Raising funds for London’s brave transport workers
As of 27th April, 29 TFL staff in total — including 23 bus drivers and workers - have tragically died from COVID-19. If you also want to recognise our fallen transport workers, please do donate any amount to our memorial fundraising campaign
As a secondary school teacher starting my usual daily commute at 5.45 am, I won’t lie, I was pretty oblivious to all the people helping me get to work. I did my usual hour and a half journey – train, then the tube, then train and finally a bus – pretty much on autopilot twice a day. This all changed when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Before the schools locked down in late March, many people were working from home, but I was still travelling across London every day. With this, I started to notice all the transport workers doing their very best to help in such stressful conditions, and began exchanging a smile and a hello with them. It was very obvious to me that they were doing their jobs uncomplainingly, without masks, gloves, or much cleaning of vehicles and stations happening at all, they appeared entirely unprotected.
Then the tragic news of their deaths started… one after another. Bus driver after bus driver, depot worker after depot worker. Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, uncles, aunts, and beloved friends. As I write today, on 27th April, 29 TFL staff in total — including 23 bus drivers and workers – have tragically died from COVID-19.
Of course the focus of public recognition, quite understandably, has mainly been on the heroes of our NHS, but I could see how brave and dedicated the transport workers have also been, keeping London moving despite the risks they were facing. So, Cre8tive Resources as a collective, launched a campaign in early April, with the amazing help of teenagers at my school using Citizenship, to raise funds to support the bereaved transport workers’ families and support them as a group. From posters to T-shirt designs and writing letters to the London Mayor, their MPs, and local politicians, the kids were – and are – amazing. Teaching during a pandemic is such a new thing for me even after 10 years of teaching Citizenship and PSHE to secondary students. In addition we decided to design a fun family Easter-themed quiz, with all funds raised going a memorial to commemorate all those London Bus Drivers & Transport Workers who have heroically given their lives whilst helping transport essential key workers in London to their places of work and helping to protect the NHS.
Now as we reach the end of April, after a month of lockdown, the numbers of TFL workers struck down by COVID-19 continues to rise. And with it, our commitment to having their bravery recognised through an official public memorial. We’re raising funds here for a memorial and, separately campaigning with our schoolkids to write to and urge the Greater London Authority (GLA) to agree to it being placed in a prominent and well-deserved location, as well as aiming to get public figures involved. Our iconic buses and tubes literally keep London moving, and even though it’s just a small thing we can do to have that officially recognised, to have those brave workers’ memories remembered it is most definitely worth it.
If you also want to recognise our fallen transport workers, please do donate any amount to our memorial fundraising campaign here. Even a pound would be hugely appreciated by their bereaved families. If you want to help us with the campaign to the GLA, please email: [email protected] here to find out how.
with Michael Gillman
Directors, Cre8tive Resources