SUPPORTING ENGLAND DESPITE THE HATERS: Shop manager stands up against football racists

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Ilford Recorder

A shop owner of Indian heritage, who was allegedly abused by racists and warned off his show of support by a fellow Indian after adorning his business with the flag of St. George in support of the England World Cup football team has vowed to fight back against the prejudice he suffered by increasing the number of flags flying at his shop, the Ilford Recorder newspaper reported today.

The unnamed owner of GMS Heating & Plumbing Spares, Ilford Lane, in the London-Essex town of Ilford, a Sikh Punjabi, declared his backing of the ‘Three Lions’ team by placing the distinctive red-and-white cross of England around the outside of his store, as well as a string of smaller flags of all the national teams in the World Cup across the shopfront.


The decorations riled some locals, who did not understand why a person of Indian origin was supporting England, even though he had lived in the country for forty years and had been supporting the national team for twenty years. Staff at GMS began receiving hate mail and letters criticising their manager’s allegiances. One handwritten missive accused the manager of forgetting his heritage and disavowing his culture and skin colour. The rambling letter went on to say that if National Front racists had seen the flags, the shop owner would have been ” [kicked] back to Indian with out (sic) your trousers on and give you flower (sic) to take”

The note, written anonymously and addressing the GMS owner as ‘Uncle’, annoyed the man and he has vowed to now add more England flags to his football display. 

The manager told the Recorder that the letters would not stop him supporting his favourite side, but that it had cast a shadow over the store’s World Cup celebrations.

“It is shocking how backward minded people think that by supporting the country you live in you will be dishonouring our religion or insulting India,” he added.

“These are the wrong people, not the ones who enjoy being part of the English culture.”

David Landau, a senior caseworker at the local people relations charity Redbridge Equalities and Community Council, said abuse in any form should not be tolerated and needs to be reported.

“This is a rather unusual situation but abuse is abuse and if someone is abused for putting up England flags this is wrong,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be happening and racism needs to be condemned.”

Another South Asian-owned business on the same Ilford road, which runs through the far west of the town along the border with Newham, also reported receiving similar letters after they also flew English flags outside their premises.


Ilford Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc.

“Abusive letters won’t stop Ilford Sikh shopkeeper from displaying England flags during the Football World Cup” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (24 June 2018)


“SO7192 : Old Castle pub in Bridgnorth” – Jaggery, geograph (2 July 2014)

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


PHOTO MOMENT: An intelligent ability


If you are fluent in the English language, then even if the letters in a word are jumbled up, then you would still be able to make sense of the correct way to spell it. In scientific terms, this is known as typoglycaemia. In the photo above, the man is sporting a t-shirt with a quote attibuted to the mastermind Stephen Hawking. The trouble is, the t-shirt printing shop was short on letters, so substituted in some numbers, SMS-style. Can you figure out what the garment is saying? Answers in the comments. Enjoy!


Sarcasm, Facebook, Facebook Inc.

Collin Fisher.

LOST IN THE POST?: Birmingham’s 23-year letter delay

Royal Mail workers sorting mail (c) Roy Mayall / Going Postal

While Royal Mail, the United Kingdom’s largest postal service, has a popularly notorious reputation for losing and delivering letters to wrong addresses, they are also sometimes credited as being very efficient and hard-working. But even big companies can make big mistakes…

Waiting for a letter to arrive and finding out it has been delayed or lost in the post is a frustrating experience for thousands of residents in the U.K. every year. Spare a thought, however, for the recipients of a batch of letters posted in the Midlands that went missing for over two decades.

The mail was put into a postbox at Birmingham’s New Street train station as the Eighties drew to a close. Unfortunately it was never collected, as in 1989, the postbox containing them was withdrawn from service and sealed by postal officials. According to local Royal Mail representatives, this was due to complaints from customers who were getting their fingers trapped in the postbox’s narrow hinged slot, as well as a need for increased security at New Street, which served 24 million passengers in 2010/11.

After being decommissioned, the New Street postbox was boarded up with an ‘out-of-action’ sign, only to be targetted by vandals who removed the boarding. As a result customers continued to post their letters through the box, despite it being no longer emptied by postal workers on their rounds.

The box was quickly forgotten about. Located inside the station’s main hall near a branch of stationers WH Smiths, it was barely noticed by most commuters and shop workers alike, apart from the unlucky letter senders who had to wait 23 years for a reply.

An assistant at the New Street train station, Nikee Clynes, with some of the forgotten mail (c) Birmingham Mail

Years of being left in a dark humid space has exposed them to some wear and tear. Much of the forgotten mail was found dog-eared and filthy with dust. Workers sifting through the correspondence discovered several postcards from holidaymakers and a cheque made out to a charity.

Recent renovation work by National Rail at the New Street station – located in Birmingham’s city centre – uncovered the lost letterbox and its secret cache of envelopes, which are now awaiting delivery to their original recipients by a noticeably embarrassed Royal Mail. One spokesperson told the Birmingham Mail newspaper that “We would not seal the box with letters still in it…We believe customers continued to post letters, oblivious to the fact it was not being emptied.

Network Rail, which manages the rail station, did not take any responsibility alongside Royal Mail, stating that they were not in the mail delivery business. The more than 110,000 postboxes located in Britain are usually visited 2 to 3 times daily by postmen/women who can only access the mail inside with specially-provided key sets.



Metro newspaper (28/9/12)

Google Maps LINK

“Found at last – Letters that lay in Birmingham postbox for 23 YEARS” – Birmingham Mail / Trinity Mirror Midlands Limited LINK

“Birmingham New Street railway station” – Wikipedia LINK

“Locate or find your nearest postboxes” – Matthew Somerville, LINK


“Found at last – Letters that lay in Birmingham postbox for 23 YEARS” – Birmingham Mail / Trinity Mirror Midlands Limited LINK

“The mood in the Royal Mail sorting office” – Roy Mayall, Going Postal LINK