New Cross Fire Anniversary – Cllr Brenda Dacres, Deputy Mayor of Lewisham and New Cross councillor
Yesterday on the 41st anniversary of the New Cross Fire family and friends came together to remember the 14 young lives that were cruelly taken.
Patrick Cummings, age 16
Andrew Gooding, age 14
Peter Campbell, age 18
Gerry Paul Francis, age 17
Steve Collins, age 17
Patricia Johnson, age 15
Rosaline Henry, age 16
Lloyd Hall, age 20
Humphrey Geoffrey Brown, age 18
Owen Thompson, age 16
Yvonne Ruddock, age 16
Glenton Powell, age 16
Paul Ruddock, age 22
Anthony Berbeck, age 21
As I think about them I think of the potential they had. The milestones they didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate. The additional shared experiences that they would have enjoyed with family and friends. I know that family and friends have cherished memories that will always be with them and that they are always thought of, always missed.
I also would like us to remember those who were not able to attend yesterday, especially those who are no longer with us, who have worked so hard to honour them each year, who have constantly sought justice for this abhorrent wrong. Some days it is difficult to see whether much has changed as we look at our young people, our hopes and dreams for them to reach their full potential, as well as our concerns for their wellbeing each time they leave home.
Due to family, friends and survivors’ love, determination and tenacity they have ensured they are remembered. That many, particularly our young people here in Lewisham and across the country know what happened and hold them in remembrance, because a light constantly shines upon them. That’s why we have a bursary that not only honours them, but helps local black and ethnic minority young people to fulfil their potential because of them.
Yesterday I spoke to some of the survivors, who are still affected mentally and physically by what they endured. What strength they have shown.
This is a heartbreak that their love ones should not have suffered, and our community stand shoulder to shoulder with them and they will always have our support.