Coming together with Sutton's diverse communities

26 Jan 2024

January has been a really busy month for many of our communities in the borough. Over the past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Tamil Pongal celebration which was part of a programme of events to celebrate Tamil Heritage Month. It was wonderful to see so many talented young people celebrating their rich heritage with music and dance and to learn more about this ancient language and civilisation.

On a sadder note, today I participated in an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Members of diverse faiths and communities within our borough gathered to honour the lives lost during the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Sri Lanka and Darfur. The event shed light on ongoing conflicts worldwide and the impact on those forced to leave their homes in search of safety. 

The personal accounts shared by members of our Afghan and Ukrainian communities were both moving and heart-breaking. It’s vital that we never forget those who were killed or have lost so much and where hatred can lead.

During the event, we viewed a poignant video recounting the life of Mrs. Eve Gill, a Holocaust survivor from Cheam. Sadly, Mrs Gill passed away last year at the age of 100, but I’m so pleased that we have this video as a permanent reminder of such a special person. We also heard an extract from Anne Frank’s biography, read by Joseph Dean who is a pupil at a local secondary school. It was great to see so many young people at the event as it’s important for them to hear about the past in order for them to maintain the memories in the future.

Next week the Lunar New Year celebrations take place in Sutton Central library. The event, organised by our Hong Kong community, will include market stalls with food and drink, traditional costumes, music and plenty of family activities. I have attended this event for the past couple of years and am really looking forward to joining in the festivities and celebrations and catching up with lots of familiar, and new, faces.

Reflecting on this month, I take great pride in the diversity of the communities that call Sutton home. Over the past weeks, I have had the privilege of immersing myself in and learning about the various cultures and traditions of people living and working in our borough. Their choice to make Sutton their home and actively participate in our community enhances the lives of us all.

Councillor Ruth Dombey
Leader of the Council