Tragedies forge bond among community
OUT of appalling tragedy there is a renewed sense of optimism and community spirit in London Road, Ipswich today.Before the killings of five women in December the residents were fragmented and lived very separate lives.
OUT of appalling tragedy there is a renewed sense of optimism and community spirit in London Road, Ipswich today.
Before the killings of five women in December the residents were fragmented and lived very separate lives.
However, now according to Julie Hyland, the deaths have forged a bond which has brought people together.
Since the bodies of sex workers Tania Nicol, Paula Clennell, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Gemma Adams were found dumped on the outskirts of Ipswich, the whole neighbourhood has united in its determination to create a better atmosphere for everyone.
Mrs Hyland, 39, said: “There wasn't a great deal going on here before with people working in a group. It took what happened to get us together.
“It was total shock; we couldn't believe what happened and how close it was to us. We needed to work together to come to terms with the shock.
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“And it really has worked. It is unbelievable. It used to be a road where you walked up and down and didn't speak but now you know people. We want to keep this feeling going now.”
As a result of the desire to make things better a neighbourhood watch scheme, originally set up in 1996 and which was in the initial stages of being revived before the killings, is now in full swing again.
Many of the residents have also spruced up their gardens for a London Road in Bloom competition to add brightness and light to the street.
There has also been a successful quiz night and a barbecue at a house in the street which attracted 100 people, including Ipswich mayor Inga Lockington, and there are plans for a Christmas party.
Mrs Lockington said: “It was a lovely event and it was lovely to see the effort people made.
“What I heard from them was that before many of them didn't know each other but because of what happened that changed for the better.”
Lesley Carr, 63, also of London Road, added: “We've been here three years and it has certainly improved recently.
“I think London Road in Bloom was a fantastic idea and it's boosted people's morale a little bit.”
And fellow resident Ron Alder, 73, added: “It's a shame it had to happen but it generated a lot of interest and we've gone from strength to strength - we're getting our road back.”
ANTHEA Pipe, community watch liaison officer with Suffolk police, said the London Road neighborhood watch scheme had helped bring the community together following the red-light killings.
She said: “We were right in the middle of reviving the scheme when the first girl went missing. Since then they've gone from strength to strength.
“I think tragedy always brings people together.
“They didn't like the fact that they were labeled as the red-light district, so they've worked really hard to bring the area up a bit in the hope that gradually that name would be lost.
“It was hard. Who would want that sort of tragedy on their doorstep?
“But I think they've done really well since then. Now they've got a really good community network and all speak to each other.”
IN the hope of creating something positive for the whole Ipswich community out of the horrors of the red-light killings, the Somebody's Daughter fund was launched in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council.
The fund was created in the wake of the killings of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell last December.
The aim is to raise enough money to open a safe house where those involved in prostitution and drugs can seek support and guidance.
Donations to the memorial fund can be made online at www.eveningstar.co.uk, in person at Ipswich Borough Council's customer service centre in the town hall, by calling 01473 433777, or by sending a cheque, made payable to Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund, to PO Box 772, Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DE.