Let Christmas commence!

The residents of Silver Crescent and Thorney Hedge Road have decided it’s Christmas.

They have organised as a community to all dress their front gardens and windows and they turned on all the lights at 5.00pm on Sunday 29 November.

Photographs by Jennifer Griffiths

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Christmas has arrived in Park Rd – Photo gallery by Alanna McCrum

See also: London in Tier 2

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 31: South African cricket and the poisoned legacy of apartheid

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

As England’s tour of South Africa gets under way, the two latest guests of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their cricket-themed podcast offer deep insight into South African cricket past and present. Mo Allie, of the BBC Africa service has reported on South African sport for many years and is the author of More Than A Game, telling many heroic stories of South Africa’s non-white cricketers in times of racial segregation. Cricket historian and analyst Arunabha Sengupta has written Apartheid – A Point To Cover, the story of South African cricket to 1970 and of the successful Stop The 70 Tour campaign.


More Platforms

Mike Atherton delivers an appeal for the MCC Foundation. For a week from 1 December donations will be doubled in value, and will help to give cricketing experience and access to coaching for disadvantaged boys and girls.  See https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a051r00001eojcBAAQ

Mo explains the turmoil in South Africa’s cricket administration which almost caused the cancellation of England’s tour. He and Arunabha also analyse the bitter conflicts within South Africa over taking the knee in support of BlackLivesMatter. They have their roots in the poisoned legacy of apartheid, which created inequalities and imbalances in South African society which will take generations to eradicate, in the present violence which engulfs the country, and in a failure, not only in South Africa, to shake off cultural attitudes and racial myths formed in colonial times. Mo conveys the shock in South Africa when Makaya Ntini, the “poster boy” for its newly integrated cricket, revealed the loneliness he experienced in the team through enduring racism. He reveals that white players who took the knee earlier this year received death threats.

Arunabha shows how racial segregation was embedded in South African cricket long before it was formalized and developed under apartheid, citing particularly the case of Krom Hendricks, a brilliant pace bowler of mixed race, denied international selection as far back as 1894 at the behest of Cecil Rhodes. He was the first of many non-white cricketers excluded  by a “100 per cent white” quota system. Mo gives moving personal testimony of the losses experienced by his family through waves of discriminatory laws, especially from enforced removals, and of what it was  like for him to grow up under apartheid. Many non-white people, not only in sport, had to go overseas to get a career, and the talents of millions more were lost to the world.

Arunabha traces the impact of exclusion from international cricket and sport generally on the image and self-confidence of a sports-crazed nation, and how Nelson Mandela later saw integrated sport as an agent of change. He cites Mike Procter and Clive Rice on the effect of playing in multi-racial English county cricket in taking South African players out of their “white bubble.”

Mo expresses deep worry about the shortage of selfless capable leaders not only in South African cricket but in other sectors. Racial quotas and stereotypes are too often blamed for failures. The “rainbow nation” may be dissolving as communities retreat into their own laagers and compete for scarce resources in a deeply troubled economy. However, both he and Arunabha see signs of positivity and hope, not least in the public efforts to promote inclusion through cricket by former cricketers such as Lance Klusener, Paul Adams, and especially Gary Kirsten, who is developing the talents of disadvantaged young players at his cricket academy. They also cite the successes of South African women in cricket and other sports and the efforts led by Professor André Odendaal (a future guest) to recapture the lost history of non-white players and make the nation aware of its full sporting legacy.

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

See also: Episode 30: John Cleese shares his lifelong love of cricket

See also: Episode 29: Jill Rutter on watching cricket with Prime Ministers and others

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Radical new plans for temporary crossing over Hammersmith Bridge

Image above: Foster & Partners Hammersmith Bridge proposal

Leading architects and engineers Foster + Partners, Sir John Ritblat FRICS of Delancey and LB Hammersmith & Fulham have unveiled a radical new proposal for a temporary crossing over Hammersmith Bridge. The plan, which was unveiled on 26 November, would provide a two-tiered crossing, raised above the existing road deck, which would allow vehicles to cross the River Thames without putting stress on the bridge. The temporary crossing would allow restoration to go ahead unhindered on the original Victorian structure.

The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in April 2019 because of cracks in the metal and closed completely in August 2020 when the summer heat was found to have expanded the cracks.

Under the proposal, LB Hammersmith & Fulham says pedestrians, cyclists and, potentially, motor vehicles could be using the bridge, with river traffic passing underneath, within a year of a contractor being appointed. A new raised truss structure would be built above the existing road deck featuring a lower level for pedestrians and cyclists and an upper level for cars and buses.

Image above: Foster & Partners Hammersmith Bridge proposal

Meeting with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ‘positive’

Sir John Ritblat, representing Delancy, approached Foster + Partners to develop an alternative plan for the bridge after Stephen Cowan asked for Sir John’s assistance following the bridge’s closure in August. Sir John is a property developer. He is chairman of the advisory board of Delancey, the property and asset-backed investment firm founded in 1995 by his son Jamie Ritblat. He is also honorary president (and formerly chairman and CEO) of The British Land Company PLC, the FTSE100 London-based property company from which he retired as chairman in 2006.

Foster & Partners is Sir Norman Foster’s global studio for sustainable architecture, engineering, urbanism and industrial design. Their worldwide reputation is based on such buildings as the Bund Finance Centre in Shanghai, the Supreme Court in Singapore, the Reichstag New German Parliament in Berlin and the Great Court at the British Museum. Their transport projects include the Jeddah Metro in Saudi Arabia and the Ocean Terminal extension in Hong Kong.

H&F Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan outlined details of the proposed plan to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Wednesday 25 November and urged the government to give it full consideration. The concept plan designed by Foster + Partners and further developed with specialist bridge engineers COWI, was presented to Department of Transport officials on 26 November.

A Hammersmith Bridge Task Force was set up earlier this year to bring together LB Hammersmith & Fulham, LB Richmond, Transport for London the Port of London Authority and the Department of Transport to find a way through the stalemate over who would pay for repairs to the bridge and how the work should be carried out. Chairman Baroness Vere commented on Friday 27 November that the meeting between Cllr Cowan and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had been ‘positive’ but did not comment further on the proposal.

Image above: Foster & Partners Hammersmith Bridge proposal

Cost lower than existing plan

Hammersmith & Fulham Council says the Initial estimates suggest the temporary crossing would allow the strengthening and stabilisation works to the 133-year-old heritage bridge to be completed at a cost lower than the current £141million estimate.

The raised deck would enable existing approach routes for traffic to be used, causing minimum disruption for residents on both banks of the river. The structure will also provide support for the bridge as well as a safe platform for restoration work to be carried out.

There would be no load added to the existing bridge deck which would be removed in stages for repair. Contractors would use the new lower pedestrian deck to access the works. When completed, the temporary raised deck would be removed.

Elements of the Grade II* listed bridge that need repair, including pedestals, anchors and chains, would be lifted away using the temporary bridge and transported by barges to an off-site facility for safe repair and restoration.

By repairing the bridge off-site, the huge task of restoration can be done at greater speed, to a higher level and at significantly reduced cost. It would also minimise noise, environmental impact and onsite activity, as well as reducing the all-important carbon footprint of the works.

Historic England approval would need to be sought for this scheme which enables the bridge to be restored to its original Victorian splendour with fewer constraints.

Cllr Cowan said: “I am extremely grateful to Sir John Ritblat for responding to our call for help so comprehensively. The Foster + Partners and the COWI design team have developed an exciting and imaginative initiative which has the very strong possibility of providing a quicker and better value solution than any of the other proposals.

“Our engineers have held positive and constructive talks with Foster + Partners and COWI. I am optimistic that we now have a viable option within our grasp that is a win for all. I commend it to the Government in the hope that it will be the catalyst for real progress in funding all the necessary works to the bridge.

“We have been exploring a variety of options since the initial closure to motor traffic in 2019 and now have a proposal which potentially meets our objectives of a fast track, lower cost, lower noise, lower emission solution that would lead to an earlier reopening of the bridge.

“I was pleased to be able to deliver the news of the project to the Secretary of State yesterday and look forward to working with his Taskforce to find a solution that works for everyone impacted by the bridge’s closure.”

Luke Fox, Senior Executive Partner at Foster + Partners, said: “We are excited to propose this simple and sustainable solution to this important missing piece of London’s infrastructure that also gives the opportunity to bring back to life a beautiful and iconic bridge by Sir Joseph Bazalgette.”

Roger Ridsdill Smith, head of Structural Engineering at Foster + Partners, said: “We believe that our concept resolves the two challenges for Hammersmith Bridge economically and efficiently: delivering a temporary crossing quickly, whilst providing a safe support to access and refurbish the existing bridge. We appreciate the engagement and contribution from the technical experts in charge of the bridge and look forward to further studies to develop the scheme.”

David MacKenzie, Executive Director at COWI, said: “We consider that this approach is practical and viable. Our experience is that offsite refurbishment of bridge structures is safer and more controlled, and results in a higher quality final outcome when the structure is re-installed.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: More than six years before Hammersmith Bridge could reopen to vehicles

See also: Government setting up task force to restore Hammersmith Bridge

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist).

Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Spate of thefts from cars

Thefts from vehicles at the highest level this year

There has been a spate of thefts from cars in Cambridge Rd South and Oxford Gardens. These pictures were taken on 24 November in Cambridge Rd South. Two women and two men were caught on camera around 4.00am that morning, smashing car windows and stealing things which had been left inside the vehicles.

Vehicle crime is at the highest it has been in Chiswick since January 2020, with 77 recorded thefts from vehicles or interference with vehicles in Chiswick (within a mile radius of W4 3DA) in September, the most recent month to be shown on the UK Crime Stats website.

Bike thefts are the highest they’ve been for three years. Thefts of bicycles shot up in May and have remained high. There were 28 thefts in September compared with nine in January.

Spike in anti-social behaviour during lockdown

The most noticeable difference in the crime statistics over the year is how anti-social behaviour shot up during the lock down periods. Anti-social behaviour was far higher than it has been at any other point since December 2010, the earliest date shown in the table. In April the figure for reported incidents of anti-social behaviour was 336. In May it was 296, compared with 123 in March and 91 in February. In September there were 187 reported incidents. Before this year, the highest figure was 174, in July 2011, which was also unusually high.

Image above: Pie chart showing the breakdown of crime statistics over the period October 2019 – September 2020, within a mile radius of W4 3DA. Source: UK CrimeStats.com

While burglary has remained consistent and shoplifting very low, unsurprisingly, robbery is also at the highest point it’s been all year, with 27 robberies being reported in September. Violent crime has increased in the last couple of years. 86 incidents were reported in September.

The UK Crime Stats website uses data from the police. The actual level of crime is usually estimated by the British Crime Survey to be about 30% higher than that which is reported to the police.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Is Chiswick in the middle of a drug war?

See also: More than 200 arrests made in violent crime operation

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist).

Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Christmas Flower Market

Chiswick Flower Market will be taking place on Sunday 6 December. Now it’s been confirmed that we are in Tier 2 and businesses have been given the green light to trade again, the market organisers (of whom The Chiswick Calendar’s editor is one) have confirmed the market will be back, selling fresh cut flowers, plants and plant accessories.

Great for presents and great for cheering up the house for Christmas.

They will also be selling Christmas wreaths and decorations, but not Christmas trees, so as not to compete with Chiswick’s existing tree sellers.

As last time, the market will be in the Old Market Place, from outside Chiswick Police Station, down to Lea & Sandemans, and will extend down Devonshire Rd. It will open from 08.30 – 09.30 for ‘tender perennials’ – people over 70 or who are vulnerable to infection – to shop in peace and quiet, with a friend to do the carrying if needed.

Register for (free) tickets on the Flower Market website – www.chiswickflowermarket.com. Everyone else is welcome from 9.30am – 3.00pm. Please wear a mask at the market.

Image above: Bouquet at the Chiswick Flower Market in November; photograph by Anna Kunst

The Columbia Rd of West London

One by one, established traders who have sold their plants at Columbia Rd for many years are seeing the attraction of setting up their stalls in Chiswick. Isabella Flowers is joining the very popular London House Plants, Finest Plants, Andrew Barker, Steve Burridge and Rose Lily Flowers’ Joe Brown (the one who shouts like a proper East End barrow boy).

“We said we wanted to make the Chiswick Flower Market into the Columbia Rd market of west London. I think we can say we’ve done it!” said the Flower Market organisers.

Images above: Christmas wreath by Pot Pourri; Cake by The Botanical Baker

Back in the market also will be Chiswick traders Pot Pourri and W4 Flowers, regular stalls who have been popular with Chiswick shoppers at the previous two markets and some new additions especially for Christmas. The Botanical Baker will be selling highly creative cakes that look very like real plants in pots, which have to be seen to be believed.

As before, there will be a plant creche, so you can leave your plants while you do other shopping in the High Rd, or enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal. A team of volunteer cyclists will also be standing by to pedal your produce home for you for free (within Chiswick) if you wish.

Image above: Customer at the Chiswick Flower Market in November; photograph by Anna Kunst

Christmas Flower Market gift bag

Also new from the Chiswick Flower Market team is a Christmas gift bag full of lovely things made by people locally.

It includes a selection of amazing products from our local independents, from the famous and well-established to the intriguing and new. This is an exclusive and original offer (limited numbers).

Contents include chocolates from Michelin-starred La Trompette, coffee from Chiswick’s very own secret roastery, apple juice pressed from Chiswick’s fruit trees, honey from local award-winning hives, antique flower prints, blended teas, dried flowers, bulbs and seeds all sourced from Chiswick and lots more. All this in the Chiswick Flower Market’s very own sustainable jute bag.

£75 including free delivery within the Chiswick area – total retail value of goods over £100. Free delivery within Chiswick. Any profits go back to the market and the High Road, helping the organisers to run the market and promote Chiswick. Buy it as a gift. Or just as a present to yourself for surviving 2020!

www.chiswickflowermarket.com

Image above: Volunteer marshals at Chiswick Flower Market in November; photograph by Anna Kunst

Get involved

The Chiswick Flower Market is run by volunteers who are all local residents.
If you’d like to get involved in the market, as a marshal, or offering your time and skills in another way, please get in touch via info@chiswickflowermarket.com

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist).

Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

London in Tier 2

Image: Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock in parliament, 26 November 2020; BBC Parliament

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced the tiers in which the different regions of the country have been placed. London is in Tier 2, where we were before the second lockdown.

What that means is that the pubs will be open, providing they are serving food, along with non-essential shops, restaurants, personal care salons and gyms. Alcohol can only be served in pubs to people ordering a ‘substantial meal’. Last orders will be at 10.00pm, though customers will have until 11.00pm to leave the pub.

Another difference from the previous iteration of Tier 2 is that spectator sports will be allowed to resume, inside and outside, with capacity levels and social distancing, as they are in theatres and concert venues. For Brentford FC that means that 2,000 fans will be allowed to go to games at the new 17,000 seater stadium, for the first time.

In Chiswick it also means that the next Flower Market will go ahead on Sunday 6 December.

London is being treated as one entity, rather than there being different rules for different Boroughs. Sir Ian Duncan Smith told Sky News he thought not all London Boroughs should be treated the same, because the figures are quite low in some Boroughs. “London is the engine driver of the UK’s economy”, he said, it represents about a third of the UK’s economy, and the sooner the London economy gets going again, the better. The Government has to be very careful, he said, about being “over zealous” about enforcing the Covid measures.

Currently the London average of Covid infection rates is 187 per 100,000 people, compared with the England wide average of 217 per 100,000 people.

Speaking in the parliament on Thursday 26 November, Matt Hancock said it was vital that the country keeps the pressure on the virus. He reminded MPs that currently there are 16,570 people in hospital with the coronavirus and that 696 deaths had been reported on Wednesday 25 November from the virus.

He said that while in all three tiers the restrictions were less stringent than those of the national lockdown, more areas had been put into Tiers 1 and 2. In the south of England, North Thanet and Kent are joining northern cities like, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle in Tier 3. “We must make sure”, he said, “that our actions today would save lives for the future”.

Chiswick retailer John Fitzgerald, who runs Snappy Snaps, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to get some trade done between now and Christmas”.

Image above: Brentford FC Community stadium

Restrictions for Tier 2

In tier 2:

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
    • close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
    • stop taking orders after 10pm
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances  that start before 10pm
  • public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes  or stonesettings.
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

Source: gov.uk/guidance

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Will Brentford fans be able to go to a game?

See also: Labour rebellion on Streetspace initiatives in LB Hounslow

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist).

Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

The Fog of Lock Down

Chiswick Flower Market Christmas gift bags

Image above: Natural amaryllis bulbs covered and protected with wax to keep the moisture inside and allow the bulb to sprout and bloom by itself, by amaryllisonline.net

The Chiswick Flower Market team has put together a very special Christmas Gift Bag for you. It includes a selection of amazing products from our local independents, from the famous and well-established to the intriguing and new. Chocolates from Michelin-starred La Trompette, coffee from Chiswick’s very own secret roastery, apple juice pressed from Chiswick’s fruit trees, honey from local award-winning hives, antique flower prints, blended teas, flowers, bulbs and seeds all sourced from Chiswick and lots lots more.  All this in our very own sustainable jute Chiswick Flower Market bag.

Buy it as a gift. Or just as a present to yourself for surviving 2020!

La Trompette chocolate

With Rob Weston at the helm since 2013 La Trompette, arguably Chiswick’s finest restaurant, effortlessly retains its Michelin star. Rob’s team produces additional vegetables from the  greenhouse and beds at Chiswick House, and leapt at the chance to provide a luxury item for the Chiswick Flower Market gift bag.

Coffee beans from Curious Roo

Curious Roo is a hidden roastery, based in a converted warehouse in Chiswick that sources specialty grade coffee from around the world and makes small batches of perfectly balanced roast coffee. We have chosen one of their Barn Door Blend, combining a washed Colombian bean from Pitalito, Huila and a natural Brazil from the Minas Gerais region. Rich caramel sweetness with citrus acidity. Freshly blended and ground for the Chiswick Flower Market.

Abundance Apple Juice

Abundance London collects apples, pears and other surplus fruits from the gardens of Chiswick. The fruit that cannot be used fresh is pressed to create a unique blend containing nothing but local apple juice for a limited number of bottles.

Hen Corner honey

Hen Corner partners with local award-winning bee keepers, such as award-winning Acton bee-keepers, to bring you the best local honey. Choosing honey from the bees who forage where you sneeze is one of the most delicious ways to strengthen your immune system.

Great Taste Award-winning Hen Corner Christmas pudding

The Guild of Fine Food awarded Sara Ward’s Christmas pudding a Great Taste Award after luxuriating in the festive mixture of apricots, dates and cranberries steeped in spiced rum. Based in her Hen Corner smallholding in Brentford Sara uses home-laid eggs and home grown honey in her amazing baking.

Kittyprint Antique Floral Prints

Kitty has been hunting out antique prints and maps for over 45 years. These unique small floral prints, mounted ready for display, are guaranteed antique, over 100 years old and each one is different and beautiful.

Abundance London Treasure Trail and Seeds

Over the past decade Abundance London has created nearly 20 pocket gardens around Chiswick. These seeds are gathered in Chiswick’s little gardens and offered to you to encourage you to sow your own patches of greenery. Follow the Treasure Trail to mark on your map that you’ve tracked them down. A completed map wins a prize!

Cookbook Kitchen Salt

A special pack of coarse sea salt with roast fennel seeds, Panch Puren and chilli flakes blended by the team of masterchefs from the Cookbook Kitchen, creators of the Cookbook Festival and Kitchen Conversations.

Amaryllis

Local resident Eduardo Olate set up his company to distribute hand-decorated Peruvian bulbs that sprout and flower without planting or watering. This quirky and original gift is only possible due to the specific varieties and large bulb size that he sources. The bulb will start sprouting as soon as it is left at room temperature and generally produce two stems with four flowers each.

One Girl Studios Card

One Girl Studios is the brainchild of Aleksandra, a graphic designer by trade. As Covid-19 ravaged her normal activities she turned her focus to creating elegant celebratory cards, prints, coasters, tea towels & much more. We decided to include one of her beautiful luxury eco-friendly designs to give you a flavour of her work. Aleksandra is just one of the exciting new businesses springing up around Chiswick.

Kettle Shed tea

The Kettle Shed started out in Zoe Nixon’s kitchen where she discovered she had a knack for blending delicious and unique flavours of tea. Fast forward a few years and The Kettle Shed has won a number of Great Taste Awards for their ethically sourced, delicious, hand blended teas;  a Christmas gift bag just isn’t complete without some warming tasty tea.

Natural Fragrance Company

Yewande Rolph, the founder of Natural Fragrance Company, has been creating natural, ethically-sourced products for over 20 years. Her lovely products focus on high quality, naturally  beneficial properties that are cruelty-free, sustainable and fun to use. The Organic Shea Butter is a customer favourite and designed to be used as an all-over moisturiser.

Everlasting Dried Flower Bauble

Lifelike Flowers is a luxury British faux flower boutique and upmarket florist based in Chiswick.  We have selected their handmade everlasting bauble made from dried flowers which will be a unique addition to your Christmas tree.

Chiswick Chillis Chilli Relish

Chiswick Chillis produces homemade sauces from homegrown Chillis! Our gift bag includes a jar of their Chilli Relish. Sweet and zesty, this hot chilli relish is a friend to the cheeseboard and at home with charcuterie, but can also be enjoyed with avocado smash, in a cheese toastie, or on grilled halloumi – and so much more!

Fragranced Dried Fruit Pot Pourri

Pot Pourri is an award winning company in Chiswick, operating since 1982 providing all things flowery ranging from intimate bouquets, to grand weddings and dinner parties.  They have supplied us with a beautiful selection of fragranced dried fruits, cones and chillis.  Perfect for a seasonal bowl of Pot Pourri.

Our very own sustainable jute Chiswick Flower Market bag

The bags, which cost £75 will be available from the Chsiwick Flower Market website from Wednesday 25 November. Next market on Sunday 6 December.

chiswickflowermarket.com

Read more stories from The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Christmas has arrived in Park Rd

See also: Lockdown things to do

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Christmas has arrived in Park Rd

Christmas has come early in Park Rd in Grove Park. Julie and Harry Simpson like to go all out with the Christmas lights. They have twin boys with special needs and they do it for them. Cheering up the rest of the neighbourhood is just an added bonus.

Photographs by Alanna McCrum

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Lockdown Things to do

See also: Will we be in Tier 2?

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

 

Rebecca Frayn re-elected as Chair of Turnham Green Friends

Image above: Rebecca Frayn; photograph James Willcocks

Rebecca Frayn has been re-elected as Chair of the Turnham Green Friends group. The Friends look after the upkeep of Turnham Green in collaboration with the council’s parks department. Things turned distinctly unfriendly earlier this year when members fell out over whether or not to plant more cherry trees to add to the existing cherry tree avenue on the Green.

Rebecca resigned as Chair after Cllr Joanna Biddolph stopped the cherry tree planting literally the day before it was due to take place, claiming irregularities in the decision making process of the Friends. The cherry trees went to the other end of the borough and to Ealing borough (though they were planted on Acton Green Common) and the group has not functioned since. The whole affair left a sour taste. One might even say it gave Rebecca the pip.

It has taken since February to sort out, but now members of Turnham Green Friends have voted to elect a Chair and carry on. Jill Spencer, who complained to Cllr Biddolph when the Friends’ AGM voted in favour of planting cherry trees, stood against Rebecca. She won 21% votes, to Rebecca’s 79%.

Image above: Turnham Green with the cherry blossom out

‘Newly constituted’ group seeks new volunteers

Rebecca, a film and documentary maker whose feature film Misbehaviour came out just before the first lockdown, gave her reaction to The Chiswick Calendar:

“I thank members for their kind support in returning me as chair and look forward to a resumption of a group that unites rather than divides us as a community. I would like to acknowledge the exceptional dedication and determination of Ed Stanley our secretary who has worked so skilfully for many months to reach out to the membership and other stakeholders to put together a newly constituted group, so ably aided more recently by Azim Karimjee, our treasurer.

“I would also like to remind anyone who uses or has a connection with the Green that they are all welcome to join us by contacting fotgreen@outlook.com or via our website.  We are all, in partnership with the Council, custodians of this wonderful open space and as a committee, we would welcome a wider and more diverse membership with open arms.”

According to the Friends of Turnham Green website, the group is a community based voluntary organisation, founded in 2007.

‘Volunteers have been working tirelessly ever since to rescue Turnham Green from municipal shabbiness. We began by successfully lobbying to remove derelict buildings and in their place created a natural play area for children together with a large wild flower meadow.

‘Since then we have raised money to replace broken bins, cracked paths, bent railings and also undertaken a number of collaborations with Abundance London to improve bio-diversity. As a result, the park has received the Green Flag award from the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy for the past 4 years in a row. We hold an annual AGM at Christ Church every year and a team of enthusiastic volunteers regularly turn out in rain or shine to help with twice yearly weeding and planting sessions’.

Cycleway could be named the ‘Cherry Tree Line’

The group has tried to put the ‘Cherrygate‘ row behind it, but there may be a perpetual reminder of it in the naming of the new cycle route Cycleway 9. Environmental charity Possible has launched a ’name the cycle lane’ competition.

‘If we care about something, we give it a name. So why are London’s cycleways known by codes like CS2, C5 or Q1? They’re amazing parts of our transport system, connecting us to our work and loved ones, helping us to exercise, keep pollution down and enjoy our city. They need proper names!’

The name for Cycleway 9 will be one of three suggestions: The Garden Way –  because it goes between Kew Gardens and Kensington Gardens, Claudia Way – in celebration of Claudia Jones, the founder of Carnival in London, and Cherry Tree Line – because of all the trees along the route, the Cherry Tree is the most prolific.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar website

See also: Misbehaviour

See also: ‘Cherrygate’

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

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Will Brentford fans be able to go to a game?

Image above: Brentford FC Community Stadium

If London is in Tier 2, fans will be able to go to football games. “That’s great” says Brentford FC’s Fan and Community Relations Director Sally Stephens, but it gives the club “a huge headache” over which of their 9,500 season ticket holders and which of their corporate clients to give the 2,000 available seats to.

“It’s more than we were planning for!” Sally told The Chiswick Calendar. Since the beginning of the pandemic the Club has been making and remaking plans for welcoming fans to the new stadium in Lionel Rd, which opened at the beginning of October.

With tickets pre-sold months in advance, they have given season ticket holders the option to freeze their tickets until the ground can be open, and 9,500 of them have chosen to do so. How do you pick an allocation of 2,000 out of 9,500 and all the premium seat holders who have paid a lot of money for corporate entertainment packages? What percentage should go to premium seat holders and what percentage to loyal fans? (Occasional, turn up on the day fans won’t get a look in).

“We were planning on a thousand. A thousand you could probably phone. But 2,000 we will probably have to go to some automated system. And how on earth will we decide to gets tickets?” said Sally.

The Club’s management team meets on Tuesday morning (24 November) to decide how to proceed, but they won’t know until two days later whether London is in Tier 2 and they are able to open their doors to the public.

“Whichever way we decide to do it,” says Sally, “we’re going to upset a lot of people”.

The stadium seats 17,000 but they will only open two stands. “It will cost us more money than we will take”. But it would be lovely, says Sally, to have a live audience for the next home match against Blackburn on Saturday 5 December. “It’s very exciting”.

Image above: Strand on the Green School

Club loses parking at Strand on the Green School

The Club had hoped to secure parking for fans at Strand on the Green School, but the arrangement fell through once the Strand on the Green Residents Association got wind of it.

‘After having a Restrictive Covenant on the Strand School Land Title drawn to their attention and following receipt of objections from immediate neighbours and residents, LbH Planning Enforcement has written to Strand School to advise them that Planning Permission would be required in order for school land to be used for match day and event car parking’.

The Club decided to withdraw. In a letter to the Strand on the Green Residents Association, it said:

‘After careful consideration of all the factors including the strength of feelings together with the issues raised around the planning requirements, we have decided that we will not continue with plans to use this site for matchday parking at this time. 
‘We still believe that it would have been possible to operate this site without undue impact on local residents and we appreciate that this decision will result in the loss of extra revenue for the school, but for the sake of good neighbourly relations Brentford FC, London Irish and EST are all of the same mind on this matter’.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford FC involved in Recovery conference

See also: Brentford FC move into new home

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist).

Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Will we be in Tier 2?

After Boris Johnson’s announcement that the country will be coming out of lockdown on 2 December and going back into “tougher” tiers, the question in everyone’s mind is: which tier will we be in?

We spoke to Hounslow Leader Steve Curran after a meeting of the 33 leaders of London Boroughs yesterday afternoon.

“If I were a betting man I’d say Tier 2” he said.

The councils don’t yet know which tier London will be in. A five o’clock meeting with Communities minister Robert Jenrick revealed no more, said Cllr Curran, as he just reiterated what the Prime Minister had said earlier. They’re waiting on the next set of Covid figures before it will be decided and announced on Thursday 26 November which areas will be in which tiers.

Steve Curran said he thought London would be treated as one. He’d heard nothing to suggest that different boroughs might be in different tiers.

Supposing we are in Tier 2, that will mean non-essential shops, restaurants, pubs, gyms and salons will reopen next week.

Image above: Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving an update on the pandemic on Monday 23 November 2020

The Prime Minister told the country that “for the first time since this wretched pandemic took hold, we can see a route out of the pandemic. The breakthroughs in treatment, in testing and vaccines, mean that the scientific cavalry is now in sight”.

He said he was acutely conscious that no other peacetime Prime Minister had asked so much of the British people and he was deeply grateful for the way in which we’d responded. The Government’s Winter Plan is designed “to carry us safely into spring”. He said he was not going to replace national measures with a “free for all”. We would return to regional tiers, but the tiers would need to be made tougher.

From next Wednesday people will be able to leave their homes for any purpose and meet other people in outdoor public spaces, subject to the rule of six.

“Collective worship, weddings, and outdoor sports can resume and shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen”.

In Tier 1 people would still be encouraged to work from home where they could

In Tier 2 alcohol could only be served in pubs with a substantial meal and though last orders would be at 10.00pm, customers would have until 11.00pm to leave the pub. In tiers one and two spectator sports would be allowed to resume, inside and outside, with capacity levels and social distancing, as they would in theatres and concert venues.

In Tier 3 all forms of hospitality would be closed except for delivery and takeaway services.

We will find out on Thursday which tier we are in, but the Prime Minister warned, more regions would fall in higher tiers than before. He said he couldn’t promise that Christmas would be “normal” but by maintaining the pressure on the virus it would enable more people to see their families and friends.

We don’t want the virus “to flare up again, forcing us back into lockdown in January”  he said. “This virus is obviously not going to grant a Christmas truce” and families would have to make careful judgements about visiting elderly relatives.

Two scientific breakthroughs would make the restrictions “obsolete” says Boris Johnson: improved rapid testing and effective vaccines.

By the end of the year people in care homes would be able to have two visitors, who can be tested twice a week. Carers looking after people in their own homes would be offered weekly tests from today. Rapid testing would also enable students to come home safely at the end of term. The Government would offer local authorities in Tier 3 “a six week surge of testing”.

“Clearly the most hopeful advance of all is how vaccines are edging ever closer to liberating us from the virus” he said. Oxford University and Astra Zenica have developed one of the three most effective vaccines “capable of delivering a period of immunity” and the Government has ordered 100 million doses.

We don’t yet know when it will be ready and licensed but the NHS was preparing to roll out an immunisation programme “the like of which we’ve never seen before”.

“We have turned a corner and the escape route is in sight. We must hold out against the virus until testing and vaccines come to our rescue and reduce the need for restrictions”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Labour rebellion on Streetspace initiatives in LB Hounslow

See also: What do residents think of the Staveley Rd barrier now?

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

A divided community

Lockdown Things To Do – Epilogue

Labour rebellion on Streetspace initiatives in LB Hounslow

Image above: Cllr Hanif Khan posing with ‘road closed’ sign

Labour councillors in a number of wards in LB Hounslow are questioning whether the next lot of Streetspace initiatives should go ahead as planned. They’ve looked at the level of opposition in Chiswick to the introduction of road closures and traffic filtering systems over the summer and called for the next phase of the borough-wide programme to be reviewed before they get similar blowback from their own residents.

Cllr Richard Eason, who represents Osterley & Spring Grove ward, has ‘called in’ the decision by Cabinet members Cllr Hanif Khand and Cllr Katherine Dunne at the last Cabinet meeting to go ahead with Phase 3. He has referred it to the Overview & Scrutiny committee. The committee is not a decision making body but it does have the authority to request that Cabinet members review their decisions.

Councillors “alarmed” at the level of opposition they’ve seen in Chiswick

“It’s fair to say we’ve looked at Chiswick and been alarmed at the level of protest” Cllr Eason told The Chiswick Calendar. “How it’s been imposed, and that it’s going to alienate people in our wards. Other Hounslow councillors are not wanting the level of grief Chsiwick councillors have received”.

He said he realised the traffic changes were being made without consultation when he realised Phase 3 promises changes in his own ward.

“I looked at the papers for the last Cabinet meeting and saw ‘LTN (Low Traffic Neighbourhood) Osterley area between Osterley Park and the Great Western Rd’ and thought: ‘What’s going on? Why haven’t we been informed?’

“I tried to get in touch with the lead member (Cllr Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport) but he didn’t get back to me initially.

“In the Cabinet papers they make mention of ‘unintended consequences’ (of traffic restrictions) that may need to be amended or even cancelled. What’s the best way of answering that? To ask councillors who know the area, who have worn out their shoe leather walking the streets of the local ward for decades.

“They were proposing to stick a set of planters in the middle of Northumberland Avenue, which would upset the residents, who would have to drive out onto the Great West Rd to get from one part of the estate to the other. Why not use ANPR cameras to recognise the registration numbers of local residents?”

The Streetspace decisions on ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’ or ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’, he says, were initially made by senior council officers rather than councillors, but Phase 3, which also involves a number of plans for Bedford Park and elsewhere in Chiswick, was referred to Cabinet and decided on by Cllr Khan and Cllr Katherine Dunne (Cabinet Member for Communities) without consultation with other councillors or with residents.

Images above: Cllr Katherine Dunne; Cllr Hanif Khan

Ordinary councillors “held in contempt” by Cabinet Members Khan and Dunne

“I feel those particular Cabinet Members have over-reached. They’ve not attempted to brief backbench members. They are holding backbench members in contempt”.

He said whenever Cllr Tom Bruce (Cabinet Member for Education) or Cllr Shantanu Rajawat (Cabinet Member for Finance) launched new policies they organised briefings to inform their colleagues “so we at least know and get a chance to comment”.

“Hanif and Katherine seized an opportunity to make changes without any respect for colleagues who will have to deal with the backlash”.

To ‘call in’ a decision by a Cabinet member, a councillor has to have eight signatures. Nine people were initially willing to sign the call-in “but there were probably another seven or eight who would have signed”.

Among those who signed it are some senior members of Hounslow’s Labour group: Cllr Amrit Mann, who chairs the Planning committee, Cllr Afzaal Kiani, who chairs the Housing & Environment Scrutiny panel and Cllr Javed Akhunzada, who is the Labour group’s Chief Whip.

What happens next?

The Scrutiny committee meets on Monday 30 November. As vice chair of the Scrutiny committee himself, Cllr Eason is not allowed to sit as part of the committee on a decision he has himself called in but he thinks most of the committee members, which include Chiswick councillors Joanna Biddolph and Ron Mushiso, are supportive of the call-in.

What he expects to happen is that the decision to go ahead with Phase 3 will be referred back to Cabinet with a recommendation that Phase 3 will be developed in consultation with councillors and residents.

“If the Cabinet members still don’t get it, in terms of why there’s so much opposition, we might be asking for those two Members (Cllr Khan and Cllr Dunne) to resign”.

Cllr Eason himself has been a councillor since 2018, but he says: “Cllr Khan and Cllr Dunne have been around long enough to know better. You don’t impose these things, you need to win hearts and minds”.

Need to “learn lessons from Chiswick”

Cllr Javed Akhunzada told us he hoped the Scrutiny committee would have a “positive outcome”.

“I’m not against the project but want more engagement with residents. We need to learn lessons from Chiswick” he said.

“People in Chiswick have every right to criticise. We need to learn lessons and we need more engagement”.

Why weren’t phases One and Two challenged by councillors?

We put this question to both Labour Cllr Eason and to Chiswick’s Conservative Cllr John Todd, who has also called in the decision on Phase 3 development.

Cllr Eason told us:

“A lot of those were happening in the middle of lockdown and my mind was on other things. I’m not even sure if you can call in a decision made by a senior officer as opposed to one made by a councillor”.

Cllr Todd told us:

“You can call in a decision made by an officer, but there has to be over a certain amount of money involved, or have a major impact on residents. I would say these road changes are in that second category”.

He confirmed that Chiswick’s Conservative councillors didn’t call in decisions made which have affected Devonshire Rd, Turnham Green Terrace and south Chiswick while they had a chance.

“We enjoyed a good relationship at that point; there was an element of two way dialogue about the schemes. We managed to get the one at Edensor Rd stopped. Then we suddenly discovered that the doors were shut to discussion”.

Scrutiny Committee meeting Monday 30 November

The Scrutiny committee meeting on Monday 30 November will be open to the public to observe. The committee’s website page has a message saying:

‘The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is aware that there is significant interest in this issue from residents and this virtual meeting may be well attended’.

Residents/local groups are advised to submit statements they wish to make, or questions they would like to make to scrutiny@hounslow.gov.uk by 5pm on Wednesday 25 November 2020.

You can see the agenda and relevant documents here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: LB Hounslow “almost certain” to make changes to central Chiswick traffic restrictions 

See also: Thousands sign up to traffic petitions

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Turnham Green Terrace to stay open

LB Hounslow’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Hanif Khan, has decided to keep Turnham Green Terrace open to through traffic once the roadworks in Acton Lane have been completed.

The Thames Water works, which have closed the northbound side of the carriageway at the railway bridge in front of Chiswick Park station, caused such traffic jams on the High Rd that the council was forced to reopen Turnham Green Terrace at the end of October.

“Proper rethink”

Thames Water expect to finish their work on 27 November. Cllr Khan has told The Chiswick Calendar the council is having a “proper rethink” on Turnham Green Terrace and will keep the road open beyond that date, until the council publishes its review of the controversial traffic scheme it introduced in June, on 9 December.

Traffic officers confirmed at the Chiswick Area Forum meeting The Chiswick Calendar’s story last week that interim review of the traffic scheme would take place over the next couple of weeks.

They are looking at traffic flow and air quality data as well as the extraordinary amount of feedback there has been from residents. There were nine different types of scheme implemented across the borough, under temporary emergency measures given to local authorities by the Government in May.Cllr Khan concedes there are flaws.

“If you think back to the panic at the beginning of the pandemic. This was something put put together incredibly quickly” he said.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: LB Hounslow “almost certain” to make changes to central Chiswick traffic restrictions 

See also: Thousands sign up to traffic petitions

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

John Cleese swaps cricket stories with Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

We met John Cleese at the weekend. I say ‘met’, met virtually while he was recording Oborne & Heller on Cricket, which is produced by The Chiswick Calendar.

What makes this all the more remarkable is that he’s known for not giving interviews, and indeed he talked about campaigning for Hacked Off over the misdeeds of the press. He’s sued “about five times” successfully for things that have been written about him which he has proved to be untrue.

“It’s very seldom that I do an interview with a newspaper because I cannot trust them to do an honest interview” he said.

He did the podcast because he has huge respect for Peter Oborne as a journalist, and the podcast is not so much an interview as a conversation. He was as interested in what they had to say as they were in him, as they chatted quite happily for an hour and a half, swapping stories about cricket, showbiz, politics and life in general.

He was delightful.

A bad case of the ‘Yips’

One story he told was of watching England and Somerset cricketer Maurice Tremlett go to pieces as his ability to bowl appeared to desert him. Cleese was only about 12 but he felt his ‘humiliation’ and he says fear of the humiliation of messing up a live performance is something he has carried with him in his own career.

Terror-struck on live TV

He recounted a moment during a live TV sketch when he was only 24, when he froze with sheer terror, on stage with Ronnie Corbett.

Bowling out Denis Compton

He joyfully described the highlight of his own schoolboy cricketing career – bowling out Denis Compton, despite his team mate’s refusal to cooperate because he wanted to see the great England star bat.

Taking to task a “nasty” and “dishonest” press

Here he is explaining why in his view the current standard of our politicians is “very poor”, because of journalists who are “sociopaths”.

You can listen to the whole podcast on The Chiswick Calendar website here

Images above: Richard Heller bowling; Peter Oborne batting

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

See also: Episode 28: Talking with Pakistan Women’s Former Cricket Captain Sana Mir

See also: Episode 29: Jill Rutter on watching cricket with Prime Ministers and others

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 30: John Cleese shares his lifelong love of cricket

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

Images above: John Cleese photograph by Bruce Baker; Clarence Park in Weston Super-Mare in 1978, photograph credit Stephen Hope, BytheSighscreen

“In that moment I went absolutely rigid with real terror, far worse than facing Jeff Thomson.”

That is John Cleese, sharing with Peter Oborne and Richard Heller on their latest cricket-themed podcast his experience as a performer of the “yips”, that dread loss of control which can blight cricketers on the field. (14 minutes into the podcast)

He shares joyous memories of a lifelong love of cricket, which began watching the postwar Somerset team play at Clarence Park, Weston-super-Mare. A previous guest, Jeffrey Archer, might also have been in the crowd but he cannot remember meeting him there. He does remember the fast bowler and mighty hitter, Arthur Wellard, hitting a six so high in the air that it when it fell it burst through the roof of a tea tent and shattered much crockery beneath. (1-5 minutes into the podcast)


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A bad case of the ‘Yips’

He recalls two other personal favourite Somerset players. Horace Hazell was a very accurate slow left-armer but so portly that he was forced to pause before each delivery to reposition his flannels. 17-18 minutes Bertie Buse was an all-rounder with an eccentric run-up which he tried to imitate as a fledgling bowler, “like an Edwardian butler serving tea on a tray.” 6, 18 minutes Somerset were a happy team to watch, regularly bottom of the County Championship. John remembers his shock of adjustment, even sense of vague disappointment, when they broke the pattern by winning the Gillette Cup in 1979. (50-51 minutes into the podcast)

There were darker moments in Somerset cricket, and he shares movingly the experience of watching two of them. Harold Gimblett was an explosive opening batsman subject to deep depression, which eventually drove him to take his life. John describes seeing him walking back to long-off so sunk in gloom that he was not even aware that the ball had been struck towards him; his belated attempt to catch it resulted only in falling over and injuring himself on some scaffolding on the boundary. (4, 16 minutes into the podcast)

The second was watching Maurice Tremlett get “the yips” at Taunton,  losing the bowling action which had earned him selection for England and delivering endless wides and no-balls.  He recalls the horror of the crowd as they desperately willed him to complete the over. 11-13 minutes John reveals his long fear of a similar experience in his performing career, a fear which especially haunts comedians.  He tells the story of his own “Tremlett moment.” It came during a sketch with Ronnie Corbett on live television for The Frost Report. Mercifully for posterity, John got through the awkward line which had given him sleepless nights, but he remembers Ronnie Corbett’s surprise at his nervous amendment, when he described him as the tallest person he had ever met. (13-16 minutes into the podcast).

Bowling out Denis Compton

John is modest about his prowess as an off-spinner at Clifton College, where he contributed to two victories at Lord’s over their rivals, Tonbridge. Already very tall, he claims that his greatest successes came on the school’s mid-season pitches where his hand appeared over the sightscreen against the background of a red brick building. (Joel Garner, another famous Somerset cricketer, would later enjoy a similar advantage.) 23-27, 29-33 minutes John shares his joy at dismissing Denis Compton in a Clifton match despite an unco-operative wicketkeeper who wanted to see the great man bat. 33-36 minutes John explains why he did not play much after leaving Clifton, but shares the experience of a happy tour of Corfu with the Lords Taverners (renamed the Lords Tavernas) with Ken Barrington, Roy Kinnear and John Price of Middlesex and England. (20-21 minutes into the podcast)

Discussing the influence of cricket on his work, John mentions his deep affection for the cricket-crazed Major in Fawlty Towers, a loving caricature of his father. 40-41 minutes  He examines the treatment of English cricket in Monty Python as a monumentally dull experience narrated by idiotic backward-looking commentators. (54-57 minutes into the podcast) dailymotion.com

He gives vivid portraits of two other actors who loved cricket, seeing a very over-refreshed Trevor Howard (a fellow Cliftonian) watching a match at Lords, 46-47 minutes  and  working with David Niven in “The Statue” in Italy. Niven took him out for dinner with a large party of cast and crew, and kept them all in continuous stitches with a flow of anecdotes. Cruelly, Niven had included an editor so ashamed of his bad teeth that he had to laugh with his lips tightly sealed. (43-46 minutes into the podcast)

John Cleese has been active in Hacked Off and shares his pungent views on the behaviour of media and his declining relationship with it. (60-64 minutes into the podcast)

After being forced to endure many years of baseball, he makes a noble offer to explain cricket to American audiences and the many ways in which it is better. He concedes that it may have to be through T20 (which he calls “cricket for people who don’t like cricket”) but hopes that he can help the United States re-enter cricket’s global civilization. (65-68 minutes into the podcast)

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

See also: Episode 28: Talking with Pakistan Women’s Former Cricket Captain Sana Mir

See also: Episode 29: Jill Rutter on watching cricket with Prime Ministers and others

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Successful streaming event held in stadium

Brentford FC held a successful event for around 200 supporters inside our new home on Saturday. More than 1,000 fans registered for an opportunity to watch Brentford’s game away to Stoke City in socially distanced conditions inside the stadium on Saturday afternoon. Groups of fans from the same household enjoyed food and drink while watching Brentford’s game at Stoke, beamed back live, in one of the lounges at our new stadium.

The event was open to our Premium Seat Members and to supporters who froze their 2020/21 Season Tickets until next year. It was heavily oversubscribed and further events will be held in line with Government guidance at upcoming matches. The next of these will be this coming Saturday when The Bees travel to Luton Town. The Club is also working with local and national authorities to get fans in to our home matches to watch The Bees live.

Jon Varney, Brentford FC Chief Executive, said: “Our fans can’t wait to take their first steps inside our new stadium and get back to watching matches in person. It’s incredibly disappointing that they weren’t there for our last ever game at Griffin Park last season and playing the first games at our new stadium behind closed doors has been hard for all of us. But for our fans, who helped keep the Club afloat in recent memory and played their part to help us achieve this dream of a new stadium, to be sitting at home while we play is devastating.

“It was great that we were able to get some of our supporters inside our new home on Saturday. We know it is not the same, but I am sure it was special for them to see some of the outstanding facilities we have to offer and to be able to watch a game with fellow fans. I know they enjoyed the day, the feedback has been excellent.

“The safety of our fans and staff is paramount of course but the current rules seem to make no sense. We were able to welcome in 200 fans to watch an away match on TVs in one of our lounges, but we can’t let our fans, who are desperate to see our new stadium, outside to have a quick glance at the pitch and see where they will be seated in the future. And they can’t sit outside in the fresh air to watch the game on one of our giant screens. Even more crazy is the fact that we could have fans in the lounges to watch upcoming home games, but only with the blinds down.

“This is about so much more than just a game of football. It’s about connections, communities and traditions, feeling the buzz and togetherness of the crowd and starting to believe that life will eventually return to normal one day. The players, coaches and staff have been thinking of our fans a great deal over the past six months. We know how important the companionship they get from supporting Brentford is and it is important to everyone involved at the Club too. We have been in contact with many fans and the support they have shown us whilst we’ve been behind closed doors has been greatly appreciated. We will do everything in our power to get them into our new home to cheer on their team again.

“We’ve been working closely with our Safety Advisory Group during behind closed doors games and events like our screening on Saturday will demonstrate that we’re ready to manage events with reduced numbers safely. National organisations elsewhere in Europe, clubs lower down the pyramid and other venues indoors and out have all shown what can be achieved and I hope we can allow at least some of our fans in to cheer on The Bees live very soon.”

Season Ticket and Premium Seat Holders will be emailed this week and those who have already registered their interest will be prioritised (subject to availability). Season Ticket Holders who don’t receive emails about the events should email tickets@brentfordfc.com to let us know. Should ticket for these events become available to non-Season Ticket Holders, we advise supporters to register their interest online today.

Register your interest now

Why EFL Clubs are more important than ever

The power of football and its clubs has been undeniable for some time, its importance and influence increasing year-on-year and extending well beyond the 90 minutes on the pitch. Now, that importance is more apparent than ever, with the positive impact of clubs on their respective communities – including supporters, businesses and educational facilities – brought to the fore by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And today, Monday 26 October, the EFL is sharing some of the stories of work being done in the community.

The work done by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust has never been in question. Formed in 1987 as part of a joint initiative between Brentford Football Club and the two London boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing, the Trust is now one of the leading community organisations linked to a professional football club. Employing hundreds of staff and volunteers, the Trust has evolved into an award winning, innovative charity that uses the power of sport to engage its community in positive activity.

Working in partnership with Brentford FC, the Trust offers a portfolio of programmes in education, employability, sports participation, health and community engagement. We have won the ‘Football League Community Club of the Year’ award four times and have cemented our reputation as a community-led Football Club. And this was shown during the recent Covid-19 outbreak.

At Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, the Trust engaged with more than 1,300 adults and children online and made over 650 phone calls to its most vulnerable participants. Their most pioneering initiative targeted children who might not have access to a garden or outdoor space and helped them remain active within their homes. 600 activity packs were delivered to families across Hounslow and Ealing.

With fans still unable to physically attend live games, both across the EFL’s three divisions and up and down the country, the clubs that have long provided almost unquantifiable support to those around them are now in need of support themselves, making it a crucial time for English football and the game as a whole. The League’s 2019 Community Impact study served to highlight the above, even before the outbreak of Covid-19.

Alongside the EFL’s 2019 Supporters Survey, it showed the immense value and expectation placed on football by generations of people. It showed that football is an integral and traditional part of family and personal life, something evident since the League’s inception in 1888. It showed that 36.6million people now live within a 10-mile radius of an EFL club, a radius which encompasses four in 10 residents who fall into the most-deprived population groups. The reach of EFL clubs and the difference they can make in turn is, therefore, quite incomparable. They’ve become far more than just clubs.

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In many ways, it’s a reach which is as inescapable as it is incomparable. Those who are not necessarily football fans may well feel it as much as your average die-hard season ticket holder. A recent interview with a business local to Lincoln City Football Club indicated an increase of 200-300 per cent in trade on Saturday matchdays, and so the knock-on effects of those being felt by the beautiful game are significant, even life-changing.

It’s a reach acknowledged and acted upon by the players who are so idolised by fans young and old, players who drove almost £6m of value through just shy of 30,000 instances of involvement in community initiatives in 2018/19 alone. These are projects spanning health, education, social inclusion and anti-discrimination, to name just a few areas. Football has, and continues to, be a force for good, and the numbers back it up.

Just last week, Bristol Rovers defender Mark Little visited a local, unaffiliated club, after being made aware that one of the team’s young female players had been racially abused on several occasions at her school. An ambassador for Rovers’ Community Trust, he responded immediately, showing the outreach of the club, player and charity in their community and beyond their own projects.

Our new stadium has community in its name. It will deliver more than 900 new homes, a new purpose-built location for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and a public square with shops and cafes. Then, from Peterborough to Preston and Burton to Bradford, clubs have been offering support by providing thousands of children with free meals throughout half-term. The list goes on.

This Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly affecting all of us in different ways. The British Heart Foundation estimates the total financial cost to the NHS of physical inactivity to be around £1.2b per year, but what of the mental toll? The EFL’s official charity partner, Mind, recently revealed that more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said their mental health has worsened during lockdown.

EFL clubs are leading the battle against these issues across the country. In 2018/19, over 880,000 people participated in activity under the umbrella of an EFL club, including more than half of that number in sport or physical activity, and a further 154,000 in health and wellbeing initiatives. The adverse effects of communities losing such opportunities are unthinkable.

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Every hour of every day, outstanding work is being carried out by EFL clubs and their respective Club Community Organisations (CCOs). Together, they are supporting young children, teenagers in education, football fans, the elderly, those in self-isolation, teachers, key workers and the homeless. They are also providing a significant service to their local authorities, many of whom turned to their clubs in the early weeks of the pandemic. Alongside this, the clubs and charities are finding innovative new ways to fund raise to support their fans, councils and local charities. The adaptation of our CCOs has been phenomenal and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our EFL communities. From the outset of football’s response, the safety of its communities has remained paramount and adherence to Government advice has been at the heart of the collective delivery.

There is another phase in motion that should be acknowledged, too. The EFL and its clubs, alongside the EFL Trust network are cognisant and supportive of the Government’s approach to rebuilding communities in the aftermath of the pandemic and, as a result, are focusing not only on delivery at present, but also on the longer-term implications of coronavirus on communities and the requirement for an ongoing response. The importance of EFL Clubs, now more than ever, should not be ignored. Their benefits, now more than ever, should be recognised.

Throughout the day, the EFL will be sharing more examples that show how communities have, and can continue to, benefit from the support of the football clubs that represent them. Join the conversation on social media – we’re encouraging fans across the country to make their voices heard. Tell us what your club means to you and your community using #EFLCommunities.

More media reports from inside new stadium

Brentford FC are now established in their new home with the new 2020/21 season well underway. We have played five games at our new stadium and already had some memorable moments. There has been a West London derby win over Fulham and two Sky Bet Championship victories.

All games at the moment are, unfortunately, being played behind closed doors but media, including the Sky Sports cameras, are in attendance. Thomas Frank has also done pre-match media inside the stadium this week. Some of the media responses to our stadium can be seen below.

Jim Levack was working for PA Media at our first games. Here is his report for the Beesotted fan channel.

Zach Barker from London Football Scene wrote this.

Kiran Tom Sajan, from Sports Gazette, had a look around and created the following video.

Trust update: Tier Two restrictions in London

Following on from the government’s decision to move London into Tier Two Covid restrictions, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust would like to reassure participants that all sessions are running as planned. The Trust has undertaken a number of measures to ensure its projects are “Covid-secure” including thorough risk assessments, temperature checks and appropriate social distancing. The Trust will continue to monitor the ongoing situation closely and provide any further updates in due course.

If you have any concerns regarding you or your child’s safety at any of our sessions, feel free to email enquiries@brentfordfccst.com and Trust staff will be able to assist you.

EFL statement: Meetings with clubs

EFL clubs met by division to discuss the conditional offer put forward  by the Premier League in respect to the financial support required as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The need for continued unity across the membership base was fundamental to discussions across all three divisions, and therefore there was a strong consensus that any rescue package must meet the requirements of all 72 clubs before it can be considered in full. The League has been very clear in its discussions of the financial requirements needed to address lost gate receipts in 2019/20 and 2020/21, and while EFL clubs are appreciative that a formal proposal has now been put forward, the conditional offer of £50million falls some way short of this.

The EFL is keen to continue discussions with the Premier League to reach an agreeable solution that will address the short-term financial needs of all of our clubs and allow us the ability to consider the longer-term economic issues in parallel that specifically look to achieve a more sustainable EFL for the future. There will be no further comment at this time.

Brentford and London Irish back Evening Standard campaign

Brentford FC and London Irish RFC have joined forces to back the Evening Standard’s ‘Bring Back The Fans’ campaign. The Evening Standard launched their campaign last Friday, with widespread support across the capital from a host of Premier League and Football League clubs – and now Brentford and London Irish, who have a licence to play at the venue, have come together to show their support.

Jon Varney, Brentford FC Chief Executive, said: “We fully support the Evening Standard’s Bring Back The Fans campaign and are delighted to join forces with our friends at London Irish to advocate for supporters being allowed in to our new stadium. This is a challenging time for everyone and the safety of all concerned must of course remain as the utmost priority. At the same time, we are confident, based on the behind closed doors games we’ve already held, that we have the expertise and experience to put in place the appropriate social distancing and safety measures to protect fans and staff with the reduced capacities that were being suggested.

“We are very grateful for all the support we’ve had from everyone involved to find a solution to the controlled return of fans. The EFL, Hounslow Council, the Sports Ground Safety Authority, our local Safety Advisory Group, our local MPs and fan groups have all worked with us over the past weeks. I hope that by continuing to work together we will be able to safely welcome our fans back to watch live games soon. National organisations elsewhere in Europe, clubs lower down the pyramid and other venues indoors and out have all shown what can be achieved and I hope we can get there as well.”

London Irish CEO, Brian Facer, said: “We are fully supportive of the Evening Standard’s campaign to bring back the fans to stadiums. The pilot events in Premiership Rugby were an unparalleled success, proving that rugby – and other sports for that matter – can make reduced crowds work in the short-term, before we’re allowed to welcome back full capacities in the future.

“The power of sport and attending live matches cannot be underestimated. Clubs are one of the biggest supply chains in the local community – a force for good that so many people rely upon. Simply turning the tap off has huge implications for clubs and consumers of all age ranges.

“Professional sport provides significant contributions to the public purse and enormous amounts of physical and mental positivity across a wide range of community and grassroots sport. Put simply, sport is nothing without its local community – and a local community is nothing without sport.”

He added: “As a club, we’re entering a new chapter of our history by returning to the capital, and the fans are integral to that. What we do know is that it’s a matter of when, and not if, supporters will be able to come to watch matches, and we continue to work closely with Brentford FC and the relevant authorities to ensure that the plans are in place to welcome our fans, in a safe environment. It goes without saying that the sooner we’re able to do that, the better.

“It’s not about us, it’s not about Brentford – it’s about the wider sporting family. When you see other industries given the green light to host events, in particular those inside theatres and cinemas, it makes no sense whatsoever for stadiums to be any different.”

EFL Statement: Financial support and Project Big Picture

Financial Support Package

The EFL will meet with all EFL clubs on Thursday (today) to discuss the proposed financial support put forward today by the Premier League. The Premier League has written to the EFL in respect of a ‘much needed support package’ and provided details of an approved £50m grant and loan facility for League One and Two clubs only. In addition, the Premier League has requested further discussions with the EFL regarding the nature of this proposal and also on future, potential loan funding for Championship clubs in Covid-19 distress.

The League will be not be commenting further until it has discussed the elements of the proposal with its membership.

Project Big Picture

The EFL notes the position of the Premier League in respect of today’s discussions with its clubs regarding the Project Big Picture proposals. As we have maintained across the past 72 hours, there is a significant issue facing the English footballing pyramid and therefore it is encouraging that there is an acknowledgment that a review of the current status quo is required, with a strategic plan to be developed to consider the future of the football. While by no means a finished product, Project Big Picture was developed to consider these same issues and address the challenges facing football from top to bottom.

The EFL welcomes the opportunity to contribute to any wider debate with colleagues across the game as we seek to finally address impossible economic pressures and deliver on the objective of having a sustainable EFL in the long-term.

Brentford FC Statement: Project Big Picture

Along with all Sky Bet Championship clubs, Brentford FC can confirm we attended an initial high-level briefing on Project Big Picture yesterday morning. The EFL confirmed its position after the meeting yesterday, following a statement by EFL Chair Rick Parry at the weekend on proposals for the future of English Football, called Project Big Picture.

It is our view a number of the headline proposals are positive and require further debate and we believe the timing is now right to look at developing a new long-term sustainable future for the entire English football pyramid.

Much of the press and public comment to date has been around governance matters away from the EFL environment. This is not for us to comment on and beyond our sphere of influence, but clearly needs addressing by the relevant stakeholders in order to move forward. We should not however lose sight of the many positives identified in the proposal and look forward to receiving further details and playing an active role in future discussions.

ENDS

Brentford FC

Brian Burgess congratulated after British Empire Medal award

Brian Burgess has received congratulations from across Brentford FC and Brentford FC Community Trust after being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Brian, who has been involved with Brentford FC for decades, was awarded the British Empire Medal, which is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service, for his service to football. The citation specifically mentioned Brian’s role as a Trustee of Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust.

Brian has been a Trustee of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust charity since it became an independent trust in 2005. He also played a key role in Bees United, the Brentford Supporters’ Trust, and was Chairman for four years. Read more about the award here.

Speaking about the award, Brian said: “I am delighted and humbled to be awarded this BEM, which recognises the valuable work of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and its impact in local communities. It’s an absolute privilege to have served as a Trustee from the Trust’s inception in 2005 and to work closely with Chief Executive Lee Doyle and his team in developing such exciting projects such as the new community hub next to Brentford Community Stadium and the impressive sports hub at Gunnersbury Park.”

Brian’s passion for the Trust derives from a long-held belief that football and the local community should be fully integrated, which leads to enhanced social cohesion.

Speaking about the Trust, Brian added: “As a charity, the Community Sports Trust delivers a wide range of programmes using the power of sport to educate, motivate and inspire people from all backgrounds including vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups. The way in which the team has successfully adapted these goals to the difficult circumstances of the pandemic has been truly amazing.

“Therefore, this award is a tribute to everyone involved in the Community Sports Trust and its partners, and the efforts of so many former colleagues and volunteers at the Club and Bees United. On a personal level, I owe so much to my late wife, Sylvia, who was and always will be an inspiration.”

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Brian has been actively involved with Brentford FC for most of his life, initially as a supporter. He was Chairman of Bees United when the fans completed a takeover of Brentford FC in early 2006, helping raise the funds required to refinance the Club and helped pave the way for the initial involvement of current owner Matthew Benham. Brian first started working in a voluntary capacity on the project to get Brentford FC a new stadium 2002, which came to fruition last month. He was on the Boards of Lionel Road Developments Ltd and Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Ltd until 2017.

Ian Dobie, Chair of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “On behalf of everyone at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, I congratulate Brian on being recognised for the work he has carried out so selflessly for the Club and Trust. This is a truly well-deserved honour.”

Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, added: “Brian is a fantastic role model for sport supporters that want to make a positive difference to their club and its surrounding communities. It has been a remarkable journey and we are looking forward to a bright future.”

Cliff Crown, Brentford FC Chairman, said: “On behalf of the Club I would like to congratulate Brian on receiving a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Brian has given tireless service to the Club and the community over many years and this is a very well-deserved recognition of that work. As many of you know he was instrumental in delivering the land at Lionel Road on which our new stadium now stands. Our sincere and heartfelt congratulations go to Brian with our grateful thanks for all he has done and continues to do for the local community.”

Mike Power, a Brentford FC Director, has known Brian since the 1960s, when they attended the same school. He described Brian’s life as extraordinary. Mike praised the way he was able to contribute so much in a voluntary capacity and outline the work he had done.

Mike said: “Brian has served the community in a plethora of ways: Southwark Area Youth Committee; a Board member of the Blackfriars Settlement; Kaleidoscope; Community Action Network (a social enterprise organization); and Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust. Brian has a love of football and a passionate belief that football clubs are an integral part of the community. He believes that a club having a successful integration and partnership with the community in education, leisure and health is a powerful force for social cohesion.

“In his professional career he was a very successful executive in a number of engineering roles. However, his real achievement has been to marry that successful career with an extraordinary contribution to society through his role as a volunteer in a whole range of community programmes. Brian has led an extraordinary life.”

Donald Kerr, Brentford FC Vice Chairman, was also on the Bees United Board. Like Brian he is heavily involved with the Trust and the Club. He was very pleased to see Brian honoured.

Donald said: “I first met Brian many years ago, before the BU takeover of the Club, when he encouraged me to get involved with the Supporters Trust. Even at that first meeting I was struck by the clarity of his vision for a community stadium for Brentford. And the passion with which he pursued it made us all believe it might be possible. Right from the start, fundamental to that vision was that it would be part of and engaged in our local community, building on our very strong Community Sports Trust.

“In the intervening fifteen years, I have had the privilege of working with Brian on many aspects of the Club, and his enthusiasm remains undiminished. It’s extremely pleasing to see Brian’s contribution to football acknowledged in this way.”

Stewart Purvis, Chairman of Bees United, said: “Bees fans are unanimous that this is an honour and accolade that is richly deserved for a wonderful man who has given decades of service to the cause of Brentford Football Club.”

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Jim Levack, a Brentford supporter who has worked as a journalist for the past few decades wrote a personal tribute to Brian. That can be seen on the website of Beesotted, the Brentford fan channel, here. Brian was one of those interviews for the Push up Brentford oral history project – read more about that here. See Brian’s interview on this page.

“We are all under the same brand – indivisible.”

As Brentford FC take up residence at their new home, everyone is looking forward. Donald Kerr, the Club’s Vice Chairman who is also on the Board of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, has spoken about the future. The below interview was carried out by the Trust and looks at what is coming up in the community.

The Trust ran a hugely successful #BeeatHome campaign during the government lockdown – running its community activities online. For you, what was the highlight of that campaign?

It is difficult to pick a particular highlight, but I think there are several things that really stand out for me. The way the Trust organised 600 activity packs to be delivered to local families was a fantastic initiative. We quickly came to the realisation that many families in the local community didn’t have access to back gardens or they lived in high-rise flats, and that life would be pretty stressful for the children and parents under these lockdown restrictions. To create these activity packs, which included physical activity and educational resources, was really inspiring.

I also think the role of Brentford players getting involved in our online activities and putting their weight behind the cause was fantastic. We had Luke Daniels taking part in an online quiz for children with disabilities and Tariqe Fosu running an online football camp.

In general, I think the way we turned 180 degrees in the space of a week and transformed all our frontline activity online was a considerable achievement.

As Vice Chairman of Brentford FC and its Community Sports Trust, why do you think it’s important that Brentford retains its community ethos?

Community has always been at the heart of everything we do.

When we applied for planning permission for the new stadium, the Trust were integral to the Club’s plans – with the aim of building a purpose-built education hub and office facilities. We demonstrated to the planning committee the Trust’s social value in the local community and since then that value has only accelerated.

Brentford players are also fundamental to this connection. These players quite simply add stardust to our community projects and provide a huge unquantifiable and emotional pull to our community activities. Young people come to us because its football when they wouldn’t come to other organisations: because we have this aura around us.

So, in essence, it is really important that the Club and Trust are part of the same family. We are all under the same brand – indivisible – representing the Brentford badge in the local community.

What exciting plans does the Trust have next year?

I think the Trust moving to the stadium site in 2021 – with community facilities and an education hub adjacent to the football stadium – will enable us to really turn up the volume of our community activity. I think the opportunity and potential to engage with more people of all ages and abilities will definitely happen.

We have also recently been awarded funding by Mercers Charitable Foundation to deliver a pioneering training programme to young people. Now, more than ever, young people need the skills and training for their future careers.

Also, with the opening of the new sports hub at Gunnersbury Park this autumn we can really turn up the heat on our sports activities both indoors and outdoors.

What challenges do you think the Coronavirus pandemic has caused for the local community and how do you think the Trust can help tackle these challenges?

I think this pandemic has identified a whole range of social issues – including the need for people to become more active and healthy. Health projects have always been an important pillar of the Trust’s work and I hope we can help more people get active.

The pandemic has also impacted considerably on young people’s mental health and I think our talented workforce can help tackle this through our engaging sports and education projects.

For more information about the Trust email enquiries@brentfordfccst.com.

Brian Burgess awarded British Empire Medal

Brian Burgess – former Deputy Chairman of Brentford FC and a current Trustee of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust – was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The announcement of the honours, delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak, came yesterday morning and Brian was on the list. He was awarded the British Empire Medal for his service to football.

The British Empire Medal is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service. Brian, currently an Associate Director, was nominated for his work for the Trust. The citation on the award read: “Brian Robert Burgess. Trustee, Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust. For voluntary service to Football.”

Brian was one of the original members of Bees United, the Brentford FC Supporters’ Trust, and subsequently became Chairman. He was Chairman when Bees United completed a takeover of Brentford FC in early 2006, helping raise the funds required to refinance the Club. Brian helped pave the way for the initial involvement of current owner Matthew Benham and served as Deputy Chairman until taking up a paid position on the new stadium project in 2008.

Brian first started working in a voluntary capacity on the stadium project in 2002 and was on the Boards of Lionel Road Developments Ltd and Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Ltd until 2017. Brian has also been a Trustee of the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust charity since it became an independent trust in 2005. He was also Chairman of Supporters Direct, the umbrella organisation that provides support and assistance for its member trusts to secure a greater level of accountability and deliver democratic representation within football clubs and within football’s governing structures, for five years.

It for this voluntary work in football that he has been recognised. All at Brentford FC pass on congratulations to Brian.

 

Watch: “Football belongs to people. It’s almost dying.”

At the end of last week, Sky Sports out out a special film. On Friday night, before their live match, Skycbroadcast a piece of film that featured club representatives and the EFL Chair Rick Parry in an open and honest description of the challenging circumstances currently being faced across the league. See it below.