West London schools named in students’ accounts of sexual abuse

Image above: Everyone’s Invited website – some of the team

West London schools have featured with alarming regularity in the reports of sexual abuse in schools which have come out in the past few weeks.

The Times reported on Monday that there were now some 13,700 former pupils who had come forward with allegations against fellow students and also some teachers after girls and women started sharing their experiences in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death.

‘Staff are accused of groping female pupils, making sexual comments towards them and masturbating during classes in 20 claims made at schools across London and in Bedfordshire on the Everyone’s Invited website’ the Times reports.

Times reporters Arthi Nachiappan and Ryan Watts wrote:

‘Analysis by The Times found that five entries on the website accused staff at Latymer Upper School, three accused staff at St Benedict’s School, and two at Notting Hill and Ealing High School, all in west London.

‘A spokesman for Notting Hill and Ealing High School said it was aware of allegations about a staff member but could not comment on an individual case. The spokesman said:

“We always take any concerns girls raise very seriously, and investigate thoroughly, with guidance taken from relevant authorities where appropriate.”

‘Latymer Upper and St Benedict’s School were approached for comment’.

Image above: Latymer Upper School; photograph N Chadwick

Latymer Upper School has been named more times than any other school on Everyone’s Invited. In response to an earlier story the school said had recently contacted students and alumni to offer support. A statement from the school said that it was:

“listening carefully to our community and reflecting on what further steps we should take.

“All staff at the school complete regular safeguarding training and we take any report or allegation made by a member of our community extremely seriously.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach to behaviours that foster the prevalence of misogyny, sexism, harassment, abuse and assault”.

The Everyone’s Invited website has pages and pages of accounts from students at schools and universities, which range from child rape to students feeling uncomfortable about peer pressure or unwanted comments. There are allegations of sexualised encounters and unsolicited sexual approaches from students at St Benedict’s in Ealing, JFS in Harrow, Westminster, Ibstock Place School in Roehampton, Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith and St Paul’s Girl’s & Boys amongst many schools mentioned.

It’s not clear in many of the cases whether what they’re describing went on in school or off the premises and whether it was with the knowledge of the staff or not. But there are a number of accounts which describe behaviour happening in school which should have been picked up and acted on by staff or where schools were asked to tackle the behaviour and attitudes of boys towards girls and failed to do anything.

Image above: St Benedict’s school; Notting Hill & Ealing High School

“I stopped going into school and I stopped doing my work as a result of what I was going through”

This is one girl’s experience of being at school:

“Had a male teacher measure my skirt with a ruler up my inner leg to see if it was too short. As well as numerous times boys hiding your belongs down their trousers and focusing you to feel them up. They would wank off in class or just expose them self to you.”

This from another:

“My ex raped me and when I went to the safeguarding at my school to help with him following me and making me extremely uncomfortable they did nothing to help as I didn’t file a police report.

“On top of this they never followed up and checked in. So, when I stopped going into school and I stopped doing my work as a result of what I was going through I was told off instead of being offered support.”

“I was distraught and sent an angry email to the headmaster”

This account from a student at West London Free School is from a girl who says she specifically asked for her school to educate boys about their attitudes to girls:

‘On international women’s day … the school hadn’t uttered a word in assembly or in any lesson about the significance of the day and so our female English teacher decided to dedicate our lesson to discussing it.

‘She said how upset she was that the school hadn’t made an assembly and that it let down all the girls in the school. Our class only had 4 boys in it and around 15-20 girls. By the end of this lesson many of the girls were crying. Our teacher had put on an amazing TED talk where a woman had shared a rape testimony and the girls had all been amazed by it.

‘However the atmosphere very quickly changed when the four boys began talking openly (in front of our teacher!) about how a girl deserved to be raped or assaulted if she wore a short skirt.

‘I was distraught and sent an angry email to the headmaster including other stories I had about how sexist the school was and how it was allowing misogyny and rape culture to grow amongst the boys. They promised me they would make sure the boys received an educational assembly about respecting women and consent, but this never happened.’

Image above: Everyone’s Invited website – more of the team

A commitment to eradicating rape culture

The outpouring of shared experiences of women and girls about sexual abuse is not limited to this one website. It was all over social media in the days following the violent death of Sarah Everard and the vigil on Clapham Common.

Everyone’s Invited was set up by CEO Soma Sara in 2020. She began sharing her own experinece of rape culture on Instagram and was quickly overwhelmed with responses

“from not only those who strongly resonated with her experiences but those who began sharing their own stories of harassment, abuse and assault”.

Everyone’s Invited describe themselves as a movement committed to eradicating rape culture:

‘Rape culture exists when thoughts, behaviours, & attitudes in a society or environment have the effect of normalising and trivialising sexual violence.

‘When behaviours like ‘upskirting’ or the nonconsensual sharing of intimate photos are normalised this acts as a gateway to criminal acts such as sexual assault and rape.

‘Behaviours such as misogyny, slut shaming, victim blaming, and sexual harassment create an environment where sexual violence and abuse can exist and thrive. All behaviours, attitudes, thoughts and experiences in this culture are interconnected’.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Doorstep vigil for Sarah Everard

See also: Debate on women’s safety

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The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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Olive costs Andrew Cotter the race against James Cracknell

One of the redeeming features of the last year has been BBC sports correspondent Andrew Cotter’s videos with his two labradors, Olive and Mabel.

In the early days of business meetings by Zoom as we were all getting used to the medium, his spoof assessment by a company boss of his employees, using the two dogs as stooges, was comedy gold. Olive and Mabel have become superstars.

He brought out a book in October 2020 called Olive, Mabel and Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs

The videos are brilliant for the interactions between him and the dogs, the mock serious commentary and the baleful looks they give him as he’s rating their performance.

In his latest video he races Olympic rower James Cracknell along the Boat Race course on the River Great Ouse, before the race starts, to show viewers what the unfamiliar course is like. While James is rowing effortlessly and describing the openness of the course, Andrew is running along the path alongside and trying to keep the dogs focused on the job in hand. He fails. They lose, and it’s all Olive’s fault.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Running Stories – why people start running and what they get out of it

See also: Clare Balding – I’ve never been at home as much as this

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).

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Rowers’ Boat Race protest over Hammersmith Bridge

Image above: Rowers protest; images from Hammersmith Bridge SOS

As Cambridge were winning the Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Ely, frustrated local rowers were protesting on the River Thames beside Hammersmith Bridge at the lack of action over mending it.

The protesters, wearing hard hats and high vis jackets, took to the water to highlight the political impasse over who is to pay the cost of repairing the bridge, six months after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set up a task force, declaring that he would solve the problem.

Image above: Rowers protest; images from Hammersmith Bridge SOS

“Get our bridge done”

Former Olympians and Oxford and Cambridge boat race competitors took part in the protest. organised by local rowing clubs and Hamersmith Bridge SOS, who have organised a number of publicity stunts to keep the lack of activity in the headlines and keep the pressure up.

Their high-vis construction gilets bore the message: “Get Our Bridge Done”.

The Boat Race had to be moved from its traditional route along the River Thames for only the second time in its history, because the bridge is not only closed to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, but also to boat traffic passing beneath it.

‘Rowers are one of many river users and wider local communities severely impacted by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge and the extended delays in starting repair works’ say the protest organisers.

‘The broken bridge has placed yet more strain on local businesses already pushed to breaking point by the pandemic’.

Since the bridge was closed, initially just to vehicle traiffic in April 2019, the local authorities, Transport for London and central Government have continued to pass the buck over who should pay for the repairs.

TfL has recently chosen a boat operator to run a temporary ferry service across the river, which is expected to start running in the autumn. LB Hammersmith & Fulham have come up with an innovative plan for a temporary solution for getting vehicular traffic across the bridge, in partnership with world renowned architect Sir Norman Foster. But nothing will happen unless there is agreement on who is to pay for it.

Image above: Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps “playing politics with the lives and livelihoods of those in this area”

Helen Pennant Rea, the Chair of the Hammersmith Bridge SOS residents’ group, put the ball firmly in the Government’s court:

“We feel for London’s rowers and their anger, as we do the hundreds of thousands of others whose lives have been impacted by the bridge closure for the last two years.

“We now know Grant Shapps MP the Secretary of State for Transport is playing politics with the lives and livelihoods of those in this area. Whilst he claims publicly to have received no financial plans from the local council, his own department has written to us contradicting what he has said.

“It’s disappointing that he prefers to blame the problem on local politicians from other parties and focus on the more glamorous multi-billion pound legacy projects like bridges and tunnels to Northern Ireland.”

Impact on river users “has been huge”

Jess Eddie, three-time British Olympic rower and medallist in the Rio Olympics said:

“The impact of the broken bridge on British rowing, other water sports and river users has been huge, confining hundreds of boats to a small section of the river. A closed Hammersmith Bridge will stop a number of important river events and races that people train for year-round, some of which have been taking place for over 100 years. Unless Grant Shapps shows some leadership and commits to a repair solution, we’ll be looking at the cancellation of next year’s boat race too.”

Mark Luciani, Captain of London Rowing Club commented:

”We really hope the Government will listen to our request and put an end to these fundamentally un-necessary delays in repairing Hammersmith Bridge, that hugely compromise a key sport for everybody from elite athletes through to school children. The time has come for our nation’s leaders to stop playing politics with the bridge and listen to locals. You got Brexit done. Now get our bridge done.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL appoints operator to run temporary Hammersmith ferry service
See also: Radical new plans for temporary crossing over Hammersmith Bridge

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.

Running stories

A new book out called ‘Running Stories’ tells the tales of those who run – why they do it and what role it plays in their lives. 100% of the revenue from sales is being donated to The Running Charity, who use running to improve the lives of homeless young people in the UK.

I’ve you’ve ever thought about taking up running and just want that little extra push, buy this book. It’s full of very relatable tales from normal people. ‘Normal’ as in busy people, depressed people, overweight people and older people, not the Olympian gods you think of when you think ‘runner’.

The book is very well edited, with the stories kept short and snappy, organised in sections so you can easily gravitate to those which most resonate with you most, and it provides also the bare essentials of tips on how to get started.

Three of the running stories are from people who live in Chiswick.

Images above: Beccy Lockspeiser

Beccy Lockspeiser – cigarettes and running really don’t go together

Beccy Lockspeiser started running because her flat mate suggested they run the London marathon. She was 26 and smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

“Running made it easy for me to give up cigarettes, as they really don’t go together.”

She also thinks Marathon training helped prepare her for childbirth:

“The build-up and preparation. A certain amount of pain. And a great elation and joy at the finish!”

Images above: Running Stories; Stacey Tasker

Stacey Tasker  – great way of making friends

Stacey Tasker went along to a Parkrun with her daughter.

“I only wanted to run once a week, not far, and lacked a competitive streak. It was at a low time in my life as I’d just moved to London and had few friends.”

For her, the friendships which evolved on those weekly runs are as important, if not more so, than the running itself, especially as she says fellow runners came to her rescue when she caught Covid last year.

“Who would have thought that running would prove to be such a vital bridge in my life, especially as I’m always whinging as I run along, no matter how short the distance.”

Images above: Camilla Langlands and Jacquie Millet, Ultra marathon runners

Jacquie Millet – everyone is capable of so much more than they imagine

Unlike Stacey, Jacquie Millet is definitely competitive. She and her daughter Camilla have earned a Guinness World Record for the most marathons run together by a parent and child – more than 200 of them in ten years. Their lives are now dominated by travelling the world to take part.

In 2020 they were set to run marathons in Boston, London, Chicago and New York. They were due to take part in the Two Oceans in Cape Town. As experienced runners they were booked to set the pace for other runners at races in Limassol, Liverpool and Milton Keynes and they were going to compete in their favourite of all races, the Comrades Marathon in Durban.

Instead of which they found themselves running around Richmond Park on their own.

Image above: Jacquie and Camilla in Richmond Park

While definitely in the Olympian goddess category now, Jacquie only started running at the age of 57, relatively late in life, like so many others in this book, because she’d had a health scare and wanted to get fit.

“One of the things we love most of all” she says, “is when people tell us how much we’ve inspired them – to try running, to enter a particular race, or just to push themselves that little bit further.

“We truly believe that everyone is capable of so much more than they imagine”.

Images above: Seyfu Jamaal, celebrating winning the London Landmarks Half Marathon

Seyfu Jamaal – a lifeline

That is one of the recurring themes of the book – people being agreeably surprised to find they are describing themselves as a runner, when they never in their wildest dreams imagined they could be. That and the other strong themes of comradeship and freedom – how running together creates bonds and builds friendships as people support each other through tough times and have a laugh together. And how very liberating running is, both mentally and physically.

One story in particular caught my eye; that of Seyfu Jamaal, who came to the UK to seek asylum from the political turmoil and problems in his place of birth, the Bale Province of Ethiopia.

As a teenager he travelled through Sudan, Libya, across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy, across Europe to France and finally England, witnessing immensely traumatic events along the way.

“I witnessed people being murdered in the desert so that the traffickers could assert their authority.

“We were treated as a commodity. Bought and sold.”

Seyfu was referred to The Running Charity by the British Red Cross and they were able to provide his with an environment where he felt welcomed, listened to and supported.

“Running removes my stress, my mental problems. I forget; it’s my remedy.

“When I run, I am healthy, I am happy.”

Having won the London Landmarks Half Marathon, beating more than 14,000 other runners, he is now an elite runner, but still runs with the charity.

“The Running Charity is my family. Without them I would be at home alone and not socialising.

“Your friendship is something I never want to lose”.

Think of someone in your life who might appreciate this book and buy it now from Amazon: amazon.co.uk/RUNNING-STORIES

therunningcharity.org

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Jacquie Millet and Camilla Langlands – Ultra marathon runners

See also: The runner’s dilemma – Where to run during a pandemic

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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Pollution on Chiswick High Road: what does the data say?

Guest blog by Professor Tom Pike

While London is by no means the most polluted city in the world, we still suffer from the health consequences of the air we all breathe. The London Air Quality Network (LAQN) of Imperial College estimates that up to 4,000 early deaths in 2019 can be attributed to our city’s pollution. For comparison COVID-19 has so far led to 15,000 extra deaths in London: in the past four years it is very possible more people have died early from pollution than from COVID-19, though it’s difficult to give pollution as a cause of death on an individual basis.  

Map of early deaths attributable to pollution for London in 2019. Source: Strategic Analysis, TfL City Planning (data from Imperial)

Imperial have produced a map of how all these 4,000 deaths are distributed over London. This map takes into account both the local levels of pollution and how susceptible the health of the population is to damage from air pollution – for example, how old they are.

For the four local government wards of Chiswick there were 24 early deaths from pollution in 2019 which compares to 55 deaths so far from COVID-19 over the past twelve months. It is clearly important to understand if efforts to try to reduce pollution are having an effect locally.

We know from a network of more than 200 monitoring stations across London that the prime source of pollution is road transport, as the NO2 concentration map from LAQN below makes clear. One of those stations by Chiswick High Road has been collecting measurements of three of the most damaging pollutants, NO2 and PM10 particulates since 2003 and the finer and even more damaging PM2.5 particulates since 2017. These pollutants have been clearly linked with causing damage to the heart and lungs.

Map of NO2 pollution for Chiswick and London from 2016 measurements. Source: LAQN

There has also been much research into estimating the economic costs of pollution associated with early death and damage to health. A recent study estimated these costs for 432 cities across Europe, finding that London paid the highest price, not because it had the worst air quality but as more people creating more wealth were harmed by pollution.

It’s possible to do the same calculations for Chiswick using the measurements for the individual pollutants monitored on the High Road and applying the costs per measured unit as estimated by the CE Delft study for the 22 cities in the UK. However, the measurements of pollution on the High Road don’t just reflect nearby traffic. London has a cloud of pollution hanging over it that depends on the weather and seasons as well as all the other sources of pollutants across London. For that reason, it’s necessary to compare the pollution measured on the High Road to that from our nearest background monitoring stations, at Barnes Wetlands Centre for NO2 and PM10, and North Kensington (at a spot away from a major road) for PM2.5.

Average cost of pollution as proportion of GDP for Chiswick High Road and the nearest background monitoring stations for every three-month period since monitoring was available in 2017 for nitrogen dioxide, NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 particulates . The most recent period is emphasised. Data: Air Quality England, LAQN; Calculation based on CE Delft

The plot above shows the costs of all three pollutants for the High Road and their total costs in terms of the local gross domestic product (GDP) compared to those from the background measurements. Each point represents a three-month average for each period since all three pollutants were monitored in 2017, with the most recent period emphasised. Overall, pollution costs Chiswick just over 3% of its GDP. As a comparison, nationally we spend 10% GDP on funding the NHS. The cost of pollution that can be clearly attributed to traffic on the High Road is the distance of each point above the corresponding background measurement, currently 0.5% of GDP for the area affected.

Cost of excess pollution for Chiswick High Road for each of the three-month periods. Source: Air Quality England, LAQN; Calculation based on CE Delft

To understand better how pollution has changed over time, the same data is shown above, but looking just at the difference between the High Road and background values. The amount of this excess pollution has fallen and rather more than can be explained by the drop in traffic counts on the High Road over this period (Department of Transport data available up to 2018). The fall off in diesel cars has played a part, possibly the withdrawal of the 27 bus service in 2019. COVID-19 restrictions lead to a drop in traffic levels generally across London durng the past year, but there has been a steady decline over the whole period of record keeping.

The latest three-month period also corresponds to the opening of C9, the temporary cycle lane along the High Road. Pollution has fallen further, more than twice the average drop seen since the start of the pandemic. In particular PM10’s have been eliminated as a source of excess pollution on the High Road and these levels now very closely follow the Wetlands Centre’s. Excess PM2.5 levels have also dropped to their lowest recorded. Overall, air pollution levels on Chiswick High Road are at their lowest ever value.

It’s possible to estimate these costs in pounds using values for the local GDP and population from the ONS and on the basis that the High Road contributes about 10% of the excess pollution, in line with its share of total traffic through Chiswick. In terms of health costs, if the drop in the last three months is compared to the previous period, that comes to a health-cost saving of £410,000 a year. If the comparison is to the average cost since the 27 bus service was withdrawn, it’s £920,000 a year.

As a cost comparison, the installation of C9 is estimated at £600,000, (based on the published £320,000 cost of the cycle lanes on Kensington High Street). Even if only a small fraction of the reduction in pollution can be attributed to C9, the saving in health costs represents a very high return on the investment in installing C9.

Though such estimates have a considerable inherent uncertainty, pollution continues to cost London dearly in both human and financial terms. However, the High Road is becoming a healthier place, with pollution falling further in the first three months since the new C9 cycleway opened.

Tom Pike is Professor in Electrical Engineering at Imperial College, London and lives in Chiswick 

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: TfL appoints operator to run temporary Hammersmith ferry service

See also: A year of pandemic – How has Chiswick fared?

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Police searching for Easter weekend church vandals

Image above: the glass entrance to the church has been smashed (Photo by Robin Knight)

Police are searching for vandals who targeted St Nicholas’ church on Chiswick Mall on two seperate occasions, one of which was over the Easter weekend.

The glass entrance to the church was smashed during the first attack, which took place at 6.30pm on the evening of Saturday 27 March. The church’s exterior was attacked again a week later at around 1.30am on 3 April.

After both incidents the suspects left the scene prior to police arrival. They did not enter the church. Easter services continued as normal, as the damage did not get in the way with the day-to-day operation of the church.

Vicar ‘dispirited’ but says response from community has been heart-warming

Father Simon Brandes, St Nicholas’ Vicar, told The Chiswick Calendar:
“The crime has been reported to the police but I suspect there is little the police can do. They have not been in contact with me except to confirm a crime number.

“After the second attack the glass was so badly damaged for safety reasons, we decided to have the glass removed and a temporary board put in place. New glass will be fitted as soon as the insurance company gives the go ahead.

“I’m not sure if this was a genuine attempt to break into church, or just a mindless act of vandalism. What is heartening is the number of messages of support and sympathy that I have received from the local community, including some generous donations towards the cost of repair.

“So although this is a dispiriting event, my heart is warmed by the kind words and generous response of our local community, it makes me all the more determined to keep the doors of our church open 7 days a week, as we have managed to do throughout this pandemic, I want St Nicholas to remain for all who visit us, a place of love, peace, healing and security.”

Images above: St Nicholas’ church 

Fundraiser for the church’s restoration

The church is a Grade II listed building. Its tower dates back to the 14th century, and underwent a restoration in 2007.

A fundraising appeal to repair the rest of the building’s 19th century masonry is already underway, but was anticipating costs of £1.1 million. These funds will now also need to cover new damage to the church.

If you would like more information on the repairs, or to make a donation, you can follow the link below:

cafdonate.cafonline.org/13208#!/DonationDetails

If you witnessed the incident or have footage and have not yet spoken with police, you can call 101 or Tweet @MetCC quoting CRIS 0505716/21.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bus routes facing more disruption from another round of strikes

See also: Seal attack dog owner apologises

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 49: Why crowds roar for the Tigers of world 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.

Whether in victory or defeat, Bangladesh’s cricket team, the Tigers, have some of the most passionate supporters in the world. Athar Ali Khan is a former Bangladesh international players and selector, now a freelance commentator. He explains how and why their cricketers have captured the hearts of their nation on its fifty-year journey since independence, as the latest guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their cricket-themed podcast. In Peter’s absence for family reasons Roger Alton is the replacement opening bowler.


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After describing the latest, negative, events in Bangladesh’s experience of the pandemic, Athar analyses the devotion of Bangladeshis to sport, and why cricket took over from soccer as its main outlet. He traces the dramatic impact of the country’s victory in the 1997 ICC Trophy, which led to its entry into the 1999 World Cup and then into Test Match status. Athar vividly describes the team’s greeting at  Dhaka airport by the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, and their subsequent open-air reception with half a million people.

He describes his personal journey into cricket, as part of a family with five cricketing brothers, and his role in one-day international teams for Bangladesh in the 1980s and 1990s. He assesses the impact of a tough coach, the great Indian all-rounder Mohinder Amarnath, who demanded a professional approach. Athar describes the performance that earned him a Man-of-the-Match award against Sri Lanka (he still feels guilty about being chosen ahead of a young Aravinda de Silva.) He shares his early memories of Bangladesh’s struggle for independence from Pakistan and its origins on grievances over language and economic and social opportunity – including in cricket. He tells the amazing story of Roqibul Hasan, a teenaged opening batsman selected by Pakistan, who staged a pro-independence demonstration on the face of his bat.

Athar describes the early struggles to establish cricket in Bangladesh after independence, and pays tribute to the help given by the then British High Commission and an early sports patron, Sheikh Kamal. The early days saw no organized women’s cricket, but the national women’s team has made big strides since its foundation in 2007 and was recently awarded Test status. Women’s cricket now has deep roots in the country.

Athar analyses the factors behind Bangladesh’s long early struggle to establish itself in Test cricket: it had more success in one-day formats. It was held back by an under-developed first-class structure. The country’s fortunes have improved especially at home, with memorable victories over Australia and England, but it is still held back by slow pitches, and a consequent lack of pace bowlers and batsmen equipped to play them. He gives his personal assessment of Bangladesh’s long-serving opener Tamim Iqbal, and of its brilliant young new all-rounder Mehedy Miraz Hasan.

Athar describes the current vibrant cricket scene in Bangladesh, and the pathways for talented young players, especially those trained at the state-sponsored BKSP multi-sports academy. The players still attract passionate expectations from fans and media, huge excitement at their victories, deep disappointment at their defeats. However, he detects a growing realism from fans about their team: they know that it must be beaten at times, but they demand that it stays competitive in all formats of the game.

Athar’s freelance commentaries and analysis can be heard in English on his own channel Athar Declares. https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/athardeclares

The literary event of the year is imminent: the publication of Wisden Cricketers Almanack.  Peter and Richard invite listeners to submit their nominations for the Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year to obornehellercricket@outlook.com. They will present the results in advance of Wisden’s Please remember that players cannot appear twice in the Wisden Five, to avoid wasting a nomination!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 48: The man who discovered Eoin Morgan (and other stories)

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne, Richard Heller & Roger Alton

Roger Alton, guest host for this episode, was formerly editor of The Observer and The Independent, and is currently the Sports Columnist for The Spectator. He has been a cricket enthusiast since watching it at the Oxford University Parks in the 1950s and took part in the legendary Wounded Tiger tour of Pakistan.

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.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

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Support The Chiswick Calendar

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