Street Neighbourhood Party - A Road to Amity and Friendship

London: In today's world wrought with notoriety of all kind, polluted with hatred and suspicion of the other than yourself, one London Neighbourhood has tried to show how a small gesture of friendship can make you feel something important and with that also make you love your neighbour in response.

“A rotten fish spoils the whole pond” is what exactly applies to London’s Finsbury Park area. Few years ago a former night club bouncer turned hate-preacher Abu Hamza brought international notoriety to this peaceful and culturally diverse suburb.

Sadly, the mosque that this dodgy gangster and his gang had gate crashed and occupied for years is still sarcastically remembered by many as “Abu Hamza Mosque.”

But that was then, the days past. Since his arrest in 2004, as a result of, and followed by US’ pressure on British government to arrest and extradite him, the area has regained its community spirit and the good name it once had.

Last month the area was once again in international press following a magnificent display of unity by its residents in the wake of a terrorist attack targeted at the worshippers of Finsbury Park Mosque in the very Holy month of Ramadhan.

And perhaps this would not be an exaggeration to say that Corbyn Street (Not named after its MP Jeremy Corbyn as is generally misunderstood) of this area reflects best the values majority of British public believes in and adheres to.

Keeping in the tradition going on for the last few years, last Sunday, 9 July, this street's residents again organised a street party.

In Britain this interesting concept known as “Big Lunch”, was started in 2009 but Corbyn Street residents had their first street party as far back as 1977. This is perhaps an ideal and commendable exercise for most big cities in the world to follow where neighbours originating from different backgrounds get a chance to mix and learn to know about each other and thus create a pleasant living surrounding.

The Big Lunch takes place each year in June but in view of Ramadan last month organisers at Corbyn Street postponed it till 9 July.

These street parties are organised at weekends. The street organising the event gets permission from the authorities to block the street for traffic from morning till evening, residents lay tables and chairs outside their houses and invite neighbours to share special dishes prepared by them. Activities for children and entertainment programmes for adults are organised along with.

However, this year resident, Laura Williams added an additional feature by organising a Bake off encouraging residents to come with their specially baked dishes to raise some money for the British Red Cross as Corbyn Street residents’ appreciation to their work in helping those affected by recent events at Finsbury Park Mosque and Grenfell Tower. Similarly for the preparation of the party Susan Jeffreys hosted meetings at her house.

(R) Children enjoy snail racing (L) Cinderella cake winner of Bake off

Another resident Fiona Wallace had soon after the Grenfell Tower fire approached the residents to donate clothes for the survivors.

Unlike normal trend in London where changing residence is very common, large number of Corbyn Street residents are in such a love with the area that many of them have been living here for as long as 50 years or more.

Despite the fact that house prices on this street have soured up for which far bigger and luxury houses may be bought in some other areas, David Charie, a selfless person, the right description of whom is the Urdu word “khudai khidmatgar” (literal translation 'Serving humanity for the sake of God') often seen doing voluntary social service and has been living in this street for 50 years says that the thought of moving out of this area has never come in his mind.

The credit of organising these parties goes to Hora den Dulk. What motivates him to take all this trouble? “I'm motivated by my departed Dutch father Nico , who moved into Abbots Rd, Abbots Langley in 1956. Every morning for a week he stood outside the house and introduced himself to the stony faced morning commuters. No response for four days and on the fifth day he got one. He finally broke the famous reserve.” Says Hora adding, “I like this neighbourhood and look forward to staggering to the corner shop with a Zimmer frame in a few years so no intentions of moving out.”

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