The Aurora Borealis seen from Chiswick

Image: Aurora Borealis over Southfield Park; photograph Aimee Morgans

The Aurora seen all over Britain in rare light show

I once went all the way to Iceland in the hope of seeing the Aurora Borealis and didn’t see it once because the weather was cloudy. We had a lovely holiday anyway, but my point is the received wisdom used to be that you had to go quite far north to see the amazing spectacle of green and pink and purple taking over the sky.

Now, twice in the space of a few months London has been treated to the sight. Although the light pollution made it hard to see, Aimee Morgans managed to get these stunning photographs of the Aurora on Friday night (10 May) over Southfield Park

Images: Aurora Borealis over Southfield Park; photographs Aimee Morgans

What causes the Aurora Borealis?

According to the Royal Museums at Greenwich, the lights we see in the night sky are caused by activity on the surface of the sun. Solar storms give out huge clouds of electrically charged particles which can travel millions of miles.

‘Most of these particles are deflected away, but some become captured in the Earth’s magnetic field, accelerating down towards the north and south poles into the atmosphere. This is why aurora activity is concentrated at the magnetic poles.

“These particles then slam into atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere and essentially heat them up,” explains Royal Observatory astronomer Tom Kerss. “We call this physical process ‘excitation’, but it’s very much like heating a gas and making it glow.”

‘What we are seeing therefore are atoms and molecules in our atmosphere colliding with particles from the Sun. The aurora’s characteristic wavy patterns and ‘curtains’ of light are caused by the lines of force in the Earth’s magnetic field.

Image: Aurora Borealis over the River Thames from Chiswick Bridge; photograph Joanna Raikes

In London the best places to try and see the Northern Lights are large open spaces such as a park, where there are fewer lights. The Aurora Borealis light show on 18 December last year was captured by Joanna Raikes over the River Thames, in this picture taken from Chiswick Bridge.

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West London Queer Project wins Civic Honours Award

Image: Aubrey Crawley receiving the award from LB Hammersmith & Fulham

Making a contribution to building ‘a stronger, safer, kinder borough’

The West London Queer Project was recognised at the Hammersmith and Fulham Civic Honours awards on Thursday 9 May. The awards recognise ‘contributions to building a stronger, safer, kinder borough’ and are given to those who’ve made a ‘critical difference to improving people’s lives across H&F’.

WLQP founder,  Aubrey Crawley, told the Chiswick Calendar that it was “incredible” to be in the room with so many people doing great things across the borough, and said:

“To be recognised for anything you do is always heartwarming, but what made this one extra special is they’ve used the word kinder, that just makes it a bit more meaningful because there’s not enough kindness in the world quite frankly, so to be recognised for that is amazing”.

“It’s recognition of everything we’ve done over the last year and brings awareness to who we are to people that we haven’t reached yet.”

Image: upcoming events from West London Queer Project on Instagram

“Trying to tackle loneliness, isolation and mental health”

The West London Queer Project is a Community Interest Company which aims to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people in West London and runs numerous activities for the community –  everything from a book club to a rugby club, with film nights, walks, drag nights, comedy and music, but also sessions where LGBTQ+ parents can meet and support each other.

Aubrey says: “one of the main achievements that we’ve managed to accomplish with Hammersmith & Fulham Council is the co-funding of projects between Hounslow and Hammersmith & Fulham, often when we do an event, both councils will co-fund the event… our community doesn’t end at the council’s border.

“When we’re trying to tackle things like loneliness or isolation and mental health, we all need to be working together, so the fact that they co-fund these projects is just incredible. At a time when funding is low and necessity of community is really high we’ve got to think smart about how we keep these projects going, and by sharing the cost just makes absolute sense”.

Image: Ruth Cadbury MP on the 10K walk in 2023; TV presenter Jeremy Vine with Zoe-Louise Nixon and Aubrey Crawley

Image: West London Queer Project 10k charity walk in 2023, which more than 250 people took part in

10k walk coming up in June to raise money for charity

The West London Queer Project is currently working with Hammersmith & Fulham council to organise their upcoming 10K Walk & Celebration Event on Saturday 8 June, during Pride Month.

More than 500 people are expected to set off from Hammersmith and walk 10 kilometres around the river Thames, and to take part in an afternoon of entertainment from drag artists afterwards. The event aims to promote community wellness, celebrate physical activity, as well as raise awareness and funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association of West London.

This is the second year the event has been held. The first 10K walk in 2023 proved to be a huge success, with over 250 people joining to show their support, including Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth and BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine.

The group also has a string of events coming up in May and June, including a meeting of their book club at Room 2 in Chiswick, a screening of Tom Boy at the Chiswick Cinema and the West London Warrior’s 2nd anniversary party and mini tournament.

Image: West London Warriors

Huge pile of educational materials dumped outside Falcons pre-prep school

Image: Books, folders and paperwork dumped outside former Falcons School site in Grove Park

Parents of former pupils say confidential paperwork with private information about their children dumped outside school along with hundreds of books and educational materials

Hundreds of books, educational materials and folders allegedly containing confidential pupil files have been dumped on the street outside of the old Falcons pre-prep school in Chiswick.

One of our readers wrote to The Chiswick Calendar:

‘I have just seen Falcons school closure articles online and someone has posted this photo in an online FB forum. Hundreds of books and educational materials (possible pupil data in folders) simply thrown outside the door like rubbish.

‘Disgusting when so many children in need could have used these items. Also a huge breach of data law if there’s any personal information in those folders. Such a disgusting attitude from a private school and terrible example of greed and wealth.’

The former boys school was closed at very short notice towards the end of 2023 to the outrage of parents, many of whom described the closure as “an egregious example of corporate greed”.

The school is subject to an ongoing legal challenge by a group of parents who were first told of the plans in September. The owners were the Alpha Plus Group which also includes Wetherby, the prep school attended by Princes William and Harry.

At the time of the closure the company was being taken over by US-based group Inspired Education. It was claimed that the ‘difficult decision’ to close was made due to falling numbers with just over a third of the 180 places taken when the announcement was made.

On Wednesday 8 May, Tower Waste removed thousands of items from the school leaving books and documents outside to be loaded into skips.

Parents now allege that, along with the books and play equipment, there was material in the piles containing sensitive, personal and confidential information relating to children that attended the school including personal pupil assessments and education psychologist reports. They claim these reports included the names, addresses and personal details of children.

“Truly shocking”

The parents sent a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner on Thursday (9 May) and issued the following statement:

‘This is truly shocking and shows how little Alpha Plus/Inspired Education care about the children that attended this school and their other schools.

‘These documents are highly sensitive containing the personal details including names, addresses and case notes relating to children. There is absolutely no way that they should be treated in this way. We have asked the Information Commissioner to undertake an urgent investigation.

‘It is also outrageous that thousands of books, play and school equipment worth tens of thousands of pounds that could have been donated to other schools have simply been sent to landfill. With many local schools crying out for resources, this is an outrageous and shameful waste.

‘Alpha Plus/Inspired Education all along have put profit before children, they are the very worst example of corporate greed and shame the entire independent school sector and these actions merely confirm that.’

Jorge Edwards, Director of Tower Waste, questioned why there would be confidential documents among the books and classwork his firm was asked to clear from the school.

Domestic violence charge against Kevin McNally thrown out says Pirates of the Caribbean actor

 Images: Kevin McNally and Phyllis Logan

Case dismissal brings to an end a very stressful period for Kevin McNally and Phyllis Logan

Kevin McNally, the actor best known for playing the role of Joshamee Gibbs in the Pirates of the Caribbean, has told The Chiswick Calendar the charge of domestic violence, for which he was arrested in LA in February, has been dropped.

The past few months have been very stressful for him and his wife, actor Phyllis Logan, of Downton Abbey fame, who live in Chiswick, but it appears the nightmare which began two and a half months ago is now over.

Kevin was arrested on 16 February in Los Angeles, just as he was set to attend a Doctor Who fan convention at the Marriot Hotel. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) released a statement that he had been arrested ‘on suspicion of inflicting an injury that caused a traumatic condition on a victim who was his current or former spouse, cohabitant, or child’s parent.’

The arrest did not refer to Phyllis, who was in London and knew nothing about it. The LAPD statement did not give the name of his alleged victim.

He was released on bail, set at £40,000, and was due to appear in court in March. Kevin has given The Chiswick Calendar this statement, explaining what has happened subsequently and why he has not appeared in court:

“No-one lodged any complaint against me and the case was thrown out by the LA district attorney before it even came to any kind of hearing.

“It received a rapid and complete dismissal and even included the ‘sealing’ of my arrest ensuring I had no record of any kind in the United States.”

He and Phyllis are now hoping to put this “very stressful” episode in their lives behind them.

Image: Kevin McNally with Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean

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Keir Starmer biographer Tom Baldwin says the Prime Minister in waiting is “decent, but ruthless”

Image: Julian Worricker and Tom Baldwin at The Chiswick Calendar’s Media Club in the Boston Room of George IV

“Decent but ruthless”

The local and mayoral elections were the last big test of how the public is feeling about politics before the next election, widely expected to be in November. Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian: ‘Triumphant Starmer already seems like the prime minister’.

The headline was quickly followed with a caution, that these were local elections about local issues, not an opinion poll, but this was the worst performance for the Tories in council elections in 40 years. If they weren’t already writing about Labour winning the next election, most political pundits are now.

The author of the recent biography of Keir Starmer, Tom Baldwin, spoke to BBC journalist Julian Worricker at The Chiswick Calendar’s Media Club event last week about what Keir Starmer was like and whether he will be more radical in government. He has known him for years, working with him in the Labour Party.

The overriding impression I took away from the evening was his statement that Sir Keir is “decent but ruthless”. On issues such as Gaza, which has cost Labour votes in these elections and lost him the by-election in Rochdale to George Galloway, he has chosen the path which he thinks will not scupper Labour’s chances of winning.

Labour party supporters were gleeful at the announcement that Labour will renationalise the railways. A good, firm, specific promise they could hang their hats on after months of frustrating caution that have made it hard to pin down exactly what Labour would do in government, given the chance.

But that’s the point. Keir has been very careful not to offer any hostages to fortune, any policies that might frighten the horses.

“He hates being in opposition. He told me the last fourteen years are the period in his life when he’s achieved the least” said Tom.

Not your average politician

Tom’s book is “authoritative but not authorised”. A journalist who has worked for a number of national titles including The Times and The Sunday Telegraph, he has also worked as a Special Adviser to Ed Miliband and served as Director of Communications and Strategy for the Labour Party.

He was brought in when Starmer’s aides thought it a good idea for the party leader to write his autobiography, but Tom said:

“It quickly became clear to me that he didn’t want it – his aides did. Most politicians want to talk about themselves, but he doesn’t.”

Sir Keir Starmer very unusual in that respect, said Tom. He wants to get on and take decisions in government, but he has no desire to get caught up in all the superficial nonsense of creating a personal brand.

“I don’t think he was ever one of those people who stood in front of the mirror at the age of 16practising his conference speech. He was the first person in his family to go to university. He spent three decades working as a barrister. It was only right towards the end that he decided to go into politics, because he couldn’t make the changes he wanted. To do that he had to get his hands on the levers of power.”

So it became a book about him written by Tom, rather than an autobiography ghosted by Tom. He said he would write it on the condition that there was no interference from the party, and he says, there has not been.

Plotting his leadership campaign while still in Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet

Sir Keir Starmer was elected in 2015 to represent the constituency of Holborn and St Pancras and following Jeremy Corbyn’s win in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election he accepted the position of  Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

“The sum of his ambition was to be the Attorney General in Ed Miliband’s government. He nearly left the shadow cabinet twice. He did leave once, but he thought it was important that somebody who understood the detail [of Brexit] was representing the Labour Party.”

He could see that Corbyn wasn’t working out and from 2018, for about 18 months while he was in the Shadow Cabinet and publicly loyal to the Labour Party leader, he was quietly having meetings at a friend’s house, to discuss his leadership campaign.

“He was quietly making friends with union leaders.”

Was that far-sighted and ruthless or two-faced and disloyal? Julian asked Tom.

“He did his job as Shadow Brexit Secretary and he didn’t criticise Corbyn in public. If asked now, neither of them would say they were friends. They haven’t spoken since the autumn of 2020 … but Keir is relentless in his pursuit of winning.”

He looked around, said Tom, and realised there was no one else who could do the job, so he went for it.

Trusted with the economy and security

It is a huge achievement, said Tom, that the Labour Party is now trusted with both running the economy and the country’s security. It was neither of those things under Corbyn.

When Keir took over from Corbyn as leader the Labour Party were 20 points behind the Tories. They reached level pegging then fell back again. He nearly resigned when they lost the Hartlepool by-election.

“He spent all day trying to resign. He had to be persuaded that he could win a general election, not just stay as Leader of the Labour Party in opposition.”

Labour winning the West Midlands mayor this time around is a huge triumph for Labour. It was the jewel in the Conservatives’ crown and losing it is as totemic for them as losing Hartlepool was for Labour in 2021.

When Keir made his decision to stay on as Leader he then pushed through party reform.

“He faced down the Left, who were heckling and holding red cards out. His superpower is to bring that level of change at that pace and have journalists like Quentin Letts say: ‘but he’s so boring’.

“He is the grown up in a room of very childish politicians.”

Hates being called ‘boring’ and hates Boris Johnson

“He hates being called boring,” said Tom. “He doesn’t think he’s boring. His friends don’t think he’s boring. He’s great company with his friends. He becomes wooden in front of the TV cameras.”

Part of this public persona is a desperate wish to protect his private life and his family. He had a “scary dad” said Tom, a mother who is ill and a brother with learning difficulties.

“I had to drag that stuff out of him. He cried quite a lot. He doesn’t want to let politics contaminate his private life. If the cameras aren’t there, then he lets go.”

He refined his public persona over decades in courtrooms and much as his aides might want him to, he finds his courtroom personality hard to let go. For him politics is serious, and he has an abhorrence of people playing politics.

“He hates the way Boris Johnson treats politics as a game and bullshits his way through with some Latin quotation and a joke.”

Will he be more radical in power?

“The rusting wrecks of radical ideas litter the country” said Tom. “What we haven’t had for quite some time is a grown-up, with sensible, pragmatic ideas. We’ll see.”

Why won’t the Labour Party commit to undoing Brexit?

He is not going to rejoin the EU. The Labour Party has made that clear. Why not, when all the indications are that it has been a complete disaster?

“Brexit is an unmitigated disaster. He will mitigate some of the effects rather than spending his whole first term reopening the whole debate.

“He’s not going to rejoin the Single Market but he is looking at easy visas. He’s looking at alignment on carbon markets, without which it won’t work – sensible, achievable policies.

“Labour wants an EU security pact. If Trump wins, we may find ourselves fighting Putin without the help of America.

“They are thinking very hard about these decisions already. Taking decisions like a Government in waiting.”

Our thanks to Julian Worricker and Tom Baldwin. Keir Starmer – The Biography is available to buy in local bookshops, as is the other book Tom Baldwin has just published with co-author Marc Stears: England – Seven Myths That Changed a Country, and How to Set them Straight.

Future Media Club events

Wednesday 29 May – Mihir Bose talks about his memoir

Our next Media Club event in the Boston Room of George IV will be on Wednesday 29 May when journalist Peter Oborne will be talking to sports journalist Mihir Bose about his memoir, Thank you Mr Crombie, in which he describes growing up in India post Independence, coming to Britain in the 1960s and the changing face of multicultural Britain he has witnessed in his lifetime.

Book tickets – The Chiswick Calendar Media Club with Peter Oborne and Mihir Bose.

Wednesday 19 June – How to report an election

Then on Wednesday 19 June we will be talking about how to report an election, with a panel of experts pooling their many years of experience in reporting elections on TV and radio – the triumphs and the pitfalls.

BBC Political correspondent and presenter Carolyn Quinn chairs a panel with other journalists and a pollster – all players in the political dramas that have characterised elections in recent years.

Katy Searle, former Executive Editor, Politics, with BBC News, managed the BBC’s most prominent news output and political coverage during three election campaigns, two referendums and the Covid crisis.

Joe Twynan is a co-founder and director of Deltapoll and one of Britain’s best known political pollsters, having previously worked as Head of Political and Social Research at YouGov.

With one more special guest to be confirmed, this is the perfect line up of guests to find out what it’s like behind the scenes at these high-stakes, adrenalin-fuelled all-nighters where bleary-eyed politicians and pundits nip in and out of the various media studios making predictions which can make them look either wise beyond their years or very foolish minutes later and careers are lost and won on the announcement of the returning officer.

Book tickets – The Chiswick Calendar Media Club: How to report an election panel

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Sara Ward on Living the Good Life May 2024

Image: The ‘wheatfield’ at Hen Corner

Wheat is Neat!

I’ve sown a field – a field of wheat! Sorry if I’ve already told you about it – I’ve been telling everybody because I’m really excited about it. I mean it is a small field, six square metres, but I’m ‘actually’ growing wheat in my back garden and I’m going to tend it, harvest it, thresh it, mill it and bake it into a loaf of bread – oooh, I feel like Little Red Hen!

However, I’m a little bit worried because I’ve followed the instructions to sow the wheat and I’ve put in a little more than they said to, SIX times what the instructions said. But I know my garden, and I know that not everything grows according to plan.

To be honest, I’m glad that I’ve sown more than I needed to because the very next day, after sowing the ‘field’ my youngest cat, discovered it and thought that I had created, just for her, a 6m2 litter tray… that’s probably knocked quite a few grains of wheat out of the way.

Fortunately, I haven’t let the chickens out of their coops since sowing the wheat, they can wander ‘through the field’ after it’s germinated and grown a bit taller… But now it’s the other birds!

Image: Chickens on the lawn, as it was

Every day since sowing there are pigeons that are flicking with their beaks and pecking away, following the seams of grain, the drills that I’ve sown (I thought I’d planted it quite deep), but they’ve obviously found something to keep coming back for… then it’s the magpies… and my other cat who’s using it as a sundeck… But I’m really glad that I’ve sown a lot of it because I’m expecting a big harvest.

I’m joining The Grow A Loaf Challenge from the Real Bread Campaign following the instructions in the book Bake Your Lawn and am looking forward to understanding more of the journey from seed to sourdough.

Regular readers and followers of Hen Corner will know that I run a weekly Micro Bakery and regular Baking Courses, so for my own education and that of my customers, course guests and visiting Schools groups we are waiting patiently and watching with interest as it reaches for the sky.

We accidentally grew some wheat in previous years when a few grains of wheat from the chicken feed was missed by their beady eyes and took root, and after cutting down an old woody spikey shrub discovered an unused corner of the garden that is perfect for the experiment.

We sowed it on 12 April and within three weeks it’s already 20cm tall! It’s more than viable and I’m looking forward to it growing much taller, the ears developing, and it gently ripening in the sunshine as the year progresses.

Image: The tricky bit to come

I’m quite confident at this stage. I’m quite confident at the final stage – baking a few loaves of bread. But it’s the middle bit that I’m most nervous about.

I know we’ll need to find/borrow a mill – a pestle and mortar is going to take much too long – but threshing and winnowing are two activities that I’ve absolutely no experience in. I just keep reminding myself that people have been eating bread for thousands and thousands of years and maybe, like Little Red Hen, I need to ask some others to help me.

Other news in the bakery is the announcement of a new collaboration; we’ve been enjoying some of the wonderful award winning products from Bray Cured, who make handmade British charcuterie, and have been working with them to reduce food waste by creating a new bread, Fennel Salami & Olive Sourdough, using the end of salami trimmings that can’t be sliced for customers. We are delighted to announce that this is now available to order from our weekly micro bakery, and collected from Hen Corner on Fridays.

I’m assured that this rain will be stopping soon, so with a little sunshine, our gardens, parks and allotments will be lush for weeks to come.

Image: Bake Your Lawn by Chris Young and the Real Bread Campaign

Coming up at Hen Corner:

May:

Saturday 11 Full Day Bee Keeping

Tuesday 28 Bees For Children (Family Course)

Wednesday 29 Introduction to Making Cheese

Thursday 30 Bees For Children (Family Course)

June:

Tuesday 4 June A Day At Hen Corner

Thursday 13 June Making Scones And Jam

Saturday 15 June Full Day Bee Keeping

Wednesday 19 June Introduction To Making Pasta

All courses, virtual & face to face, can be found at HenCorner.com

Sara Ward is the owner of Hen Corner and author of Living the Good Life in the City: A journey to self-sufficiency

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The Fall Guy (2024) – Review by Andrea Carnevali

The Fall Guy ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A down-and-out stuntman goes on a mission to find the missing star of his ex-girlfriend’s blockbuster film. On in cinemas now.

The Blockbuster season is officially open, with this action/rom-com loosely inspired by the 1980s TV show of the same name, starring Lee Majors (who incidentally, shows up in a rather pointless cameo right after the credits, so if you’re interested to see what the “Sixty-Million Dollar Man” looks like today, stay until the end).

In a time when action films are either sprawling epics, sequels of something you barely remember, or interconnected sagas of whatever the latest superhero or space adventure might be and for which you might even need a notepad to keep track of who’s who and where, it’s actually quite refreshing to find something that doesn’t require previous knowledge and can just be consumed without too much effort (ideally with a big bag of popcorn).

This is the kind of stuff Hollywood used to make a few decades ago: I’ve grown up watching so many versions of this. Most of them very disposable, but some quite entertaining too. And I guess in a nutshell, this is my review of the film “Disposable, but fun”.

Set in the world of Hollywood filmmaking itself, Fall Guy pays homage to all those unsung heroes who risk their lives in front of the cameras, to make those big A-list stars look good: the stunt performers.

The director himself, David Leitch, was a former stuntman, before turning to helm films like Atomic Blonde, Deadpool, and the recent Bullet Train.

Interestingly he’s also produced the John Wick films, which many considered to be responsible for reigniting the conversation about the importance of stunt work (versus CGI) and especially their lack of recognition when it comes to big awards, like the Oscars.

To be honest, the film is pretty light on any sort of commentary about the advent of the digital age or the challenges of such a job, preferring instead to use all this just as a pretext for a pretty basic action romp. Fall Guy unravels pretty much as you would expect, with one set-piece after another, without too many surprises along the way, stopping once in a while to let some of the romance through.

Ironically, for a movie that’s supposed to be all about those heroes behind the screen, the film mostly works thanks to the two main stars in front of the camera: Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are clearly having a good time together, and their undeniable chemistry is what really keeps it all moving. In fact, it’s a shame that there isn’t more stuff with the two of them together.

Their bantering is fun and entertaining, though, to be honest, pretty sketchy and light-hearted, which in a way prevented me from ever becoming too emotionally involved.

The film never really takes itself too seriously, which in a way keeps it all light and fun in a very self-aware and self-referential sort of way, but also on the other hand, it exposes the lack of anything at stake, and after a while it risks of becoming a bit repetitive.

Never for one moment do you doubt that our hero could be in any serious danger, so all we are left with is just watching the stunt work, almost from a distance: most of it is well performed, perfectly filmed, but also it’s never particularly new, inventive, mind-blowing and dare-I say, not even too dangerous-looking (particularly when we think back to the above-mentioned John Wick saga).

People are blown up, set to fire, thrown out windows, but they always get up, which in a way pays a little bit of disservice to the actual real profession which it’s trying to pay tribute to.

It’s a film that doesn’t reinvent the wheel and that you shouldn’t really over-analyse and question, but it’s certainly pleasant and breezy enough for its two hours and six minutes of running time. Both my son and my wife seemed to have enjoyed it much more than I did, so I guess the fact that I have probably seen hundreds of this sort of things in the past must have played a part in my slightly muted response.

I’m also sure that by this time next month, I will struggle to remember a single moment in The Fall Guy, but hey, as I said, I was certainly never bored and I’m happy I saw it (though next time I might need a larger popcorn).

The film is out now in cinemas everywhere.

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 2023

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Brentford 0, Fulham 0

It promised to be a London derby of thrills (Regulión v Castagne)…

Third Season: Double dishwater

Flashback to a year ago, when Brentford travelled to Anfield with high hopes of beating Liverpool in their own backyard. After all, the Bees had beaten them 3-1 at the Gtech Stadium earlier in the season and were nestled at number nine in the Premier League, having already been victorious over both the Manchester clubs as well as Chelsea, Thomas Frank and his team were on a roll.

Liverpool didn’t oblige that day by handing the Bees another win, Mohammed Salah – who else? – scoring the game’s only goal, but the visitors produced a spirited performance and to retain their ninth place come season’s end. Brentford had properly arrived in football’s top flight in only their second season.

No such glory this season, however. Avid supporters are familiar with the catalogue of injuries that have contributed to Frank finding it difficult to field the same eleven players for consecutive fixtures (Aaron Hickey, Ethan Pincock, Rico Henry and Ben Mee were four of the first-teamers present at Anfield who suffered long absences during the present campaign).

…and spills    (Mbeumo and upended Robinson)…

So, although only mildly flirting with the relegation box this term, the Bees have buzzed less successfully, achieving safety with three-point wins over strugglers Sheffield United and Luton.

Everton, plagued with League protocol punishments, still managed to beat Brentford twice, the second time with a solitary goal in April to save their own bacon (see below). And the penultimate home match of the season found Fulham visiting the Gtech, bringing with them a better record than Bees but not one that could be written or boasted about.

Sad to report, the contest between two of West London’s also-rans did not produce much of note. Brentford failed to control the play, but then so did Fulham. The result: a dull contest without little to commend it and containing about as high an excitement level as a kickabout on a Sunday morning in many local parks.

…but despite Mbeumo’s ever-effervescent energy…

Fulham, sporting pink shorts but little else in the way of natty kit, started well, winning a corner inside a minute but nothing made beyond it. Bryan Mbeumo forged into Fulham territory and was unlucky to see his shot hit the crossbar and keeper Bernd Leno snaffle the rebound. Toney made a promising run into the penalty box but shot wide.

And there was some of the same, but nothing to send the pulses racing.

Toney appeared worryingly disinterested in the match going on around him, which left Bryan Mbeumo to launch forays on the right without much success. At the other end, lone striker Rodrigo Muniz spent considerable time running down Mark Flekken without getting very near him.

Mostly, the best of the interest centred on referee Graham Scott, whose whistle seemed something with which which he had little infinity and, when reluctantly used, found critics from both sides who thought he was a one of several ribald adjectives at their employ.

It would be remiss not to mention that most effective of the Bees’ players was Mikkel Damsgaard, who is becoming a midfielder of considerable talent and when the times comes up deserves his promotion into starting line-ups where other more recognised are first call.

Two further games will see the season out. Here’s hoping they are livelier than this one.

Brentford: Flekken; Ajer (substitute Roerslev 45+3m), Collins, Pinnock, Reguilón; Nørgaard (sub Onyeke 82), Damsgaard (sub Schade 82), Janelt (sub Yarmoliuk 66): Mbeumo, Toney, Lewis-Potter (sub Wissa 66).

Fulham: Leno; Castagne, Diop, Bassey, Robinson; João Palhinha, Lukic (sub Cairnev 75); Iwobi (sub Wilson 90+2), Pereira (sub D Cordova-Reid 75), Willian (sub Traoré 64); Rodrigo Muniz (sub Jiménez 54).

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor to the Bees United website. Photographs by Liz Vercoe.

Bill, who lives in Chiswick and is a former Fleet Street editor, was named Journalist Laureate 2023 the London Press Club awards:

READ ALSO: Former Fleet Street editor, Chiswick resident Bill Hagerty, is named Journalist Laureate 2023

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Woman who climbed on top of Ferrari in Chiswick goes viral

Images: Police question onlookers on Devonshire road on Sunday

Witnesses say it was ‘pizza pandemonium’

Bank holiday madness was on display in Chiswick on Sunday afternoon (5 May) after a woman caused a ruckus by allegedly rampaging through a pizza restaurant before climbing on top of a Ferrari parked outside and refusing to get off.

The video of her spreadeagled on the roof of the car and being dragged off it has gone viral.

Eye-witnesses told The Chiswick Calendar the woman had started causing a scene in Napoli on the Road, the Italian pizza restaurant in Devonshire Road, when she started “throwing plates and chairs around”. Photographs of the incident show upturned tables and chairs outside the restaurant with police officers questioning the crowd.

The woman then climbed onto the roof of a parked black Ferrari. Footage posted online shows her spread out on top the parked car.

Above: Footage of the incident on X

Six police cars and one ambulance attend

She continues to act strangely throughout the footage, pulling up one of the wind screen wipers and putting it in her mouth.

Witnesses said attempts were made to remove her from the roof of the vehicle, but were unsuccessful. She eventually got inside the car and refused to get out.

Image: Chairs and tables overthrown outside Napoli on the Road

The police were called. Six police cars and an ambulance attended the scene.

Videos were posted online by the west London content aggregator UB1UB2, which went viral on Instagram – with over 40,000 people liking the video and many thousands more viewing it. On X, formerly Twitter, the video jas reached over 20,000 people.

The final video shows two police officers pulling a woman from the car onto the pavement.

As of Monday, no arrests have been confirmed by the Metropolitan Police.

Thank you Mr Hitchcock – promoting the Chiswick film club

Andrea Carnevali’s homage to the films he shows at his Chiswick Film Club

Bafta winning film editor (and Chiswick resident) Andrea Carnevali holds a regular Film Club at Chiswick Cinema, showing films that take his fancy, screening them with a little introduction at the start and a discussion which he opens up to the audience afterwards.

He does it with humour, terrific enthusiasm and a lot of arm waving, bringing a great deal of knowledge to the discussions, though he is always keen to hear what other people think about the films he’s chosen, particularly if they have not seen them before.

He has been doing this since January 2023. As is the way of these things, he creates promotional material to advertise the film club. At first you might not notice, particularly if you don’t know who is starring in the film. Then gradually you realise there is something familiar about all these trailers!

Jurassic Park

Raging Bull

Badlands

Stand By Me

The Age of Innocence

The Truman Show

The Fabelmans

The Long Goodbye

Hi next film club, Rear Window on Tuesday 14 May, celebrates the master of thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock, from whom he has pinched the idea of inserting himself into the action.

This time, he’s taken it even further.

If you like films but don’t like pretentious arty discussions, come to Andrea’s film club. They’re fun.

Book tickets for Rear Window, Tuesday 14 May: Chiswick Cinema Film Club

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Sadiq declared Mayor, Lib Dems win SW constituency

See also: Cllr Bassam Mahfouz wins Ealing and Hillingdon London Assembly seat for Labour

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.

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Rear Window (1954) – Review by Andrea Carnevali

Rear Window ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his Greenwich Village courtyard apartment window and, despite the skepticism of his fashion-model girlfriend, becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Chiswick Cinema is holding a special screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film on Tuesday 14 May for Andrea’s Film Club.

Whenever people talk about perfect films, this is the one that comes to mind, over and over again.

Rear Window is not just my favourite film by Alfred Hitchcock, but actually it’s up there among my favourite films ever made.

Where to start? There are books and books written about this masterpiece and I feel a bit stupid just sitting down here, telling everyone how great this film is.

Technically of course is pure perfection: from the way it’s filmed, (camera positions, camera moves, camera lenses), to the spectacular set design (so large and high that no film studio could contain it, so they had to dig down into the ground), to the multi-layered soundtrack (virtually no composed music throughout, all incidental as if it’s heard from across the courtyard, something very usual for the time) and obviously the powerful editing which makes the most of the juxtaposition of Jimmy Stewart’s reactions and what he’s seeing, as well as the multiple layers and incredibly detailed sound editing, which not only adds to the story, but makes silence one of its most powerful tools.

This is the work of a true master, completely at ease with his film-making techniques, putting the audience in the shoes of our heroes, adding humour, tension, sexuality, mystery to the mix as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

And it’s not just Alfred Hitchcock of course. His cast here is pure gold too!

Jimmy Stewart to start with, the so-called “everyday man”, who is impossible not to like, even if here he plays a bit of an ass. He’s stuck in a wheelchair with a broken leg and yet he manages to convey all sorts of emotions from curiosity to boredom, from frustration to obsession, from love to fear, just with his face, mostly half hidden behind a photo camera.

And don’t even get me started on the most beautiful woman ever to appear on film. Grace Kelly is the epitome perfection as far as I’m concerned: classy, beautiful, clever, fearless, funny. I just adore her, and this is possibly the film that made me fall in love with her, over and over and over again.

Thelma Ritter, who plays Stella, brings so much humour and energy and makes her character unforgettable despite being such a tiny role.

I love everything about Rear Window: it’s an intriguing mystery and an exciting thriller, of course, but it’s also an astute portrait of relationships. All different types of them and all played out inside those little apartments across the courtyard.

The script is wonderfully clever too (apparently Hitchcock worked on at least half of it, but was never credited) especially in the way the dialogue plays over the visuals, but it’s through James Steward’s reactions to what we see that we learn more about his character’s inner thoughts, than we would if there were pages and pages of dialogue (or worse, voice over!).

Today Rear Window is still just as impressive, just as funny, just as smart, just as exciting, just a tense. A film which truly deserves to be named a masterpiece.

I had the pleasure of showing to my son for the first time just a few months ago. Despite its slow start, by the end he too was gripped to the couch, tense as a violin cord, screaming at Grace Kelly across the screen to be careful.

70 years and this masterpiece still has the power to thrill and enchant us.

I cannot wait to show this film and talk about it, for my next film club at The Chiswick Cinema on Tuesday 14 May at 8pm.

Book tickets: Chiswick Cinema Film Club

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 2023

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.

Police offer £20,000 reward for information in murder investigation

Image: Darren Augustine

Police offer £20,000 reward for information

The Metropolitan Police have put out a £20,000 reward for any information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person responsible for the murder of 44-year-old Darren Augustine.

Darren was a father of two who died after being stabbed in Brentwick Gardens, Brentford in the early hours of 26 April 2023. He died on the street shortly after 5.15.am.

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.”

Officers have been “working tirelessly” but have yet to come up with any worthwhile leads

Detective Inspector Suzanne Soren of Specialist Crime, Homicide & Major Crime Command said:

“Officers have been working tirelessly on this case for a year now. While the investigation continues, we are appealing to people to dig deep into their consciences – if you have information that can help, I urge you to come forward.

“Despite the passing of time, the heartache felt by Darren’s family has not faded. Allegiances and friendships will have changed, in particular there may be people who felt they could not come forward before, but I urge you to do so now.

“Darren was only 44 when he was killed. He left behind a loving family who are desperate to know what happened to him. We still need the public’s help to find who was responsible for Darren’s brutal murder.

“Were you in the area at about 5am on Friday, 26 April 2023? Did you see or hear anything? Do you have any information that could help police at all?

“We are offering a generous reward of £20,000 for any information that could lead to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person responsible for his murder so if you know anything at all, we encourage you to contact police.

“You can call police on 020 8721 4961 or contact us anonymously via the independent charity, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“Any information you have could help to take a killer off our streets, as well as giving a grieving family the answers they deserve.”

Brentford FC revoke more than 300 memberships over ticket touting

Image: Brentford v Liverpool, 17 February; photograph Liz Vercoe

Premier League club sanctions supporters with bans and membership revocation

Brentford FC have announced that they have revoked more than 300 memberships in a bid to tackle the problem of ticket touting at the GTech stadium.

Announcing a crackdown on ticket touting, the Premier League side whose stadium is beside Kew Bridge Station have released a statement that acknowledged the ongoing impact ticketing touting has been having on matchdays, ‘with a number of individuals and organisations claiming to have the ability to sell official Brentford tickets.’

They say during recent fixtures against Manchester United, Brighton and Sheffield United, their operations have led to hundreds of individuals either being ejected, refused entry or blocked.

‘When Brentford faced Liverpool at the Gtech in February this year, we blocked or ejected more than 120 individuals in advance of the game who we either believed purchased tickets from unauthorised sources or were supporting Liverpool in the home area.

‘The majority of these individuals never made it into the stadium having been stopped or blocked before getting to the turnstiles.’

Image: Brentford v Manchester United, 30 March ; photograph Brentford FC

Ticket touting a persistent issue

Regular supporters of the club have told The Chiswick Calendar they are fed up with finding away supporters in their section of the ground when they know friends have not been able to get tickets to watch their home side.

Brentford moved to their current home in 2020, during Covid. They won promotion to the Premier League in May 2021 and have been a top-flight club ever since. Next season will be their fourth consecutive season in the top tier. The stadium holds 17,250 spectators with 1700 given to away teams in the league.

The club say they will continue to ensure that there are severe repercussions for anyone who buys or sells tickets through unauthorised channels. On Brentford FC’s website they say:

“Not only is it illegal to sell, or to offer to sell, tickets to our matches without the club’s authorisation under The Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 but it creates a number of problems for our fans.

“Prices can be vastly inflated, tickets can be counterfeits and transactions can be unregulated. Touting can also result in unfair ticket distribution with official members and genuine Brentford fans losing out. The frustrations, difficulties and financial losses can be felt by fans who have suffered as a result of buying ticket through unauthorised channels.”

Image: Brentford v Sheffield United; photograph Brentford FC

Supporters furious that away fans are in the home section: “It’s a slap in the face for true Brentford fans.”

When I spoke to regular supporters at the ground on Saturday the overwhelming response was one of anger. Samantha Tomkins has been a Bees fan all her life and has been a season ticket holder at the club since the 90s. Her two sons, both in their twenties have had season tickets their whole lives.

She told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I’ve always loved the club. The memories I have are mostly good and I remember standing on a crate in the old Braemar Rd paddock with my friend Donna. Brentford is more than just football. Donna is now the godmother of my two children. I would never have met her if it wasn’t for Brentford.

“The club means everything to me and my boys.”

When I asked Sam about the ticket touting and whether she had come across away supporters where she sits at the GTech, she said:

“All the time. It’s usually the big games like Liverpool and Manchester United, the traditional ‘Big Six.’

“It’s not good enough from the club to allow these supporters in the Brentford end. I’ve made a complaint to the club this season. Manchester United at home when it was clear there were multiple away supporters in the home end.

“I made the complaint to the club and am yet to hear back from them. Collectively fans have had enough.

“I know so many Brentford fans that cannot get tickets for games and then I have someone supporting the other team near me using a ticket. It’s a slap in the face to true Brentford fans.”

I showed Sam the statement the club have made in response to ticket touting and she said:

“It’s a step in the right direction. I understand we have a small stadium and are competing against some of the biggest clubs in the world but it doesn’t mean that away fans can come and go from home areas.”

Image: Brentford v Brighton, 3 April; photograph Liz Vercoe

Club taking steps to stop ticket resellers

Brentford FC has outlined the steps they are taking in regard to ticket touting. They say they are:

‘Monitoring unauthorised reseller websites and capturing necessary information from advertised tickets to identify these on our ticketing system

‘Policing any suspicious booking or sales behaviour, including taking action against those who have purchased tickets with the incorrect tariffs

‘Reviewing actual attendance records at games of any individuals in question

‘Gathering information from fans who have been the victim of touted tickets to identify sellers

‘Reviewing collection processes and carrying out ID checks to ensure genuine Brentford fans are obtaining tickets

Carrying out ‘Post fixture reviews with sanctions being applied accordingly”

The club has a dedicated link for fans who may have been offered tickets by an unofficial seller and that can be found here. They say:

‘All information is treated in the strictest confidence and is never disclosed to third parties. Please aim to do this as soon as you have this information so we can deal with ticket touts quickly and effectively.

Sadiq declared Mayor, Lib Dems win SW constituency

Labour’s Sadiq Khan wins third term as Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan has been declared Mayor of London for a third term. The announcement was made on Saturday afternoon (4 May). Both the Conservative party and Labour party had described the contest, a two horse race between them, as ‘close’.

Conservative Candidate Susan Hall said yesterday she expected to win, then a couple of hours ago Labour started claiming victory. In the event, the Labour Mayor was re-elected with 43.8% of the vote. Turnout across London averaged 40.5% according to London Elects, 1.5% down from the last mayoral election in 2021.

The BBC were among the first to report Sadiq was expected to win. The BBC’s polling expert John Curtice said it seemed opposition to Ulez did not amount to enough of a significant political issue for voters, contrary to the predictions of  the Conservatives following Labour’s loss in the Uxbridge and South-Ruislip parliamentary by-election in 2023.

After narrowly losing the constituency, which was once held by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pressure grew on Mr. Khan to back down over Ulez, as the issue was seen as the principle reason the Conservatives managed to retain the seat.

In the aftermath, Labour Leader Keir Starmer urged the Mayor of London to “reflect” on the policy, before rowing back on his comments and throwing his support behind the mayor in the run up to the election.

Well known environmental campaigner Matthew Todd, former editor-in-chief of Attitude magazine said on X:

‘Seems Sadiq Khan has won the mayoral election. Post ULEZ, it’s a quite astonishing message to @UKLabour @KeirStarmer @Conservatives @RishiSunak and to our appalling client media, that clean air & water and fighting climate change is very important to people. Will any of them listen? What do you think?’.

In South West London constituency, which includes most of Chiswick, Mr Khan won 77,011 votes to Susan Hall’s 68,856. The Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie came third, receiving 25,579 votes.

Lib Dem Gareth Roberts wins SW London constituency seat for London Assembly

The Liberal Democrat candidate Gareth Roberts has won the London Assembly seat for the constituency of SW London, which includes the boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.

The Leader of Richmond Council won the SW London constiuency with 66,675 votes. Labour came second with 50,666 votes. Chiswick councillor Conservative Ron Mushiso has come third with 49,981 votes.

This is a historic win for the Lib Dems, as this is the first time a party other than the Conservatives have taken the seat since its inception in 2000. The seat was held by veteran Conservative politician Tony Arbour until he stepped down in 2021, making way for Nicholas Rogers, who held the seat for one term before he announced he would be standing down.

Cllr Ron Mushiso

Earlier this afternoon Chiswick Conservative councillor Jack Emsley told The Chiswick Calendar the contest was ‘the tightest in London’ and if Ron  lost the Conservative Party Central Office would ask for a recount. But in the event Gareth Roberts had a clear lead.

During the campaign our reporter Matt Smith spoke to each of the candidates. Gareth Roberts told him his many years of experience in local government qualify him for the job.

The Mayor’s office and the London Assembly together form the Greater London Authority, responsible for transport, policing, planning, culture, environment, health, fire and emergency services and economic planning in London.

As an Assembly Member, Gareth hopes offer constructive criticism to the new mayor. He said the Conservatives, who have comfortably held thee seat since it was created in 2000, had squandered the opportunity to properly represent their constituents.

READ MORE: 2024 SW London Assembly elections: Interview with Liberal Democrat candidate Gareth Roberts

Ron, who is one of the Conservative councillors for Chiswick Gunnersbury ward, fought his campaign largely on Ulez, the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which he campaigned to scrap. He also supported the Metropolitan Police’s use of Stop and Search. He told Matt the campaign was difficult because the Conservative Government at a national level was so unpopular.

READ MORE: 2024 SW London Assembly elections: Interview with Conservative candidate Cllr Ron Mushiso

Cllr Bassam Mahfouz wins Ealing and Hillingdon London Assembly seat for Labour

Image: Sadiq Khan (L) with Bassam Mahfouz

Labour win Ealing & Hillingdon Assembly seat, though more people voted for Conservative candidate Susan Hall for Mayor than voted for Sadiq Khan

Ealing councillor Bassam Mahfouz has won the Ealing and Hillingdon consituency seat on the London Assembly. The Ealing Labour councillor won the seat with 72,356 votes. Conservative candidate Henry Higgins came second with 67,495 votes, while Green Party candidate Jess Lee came third with 22,974 votes.

Liberal Democrat candidate Kuldev received 15,293 votes, while Anthony Goodwin from Reform UK came last with 15,247 votes.

The voter turnout in Ealing and Hillingdon was 42.91%.

Bassam Mahfouz, who grew up in Ealing, has been a councillor for almost 20 years. He runs a refugee charity and says both in his role as councillor and in his day job he has seen the effects of 14 years of austerity from a Conservative government. “People are hurting” he says. For the past three years he has been a Cabinet member on Ealing Council.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan wins third term as Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan has been declared Mayor of London for a third term. Both the Conservative party and Labour party had described the contest, a two horse race between them, as ‘close’.

Conservative Candidate Susan Hall said yesterday she expected to win, then a couple of hours ago Labour started claiming victory. In the event, the Labour Mayor was re-elected with 61.2% of the vote. Turnout across London averaged 40.5% according to London Elects, 1.5% down from the last mayoral election in 2021.

In Ealing and Hillingdon Susan Hall won the mayoral vote. The Conservative candidate polled 75,396 votes compared to Labour’s Sadiq Kahn 74,257.

Green Party candidate Zoe Garrett came third with 10,508 votes while LibDem Rob Blackie came fourth with 10,124 votes.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Sadiq Khan expected to be announced London Mayor

Image: Sadiq Khan

Based on early results Sadiq Khan expected to be re-elected, with around 10% more votes than Tories

The BBC’s polling expert John Curtice has said he expects Labour’s Sadiq Khan to win the London mayoral race, securing an historic third term and defeating his primary rival, Conservative Party candidate Susan Hall.

Despite claims yesterday that the race between the two was close, and claims from Susan Hall’s camp that she thought she would win, Politics UK are giving the estimated end result as: Sadiq Khan: 46% Susan Hall: 32%

Labour sources called the election for Mr. Khan on Saturday afternoon (4 May), shortly followed by the BBC’s prediction, with the BBC describing the win as a “slam dunk” as more and more constituencies declare their results.

In South West London constituency, which includes most of Chiswick, Mr Khan won the most votes among the mayoral candidates, winning 77,011 votes. Second was Susan Hall on 68,856, third was the Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie who received 25,579 votes.

Political scientist Professor Sir John Curtice told the BBC it seemed opposition to Ulez did not amount to enough of a significant political issue for voters, contrary to the predictions of  the Conservatives following Labour’s loss in the Uxbridge and South-Ruislip parliamentary by-election in 2023.

After narrowly losing the constituency, which was once held by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pressure grew on Mr. Khan to back down over Ulez, as the issue was seen as the principle reason the Conservatives managed to retain the seat.

In the aftermath, Labour Leader Keir Starmer urged the Mayor of London to “reflect” on the policy, before rowing back on his comments and throwing his support behind the mayor in the run up to the election.

Well known environmental campaigner Matthew Todd, former editor-in-chief of Attitude magazine said on X:

‘Seems Sadiq Khan has won the mayoral election. Post ULEZ, it’s a quite astonishing message to @UKLabour @KeirStarmer @Conservatives @RishiSunak and to our appalling client media, that clean air & water and fighting climate change is very important to people. Will any of them listen? What do you think?’.

A declaration of the results will be made at City Hall later this afternoon.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Labour’s Emma Yates wins Brentford West by-election in close race with Theo Dennison

Image above: Brentford West’s newest representative Cllr Emma Yates

Former Labour Cabinet Member, Independent candidate Theo Dennison receives a higher than predicted share of the vote

Labour has regained the Brentford West ward on Hounslow Council after a tight contest in the by-election caused by Lara Parizotto standing down.

Lara was elected for Labour but resigned the party whip in October 2023 over Gaza, and continued to serve as an independent until she took the decision to stand down as a councillor altogether.

Theo Dennison

Theo Dennison, the former Labour councillor who had also resigned the whip over another issue during the previous administration, and continued to serve as an independent until he was defeated by Lara Parizotto in the last Council Elections, came close to beating Labour’s new candidate Emma Yates.

Ms Yates achieved a slim majority over Mr Dennison, beating him by just 190 votes.

Labour supporters were alarmed when they saw Theo had worked on George Galloway MP’s successful campaign in Rochdale, which made that bye-election into a single issue fight over Gaza.

A vocal critic of the Council, Mr Dennison has blasted the Labour Administration as ‘corrupt’ and said that the closure of Brentford’s Watermans Art Centre was “symptomatic of the neglect of Brentford, the secrecy of the Council, and its ineptitude.”

Mr Dennison received 798 votes.

Ruth Cadbury, Labour MP for Brentford & Isleworth, took to X to express her delight at the result. She wrote:

‘‘I’m so pleased that @EmmaJaneYates02 has been elected to represent Brentford West Ward on Hounslow Council – as she’ll be an excellent councillor and I look forward to working with her!’’

There was a 45.1% turnout at the by-election.

Civil Service FC win England Football Accredited Club of the Month

Image above: Civil Service FC

Club wins prestigious Amateur FA award

Civil Service FC, an amateur football club in Chiswick, have won the England Football Accredited Club of the Month. The club, who play their home games at Kings House Sports Ground, are the only surviving association football club from the original eleven which founded the Football Association (FA).

They were founded in 1863 and they offer training for men and women with nine men’s teams and one women’s team. They also have a men’s veteran team. The men’s team play on Saturday in the Southern Amateur League and the women’s team play on Sundays in the Greater London Women’s Football League.

The women’s team was set up in 2018 and finished in a record fourth place in 2023.

The club said in a post on X, formerly Twitter:

“Thank you. Well done to all at the club who continue to work hard to ensure football is available for both men and women.”

The Amateur FA said in a post on X:

“The club do a great job in creating a community, and supporting each other on & off the pitch.”

Seb Chadwick

Image above: Seb Chadwick

Club hit by tragedy in March

Civil Service have had a difficult couple of months after the death of one of their players during a match in Chiswick in March. Seb Chadwick was just 38 years old when he collapsed during a game on 23 March. He later died in hospital surrounded by his loved ones.

READ ALSO: Tragedy as footballer dies during a football match in Chiswick

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

W4 Youth shares stories of how the club is already changing lives

Image above: (left to right) Organisers of W4 youth club Marchelle Chacatté, Rachel Clare, Aliche Clare, Sally Chacatté 

Youth group tells two stories of young people who have benefitted from the project

W4 Youth have decided to tell the people of Chiswick the stories of two young people who have been attending the new youth group, set up a year ago at Southfield Recreation Ground.

They hope the way the youth club has changed their lives will inspire other young people to come along and get involved.

Image: W4 Youth club football

Luke’s Story

‘Luke is 13 years old and was born with a rare blood disease which left him very vulnerable to infection. Because of this, he missed months of schooling after most children returned following Covid and was isolated at home. His condition required him to have a bone marrow transplant three years ago which was successful, and Luke is now, miraculously, a healthy teenager.

‘However, last year and not long after starting secondary school, his father was involved in a fatal accident, leaving Luke and his mum, Ana alone. Ana says that in the months after the accident, Luke struggled to sleep, could not focus on schoolwork and felt tired all the time. He spent his time at home on screens and had no outside interests.

‘Then Luke joined W4 Youth. He attends all four sessions each week and thoroughly enjoys playing football with his friends. His highlight of the week is playing for one of the W4 Youth teams in the Rocks Lane Friday Night 5’s because of the positive feelings of being part of a team. Ana says that Luke has transformed.

“He is calmer, comes home and does his homework straight away, sleeps well and gets up ready and happy to go to school. He has also started to teach football to a six year old boy with autism who did not have the confidence to join his school football club but now … loves the game and has joined his school club.”

‘Ana is rightly so proud of Luke for developing enough confidence to help another child. Having a place for Luke to go which is safe, and importantly, free of charge, has helped Ana immeasurably. Her only complaint is that now is that it’s a struggle to get  him to eat dinner because he is such a rush to get out the house and get to W4 Youth each night!’

Image: W4 youth club dance

Haroon and Nayan’s Story

Haroon and Nayan are siblings.

‘Haroon is nineteen. He would regularly hang around with a group of other teenagers in the evenings. One evening, he saw the younger children doing sports in Southfield Rec and went over to see what was going on. He hoped his younger brother, Nayan, who is thirteen who spent all his time at home gaming, might be able to join in.

‘Haroon is incredibly aware that he was close to going down ‘the wrong path’, being led by individuals who were not true friends. With the confidence and security W4 Youth has given him, he has now focussed his social life down to 3 or 4 good friends, has started a university degree in Business Computing and is starting his own clothing business.

“Nayan meanwhile has become a confident footballer having never enjoyed sport before and has a whole new group of friends at the club. Haroon and Nayan’s sister has recently joined the street dance clubs which she has picked up really easily having danced traditional dance previously. Three members of one family all enjoying the activities of W4 Youth.’

The club says it always has space for more young people.  Anyone between the ages of 11 and 19 can simply turn up for any of the sessions. More information available on our website  W4 Youth or by emailing w4youth@yahoo.co.uk

READ ALSO: W4 Youth launched with tea and cake

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Most of SWR network closed during May strikes

See also: Police arrest two men after burglary at The Eye Studio in Chiswick

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.