Construction on new Chiswick Health Centre to begin towards end of 2023

Image above: Impression of the new Chiswick Health Centre; NHS Property Services LTD

New health centre will provide “vital services” for Chiswick residents, says Minister

Construction on Chiswick’s new state-of-the-art health centre is set to commence by the end of 2023.

The project, funded by a £23 million investment from the NHS, will replace the existing structure with a modern upgrade. The redevelopment scheme, a collaborative effort by NHS Property Services, the North West London Integrated Care System, and Hounslow Council, will also include the construction of 55 affordable apartments.

The Chiswick Health Centre upgradeis being built on the current site. The signing of the final contracts has paved the way for the temporary relocation of services to Stamford Brook Avenue, allowing for the demolition and construction phases to proceed. The new space will be a key hub for 60,000 patients in Chiswick.

Under-Secretary of State for Primary Care and Public Health, Neil O’Brien, said:

“This new health centre will provide vital services for patients in Chiswick and is a great example of what can be achieved when integrated care systems and local and national government work together.

“It is important people have access to the best facilities and a range of healthcare professionals who can work together to meet the needs of their patients.

Housing for key workers, a new public garden and a garden terrace

The redevelopment plans for the health centre extend beyond the facility itself. Alongside the construction of the new health centre, the project will include the creation of a public community garden, a private landscaped courtyard, and a fifth-floor garden terrace. Additionally, the redevelopment will incorporate 55 affordable housing units designated specifically for key health workers, which addresses the pressing need for suitable housing for healthcare professionals.

The upgraded health centre will feature modernised consultation and examination rooms, community areas, district nurse facilities, and staff accommodation. These enhancements, the developers say, ultimately provide an optimal environment for healthcare professionals, empowering them to deliver excellent patient care.

By utilising modern, low carbon-emitting technology and solutions, developers say the new health centre will align with the environmental commitments of Hounslow Council, the Mayor of London, and the NHS.

Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development at Hounslow Council, said:

“I am delighted that residents in Chiswick will benefit from a new health facility. We want all residents in Hounslow to enjoy good health and this is a concrete example of us working with the NHS to achieve this goal.”

Nicki Chapman to open Bedford Park Festival 2023

Image above: Nicki Chapman

“A sparkling line up of speakers and performers”

Guest blog by Torin Douglas

If it’s June it must be time for the Bedford Park Festival – Chiswick’s favourite fortnight of arts and community events – and once again we have a sparkling line up of speakers and performers to keep locals entertained and informed, from 9 to 25 June.

We’re delighted that TV and radio presenter Nicki Chapman will open the 57th Bedford Park Festival at the start of its opening Green Days weekend. The Radio 2, RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Escape To The Country star has lived in Chiswick for many years.

Other Festival highlights will include an interview with the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, former Shadow Foreign Secretary, a distinguished elder statesman of the Labour Party and, like Nicki, a longstanding Chiswick resident.

There will be a Poetry Evening in celebration of Bedford Park’s Nobel Prize winner WB Yeats, with author Marina Warner, whose son Conrad Shawcross RA created the Enwrought Light sculpture in memory of Yeats.

Image above: Rachel Griffiths in Very Annie Mary

There will also be a screening of the musical comedy film Very Annie Mary, starring Rachel Griffiths, Jonathan Pryce, Ruth Madoc and Joanna Page, and a wine tasting with international wine judge, writer and broadcaster David Kermode (‘Mr Vinosaurus’) of ITV’s This Morning.

On the musical side, international film organist Roger Sayer will give a recital on the acclaimed organ in St Michael & All Angels Church ahead of his Hans Zimmer Live Tour performance at the O2.

Image above: Adrian Bradbury, phtograph Richard Hughes; David Juritz; Craig Ogden

Festival favourite David Juritz, violin, will give a Baroque concert with equally celebrated musicians Craig Ogden, guitar, and Adrian Bradbury, on the theme Towards the Goldberg Variations. And another Chiswick favourite, soprano Milly Forrest will give an early evening concert aimed at families, featuring musical highlights from The Marriage of Figaro with regular soloists from the Royal Opera House and English National Opera.

Image above: Green Days

Green Days weekend – 10 & 11 June

Nicki Chapman will open the Festival at 11am on Saturday 10 June on Acton Green, opposite Turnham Green tube station, and then judge the children’s fancy dress competition – this year on the theme of ‘Chiswick’.

Thousands of people flock to Green Days each year for its two-day mix of live music, funfair, food and drink, children’s corner, five-a-side football and array of stalls, from craft exhibitors and books to plants and bric-a-brac.

Among other highlights of this year’s festival, we’ll be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Bedford Park Open Gardens (1983-2023), the 50th anniversary of Artists at Home (1973-2023) and the Centenary of WB Yeats’ Nobel Prize for Literature (1923-2023).

Image above: Roger Sayer at the organ

Arts and community events

The Festival begins on Friday 9 June with a lunchtime organ recital by Roger Sayer. He was the organ soloist for Zimmer’s Oscar-nominated score for the motion picture Interstellar and went on to perform the work live with the composer at the Royal Albert Hall, attended by Christopher Nolan, Jessica Chastain, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Stephen Hawking.

On Friday evening, at 6.45pm in the church, it’s the preview party for the annual Bedford Park Summer Exhibition and Bedford Park Photographic Exhibition, which run throughout Green Days weekend in the church and parish hall.

Here’s how to enter your art work for the Summer Exhibition: www.bedfordparkfestival.org

And here’s how to enter your photographs for the Photography Competition & ExhibitionBedford Park Festival Photography Competition – How to Enter & Rules 2023

Image above: Photograph of a winter walk through Chiswick House Gardens by Jennifer Griffiths, entered in ‘Chiswick Life’ category in 2022

On Sunday June 11th at 10.30am, St Michael & All Angels holds an open-air Mass On The Green, followed by all the regular Green Days activities. The preacher will be the Bishop of Ely, The Right Reverend Stephen Conway.

From the opening party to the Festival Mass and Bedford Park Open Gardens on Sunday 25 June there is a stimulating array of concerts, talks, walks and drama. There’s something for everyone, whatever their age or taste, in aid of charities and the church.

Profits will support St Michael & All Angels Church, which runs the festival for the community, and its three 2023 charities: The Upper Room, helping the needy in Shepherd’s Bush; Swinfen Telemedicine, which links specialist medical expertise to doctors and nurses in remote regions of the world; and Crosslight Chiswick, its  newest charity, which provides face-to-face debt advice, together with money education and budgeting support to individuals and families in need.

See updates on social media. Read the full Festival programme and book tickets at www.bedfordparkfestival.org.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

“The Upper Room changed my life”

Image above: Paras Shah; The Upper Room. St Saviour Wendell Park Church

Paras Shah tells Billy Beatty how help and support from the charity helped him stay clean and get a job

In the UK there are more than half a million people who are dependent on alcohol. One of those was Paras Shah (40) who is now four years into recovery. 

“Four years ago I was drinking 54 units of alcohol a day  [a litre of vodka and six cans of beer] while also taking three grams of cocaine.

I drank to take away my thoughts. The more I drank the less I thought about things.”

Paras decided he needed to change his life and he sought counselling. It was while he was living in a rehabilitation home in Pinner that he heard about The Upper Room.

The charity, based in Hammersmith, offers multiple services to people in need, such as help with housing and finance and help with finding a job. It was set up in 1990 as a soup kitchen but, realising the complexity of people’s needs, expanded to offer other services.

Paras decided to speak to The Chiswick Calendar to highlight the great work the charity has done for him and how it has helped many others.

One of the services the charity finds most useful is providing driving lessons

“I decided to give them a visit and they made me feel so welcome and comfortable, I decided I was going to try and get my driver’s licence with their help.”

One of the services the charity finds most useful to people in Pars’ position is free driving lessons:

UR4Driving breaks the cycle of unemployment and re-offending among ex-offenders by teaching them to drive in return for voluntary work.”

In October 2019 he booked his theory test and passed, first time.

“This was a lovely experience and I began taking driving lessons in my local area. The Upper Room paid for this and paid my driving instructor for all my lessons.”

Getting through Covid:
“although we couldn’t meet in person they wanted to make sure I was ok”

The Covid pandemic disrupted his progress but The Upper Room continued to meeting Paras and other users via Zoom and Teams.

“The wonderful team there decided they would keep on talking to us and although we couldn’t meet in person they wanted to make sure I was ok and this made me feel great as they were showing how much they cared and how much they believed in me.”

It was not until March 2021, seventeen months after passing his theory that Paras had a chance to take a driving test.

“I had to travel to Cambridge because there was a backlog in London. The Upper Room helped pay for some of my travel costs which was so kind of them. I didn’t pass, which was disappointing, but I just wasn’t confident enough. I was so nervous at the thought of failing.

“I spoke to the people at the Upper Room who advised that I do a few more lessons but book a test straight away as they felt I would be ready in a couple of months’ time.”

Paras passed his test in July 2021.

“I managed to pass at the second attempt. The feeling was amazing and I felt that I could now move on with my life and get a good job but I didn’t have a car. My mother decided to buy me one and I am so grateful for this as it has opened so many doors for me.”

“When I went for the interview for my job the first question they asked was whether I drove”

Paras now works full time as a carer and being able to drive is a key part of his job.

“When I went for the interview for my job the first question they asked was whether I drove. Having my licence and a car is probably the reason I got the job.”

Paras is now able to help his family and thanks the Upper Room for this.

“I am now able to take my mum shopping and pick up my nephew from school. Without the Upper Room I wouldn’t be able to do this.”

He also takes newcomers to addiction meetings, which he believes is his way of paying back.

The Upper Room relies on volunteers and the kindness of the West London community that allows them to offer their various services as well as meals to adults five days a week (Monday-Friday),  bedding, toiletries and clothing.

The Upper Room offers multiple volunteer roles that can be found on their website.

theupperroom.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Nicki Chapman to open Bedford Park Festival 2023

See also: Cheese Market donates £5,000 to The Upper Room

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.

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

When her family moves from the city to the suburbs, 11-year-old Margaret navigates new friends, feelings, and the beginning of adolescence. Out in cinemas from this Friday.

Those who have read enough of the stuff I’ve written about films would probably have noticed that I have a particular soft spot for thoughtful coming-of-age stories. (Look out for my film club at the Chiswick Cinema about the ultimate coming-of-age – and a favourite of mine – Stand by me, in the next few weeks).

Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret is based on the 1970s novel of the same name by Judy Blume and it follows the story of Margaret Simon, a 12-year-old girl who after moving from New York to New Jersey, struggles to fit in with her peers, while also dealing with the challenges of growing up, including the confusion and embarrassment that can come with puberty, and her search for a religious identity.

While all this doesn’t sound much fun, I can assure you, this is one most delightful films I’ve seen this year: a sensitive, heartfelt, engaging, moving and at the same time very funny exploration of growing up, with all its challenges and contradictions.

While some of the episodes might feel slightly forced to allow the narrative to unfold, the beauty of this film lies in the way the kids are depicted. First of all, they really look like 12-year-old children and not just like older actors playing younger. Their breasts are hardly developed, they have pimples on their faces but most of all they talk and behave like kids too.

To all of us grown-ups it’s easy to be reminded of a time when we were all adolescent, so impatient to grow up, even though we had no idea of what was going on around us (mind you, most of us still don’t).

The film so vividly speaks about those days before we knew anything about anything, fantasising about a first kiss or the mysteries of the other sex, longing to be part of whatever latest secret club was invented by our friends, in a time before social media, mobile phones and all the rest.

Writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig perfectly captures nuances and humour of the iconic novel, not just with a clear understanding of her subject, but with great empathy too. There are plenty of laughs along the way, but never at Margaret’s expense and when the tears eventually come (because they do, though they are tears of joy!) they’re well-earned and feel incredibly cathartic.

Kudos to the whole cast of course. Everyone here is fantastic, from the older reliable certainties like Kathy Bates as the grandmother, through to Rachel McAdams and Benny Safdie, as the relatable parents who face challenges of their own but are always ready to catch Margaret throughout her confusing path, through to the young friends and of course Margaret herself, beautifully played by Abby Ryder Fortson, here in her first film. Her comedic timing and her ability to look confused, perplexed, desperate, lost and eventually proud and in control, is beyond perfect.

The film might resonate even more with women, as a lot of it has to do with the anxiety and the expectations around the first menstruation, but it is certainly a film that has universal appeal too, as it talks about all those doubts and fears we’ve all must have had at some point.

I was never the target audience for this one and so the fact that I liked it so much speaks volumes about how charming this is and how well it’s made.

This touching and insightful film is out in cinemas from this Friday.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival will be back next year

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.

Ghosted – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Ghosted ⭐️ ½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

Cole falls head over heels for enigmatic Sadie, but then makes the shocking discovery that she’s a secret agent. Before they can decide on a second date, Cole and Sadie are swept away on an international adventure to save the world. Available to watch on Apple +

Once in a while all you want to do is to turn your brain off and enjoy one of those mindless popcorn movies which, even if they are not the most highbrow products in the world, are certainly a lot of fun. With their spectacular stunts, edge of your seats thrills and laugh-out-loud humour (however crass sometimes it might be), they can turn a dull evening into an exciting one if you are in the right mood for them.

Yes, they might stretch credibility and often veer towards the cheesy side of things, but when they are aware of their own limitations and are in on the joke, you are more likely to forgive all their shortcomings.

This latest comedy/romance/action from Apple+ seemed to have all the elements above to fit the bill I was looking for: a ludicrous yet fun premise (a florist falls in love with a secret CIA agents and finds himself tangled up in a dangerous game of spies); two steaming-hot stars (Chris Evans aka Captain America and Ana de Armas, whose pedigree in blockbusters is pretty complete: she has appeared on the latest Bond, as well as Blade Runner 2049 and Knives Out), an over the top baddie, with an even more over the top accent (Adrien Brody) and a budget which looked high enough to at least ensure some spectacular set pieces.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well apparently quite a lot!

For a start Ghosted is mostly predictable, uninspiring and crucially, unfunny. And since the film seems to rely a lot on that rather than the sporadic (and rather unexciting) action set pieces, you can easily see how the whole thing began to fall flat pretty soon.

De Armas might be an appealing presence and she was certainly good in some of her previous outings (she recently starred in Blonde, the Neflix film on Marylin which divided the critics, but in which she was undoubtedly very good), however her comedic timing is not one of her strong assets. On top of that, her pairing with Chris Evans, hardly produces any spark.

In fact, despite constant references to the sexual tension between the two characters (a recurrent joke in the film is people telling them to “get a room”), what’s striking about Ghosted, and what ultimately really drags it down to the bottom of the pit, is the complete lack of any chemistry between the two leads.  There is a stark disconnect between the lines they are both reading off the script and actually getting any feeling out of those lines.

Hard to tell whether a slightly more inspired script could have served them better, but I actually blame a lot of that on the flat and rather pedestrian direction by Dexter Fletcher. A child star from classics like The Long Goodbye (1979) and The Elephant Man (1980), Dexter more recently turned director for films like Eddie the Eagle (2016) and Rocketman (2019), both of which were perfectly watchable, even if not masterpieces, but here he seems to be sleepwalking through the motions.

Even in the scenes where he could let his two stars free and let some improvisation lift his material, he seems to be cornered into generic reversed shots filmed with bland dialogue, making everything feel even more pedestrian.

Characters are often given lines to read but not a lot to do while speaking.

Even those few action scenes which on paper might have looked mildly interesting end up being over-edited to the notes of random catchy tunes and feel banal, by-the-number, and eventually very forgettable. I saw Ghosted three days ago and I can hardly remember any of those scenes (yes, I know, I watch a lot of films, but that’s no excuse).

There is one exception, which is probably why I’m giving this one and a half stars instead of just one: the final fight on a revolving restaurant on top of a tower, is at least original and well crafted. Sadly this comes more than an hour and a half into the film and by that time I had already clocked off (and I suspect most of the audience would have too), so despite the fun cameos and my willingness to be swept by some mindless action, this was a real turn off for me.

Acton schoolchildren win nationwide short story competition

Image above: Winner and year 5 pupil Hannah-Mei Wang, winner and reception pupil Joey Everett

School “over the moon” to have not one but two winners

On Wednesday 24 May Daunt Books will host an awards ceremony at Ark Byron Primary School to honour the winners of their prestigious Short Story competition, two of whom are their own pupils.

This annual competition celebrates the remarkable creativity and writing talents of children across the country. Aspiring young writers between the ages of four and 15 took part in the competition, with the hope of having their stories published in a special anthology.

Jennifer Ong, the Librarian at Ark Byron Primary, told The Chiswick Calendar she was “over the moon” at having not one but two winners from Ark Byron Primary.

“I’m the librarian of the school and have just taken over the job this year,” Jennifer said, “so I thought it would be nice because I felt our school is very creative and our teachers are very dedicated in terms of their creative writing teaching.”

It was the first time the school participated, and their enthusiasm paid off.

“I thought it would be nice for the children to throw their hat in the ring. It was the first year we entered and we had two winners!” Jennifer added.

Images above: Ark Byron Primary School; Google Streetview

Ark Byron entrants beat top private schools around the country

Only a select few entrants win the competition every year, with only 12 winners from dozens of schools around the country in 2022. The winners’ stories are then compiled into a book that is sold in Daunt Bookshops.

The winners, Hannah-Mei Wang in year 5 and Joey Everett in year 1, were said to be “incredibly shocked and delighted” at the news their stories had won, considering they had to compete with many other schools around the country, whether they be private or state comprehensive.

“There’s lots of private schools entering, schools all over the country so you just don’t have a clear sense of what the other entries are going to be like. But I did have faith and believed in the creativity of our children, which is why I encourage children to enter because I thought it was really important”

The winners’ anthology, which showcases the selected stories, will feature a captivating cover designed by Marion Deuchars, an esteemed illustrator and author. Additionally, the anthology will be introduced by Katya Balen, the acclaimed writer of The Light in Everything and October, October, which won The Carnegie Medal.

All entries had to be submitted by an adult, such as a parent, guardian, or teacher, who could provide consent on behalf of the child. The stories were required to be entirely the original work of the young authors, with a maximum word limit of 1500. The submission deadline was set for January 31, 2023.

Jennifer said the school was overjoyed with Hannah-Mei’s victory, and their delight only multiplied when they discovered a week later that Joey had also secured a winning spot.

“We are a very diverse school with limited funds so it’s really wonderful to see the creativity of the children and the dedication of the teachers shine through” Jennifer added.

Couple subjected to transphobic and homophobic abuse in Acton pub

Image above: The Red Lion and Pineapple in Acton

“Hating on LGBT+ people has become normalised again”

A transgender man and his wife said they were left feeling feeling unsafe in a pub in Acton, after being subjected to transphobic and homophobic abuse.

Dr Karl Rutlidge, a theology PhD student and Methodist minister, said he was called a ‘poof’ and he and his wife a ‘pair of freaks’ while out for lunch in The Red Lion and Pineapple, at 281 High St.

In the emotional post, Dr Rutlidge shared the impact the incident had had on him and his partner while they were out enjoying themselves on the Bank Holiday. Dr Rutlidge said:

“Today, my wife and I ducked into Wetherspoons in Acton to get out of the rain and grab some lunch. One of the other customers called us “a pair of freaks”, another thought we were “lesbians”, while another man called me a “poof”. Least safe in a pub I have felt for some time.”

Local people responded with shock to the incident, referencing Acton’s diversity. Dr Rutlidge replied:

“Hating on LGBT+ people has become normalised again. That’s led people like the blokes in the pub who harassed us to feel they can get away with behaving like that. I don’t doubt they are not representative of Acton more generally.”

Above: Dr Karl Rutlidge’s post on Twitter

Hate crime on the rise 

It is unclear whether the incident was reported to the police, as in a subsequent Tweet Dr Rutlidge said he and his wife felt unsafe so “just wanted to get out of there to be honest”.

Hate crimes related to gender identity and sexual orientation have spiked over recent years. The most recent figures on hate crime from a 2021/22, provided by the Home Office, showed hate crimes targeting transgender people saw the largest proportional rise from the year previously – with 4,355 anti-trans incidents in 2021/22 – up by 56% from 2020/21.

Similarly, sexual-orientation related hate crimes rose by 41%.

Following his post on Twitter, while most offered their sympathy and shock at the incident, dozens sought to berate and belittle his experience, in a continuation of the transphobic and homophobic abuse the couple experienced in person.

While Home Office representatives claim the spike is at least partly due to growing awareness and confidence in reporting incidents to the police, anti-abuse LGBT+ charities such as Galop disagree.

Galop say incidences of hate crime are rising exponentially, as a direct result of political and social media debates about LGBT+ people and the resulting media coverage.

The Chiswick Calendar have approached the Metropolitan Police and Dr Rutlidge for comment.

“Insulting or aggressive behaviour is unacceptable”, says Wetherspoons

A spokesperson for Wetherspoons said:

“It is important that our pubs are safe and welcoming for everyone. Insulting or aggressive behaviour is unacceptable.

“The incident in question was not brought to the attention of the pub team, or seen by them, at the time, but they are now aware of it.

“We do not have the details of the customers concerned but if they wish to contact us, then we will, of course, carry out a full investigation.”

Chiswick and Brentford first areas to get e-bike parking bays

Image above: Lime Bikes parked in Chiswick

Chiswick and Brentford first areas to get experimental e-bike parking bays

Hounslow Council has announced the beginning of a trial authorising the introduction of e-bike parking bays in selected roads in Brentford and Chiswick.

The trial is part of a broader initiative to implement a borough-wide dockless e-bike scheme. The council’s order, effective from Monday 5 June, will introduce e-bike parking bays in various locations and modify existing parking bays and waiting restrictions to accommodate e-bikes. The trial aims to introduce approximately 300 dedicated e-bike bays across the borough, enabling residents and visitors to hire e-bikes conveniently.

E-bikes are an easy way for people to get around, but the existing schemes have been criticised for the way the rental bikes are dumped, sometimes causing obstruction.

The Council wants a more structured scheme to minimise nuisance of badly parked e-bikes. According to information available on the Council’s website, once the scheme is implemented, e-bikes will only be permitted to park in designated e-bike bays. The majority of these bays will be situated in existing carriageway parking areas, with a smaller number designated on footways ‘where suitable’.

LB Hounslow say the primary goal is to give the Council greater control over e-bike parking locations and reduce their impact on other highway users.

Currently, Lime e-bikes operate in the borough, but this is an independent operation not conducted in partnership with the Council. Local authorities currently lack the authority to prevent operators from deploying free-floating e-bike fleets in their jurisdictions. The Government is working on a Transport Bill to address this issue, expected to be implemented around 2025.

Until then, boroughs must devise effective regulations, often involving the creation of dedicated bays, which operators are then obligated to use through an agreement with the council.

Image above: Lime Bikes parked in bays in Hammersmith and Fulham

Rollout to rest of the borough set for August

Under Hounslow’s e-bike scheme, any operators participating in the Council’s program will be required to utilise the designated e-bike bays. The scheme will be implemented in three phases, with Brentford and Chiswick as the initial areas. Phase 2 will expand the scheme to the Isleworth, Hounslow, and Osterley regions in July, followed by Phase 3 encompassing the Bedfont, Cranford, Feltham, Hanworth, and Heston areas in August 2023.

On completion of the scheme, the trial will run for six months, with a potential six-month extension if necessary. The Council has provided a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and a list of locations on its website to offer further information about the trial. Interested individuals can access documents related to the order mentioned in this article by visiting hounslow.gov.uk and searching for “traffic notices.”

If the provisions of the order remain in effect for at least six months, the council will evaluate whether to continue the experimental Order indefinitely through a permanent order.

Image above: Map showing e-bike parking locations

E-bike parking bay locations in Chiswick

Chiswick Gunnersbury Ward

  • Alwyn Avenue: Adjacent to No. 22 Sutton Court Road – 8 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Cambridge Road North: Adjacent to No. 455 Chiswick High Road – 7.5 metres (4 metres of motorcycle bay & 3.5 metres of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Chiswick Common Road (1): West of the junction with Fishers Lane, adjacent to play area – 7 metres (of pay to park bay)
  • Chiswick Common Road (2): Opposite No. 37 Windmill Road – 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Chiswick High Road: Footway east of the access to Gunnersbury Tube Station – 7 metres (of footway)
  • Dolman Road: Footway opposite the junction with Kirton Close – 9.5 metres (of footway)
  • Dukes Avenue: Outside No. 2 Dukes Avenue – 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Glebe Street: Adjacent to No. 19 Devonshire Road – 7 metres (of single yellow line)
  • Grosvenor Road: Outside No. 24 Grosvenor Road, west of the junction with Harvard Road – 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Harvard Road: South of the junction with Wellesley Road, adjacent to Belgrave Lodge – 9.5 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Heathfield Gardens: Opposite No. 50 Heathfield Gardens – 7 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Heathfield Terrace: Heathfield Terrace service road, east of the junction with Horticultural Place – 9.5 metres (6 metres of pay to park bay & 3.5 metres of single yellow line)
  • Marlborough Road: Adjacent to No. 367 Chiswick High Road – 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Popes Lane: Footway at the junction with Gunnersbury Avenue (A406) – 6 metres (of footway)
  • Power Road: Adjacent to No. 250 Gunnersbury Avenue (opposite Volvo showroom) – 7 metres (5 metres of permit / pay to park bay & 2 metres of double yellow line)
  • Princes Avenue: Adjacent to No. 59 The Ridgeway – 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Reckitt Road: Outside No. 47 Reckitt Road – 7 metres (of single yellow line)
  • Wavendon Avenue: Adjacent to No. 47 Dukes Avenue – 7.5 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)

Chiswick Homefields ward

  • Balfern Grove: Adjacent to No. 58 Chiswick Lane, 7 metres (4 metres of permit / pay to park bay & 3 metres of double yellow line)
  • Bolton Road: Adjacent to Mulberry House, Cavendish Road, 9.5 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Chiswick Lane: South Opposite the junction with Netheravon Road South, 7 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Coombe Road: Adjacent to No. 90 Devonshire Road, 7 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Corney Road: Opposite No. 46 Corney Road, 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Cranbrook Road: Opposite No. 2 Cranbrook Road, 9.5 metres (of single yellow line)
  • Edensor Gardens: Adjacent to Chiswick Pool, 9.5 metres (of unrestricted carriageway)
  • Gainsborough Road: Adjacent to No. 60 Bath Road, 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Grantham Road: Opposite No. 23 Grantham Road, 7 metres (of unrestricted carriageway)
  • Hartington Road: Outside Nos. 1-7 The Lindens, 7 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Homefield Road: Adjacent to No. 65 Chiswick High Road, 8 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Kinnaird Avenue: Adjacent to No. 54 Hartington Road, 7 metres (of permit parking area)
  • Netheravon Road: Adjacent to No. 29 Chiswick High Road, 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Prebend Gardens: Opposite No. 35 Prebend Gardens, 9 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Priory Avenue: East of the junction with Woodstock Road, adjacent to church, 8 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Pumping Station Road: Opposite No. 24 Pumping Station Road, 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)
  • Spencer Road: Opposite No. 4 Spencer Road, 7 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Stamford Brook Avenue: Opposite the junction with Stamford Brook Gardens, 9.5 metres (of single yellow line)
  • Staveley Gardens: Adjacent to No. 4 Staveley Gardens, 7 metres (of unrestricted carriageway)
  • Staveley Road: Outside No. 44 Staveley Road, 9 metres (of resident permit bay)
  • Thornton Avenue: Adjacent to No. 90 Turnham Green Terrace, 7 metres (of permit / pay to park bay)

Chiswick Riverside ward

  • Brooks Lane: Adjacent to No. 27 Geraldine Road, 9 metres (permit parking area)
  • Brooks Road: Opposite No. 15 Brooks Road, 7 metres (single yellow line)
  • Clarence Road: Adjacent to No. 61 Wellesley Road, 7 metres (3 metres of motorcycle bay & 4 metres of permit/pay to park bay)
  • Ernest Gardens: Adjacent to No. 54 Magnolia Road, 7 metres (permit parking area)
  • Gordon Road: Opposite Nos. 2 & 4 Gordon Road, 7 metres (resident permit bay)
  • Grove Park Gardens: Opposite No. 3 Grove Park Gardens, 7 metres (resident permit bay)
  • Grove Park Terrace: Opposite Nos. 1-11 Sutton Court Mansions, Grove Park Terrace, 9.5 metres (resident permit bay)
  • Hazledene Road: Adjacent to No. 76 Hazledene Road, 7 metres (permit parking area)
  • Lawford Road: Adjacent to No. 152 Sutton Court Road, 9.5 metres (resident permit bay)
  • Park Road: Opposite No. 66 Park Road, 7 metres (resident permit bay)
  • Riverview Road: Adjacent to No. 93 Grove Park Road, 7 metres (permit parking area)
  • Staveley Road: Adjacent to No. 122 Sutton Court Road, 7 metres (resident permit bay)
  • Stile Hall Gardens: Opposite No. 1 Stile Hall Gardens, 8 metres (single yellow line)
  • Strand on the Green (1): Opposite No. 104 Strand on the Green, 7 metres (permit holders bay)
  • Strand on the Green (2): Opposite, and to the west of, the junction with Pyrmont Road, 7 metres (permit/pay to park bay)
  • Sutton Court Road: Opposite No. 196 Sutton Court Road, 9.5 metres (permit/pay to park bay)
  • Sutton Lane South: Opposite No. 26 Sutton Lane South, 7 metres (5 metres of resident permit bay & 2 metres of double yellow line)

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Tea in the park for W4 Youth club opening day

Image above: (left to right) Marchelle Chacatté, Rachel Clare, Aliche Clare, Sally Chacatté at the W4 Youth stall at Chiswick’s Coronation Flower Market

New W4 Youth Hub in Southfield Recreation Ground set for 20 May opening date

W4 Youth have invited Chiswick’s residents to celebrate the opening of their W4 Youth Hub in Southfield Recreation Ground with  Tea in the Park on 20 May from 2.00pm to 6.00pm.

W4 Youth have been raising awareness for the Hub’s opening online and at Chiswick Flower Market, where their dance troupe have performed and they have had a stall.

Trustees including Southfield ward councillor Gary Malcolm will be joining the tea party and celebrity guests are expected.

Chiswick artists, Aliche & Erire, will be entertaining people during the afternoon and Rocks Lane sports centre will be hosting hosting a 5-a-side football tournament from 2.30pm onwards.

Images above: (left to right) W4 Youth alumni and artists Aliche and Erire

Young people need ‘somewhere good to go and somewhere safe to be’

Recalling the inspiration for starting W4 Youth, Sally Chacatté, Founder and Chair, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“It all came from when my eldest son, who is now 27 who was at school with Aliche, unfortunately had a situation where he was shot in the face [with an airgun] by a group of young men who seemed to have no hope, no place to go, nothing good to do. It ruined his teens, he had PTSD in a really bad way but is effectively fine now.

“We decided at the time that all these wonderful young people needed somewhere good to go and somewhere safe to be.”

W4 Youth have hosted various activities for young people over the years including league football teams, dramas, dance, singing, art, basketball and boxing. They hope to continue and expand their programme of clubs when moving into Southfield Recreation centre. Sally said she was excited to get started.

“We are so excited to celebrate our W4 Youth Hub opening in Southfield Recreation Ground on 20th May” said Sally. “There will be a tea and cake stand and if you’d like to bake a cake and bring it along, it will be gratefully received. We look forward to seeing you.”

Mixed reactions to reforms allowing easier access to prescriptions from pharmacies

Image above: prescription medication is set to become easier to get under new proposals announced by the Government and NHS England

Plans for pharmacies to offer more prescriptions for common ailments announced

Millions of patients across England will soon have easier access to prescriptions for common ailments after the Government and NHS England unveiled plans meant to alleviate the strain on GP surgeries.

Under the proposed reforms, individuals suffering from conditions such as earache, sore throat, sinusitis, impetigo, shingles, infected insect bites, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women will be able to obtain medication directly from pharmacies, without the need for a doctor or nurse consultation.

Health leaders have broadly welcomed the proposed reforms, acknowledging their potential to revolutionise patient care. Thorrun Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England, has praised the plan as a “real game-changer” for patients.

The primary objective of these initiatives is to alleviate the burden on GP appointments, with the aim of freeing up a staggering 15 million appointments over the next two years. This move comes in response to recent data showing that over the past five months, 24 million consultations were scheduled more than two weeks after the initial patient request, averaging nearly 5 million delayed appointments each month.

But what do people working in local pharmacies and GP practices think of the proposals? I spoke with some of Chiswick and Brentford’s pharmacies and the manager of one of Chiswick’s busiest GP practices.

Image above: Library image, prescription pills

Changes are “not really anything of help” says Chiswick GP manager

The manager of one of Chiswick’s busiest doctors’ practices spoke to The Chiswick Calendar on condition of anonymity about the proposed reforms. They were skeptical of the changes, taking into the wider context of NHS funding.

“I think the Government is very misguided in everything, all the things they’re doing for the NHS. They’re spending money in the wrong way completely.”

“We already have pharmacies who are prescribers and they also work within our practices, they help the doctors quite a lot with prescriptions and prescribing. The pharmacies that we know are already very busy, I think they’re in a worse situation than GPs because they get people complaining and going there and all sorts of queries come to them anyway, so I don’t know what more they’re going to have to be doing having to prescribe as well.”

They also thought once pharmacies started prescribing drugs, GPs would still receive the follow up queries about when and how to take the medication and what the side effects might be. Contrary to the intention, they thought GP surgeries would be likely to see a spike in queries once pharmacies are allowed to prescribe more medications.

“We get more queries about the medications [after patients start a new medication] than anything else” they said.

“What’s going to happen is they may prescribe something, then the patients will still come back to GPs because this side affect has happened. They’ll still want to see a doctor for many things. They feel better reassured seeing doctors.”

Asked why the Government decided to make the change in the first place, the practice manager said:

“I just spoke to one of our GPs, and she said so it shows that they’re doing something to the public. It’s a perception, it’s not really of help.”

Image above: Paracetamol

Government “ought to be more concerned” about level of prescriptions people are taking

The practice manager also said they were concerned the proposed reforms may lead to excessive prescribing, and that they were frustrated with the lack of communication from the Government.

“I think this will lead to an awful lot more prescribing than is required. I can give you one example, my own example from years ago. I would have been very grateful for a pharmacist to prescribe me antibiotics because I had a dental abscess, and I felt that was the way to go. But actually, I didn’t need the antibiotic I just felt I needed it. I saw the dentist, he sorted me out and I was fine without taking the antibiotics. I think in this way there may be extra antibiotic prescribing when it may not be needed.”

Rather than making it easier for patients to get prescriptions, the practice manager said the Government “ought to be more concerned about how many prescriptions people are taking”. They said GPs are not properly monitoring, especially among elderly people on repeat prescriptions, to see how they are getting on with any new medications they have been prescribed.

“Once they’re on them, they’re just on them. They’re not looking at the side effects, they’re not seeing how the patients are feeling themselves, the patients can’t feed back easily to GPs to see what’s causing what… they’re just piling more medications to mitigate effects of other medications.”

“I have an elderly friend who is 86, he’s on repeats. He’s got liver damage. He used to be a keen judo player but he has had two hip replacements. He had twinges of pain and this, that and the other. He was prescribed strong painkillers over a period of time, and they say take two three times a day paracetamol. He never ate very much, he had bleeding ulcers, he’s now got liver sclerosis. He doesn’t drink alcohol, has had a healthy life but this is all because of the medication. 

“He’s now suffering from his lungs filling up with fluid because his liver is so badly damaged, he ended up with a fall, and still they give him repeat prescriptions of paracetamol. I asked him if he was in pain and he said no, so I asked “why are you taking them?” and he said: “they come as a repeat”.”

Images above: Alpa and Jai Parmer, Churchill’s Pharmacy

Churchill’s Pharmacy, Chiswick High Road – The scheme needs proper funding

Jai Parmar, owner of Churchill’s Pharmacy at 202 Chiswick High Road, believes that providing additional services, such as prescribing for UTIs and minor ailments, is a good idea as long as pharmacies are properly funded. He said the change may increase the day-to-day workload of pharmacies but emphasised the importance of keeping up with evolving healthcare practices.

“It’s a good idea if they pay us well,” Jai told The Chiswick Calendar, “or pay us appropriately I should say.”

He added: “To be honest, a lot of pharmacies are doing a lot of the services privately anyway, we do a private service for patients. It’s just moving on with the times with all the electronic prescribing and GPs online consultation, I think it’s just keeping up with what they’re doing now.

“It should have been done years ago. I think they’re building a bit more trust on us, on what we can do now. I think we will probably help them building that trust showing we can actually do the job.”

Asked if he anticipated any problems that might arise from allowing pharmacies to offer more prescriptions, Jai said:

“If it’s antibiotics, the only danger there is patients obliging us to prescribe more and more antibiotics repeatedly which will lead to antibiotic resistance. I think GPs are able to control [antibiotic prescription] much more, not that we can’t I think we are able to control it as well, but I think we’re a bit more friendlier than general practice so if [patients] want something they’ll probably try and twist our arm saying they need it.

“It needs a firm sort of stance on that and when we say no, no means no. It will just depend on the pharmacist and how they deal with it, but as drawbacks go I think the only other drawback will be staffing levels and with the minimum wage going up that’s going to impact us as well. It might not be cost effective to have another member of staff so it could be an issue.”

Images above: Rachel Patel, Sabel Pharmacy

Sabel Pharmacy, Chiswick High Road – Good idea to solve the pressure on GP appointments

Rachel Patel, co-owner of Sabel Pharmacy at 44 Chiswick High Road, likes the idea of more pharmacists being able to prescribe. She highlighted that similar practices are already in place in Scotland and Wales, where pharmacists are prescribers in their own right.

“Theres a bit of a difference between me prescribing something in my own right and this, it would be slightly different,” said Rachel. “For example it would be similar to what we do now with flu jabs and what we do for travel vaccines and numerous other services we do very similar things. So they will lay down strict guidelines, these are the conditions you can use it for these are the patients you can use it for, etcetera.”

Rachel said she believes the reason the Government say they are making the changes. She says there are issues with patients accessing GP services, particularly for acute conditions: “They might not be able to see them as quickly as they would like. We get a lot of people who say they can’t get an appointment.”

Though broadly welcoming, she stressed the need for proper funding otherwise it just would not feasible for pharmacies to take on the extra workload:

“If we’re expected to do it for absolutely nothing on top of everything else, then that’s not going to be feasible. We just can’t do that.”

Rachel did not seem convinced the new rules would lead to a spike in patients accessing antibiotics who might not need them.

“I would hope the vast majority of us wouldn’t give them out willy nilly,” she said, “we make sure we follow guidelines and people have symptoms. We don’t just give them out willy nilly to people who don’t need them… We have seen, where I’ve said no to someone because they don’t need it and then they’ve gone to an online GP and got a prescription for antibiotics… There are some papers done on prescribers, and actually pharmacists were found to be the safest prescribers even compared with GPs.”

Images above: Jude Bostock, Morrisons Pharmacy Brentford

Morrisons Pharmacy, Brentford – Heard about it on the news. It might have been nice to be consulted.

Jude Bostock, a dispenser at Morrisons Pharmacy, was critical of the plans. He said many pharmacies were not equipped to handle the extra workload and worries patients may flood pharmacies with demands for antibiotics without proper assessment.

“We’re lucky to have staff and a proactive pharmacist so it could be worse, but most pharmacies will not have the staffing capacity to handle it. They’ll probably be queueing out the door just to say the news said I can get antibiotics here.

“The NHS is preaching about antibiotic safeguarding, help stop antibiotic resistance by only taking them if absolutely needed, but doctors already hand them out like sweets, imagine if you can just come and demand them.”

Jude worries that with antibiotic stock levels already at what he describes as “the worst I’ve ever seen”, patients who actually need antibiotics could be forced to go without if there is a fresh spike in demand from a new over-the-counter service.

He was also frustrated at the continued lack of official communication from the Government and NHS England, as he and his colleagues only found out about the proposed reforms from reading the news.

“We heard about it on the news, there’s not been any official comms to pharmacies.”

LB Hounslow announce final version of south Chiswick LTN

Image above: South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood sign on Burlington Lane

Final version announced on Tuesday (9 May)

The final version of  the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood scheme has been published by LB Hounslow.

The permanent measures, which the council say are aimed at addressing the climate emergency, congestion, air pollution and making streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, were announced on the Council’s website on Tuesday (9 May).

LB Hounslow says the trial measures, which took place between January 2022 to date, aimed to achieve these goals by reducing the amount of through traffic between the A316 and A4. The traffic surveys undertaken during the trial demonstrate that overall traffic volumes have decreased within the area and show there has been no significant increase in traffic on the surrounding main roads.

This means the access restriction on Staveley Road will remain through a permanent Traffic Management Order.

The decision on the restriction on Burlington Lane means the Council will retain the current no-entry restriction from the A316 and will proceed with a permanent Traffic Management Order that will be implemented by 1 July 2023.

The existing Experimental Traffic Management Order (a traffic regulation order that can apply for up to 18 months to gather data) will remain until this permanent order is brought into operation. This will see the implementation of a permanent barrier at the junction of Burlington Lane and the A316.

Local residents’ groups in Grove Park and Strand on the Green have proposed an alternative system which they think would have been much better for all and Chiswick’s Conservative councillors tried in vain to make the Council reconsider.

READ ALSO: Chiswick’s Conservative councillors demand rethink on Grove Park LTN decisions

READ ALSO: The end of the road for opposition to Grove Park LTN?

 

 

Image above: Cllr Katherine Dunne – Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council and Cabinet member for Climate, Environment and Transport Strategy

Council urges those eligible to sign up for access exemptions

Residents and businesses in the area, as well other eligible groups including carers, can apply for an exemption to the access restrictions in south Chiswick. Full details on eligibility are available here.

As part of this and based on feedback, there will now be access exemptions for all carers, irrespective of whether they hold residential parking permits or not. In addition, further advance warning signs will be added on A316 and taxi exemption signs will also be fitted in the area. The Council say a letter explaining the implementation of this decision is now being sent to homes and businesses in south Chiswick.

The decision follows extensive engagement with residents, businesses, the emergency services and other interested parties throughout the trial period and the Council has made some changes to the scheme based on feedback received. The Council thanked all who gave feedback on the scheme through the formal consultation that ran from 24 January 2022 to 7 September 2022.

Councillor Katherine Dunne, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for Climate, Environment and Transport Strategy, said:

“We are aware that there are a range of views across the spectrum on these measures and we are committed to making the liveable neighbourhoods work for residents in Chiswick.”

“These measures are just one part of our wider strategy to increase sustainable travel across the borough, tackle the climate emergency and make our roads safer.”

Hounslow Council undertook extensive public and stakeholder consultation during the trial period that ran from January 2022 to September 2022.

A copy of the report and Cabinet decision on this scheme can be found on the Council’s website. A list of common questions on the scheme is also available online.

Two jailed for murder of Rishmeet Singh

Images above: Vanushan Balakrishnan, Ilyas Suleiman

Killers thought victim was a member of a rival gang

Two teenagers have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 16-year-old Rishmeet Singh in Southall, in a case of mistaken identity.

Vanushan Balakrishnan, 18, and Ilyas Suleiman, 18, were found guilty of the crime and received minimum sentences of 24 years and 21 years, respectively. The sentencing took place at the Old Bailey on Wednesday (10 May).

The court heard that Rishmeet, an Afghan asylum seeker who arrived in the UK with his mother and grandmother, was wrongfully targeted by the attackers due to mistaken gang affiliation. The victim’s father had been killed by the Taliban, prompting their flight to the UK. Rishmeet, described as a compassionate and ambitious young man, was pursuing a course in public service and wanted to become a police officer.

On the evening of November 24, 2021, Rishmeet had spent a pleasant time with friends in a park in Southall. As he made his way home, he noticed two unknown males running towards him. Realising the danger, Rishmeet shouted a warning to his friends and attempted to flee. He tripped and fell on Raleigh Road, where his pursuers mercilessly stabbed him a total of 15 times.

Despite the swift response of emergency services, Rishmeet was pronounced dead at the scene. The police launched a murder investigation and gathered substantial evidence, including extensive CCTV footage, to track the attackers’ movements before and after the incident.

Balakrishnan wrote lyrics in his notebook about the murder

It was revealed that Balakrishnan and Suleiman, both aged 17 at the time, had spent the day at a flat in Southall with seven others. Equipped with knives and disguises, they left the flat with the intention to commit murder. They met Rishmeet as he said goodbye to his friends on a bridge, mistaking him for a rival gang member due to his appearance.

The attackers abandoned their bicycles and pursued Rishmeet on foot, stabbing him repeatedly. They were captured on CCTV fleeing the scene, their identities partially concealed by hoods and face masks. Returning to the bridge, they collected their bikes and rode back to the flat before changing clothes. The investigation later uncovered damning evidence, including Balakrishnan’s notebook containing lyrics describing the murder scene.

Following a thorough search of Balakrishnan’s residence, police found his clothing, which matched that worn during the attack, along with further lyrics related to the incident on his mobile phone. Balakrishnan had also searched for news reports on the murder. The evidence pointed to the fact that Rishmeet’s murder was a case of mistaken identity, as he was not affiliated with any gang.

Suleiman, who had absconded after the crime, was apprehended on December 9, 2021. He had altered his appearance and attempted to hide evidence. Balakrishnan and Suleiman were subsequently charged and convicted for their crimes.

Images above: Rishmeet Singh

“I will never get over losing him in this way” says victim’s mother

Rishmeet Singh’s mother has been devastated by the loss of her only child and the family has expressed their profound grief. His mother, Gulinder, described the immeasurable impact on her life. In a statement to the court she said:

“Rishmeet was my only child, and he had his whole life ahead of him. No words could ever explain or put into context how I have felt since Rishmeet was taken from us. He has been raised with so much love and now he’s gone. I am struggling to understand as to how and why this happened to my baby boy. I feel I have lost everything and my life is over.

“I will never get over losing him in this way. I will not see him grow up into a young man. I will not see him leave college. I will not see him fulfil his aspirations. I will not see him learn to drive. I will not see him fall in love and get married. I will not become a grandmother and see my son grow old. I have been robbed of so many future events.

“Rishmeet was attending college completing a Public Service course and his ambition was to become a police officer, all he wanted to do was to help people. Rishmeet was well loved by all that knew him, he was a faithful boy and was very caring in his nature.

“I have lost my husband and now I have lost my only child, my son. Justice is finally served for Rishmeet but their sentence will never be enough for me. They have taken my whole life away from me and Rishmeet will never come home again.”

NHS left with clean-up bill after Travellers occupied Hammersmith Hospital’s car park

Image above: Hammersmith Hospital

NHS staff intimidated and vehicles vandalised

A group of approximately 50 travellers, who occupied the car park at Hammersmith Hospital on Monday 1 May, have been accused of intimidating NHS staff members and leaving behind a trail of debris in their wake after they were moved on.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which oversees Hammersmith Hospital, now faces a substantial bill to cover the cleanup expenses, which included the removal of an abandoned caravan dumped on their premises.

Ordinarily used by hospital staff, the car park on the north side of the facility was rendered inaccessible due to the presence of around 20 cars and caravans. The Times reported allegations by a hospital consultant that staff members were subjected to verbal abuse, while their vehicles were deliberately keyed and damaged. Some members of  staff claimed the group drove recklessly around the car park, endangering others.

After recieving an order to vacate the premises under the Criminal and Public Order Act, the travellers left the hospital on Thursday (4 May). They claimed to have been there to attend a wedding. But Hammersmith and Fulham Council obtained compelling evidence from CCTV cameras, which captured acts of vandalism, theft, intimidation directed at NHS workers, and instances of “serious disorder.”

This is the fourth time that a group of travellers have taken up occupation in the hospital’s car parks and management says it has plans to install height restrictions in an attempt to stop them returning.

After the group’s departure, the car park underwent a thorough clearance and was reopened for use by hospital staff on Friday. Measures are being taken to restore normalcy to the area and address any lingering concerns related to security and parking.

Andrew Murray, the NHS trust’s head of facilities, said:

“We apologise to any staff and patients who were impacted by this and are working with the local authority to try prevent a similar situation happening in the future.”

Next Door’s Baby – Theatre at the Tabard review

Image above: Next Door’s Baby ensemble with Sam Woodhams (Priest) and Shaylyn Gibson (Miriam, with baby)

Next Door’s Baby – “Theatre at the Tabard has another hit on its hands”

Review by Simon Thomsett

The new show at the Tabard takes us back to 1950’s Dublin in a revival of Matthew Strachan and Bernie Gaughan’s gripping and emotional play with music, Next Door’s Baby.

Neighbouring households, the O’Briens and the Hennessys decide to enter their newest arrivals in a Bonny Baby competition run by the local paper. In the meantime, long held family secrets are gradually uncovered, some of which will have profound consequences.

In an outstanding cast, Jackie Pulford as the O’Brien matriarch grabs the show from the start with a strong opening number and sets the tone for what follows. Her offspring are introduced: Sheila, played by Hayley-Jo Murphy as a fizzing bundle of energy who wants more than anything be a nun, Logan McQuillan as her brother Larry who bounces around the set with an ever present football, and elder son Dickie, who is being reluctantly forced into adulthood, played by Ben Hannigan, who impressively steals the scene during his big musical number. Their sister, Orla, a moving and tender performance from Amber Deasy, is the quiet one, in the background at first but slowly becoming the emotional focal point.

Image above: Dickie and Orla – Ben Hannigan and Amber Deasy

The rivalry with the Hennessys is enjoyably played out. As Mrs Hennessy, Abigail Williams, is the very model of showy piety.  Her sassy daughter Miriam, played with a big heart but scary vulnerability by Shaylyn Gibson befriends Orla and shows her the way to possible redemption.

Director Keith Strachan moves it all along with skill, giving the musical numbers that punctuate the story room to breathe. He turns the familial twists and turns into something quite gripping.

There are diversions along the way including a church service presided over by Sam Woodham’s nervous vicar, miming along to the hymns whilst keeping an eye on his recalcitrant congregation.  It doesn’t add much to the plot but it is a lot of fun.

Image above: Miriam and Conrad – Shaylyn Gibson and Sam Woodhams

Matthew Strachan’s music is delicate, nuanced and immediate enough to seem at once familiar and yet original; it is served well by live playing by Beth Jerem and some very strong vocal performances and reaches a crescendo with an unlikely paean to the joys to be found in Kilburn. The cast also get to show off their dancing skills here and there, Hayley-Jo Murphy in particular, showing us a nifty pair of feet.

Bernie Gaughan’s script is lively and convincing, revealing bit by bit the secrets families keep in order to maintain respectability. As the end comes into view, the outcome remains in the balance and is resolved in a moving and believable way. There is also a neat and crowd pleasing coda at the curtain call just to make sure you head off into the night with a spring in your step. This is good, the theatre at the Tabard has another hit on its hands. Next Door’s Baby opened on 4 May and is running now at the Theatre at the Tabard until 27 May.

Image above: The O’Brien family

Simon Thomsett

Simon Thomsett has worked in the professional theatre for a number of years. He started out as a stage manager and technician then became a venue director and producer, notably at the Hackney Empire, Fairfield Halls and most recently the New Victoria Theatre in Woking.

Since leaving full time work last year, he is now working as a consultant and on some small scale producing projects. He is a Chiswick resident and a passionate advocate for great theatre.

 

Next Door’s Baby at the Tabard – Interview with director Keith Strachan

Image above: Keith Strachan

For a man who has just reached the end of a busy rehearsal period and is preparing himself and his team for the opening night of his new show, director Keith Strachan is remarkably bouncy.  I met him backstage at the Tabard Theatre, a few hours before Next Door’s Baby is due to open.

I asked him how he got started in the theatre business; surprisingly it seems to have been almost accidental.

“I was never trained as a musician, I was never trained in theatre.  I used to play piano in a youth club band and really enjoyed that… I was in groups in the early ’60’s and late ’50’s.  I went to university and I became a school teacher.  It was just a job that I sort of fell into… I rather enjoyed it, I taught for about ten years but I was always dabbling in music.”

One of the bands he was in landed a record deal and he stopped teaching.

“It was for about two years and we toured round Europe, lost money… but we had great fun.”

So it was back to teaching, although he kept playing piano at weekends in a pub in order to make some extra money.

“Of course, it was the music that I loved and that led on to other things and eventually somebody asked me to be involved in a fringe production.  I got asked to be the MD of this little musical, I didn’t even know what MD meant,  I thought it meant managing director.”

Eventually someone enlightened him and told him he was the Musical Director.  He asked what he had to do and was told: “You have to teach the people the songs and play the piano….

“I got the bass player that had worked with me in the pub and we did this show and lo and behold it transferred into the West End.”

Wisely he had not at that point given up the day job because the transfer only lasted about five weeks and, in his words, “It all fell to bits.”  But, he had well and truly caught the bug.  It would be another six months before he gave up teaching for good when he was offered MD on a musical about Elvis and that, as he says “was the start of it.”

“After that, I worked mostly in music and theatre as an MD. Something (I worked on) drifted into being a television series, so I got a bit of work in television. Years later my work in television developed into writing bits of music here and there. I drifted into directing in theatre and in television I drifted into being a composer, so I had two entirely different jobs.”

The television work was mostly in light entertainment, in particular game shows. One of his connections created Who Wants to be a Millionaire and so: “I ended up writing the music for that.”

Image above: Jeremy Clarkson in Who Wants to be a Millionaire; photograph ITV

More success followed: with others, he wrote a musical, The Little Match Girl which featured a number he called Mistletoe and Wine. Somehow that song found its way to Cliff Richard and it became a famous Christmas number 1 hit.

He allows himself a wry smile as he reflects on a long career for which he is remembered for two things: Mistletoe and Wine, which took half an hour to write and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the music for which he wrote with his son, Matthew over three weeks. Their success has allowed him to pick and choose his projects and it is clear that his heart is very much in his current project at the Tabard.

“I love it here… it’s quite different to working in a big proscenium arch theatre… the immediacy, you can almost touch the audience, its such a delight. I love working in small spaces, you’ve got to be really inventive to make your story work.”

Image above: Miriam with baby in church; Sam Woodhams (Priest) and Shaylyn Gibson (Miriam, with baby)

Which brings us to Next Door’s Baby, what can we expect?

Set in 1950’s Dublin, the starting point of writer Bernie Gaughan’s story was “the shame of bringing up a baby that’s illegitimate in a household where the grandmother takes over parenthood of the child.”

Bernie was married to Matthew Strachan, who was busy writing songs and music for television, and they decided to work together and create a play with music which duly premiered at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond in 2008.

Despite a successful run and “expectations that it would go on from there”, in the way of things that was not to be at the time. Recently, Strachan read the play and listened to the music again and decided it was too good to allow it to remain just a memory; this would be his next project.

It’s clearly unfinished business for him and an enterprise that is very close to his heart.  He has a twinkle in his eye when he talks about the show, he is obviously excited and can’t wait for an audience to watch and listen.  I asked him to sum it up.

“It has a redemptive quality… it’s very moving… It’s a great show, the writer has Ireland in her blood, it’s very touching,” and with that, he was off, last minute tweaks and words of encouragement to his company before their opening night.

Next Door’s Baby opened on 4 May and is running now at the Theatre at the Tabard.

Simon Thomsett

Train strikes this week to coincide with Eurovision song contest

Image above: A Southwestern Railway train at Chiswick Station

Strikes will go ahead on 12 May, 31 May & 3 June – with worker overtime slashed

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Aslef union have announced a new round of strikes that will affect major events over the next month.

The Aslef union, representing train drivers, has announced its members will take strike action this coming Friday (12 May), Wednesday 31 May and Saturday 3 June.

Additionally, non-contractual overtime will be withdrawn on this coming Saturday (13 May), from Monday 15 to Saturday 20 May, and on Thursday 1 June.

The RMT union has scheduled a strike for this Saturday (13 May), the day of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool. RMT members have shown overwhelming support for further strike action, with 90% of the votes cast in favour of more walkouts, extending the union’s mandate for industrial action for another six months.

The strike on 3 June coincides with the FA Cup final, where Manchester City and Manchester United will face each other at Wembley, and is likely to cause significant disruption to those travelling to watch the game.

Stations likely to be affected include: Chiswick, Chiswick Park, Gunnersbury, Acton Town, Kew Bridge, Brentford and South Acton.

Images above: Chiswick Station sign showing train cancellations

Fresh pay offer described as “risible” 

The strikes are a result of disputes over pay offers and working conditions. Aslef has rejected a 4% pay offer from the 16 train companies with which it remains in dispute. They say the proposal is inadequate considering the rate of rising inflation and the lack of pay increases for drivers since 2019.

Aslef described the 4% pay offer as “risible”. General Secretary Mick Whelan said:

“Our executive committee met this morning and rejected a risible proposal we received from the RDG.

“The proposal – of just 4 per cent – was clearly not designed to be accepted, as inflation is still running north of 10 per cent and our members at these companies have not had an increase for four years.

“The RDG, in turn, rejected our proposals to modernise Britain’s railways and help them run more efficiently, for passengers and for businesses, in the 21st century.”

The rail companies affected by the Aslef drivers’ strike include Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, London North Eastern Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway, SWR depot drivers, SWR Island Line, and TransPennine Express.

Image above: RMT members on the picket line in Acton; Twitter @Rogerablackwell 

“Huge anger amongst rail workers”

The RMT union’s strike is a response to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) rejecting their proposals to ‘modernise’ the railways and ‘improve efficiency’, while offering a 5% first-year payment only if the union terminates its industrial mandate.

The RMT’s General Secretary Mick Lynch has regularly condemned attempts by private rail operators to ‘modernise’ the railways, which he says is code for automating jobs, cutting key services and putting passenger safety at risk. Mr Lynch said:

“The RDG have reneged on their original proposals and torpedoed these negotiations. No doubt their decision is due to pressure exerted on them by the Tory Government.”

Following the RMT re-ballot, he added:

“It is clear from these results that members are not prepared to accept a pay offer based on mass job cuts and major attacks on their terms and conditions.

“This sends a clear message to the employers that the huge anger amongst rail workers is very real and they need to recognise that fact, face reality and make improved proposals.”

The RMT’s dispute affects rail workers (including cleaners and front of house staff) from operators such as Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, Transpennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains, and GTR (including Gatwick Express).

Image above: Transport Secretary Mark Harper, RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch

Transport Secretary condemns strikes during Eurovision 

Following the recent ballot by the RMT, an RDG spokesperson said:

“While the outcome of the ballot is disappointing, sadly it is also unsurprising during an on-going dispute such as this.

“The vote that really matters is for the deal on the table developed in conjunction with RMT negotiators but then subsequently rejected out of hand in unflattering terms by their executive committee, without giving their membership a single chance to have their say.

“The RMT membership would be forgiven for wondering why they are only ever offered a vote to extend this dispute and a never vote to end it.”

The Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said strikes should not be going ahead during Eurovision. Instead of striking, Mr Harper said UK rail workers should be working in solidarity with Ukrainian rail workers, many of whom have been killed by Russian forces during the war in Ukraine. He told Sky News:

“I think it’s very damaging that the rail unions are calling a strike specifically targeting the Eurovision Song Contest.

“I’ve met with the head of Ukrainian Railways. The Ukrainian railways have been specifically targeted by Vladimir Putin. Rail workers are being killed in their hundreds.

“And I would have thought, frankly, rail workers would have wanted to stand in solidarity with them rather than targeting the Eurovision Song Contest, which, if you remember, it’s not our song contest.

“We are hosting it, but we’re hosting it for Ukraine and I think cynically targeting events that hard-working, working men and women across the country are spending their money on to try and attend and targeting those I think is very cynical.”

Open season on Chiswick businesses targeted by burglars

Image above: Burglars attempted to break into Ma Ma Boutique Bakery; Marzena Lubaska

Burglars continue continue to target Chiswick shops

We reported last month about a spate of break-ins at shops on Chiswick High Rd. The ‘spate’ seems to be an ongoing regular crime wave, as more businesses have told us they have been broken into this month, including Ma Ma Boutique Bakery and Gisoo Hair & Beauty Salon.

Ma Ma Boutique Bakery, which opened on the High Rd last August, selling award-winning gluten-free artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches and sweets, a was targeted by burglars in the early hours of Tuesday morning (2 May).

Marzena Lubaszka, the bakery’s co-owner told The Chiswick Calendar she had considered installing more security when they opened last year, but took the advice of her builders, who told her it was unnecessary since they were  on the High Road.

Her bakery was one of up to five businesses The Chiswick Calendar has been told about, targeted in the area over the past week.

The burglars were unsuccessful in gaining entry to the bakery, but they managed to damage the front door frame and crack the security glass. The incident was captured on CCTV, which showed  they spent about one minute trying to gain access before giving up. The police sent forensic officers to gather evidence the following day.

The incident has left Marzena feeling scared and unsafe, particularly as she often starts work very early in the morning and is usually alone in the bakery.

“I feel scared. I start work very early at about 4.00am and I am usually by myself. Nobody can see from outside that anyone is in. If somebody breaks into the shop and I am there and then they realise someone is there… I could come to harm and I don’t feel safe.”

Images above: Inside Gisoo Hair & Beauty Salon the day after the burglary; Fabi Fazeli

“Why aren’t the police doing anything?”

Gisoo Hair & Beauty Salon was also targeted by the burglars the night before at around 11.30pm (Monday 1 May).

Fabi Fazeli, the salon’s owner, expressed her distress at the damage caused to her business, which had been broken into and ransacked for about 45 minutes. The burglars appeared “desperate for cash” in CCTV footage, she told us. They emptied almost every drawer and container in the salon, and left hairdressing supplies scattered around the shop.

Fabi told The Chiswick Calendar was shocked by the extent of the damage they had caused.

“The damage is [largely] mental because I was shocked,” said Fabi. “The mess was unbelievable, but so far I don’t think they’ve taken anything. They took maybe £20 to £15 in change which we keep to give to customers.”

Fabi reported the incident to the police, who sent forensic officers to collect fingerprint swabs. Despite this, they informed her when leaving there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the case any further and it was closed.

In the aftermath of the break-in, Fabi had a male friend sleep in the salon overnight, as a precaution in case the burglars returned.

“I feel very insecure and unsafe,” said Fabi, “I don’t understand why people would do this and why the police aren’t doing anything about it”.

She is frustrated at the police’s lack of progress in finding the perpetrators, who had their faces covered and have not been identified.

Both the salon and Ma Ma Boutique Bakery have recordings of the burglars, and the owners of both businesses suspect the burglaries are connected and are urging the police to do more to catch them.

Images above: Ma Ma Boutique Bakery owners Marzena and Nigel, Gisoo Hair & Beauty Salon owner Fabi Fazeli

Unclear whether police have linked break-ins

Ma Ma Boutique Bakery’s owner, Marzena, said the police told her four businesses in total had been targeted on Chiswick High Road in recent days.

Last month The Chiswick Calendar reported the Piano Restaurant, Firezza, and Oxfam Boutique on Chiswick High Rd had all been broken into, as was Aprilmae on Devonshire Road. The burglars used similar tactics with these break-ins, searching for cash during one break-in and in another stealing thousands of pounds worth of merchandise.

In a separate incident on Thursday 27 April a walk-in thief stole personal items and work equipment from Ten Fitness in Barley Mow Passage while the reception desk was not staffed. A man quietly entered reception from the street door and helped himself to a laptop and charger from a cupboard behind reception and a jumper and earphones belonging to one of the gym’s trainers.

We have been told also that Pronto Print and Mary’s Living & Giving have been targeted, as was a dry cleaner’s.

Business owners have repeatedly voiced their concerns about their vulnerability, and traders such as Marzena are thinking to form a neighbourhood watch of High Road businesses because of what they describe as a lack of proper police assistance.

The Chiswick Calendar has approached the Metropolitan Police team to find out how many businesses have been broken into in Chiswick recently, whether these break-ins and burglaries are linked, and whether officers are any closer to identifying suspects. We have not yet received a reply.

Dog Show volunteers host ‘Doggie Dash’ at Chiswick House as part of The Big Help Out

Image above: Doggie Dash winners: Manners and his family

Dog Show volunteer drive success after event draws over 50 competitors

As part of the coronation celebrations this weekend, volunteers who run the annual Chiswick Dog Show in September braved the weather to organise a ‘Doggie Dash’ on the Western Lawn of Chiswick House & Gardens.

Chiswick House was taking part in the Big Help Out, the national campaign to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities which enable people to make a positive impact in their local communities.

Around 50 dogs of various shapes and sizes were timed as they sprinted along a 30-meter stretch of the Western Lawn, enthusiastically racing towards their owners. The free event, led by Jan Preece, Chair of the Chiswick Dog Show was organised in the hope of attracting some more volunteers for the Dog Show, scheduled for 24 September this year and their efforts paid off as they were recruited approximately more than 20 new volunteers.

The competitors’ timings were meticulously recorded on A-boards in three categories: small dogs, medium dogs, and large dogs.

Image above: Pip and his owner (left), Coco and her family (right); 

Fastest dog ran 30m in 2.93 seconds

Pip emerged as the victor in the larger dogs category, completing the dash in an impressive time of 3.3 seconds. Coco claimed victory in the Small category with a time of 3.7 seconds. However, the true star of the day was Manners, who triumphed in the Medium category, finishing the dash in a just 2.93 seconds.

Every participant in the Doggie Dash was rewarded with a canvas tote bag from Dog Town, the pet shop on Chiswick High Road. They received a grooming voucher and treats from Brian Recommends Dog Treats, a local company based in Shepherd’s Bush, as well as a voucher for more dog treats, while the humans were presented with a bottle of white wine.

While some dogs exhibited a nonchalant attitude and ran in the opposite direction or turned back midway, most got the hang of it, shooting down the 30-meter stretch with enthusiasm.

There werew some however who refused to take part, circling the racing zone instead, barking and playing throughout the event, to the chagrin of their exasperated owners. One told The Chiswick Calendar: “This is the most un-relaxing thing ever”.

Meanwhile, the dogs were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Images above: Some dogs were enthusiastic, others were slackers…

Volunteers clean Chiswick House and tend to its gardens

Chiswick House & Gardens joined thousands of organisations across the UK in welcoming volunteers as part of The Big Help Out. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Labour Leader Keir Starmer, and members of the Royal Family, along with numerous national organisations, embraced voluntary roles for the day.

The Chiswick House & Gardens Trust expressed gratitude for the support of its funders, members, and patrons, as well as the invaluable contributions of over 180 volunteers who help maintain the gardens’ splendour for the thousands of visitors each year.

Volunteers were invited to work with the Chiswick House & Gardens Trust’s regular gardening team, assisting with tasks such as weeding invasive species and developing habitat areas. People who preferred indoor work joined the spring cleaning team with Director of the Grade-I listed Neo-Palladian villa, Xanthe Arvanitakis.

Jobs included delicately dusting the interior using conservator-approved brushes and cloths, and meticulously cleaning the stonework on the front and back exterior stairways.

Image above: Chiswick House and Gardens Director Xanthe Arvanitakis (bottom right) and volunteers cleaning Chiswick House’s staircase

Images above: Volunteer gardeners spreading manure on the Kitchen Garden at Chiswick House

Volunteer at Chiswick House and Gardens

If you would like to volunteer at Chiswick House, they advertise for volunteers ontheir website when they need them.

chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Chiswick’s coronation weekend – Street parties

Wellesley Rd street party

Chiswick was full of ‘road closed’ signs on Sunday (7 May). Ruth Cadbury MP managed to get to six street parties – four on Sunday and two on Monday – “All different, all wonderful”. If the photographs of the cakes are anything to go by, she chose wisely in going to the one in Wellesley Rd.

Pictures by Jennifer Griffiths

Images above: Ruth Cadbury MP at Wellesley Rd street party

 

Bake off judge and cakes

Paella, dancing, raffle and face painting

Pretty bubbles in the air

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick’s coronation weekend – The Flower Market picture gallery

See also: Chiswick’s coronation weekend – Lunch on the Green picture gallery

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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

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

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Daily Mail targets Jeremy Vine over a Twitter account the broadcaster says is not even his

Image above: Jeremy Vine; photograph BBC

Confusion reigns as Dail Mail references ‘hateful content’ and a Chiswick ‘anti-cycling’ group

The Daily Mail has targeted broadcaster Jeremy Vine for misuse of a Twitter account, but, says the BBC presenter, they were talking about an account which is not even his.

The headline in the Mail’s story by Katie Hind on Friday (5 May) reads:

‘Twitter suspends Jeremy Vine for breaking its ‘hateful content’ rules after naming woman who opposes ‘dangerous’ cycling lane – amid fears he could be breaking BBC’s impartiality regulations’.

The ‘dangerous’ cycling lane is C9, Chiswick High Rd’s own love-it-or-hate-it cycleway. The woman they are talking about ‘runs an anti-cycling group in Chiswick, west London, where he lives’ and judging from the discussion on the OneChiswick Facebook group, that is the group to which they refer.

Article ‘very misleading’

Jeremy took to social media at the weekend to defend himself, saying:

‘For what it’s worth, the newspaper article yesterday saying my Twitter account was locked was very, very misleading.’

None of his tweets have broken any rules, he says, and:

“Far from me “naming the person who leads the anti-cycling group in west London,” she had already given an interview under her own name to the, um, Daily Mail”.

Fellow Chiswick cyclist Paul Campbell Tweeted this was the account which had been suspended:

Chiswick celebrates King Charles III coronation

Image above: A moment from the coronation of King Charles III

Street parties galore and a special flower market held to mark the occasion

As King Charles III’s coronation unfolded with all its pomp and circumstance at Westminster Abbey on Saturday (6 May), residents and visitors to Chiswick enthusiastically celebrated the historic event over the weekend, with many showing their deep sense of patriotism and appreciation for the monarchy.

Images above: Cream teas and caramel popcorn at Chiswick Cinema; photographs Chris Parker

Cream teas and songs for the King

Cream teas were the order of the day at Chiswick Cinema where 80 or so people went to watch the ceremony on a big screen, many of them decked out in red, white and blue.

Also on Saturday regulars at St Michael & All Angels Church and the Tabard pub gathered on the corner of The Avenue and Bath Rd for the Big Sing for the King, the drizzle failing to dampen their enthusiasm as they belted out some of the best known and most singable pop tunes from the 70 years since the last coronation.

SEE ALSO: Gallery of pictures from the Big Sing for the King

Image above: Robert Styles gives a Punch & Judy performance at Chiswick Flower Market

“That’s the way to do it” Chiswick Flower Market

On Sunday, the Old Market Place was decked out in Union Jack bunting for the Coronation Flower Market, with free Punch & Judy performances, live music and the best of British flowers on sale.

The market saw the biggest number of visitors yet. Some ten thousand people came to buy plants and cut flowers, to watch Robert Styles’ Punch and Judy and performances by the Urban Fox Steel Band, Chiswick School, W4 Youth, and the Chiswick Theatre Arts Performing Arts School.

SEE ALSO: Gallery of pictures from the Chsiwick Flower Market

The Big Lunch at Strand on the Green

Declan Donelly, the half of Ant & Dec who still lives in Chiswick, was among thousands who enjoyed The Big Lunch hosted by the Strand on the Green Association on Sunday. Dec, who used to live in Strand on the Green and now lives in Grove Park, stayed for a couple of hours chatting to people and enjoying the atmosphere.

Tables were laid out on the grass opposite the Steam Packet pub, and people could either buy lunch from the local pubs and stalls or bring their own picnic.

SEE ALSO: Gallery of pictures from Lunch on the Green

From intimate gatherings to vibrant street parties, Chiswick residents came together to honour the new King. Though there was a strong sense of patriotism in the air, some had reservations about the cost of the whole thing, considering there’s a cost of living crisis.

Here’s what some attendees had to say.

Image above: Khatijae Shakur, Chiswick Flower Market

“I felt a strong sense of patriotism”

At Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday (7 May), Khatijae Shakur, a Chiswick resident who watched the coronation from the comfort of her home due to health concerns, expressed her excitement and regret at not being able to join the crowds in London.

“I felt a strong sense of patriotism”, Khatijae told The Chiswick Calendar, emphasising her support for the monarchy and the symbolism of the ceremony.

“I watched it at home on the television, not with friends because I am still sort of shielding at the moment because I’m on immunosuppressants, so I have to be careful.

“I was very happy, it was a shame I couldn’t be celebrating it with anyone, but yes, I felt a strong sense of patriotism.”

Khatijae shrugged off what she described as the “negativities” surrounding the coronation, referring directly to the anti-monarchy protestors in central London.

“I don’t support [the protestors] view, so I was very happy to see Prince Charles crowned as King finally.”

Images above: Alfie and Monica Roberts (left), Max and Hannah (right)

“It brings out the best in this country”

Alfie and Monica Roberts, who were also at the Chiswick Flower Market, spoke of their admiration for the coronation. Alfie, reminiscing on Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, noted how it brought out the best in the country and united people from diverse backgrounds.

“I remember I was six years old [when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned], I’ve now seen this one and I always think it brings out the best in this country when you see people come out in the streets like that.”

Monica agreed, saying that the event stirred feelings of patriotism and pride.

Of a younger generation, Hannah and her partner Max, who is originally from Austria, celebrated the coronation by attending lively street party outside their parents’ house in Ealing, which had around 50 attendees.

“We watched the whole thing yesterday,” Hannah said, “I thought it was great, I mean it’s good to see all the crowds out and everything.”

“We had a good time. I think especially Max, because it’s it’s his first coronation,” The first coronation for most of us, I said and Hannah laughed. “Yeah, that’s true, first royal event I should say.”

Images above: Strand on the Green party; Strand on the Green Association

King “should have saved a bit more money” 

Anne and Alex, who were sitting on a wall overlooking the Thames enjoying the Strand on the Green street party, recognised the positive impact of the royal family on tourism. Anne did not watch the coronation, but was eager to make the most of the weekend.

“I was out last night with friends celebrating” said Anne. “I’m here today too to try and remember this in a few years time, so I can say that I did actually do something over the coronation.”

Alex watched some of the ceremony, but wasn’t impressed with all the pomp in the midst of the cost of living crisis. “I believe the king missed an opportunity there,” said Alex”, I think he should have saved a bit more money. I think he spent way too much considering a lot people are struggling.”

According to some reports, the coronation may have cost up to £250 million of taxpayer money, partly due to the vast security costs. Official sources who were on the Operation Golden Orb organising committee have suggested a more conservative estimate of £100 million. Other traditional rituals, such as presenting the monarch with gold ingots, were axed for the ceremony.

“I heard different figures” Alex continued, “but even if it was only a few million, removing some of the jewellery was not enough considering what’s happening at the moment [with the cost of living crisis].”

“But other than that it was good, and it’s something that has to be celebrated.”

Images above: Alex and Anne (left), the Meledy family (right)

“Not the time or the place” for protests

Across the road, the Meledy family were making their way to the Lunch on the Green stalls with their children. Mrs. Meledy Sr, said she found Charles to be “visibly nervous” when watching the coronation.  She also said she felt patriotic. When asked how she celebrated the occasion, Mr. Meledy laughed and said “She drank a bottle of wine!”.

“We just came to sit on the green and have a wander really” said Mrs. Meledy.

Image above: Simon and Judy

“I watched it on my TV, my iPad and my iPhone”

Around the corner on Spring Grove, about thirty residents were celebrating with a private street party. Amateur musicians were playing instrumental music under a gazebo, while residents and their guests feasted on pork pies, prosecco and scones.

Simon, who lives on Spring Grove, expressed his appreciation for the pomp and organisation of the coronation.

“Yeah it was really good. Pomp like nobody else does it. Well organised” Simon said.

Sitting next to Simon was Judy, who lives near Chiswick Park station. She was visiting her friend who also lives on Spring Grove, though she was nowhere to be seen when we chatted. An ardent patriot, Judy immersed herself in the event by watching the coronation on multiple devices.

“I had it on my TV, my iPad and my iPhone.” I asked if she watched it alone or with family and friends, assuming she may have needed the devices for multiple people. “No, I watched it alone, do you think my family would have allowed me to do that?” she laughed.

Chiswick’s coronation weekend – Lunch on the Green

The Big Lunch at Strand on the Green

Organisers of Lunch on the Green were delighted that thousands of people turned up to celebrate the King’s coronation at Strand on the Green as part of the nationwide Big Lunch on Sunday (7 May).

The day was organised and funded by the Strand on the Green Association, with help from local businesses including the Steam Packet and Bell & Crown pubs. Families found lots of free things to do, including the popular Photo Booth to have your picture taken as a ‘royal family’ and Pin the Medal on the King and Queen.

Lunch was on the green opposite The Steam Packet and the offices of Fuller’s, who generously provided their dray horses for the day. The Steam Packet provided tables, chairs, floor rugs and the music system so people could bring their own picnic or buy lunch from local traders and sit in comfort.

Images above: Declan Donelly – photograph Scott Christy-Jones @SChristyJones; Fuller’s dray horses – photograph Georgina Huxstep

Declan Donelly, the half of Ant & Dec who still lives in Chiswick, was among those who enjoyed themselves there. He stayed for a couple of hours chatting to people and enjoying the atmosphere.

Sideshows included giant tin cans and some bean bags borrowed from Strand on the Green Junior School – knock them down and you won a chocolate coin – and throwing ping pong balls in buckets. You could also make your own crown at a craft tent where those with a creative bent covered themselves in glue.

Images above: The Photo Booth

There was a free treasure hunt organised by local blue badge guide Guy Fairbank and Alice Cooper. Alice also brought her bubble machine which the smaller children just loved, Lucy Cufflin, one of the organisers told The Chiswick Calendar.

The Strand on the Green residents group had leafleted the area asking for help and received handmade cakes from all the community, the told us.

“People even just turned up with cakes on the day after getting the leaflet through the door.”

Image above: Fuller’s dray horses

There was live music from Strange Fumes, Shady Grove and Chiswick School steel and band and junior choir.

“Everyone in the community joined together to enjoy our little slice of heaven on the Thames” said Lucy.

“The best thing of all was that so many local residents gave up time to help to get things ready before and we had a huge amount of help on the day – there was a great team spirit amongst the helpers and some new friends were made.

“We were thrilled to raise money for Hounslow Food Box but for me the real winner is the wonderful sense of community and belonging that it fostered – hard work of course, but just loved it!”

Images above: Cake stall; Tombola

Fellow SoGA committee member Alan McBride added:

“Sunday was a stunning celebration of what can be achieved by a community coming together. It was a wonderful celebration of the King’s coronation and a great opportunity to raise money for local causes”.

Images above: The popular Photo Booth

Ann Collins, Chair of SoGA said:

“I loved to see so many people coming together as a community to have fun in our beautiful part of London. Heartfelt thanks to the 50 volunteers who worked so hard to made it happen!”

Images above: Craft tent; Chillin’ by the river

The Coffee Traveller, a little way up the road, gave donation from the pastries they sold and in total the event raised just over £2,000 primarily for Hounslow Food Box.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick’s coronation weekend – The Flower Market gallery of pictures

See also: Chiswick’s coronation weekend – The Big Sing for the King gallery of pictures

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.

GB juniors skuller Jess Weir from Chiswick wins three gold medals

Image above: Jess Weir, gold medallist skuller

Next stop, the European Championships

Jess Weir (18) from Grove Park has won three gold medals in the Munich International Regatta. The competition over the weekend saw teams from Germany but also international teams competing from Poland, the Czech Republic and Croatia amongst others. Jess was representing Team GB.

As she is under 19 she was representing Junior Women, and as her birthday fell in February, she has been selected to represent Junior Women in the European Championships on 20 May and hopes also to compete in the World Championships in August.

Jess, who is in the sixth form at Shiplake College in Henley, doing her A Levels this summer, won three gold medals – one for each of the skulling events she entered. She won one with doubles partner Matilda Drewitt, from Kingston Grammar School, and two quads trophies with Matilda, Ella Fullman and Yasmin Howe.

“I wasn’t really expecting it” she told The Chiswick Calendar. “I have worked very hard but only really became competitive in the past year. I would have been very happy with one bronze.

“It’s incredible. It just feels surreal.”

Image above: Jess with doubles skulling partner Matilda Drewitt

Jess will be going to study in America in the autumn. She has won a full sports scholarship to study sport and health management and psychology in Dallas, Texas, at SMU, the Southern Methodist University.

I asked how she had celebrated after their victories, and the answer was, she didn’t. It was straight back on the plane on Monday night, and back to school the next morning. With A Level exams coming up and the European Championships in two weeks’ time, she is training 12 – 13 hours a week and revising in between.

“It’s a busy summer” she said.

Chiswick’s coronation weekend – The Big Sing for the King

A damp declaration of fealty

A light drizzle did not deter people from turning up for the Big Sing for the King on Saturday (6 May). After Handel’s Zadok the Priest, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Coronation Anthem and Judith Weir’s Brighter Visions Shine Afar, at Westminster Abbey, it was time to lower the tone with a bit of pop music everyone could sing along to, outside St Michael & All Angels Church in Bedford Park.

Organised by the Church and the Tabard pub, the crowd sang lustily, working their way through such classic anthems as Hey Jude, I’m The King of the Swingers, Twist and Shout, Daydream Believer and Mamma Mia.

Father Kevin said:

“We were astonished and delighted that well over 200 people came and sang despite the rain. Some even knew the words to Teenage Dirtbag! It was a wonderful way for us and the team at the Tabard pub to celebrate Coronation Day with local people – and we raised over £1,400 for our charities. Thank you to everyone who sang and donated so generously.”

Pictures by Torin Douglas

I would go 500 miles

(L) Fr Kevin welcomes the crowd; (R) Twist and shout

More pictures by Alan Weavis

(R) Musician Piers Wood-Jenkins

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick celebrates King Charles III coronation

See also: Chiswick’s coronation weekend – The Flower Market gallery of pictures

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.

Chiswick’s coronation weekend – The Flower Market

Biggest turn out yet

Chiswick Flower Market saw the most visitors yet on the Sunday of the coronation weekend. More than ten thousand visitors came to buy from the 30 + stalls and to watch Robert Styles’ Punch and Judy and performances by Chiswick School’s performing arts students, children from Chiswick Theatre and Performing Arts School, and the Urban Fox Steel Band from Ealing.

Thanks to the offer of free ice cream for children, funded by Hounslow Council, and free beer from Fuller’s for adults who spent more than £25 at the market, there was a big queue outside Duci in Devonshire Rd for icecreams and the George IV was doing a brisk trade also.

Pictures by Anna Kunst

(L) Emme Walsh; (R) Matthias Green, Chiswick Theatre and Performing Arts School

Students from Chiswick School Performing Arts 

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See also: Chiswick celebrates King Charles III coronation

See also: Chiswick’s coronation weekend – The Big Sing for the King gallery of pictures

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Police name man stabbed to death near Gunnersbury Park

Image above: Darren Augustine

Victim “did not have a bad bone in his body” says family

A man who was stabbed to death in Brentford has been named as Darren Augustine.

Darren was a 44-year old father of two from Ealing. He died on the street at Brentwick Gardens shortly after 5.15.am on Wednesday 26 April.

Police had earlier been called to the scene after a report of a break in and Darren was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of paramedics to save him.

A post-mortem examination found cause of death to be stab wounds to the chest and abdomen.

In a statement his family said:

“Darren was a family man, he leaves behind his family including two children, he did not have a bad bone in his body.”

In 2016, Augustine was the subject of an injunction order which prevented him from being in the vicinity of Oxford Road, Richmond Road and Walpole Close in West Ealing or approaching two named women who lived in the area.

Detectives still working to identify those responsible 

The investigation into his death is being led by homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

Detective Chief Inspector Sal Minhas, who is leading the investigation, said:

“My thoughts are with Darren’s family and friends as they come to terms with his tragic death. We will do everything we can to support them.

“A dedicated team of detectives are working to establish exactly what happened and identify who is responsible. Officers are at the scene which remains open, and I would ask anyone with information about the incident to contact us immediately, no matter how minor the detail.

“Tackling violent crime remains a top priority for the Met. This incident serves as a reminder that we still have more to do in this area. We continue to work alongside the communities we serve to stop violence.

“I urge anyone with information concerning this incident to call police on 101 or Tweet @MetCC quoting 873/26APR. If you wish to remain anonymous please call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit Crimestoppers-uk.org.”

Eleven arrested on suspicion of murder

Ten people were arrested in connection with Darren’s murder. Seven men and two women of ages ranging from mid-teens to early sixties, have all being granted bail until mid-May. An eleventh person, a man, was arrested on suspicion of murder on 1 May and he has been granted bail until July.

West Area commander Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson said:

“This was a dreadful crime and people will be looking for answers and wanting to know what we are doing to keep our community safe.

“Homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command are investigating and we are fully supporting their investigation. Eleven people have been arrested on suspicion of murder and the enquiries will continue until those responsible are brought to justice.

“I will be doing all I can to keep you and our partners fully informed as the enquiry continues.

“Local officers are there to reassure you and make you feel safe. Please do speak to them; we will listen to what you tell us and work hard to address your concerns.”

The end of the road for opposition to Grove Park LTN?

Image above: Hounslow House

Grove Park traffic scheme ‘call-in’ request denied

The Chair of Hounslow’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Sayyar Raza, has blocked a review of the decision-making process behind several Grove Park traffic schemes in Chiswick.

Opposition councillors had requested a ‘call-in’, ie. a stop on proceedings pending further discussion, claiming that the decision was flawed due to inadequate consultation and evidence, and ‘a lack of proportionality to the desired outcome’.

Following a meeting with the Council’s legal team, Cllr Raza confirmed that he would not allow the call-in request to proceed, saying there was insufficient evidence that the decision process had been flawed.

This means the Cabinet’s recnt decision, based on the earlier consideration of the cross-party Overview and Scrutiny Committee, will go ahead and the traffic restrictions affecting access to Staveley Rd and Burlington Lane from the A316 will stay as they are and become permanent.

Hounslow Council’s lead traffic officer Jefferson Nwokeoma set out the evidence the Council has gleaned regarding traffic volumes and air pollution in Grove Park since the Lower Traffic Neighbourhood scheme was introduced, at a meeting with Chiswick councillors and residents

READ ALSO: Traffic officer Jefferson Nwokeoma briefs residents

‘Hundreds of emails’

Cllr Raza is currently under scrutiny himself, following the statement he made to an official meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that he had received “hundreds of emails” in support of the council’s traffic measures in Grove Park.

Chiswick’s Conservative councillors have questioned whether he had in fact received such a large volume of supportive emails. Several Freedom of Information requests have been made by Chiswick residents regarding the matter, which are still pending.

Decision “disappointing” say Conservatives

“It is disappointing that Cllr Raza has decided to block this request for a call-in, which we believe has solid grounds due to the inadequate consultation, poor data and lack of proportionality of the Grove Park schemes,” said Peter Thompson, Councillor for Chiswick Riverside and leader of the Conservative Group on Hounslow Council.

“The Council seems to be arguing that the call-in cannot go ahead as there is no evidence of the absence of proper consultation and data, which is totally paradoxical. We want the Hounslow Labour group to put aside constitutional tricks and have an open discussion with Chiswick residents and councillors about the future of traffic schemes in Grove Park.”

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Transport, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“The decision to keep traffic schemes in place on Staveley Road and Burlington Lane was made in line with recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC), which has representation from both Labour and Conservative councillors.

“Despite this, the Tories decided to call in the decision, asking for it to be looked at again by a sub-group of the OSC. The call-in request was signed by eight Conservative councillors including group leader Cllr Peter Thompson. Cllr Thompson attended the Cabinet meeting at which the decision was made where he used his speaking rights to say it ‘makes perfect sense’ to ‘keep things as they are’. ”

Cllr Dunne went on:

“I’m glad the decision by the OSC Chair means the Cabinet decision can go ahead. The council carried out extensive consultation on the two schemes but I wanted to be sure before making a recommendation to Cabinet.

“That’s why I referred the report to OSC and asked Cabinet to accept the committee’s recommendations to keep the schemes in place. Cllr Thompson said this made perfect sense so I’m disappointed his group initiated a call in for purely political reasons.

“As well as making the two schemes permanent, Cabinet agreed my additional recommendations reflecting community feedback on carers, speed, signage and communications. I would value input from residents and ward councillors on these so urge opposition members to drop their confrontational attitude and work together to make them a success.”

Police appeal for witnesses as motorcyclist dies after Ealing crash

Image above: Library picture; Metropolitan Police officer

No arrests made after fatal collision 

Specialist detectives investigating a collision on Old Oak Common Lane in Ealing are appealing for witnesses after the motorcyclist involved in the crash died.

Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 3.16pm on Friday (28 April) to reports of a collision involving a car and a motorbike.

Officers attended. Despite the efforts of the emergency services, the motorcyclist, a 35-year-old man, died at the scene. The man’s family has been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.

The driver of the car was taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries.

Detectives from the Met’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit are asking any witnesses with dashcam or mobile phone footage or anyone with any information to contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting reference CAD 3406/28APR. Anyone with information can also contact collision investigators directly on 020 8246 9820

There have been no arrests.

West London feature film “Never A Master Plan” set for May premiere screening in Ealing

Image above: Poster for Never A Master Plan

Film to premiere Wednesday 24 May

West London is set to take centre stage this month with the premiere screening of a new feature film, Never A Master Plan. The film, which marks the drama debut of documentary filmmaker Giorgio Guernier, will be screened in Ealing and at a major London film festival.

Never A Master Plan tells the story of a group of young actors, musicians, students, and artists in their 20s and 30s who are striving to find their place in the world while living on the fringes of the capital and struggling to cope with limited opportunities and money.

The film is a realistic snapshot of modern city living and features an energetic indie soundtrack by Big Boys, The Dils, Kikagaku Moyo, and La Quiete.

Giorgio Guernier, who wrote, produced, and directed the film, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“It’s my tribute to cinema vérité and to the London creative community. I have a documentary background and I’ve always been interested in people and the reality in which they live.”

The film features performances by up-and-coming French actress Margaux Billard, supported by a troupe of non-professional actors, including Allegra Shock, Ella Clayton Bell, Sandro Crisafi, and Thomas Rossi. The characters are based on the real-life experiences of the actors and their dialogues are improvised.

Giorgio added:

“I’ve added to the recipe a pinch of rock music, a genre I’ve grown up on and which was the subject of my first film, Suburban Steps to Rockland.” The film also features surprise appearances by drummer/guitarist Jonah Falco and counterculture music legends singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan and bass player Mike Watt.

Never A Master Plan promises to be a poignant and honest portrayal of the struggles and dreams of young creatives in London. The trailer for the film can be viewed on Vimeo.

Image above: Celeste (Allegra Shock) and Lee (Margaux Billard) in a scene from Never A Master Plan, the new feature film written and directed by Giorgio Guernier about a group of creative Londoners told through a series of interconnected vignettes.

Ealing screening details 

The premiere screening in Ealing will be followed by a Q&A with Never A Master Plan writer, director and producer Giorgio Guernier and members of the cast.

Wednesday 24 May at the Ealing Project Cinema (1 High Street, Ealing London W5 5DB) at 8.00pm – ealingproject.co.uk

Episode 118: World Cricket And All That Shapes It Covered By Wisden Editor Lawrence Booth

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.

Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2023 is the longest edition on record. It not only records the present state of global cricket but also reflects on the mighty global forces – political, social, commercial, environmental – which shape it. Its editor, Lawrence Booth, analyses its content as the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Lawrence begins by hailing the turnaround in England’s Test team under Ben Stokes as captain and Brendon McCullum as coach. Although the England team dislike the term Bazball he thinks it a healthy sign that the general public have adopted it for the enthralling blend of cricket they are playing. The only pity is that they are not seeing it on free-to-air television (a topic regularly ventilated in previous Wisdens) but he still hopes that this summer’s Ashes series might raise the profile of cricket as did that of 2005. 1-4 minutes He comments especially on Ben Stokes’ confidence in asking for fast flat wickets in the Ashes series in contrast to the conditions in which England have gained all their home series successes since 2001. 5 minutes

Above all, Stokes and McCullum have removed the fear of failure from a previously careworn team. He suggests that Stokes’s character has deepened from the crises in his life: his empathy was illustrated by the consoling text he sent to the teenaged spinner he had hit for 34 in an over. He views Brendon McCullum as the most significant cricketer of the last twenty years, given his innings which ignited the Indian Premier League on its first day and his contribution to the re-invention of Test cricket. 6-10 minutes

A major theme in this year’s Wisden is the multiple threat to Test cricket from T20 Leagues which have induced leading players in the world to reduce their commitments to international series or even abandon them. Lawrence believes that it is too late to reverse this process but he hopes that national boards might grow sufficient spine to halt the release of players to new T20 Leagues, particularly that proposed in Saudi Arabia, which would transform the international scene if it secures the best Indian players. 11-18, 24-25 minutes,

Lawrence comments pungently on the role of the International Cricket Council on three major topics covered in the Almanack: Afghan cricket since the Taliban takeover, cricket in Ukraine and the sponsorship deal with Aramco. The ICC has developed a habit of ducking fundamental decisions about the governance of the game and most of the full members are in permanent thrall to the financial and political power of India. 19-25 minutes

Wisden now regularly features commentary by Tanya Aldred on cricket and the environment. This year’s had highlighted several examples of cricket used as a setting for environmental activism. These efforts are strongest in England, but they had made no headway in India either with the uber-capitalist Modi government, which was running Indian cricket, or with fans who were more concerned with the availability of tickets and the methods used to control crowds. The environmental threat to cricket was a very low concern although it is becoming ever more imminent. Lawrence repeats a dramatic warning from Professor Peter Frankopan (the cricketing author of The Earth Transformed) that all Test cricket may soon have to played as day-night matches. He notes that recently every single part of India recorded daytime temperatures of 40 degrees. 25-30 minutes

Wisden has more pages than ever before on women’s cricket, reflecting both its high-profile and high-income successes, including the onset of the Women’s Premier League in India, and good-news stories from places as far apart as Brazil, Thailand and Rwanda. Lawrence explains how Wisden will continue to track its growth and how next year’s edition will make it easier to follow in individual countries. Through Raf Nicholson’s celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Women’s World Cup (two years ahead of the first men’s) he hopes that Wisden has made amends for its scant coverage at the time. He notes that Lord’s has yet to fulfil the promise it made them of staging a women’s Test match. 31-37 minutes

One innovation in the Almanack is the re-purposed Wisden Trophy, for the outstanding Test performance of the last 12 months. Lawrence describes the rescue of the old trophy (replaced by the Richards-Botham Trophy for England/West Indies Test series) and the decision to award it to Johnny Bairstow for his performance against India. His closest competitor was Ravi Jadeja. Wisden had also nominated retrospective winners from the dawn of Test cricket onwards: those before the Second World War are in this year’s edition. He acknowledges that Johnny Briggs won his award for a performance in a match of dubious quality against South Africa, which had given the legendary J E P McMaster a Test and first-class career whose non-achievement can never be surpassed. He declines the idea of a McMaster trophy for his successors. 37-41 minutes

He describes the criteria for the selection of Wisden’s five cricketers of the year and the factors behind those chosen this year, dwelling especially on the young Durham and England pace bowler Matthew Potts. 42-45 minutes

Lawrence expands on his Editor’s note hailing the success of Ebony Rainford-Brent and  the Afro-Caribbean Engagement programme. It had restored engagement with cricket not only to young Afro-Caribbean people, and dispelled the lazy and convenient narrative that they had all given up cricket for football, but also to young white working-class people. He contrasts her striking and rapid success with the ECB’s persistent difficulty in dealing with accusations of past racism. The long delay in publication of the report of its independent Commission on Equity has not been explained and he can offer no prediction of when it will appear. ­46-51 minutes

Among the features in Wisden this year, Lawrence notes the faint but fascinating hint by Emma John that Jane Austen might have invented round-arm bowling. 54 minutes

He concludes with the comment of Benny Green, a regular compiler of Wisden anthologies, that the Almanack is an annual work of social history. Particularly in the age of the internet, when it is so easy to generate and obtain statistics, he believes that it could not survive only as a bare record of runs, wickets and catches, essential though that remains. He sees the task of its editor as balancing the need to hold cricket authorities to account for the state of the game with meeting the demand of readers to celebrate the joys of the season past and anticipate those of the one to come. 52-54 minutes

You can purchase Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2023 here: wisden.com/shop/wisden-cricketers-almanack-2023

The podcast is now taking a break until the autumn to allow Peter and Richard to complete a history of global cricket from its earliest beginnings. They thank all their listeners, particularly those who have contributed feedback and suggestions, and all of their guests, who have brought such understanding of cricket present and past.

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 117: Sovereigns, stars, stewards, scorers, statisticians … Steven Lynch on this year’s Wisden obituaries

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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.

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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.