100's come out to support Frank the coffee vendor



Bethnal Tube Station has never seen anything like it: Hundreds of local people supporting Frank the coffee vendor, who has a pitch outside the tube station, came out to support him last night.

One elderly lady who spoke at the protest rally said that, "Anyone can serve up coffee, but Frank did much more than that. He served up a daily smile, along with warmth and great humanity, which, in this day and age, is priceless."

This sentiment seemed to be what brought the vast crowds out in short notice.

Local GLA Assembly member Unmesh Desai came down and said that Frank had his upmost support and he would be speaking to the London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport Heidi Alexander about his plight.

The local MP, Rushanara Ali also sent a message of supporting stating that Frank is a legend in Bethnal Green and should stay right where he is.

Frank, as we’ve highlighted has been serving coffee to the local residents for over 15 years, but ever since the arrival of Chiringutto the bar/restaurant in the park, Frank has been beset with problems. First his electricity was cut off, then a generator stolen, and he was subject to threats and racial abuse, with notes telling him to ‘…k off back to his own country.’

Although the Tower Hamlets Mayor, John Biggs is big supporter,  one of his departments have only offered Frank a totally unsuitable alternative  pitch elsewhere. The pitch they have offered Frank is close by, but  right in front of Starbucks, the biggest selling coffee chain in the world. The Mayor believes that TFL should allow him to stay exactly where he is.

Frank has promised TFL that he will downsize to accommodate better TFL rules. Therefore, supporters strongly feel that if Tower Hamlets and TFL can accommodate a licensed bar in the ‘no alcohol park’, they must be able to accommodate a man who  is much more than just a coffee vendor, - he is part of what makes Bethnal Green a great place to work and live in.

Simon Woolley