for the lighting of the Olympic Flame the normal British reserve was cast off and everyone came together as one in a joyous and excited celebration!

I will never forget the view of all the crowds I got from the top of the mound in Northala as I watched Boris Becker set off with the torch or the tens of thousands of local residents lining the Uxbridge Road in the glorious sunshine waiting for the torch to arrive as I cycled to Walpole Park to give my speech welcoming the Olympic Flame to Ealing. It was a truly amazing sight of our community coming together as never before.

Although I didn't have any Olympic tickets I was determined not to miss out on the Games themselves and had a great time watching the men's cycle road race with family and friends go through Richmond Park suitably attired with home made Bradley Wiggins side-burns. I was also able to watch Mo Farah win his second gold medal in the 5,000 metres live on the big screen in Hyde Park which could only have been topped by being in the stadium itself and then on the final day I cycled to Buckingham Palace and watched the Men's Marathon. I trust you all have your own similar personal memories.

Amidst all this Olympic joy we also had the sobering contrast of the first anniversary of the riots and the death of local resident Richard Mannington-Bowes and it was a poignant moment to meet with his family to unveil a memorial bench on Haven Green. It was also a time to reflect on the community spirit and resilience that led the initial clean up and the local support given to the victims of the riots as recovery and a brighter future progressed throughout the year.

That resilience and community spirit is going to be needed again as Ealing now fights ill conceived proposals that will mean the closure of four A&Es and the loss of other vital acute medical services at Ealing, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals. Over 20,000 local people have already signed the petition to save our hospitals but we will need all of those and more to defend our local Hospitals when we have a day of protest on Saturday 15th September. We have two marches, one from Southall Park leaving at 11 am the other from Acton Park leaving at 12 noon, both to arrive at Ealing Common for a rally with speeches and live music at 1 pm.      

I am looking for one final memory from this summer of 2012 and that is of a determined community marching along the Uxbridge Road to Ealing Common in their tens of thousands in defence of our vital local hospitals. I am confident that Ealing will once again show that Olympic spirit and community strength and rise to the occasion!


Cllr Julian Bell

5th Septemver 2012