Gypsy prof’s Stratford hair aid to help Romanies

Stratford Lon E15 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Thomas Acton (supplied pic)
Professor Thomas Acton: ready for the off

THE PICTURE at left shows England’s only professor of Romany studies. He has been growing his hair for seven months. Now it’s to come off – for a Gypsy charity.

At Stratford, pictured, at about 3pm tomorrow Thomas Acton will pick up his violin to scratch out a Romany anthem to the snip-snip of a Rom hairdresser’s scissors.

As the crimper, Sorish Djemaili, gives the academic a skinhead makeover, the hat will be passed around for the Roma Support Group’s Early Learning Challenge.

The emeritus professor at Greenwich University said that to qualify for an institutional grant, the East London charity needed to raise £180,000 by December. Gypsies are among Britain’s worst school achievers.

Oxford-educated Acton, 66, has campaigned for Gypsies, Irish and newage travellers since he taught Romanichal children on a disused airstrip in Hornchurch, Essex, in 1967 when he was a Trinity College student.

He told Loving Dalston: “East European Roma are the latest in a long list of Romanies who have settled in Britain since the end of the 15th century.

“They have been marginalised since Edward VI and Elizabeth I passed genocidal laws against them.”

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Professor Thos Acton: supplied pic
Professor: Today’s lecture is on hair

* The haircut will take place on the walkway between Westfield Stratford City, Montifichet Road, Olympic Park E20 1EJ, and the pool in the Olympic Park E20 2ST, Sat 6 Sep 2014 at 3pm.

The tune to be played, a traditional melody, popular with Roma from the Continent, is Gelem, Gelem (I went, I went), also known as Opré Roma (Rise Up, Romanies).  Lyrics in Romany and English.

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2 thoughts on “Gypsy prof’s Stratford hair aid to help Romanies

  1. An interesting story and Stratford is a nice area.

    Stratford is a super place and has good transport links. The professor has so far raised £2,000. – Ed.

  2. Nice article and it’s worth reading about such a great person. Doing something good for the people is really a great thing.

    Hats off, sir.

    Thank you and I agree, although it’s more a case of hair off. – Ed.

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