Why I Love … Beeston’s Community Spirit

In the aftermath of the 7/7 Inquests which have just finished, it has emerged that the Government was concerned that Leeds might suffer an anti-Muslim backlash. The BBC covered the story here.

I remember those days vividly. Like most people in Beeston I was shocked that people from our neighbourhood could do such a thing. My other vivid memory is of a community standing together. Without anyone’s prompting we all “kept calm and carried on”.

A week after the bombings I stood in Tempest Road with hundreds of other residents in a silent vigil. We were Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Agnostics and Aethists and we were saying these four people who blew themselves up in London did not represent the spirit of Beeston.

I moved to Beeston in 1984 and I have always found it a friendly neighbourhood. It is also an active community – there’s so much going on. Whether it’s gardening, music, sport, environment, children’s activities, women’s groups … people are getting on and doing things. The bombings happened half way through a programme of Sunday concerts in Cross Flatts Park organised by the Friends of Cross Flatts Park. There was an immediate question – should that week’s concert go ahead? It took about two seconds to decide – yes of course it should, otherwise the people who wanted to see a backlash would have won.

Some people were amazed by Beeston’s positive reaction after 7/7, but I wasn’t.