Disability campaigners call for ULEZ exemptions

Disability rights campaigners have called on the Mayor of London to grant exemptions for Blue Badge holders who are liable for the daily charge to drive in the expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Since Monday 25 October, ULEZ has been expanded from the North to the South Circular Roads in London, imposing a daily charge of £12.50 on those with older vehicles which don’t meet the emissions standard.

There are almost 250,000 Blue Badge holders within London, though it is unclear how many are liable to pay the ULEZ charge.

Drivers only have to pay the charge if their vehicle does not meet minimum emissions standards. Typically, this includes petrol cars made before 2006 and diesel cars made before 2015.

Currently, there are plans to grant exemptions to Blue Badge holders only if their vehicle is tax classified as disabled, which applies to those on higher levels of benefits.

The campaign aims to raise £5,000 through crowdsource funding, to commission the opinion of an eminent QC to deliver a legal opinion on whether ULEZ breaches disabled people’s human rights and the Public Sector Equality duty as set out in the Equality Act 2010.

ULEZ charges will have a “brutal impact” on disabled people

While praising the expansion of ULEZ as an ‘important, progressive initiative’, campaigners said the daily charge would affect disabled people’s access to critical goods and services as well as help and support from others.

Kush Kanodia, a disability rights activist and ambassador for Disability Rights UK, who is leading the campaign for exemption, said:

“We believe that ULEZ will have a brutal impact and a discriminatory impact upon approximately a quarter of a million disabled Blue Badge holders in London when it is implemented.

“It amounts to a death by a thousand cuts for some disabled people. We’ve had cuts to Universal Credit, we’ve had increasing gas, petrol and food prices. We’ve got the rising cost of living, we’ve got increasing taxes in relation to National Insurance, we’ve got a lack of access to goods and services. No one is looking at the cumulative impact in relation to what is currently happening to disabled people.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said:

“The Mayor and TfL considered the impact of ULEZ expansion on disabled and older people, including Blue Badge holders, in the Integrated Impact Assessment and in consultation for the scheme.

“On balance, it was agreed that the availability of affordable compliant vehicles, along with the support offered through the Mayor’s scrappage scheme, provided a better alternative than exempting all vehicles used by London’s 245,000 Blue Badge holders, which would lead to an unacceptable number of non-compliant, polluting vehicles being used in London for longer.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Scramble to get rid of old cars as Chiswick becomes part of ULEZ zone

See also: Insulate Britain block A40 at Gypsy Corner

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Insulate Britain block A40 at Gypsy Corner

Insulate Britain protestors blocked the A40 at Gypsy Corner this morning (Wednesday, 27 October), which created massive traffic jams and led to the arrest of 17 activists.

Protestors blocked the road westbound in North Acton by sitting in the road, with some super-gluing themselves to the tarmac.

Insulate Britain had earlier warned drivers to avoid the M25 or reduce their speed to 20mph because it planned to make it “a site of nonviolent civil resistance to stop our government committing crimes against humanity”

The Metropolitan Police issued a statement on the protest via Twitter, saying:

‘The Met is on scene at an Insulate Britain protest blocking the A40 junction with Gypsy Lane in North Acton. 17 activists have been arrested, six of whom have locked themselves to the ground in order to frustrate our response. Specialist units are on scene to unglue them.’

By 11.42 am The Met said traffic was now flowing normally and thanked motorists for their patience.

This is the fifteenth time the group has blocked roads in the last six weeks. It is the second time they have protested on the A40 after stopping traffic near the Hanger Lane Gyratory on 8 October.

Image above: Insulate Britain activists covered in ink (Photo via Insulate Britain’s Twitter)

Activists attacked with ink

Two activists had ink thrown over them by an angry driver.

Footage shared on social media shows the aftermath of the incident, as two demonstrators continued to stop traffic with blue and green ink all over their faces.

“It wasn’t painful, it didn’t hurt. It was just unpleasant,” 77-year-old Christian told Greatest Hits Radio of the incident, adding that he is “terribly worried” about facing further violence.

“The whole thing is sad. It’s sad that we have to do this. I hate doing it.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Food poverty “a national scandal” says Ruth Cadbury as Universal Credit is cut

See also: LB Hounslow expecting a leap in unemployment as furlough ends

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Halloween ‘screamings’ at Chiswick Cinema

Image above: The Rocky Horror Show as performed at Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre

The Chiswick Cinema is offering up some spooky ‘screamings’ this Halloween weekend, celebrating some of the most iconic scary and thrilling horror films.

Members were asked to vote for which films the cinema should screen over the Halloween weekend, which eventually narrowed the choices down to three classics: The Rocky Horror Show Live 2021, The Silence of The Lambs and The Shining.

The Rocky Horror Show Live 2021 – Thursday 28 October

This special Halloween live performance will be broadcast from the Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre in London’s West End. Starring Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Odubaas Brad and directed by Christopher Luscombe, The Rocky Horror Show is a guaranteed party and features timeless classics, including Sweet TransvestiteDamn it Janet, and of course, the show-stopping Time Warp.

The Rocky Horror Show is the story of two squeaky clean college kids – Brad and his fiancée Janet. When by a twist of fate, their car breaks down outside a creepy mansion whilst on their way to visit their former college professor, they meet the charismatic Dr Frank’n’Furter. It is an adventure they’ll never forget, filled with fun, frolics, frocks, and frivolity.

Book tickets here: chiswickcinema.co.uk/the-rocky-horror-show-live

Image above: scene from Silence of The Lambs featuring Anthony Hopkins & Jodie Foster

The Silence of The Lambs (30th Anniversary) – Friday 29 October

The Silence of The Lambs is one of just three films ever to win all of the “big five” Oscars in 1992: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor and Actress in a Leading Role (Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins).

Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, serving a life sentence. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.

Book tickets here: chiswickcinema.co.uk/the-silence-of-the-lambs

Image above: Jack Nicholson in The Shining

The Shining – Saturday 30 October

All work and no play makes Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson—the caretaker of an isolated resort—go way off the deep end, terrorising his young son and wife (Shelley Duvall).

Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, who’s come to the elegant, isolated Overlook Hotel as off-season caretaker. Torrance has never been there before—or has he? The answer lies in a ghostly time warp of madness and murder. Master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s visually haunting chiller, based on the bestseller by master-of-suspense Stephen King, is an undeniable contemporary classic.

Book tickets here: chiswickcinema.co.uk/the-shining

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: How are Chiswick’s pubs coping with Brentford’s promotion to the Premier League?

See also: The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Lyric Hammersmith – review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Chiswick’s MPs voted against dumping untreated sewage in rivers

Both of Chiswick’s MPs voted to place a legal duty on water companies not to pump waste into rivers. Despite this, the bill was defeated by 265 MPs’ votes to 202 after the majority of Conservatives voted against it.

The proposal to place legal restrictions on water companies came from the House of Lords, in the form of an amendment to the Environment Bill.

Rupa Huq MP and Ruth Cadbury MP both voted for the amendment, highlighting the need to protect the UK’s environment from pollution.

The vote came after reports from the Environment Agency that water firms discharged raw sewage into English waters 400,000 times in 2020, a 27% increase on the previous year. This includes regular discharges from Mogden Sewage Works in Isleworth into the Thames, when the incoming storm water and sewage exceeds the capacity of the storm tanks, built to hold back excess water until it can be processed.  

Images above: untreated sewage in the Thames at Strand on the Green

Sewage dump map goes viral as backlash grows around the country

Many Conservative MPs have been caught on the back foot by the angry response to the vote, with several posting identical statements online handed to them from Downing Street. They argue that the amendment did not include an impact assessment, and the costs incurred to private companies by immediately banning sewage spills would be too great for them to handle.

The statement reads:

“To eliminate storm overflows means transforming the entire Victorian sewage system to a whole new sewage system. It would be irresponsible for any government to spend an estimated preliminary cost of anywhere between £150bn to £650bn to transform the entire sewage system. This is a huge amount to spend in an ordinary time, let alone at a time of a continuing health pandemic.

“To give some perspective, £150bn is more than the entire schools, policing and defence budget put together and £650bn is billions more than we have spent on supporting livelihoods and jobs throughout the health pandemic.”

Images above: Clusters of brown circles show areas were sewage regularly enters bodies of water in the UK. A map of south west London shows various sewage overflow & treatment sites (far left is Mogden Sewage works, Kew Transfer Works storm overflow is left of centre & Stamford Brook is the leftmost circle in the top right cluster)

In the furore, an interactive map showing where untreated sewage is dumped in the UK has gone viral on social media, with several major news outlet using it in their reporting. The map was generated by The Rivers Trust, conservation experts dedicated to ‘wild, healthy, natural rivers, valued by all’.

The map was generated to help members of the public find out where sewage is discharged into rivers, enabling them to make informed decisions about where to swim, paddle, and play.

In 2020, the sewer storm overflow at Stamford Brook overflow spilled six times for a total of four hours, with the Kew Transfer Works storm overflow spilling 20 times for a total of 105 hours.

The River Trust advise members of the public to avoid entering the water immediately downstream of these discharges and avoid the overflows (brown circles) generally, especially after it has been raining.

“We need to put our environment first” says Ruth Cadbury MP

Speaking after the vote on Wednesday 20 October, Ruth Cadbury said:

“Our rivers should be the crowning jewel of our environment. They offer a home and habitat for animals, a location for outdoors activity and a site of great natural beauty.  

“That’s why I voted to force water companies to stop dumping dirty sewage directly into our rivers and the sea. We know first-hand in West London about this as Thames Water discharge dilute sewage into the great River Thames every time we have more than a drizzle. Thames Water doubled the treatment capacity of Mogden Sewage works within the last ten years, but failed to address the lack of capacity of the storm tanks, something I have been challenging for years.  

“I know from the large number of emails and messages I’ve received that people locally want to see our rivers and beaches cleaned up and made safe.  We need to put our environment first.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Food poverty “a national scandal” says Ruth Cadbury as Universal Credit is cut

See also: Insulate Britain block A40 at Gypsy Corner

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Students encouraged to join Eco-Schools programme to ‘help save the planet’

Image above: Chiswick School allotment

School children are being encouraged to join LB Hounslow’s  Eco-Schools Programme, which will encourage young people to learn more about the environment and get involved in ‘fun activities that help to protect our planet.’

Activities include organising litter picks and car free days, establishing a green wall or school vegetable garden, monitoring air quality and the school’s energy and water use, establishing bug hotels and improving recycling rates across their schools.

In the run up to COP26, the UN climate summit taking place in Glasgow in November, the Council has launched a photo competition for schools.

Schools are being asked to send a photo of something they are doing to tackle climate change or lead on environmental action in their community. Photographs will judged at Hounslow’s Environmental Summit, being held as part of it COP26 activities, on Friday 5 November at Hounslow House.

The top 12 photos will have their photographs turned into an Eco-Schools Calendar and the winning schools will have the opportunity to work closely with some of the Council’s partners as part of their Eco-Schools work. Schools must submit one photograph to environmental.champion@hounslow.gov.uk by Wednesday 3 November.

The Eco-Schools programme will focus on environmental actions covering ten topics: Marine, Biodiversity, Energy, Litter, Waste, Transport, Water, School Grounds, Healthy Living and Global Citizenship. Hounslow has created activity guides, which have already been distributed to schools, for each of the ten topics to support action by teachers and pupils.

Image above: Chiswick School allotment

Eco-schools programme “fun but with a serious message”

Cllr Guy Lambert, Hounslow Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Recycling and Companies said:

“I’m delighted we’re launching the Eco-Schools programme and encourage all Hounslow schools to get involved. I remember when my daughter, who is now a teacher in the borough herself, came home aged about 6 and instructed us how to recycle – a habit I have now retained for 25 years.

“It was very powerful to be educated by her – children can have a big influence on their parents and a massive impact on the environmental challenges that blight all of our lives from litter to the climate emergency. The more children and young people are engaged with these matters, the more they will drive change.”

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Hounslow Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency said:

“There are many things councils and residents can do to reduce their carbon footprint, and my hope is that children who take part in the Eco-Schools programme will lead from the front in tackling the climate emergency. Eco-Schools is a fun programme but with a serious message. We need children to take home what they learn at school and encourage their families to recycle, choose sustainable transport and think about all of the measures and choices they can take to reduce their household’s carbon footprint.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Food poverty “a national scandal” says Ruth Cadbury as Universal Credit is cut

See also: LB Hounslow expecting a leap in unemployment as furlough ends

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Consultation opens for two tower blocks near Acton mainline station

The consultation for Friary Park Estate’s redevelopment has reopened to the public today as local residents appeal against the decision to build a 37-story tower block near Acton mainline station.

The consultation will remain open until November 8 after the developers faced criticism from local residents for not adequately consulting the public on their revised plans.

In 2019, Ealing Council planning committee approved the initial plans which included 930 new homes and two tower blocks. The new plan now includes a 37-story block which was originally 22-stories, and a 29-story block which has gone up from 24.

Despite the increase in size, none of the additional homes are ‘affordable rent homes’, but 64 of the flats will be shared ownership and 90 will be private homes. The site originally housed the Walls ice cream factory until being demolished with housing constructed onsite in a development originally opened by then Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

Height increase “all about increasing profits” – Sean Fletcher

TV’s Sean Fletcher who presents the BBC’s “Sunday Live” and ITV’s “GMB” breakfast show is one of the key campaigners against the revised plans and he said:

“In a meeting with the developers, Mount Anvil told me that the reason for wanting to build higher was because they had lost money during Covid and after Brexit. And we know about Mount Anvil’s failed venture in Manchester. As a result, they are now having to make a much higher profit on their London developments. This 68% tower increase has nothing to do with providing more social housing. It’s all about increasing profits.”

The development, which is a joint enterprise between Catalyst Housing and Mount Anvil has also faced criticism for marketing the properties to Hong Kong and Middle Eastern buyers before advertising them in the UK. A video also appeared which shows Knight Frank HK giving a tour of Friary Park Estate with potential buyers in Hong Kong.

It is also being marketed as “Arab friendly” and an investment opportunity: arabianknightonline.com

Fletcher said: “I am shocked to see that developers are marketing the Friary Park flats as investment properties in the Middle and Far East ahead of Londoners. The people of Ealing and London don’t want their community to be turned into an investment hub for the global rich. There has to be a question about whether Ealing is being exposed to money laundering.”

Shocking that precious little of this “oversized moster” is being marketed as homes for locals – Rupa Huq

Rupa Huq, the MP for Ealing Central and Acton also attended a meeting with the developers, and she said:

“The revised plans are unnecessarily high and completely mismatched to the Edwardian and Victorian surrounding streets. Additionally, it’s shocking that precious little of this oversized monster will actually be for homes for local locals, despite previous promises.

“This does nothing to help 10,000 people on Ealing Council’s housing waiting list who need a roof over their heads and instead will be an expensive piggy bank for overseas investors to park their cash.

“Given the way there is less and less demand for flats in the covid era, I’d say if anything this development needs reducing in size, scale and scope. The last Acton needs is this expanded white elephant”.

The Leader of Ealing Council Peter Mason met with local Acton residents to discuss the development and in a recent tweet he said:

“I do not believe that the planned increase in the height of the towers at this site is appropriate, proportional or necessary.

“A regeneration scheme for the Friary Park estate, put forward by Mount Anvil and Catalyst, has been approved by the Council’s planning committee, and these organisations should be concentrating on delivering a scheme that they considered viable and deliverable less than two years ago.

“I strongly agree that developers rapidly returning to seek very substantial amendments to already approved developments, as is happening here, generates understandable cynicism and public concern about how the planning system operates.”

Catalyst Housing said: “In July we launched a consultation on the proposed enhancements to our plans for Friary Park and we’re now extending this online consultation. It will be running for two further weeks from Monday 25 October 2021 to allow as many people as possible to have their say.”

A community-led campaign group called Cap the Towers has also been set up by Acton residents to oppose the housing development’s proposed increase in size.

Rupa Huq’a office said:

In order to prevent the developers from building the 37-story flats on the Friary Park Estate, we need people voice their opinions and you can do so here: friarypark.consultationonline.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bollo Lane ‘Monster tower’ approved

See also: More tower blocks planned for Bollo Lane

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Lyric Hammersmith – review

Image above: Ingrid Craigie, Orla Fitzgerald in The Beauty Queen of Leenane; photograph Helen Maybanks

A beautifully crafted play, this was Martin McDonagh’s debut 25 years ago. It premiered in Galway and quickly established him as one of Ireland’s most exciting new writers. It transferred to the West End and received an Olivier Award nomination for Play of the Year, and on Broadway it won four Tony Awards. McDonagh’s plays also include the Tony Award nominated The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Cripple of Inishmaan, and the Olivier Award winning Hangmen.

Now also a multi-award-winning film director, he’s famous for a string of hit films: Six Shooter, In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. His preoccupation with the darkness of the human condition was as strong then as it is now, but it’s the combination of that outlook with his humour that makes his work so interesting.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is of its time (1996), with people still leaving Ireland by the plane load to find a new life elsewhere and readiness to admit mental illness not as accepted as it is now, but it’s an interesting insight into life in rural Ireland at the time, bleak though it is.

Image above: Orla Fitzgerald in The Beauty Queen of Leenane; photograph Helen Maybanks

The main characters Mag and her daughter Maureen are trapped together in a tedious existence in the mountains of Connemara, County Galway. Both Maureen’s sisters are married. They will barely have their mother for Christmas, let alone have her to live with them and Maureen sees her chances of independence and fulfilment dwindling fast as she’s stuck in the daily routine of providing for them both.

She doesn’t attempt to hide her bitterness and frustration as she resentfully doles out Complan, porridge, cod in buter sauce boiled in a bag (remember that?) and tea to the older woman in an endless cycle. Nor does Mag temper her demands and complaints – ‘make me a cup of tea… the Complan’s lumpy’ or mitigate her behaviour. The house stinks of wee because she empties her chamber pot in the kitchen sink each morning and doesn’t even rinse the sink.

Venturing into this fetid and festering atmosphere, a rare visitor, Ray appears with a message for Maureen, which the spiteful mother, jealously guarding against anything that might take her daughter/ housemaid / cook away from dancing attendance on her, destroys. Fortunately for Maureen she bumps into Ray on his way out the gate, so she gets the message anyway.

Image above: Adam Best and Orla Fitzgerald in The Beauty Queen of Leenane; photograph Helen Maybanks

An encounter with a neighbour, Pato, back from working in England for a party with American cousins on a brief visit, develops into a brief glimpse of romance and passion for Maureen. But it all goes south very quickly because of the manipulative Mags’ interference. As we’ve come to expect with Martin McDonagh’s work, violence flares suddenly and unexpectedly.

This major revival of McDonagh’s first play, jointly produced by the Lyric Hammersmith and Chichester Festival Theatre and directed by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s Olivier winning Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan, is acted brilliantly by a very accomplished cast.

 

Images above: Ingrid Craigie and Kwaku Fortune in The Beauty Queen of Leenane; photograph Helen Maybanks

Ingrid Craigie plays Mag. Her award-winning stage, film and television actor credits include BBC’s Roadkill, Harding in Sky Arts’ Psychic and Molly in Forever In My Heart.

Orla Fitzgerald is Maureen. She played Orla Walsh in all three series of BBC 3’s The Young Offenders and won Best Actress and Best Breakthrough Artist Irish Film and Television Awards nomination for Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

Kwaku Fortune plays Ray. You may recognise him as DS Marks in Line of Duty, Philip in Normal People, and Julian in feature film Animal.

Pato, the love interest, is played by Adam Best, who’s been in Netflix’Giri/Haji, Peaky Blinders and Silent Witness.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane runs until Saturday 6 November.

Book tickets through the Lyric Hammersmith website, or ring the Box Office on 0208 741 6850.

Lyric.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Macbeth at Chsiwick Playhouse

See also: Chiswick Flower market volunteers replant flowerbeds at Old Market Place

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Chiswick Flower market volunteers replant flower beds at Old Market Place

Image above: Planting plan for the newsly redesigned flower beds at Old Market Place

Volunteers from Chiswick Flower Market, alongside Hounslow Highways managers and contractors PGSD, have dug out the flower beds at Old Market Place and given them a makeover.

The beds are usually maintained by Hounslow Highways, but their contract with Hounslow Council only allows a restricted budget to replant what’s already there. Chiswick Flower Market, established in 2020 as a not-for-profit Community Interest Group, wanted to upgrade the beds so they became a showpiece in the centre of Chiswick.

When the Chiswick Flower Market was set up, its aim was to improve the High Rd and attract people to come and spend time and money here. This is the group’s first investment of the funds raised from running the market.

Image above: Newly replanted beds

They employed garden designer Jutta Wagner to design a planting scheme which would provide all year round interest and spent £3,000, replacing the soil and everything in the beds except for the mature trees.

Jutta has also designed the perennial bed at the piazza on Turnham Green Terrace beside the railway embankment and worked on the Kitchen Garden at Chiswick House. The planting scheme she’s used include big structural plants: Hydrangeas, Phormiums and Sweet Box; ornamental grasses and Hebes and 3,000 bulbs which will provide spring and summer interest.

The Chiswick Flower Market, the first new flower market in London for 150 years, is consciously harking back to Chiswick’s horticultural history. Chiswick was home to the most important gardens in the country in Victorian times, as the Horticultural Society had its gardens here, where nurserymen tended new species being brought back by plant hunters from all round the world.

Image above: Newly replanted beds

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market

See also: Chiswick Garden ‘most important in UK’

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Butterflies raise £1,600

Images above: Some of the butterflies auctioned by Abundance London

The butterflies and flowers painted by artists in Chiswick and auctioned anonymously have raised £1,600 for Abundance London.

The not-for-profit environmental group organised the Butterflies and Flowers community artwork which covers the outside of the police station but kept back some more professionally painted butterflies and flowers to sell at auction to replenish their funds.

In total 53 butterflies and flowers were auctioned, painted in different styles, many by artists who are members of Artists At Home which opens its doors to the public in west London each year.

The highest bid at £115 was for Madeleine Marsh’s butterfly decorated with shards of pottery mudlarked from the banks of the River Thames. Janice Zethraeus’ delicately painted butterfly went for £100 and Tommy Robinson, the head of art at Chiswick School, brought in £71 for his image of the temple in Chiswick House Gardens.

Image above: Butterfly by Madeleine Marsh

Image above: Butterfly by Janice Zethraeus

Image above: Butterfly by Tommy Robinson

Participating artists: Marthe Armitage  *  Francis Bowyer  *  Liz Butler  *  Steph Curtis-Raleigh  *  Kathryn Davey  *  Laura Edralin  *  Kate Fishenden  *  Rachna Garodia  *  Laura Gompertz  *  Annabel Hill  * Isobel Johnstone  *  Louise Kaye  *  Madeleine Marsh  *  Jonathan Mercer  *  Sophie Newnham  *  Eve Pettitt  *  Rennie Pilgrem  *  Ingram Pinn  *  Glynis Porter  *  Hamish Pringle  *  Tommy Robinson  *  Sangeeta  *  Tanya Saunders  *  Mary Shellac  *  Helga Stenzel  *  Mary West  *  Dawn Wilson  * Janice Zethraeus

The Butterflies and Flowers artwork was launched on Sunday 3 October at Chiswick Flower Market. The project involved groups all round Chiswick painting 3,000 butterflies and flowers.

Abundance London will use the money raised to plant flowers, trees and shrubs in little bits of public land wround Chiswick.

Image above: Butterflies and Flowers artwork on the side of Chiswick Police station

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All the butterflies and flowers by professional artists which were at auction

See also: Abundance London launches Butterflies & Flowers artwork on Chiswick Police Station

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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How are Chiswick’s pubs coping with Brentford’s promotion to the Premier League?

Image above: Brentford v Liverpool; photograph Liz Vercoe

When planning permission was given for Brentford FC to build a new stadium alongside the South Circular, there were rumblings from residents, uneasy at the prospect of football hooligans overrunning Strand on the Green like a misplaced pitch invasion.

When Brentford Chairman Cliff Crown braved the Strand on the Green Residents Association a few years ago he was asked about it. “I do like to have meals at Annie’s myself, yes” the immaculately suited chairman replied, sweetly dodging the inference put on the term ‘football fans’ that those such as himself were not the ones the residents were worried about.

We’re eleven matches into the first season played at the new stadium, the team has been promoted to the Premier League and Chiswick has seen Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea shirts gracing the streets. Has anybody died? Punch ups? Foul mouthed rants? None reported so far.

We had heard that certain pubs would be designated ‘home’ pubs and others assigned to away fans. In the stadium the two are segregated and some areas around football clubs like to keep it that way outside the ground as well.

Matt Smith has been finding out how this works – which supporters end up where and why and how is it working so far in the pubs around the new stadium.

Image above: Brentford Community Stadium; photoraph Liz Vercoe

Drinking in the Brentford Community Stadium

Brentford has the reputation of being a friendly family club and since they’ve only been able to welcome fans to their shiny new stadium from the start of this season, they are playing it cautiously. Not only are the fans segregated within the ground but so far away fans have not been allowed to drink alcohol in the ground. The Norwich City match on 6 November will be the first one at which they will be able to buy alcohol at the stadium.

“We’ll review it and see how it goes” their community liason spokeswoman Sally Stephens told us.

Brentford FC brief their ‘Here to Help’ staff about the nearby pubs so they can advise supporters where the nearest pubs are – The Express Tavern is the nearest to the ground, One Over the Ait the most popular, as the nearest riverside pub, those along Strand on the Green and around Kew Green, and those near Gunnersbury station: The Pilot and The Gunnersbury.

Their staff do not offer recommendations, unlike Fulham, where away fans are guided to their designated pub.

“If you’re following your team to an away match you do like to meet up beforehand with the comfort and security of being with your own team” says Liz Vercoe.

Long-term Brentford supporter Robert Whale, who’s followed the team for 57 years, since 1964, says he looks in the good beer guide to see where to go. In his experience most pubs will tolerate away fans as long as they don’t cause trouble.

“You can sometimes sense the atmosphere is not great when you enter a certain pub, but usually you strike up conversations with fans because we’re all fans together”.

Bill Hagerty, contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group and guest contributor to The Chiswick Calendar, said:

“Brentford has the reputation of being a family friendly club. Let’s hope we don’t get it spoiled by some renegade bunch from another club. It’s all been very good natured so far, and we’re hoping [separation] won’t happen here because it’s not necessary.”

Image above: A guide to the area’s away-friendly pubs.

Thus far it has fallen to the local pubs to offer away fans hospitality. It’s usually down to the pub manager or group operator to decide whether to accept home or away fans. None of the pubs near the ground have a specific policy for being either ‘home’ or ‘away’ though they may decide not to accept away fans decked out head to toe in an away team’s colours if they decide their dress is ostentatious to the point of provocation.

Strand on the Green

The furthest pub along Strand on the Green is the Bull’s Head. General Manager Barbara Smith hadn’t been expecting too many football fans as it’s a bit of a hike, but she’s seen a steady flow of customers coming for lunch before the matches. One fan even asked her if it was ok to wear their club’s strip inside the pub, which she thought was “rather sweet”. So a thumbs up from the Bull’s Head so far.

Likewise John, General Manager of the Steam Packet has had no problems and is happy to welcome all comers.

Image above: One Over the Ait; Steam Packet; Bell & Crown

Fuller’s pubs – One Over The Ait & The Bell & Crown

One Over the Ait started out positioning itself as an ‘away’ pub, but after complaints from residents fearing the hordes, they decided against. Rebranding as a ‘home’ pub didn’t really work either, as home fans still tend to drink where they always have. Brentford’s old ground was in the happy position of having a pub in each corner, the only club in the league to be so well endowed, so existing fans tend to drink at the the Princess Royal, the New Inn, the Royal Oak and the Griffin.

One Over The Ait has settled on accepting all and any fans providing they’re well behaved, and the same goes for the Bell & Crown, the nearest pub to Kew Bridge on the Strand on the Green side.

“Really it all depends on the advice given by the the police” the Operations Manager for some of west London’s Fuller’s pubs, Mark Viner, told The Chiswick Calendar.

“A lot of the pubs in the area belong to a WhatsApp group which has been put together by the local community policing … and they give guidance on any sort of intelligence they might have, fans numbers that are expected to attend – both home and away. The ultimate aim is to give all fans a safe experience”.

Police let pubs know well in advance of tickets sold and intelligence picked up from social media sites so pubs can prepare. Depending what the police say, One Over The Ait sometimes ask fans to make sure their colours are covered up and check tickets to see which team they support.

“You just make judgement calls. If there’s a group of lads who turn up and they’re already steaming, then you’re probably not likely to let them in, but they’re unlikely to get into many pubs. That would be the same for any day if a group of lads turned up drunk you’d be a bit more cautious because part of our licensing objective is to provide that safe environment.

“We have security on the doors depending on the numbers, which is why the police let us know what the fan numbers are. Our door security team already have all the dates for all the fixtures, the only ones they don’t have are for cup games”.

Mark said there has been little if any trouble and they have had all sorts of fans. Even when Chelsea played here. (Their reputation has changed over the years.  A recent survey of football fans found Chelsea fans ‘the quietest and the poshest’ and Liverpool ‘the most arrogant’).

Image above: The Gunnersbury pub

The Gunnersbury

The Gunnersbury pub is run by the Mogliany family, who have more than 30 years’ experience in event management and 40 years promoting live music.

Right opposite Gunnersbury station, they are the first and most obvious pub for arriving fans. The pub’s General Manager, Richard Mogliany, offers his insight as to why Chiswick need not fear rampaging fans.

“There are no issues with Premiership clubs because tickets are like hens teeth given the capacity for away support at the new stadia. Therefore you are only getting those from a priority system at their home club, therefore you are getting football people rather than rowdy fans.

“That said, they can be loud even in a mixed support venue such as ours. Still, we do grade games on past reputation of clubs for security numbers. To date we have had no issues. To ask people not to wear their colours is daft and goes nowhere towards preventing anything. One sees more issues with England doing well and younger men thinking it’s clever to be “bare chested”. That we would never tolerate.”

TfL’s “ridiculous ‘make them wait’ poliy”

Richard instead criticised Transport for London for the station closures which occur during games sometimes. For the last home game Brentford was dealing with the ‘perfect storm’ of the closure of the M4 for roadworks, no trains to Kew Bridge station and no service on the District Line either. If anything were guaranteed to wind up fans trying to get to a match and not waste their very expensive ticktes, that would do it.

“[As well as station closures, there’s the] ridiculous “make them wait” for one hour policy at Gunnersbury station” said Richard. This has led to issues with home and away supporters with TfL staff being accosted because of ill-perceived ‘safety issues’.

“To close this station for that reason begs the question: why is it safe for thousands of Business Park workers everyday of the week for the last ten years and not safe enough for hundreds of fans on a week end (hundreds because the away allocation is only 1700 and not all come through Gunnersbury)?”

The WhatsApp group set up for local licensees helps pub managers prepare for crowds, warning eachother of what is coming their way. Richard said this is useful during scheduled football games, but when other, unscheduled events occur it can be challenging.

“There was more hassle caused by last weeks “anti-vax march” and the previous week’s Gunnersbury Park music fest because of antisocial behaviour vomiting, littering, defecating etc. No notice is given to us either by the police or the local council, so as we can prepare.”

Image above: a London Irish game at Brentford Stadium

London Irish – how do they compare with Brentford matches?

The Brentford Community Stadium is also home to London Irish, but for rugby the separation of fans in the stadium isn’t something they do, at least not yet. A spokesperson for London Irish told The Chiswick Calendar that while the number of away fans has generally been increasing since the opening of the new stadium, they don’t see separation of clubs being implemented any time soon because the number of fans which rugby games attract “aren’t comparable” with the numbers who go to football.

“We accomodate as many away fans as possible. If fans do ask us about local pubs in the area, then we usually recommend the pubs which we have partnerships with – which is various local pubs in the area so we point them in the direction of those.”

London Irish are partnered with 13 pubs in Brentford & Chiswick and certain pubs offer ticket holders special offers such as The Magpie and Crown’s matchday offer – all ale £4.00 a pint and their non-matchday offer is 10% off all food. The full list of London Irish pub partners is:

One Over The Ait, The Steam Packet, Connolly’s, Sun Inn, Coach & Horses, The Watermans Arms, Queen’s Head, The Brook, The Botanist, The Griffin, The Magpie and Crown, The Lamb and The Brewery Tap.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford 1, Leicester City 2

See also: Politics has to be less rancorous says Chiswick’s MPs

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Brentford 1, Leicester City 2

For the second Saturday running Brentford encountered a superb goalkeeper at the top of his form. For the second Saturday running they failed to collect even one point. But are we worried? Well, as a matter of fact, yes we are.

Quite what head coach Thomas Frank can do about the team’s failure to score more goals than the opposition is a real head-scratcher. They are playing free-flowing, attractive football, yet have managed only 11 goals in nine Premier League fixtures, with the free-scoring Ivan Toney capturing just two. The fact that Toney has been judged man of every match, shows what a strength he is to the side, but with managers as astute at Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers deploying defensive tactics to keep him away from the goal, the Bees are slipping behind in the number of times getting the ball into the net is required when they come up against the League’s top quality sides.

Images above: Brentford Forwards Sergi Canós  and Ivan Toney; Leicester City star Jamie Vardy was substituted

Sadly, there is no obvious goal-snatcher to take some of the burden from Toney’s shoulders. Well, there is – Bryan Mbeumo is a fine player, but at 22 is not yet the finished article as a striker. Marcus Fords, another 22-year-old, is capable of scoring in lesser competitions as proven by his five in the Carabao Cup so far this season but has not found it easy to move up a gear to be as great a threat in the League.

The answer, my mate Charlie suggests, lies in the feet of Ioane Wissa, who at 25 is a relative veteran and possesses with both a midfield brain and finishing skills to unnerve defences – witness the two goals he scored when brought on as a substitute in four games prior to being injured.

The Bees could certainly have used his talents on Saturday, when once again they dominated the second half, cancelling out Leicester’s first-half lead and creating a series of chances before being sucker-punched by a breakaway winner 17 minutes from the end of normal time.

The Leicester goal – from their only chance of the half – came from nowhere when midfielder Youri Tielemans unleashed a fizzer from outside the goal area that was in the net before David Raya couldn’t gather his thoughts, let alone the ball. Unstoppable and what seemed to be the cue for ludicrous time-wasting by Leicester – ‘That’s the Premier League for you,’ said Charlie.

In response, Matthias Jensen overhit several forward lofted passes, as is his wont, and Mbeumo shot wide after latching on to a wonderful feed from Toney, ditto.

Image above: Defender Ethan Pinnock takes the throw in

Jamie Vardy, back in the side after missing his club’s midweek 4-3 victory over Spartak Moscow, was shepherded so closely by the Brentford defence that it came as no surprise when he did not appear for the second period and Padson Maka – scorer of all four Leicester goals in that match – took his place. His arrival boosted Leicester’s attack, but the introduction of Forse in place of Mbeumo did not create the same kind of magic. So when the Bees deservedly equalised it was through a glancing header by M Jorgensen (aka Saka) that sped wide of the keeper.

As often happens to teams striving to get on terms, a speculative long ball found Daka in space and he made unimpeded progress until passing inside to the running-free James Maddison. Him stroking the ball home was no more than a formality.

Apart from that blatant time-wasting, Leicester was a well-drilled side that absorbed everything Brentford could send in their direction. Toney seized on the two chances that would enable the Bees to have the game done and dusted, but the goalkeeper mentioned earlier, Kasper Schmeichel, displayed the form that has made him the Denmark’s number one international choice to deny Toney. Foiled by a Dane is not something one expects to experience at Brentford, but Kasper’s brilliance at crucial moments was probably the defining difference between the two sides.

(Post-match Thomas Frank said that Brentford should have won – ‘We smashed them first half’. Frank then commented that he would give up football management to do something ‘really important’ if the offensive Twitter messaging and abusive trolling suffered by many coaches were to continue unabated. Whereupon he received hostile messages online. Go figure.)

So only four points were gained from the Bees’ last four games, but the quality of the opposition suggested they might have collected only two, I reasoned. And we were unlucky again, I said to Charlie, even if that Kaspar is something else between the posts.

‘There’s nothing like a Dane’ said Charlie, wisely.

Brentford: Raya; M. Jorgensen, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós, Onyeka, Nørgaard, Jensen, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney. Substitutes used: Ayer, Ghoddos. Forss.

Leicester City: Schmeichel; Amartey, Evans, Söyüncü; Richardo Pereira, Tielemans, Soumaré, Castagne; Maddison; Iheadacho, Vardy. Subs used: Daka, Vestergaard, Peréz.

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group. Photographs – Liz Vercoe.

 

Antonio Forcione plays in Chiswick

Image above: Antonio Forcione; photograph by Anna Kunst

An interview with Antonio Forcione

Antonio Forcione is playing in Chiswick. The world-renowned acoustic guitarist has 20 albums to his name, the last of which, Joy with Seckou Keita and Adriano Adewale as AKA, won the 2019 Global Music Awards Best Album.

Antonio lives in Chiswick but spends most of his time touring. When he’s here it’s usually to recharge the batteries, see friends and family and do the stuff we all have to do. After we met in a local pub he went home to mend the dishwasher. The pandemic grounded him; the result: a half-written book, a nearly finished documentary and time to do a gig for Jazz at George IV on 11 November before he shoots off again.

Antonio’s music is hard to label and he likes it that way.

“I have been influenced by so many types of music and cultures that I would sincerely find it a problem describing my music” he says. He perfers to let the music speak for itself, so the best way to judge is to go and see him perform.

He delights in playing with musicians from different traditions and picks up music from wherever he travels, whether it’s India, Kazakhstan China, Japan or Ireland. He’s played with Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale on and off for years. They’re all solo artists used to packing out concert halls on their own. When they come together they play as equals, merging the music of three continents.

Antonio’s current obsession is Cuba, where he has spent a lot of time playing and absorbing music.

“Every few hundred yards there’s someone playing in the street. It’s very reminiscent of my childhood”.

Antonio grew up in Montecilfone on the Adriatic coast. He started learning the drums at 11 but when the neighbours complained his father gave him a guitar instead. The freedom of no internet, no phone, just wandering around jamming with anyone and everyone makes him very happy.

With his daughter Maya as videographer, he spent weeks getting to know Cuba’s singer-songwriters. Like the Hairy Bikers touring his home country of Italy sampling and learning about the food, so he does in Cuba, only with music. Perhaps the Hairy Bikers isn’t the best analogy as Antonio is still pretty good looking at 50 something and his daughter is model grade stunning. They’ve spent the various lockdowns closeted together reducing hours of footage to the requisite 60 minutes and are in the final stages of post production.

Image above: Maya and Antonio; photograph by Anna Kunst

Starting out as a busker

Antonio has an affinity with street musicians, having spent his first few years in England busking.

“I came here at 18 without a word of English. In fact one of the first English phrases I learned was ‘move on’.”

He played with Spanish guitarist Eduardo Niebla and the police were forever moving them on.

“It was a real triumph when one day I sold a cassette to a policeman” he tells me, laughing at the recollection.

“I liked the English way – people listened and clapped”.

Being ‘discovered’

Popularity as regular buskers in Covent Garden Market in the early 1980s led to gigs in pubs. One day a man dropped his card in with the tips and asked him to call. He was a promoter who wanted Antonio and Eduardo to support Barclay James Harvest on tour.

Time Out’s rave review (of their performance, but not Barclay James Harvest’s, which they panned) brought him to the attention of Virgin records, who signed him for his first album Celebration which went global.

He went on to create more albums with the record company NAM, including Acoustic Revenge, recorded and released in 1994 in the same year his daughter Maya was born.

Image above: Antonio; photograph by Anna Kunst

Clown or serious musician?

Antonio has always used charm and humour in his act – even when his English was pretty minimal. Comedian Paul Morocco picked up on his comedic value when he saw him perform at Battersea Arts Centre and asked him to join his comedy group Olé along with Bill Bailey.

By now a reasonably well-known artist with four albums to his name and not one to shy away from trying something new, he decided to accept the challenge, embarking on a path of mayhem and madness which took him to comedy festivals as far away as Montreal and Melbourne, China and Japan, in between gigs as a ‘straight’ musician.

He was dubbed ‘the acoustic Hendrix’ for his antics with a guitar, playing while juggling, using fireworks and generally clowning around. They won the Scotsman Best Newcomer’s Award at the 1991 Edinburgh Festival.

“I love the Edinburgh Festival. I did it every year from 1991 for seven years, doing two shows a day – one comedy and one music, getting changed in the cab between the two”.

Olé won the Golden Nose Award for comedy in Barceolna in 1997; performing with another comedian Boothby Graffoe (who sometimes performs at Headliners in Chiswick) they won the Adelaide Festival Award for Excellence in 2004.

The nineties were a hugely prolific time for Antonio, “writing a lot, touring a lot, composing on the hoof in cafes”, but he found he was regarded increasingly as a just a clown rather than first and foremost as a musician.

“Clowning was affecting my reputation as a serious musician, so I left comedy to dedicate my time completely to music in 1998”.

He won awards and the admiration of fellow musicians, invited by jazz legend, bassist Charlie Aden, to collaborate on an album, Heartplay.

“I worshipped him. I’d listened to him from when I was 18. I’m very proud of the album I made with him”.

That in turn boosted Antonio’s recognition internationally.

Image above: AKA – Antonio, Seckou Keita and Adriano Adewale 

A change of pace and scenery

It all came crashing down in 2006. “I had a kind of breakdown”. His dad died; he separated from Maya’s mother Anna, his band split up and all in all it was a pretty terrible year.

“I didn’t play for two years” he told me.

His enthusiasm for his music career was rekindled on a trip to Africa.

“I fell in love with Africa. I guy from Zimbabwe invited me there from the Edinburgh Festival. I was fascinated”.

His various trips to the African continent inspired him to record an album Sketches of Africa with his quartet and musicians from Gambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Senegal.

Having met Adriano Adewale in 1998 and seen Seckou Keita play in 2004 he decided to hook up with them. After a couple of sell-out gigs in east London they took AKA to the Edinburgh Festival and sold out an 800 seater venue for four nights running, but all busy with their solo careers it was four years before Seckou’s manager took them on and they were able to take their collaboration further.

They brought out Joy in May 2019 and toured for 24 days out of 26 in November of that year. And then just as the World Music Awards Best Album brought them international recognition as a band, Covid hit.

He’s used his time productively, editing the documentary and writing an anthology of his compositions. Most of the music he’s recorded is his own composition and he’s now committing it to print, writing down the arrangements with notes and anecdotes and his own illustrations. (He’s no mean artist, having been to art school before coming to England, as well as being a genius guitar player and a dab hand at mending dishwashers).

Now he’s started touring again. He played in Sofia a few weeks ago and is off to Germany this week, but will be back to perform in the Boston Room of George IV on Thursday 11 November as part of the Jazz at George IV series produced by The Chiswick Calendar and jazz promoter Larry Pryce of Live Music To Go. He’ll be performing with percussionist Dado Pasqualin.

Book tickets: Eventbrite.co.uk

Image above: Antonio with Dado Pasqualin

Tour dates

28.10 HULL                  Antonio Forcione SOLO in concert
31.10 SENDENHORST  Antonio Forcione & Jule Malischke
 
11.11 LONDON           George IV  Antonio Forcione & Dado Pasqualini  Duo
19.11 BAMBERG          Antonio Forcione & Jule Malischke   Duo
26.11 YORK                 NCEM The National Centre for Early Music – Antonio Forcione SOLO in concert
27.11DEVIZES             Long Street Blues – Antonio Forcione Quartet
 
8.12   LONDON           Pizza Express Dean Streat – Antonio Forcione SOLO in concert
9.12   LONDON           Pizza Express  Antonio Forcione & Jule Malischke
10.12 LONDON           Pizza Express 1st show 7.00 pm Antonio Forcione Quartet
10.12 LONDON           Pizza Express 2nd show 10.00 pm Antonio Forcione Quartet
12.12 LONDON           Le Quecumbar – Antonio Forcione & Jule Malischke Duo
16.12 ROMA                Alexanderplatz – Antonio Forcione & Luca Carla
18.12 FERRAZZANO    Teatro del loto –  Antonio Forcione & Luca Carla

More  informations about the gigs at   antonioforcione.com/p-concerts

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 18: Will the killing of David Amess result in limited access to MPs?

Writer and broadcaster Mihir Bose, Economics editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political commentator Nigel Dudley, aka The Three Old Hacks, discuss the week’s events, including reactions to the fatal attack on Sir David Amess at his constituency Surgery.

Should MPs get more protection and does this change the nature of their relationship with the public?

Newcastle United and their new Saudi owners come up for discussion, with Mihir taking the line that foreign ownership should not be allowed.

And they discuss the public’s low opinion of the media.


More Platforms

Listen to more episodes here.

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing threeoldhacks@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Food poverty “a national scandal” says Ruth Cadbury as Universal Credit is cut

Image above: Ruth Cadbury at a local food bank

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford & Isleworth, has been visiting local food distribution centres and foodbanks in recent weeks following the decision by the government to cut Universal Credit by £1,000 a year.

People who are on a very low income or out of work are eligible for the benefit, which was increased by £20 a week to help people during the pandemic. Payments were reduced back down from £79 a week to their pre-Covid level of £59 on 6 October – a drop of 25%.

Over 30,000 claimants were receiving Universal Credit in the London Borough of Hounslow in August 2021 and Ruth says this will hit them hard.

She talked to volunteers at Hounslow Community Foodbox in Brentford and Holy Trinity Church in Hounslow, where they have an informal food distribution three times a week. The Brentford foodbank has been supporting nearly 13,000 people during the pandemic with food parcels and other essential items. Referrals to the Foodbox have increased by 400% over the past 18 months.

“I’m so proud that over the last 18 months so many people and local businesses have pulled together to offer support or donations.

“It is a national scandal that food poverty continues to impact so many families across the country. In the last five years alone referrals to national food banks such as the Trussell Trust have increased by over 100%.

“Rather than tackling food poverty the Government have only made this crisis worse by cutting £1,000 from Universal Credit, which thousands of people locally, many of whom are in work, claim in order to buy food for their families, or pay the bills. Along with soaring energy prices and a national insurance tax hike the Government is making life worse for so many families across the country.’’

It was widely reported today that Chancellor Rishi Sunak intends to put the national living wage up to £9.50 an hour from April 2022. Currently it’s £8.91.

The increase “ensures we’re making work pay and keeps us on track to meet our target to end low pay by the end of this parliament”, said the Chancellor.

Labour’s Bridget Phillipson, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said:

“Much of it will be swallowed up by the government’s tax rises, universal credit cuts and failure to get a grip on energy bills.”

Findn out more about Hounslow Community Food Box here: hounslowfoodbox.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: LB Hounslow expecting a leap in unemployment as furlough ends

See also: Rupa Huq MP pays tribute to Sir David Amess

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

ArtsEd principal resigns after report reveals school’s ‘sexualised environment’

Image above: Arts Ed Principal Chris Hocking

Arts Ed Principal Chris Hocking has resigned following an independent investigation into allegations of serious misconduct at the Chiswick school of drama and musical theatre.

Acknowledging instances of wrongdoing by staff members, the school’s board said these were the result of “a misguided culture” which was made worse by a failure in leadership.

The report spoke of a “cult like” atmosphere in the school in which:

‘some former staff members felt it was “impossible to challenge the director of musical theatre/principal” [Hocking]’.

A number of historic allegations were made against former and current staff members, which lead the Arts Ed Board of Trustees to appoint Rebecca Turk QC to look into the matter.

Ms Turk’s report, a summary of which has been published by the school’s board, found that although there was a high degree of professionalism and dedication among staff at the school there was an “overly sexualised environment” in the school of musical theatre at Arts Ed, and that some staff had inappropriate relationships with students – breaching the school’s policies.

In her report she says the complaints and concerns she investigated fall under a number of headings including: a sexualised environment, staff-student ‘relationships’, socialising and drug taking, lack of regard to student well-being, favouritism and bullying, and body image.

Affected students were 18 or over and the incidents investigated mostly occurred during the period between 2012 and 2017 in the school of musical theatre. At that time, the school of musical theatre was led by Chris Hocking.

In a statement, Hocking said:

“I have, after 23 years at ArtsEd, stood down from my position as principal with effect from today. I wish ArtsEd all success in the future.”

Image above: ArtsEd; photograph Ollie Mathews

Staff ‘showed lack of regard for the well-being of students’

ArtsEd board has acknowledged the behaviour of individual staff members, freelancers and visiting creatives ‘fell far below the high standards’ which are demanded at the school.

Elaborating on the “overly sexualised environment” within a number of music and dance classes, the board’s summary highlighted that terms such as ‘sexy dance’, ‘wear what you dare’ and ‘naked bond’ were regularly used which “clearly distressed some students”.

Some staff members exercised poor judgement in their relationships with higher education-level students. There are examples in the report of inappropriate relationships between staff members students, in breach of the school’s policies and code of conduct.

Some staff members showed a lack of regard for the physical and mental well-being of students and failed in their duty of care towards them. There was also a lack of communication with and support for the students who were affected.

Also flagged in the report were inconsistencies in how allegations of misconduct were handled by the school’s leadership, meaning that some staff misconduct was not addressed correctly.

There were instances where policies and procedures had not been applied universally by senior leadership, despite being updated regularly, including most recently in February 2021.

Image above: ArtsEd; photograph Ollie Mathews

Board of Trustees determined to rectify school’s culture

Since the report was published, Arts Ed has followed Ms Turk’s recommendations in announcing a series of new measures.

A special panel will be formed to conduct a review of the school’s existing policies and procedures to ensure they are in line with industry best practice. Once finalised, new and updated policies and procedures will be incorporated into ongoing training programmes across the entire higher education (HE) institution.

The panel will also review all employment contracts in the HE institution to ensure that they are clearly linked to the updated policies and procedures. This will include contracts for visiting staff and creatives.

A second panel will instruct an external governance consultant to complete a review of governance practices and processes. The review will also cover whistle-blowing and complaint procedures.

A review of well-being provision will take place, which will look at the existing provision and identify gaps, make relevant recommendations for future provision.

Consent and and intimacy training, which is already being provided in the school of acting, will be extended to the school of musical theatre ‘as soon as possible’.

A training programme in the use of language will be implemented for all HE staff, including freelancers and creatives.

School of Musical Theatre is now ‘much more secure and supportive’, says board chairman

Mark Burch, Chair of the Board of Trustees, thanked and praised Rebecca Turk and her team and said that the wrongdoing identified at Arts Ed is part of a wider crisis in the industry. He added this does not justify or excuse anything that happened at the Arts Ed.

In a statement released by Mark, he said:

“Over the last 12 months we have made good progress in changing our culture, processes and procedures, and I am confident that the School of Musical Theatre today is a much more secure and supportive learning environment”.

“I would also like to thank those who came forward as part of this investigation to tell their story. I hope they agree that Rebecca treated their concerns and complaints with the upmost seriousness.

“The conclusions reached by Rebecca are absolutely clear and we do not intend to soften or equivocate what is in the report. Naturally, it will take all of us some time to digest the full findings and to determine and fully implement every course of action that we need to take.

“It is clear from reading the authoritative conclusions that some of the events that took place within the School of Musical Theatre were wrong and the result of a misguided culture, which was made worse by a failure in leadership.

“What happened should never have happened. Some staff members acted wrongly. The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the staff, freelancers and visiting creatives, and on behalf of ArtsEd, I am deeply sorry.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ArtsEd investigates ‘historic misconduct’

See also: West London schools names in students’ accounts of sexual abuse

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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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Macbeth at Chiswick Playhouse – review

Image above: Macbeth at Chiswick Playhouse; Beckis Cooper as Macbeth, far right

A production of Macbeth has just opened at Chiswick Playhouse with an all women cast.

That’s a huge gamble. Why would a London audience choose to see a Shakespeare play in a tiny local venue when they have the choice of seeing it performed at a much fancier venue with some of the nation’s top actors? (Yaël Farber’s production of Macbeth is on at the Almeida at the moment with James McArdle and Saoirse Ronan in the lead roles).

And why would you want to see an all-women production? What’s the point?

The point, lead actor and producer Beckis Cooper told me, with disarming frankness, is that she wants a chance to play the big roles. Ok I get that, but why might the audience want to see it?

“I wanted to see if we could do a version that gets past gender”.

What does ‘getting past gender’ entail?

“Can you look at the play and not see that they’re women, just focus on the characters?”

Apparently you can. It does get past gender and it’s a bloody good production.

I wasn’t sold on the idea if I’m honest, half expecting lots of swaggering and lowered voices like the stoning in Life of Brian. Not like that at all. Very quickly you forget about it being an all women production as the power of the characters and pace of the drama suck you in.

Image above: Thea Butler, Celia Learmonth and Flora Dawson as the three witches

It zips along. They’ve cut bits out (which bits I couldn’t tell you; I didn’t miss them) so the first half runs at 55 minutes and the second at 35.

The actors, especially Beckis Cooper and Emma Clifford as Lord and Lady Macbeth, turn in really strong performances, with nine of them mostly playing several roles. There’s a lot of energy on stage. It’s very easy to over act Shakespeare, it’s so highly emotionally charged and dramatic. Getting that sweet spot between lacklustre and overdone must be quite hard, but they get it exactly right.

I have been to Shakespeare productions where I have found my mind wandering to what’s for dinner or whether I need to pick up milk on the way home, but not this one, it kept my attention nailed to the job in hand from start to finish.

Image above: Emma Clifford as Lady Macbeth

Each time we came to a line like Lady Macbeth’s “unsex me now” so that she could do something so ‘unwomanly’ as kill, or “Are you a man?” taunting Macbeth in the way women have wound up their men to commit violence through the millennia by questioning their ‘manhood’, the audience was brought up sharp against the question of how we define the roles of men and women.

That question has never been more relevant than now, when we are asked to consider whether we identify as he/him or she/her or non-binary and exploring the concept of there being several genders.

Macbeth might have some good parts for women – Lady Macbeth and the three ‘weird sisters’ – but they’re not women you’d want to meet in a dark alley. Beckis reminds me that this was written at a time when women were being executed for ‘witchcraft’, ie. manifesting any behaviour which showed intelligence, creativity, eccentricity or deviated inconveniently out of line from what men wanted and expected.

Looking at the play from the perspective of women is a good idea – it does make you think about how women were perceived in Shakespeare’s time and how men and women are expected to behave now.

It doesn’t matter that the venue is small and the props are wooden daggers and crates. Probably closer to the original Shakespearean experience. (And Yaël Farber’s production of Macbeth with James McArdle and Saoirse Ronan is only live-streamed anyway!)

Image aboave: Claire Monique Martin as Banquo, Adenike Adeniyi as the Prince and Annemarie Anang as King Duncan

Macbeth is on at Chiswick Playhouse until 6 November 2021, presented by Players, a troupe who came together during lockdown. Director Lisa Millar. Cast: Beckis Cooper, Emma Clifford, Caroline O’Mahoney, Claire Monique Martin, Adenike Adeniyi, Annemarie Anang, Thea Butler, Celia Learmonth and Flora Dawson.

Book tickets through the Chiswick Playhouse website.

chiswickplayhouse.co.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Empty lecture halls and packed nightclubs – the university experience for the class of 2021

See also: The new climate war – the fight to take back our planet – Review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Fisher’s Lane traffic ban to stay

Image above: Overview and Scrutiny Committee 21 October 2021

Lib Dem councillors branded ‘hypocrits’

The ban on traffic through Fisher’s Lane in Chiswick is to stay after Ealing Council’s Overview and Scrutiny committee refused to refer the traffic restrictions back to Cabinet for reconsideration.

Chiswick’s Liberal Democrat councillors representing Southfield ward, under which Fisher’s Lane comes, brought the issue to the committee, hoping to get the traffic restrictions removed.

The deputy leader of Ealing Council Deirdre Costigan made a stinging attack on them, and particularly their leader Cllr Gary Malcolm, for what she described as the councillors’ “hypocrisy”.

 “I think, just finally, I want to say – I think there’s a real feeling in Southfield ward that people are getting very tired of the hypocrisy of the local Lib Dems councillors. They are all talk when it comes to climate action and the climate emergency … We all know it is time to act and yet any time we come up with any proposals that might make a difference, they are against them and I have to say I’ve talked to so many residents now in Southfield who’ve had enough.

 “I think it will be very interesting to see the results of next year’s local elections, because you have been unmasked finally. You’ve had to put your money where your mouth is and it turns out there’s nothing behind your talk – it’s just empty and you’re actually the same as the Tories. You’re just against everything we’ve tried to do to make a difference for planet and to combat the climate emergency.”

Image above: Fisher’s Lane from South Parade

‘Delighted that Fisher’s Lane is staying calm’

Dr Ed Seaton, a Southfield resident who has been lobbying to keep Fisher’s Lane traffic free, said Ms Costigan’s remarks reflected how quite a number of former Lib Dem supporters felt let down by their stance. The Lib Dem councillors have been organising surveys and petitions and lobbying actively against the restrictions.

 Dr Seaton told The Chiswick Calendar he was pleased that the Scrutiny committee had upheld Ealing Cabinet’s decision today.

 “We’ve been overwhelmed by support for the Keep Fishers Calm campaign having leafletted about 4,000 houses” he said.

 “I’m absolutely delighted that Fishers Lane is staying calm. It has totally transformed an area that runs through parks and next to a playground and the sports centre.

 “Before the changes there were often over 600 cars an hour using this narrow gap, which once was a Roman road. Now for the first time Chiswick has a safe quiet north-south way to walk and cycle that links the High Road, with Bedford Park and Acton. It was such a great positive campaign by local people”.

Image above: Child cycling on Fisher’s Lane

‘No traffic jams on this street ever again’

Other supporters took to social media to praise the decision, including Clover Summers, who posted this image of her son with the comment:

‘Acton Green playground to the Sainsburys fruit stall, all under his own steam on calm roads’.

Drew White wrote:

‘Time to face the fact that this little lane wasn’t actually designed for cars! And in the last decade, not only have cars become wider & longer, but there are now also many delivery vans on the roads. A narrow route which jams easily isn’t the solution for local traffic issues’.

Broadcaster Jeremy Vine wrote:

‘This scheme is to be made permanent. No cars can go through #FishersLane in #LondonW4 any more. And that is fantastic news if you care about the safety of kids on bikes, general pollution levels, pedestrian safety, congestion. No traffic jams in this street ever again’.

Leader of Ealing Council Peter Mason confirmed the Fisher’s Lane scheme will now move to ‘full implementation’.

Liberal Democrats stand by their record on Climate Change

Cllr Gary Malcolm

Cllr Gary Malcolm told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Clearly Deidre Costigan has not talked to local residents because 82% people we durveyed want Fisher’s Lane reopened.

“In terms of other environmental things, we have supported all 12 of the ‘Safer Schools’ schemes the Council has introduced and some of those have involved road closures.

“We’ve stated very clearly two points about the huge developments which are going up.

“Most buildings are not carbon neutral. For every unit created five trees shoudl be planted to redress the balance.

“The Council charges developers £90 per ton for every development made. W say it should be £300 per ton, which would enable the buildings to be carbon neutral”.

Cllr Andrew Steed

Cllr Andrew Steed told The Chiswick Calendar:
“One of the most important roles of an opposition Councillor, is to question and scrutinise the actions of the Council.

“When those actions are opposed by over 80% of residents who live in the ward I represent, I think it reasonable to voice their concerns.

“When Labour eventually responded to the concerns of residents in other parts of the Borough over LTNs, they replace their Council Leader, perform an enormous u-turn and call it ‘listening’.

“When Council plans are presented with little supporting evidence, it is right that they are questioned.

“If the Council wish to close a re-cycling centre and sell the site for £1.2m it is fair to point out that this will lead to greater fly-tipping and will discourage recycling. If Council Portfolio Holders provide conflicting reasons for their policies, Liberal Democrat Councillors will highlight those contradictions.

“Over the years my colleagues in Southfield have used ward forum budgets to install bike sheds, extend the cycle parking at Turnham Green and contribute towards cycle training at Southfield Primary School. It was a Liberal Democrat motion that was passed at Full Council that highlighted the Climate Emergency. It is Liberal Democrats who have consistently opposed Heathrow expansion”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: LB Hounslow decides to keep Grove Park traffic restrictions as they are

See also: Motorists ignoring Fisher’s Lane closure

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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LB Hounslow Cabinet decides to keep Grove Park traffic restrictions as they are

A meeting of LB Hounslow’s Cabinet has decided to keep Grove Park traffic restrictions as they are.

The Council’s Overview and Scrutiny sub-committee sent the traffic schemes back to Cabinet to be reconsidered in September, after members of the committee received hundreds of representations from residents as well as from Chiswick Riverside and Homefield ward councillors.

READ ALSO: South Chiswick LTN schemes sent back to LB Hounslow Cabinet to be reconsidered

Image above: Protesters heading for the Oversight and Scrutiny sub-committee

The Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes (LTNs) have been introduced in Grove Park and Strand on the Green over the past 18 months to reduce traffic in the residential area between the A4 and the River Thames.

A recent Freedom of Information request revealed that the biggest group of motorists fined for driving into Hartington Rd from the A316 this summer came from outside London, with 33%  drivers using it as a cut through from the A316 to the A4 coming from as far away as Aberdeen and Truro.

READ ALSO: FOI request finds the biggest group of drivers fined for driving into Grove Park from the A316 are from outside London

Cllr Guy Lambert

Cllr Guy Lambert, Cabinet Member for Highways, told The Chiswick Calendar that at a meeting on 19 October the Cabinet had considered the views of the Overview and Scrutiny sub-committee but they did not agree with their analysis.

“They came to conclusions we didn’t share” he said.

The councillors on that sub-committee, (four Labour and one Conservative) decided unanimously that consultation on the schemes had not been fair and inclusive and that the traffic data provided was insufficient to be the basis for such important decisions.

They were also concerned that impact on vulnerable people, such as elderly and disabled people and pregnant women, might constitute a violation of their human rights.

Cllr Lambert acknowledged that the Council had recently been criticised by the Local Ombudsman for not paying enough attention to its Public Sector Equality Duty – a duty of care to vulnerable or disadvantaged groups – when making the decision to close Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Rd to through traffic last summer.

But he said, that was done very quickly as a response to Covid and they’d had more time to make subsequent decisions about traffic restrictions.

“We have been careful to comply. We do try and do these things correctly and generally we do”.

READ ALSO: Local Government Ombudsman criticises LB Hounslow for Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshre Rd closures

Residents’ meeting planned

Residents associations including Strand on the Green Residents Association and the Grove Park Group as well as more recently formed groups in Park Rd and Burlington Lane have got together to organise a meeting on Thursday 21 October at St Paul’s Church to discuss the decision.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Rubbish not collected in Chiswick due to staffing problems

See also: Rupa Huq MP pays tribute to Sir David Amess

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Rubbish not collected in Chiswick due to staffing problems

Image above: Overflowing rubbish bin at Strand on the Green, Thursday 21 October

Rubbish and recycling bins have not been collected in many locations around Chiswick. Neighbours took to social media to lament to lack of a collection service on Wednesday 20 October and the local foxes have taken full advantage.

Cllr Guy Lambert, Cabinet Member for Highways, Recycling and Companies put out this statement:

‘Hounslow is currently experiencing severe disruptions to waste and recycling collections due to unforeseen circumstances. We understand that collection delays are frustrating and we’re sorry for disruption where it occurs.

‘If your collection has been missed please report it using our online form via our website. We will ensure your collection is made at an alternative time over the next few days.’

He told The Chiswick Calendar they had a problem at the depot which has now been resolved. About half the rubbish collections and more than half of the recycling were not made. They are catching up. he said, starting with those that have been missed, and expect to have caught up fully by Saturday.

“We have ongoing problems with a shortage of drivers and the strain on everyone over the past 18 months has taken its toll” he said. “There has been quite a lot of illness and several resignations”.

Binben working on Thursday said there had been a strike.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Rupa Huq pays tribute to Sir David Amess

See also: Politics has to be less rancorous says Chiswick’s MPs

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Rupa Huq MP pays tribute to Sir David Amess

Image above: the late David Amess MP, Rupa Huq paying tribute to him in the House of Commons

The MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Rupa Huq, has paid tribute to her friend the murdered MP Sir David Amess, in the House of Commons on Monday (18 October). As the Speaker and the Prime Minister led the tributes, MP after MP got up and spoke about their memories of the Member for Southend West.

Rupa, who was on parliamentary delegation to the Middle East with Sir David and other MPs in the week before he was killed, said she was one of the last MPs to see him alive. He was fatally stabbed while conducting his constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday 15 October.

In the concluding speech to the debate, the Rupa said she saw him last at Heathrow Airport’s baggage reclaim on Wednesday (13 October):

“Everyone else had scarpered; everyone else’s stuff had gone. I had missed mine because I had been tying up my shoelaces or something.

“David [Amess] said, “No, I will wait with you.” I said, “Come on, you’ve got to go to Essex. Be off with you.” That was the measure of the man and how kind he was.”

Huq added:

“Everyone has so many Amess-isms. I was with him for a week and miss him dearly. I was shocked. I could not process the news. I had to go and do my own in-person surgery.

“The next day, the last stragglers were saying, ‘We got back. It was a great trip, thank you.’ His was the last WhatsApp message I saw, thanking everyone for their service. How shocking it is that he was taken in service—a public servant slain in the line of duty at his surgery.”

Above: Rupa Huq’s tribute to David Amess in the House of Commons on Monday (18 October)

Amess-isms

At a service of remembrance for the fallen MP at St Margaret’s Church next to Westminster Abbey, Huq joined the the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer in paying tribute to Sir David Amess.

Huq said:

“It was difficult to fight back the tears actually but I had so made Amess anecdotes or Amess-isms that the speech wrote itself and he was such a funny man that before long the whole chamber including the PM seemed to be laughing.

“I know David wouldn’t want us to mope around but it felt all the more raw and painful as I was probably the last MP, certainly the last Labour MP, to see him alive.”

The MP for Ealing Central & Acton has spoken to a number of media outlets in the wake of Sir David’s death, including interviews with the BBC, ITV News, Al-Jazeera and a widely shared opinion piece in The Guardian.

Image above: Rupa Huq MP with Sir David Amess MP (left) at a 2019 book launch

Huq “might remove address from ballot paper” amidst MP security review

The murder of David Amess has sparked a review of MPs security. In response to the news that Home Secretary Priti Patel MP has launched a review of all MPs security arrangements, Rupa said that although she and other MPs would never want to “live a bulletproof existence removed from the constituents we serve, it’s clear that serious thinking and action is needed to drastically reduce the chances of there being more attacks in the future.”

Speaking to The Guardian on Wednesday (20 October) she said she had been considering removing her address from the ballot paper before the next election. Candidates can choose to display their address to show voters that they live locally.

Rupa told The Guardian:

“We all live amongst our constituents and our address is on the ballot paper and I just don’t know if I’ll do that next time. [For] three elections I have had it published in full. You can have it redacted, and I’m thinking I might just do that next time.”

Sir David Amess’s suspected killer, Ali Harbi Ali, 25, remains in custody.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Political discourse needs to be less rancorous say Chiswick’s MPs

See also: ‘No further action’ after diplomatic row involving Rupa Huq MP

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Students accused of academic misconduct need better support

An enlightened university should offer all accused students expert representation, advice and support, says Daniel Sokol

On 27 June, Alastair Hall, a 22-year-old radiography student at the University of Portsmouth, was found dead in his room in student halls. He had killed himself.

A month earlier, the university had launched an investigation into suspected plagiarism in Alastair’s final-year dissertation. He was alleged to have copied parts of an example essay in his work. In a university hearing, Alastair denied the offence but was found guilty and awarded a mark of 0 for academic misconduct. At the inquest, the coroner concluded that the allegation of plagiarism had contributed to his death.

Alastair’s suicide should be a wake-up call to UK universities, one all the more urgent given the rise in allegations of cheating during the Covid pandemic. Those accused must be better supported.
Too often, students accused of academic misconduct are treated like convicted criminals. Some are not told what they are accused of until they are ambushed by secret evidence in so-called “informal” hearings. As a lawyer who acts for students accused of misconduct, I have seen academics, sitting as judges, laugh dismissively at students in hearings. I have seen them make awful and life-changing decisions that can be hard and time-consuming to reverse. Unlike real judges, they have no legal training.

The standard required to find a student guilty is merely “the balance of probabilities” rather than “beyond reasonable doubt”, even though a guilty verdict could result in expulsion and affect the student’s future employment.

Many students face such accusations with no representation. Students’ union officers are often unavailable, especially during holidays – and, frankly, they are of limited use to students anyway due to their lack of time and training. Yet universities dissuade accused students from seeking external legal advice, and most prohibit legal representation at hearings. “It won’t help you”, they say. “There’s no need”.

The truth is that a specialist lawyer will probably help, through advice, drafting and representation, but also by providing psychological support. Many students have mental health problems (as did Alistair). Some are isolated and alone. Others speak poor English. I have had clients in tears, petrified at the prospect of writing a defence statement or appearing at a hearing. Many clients have told me and my colleagues that they feel “safe and reassured” with us.

An enlightened university should offer all accused students expert representation, advice and support – perhaps by increasing funding to students’ unions, allowing them to hire legally qualified staff and offer better training for advisers.

Some academics might baulk at the idea of adding more cost and complexity to the policing of misconduct, especially when there is apparently so much of it about. But no matter how prevalent cheating is, all accused students, whether innocent or guilty, deserve to be treated fairly and humanely.

Moreover, contrary to popular opinion, lawyers do not get students off on “technicalities”. Lawyers promote justice by ensuring that the fundamental rules of fairness are followed. They help students identify and articulate arguments, gauging the strength of their case. A student with a lawyer is much less likely to run a hopeless, time-wasting case than a student without one. For students who have cheated, lawyers explore any mitigating factors and advise on how to present these effectively.

The extra cost of providing expert advice may well be offset by the reduction in appeals, complaints, cases brought to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator and litigation. But even if such support results in a net cost, that is the price of a system that is fair to accused students and sensitive to their challenges and mental well-being.

In my 10 years in this job, I have not met a single lawyer acting for students who thinks highly of UK universities’ justice systems. At present, it would be more accurate to describe them as injustice systems. With few exceptions, the quality of investigation and decision-making is poor. What is worrying is that universities do not recognise their mediocrity in this area. Like dictators of failed states, university leaders believe their system is just and efficient.

Every person involved in the academic misconduct process should undergo rigorous training, including in the principles of natural justice, how to conduct fair investigations and hearings, and how to deal with emotionally fragile and vulnerable people. The training should be delivered by lawyers, judges, psychologists and other professionals, not administrative staff.

Universities should also apply the presumption of innocence and remember the oft-forgotten fact that cheating in an exam is fairly low in the hierarchy of human wrongs. Most students who cheat are decent young people under pressure to do well who, through a lapse in judgement, succumb to a temptation currently made greater by the ease of cheating in at-home, online exams. They are not murderers or violent offenders.

I am not calling for universities to “go easy” on students who cheat. But the punishment, imposed after a fair and respectful process in which the student felt heard and supported, should fit the crime and the student’s particular circumstances.

Within the miniature world of the university, where little things take on disproportionate importance, it is easy to lose sense of perspective. A student killing himself: that is important. And unless things change fast and drastically, other students will be pushed over the edge by the stress of mishandled allegations of cheating.

Daniel Sokol is a barrister and founder of Alpha Academic Appeals, where he leads a team of 15 barristers who act for students accused of misconduct. He was formerly a university lecturer. This article appeared first in Times Higher Education.

alphaacademicappeals.co.uk

Twitter: @DanielSokol9

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Empty lectures halls and packed nightclubs – the university experience for the class of 2021

See also: Iris Murdoch shortlisted for a blue plaque

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Empty lecture halls and packed nightclubs – the university experience for the class of 2021

Image above: Edinburgh University ‘Big Cheese’ 

By Beccy Bollard

Alice is 18 years old and it’s her first week of classes at the University of Edinburgh. She’s in a large hall, anticipating the first big lecture of her university career. The hall is empty.

“I didn’t want to miss out,” she tells The Chiswick Calendar, laughing. Her schedule had said that, like much university teaching this year, the lecture would be held online. An email had said that it wasn’t. Her confusion is not necessarily unique.

Most of the UK universities went back this week, among them a flurry of incoming freshers from Chiswick excitedly went off to University for the very first time. This particular cohort, however, were aware that they would be starting their courses under very different circumstances than they would have, were we not still in the grips of the global coronavirus pandemic.

One of the largest differences they will face to the normal university experience will be the “blended learning” approach taken by many UK universities, the management of which led to Alice’s first week faux pas. This means, at the very least, educational gatherings of over 50 people must be held online.

Image above: Warwick students in a hall of residence

Zoe, a 19 year old from Chiswick, is also beginning her first year at the University of Warwick, studying History and Politics. She has sympathy with Alice’s mix-up, finding that the “mix of online and in-person lessons has been the most confusing thing”. This has been a “universal experience” she tells me from talking to her friends at other universities.

”They throw you in the deep end [and] expect you to know what’s happening.”

She cites a number of bureaucratic struggles, including a lack of clear communication and timetables that don’t work properly or update frequently.

Images above: Warwick University Freshers week; images from Instagram

Students can’t meet course-mates but can party

The confusion has in some ways, she suggests, provided a vital bonding experience at a time where socialising has been a concern. Freshers term, traditionally a hub of social activity, where one would expect to meet course-mates and bond over shared material, has taken on a new light as, according to Zoe “you end up having to rely on the people around you,” connecting over navigating your shared day-to-day confusion, rather than over your shared coursework woes.

Whilst she suggests that “not being able to talk to your course-mates” is the “worst part” of the COVID trade-off, students have managed to cope by relying on those more closely around them, such as their neighbours in halls. Alice has found that in Edinburgh, she’s been “very lucky to find friends,” but that not everyone, particularly those with less contact-heavy teaching, have had the same chances. “Some of my friends are joining societies” such as the Business society, to meet the course-mates they otherwise would have easily come into contact with at lectures.

Course-centric socialisation isn’t the only integral part of Freshers term that has taken on a different edge amid the restrictions and caution that attend the global pandemic. Large social gatherings such as club nights and the inaugural ‘Fresher’s Week’ events have become one of the main ways for students to socialise as, subject to the loosened government restrictions, new students have flocked to them to meet their fellow Freshers. However, this is not without its drawbacks.

“Everything is hinging on going out at night” Zoe tells me, and clubs are not exactly the ideal setting to get to know your friends – “You’re not really talking to people.”

Unfortunately, according to Zoe, this reliance on external establishments like nightclubs can heighten the sense of “pressure” to go out or engage in activities that involve lots of drinking or staying up to all hours, for fear of missing out because you “can only go out with [people] at night.”

That is to assume that students are even comfortable to go out at all, as it cannot be overlooked that many of them may still wish to avoid socialising in large groups in enclosed spaces, for fear of catching Covid, posing yet more challenges to what has always been seen as a vital part of first attending university.

Images above: Warwick student prepares for Halloween; Edinburgh students at a lecture

An artibrary, inconsistent mesh of rules

What has emerged for these freshers, it seems, is a rather arbitrary, inconsistent mesh of rules split between university and government restrictions, that Zoe calls a “weird mix of being free and the university having to take responsibility.” Alice says societies, such as the University of Edinburgh ‘Model United Nations’ club, are held online, before the social spills out into the real world and everyone gathers at the local pub. Whilst Edinburgh’s weekly student club night ‘The Big Cheese’ is held every weekend in University facilities, lectures of over 50 people are held online.

Speaking to Ellen MacRae, the president of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, offered an illuminating perspective that untangles and makes sense of these seeming inconsistences in universities’ decisions. She reminds us that most of the UK Universities, with over 44,000 students, both old and new, arriving, had to begin making arrangements far in advance, “guessing what restrictions may be” in September from as early as April.

Whilst she acknowledges that the current climate may make the heavy reliance on online studying seem “too strict,” at the time of planning they were criticised as being “too reckless.” She is also aware of the perceived inconsistencies in the handling of student club nights and student societies but notes that the social regulations under Scottish law are restricted “not by capacity but by ventilation capacity.”

It is in fact the reconciling of rules on education and rules on hospitality, both of which are seen as parts of the university experience, but are governed by government legislation, that has produced these seemingly arbitrary restrictions on students.

She also understands one of the other concerns shared with The Chiswick Calendar, noting that the university still has “plenty of students who don’t feel ready yet to be in crowded space” and that this “risks leaving students behind.”

She is quick to point me to the concerted efforts that have been made to host regular Freshers events in the safest and most accessible ways possible, including holding the Fresher’s Fair in an “outdoor space with ticketing” and the “capacity to be social distanced,” requiring evidence of double vaccination (as per Scottish law) and student IDs on admission to student club nights, and hosting smaller “nice hospitality spaces” where music still plays, but without the pressure to drink or be in such busy environments.

Image above: Settling in; desk in student accommodation

I asked both Alice and Zoe whether they felt the reality of the Covid pandemic at university, in their day to day lives and living situation. Alice told me there were occasionally stark reminders, such as signs up asking that you wear a mask in student accommodation or the requirement to present a negative lateral flow test before entering some clubs in town, “depending on where you go and where you are there are different measures in place, but in reality they’re quite easy for students to get around and they aren’t being properly enforced.”

She hasn’t heard of anyone having Covid, but believes maybe it was “brushed under the carpet as freshers flu,” the catch-all nickname given to any ailment experienced in those first few weeks of term.

Despite the restrictions and the rocky shift to online teaching, both Alice and Zoe shared the unique, almost heightened sense of freedom they experienced.

“Despite all the frustration with the admin I think I much prefer it here than staying at home,” Zoe said of her transition. “I really did change as a person being stuck in my room; the move here has helped me get out of that rut.”

As their Freshers week coincided with the easing of restrictions, their newfound freedom both geographical (away from their lives and parents in west London) and legal, has allowed them to “meet so many people” and do “so much,” in fact making their Freshers experience seem doubly more exciting than it may have been any ordinary year, compared to the tedium of lockdown during the past year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Students accused of academic misconduct need better support

See also: The new climate war: the fight to take back our planet

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 68: The magisterial Imran Khan: the inspirational Lingard Goulding

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.

“I expected a bit more from England”, says a magisterial Imran Khan, at the start of  the latest podcast from Peter Oborne and Richard Heller, rebuking the recent cancellation of England’s short cricket tour of his country. In a clip from an extended interview with Peter Oborne, the Pakistan Prime Minister and former captain suggests that England still think they are doing Pakistan a favour by playing them at all: they would not dare treat India in the same way, because of its financial power over international cricket. He says that there was no security reason for cancellation of the England tour or the earlier one by New Zealand: the latter was prompted by false information from an Indian source. 1-3 minutes

Then Peter and Richard hear more from the amazing multi-layered life of Lingard Goulding, especially his inspirational cricket coaching and mentoring of children in two continents.


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Commenting first on the reluctance of some England players to go to Australia, he recalls Alec Bedser’s account to him of the trials and tribulations of postwar Ashes tours, when the players travelled by sea and had no time with their wives and families. 6-7 minutes

Lingard then turns to his career as headmaster of the celebrated Headfort preparatory school in Ireland. He begins by explaining its striking philosophy: “Your children are not your children,” drawn from a beautiful passage of Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet”. The school did not treat its children as possessions and  replicas of their parents but sought instead  to launch them on their individual paths in life. 10-13 minutes

Lingard describes the application of that ideal in the school’s cricket: its playing standards rose dramatically but the game always had to remain enjoyable, especially for players of lesser ability. 14-16 minutes The wickets were always a joy to play on, while all of its cricketers had the encouragement of seeing their achievements in his annual production of the school’s version of the Wisden almanack. Its name, the Cicada, leads him to describe Julius Caesar’s little-known prowess as a cricketer. 18-20 minutes

He discusses basic principles of batting, with Marcus Trescothick as an illustration, and shares prep school memories of the inspirational Hampshire captain, Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie. 16-18 minutes

Headfort School became co-educational in the 1970s, shortly before he assumed the headship. He describes the impact of this on its cricket, and the early prowess of its alumna, Clare Shillington, who went on to captain the Ireland women’s team. 20-23 minutes

Lingard describes fixtures against other schools which gave him an early sight of a well-built 12-year-old all-rounder: Eoin Morgan. He compared his impact to that of his Winchester school contemporary, the Nawab of Pataudi. 23-26 minutes

He expresses some pungent views about helmets, limits on children’s bowling spells,  and the health and safety culture in general in children’s sport. 26-30 minutes He reflects on bad behaviour by parents at cricket matches, and suggests from some dramatic examples that it is becoming common in other sports too. 30-32 minutes

Lingard describes his induction into the Goodwood Cricket Club in Adelaide, surprising them by his revelation that he was a 61-year-old Irishman. He praises its immaculate administration, and the dedication of the children he coached there. 33-34 minutes He describes some memorable encounters in Australia, including his regular squash marathons against Carl Hooper (a decade younger). 35-37 minutes He had a long friendship with Neil Dansie,  Sheffield Shield player, top administrator and trencherman. Dansie was unlucky enough to be the partner of Don Bradman in his last innings in Australian club cricket. Few of the crowd agreed that the Don was out for 38 and even fewer stayed on to watch Dansie bat afterwards. 37-39 minutes

Finally, Lingard shares a memory of Eileen Ash, the oldest Test cricketer in history, now on the edge of her 110th birthday – who, aged 105, demonstrated yoga to the then England Women’s captain, Heather Knight. 42-43 minutes

Get in touch with us by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we would love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode – Episode 67: A great umpire raises his finger against discrimination in cricket

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

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.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

See also: Chiswick Calendar Blogs & Podcasts

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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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.

Iris Murdoch shortlisted for a blue plaque

Images above: Iris Murdoch, 1970, photograph by Godfrey Argent; The Black Prince book cover

Iris Murdoch, winner of both the Costa prize and the Booker prize for literature, has been shortlisted by English Heritage for a blue plaque. The prestigious and highly sought after plaques are attached to the house of someone famous in recognition of their achievements, but candidates do not become eligible until 20 years after their death, so it is often the current occupants of the house where they lived who become their main champions in the bid for recognition.

Iris Murdoch, who grew up in Chiswick, died in 1999 so she has only recently become eligible for a plaque.

Chiswick has several blue plaques already, on houses where famous people once lived: writers EM Forster, Patrick Hamilton and Alexander Pope, artist Johann Zoffany, ‘architectural visionary’ Joseph Michael Gandy, comedian Tommy Cooper, Olympic rower Jack Beresford, botanist John Lindley and Private Frederick Hitch, who was awarded a VC at Rourke’s Drift.

READ ALSO: EM Forster in Chiswick

READ ALSO: Johann Zoffany in Chiswick

READ ALSO: Alexander Pope in Chiswick

Image above: The house in which Iris Murdoch grew up, 4 Eastbourne Rd, Grove Park

Iris Murdoch in Chiswick

Iris Murdoch lived at 4 Eastbourne Rd, Grove Park as a child and came back on and off to visit her parents until her father died and the house was sold in 1959. There are numerous references to Chiswick in her novels. In An Accidental Man Gracie Tisbourne and Ludwig Leferrier visit Chiswick House together; in The Nice and the Good Eric Sears made his living from a pottery in Chiswick on the corner of Cedar’s Road and Sutton Court Road and in Nuns and Soldiers her characters go on a pub crawl in Chiswick.

Alex Houseman, who now lives in the Eastbourne Road house, put her name forward to English Heritage in 2019 and heard from them in August 2020 that she had been shortlisted for commemoration with a plaque.

Iris Murdoch lived in several locations in London, as well as in Oxford and Cambridge and the next step in the process, Alex told The Chiswick Calendar, is for English Heritage to do a detailed assessment of the London addresses associated with her to establish which would be the most appropriate building to bear the plaque. The process can take several years.

Images above: Iris Murdoch A Centenary Celebration, edited by Miles Leeson; Devil of a State by Anthony Burgess; competition winner Jill Apperley

Iris Murdoch and Jill Apperley win Chiswick Book Festival competition

While the experts at English Heritage are deliberating, Chiswick is stepping up its campaign. Aggrieved that another of our famous writers Anthony Burgess was recently turned down for a plaque, Torin Douglas, Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, launched a competition at this year’s festival for nominations for other blue plaque candidates.

The competition has been judged by Torin, antiquarian bookseller Stephen Foster of Foster Books and myself, Bridget Osborne, editor of The Chiswick Calendar. We can now announce the winning author is Iris Murdoch, nominated by Alex Houseman, Susan Dani and Jill Apperley.

“We were delighted to learn that Iris Murdoch is already in the running for a blue plaque” said Torin.

In answer to the question ‘Which of Chiswick’s authors should receive a blue plaque?’ Susan wrote:

“Iris Murdoch of course. (If she hasn’t already got one.) She has had an enormous influence on me and many of my generation.”

Alex wrote:

‘I’m sure there is no one more deserving of a blue plaque than Iris Murdoch.  She lived at 4 Eastbourne Road, Chiswick from the age of 6 to her early adulthood, although she travelled away to study and with work for some time, before moving permanently to Oxford in 1948 at the age of 29’.

Jill wrote:

“Iris Murdoch: philosopher, academic and one of the most original and influential novelists of her generation. Undoubtedly one of the iconic literary figures of the twentieth century.”

The Book Festival prize for nominating Iris Murdoch, a first edition of Devil of a State by Anthony Burgess donated by Stephen Foster, goes to Jill.

“The reason we chose Jill Apperley as the winner was not just her succinct, yet comprehensive, entry but also her detailed research into Murdoch’s life in Chiswick, published earlier this year” says Torin.

Written for The Chiswick Calendar, Jill looked at biographies, including the best known biography of Iris Murdoch by Peter Conradi and articles, including one by John Fletcher: Iris Murdoch, Novelist of London, in which she says he takes ‘a rather sniffy view of the house in Eastbourne Road’, describing it as ‘architecturally undistinguished’.

Jill also spoke to Murdoch scholars including Dr Miles Leeson, Director of the Iris Murdoch Research Centre, who told her:

“Iris Murdoch’s childhood in Chiswick formed her as a writer. Her regular walks in and around the area, and more widely around London, helped form the imagination which would go on to produce some of the best works set in London in the 20th century.”

READ ALSO: Iris Murdoch in Chiswick, by Jill Apperley

READ ALSO: Blue plaque for Chiswick writer Anthony Burgess rejected

READ ALSO: Upstaged by a Muppet – Torin Douglas

Image above: Alex Houseman with the letters, postcard and poem written by Iris Murdoch

Letters written by Iris Murdoch while she was living in Chiswick

Alex Houseman and his wife Frances moved into 4 Eastbourne Rd in February 2010 with their two daughters Aurelia and Jemima. They were aware that Iris had been brought up at that address, though until that point Alex says he had only read one of her books, The Bell.

“When we looked round in 2009 the biography by Tomalin was open on show” Alex remembers.

He has all the original documentation for the sale of the house to Iris’s father Hughes as a new build in 1927 and for the sale of the house in 1959 after his death to Albert Cohen, from whom the Housemans bought it.

Alex says it was partly the fact that the house had a bit of interesting history that appealed. He wanted something of Iris’s to put on display and after a bit of research bought a couple of letters and a postcard that she had written while she lived there and a fragment of an unpublished poem from a dealer.

The postcard, to Mr & Mrs Mills in 1947, was just to wish them a happy Christmas. The letters – to Ruth on 10th June 1947 and to Bill in (he thinks) 1956 were both about buying pieces of art. In one she says happily:

“We now have a phone – Chiswick 1913”.

Transcript of Iris Murdoch’s letter to ‘Bill’ in (Alex thinks) 1956, giving him her new address in Oxford

From tomorrow:

25 Beaumont Street, Oxford

Dear Bill,

It was very nice to hear from you after so long & it was most kind of you to send the drawings.  They are most exciting and I like them a lot.  I expect your work has changed very much since I last saw it.  Do you remember the painting of the Bluecoat School near Seaforth Place?  I have had great pleasure from that painting during these years, & it is in my bedroom at Oxford.  Thankyou for that too!

I’m sorry I didn’t write sooner.  I was rather busy getting married! – to one John Bailey, a Fellow of New College.

Things have settled down now, & work is possible again, & the writing of letters!

About a show in Oxford, I don’t at this moment know what would best to do, & as you know Oxford is very empty at this time of year.  But I will find out as often (sic) I can & let you know of any ideas.  The British Council (at Black Hall, St Giles) stages shows of paintings I know, & a note to them might be worth while.  Apart from that – I’ll let you know later if I can find out something.  I  am not right in the picture world in Oxford, but I think I know who to ask.  I hope Ruth is well – give her my love & best wishes.  I’ll hope to see you both in Oxford!  With all my best wishes,

Iris

Now we wait

Now Chiswick has decided who we favour as our next candidate for glory, all we can do is wait while the experts at English Heritage deliberate.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The man who discovered Sean Connery – Chiswick film director Alvin Rakoff

See also: Chiswick’s local authors at the Chiswick Book Festival 2021

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

Appeal for information after dog attack on Ravenscourt Park

Image above: Romena Fogliati & her dog Mike

A woman from Chiswick is appealing for information after being referred to a plastic surgeon following a vicious dog attack in Ravenscourt park on Sunday, 17 October.

Romena Fogliati, who lives in east Chiswick, sustained injuries to her hand when she was trying to separate her dog from the attacking dog, which was not on a leash. Her hand was so badly wounded she feared she may lose part of a finger.

At around 3.00 pm, as she was walking towards the basketball courts, Romena passed in front of the area of the park which is reserved for dogs with her son and his friend, her mother and her dog, Mike.

The unleashed dog, which she describes as a black and white mixed breed, escaped the area and ran towards Mike, grabbing him by the neck and shaking him. The dog’s owners were an elderly couple. The woman tried to separate the animals, but it was apparent that she wasn’t strong enough to pull her dog off by herself. Her partner, says Romena, just looked on, apparently unfazed by what was happening.

Attacking dog’s owner “looked on and did not intervene”

Romena told The Chiswick Calendar she pleaded with the man to help but he didn’t.

“When I saw that I thought, my dog is going to be killed!” Romena told me.

“He’s a small dog, he’s a cockapoo. So I got involved I tried to take the dog anyhow. Me, my mum and the other woman were all on the floor, like a proper fight, trying to contain the dog. Then I pulled his back legs and he released my dog.”

Romena went to check to see if Mike had been injured, which is when she noticed her own finger was throbbing and bleeding. She has lost part of the skin around her nail and has been referred to a plastic surgeon.

“I still have my finger, but I had to have a minor surgery. I had to take out the fingernail and I’m taking antibiotics for seven days. I’ve also been referred to the plastic surgery, for trauma, because it could affect my nerve and I use this finger especially to control my equipment for work.”

Mike’s injuries were not life-threatening, he only has some minor swelling.

Images above: Romena’s injury prior to treatment, Romena’s bandaged finger

Appeal to public for information

As she was too concerned with her own injuries and the welfare of her own dog, Romena did not exchange contact details with the owners of the attacking dog.

One of the owners, the elderly woman, apologised to Romena’s mother but the man remained impassive and said nothing. As Romena tried to contain the bleeding, keep her dog ​​safe and reassure the children the owners walked away.

“I don’t know [whether they knew I was injured] but I did scream “Ow! My hand!” but as I turned around and saw to my dog they were just calmly walking away” said Romena.

Since the attack the police have been informed, as well as Hammersmith & Fulham council. Romena is asking anyone who might have seen the incident or  any information about the owners on social media if anyone has information about the owners or witnessed the attack to get in touch.

“I think it was mixed breed. It was a small dog, but it’s jaw was really big perhaps it was a mixture with a Pitbull or something. Its jaw had white fur.”

Romena described the elderly couple as a “really tall man with a beret” and the woman as having grey hair.

You can contact Romena at: romenafogliati@gmail.com.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘Freddie’ the seal attacked by dog near Hammersmith Bridge

See also: Control your dogs warning from Police after Richmond Park deer attack

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Brentford 0, Chelsea 1

There was little preventing Brentford scoring against what is possibly the best team in the Premier League; little except Edouard Mendy, Chelsea’s Senegalese goalkeeper, and those sundry defenders who put their lives on the goal-line to keep out a marauding Bees side determined to plunder a point.

What a strange, if fascinating, game this was. Chelsea went off at a furious lick, looking to unzip the Bees’ defence with pin-point accurate passing and a speed quite likely to shatter the sound barrier. Having seen off West Ham with a last-gasp goal from Yoane Wissa clinching a 2-1 victory at the London Stadium in their last outing prior to the international break, Brentford’s Yes We Can confidence could surely deal with any opposition.

Unless that opposition turned out to be a whirlwind, that is.

Image above: Brentford v Chelsea; photographs by Liz Vercoe

To begin with, the home side’s own resolute defence kept Chelsea at bay, just, but almost visible nervous tension suggested they might have welcomed some nifty time-wasting even though only ten minutes or so of the ninety had elapsed. Then a Bryan Mbeumo shot hit a post, having crossed territory unfamiliar to a team so far on the back foot that one suspected they might be anchored in their own half unless supplied with a map.

Something had to give and it was that resolute home defence, taking a few seconds’ break from the dazzling domination of the opposition. With Romano Lukaku out of contention, midfielder Ben Chilwell met a César Azpilicueta cross with a first-time shot that took a feather of a diversion to beat David Raya on its velocity.

Glum were the faces of the home crowd at the break, but they were about to witness a turnaround in fortune that would shake Chelsea so forcibly their teeth could well have rattled.

Images above: Brentford v Chelsea; photographs by Liz Vercoe

The visitors started off in the manner in which they had finished. But soon Chelsea were dropping deeper and deeper into their own half as the Bees established a rhythm that went from a brisk quickstep to a full samba without bothering to take in a polka.

Another post-thumping effort from Mbeumo – it’s beginning to be a habit – signalled a renaissance that saw the Bees rack up 15 shots in a non-stop barrage that intensified as the minutes ticked by. They threw everything at a wearying defence that managed to block those Brentford efforts that Mendy couldn’t deal with, which was a rarity – in remarkable acrobatic form, the keeper even finger-tipped away a picture-book overhead kick from Christian Nørgaard. Had a kitchen sink been available to toss into the penalty area, Mendy would have stopped that too.

Three substitutions by head coach Thomas Tuchel, including that of the largely ineffective Lukaku, allegedly the most feared striker in the League, supplied fresh legs to visitors hanging on grimly to retain the three points that would take them back to the top of the table. Then Mendy yet again pulled off a crucial save, this time from Brentford sub Marcus Forss, before Brentford ran out of time faster than Chelsea ran out of puff.

Images above: Brentford v Chelsea; photographs by Liz Vercoe

It was a sensational game to watch, even if the Bees were denied the point they so clearly deserved. Both teams ended up exhausted, with the apparent exception of match-winner Mendy. If he plays like that every week from now until next May, the Premier League title will be Chelsea’s, proving they are much more than a bus stop on the Fulham Road.

They were very lucky, said Thomas Frank, adding, ‘It’s crazy. Four months ago they won the Champions League on the day we got promoted to the Premier League through the play-offs!’

‘The last twenty minutes was hell on earth,’ said Chilwell.

‘Champions League champions, top of the Premier League,’ I said to my mate Charlie. ‘What do you think?’

‘Let that be a lesson to them,’ said Charlie.

Brentford: Raya; M. Jorgensen, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós, Onyeka, Nørgaard, Jensen, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney. Substitutes used: Forss, Ghoddos.

Chelsea: Mendy; Chalobah. Christensen, Barr; Azpilicueta, Kanté, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Chilwell; Werner, Lakaku. Subs used: Mount, Havertz, James.

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group

Political discourse needs to be less rancorous say Chiswick’s MPs

Images above: Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central & Acton; Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford & Isleworth

Both Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford & Isleworth and Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central & Acton have paid tribute to Sir David Amess MP, stabbed to death at his constituency surgery on Friday.

He was ‘one of the nicest MPs in the house’ wrote Ruth on Twitter ‘and a true champion of Southend’.

While they agreed on some policies, such as animal welfare, and disagreed on others, such as Brexit, she told The Chiswick Calendar, “his behaviour was a model of respect and politeness and consideration”.

Rupa served on a parliamentary delegation to the Middle East that was led by him. “David Amess was always an exemplar of decency and courtesy” she said.

That is the point that they both want people to take away from the shocking murder of David Amess, that political discourse can be held with opposing views being aired, but it can and should be without rancour.

Image above: Rupa Huq with a copy of the ‘Punish a Muslim’ letter she posted on her Twitter account (Photo: Rupa Huq/Twitter)

‘My own Friday surgery … saw four local police officers turn up’ – Rupa Huq

Ruth is still holding her Friday surgeries pandemic style: appointment only, online, but Rupa has just gone back to holding them in person. When David Amess was attacked, four local officers turned up to her surgery, conscious no doubt that as a woman and an ethnic minority MP she ticks two of the boxes that make her most likely to be a target.

She already has to have her mail screened after a package was sent to her office in 2018 by an Islamophobe. Three Muslim MPs were targeted then with packages containing a ‘noxious liquid’. She said then: “It’s worrying that someone out there thinks it’s open season on Muslim MPs.

Ruth Cadbury has also had abusive and threatening letters and attacks online and she too has had moments where she’s been concerned about her safety. It’s now par for the course it seems. Since the murder of MP Jo Cox in 2016, MPs have opened up about the constant threats against them.

Tulip Siddiq MP for Hampstead and Kilburn told the BBC that being an MP has had a “constant effect” on her family since she was first elected in 2015. Abuse received online can “range from very trivial things”, such as comments on her appearance, to threats against her or her relatives, she said.

MP for Ashford Damian Green told the BBC he had to change his security arrangements after police discovered one of his constituents had an unlicensed gun. The man had sent him “a series of pretty vile emails”, which he hadn’t reported as they never contained a direct threat.

Image above: Ruth Cadbury speaking in Parliament

“The press has a responsibility to treat political discourse seriously” – Ruth Cadbury

The time has come for British politics to be less rancorous.

“The press have a responsibility to treat political discourse seriously, to treat politicians with more respect and call out abuse” says Ruth.

“We need to drain our politics of the bitter rancour: more being cross-party and less being cross” says Rupa.

In an article for the Guardian written in response to the attack on David Amess, she writes:

‘Lasting measures should occur to prevent this happening again. After two killings, (in her time as an MP) serious thinking and action is needed to drastically reduce the chances of there being a third’.

Read her article here: I don’t want a life hidden by security, but we need to prevent violence against MPs

Image above: Ruth Cadbury welcoming children from Spring Grove Primary School to Westminster

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Anthony Kemp jailed for life after admitting murder to Chiswick police

See also: ‘No further action’ after diplomatic row involving Rupa Huq MP

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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.

Anthony Kemp jailed for life after admitting murder to Chiswick police

Anthony Kemp, who walked into Chiswick police station last year to admit to a murder he committed almost 40 years ago, has been jailed for life.

Kemp, who was homeless at the time of his confession, was 21 when he bludgeoned Christopher Ainscough with a marble ashtray after they met on a night out in London in December 1983. He beat his victim to death after Ainscough angered him with a remark which, nearly forty years on, Kemp said he could no longer remember.

Now aged 59, Kemp confessed to the killing in July 2020, telling police: “I’m not going to sleep on the streets.” He was sentenced at the Old Bailey to a minimum of 15 and a half years in jail.

The court previously heard Mr Ainscough, 50, had invited Kemp back to his home in Kilburn in the early hours of the morning and was on the sofa when he was attacked.

Police officers went to check on him when he did not turn up to work for his job as head waiter at the Grieveson Grant and Co restaurant in the city. The victim’s body was found inside his flat in Shoot-Up Hill, NW2 after the police forced entry on 5 December 1983 – he had suffered a significant head injury. An investigation was launched but no suspect could be identified.

Image above: Kemp’s victim Christopher Ainscough

DNA evidence and policy bodycam footage helped to sentence Kemp

Kemp turned up in the middle of the night at Chiswick Police Station and threw stones at the windows to attract the attention of officer inside. When they came out to see what was happening Kemp confessed to the murder.

He later told officers that he had met Christopher by chance in the early hours of the morning at a date in December 1983. He had been out at a nightclub and was walking home when he met Christopher, they then decided to go for a drink in Christopher’s flat.

After being there for around an hour, Kemp stated that Christopher said something that made him angry, although he couldn’t recall what it was. He then picked up a stone ashtray and hit Christopher over the head several times.

After the attack, Kemp left the flat and went home. He washed his clothes, which had blood on them, destroying evidence of his crime.

Following his confession, forensic examination was carried out on items that had been retained as part of the original investigation. On one of them, a cigarette butt found at the flat, was a conclusive DNA match for Kemp.

Despite initially trying to retract his confession, the weight of evidence, including footage from the bodycam of the officer he spoke to in Chiswick, left Kemp with little choice but to plead guilty.

“No unsolved murder investigation is ever closed”

Detective Inspector Maria Green, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said:

“No unsolved murder investigation is ever closed and this case demonstrates that despite the passing of nearly four decades, justice can be attained for the family and friends of those who have been killed.

“Anthony Kemp kept his secret for nearly 40 years, despite knowing that Christopher’s friends and family would have been distraught that the person who had violently attacked him remained at large. He has finally done the right thing and confessed to his crime and now will face the consequences of his actions.”

A close friend of Mr Ainscough who knew him for around 17 years, said:

“Losing Chris in the way that we did was something that I have struggled to come to terms with over the years. He did not die of natural causes, nor from an accident, but at the hands of someone to whom he meant nothing. They took a very special person from us and then went on living their life like it mattered not at all.

“Our lives were all brighter for having Chris in them, and his loss has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled. I think of my friend often and miss him as much now as I did the day he was taken.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: GSK to move headquarters from Brentford to Weybridge

See also: ‘No further action’ after diplomatic row involving Rupa Huq MP

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Motorbike ploughs into three pedestrians on Kew Bridge

Three people were injured after being hit by a motorbike on Kew Bridge on Sunday afternoon (17 October).

The collision occurred shortly after 4.30 pm after the bike reportedly mounted the pavement.

The Metropolitan Police closed the Bridge for a period while they dealt with the incident.

Image above: ambulances on Kew Bridge as seen from Strand on The Green (photo by Twitter user @MusicSnobb), Kew Bridge as seen from the west side apartment complex (photo by Twitter user @pennytuppence3)

A Met Police spokesperson said:

“None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

“The bridge has been closed to traffic. Enquiries are ongoing.”

The incident caused severe traffic congestion across Kew, Brentford and Chiswick with queues reaching Chiswick Roundabout.

The road was later reopened.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Park Rd Allotments development rejected by Hounslow planners

See also: ‘No further action’ after diplomatic row involving Rupa Huq MP

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Dukes Meadows Trust ‘appalled and dismayed’ to see riverside ‘torn up’ for parking

Image above: The Band Stand at Dukes Meadows in winter; photograph Anna Kunst

Dukes Meadows Trust, which manages the public space beside the river at Dukes Meadows, says it is ‘appalled and dismayed’ that the riverside is being ‘torn up’ by LB Hounslow ‘to create new parking bays and reserve an existing area of hard standing for coaches’.

The Council has marked double yellow lines on the Promenade near the Band Stand but they deny they are creating new parking and an area of hard standing specifically for coaches. The Trust put in a Freedom of Information request to the Council to ask what is the evidence that coach parking is needed and which organisations and councillors have supported it.

The Council responded that the information sought was ‘not held’ but that the changes to the area of the Band Stand are not to provide ‘coach parking’ ‘coach turning’ or ‘coach dropping off points’, nor are they intended to encourage this type of activity.

‘It is acknowledged the plan recently provided, included text which implied measures were being introduced to assist coaches but that isn’t the primary aim’.

The aim, they say, is to regulate parking, including that by coaches.

‘The areas adjacent to the Band Stand where the road is wider, and has double yellow lines marked, can be used for any vehicle to turn or manoeuvre and this could be used, for example, for those with trailers attached or other larger vehicles carrying out maintenance; they are not intentionally created for coaches’.

Image above: The Band Stand at Dukes Meadows in winter; photograph Anna Kunst

Struggle over who has control of Dukes Meadows

Chair of Dukes Meadows Trust Paul Davis said:

“The council refused to respond to reasonable requests for information, so the Trust was obliged to submit an FOI. That revealed the council had no evidence of the need for coach parking or dropping off points on the riverside and had not considered the public safety implications of having coaches backing onto the Promenade.

“All requests to meet on site to discuss the plans were refused.”

The Trust runs the Food Market beside the Pavilion in Market Drive on Sunday mornings and is responsible for the maintenance and management of the Splash pool for children. It maintains the shrubs, trees and plants in the play area and cuts the hedge it planted along Riverside Drive. It has recently planted a new avenue of Lime trees in the park and has been awarded Gold in the 2021 London in Bloom awards for their maintenance of the park.

They say they offered to pay for the services of an arborist to advise on protecting the tree roots in the Band Stand area. They had been assured that the tree roots would not be touched, but would instead be built over and would be affected no more than they already were by illegal parking on the grass verges.

‘Anyone passing by has seen that in order to lay the parking bays the ground and roots are being dug up’ say the Trust. They are not being “built over”. The Trust’s offer to pay for an arborists report did not receive a response’.

The Council acknowledges they do not hold an arboricultural report on the site and the work planned but say a site meeting has been held with the Community & Environment Officer at Hounslow Highways who approved the proposed implementation methodology.

Image above: The Band Stand at Dukes Meadows in winter; photograph Anna Kunst

“Destructive plans that waste public money”

Mr Davis continued:

“Our only wish is to improve and care for the park we love. Sadly, we find ourselves in the same position as Friends of Boston Manor; having to fight destructive plans that waste public money, are not in the interests of ordinary park users, and breach many of the council’s own policies on protecting the public from traffic, protecting green space and encouraging cycling and walking.

“We have recently become aware that the council has awarded itself a large sum of money to further develop the Promenade. These plans have not been created in consultation with our Trust or any members of the public. The council will not share the plans.

“Anyone who cares about the park should lobby their local councillors and request that plans are made public and consulted on. This is a public park and public money is being spent.”

The Council notes that aside from this location, there are proposals for coach turning and parking within the ‘Hockey club’ car park, as well as passing places on Dan Mason Drive, which form a part of the Planning Permission.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Dukes Meadows Trust petition delivered

See also: Dukes Meadows Trust celebrates 20 years

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.