In My View: Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Battersea funfair disaster which opened as part of the Festival of Britain.

Tragically, on May 30, 1972, a carriage of the Big Dipper roller coaster broke loose and plummeted backwards through a barrier killing five children – Alison Comerford, Thomas Harmer, Shirley Nash, Debora Robertson and David Sait – and leaving 13 injured.

The disaster is one of the deadliest roller coaster crashes in history.

However, it has largely been forgotten and there has been no justice.

To mark the 50th anniversary, a special memorial ceremony was held in Battersea Park where a plaque was unveiled and a tree was planted.

This is the first step towards creating a new legacy and for a permanent memorial.

There is also another silent tragedy remained largely hidden, and that’s the damage from trauma.

Some wounds penetrate through to our minds, leaving lasting damage which can be just as debilitating.

Survivors of the Battersea funfair tragedy have spoken about the devastating impact that trauma has had on their lives.

Although the funfair and the Big Dipper are long gone, some of the survivors have been unable to shake off the horrific memories of the incident.

Childhood trauma can have a lifelong effect and can have lasting consequences for the child or young person’s development, including psychological, behavioural and emotional problems.

These can occur into and throughout adulthood, presenting related challenges in many aspects of their life.

As part of children’s mental health services, which are among the most under resourced, we need to invest in better services and prioritise trauma-informed care for children that will provide consultation, advice, assessment, treatment and transition into integrated services.

The Government needs be more ambitious in our call for better support for children’s mental health.

Increased resources will be an investment in our children and our future.

In Parliament, I led a debate on childhood trauma, calling on the government to ensure there is better provision for children and young people’s mental health services including committing to a strategy that addresses childhood trauma.

Labour has an ambitious plan to fix the crisis in mental health services including mental health hubs for children and young people in every community and specialist mental health support in schools.

No child should ever be left to deal with trauma alone without support. It’s time for our Government to act.




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