Candlelit vigil as club for the elderly is bulldozed to expand primary school

Council critised over dealings with charity which resulted in demolition

A community centre which has been the home of a Harlesden charity for 25 years has been demolished.

The Mission Dine Club (MDC), in Fry Road, Harlesden, was set up by Dame Betty Asafu-Adjaye and provided lunch clubs and social events for elderly and disabled people from across Brent.

But Brent Council, which owns the site, has torn down the building to expand neighbouring Newfield Primary School.

On Friday, supporters of the club held a candlelit vigil at the spot where the building, which has now been reduced to rubble, once stood.

Cecil Marie, 68, from Stonebridge, organised the gathering. He said: “It was important for us to show our support. It was very touching.

“Dame Betty has been running this club for many years. I think it was appalling the way she was treated by the council.

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“They could have come to some amicable arrangement. But she was just left in the lurch. It is very sad.”

Dame Betty, who was made a dame in recognition of her charity work, set up the club in 1985.

The councils claims that the charity owes them six years worth of rent worth �20,762.

But the building itself belonged to the charity which was paid for by money donated to Dame Betty from a number of organisations including the Big Lottery Fund.

A spokesman for the council said: “Brent is under huge pressure to create more primary school places and there are only a limited number of schools where expansion is possible.

“The Mission Dine site will be used to expand Newfield Primary School, providing 210 permanent places for reception to year six pupils and is the best for the new school building because it is next to the school and is council-owned.

“Housing and park land flanks the other three sides of the school making expansion there too difficult.”