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Plans for permanent memorial to victims of 1972 Battersea Park funfair disaster – South London News

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By Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter

Sadiq Khan has said he will work with Wandsworth council to explore setting up a permanent memorial to the victims of the 1972 Battersea Park funfair disaster.

This coming Monday will mark exactly 50 years since five children were killed and 13 others were injured when a rollercoaster came off its tracks at Battersea Park funfair – one of the worst funfair disasters in the world.

Speaking on BBC Radio London this morning, the Mayor of London said it was “really important we keep these things in the public eye” because of “the difference it makes to those who are grieving”.

Mr Khan was responding to a question from Hilary Wynter, one of the survivors of the crash.

Ms Wynter recently featured in a BBC film where she shared her frustration that there was no public memorial to the “forgotten” disaster.

Speaking on Thursday, Ms Wynter said: “What we as survivors and families of the bereaved are upset about is there is nothing in Battersea Park at the moment to remember it – not in Battersea Park, not in London – and it is the deadliest fairground accident anywhere globally.”

The Mayor of London said he would “ring up” the leader of Wandsworth council and “explain to him the difference having a memorial makes to the survivors”.

Mr Khan said: “A memorial serves a number of purposes. I know from other memorials I’ve been involved in, it’s a place you can go to reflect, to think, to spend time others to commemorate this awful tragedy, but also it’s a reminder of the importance of health and safety, to make sure we get things right.”

The mayor said it was important to “educate” Londoners about the tragedy with its 50th anniversary fast approaching.

The accident occurred on Tuesday, May 30, 1972, when the cars of the Big Dipper rollercoaster broke free from the rope, pulling them to the summit and rolling backwards at speed, crashing through the wooden railings.

Following the disaster, the ride was dismantled and the funfair eventually closed entirely two years later.

There is little to no evidence remaining in Battersea Park that the funfair existed or that the accident occurred, and the site of the disaster is no longer accessible to the public.

Pictured top: Battersea Park (Picture: PA)

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