Neighbours have pulled together to strengthen community ties after racist and xenophobic graffiti blighted their area.

People living in Queens Road, Boundary Road and surrounding streets organised a flower planting event on Sunday, December 2, after the words ‘speak English’ were scrawled on walls in at least four areas of Walthamstow.

50 members of the Queens Boundary Community (QBC) gathered in Thomas Gamuel Park to plant 6,000 crocus bulbs and share homemade food over a cup of tea.

Masjid e Umer mosque in Queens Road donated 100 samosas and pakoras and a heart-shaped cake which read ‘QBC’ baked by one neighbour was also enjoyed.

Event coordinator Clementine Cowton said, “We wanted our response to be something really positive.

“We pulled this together in just a week, and everyone has been so keen to be contribute and demonstrate what a welcoming and friendly neighbourhood this is.”

Iqbal Mehtar, QBC committee member and treasurer of Masjid e Umer mosque, added: “The masjid is proud to be part of this community and supports activities that build community ties.”

The QBC hopes that when the flowers begin to bloom next spring, neighbours will be reminded of the inclusive community spirit demonstrated last weekend.

The group arranges activities throughout the year including exercise sessions for women, basketball coaching for youngsters and an annual street party.

Caroline Scott, Chair of the Queens Boundary Community Committee, said, “Our community welcomes people from all cultures, and we will not tolerate behaviour that attempts to divide us. Today we celebrate our community cohesion.”

Markhouse Safer Neighbourhood Team police officers who attended the event confirmed that the graffiti incident was being treated as a hate crime and, once the council has reviewed CCTV footage, a door-to-door operation will be undertaken to collect further evidence.

The QBC committee commended Waltham Forest Council for removing the graffiti within two hours of it first being reported.