‘If it’s happening, it’s a concern’: Hornchurch's surprise at claims Havering is at risk of far-right activity

Joynal Ahmed, 34

Joynal Ahmed, 34 - Credit: Daniel Gayne

Despite recent warnings about the dangers of far-right activism in Havering, many in Hornchurch town centre were surprised by the links. 

Hairdresser Gracie Terranova said: “You hear about it through people, but it’s nothing I’ve ever first hand experienced."

Asked if racism and far-right beliefs were more prevalent in Havering, the 19-year-old added: “I don’t think I would say worse, I would say parts are as bad as other places. 

Hairdresser Gracie Terranova said she tried to live on her basic wage and save her commission.

Gracie Terranova, 19 - Credit: Daniel Gayne

“I think a lot of it depends on the crowd you mix with, the people you know. I’m lucky not to know those sorts of people. 

“That sort of thing you are never going to get rid of it completely."

Restaurant manager Joynal Ahmed said racism was a problem in the borough; he himself had been a victim of it in Rainham, where he lives. 

The 34-year-old said he had not seen organised far-right activity, but added: “If it’s happening, it’s a concern.” 

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Retiree David Almond, 72, said it would "surprise" him if there were links between the borough and far-right activity. 

David Almond, 72

David Almond, 72 - Credit: Daniel Gayne

He said he had lived in the area for 30 years and had not seen much far-right activism in that time. 

“I certainly wouldn’t want to see it,” he added. 

Michael Walsh, 39, said: “I’ve not seen anything about that. The last time I saw someone suspect like that, to be honest, was out by Shenfield, a couple of kids dressed as skinheads.” 

Michael Walsh, 39

Michael Walsh, 39 - Credit: Daniel Gayne

“You do get people with prejudice, obviously, but you get that in all settings unfortunately, particularly among the older generation.” 

Michael, who works in IT in the city, said it would “absolutely” concern him if far-right activism became a problem in the area, as his partner had just moved to Hornchurch from Brentwood.