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Dynamic duo’s battling spirit
Thursday, 16 June 2011
TWO campaigning pensioners who are still fighting the closure of a borough’s libraries have been nominated for a South London Press Our Heroes Award.
Married couple Peter and Pat Richardson have worked tirelessly to try to block Lewisham council’s closure of five libraries.
The duo have been supported by others in running a campaign that led them to the steps of Number 10 Downing Street in May.
Despite their claims that the closures are against the 1964 Museums and Libraries Act, the doors to the libraries were all shut on May 28.
However, the group has been given hope of a reprieve after receiving a letter from the Department of Culture Media and Sport on May 27 to say the issue was being looked into.
Mrs Richardson, 65, said: “We would both much rather campaign on issues that really matter rather than use our retirement to sit around on a beach somewhere.
“I used to be a primary school teacher and I saw first hand the huge part libraries play in getting children interested in reading.
“We believe we have proved that what the council has done in closing them is illegal.”
The pair first got involved in library-related issues more than a decade ago when they joined the Users and Friends of Manor House Library in Lee.
At the time, the group was fighting a council threat to close libraries at Manor House, Grove Park and Blackheath – a campaign that was won.
Mr Richardson, 75, also worked for six years on the group’s project team helping with background work as part of the refurbishment of Manor House Library.
The library in Old Road was reopened in March, 2009, when the project was completed.
Mrs Richardson said: “Peter spent many, many hours working away to help on the project, which he deserves a lot of credit for.
“We just both love helping and I can’t see us stopping being that way really.”
The couple were nominated for the award by Ray Woolford from the Lewisham People Before Profit party, which has supported the campaign.
The annual Our Heroes Awards culminates in a gala ceremony at the headquarters of award sponsors Shell on November 15.
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Thursday, 23 May 2013
Other Our Heroes Awards 2011:
Sir Ray Tindle
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