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THANK YOU! Acts of virus crisis kindness

22 May, 2020

Valerie Mueller

AS these strange times continue, we know that some of the stories in the Tribune over the past two months have been quite tough reading. We have to go on telling the story of this coronavirus outbreak and cannot shy away from the hard and sometimes painful truths. But each week we are also finding uplifting stories of generosity, community spirit and people going out of their way to help others. Here are a few more that raised a smile.

• A GROUP of about 20 volunteers are using every spare moment they have to sew face masks and personal protective equipment kit for front-line staff. Valerie Mueller, of Popham Street, off Essex Road, said she was very excited when she started receiving responses from neighbours after she invited members of her local St Peter’s Ward mutual aid group to join her in starting the St Peter’s Sewing Club. Ms Mueller and the other volunteers have produced up to 200 masks since they started last month, dishing them out to care homes, GPs and food banks. Now they have even been asked by a hospital to provide them with gear. Ms Mueller, who works as an economist in the City, said: “It was very exciting when people started joining and it is great to hear feedback about the masks and we got a thank-you from the care home and a follow-on request from the food bank, which was really motivating.” To meet the demands of the hospital the group is trying to produce about 200 masks a week and any new volunteers are welcome, Ms Mueller added.

Rev Steve Clarke

• A church in Archway has raised funds to buy a care home iPads so that residents can see and speak to their families. Steve Clarke, vicar at the St Andrew’s Church in Whitehall Park, was saddened when he heard that the nearby Cheverton Lodge care home only had one working iPad they could use to video call relatives and loved ones who could not visit due to the coronavirus restrictions. He set up a crowdfunder page online and raised more than £900 in two weeks. He said: “The church and local community responded with amazing generosity. People gave and also donated second-hand devices. We will now be able to donate three new additional devices and two secondhand ones to help families keep in touch with one another during this time and in the future.”

Richon John

A teenager spent his 14th birthday on Sunday running 15 laps of Arsenal’s stadium, raising more than £1,000 for his local boxing club. The Tribune previously reported how Islington Boxing Club (IBC) junior boxer Richon John had aimed to raise about £400 for the Upper Holloway club by running 10k around the Emirates stadium. Since then he has smashed his target by completing his running challenge while raising £1,189. IBC manager Reggie Hagland said: “Once he finished the run in one hour, four minutes and 43 seconds (15 times around the stadium) he was treated to a takeaway Nando’s and chocolate cake, which was fully deserved. A fantastic achievement from a brilliant club boy.”

Mercedes Oli and Alex Inglis

• A pair of tech consultants are rebooting old and unused laptops to then donate them to dozens of families across Islington. Mercedes Oli and Alex Inglis, who teach coding to pupils in Islington, have now taken in about 70 laptops, wiped the data and set them up for families to use. Many children are now relying on access to computers in order to learn as schools remain closed and classes have moved online. Ms Oli said: “The first thing we did before the lockdown started was to make sure our students had computers, until we realised that we could not cope with the need on our own. So Alex and myself decided to set up Mildmay Refurbishment Hub.” Ms Oli and Mr Inglis are calling on any businesses or enterprises to donate any spare computers or laptops they may have. The pair also offer free “data sanitation”. To get in contact email

Sam Parrington and Christina Floe

DOZENS of volunteers have transformed a community centre into a food bank feeding hundreds. Sam Parrington and Christina Floe have been organising deliveries as volunteers from across the borough arrive at the Mildmay Community Centre in Woodville Road, near Newington Green, every Friday. “It’s been great to see so many people helping out, it’s a little bit of good to come out of this situation,” Ms Parrington said: “I’ve been using my contacts in the area to locate who’s in need.” Ms Floe said: “We haven’t turned anyone away. If they are desperate for food we will help if we can.” The food bank serves about 170 families in the area, Ms Floe added.


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