RWC 2015: Disabled station access at Twickenham not up to scratch

first_imgHe can’t judge the clubs now but he can say with authority that ‘reactive’ behaviour to the disabled is the norm in everyday life. People are nice as pie, the on-the-ground railway staff at Brighton and Victoria are brilliant, but the problems keep recurring and Higgy, and many others like him, are having their lives blighted. “It’s a downer,” he says. “It’s something we have to deal with, but it should be better.”Quite so. It should be better. In the meantime, we should be thanking Higgy and the other 800,000 UK wheelchair users for their forbearance. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Twickenham-bound: Alastair Hignell (centre) back in 2009. Disabled fans may struggle to reach HQ Take Higgy’s trip to this aforesaid lunch meeting. First, he had to ring up to alert railway staff of his intended journey – that can take ten or 15 minutes even after getting past the recorded messages.Still, it meant that someone was going to meet him off the train with a ramp at Clapham Junction. Except that no one did and, worse, the train started pulling away with him stuck on it, and a fellow passenger had to shout and bang on the window to stop the train.Ah well, at least he would be okay at Richmond, because after ringing up he knew a taxi would be waiting to whisk him to Twickenham. The railway company is obliged to pay for this if no disabled access is provided at the destination station.Station overload: Platforms will be rammed with fans during RWC 2015But no, foiled again! “The staff were surprised to see me and when they phoned for a taxi it was going to be an hour and a half’s waiting time. So I caught a black cab and paid myself.”Once he was home, he set about trying to get a refund for his taxi. And to that can be added this week’s journey, because this time the platform lift at Clapham wasn’t working, so they said he’d have to carry on to London. “But I was in danger of missing my appointment (a speaking engagement at a school) so I ended up getting a train to Woking and catching a taxi to Farnham. I do about three school talks every fortnight and the nearer you are to London, the worse it is.”You might laugh if it wasn’t so shameful.It’s about ten years since Higgy conducted a disability audit of English Premiership grounds and concluded that “there wasn’t a single club that tried to solve problems before they arose. Not one of them was proactive. Not one of them felt the need to make changes unless they were asked to. All of them were reactive, waiting for a complaint or a request to be made before deciding to take action”.center_img There was a lunch meeting last week about the Varsity Match, held in a hospitality box at Twickenham stadium. At its conclusion, the affable convener Rob Cole, a director at Westgate Sports Agency, offered to help former England international and Bristol full-back Alastair Hignell as he set out on his homeward train journey to Brighton. Higgy, as he’s affectionately known within rugby circles, has MS and uses an electric scooter.A few of us waited for Rob to return so we could say our formal goodbyes. Five minutes became 10 minutes, and then 20. Another 20 minutes passed and still no sign of Rob, we mused over where could he be?Rob finally returned and we had our answer. He’d walked to Richmond station with Higgy because there was no disabled access at Twickenham station.Consider that for a moment. A wheelchair user going to watch England play rugby cannot alight at the proper train station. In this day and age, that’s a disgrace.And relax: Hignell back at home in more peaceful surroundingsMore than 6,000 people a day pass through Twickenham station, which will be full to bursting next September when the 2015 World Cup kicks off. Will the station be modernised in time for that England-Fiji tournament opener?Yes and no. An ambitious project, involving residential and retail building, has been put on hold because of local opposition. It could take years to resolve.So Network Rail has opted for an immediate £5m package of improvements that include – hooray – step-free access between the ticket office and platforms. And, for that matter, a bigger area to help cope with the crush of fans being shepherded on to trains after a Test match (cue the sheep noises).“A proper access-for-all scheme, like they’re doing at the nearby Whitton station (not in time for the World Cup), involves huge lifts that cost millions each,” a Network Rail spokesman told me. “The work at Twickenham won’t be like that but there will be a stair lift for disabled passengers. And it will be completed by the World Cup.”I passed on this good news to Higgy. “A stair lift will be no good for powered wheelchairs,” he replied.So he will be obliged to go through the usual travel aggro, and when you realise that the hassle starts before he even embarks on a journey, and continues long after he’s back home, you get an idea of how demoralisingly tedious life can be for a disabled person. With the Rugby World Cup now less than a year away, Alastair Hignell finds Twickenham Station’s disabled access leaves a lot to be desiredlast_img read more

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Fellow officers mourn Alabama sheriff John Williams: ‘He paid the ultimate sacrifice’

first_imgiStock(HAYNEVILLE, Ala.) — A devoted Alabaman sheriff who was gunned down in the line of duty was mourned Monday by fellow grieving officers.Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams, known as “Big John,” was fatally shot on Nov. 23 while responding to a call in Hayneville, about 25 miles from Montgomery.Williams, a 62-year-old husband and father, was born in Lowndes County. He served with the Hayneville Police Department before joining the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department in 1987.He was elected sheriff in 2010.“Nobody had to question John’s integrity,” Heath Taylor, Russell County Sheriff and president of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, said at Monday’s funeral at the Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery.Williams responded to a gas station that night at 8:15 when he was shot. The suspect, William Chase Johnson, 18, immediately fled the store on foot before he was captured after state officials issued an emergency alert to search for him.Johnson has been charged with his murder. It was not immediately clear if he has entered a plea.Taylor said Williams, despite being a sheriff, didn’t pass on the responsibility to answer the call.“Just like he had done thousands of times before over the last 32 years,” Taylor said. “That was the type of love he had for his community. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us in this coliseum.“He was a man of honor and pride and respect for others,” Taylor said, overcome with emotion. “Nothing made him happier than helping somebody in Lowndes County.”Among the Alabama sheriffs who spoke at the service was Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham, who said he and Williams “went everywhere together.”“He loved being the sheriff,” Cunningham said. “He would give you the shirt off his back. He’s a true law enforcement officer.”Williams was a “consummate professional and pillar of his community,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey‏ said in a tweet.“He will be greatly missed by us all,” Ivey tweeted ahead of Monday’s service. “This tragedy is a grim reminder of the dangers that our law enforcement face each day. I’ve expressed to Mrs. Williams that she can take comfort in knowing his legacy will live on & that our state is praying for their family.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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An example for us all?

first_imgAn example for us all?On 1 Feb 2000 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. • Top executives are ignoring the push for shorter hours from legislatorsand the European Union. And many see working longer as an example to theworkforce.Nearly a third of respondents in a Mori survey, sponsored by BT, reportedworking longer hours as a sacrifice to demonstrate their personal alignmentwith the organisation’s desired culture. It was the biggest single category,ahead of communicating with employees/being more approachable.Nearly all of the respondents identified constant cultural change as beingcrucial to the company’s survival.• Britain’s Captains of Industry report, from 0207-563 6400 Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Sri Lanka Navy Apprehends Indian Fishermen

first_img View post tag: Sri Lanka Navy Sri Lanka Navy Apprehends Indian Fishermen View post tag: Indian View post tag: Fishermen View post tag: News by topic Sri Lanka Naval Craft attached to the Northern Naval Command on routine patrol arrested 11 Indian fishermen and 3 Indian fishing trawlers poaching in Sri Lankan waters North of Delft on 23rd June 2014. Back to overview,Home naval-today Sri Lanka Navy Apprehends Indian Fishermen The arrested fishermen and the trawlers were handed over to the officials of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Kankasanthurai for legal action.[mappress]Press Release, June 24, 2014; Image: Sri Lanka Navy View post tag: Navy June 24, 2014 View post tag: Naval View post tag: asia Authorities View post tag: Apprehends Share this articlelast_img read more

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