22 December 2005

24 December 2005

Top West End theatre producer to manage popular music venue

Keith Murray is to take over as general manager of Blackheath Halls. Keith co-produced the George and Ira Gershwin centenary celebrations at The Royal Albert Hall and The London Palladium, plus theatre productions Spike starring Richard Briers, Sitting Pretty with Maureen Lipman, and Only A Matter of Time by Alan Plater. Until recently he was deputy chief executive of the International Festival of Musical Theatre in Cardiff and is vice- chairman of The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. The halls, which opened in 1895, were bought by Trinity College of Music in 2003.

Former council leader will quit

FORMER council leader Chris Maines has announced he is to quit Bromley borough. The top Liberal Democrat, who was the leader of Bromley Council from 1998 to 2001, is moving to Blackheath where he intends to stand in next May's council elections.
Cllr Maines said: "I don't think it's a Labour stronghold, it's just waiting for a Liberal Democrat councillor.

"Bromley's very formal. We say prayers and bow to the mayor. Lewisham is not like this. And in Bromley, councillors work very hard to attend meetings. In Lewisham there is a huge absenteeism rate."

He says the issues of safer streets, anti-social behaviour and cleaner streets, will still be prominent.

21 December 2005

Lewisham Eye

Thanks to The Man From Catford for his tip off on TfL's Camera pages.

Deptford Broadway / Church Street (Click for current picture)

Catford Gyratory

21 December 2005

Click story title for complete article.

OAP rapes: Man held

Officers have been investigating 98 unsolved rapes and indecent assaults on female pensioners across the capital. A man was held at a South London police station yesterday for questioning following the 8am arrest. The rapist has struck in areas including Forest Hill, Catford, Dulwich, Croydon and Sidcup over a period of 10 years.

Mayor escapes standards probe

THE Standards Board will not investigate an allegation that a directly elected mayor broke his authority's code of conduct. A complaint was lodged with the board, the national body responsible for promoting high ethical standards, against Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock in November. It related to council meetings on October 20, and December 15, 2004, at which Mr Bullock was asked what consultation the council had undertaken before deciding to close Ladywell Leisure Centre.

Cops block club's extra drinking bid

POLICE have won the day against a popular nightclub which wanted to extend its drinking hours. On Thursday, members of Lewisham's licensing committee refused to allow The Venue in New Cross Road to sell alcohol any later. The club had asked to be open until 6am every day, with booze being sold until 5am. It will now stick with its current hours, selling booze until 2am each day except Sunday, when it stops at 12.30am. It is open until 6am on Saturday/Sunday and 4am on other nights.

Mother accuses Met of cover-up

POLICE have refused to name three officers disciplined following the hunt for a murdered teenager. Information manager Damion Baird at the Directorate of Professional Standards for the Met Police told News Shopper it would not be in the interest of the public to reveal details of investigation surrounding the disappearance of Hannah Williams. But the 14-year-old's devastated mother Bernadette has blasted the Met Police accusing them of a cover-up.

Asbo punishment for teen tearaway

Sanchez Williams, aged 17, has terrorised residents in the Burnt Ash Lane area of Bromley, for more than a year. He has been verbally abusive, caused disorder and been involved in burglary and theft from cars. Under the conditions of the Asbo, which was made at Bromley Magistrates' Court, Williams, of Goudhurst Road, Downham, must not: use threatening, racist, foul or abusive words or behaviour towards anyone in Bromley borough.

17 December 2005

Wally Parr

Special mention for Mr Parr. I first became away of him two summers ago reading Pegasus Bridge: D-Day - the Daring British Airborne Raid by Stephen E. Ambrose. I'll let the article tell you the rest about this son of Lewisham.


Wally Parr, who has died aged 83, took part in the glider-borne assault which captured Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal and the Horsa Bridge over the River Orne at Bénouville.

On the night of June 5 1944, D-Day minus one, D Company 2nd Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, commanded by Major John Howard and part of 6th Airborne Division, climbed aboard six Horsa gliders, and were towed across the Channel by Halifax bombers. Parr, then a corporal, was in the leading glider.

The men carried a variety of weapons - a rifle, a Sten gun or a Bren gun, mortars and grenades. Their faces were blackened with burned cork or coke. Parr had chalked Lady Irene (his wife's name) on the side of the glider for good luck.

Parr glanced out of the open door as the Horsa swept alongside the canal. The trees seemed to be going past at 90 miles per hour. "I just closed my eyes," he said afterwards. A parachute reduced the speed, but the glider landed with a huge crash which tore off the wheels.

It came to a halt 50 yards from the canal bridge, its nose buried in barbed wire. The passengers were knocked out, but they regained consciousness within a few seconds, scrambled out and quickly overcame most of the resistance from the machine-gun pits and the slit trenches.

Parr and a comrade led the way into a set of underground bunkers, flung open the doors, threw in grenades and sprayed inside with their Stens. The river bridge was captured shortly afterwards, but enemy tanks were heard moving towards Bénouville; equipped with cannons and machine guns, they posed a considerable threat.

Parr slid down an embankment and returned to the glider to search for the Piat. He found it but, having no flashlight, he tripped over an ammunition box and bent the barrel. He threw it aside.

Reinforcement by the 7th Battalion Parachute Regiment freed the company from patrolling duties. Parr and three comrades moved to a gun pit and busied themselves exploring the mechanics of a German anti-tank gun. Convinced that enemy snipers were shooting at them from a nearby château, Parr started putting shells though the top floor, spacing them along the building. Howard, appalled, dashed over to him and ordered him to cease firing because the château was being used as a maternity hospital.

Both bridges were held until 1.30 pm on D-Day, when the Commandos led by Brigadier Lord Lovat took over. When Georges Gondrée, who managed the café near the canal bridge, came out with a tray and a bottle of Champagne, the sight of Lovat shaking his head was too much for Parr, who ran up to Gondrée with a cry of "Oui, oui, oui", and drained several glasses.

At about 3 pm a gunboat laden with enemy troops came up the canal from the direction of Caen. Parr and his comrades had a heated discussion about the range before firing their gun. The first shell dropped short; the second hit the stern and the boat withdrew, trailing smoke.

Walter (Wally) Robert Parr, the son of a professional footballer, was born at Lewisham, south-east London, on April 5 1922 and was educated at Plassey Road School. On the outbreak of the Second World War he was called up as a reservist for the Gloucestershire Regiment.

In 1942 he transferred to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and took part in two years of rigorous training for D-Day. A highly proficient marksman, he was in charge of the snipers.

One dark night, Parr and two friends decided to raid the Naafi. They carried away soap powder by the sackload and spread it over the walkways. It rained shortly afterwards, and the next morning everybody had to wade through the foam. Howard demoted Parr from corporal to private, and sentenced him to a fortnight in jail, but protected him from more drastic punishment. "Parr is a born leader," he said. "As soon as we get into action, he will be promoted at once."

After the capture of the canal and river bridges on D-Day, "D" Company moved towards Escoville, where they came under heavy fire and took many casualties. When orders were given to withdraw, Parr and a comrade helped to carry the wounded three-quarters of a mile back to the company position.

The company had lost almost half its strength and spent two months in a defensive position. One night Parr and Howard went out on a fighting patrol near Bréville to try to bring back prisoners.

In the moonlight, in an area strewn with the bodies of soldiers who had been killed by an artillery concentration, they saw a group of six men sitting in a trench, playing cards. They had not a mark on them and were still holding their cards in front of them. They had been killed by concussion.

Parr was wounded by shrapnel in Normandy and returned to England; but he rejoined his company in December 1944 in time for the battle of the Ardennes. He was wounded again in Germany, but remained with the company until the end of the campaign.

In 1946, shortly after his battalion went to Palestine, Parr was demobilised. He worked as a window cleaner in Catford until 1991, when he moved to France.

The original 110-ft long Pegasus Bridge was removed in 1993 to make way for the widening of the Caen Canal. In 2000 it was rescued from rusting into oblivion and moved to a canalside position between Bénouville and Ranville, where it forms part of Memorial Pegasus, a new Airborne Museum.

Parr was English President of the Association for the Defence and Safeguard of Pegasus Bridge and its site at Bénouville. He was an excellent communicator, and played a leading role in the vigorous campaign to restore Pegasus Bridge and make it part of a battlefield memorial to the 6th Airborne Division. The Airborne Assault Normandy Trust contributed substantial funds towards the costs involved.

Wally Parr died on December 3 at Lewisham Hospital, where he had been born. He married, in 1940, Irene Spear, who died in 1986; he is survived by their two sons (one son predeceased him) and one daughter. For the last 14 years, his companion had been Louise Claret, a Frenchwoman; she died in October.

17 December 2005

It's been looking a little untidy around here lately - so let's cut the stories down. It allows you to skim read what you want and click the links to the stories you want to read about in-depth. That way, the sites get hits (after all, they do the hard work and I just provide a link blog). Onwards...

Death of campaigner

A LONG-SERVING newspaper editor who was awarded an MBE for his services to community journalism has died. Roger Norman, 65, retired from South London Press sister paper The Mercury in 1996 after 25 years. He was famed for making a stand against racism when his front page lead was headlined "Let's not vote for the NF" as its members marched through the streets of Lewisham in 1974.

Benefit cheat caught

A FRAUDSTER who cheated the council out of £19,370 has been ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. Farida Sebaduka admitted benefit fraud at Woolwich Crown Court. She was arrested following an anonymous tip-off to Lewisham Council and her home in Hexal Road, Catford, was raided by police in April last year.

Notorious club wants to stay open all night

The Venue, Clifton Rise, New Cross, which has been labelled a "hotspot for street crime, drugs and firearms", wants to serve alcohol until 5am Monday to Friday and 6am on Saturday. But police have criticised the proposal and say longer hours will mean more crime, disorder and public nuisance. Officers have compiled records of the 271 times police have attended the bar in the last year.

Racist cops in our midst

Detective Sergeant Jimi Tele of the Lewisham serious crime unit has been issued with an apology by top brass who wanted to stop his discrimination claim reaching an employment tribunal. DS Tele has accepted the apology and dropped his case, but the Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group (LARAG) are demanding that the force improve their act to prevent other black cops facing discrimination.

Swimming in satire at party

CAMPAIGNERS celebrated the 40th anniversary of a leisure centre's opening with a panto poking fun at top council figures. The Save Ladywell Pool group held a party outside Lewisham Leisure Centre in Lewisham High Street, to commemorate its opening on December 11, 1965.

Xmas job worries

A HUNDRED council workers face a bleak Christmas after it was revealed they are to be forced to reapply for their own jobs. Lewisham Council has announced it is to drastically change its building services department cutting 29 positions and redeploying 88 in a new structure.

Breath of fresher air

SMOKING anywhere in the buildings and grounds of Lewisham Hospital, Lewisham High Street, will be forbidden from New Year's Day. The policy, which applies to staff, patients and visitors, will help prevent passive smoking. The London Strategic Health Authorities have asked all London trusts to introduce the ban as soon as possible.

14 December 2005


Pop into your local Lewisham Library and take advantage of their rather generous "Hire Two For The Price Of One" offer on CDs, DVDs, CD-Roms and other such multimedia!

Now let's hope they update their blog! ;)

13 December 2005

13 December 2005

£22k reward to find nurse killers

COPS have put up a £22,000 reward in the hunt for the killers of a nurse.

Simon Pearse was viciously set upon after getting off a night bus in Rushey Green, Catford, during the early hours of July 30.

The 45-year-old, of Goodrich Road, East Dulwich, was taken to hospital where he died two weeks later from a fractured skull.

Cops hunting his killers believe there are witnesses to the attack who have yet to come forward.

They offered a reward of £22,000 this week for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Mr Pearse's attackers.

Police believe the murdered man was in Vauxhall on the night of his death.

He took a N36 night bus to Rushey Green shortly before he was attacked.

Detective Inspector Tim Grattan-Kane, leading the murder hunt, said the driver of a passing taxi could have information vital to the inquiry.

He said: "We are particularly keen to trace a black hackney cab travelling east around the South Circular - the A205 - towards Eltham, around 3am.

"It was a short distance behind a Tesco lorry.

"The cab driver may have seen something and had to brake.

"We are appealing for the cab driver, who may have been going home at the end of a shift, to contact the incident room as soon as possible."

Mr Pearse was white, 5ft 6in tall, of stocky build and was wearing a black T-shirt, black leather jacket and a bandana the night he died.

Police want to hear from anyone who spotted him, or saw several men running away from the area in the direction of Bromley Road.

Information on the murder to 020 8721 4054 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Housing on nature reserve 'ridiculous'

CAMPAIGNERS have slammed an idea to build houses on a nature reserve which is home to woodpeckers, sparrowhawks and lizards.

The New Cross Gate Cutting Nature Reserve was included in a consultation document put out by Lewisham council this autumn asking the public which sites in the borough should be earmarked for development.

But Darren Johnson, Lewisham councillor and Green Party member of the London Assembly, said the site was "the best trackside wildlife habitat in the whole of London".

He said it should keep its status as a site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.

The consultation document - called Local Development Framework Issues and Options - said the suggestion of development came from a borough resident.

Cllr Johnson said: "I cannot believe the council is taking this ridiculous suggestion seriously. I have been contacted by a number of groups and individuals alarmed at suggestions that the nature reserve be built on for housing."

The site, off Vesta Road, is leased by the London Wildlife Trust from Network Rail.

It lies each side of the railway line between New Cross Gate and Brockley stations.

Charity worker Geoff Taylor, 49, lives in Barriedale and volunteers at the reserve by maintaining its security.

He said: "It is in a wildlife corridor so the wildlife can come up the railway line from the countryside. It is also very interesting because it is the only site of acid grassland this side of Haywards Heath."

The reserve contains silver birch trees which used to be grown to be burnt in the nearby brick foundries.

Mr Taylor said the site was too dangerous to be built on because the ground was weak.

Other attempts to build next to the railway line, at the junction of Vesta Road and Endwell Road, had resulted in subsidence, he said.

Street market has big stores beat for value

SHOPPERS can get cheaper fruit and vegetables at street market than at a neighbouring supermarket, according to research.

The London Development Agency (LDA), which did surveys in London markets last month, revealed a basket of food from stalls at Lewisham Street Market cost £4.74.

The same goods were £7.18 from Sainsbury's, in the shopping centre.

Fruit and veg stall holder Jay Cook, 39, said the findings underlined how important markets are to local economies and communities.

The father-of-two said: "We form an important part of Lewisham and our produce is fresher and cheaper than supermarkets.

"The problem is younger generations go for convenience food shopping and prefer to use credit cards."

The LDA, which did the research for the Mayor's London Food Board, discovered the 100-year-old market helped improve trade for the other shops in the area.

Monde Yamalezi, 26, of Carisbrooke Road, Bromley, who goes to the market every week, said: "It's cheaper and you find everything you want from all cultures."

11 December 2005

11 December 2005

Cops versus club

COPS are against extended drinking hours at a top nightclub after being called to a string of violent incidents.

The Venue in New Cross Road, New Cross, has asked to be open until 6am every day, with alcohol being sold until 5am.

The entertainment it offers includes tribute acts to Madonna, Queen, Elvis, Abba and other performers.

The Venue, which has a capacity of more than 1,000, is able to sell alcohol until 2am every night except Sunday, when it stops at 12.30am. It is open until 6am on Saturdays and 4am on other nights.

Chief Inspector Wayne Nash, of Lewisham police, objected to the extended hours on the grounds of preventing crime and disorder and public nuisance.

Police records show they received 271 calls connected with The Venue between January 2004 and August 2005, 238 of which were between midnight and 6am.

The majority of the incidents officers attended were in the categories of "disturbance in public place" and "violence against person".

A sample of the calls received by police has been submitted to Lewisham council's licensing committee which is due to decide on the licence on Thursday.

In its submission to the committee, The Venue said it had a CCTV system and a search policy at the door to prevent weapons being taken inside.

It said no one who appeared to be drunk or on drugs was allowed to enter, there were security staff inside and outside the premises, and up to 25 bouncers were there when the club was at its busiest.

It added that notices were also displayed at the premises encouraging patrons to leave quietly.

Owner Dan Dowling said: "The Venue is a family-run business and has been established for 17 years.

"Many thousands of people pass through our doors every year and this success is due to our customers feeling safe and secure while they are enjoying their night out.

"We have a full complement of fully qualified and trained door supervisors both inside and outside the club.

"We are very proud of our achievements in The Venue. We feel we have always had a good working relationship with the police and we are ready and willing to address any concerns they may have now."

Some of the 271 calls to the Venue since January 2004 November 7, 2004. 1.09am: Male throwing bottle at informant [person phoning the police]. 1.12am: A female has been assaulted. A disturbance heard in the background.

November 28, 2004. 12.02am: Fight at The Venue, bouncers beating people up. One male hurt. London Ambulance Service (LAS) called.

December 4, 2004. 2.32am: Female requesting police to The Venue stating that there is a fight. 2.48am: Two males fighting.

Christmas Day, 2004. 3.01am: Fight now - staff of The Venue cannot control it. Female heard screaming - five people fighting.

March 6, 2005. 3.30am: Information from Lewisham council's CCTV that there is a fight taking place out-side The Venue between youths and security guards. March 19, 2005. 3.09am: Fight at location - two females detained by security.

March 20, 2005. 2.07am: Crying female requests police assistance at location stating there is a fight taking place.

March 15, 2005. 2.26am: One of the bouncers has been assaulted by suspects running towards Clifton Rise. One male unconscious and taken to Lewisham Hospital.

April 24, 2005. 3.12am: Male assaulted suffering a broken nose. LAS attended. One person arrested for actual bodily harm.

June 5, 2005. 1.15am: Caller states that he has been assaulted by a bouncer at location hitting him on the head. Police on scene state that no one's been injured just two very drunk males being silly.

July 2, 2005. 3.44am: Large fight outside The Venue involving multiple persons. Nine police units originally assigned the call.

Lower Sydenham Bridge makes Top Five

Two of the most bashed railway bridges in the UK are located less than a mile apart, according to Network Rail.
The Barrowby Road bridge in Grantham, Lincolnshire has been hit 32 times in the past year and nearby Springfield Road bridge has had 16 collisions.

A Road Safety Bill proposes a £5,000 fine along with a six-point endorsement for drivers who hit railway bridges.

Ben Herbert of Network Rail said "bridge bashing" causes about £10m in damages every year.

Five railway bridges have been hit more than 100 times since 1995, including the Barrowby bridge and others in Swindon, Litchfield, Lower Sydenham in South London and Ely. Continued...

More than £8m for specialist services

COUNCIL chiefs stand accused of wasting taxpayers' money by spending more than £8m in a year on outside experts.

Opposition councillors say Lewisham Council's spending on consultants is "excessive" and calls into question the ability of its own staff.

And one furious resident who has waged a three-year campaign against council waste says the "profligate" local authority should be "capped".

In the financial year 2004/5, the council spent £8.3m on recruiting expertise, including financial and legal advice, from outside the town hall.

The council has used consultants to advise on many of its major schemes, including the £150m Building Schools for the Future programme and the Downham Lifestyles centre.

Downham ward councillor Mark Morris claims wrangling over consultants' fees was to blame for delays in building the new leisure centre.

Referring to the total amount spent, he said: "There is always the need to bring in expert advice but £8m in a year seems excessive to me.

"Spending this amount of money on outside advice begs questions about whether Lewisham is recruiting enough high-quality staff."

Figures released in a written answer at last month's full council meeting reveal the council has spent a further £3.9m to date in this financial year.

Retired company director Alan Copson has written to the Audit Commission five times since 2002, accusing the council of wasting too much money.

Mr Copson, of Brangbourne Road, Catford, said: "It is scandalous to spend this much on consultants and an outrageous waste of taxpayers' money. This profligate council must be capped. It is the only way to cut this appalling waste."

Lewisham Council says it saves money by employing experts on a contract basis rather than full-time.

A spokesman said: "While council employees have expertise in a number of areas, we cannot be specialists in every area we provide services.

"As such we buy in specialist advice as and when required."

Boroughs ready for the cold spell

COUNCIL chiefs have revealed plans to make sure they are not caught cold by the big freeze.

Forecasters believe this winter could be one of the coldest in recent history, with pre-Christmas snow and below freezing temperatures predicted for the area.

Now both Lewisham and Greenwich councils are taking major action, to ensure motorists and residents do not suffer during the cold spell.

Lewisham says it will spend around £80,000 on gritting roads.

It has earmarked all A and B roads, bus routes and roads with steep hills, to be gritted when forecasts predict icy weather and snow showers.

Greenwich Council has published a winter service plan, which contains details of its measures.

It has in store 1,400 tonnes of road salt and six gritter lorries, which will be used to grit the 400km of carriageway it is responsible for.

The council also says it will concentrate on gritting footpaths and busy areas like shopping centres.

08 December 2005

08 December 2005

Trees replaced on the heath

THREE trees were planted in Blackheath to replace mature willows felled in June.

A willow, alder and birch were set in the ground during a ceremony this week beside the Prince of Wales Pond on Wednesday.

Lewisham council said the previous trees were chopped down for health and safety reasons. Gavin Moore, deputy mayor, said: "Blackheath is not just a historic landmark but a beautiful open space that the public can enjoy.

"We want to do everything we can to preserve its natural beauty and ensure it remains a place that everyone will still want to visit in the future." The council, which paid for the trees, said there were proposals to plant three more birch trees in the future but these would be subject to consultation and funding.

Feed the 'cows' rubbish in New Cross recycling field

NEW Cross became Moo Cross on Monday as recycling bins appeared in a new guise.

Lewisham council has transformed ordinary recycling bins into a herd of lookalike cows, set in a tranquil "field" in the heart of the hustle and bustle of New Cross.

The project Feed the Cows at Moo Cross, funded by the Onyx Environmental Trust, aims to draw attention to the under-used recy-cling site at St James', creating an environment that will encourage people to care for it.

The cows could be farmed out across the borough and even further afield should the scheme prove successful.

Schools could even get their own pet moo.

Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock, said: "Moo Cross is a great way to get people recycling and help make Lewisham even greener.

"I'm urging people to take care of the cows and fatten them up with plastic bottles, cans, card, paper and glass."

Patricio Forrester, of Tonic Wonder Remedies, the company that designed the cows, said: "The site was a dead space and we wanted to bring it to life with beauty and humour."

Old enough to know better

THREE men have been hit with anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) for persistently harassing passers-by on the streets.

Michael Marriott, Simon Paul and Harold Thompson have been banned from a large section of Deptford and New Cross, for their constant anti-social behaviour.

Now the borough's leader has used the case to underline his commitment to "name and shame" those people making other's lives a misery.

The trio were already the subject of interim Asbo's following a hearing at Woolwich Magistrates' Court in June.

At the initial hearing the court heard how the men frequently loitered around New Cross Road, acting in an "aggressive and abusive fashion".

The men were also accused of drinking in the street and offering to buy drugs for passers-by.

Permanent Asbos were given to the three men at a second hearing at the same court, on December 2.

Marriott, aged 43 who did not attend court and Thompson, aged 49, were given indefinite orders, while Paul, aged 40, was handed a two-year order.

The terms of the Asbos mean the three men cannot:

Enter a large area covering New Cross and Deptford, including Deptford High Street, Sanford Street and New Cross Road (apart from when travelling by bus or train).

‘We will name and shame the small number of people who are disturbing the lives of our citizens who want to get on with their lives in a clean, safe and friendly environment.’ LEWISHAM MAYOR STEVE BULLOCK

Appear in public together within a specified area of Deptford and New Cross.

Threaten, harass or intimidate anyone within the entire borough.

Loiter with the intent of using or supplying drugs to anyone within the entire borough.

District Judge Dennis Lynch warned the men they would be handed lengthy custodial sentences if they breached their orders.

The trio have been brought to justice following a year-long investigation by Deptford police and the council's anti-social behaviour team.

In April News Shopper criticised Lewisham's anti-social behaviour unit for refusing to release details of those receiving Asbos.

But Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock says he wants residents to know about the people causing trouble on their doorstep.

He said: "We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour and we will stamp it out.

"People have a right to know who is restricted by an Asbo so they can report any infringement to the authorities.

"We will name and shame the small number of people who are disturbing the lives of our citizens who want to get on with their lives in a clean, safe and friendly environment."

Teen raped in gang attack

A gang has forced a 17-year-old girl to drink alcohol and use drugs before raping her in an alleyway.

Five men approached the teenager as she waited for a bus in New Cross, south-east London, at around 8.30pm on 28 October.

She is not from London and had spent the night with friends.

The men took her into an alley off Manor Avenue, where they made her smoke cannabis.

The youngest member of the group asked the others to leave and raped her.

When he was done, a second man indecently assaulted her.

She escaped and fled to a pub on the corner of a pub Upper Brockley Road and Ashby Road, where a woman helped her.

On the way she also knocked on a green front door, which was answered by a man with a baby in his arms.

Detective Constable Sally Leaver urged the man and the woman to contact police. "They are not suspects and I believe they may be able to provide me with important information."

She also appealed for help to identify the suspects.

Police has issued an e-fit of the rapist, described as white, aged 16 to 22, slim and 5ft8in tall. He wore a dark blue tracksuit, had light, spiky hair and said he was Polish.

The second sex attacker, also white, had an Eastern European accent. Detectives said he was in his late 20s, 5ft5in tall, heavily built and with thinning black hair.

The other three, one of which appeared about 40, also sounded like Eastern Europeans.

Before the attack one man's mobile phone rang with a Crazy Frog ring tone.

Anyone with information can call 020 8284 8300.

04 December 2005

04 December 2005

I can only apologise that the updates are no longer daily :( It's a busy time and that's my only excuse.

Swimming star joins pool battle

OLYMPIC gold medal winner Duncan Goodhew said it was "unacceptable" for a South London town to be without a swimming pool for any length of time.

Ladywell Leisure Centre in Lewisham High Street is due to shut in 2007 to make way for a new school which is supposed to open in 2009.

But campaigners from Save Ladywell Pool have been trying to get the decision reversed. Lewisham council says a replacement pool is due to open in the town centre in 2010, although council officers have admitted it could be as late as 2012, leaving a five-year gap.

Mr Goodhew, told the South London Press: "That is unacceptable. Pools should not be closed unless another one is open.

"Most pools have a serious queue for learning to swim lessons.

"You are denying people of years of health and fitness and children of the opportunity to learn to swim."

Mr Goodhew won gold for the 100-metre breaststroke in Moscow in 1980.

BNP bottom of pile

Last month Mark Morris, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Lewisham in south London, was cleared of libelling BNP candidate Tess Culnane.

A judge ruled Cllr Morris was correct to claim in a leaflet that many BNP members had criminal convictions. It went on to ask whether "this was the kind of person you want as an elected councillor?"

Mrs Culcane was ordered to pay more than £100,000 in legal costs. The BNP have since distanced themselves from Mrs Culcane claiming they did not encourage her to go to court. She is no longer a member of their party.

In seperate developments Conservative MP Ben Wallace has written to the boss of the e-Bay-owned PayPal over concerns that the online payment service is being used to raise funds for the BNP.

The MP's concerns were sparked by a campaign by the local Lancaster & Wyre UAF branch. UAF point out that PayPal's policy bans support for organisations "that promote hate, violence, or racial intolerance."

Mr Wallace has written to Paypal chief executive Geoff Iddison expressing concerns over the BNP's use of the online money-payment facilitiy.

In 2004 Barclays and HSBC closed the accounts of the BNP following an undercover documentary by the BBC into the actions of the party.

Lewisham Social Services' CSCI success

Lewisham Council's Social Services has been awarded an extra star rating, making it a two star service, following its annual review by the Government's governing body, the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI).

The CSCI concluded that Social Services in Lewisham are serving most adults well and that the service has promising capacity for improvement for adults and children.

Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: 'This year’s increased rating is an outstanding achievement and is testament to the hard work of our staff, and their commitment to providing the best possible service to adults and children across the borough.'

'We will continue to be focused on improving services to the borough’s vulnerable adults and children, and deliver them the social services they deserve.'

The CSCI star ratings are an assessment of the overall performance of each council in delivering Social Services in 2004/5.

Social Services ratings range from no stars, the lowest performing councils, to three stars.

Win £500 in the Green box lottery - register free online

More than 700 households have already registered for the Green box lottery - a new scheme to reward residents for taking up the new weekly recycling service.

The first winner will be picked out in mid-December but it’s not too late to register. For residents who missed the registration form in last month’s Lewisham Life, an online application form is now available. And anyone without internet access can register over the phone.

Every month for six months, a lucky recycling Lewisham resident will be picked at random to win £500. Local people can register at any point during this period. A recycling officer will visit the winner to check they are recycling – only regular recyclers will win the cash!

Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: 'It’s great that hundreds of households have already registered for the Green box lottery and there’s still time for more to join up before the first winner is drawn in December.

With our new weekly recycling service, which now collects plastic bottles, paper, card, cans and glass, local people can now recycle up to 65% of their waste.'

All residents need to do to take part in the Love Lewisham: Green box lottery is:

make sure they have a green box/wheelie bin and that they are using it
fill out the online registration form by answering the question: 'What five items can you put in your Green Box?'
Residents can now put plastic bottles in their green boxes as well as paper, card, glass and cans.

Residents living on housing estates can also register for the Love Lewisham: Green box lottery and just need to make sure that they are using their mini-recycling centres.

To order a green box or find out more about recycling call 020 8314 7171 or email recycle@lewisham.gov.uk.

To register online for the Green Box Lottery visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/recycling

Local people who do not have access to the internet can register by calling 020 8314 2245.