Saturday, December 08, 2018

Nicola York

Nicola was the older  of two daughters of close friends of ours. She was a journalist who tragically died  quite recently, when only in her early 30s, having married only  two weeks earlier.

Last night her parents,  husband and friends held a quiz night event  to remember her - eg see the earlier blog post at: Nicola York  - celebrate her life and fund raise for her favourite charity "Women for Women International". 

Nicola cared deeply about the violence and poverty that women and girls disproportionately suffer in times of conflict.  In particular, following a visit to the region organised through WfW, Nicola saw at first hand the situation facing the victims of the wars, civil strife, and multiple rebellions in the DR Congo since 1996.  
Nicola campaigned (through Congo Connect) to raise awareness of the plight of, and yet underline the hope for, victims of conflict in the Eastern DR Congo.  However, she also supported women in that region through the Sponsor a Sister campaign, which provides women with intensive training for the essential job skills that they need in order to earn an income to support their families. 

The event last night was particularly timely since it has  within the past few days been announced  that the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to campaigners against rape in warfare, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege for their "efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war".  Nicola would have strongly welcomed this announcement, and in particular the award recognising Dr Mukwege, the 63-year-old Congolese gynaecologist who has for 20 years been treating the victims of sexual violence in the Panzi hospital he set up in the eastern DR Congo city of Bukavu, and whom Nicola interviewed during her trip to the region. 

There were some 25 people mainly friends of the family in the private room at the Bread and Roses pub Clapham yesterday night and the event was clearly a success though slightly embarrassingly I won a Christmas hamper in a fund raising raffle.

 The Bread and Roses pub is fascinating as  well - an old workers' (presumably that means "socialist") pub with live music in the bar and a theatre upstairs though the fund raising party quiz night for Nicola was held in a private room.

As for the pub itself its website reads:
The Bread & Roses is an award-winning free house right in the heart of Clapham. Owned by The Battersea and Wandsworth Trade Union Council (BWTUC) and run by the Workers Beer Company, part of BWTUC Trading, it prides itself as a pub with a social consciousness.

The Bread & Roses is named in recognition of the struggle of workers around the globe for a better quality of life. The name is taken from a song written during a strike of women textile workers in Lawrence Massachusetts, USA in 1912. 27.000 women went out onto the streets and marched for eleven weeks to improve their working conditions. Their banners called for bread and roses. A poet among them, James Oppenheim, wrote the lyrics to what became the trademark song for women trade unionists around the world. It is still sung by delegates to conclude the ICTU Women's Conference.

To travel to the Bread & Roses we used for the first time, the London Overground Line (which goes to Dalston Junction) from Clapham Junction. 

The Stratford London Overground Line has been available from Clapham for some while, see eg  the 2011 blog post at  Highgate Cemetery when with younger brother and his wife we visited inter alia the tomb of Karl Marx in 2011 taking the London Overground. 

However the newer London Overground  line from Clapham we had not used  before so were able to save time and trouble last night, by travelling on the London Overground almost to the old workers' pub at Clapham Manor Street  returning the same way with very little waiting.


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