Ealing's Healing

Charlie Bain reviews the all day fundraiser at The New Inn

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“We’re going to burn the house down!... not literally of course,” were the ironically appropriate opening words of Jade Williams, one of the organisers of h-Ealing - a charity fundraiser aiming to bring the community together after the looting and destruction that took place a fortnight ago.

The New Inn became a hub of goodwill throughout Friday afternoon and evening with all proceeds going to the Richard Mannington Bowes Relief Fund.

The generosity in evidence was uplifting: every single one of the many musicians involved volunteered, raffle prizes were donated by individuals from all over the community and the organisers of the event, Earwicker, put the entertainment together for free.

This may have been a fundraiser on the surface but Deebs Canning, an Australian who moved to Ealing six years ago, said it was also about “taking advantage of the opportunity to be positive.”  As someone who appreciates the “village spirit” of the community, the way that “people look after each other,” she said she just had to be there.

Jassim Khalifa, a special constable, was similarly magnanimous, feeling that his presence and donation was “the least I could do.” He has only lived in Ealing for two years but already feels a strong affinity with the community.

The event attracted people of all ages but the most positive thing for Clive Cooke was the amount of young people showing their support. 

Over recent weeks the media spotlight has been on the disenchanted youth who took part in the riots, but Mr Cooke says:“the true representatives of our society are the young people trying to knit their communities back together.''

Deputy Mayor Mohammad Aslam gave a short but stirring speech calling Richard Bowes “a hero who sacrificed himself for Ealing” and highlighted the way that this type of event “will heal” the community.

A musical fundraiser was perhaps the perfect way to celebrate Ealing’s cultural heritage: the borough was the focal point for the British Rhythm and Blues Boom of the 1960s, and a location chosen by bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Who to make some of their first appearances this side of the Atlantic.

There is no doubt that Ealing was shocked by the criminality of a fortnight ago, but it is events like h-Ealing which demonstrate that this community will not be stunned into silence.

An old African proverb states that “if the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth.”

Whatever the reasons behind the riots, it is obvious that Ealing residents have much positive warmth to give - the healing has indeed begun.

Charlie Bain


organisers TJ Shipton & Jade Williams

29 August 2011