Council's 'disgraceful disregard' for dead Stevenage aid worker

OVER the four years I have worked at The Comet there have been very few times when something has truly shocked or surprised me.

A conversation with a Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) press officer last week was one such time.

In The Comet’s letters page, one of our readers had criticised the council for failing to fly a flag at half-mast from its offices to mark the death of Stevenage doctor Karen Woo, who was killed while on an aid mission in Afghanistan last month.

In 2007, the Stevenage flag was flown at half-mast from the council building to mark the death of Cllr Tanis Kent, who was a member of SBC.

I called the council to ask why it had not decided to fly this same flag at half-mast to mark the death of Dr Woo.

A press officer responded by saying: “Well, if we did it for her we’d have to do it for everyone”.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. As far as I know, Stevenage isn’t overrun with selfless residents so intent on helping others that they are willing to risk their lives in a war-torn country.

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I, for one, would not. I am a coward, content to watch from the sidelines while brave individuals step forward to be counted. And I know I am far from alone.

Exceptional people like Dr Woo are rare, and should be rightly revered.

SBC has denied Dr Woo - a true hero - the respect and honour she deserves.

The council press officer’s shameful comment simply serves to compound the local authority’s disgraceful disregard for such a remarkable woman.