Chiswick RNLI’s rescue of drifting party boat featured in BBC Saving Lives at Sea

Image: RNLI intercept the drifting Royalty vessel; Chiswick Lifeboat

Watch “dramatic video” on Saving Lives at Sea TV – Tuesday 14 May, BBC2 8pm

Chiswick Lifeboat’s rescue of a drifting party boat on the River Thames will be featured in the BBC’s Saving Lives at Sea series on Tuesday evening (14 May 2024).

A dramatic video from the crews’ helmet cameras will be featured, as well as interviews with the crew involved.

At 9.50pm on 7 July 2023, the crew on Chiswick Lifeboat were debriefing after a casualty care exercise at Broomhouse Pier when Thames Commander Mark Turrell noticed a large passenger vessel manoeuvring strangely.

Moments later, a call came through on asking the lifeboat for immediate assistance, the passenger vessel Royalty had lost propulsion with 50 partygoers on board.

The lifeboat responded at once as the tide swept the passenger boat towards a group of houseboats. The lifeboat crew quickly set up an alongside tow as that would allow better control.

Mark was able to speak directly to the captain via the radio and his own crew on their helmet comms. The vessel still had steerage so the lifeboat provided propulsion while the captain managed the steering. The vessel was towed by the lifeboat a mile to Putney Pier, its original destination.

The lifeboat was attached to the starboard side of the Royalty so crew-member Tim Hughes boarded Royalty to provide eyes from the port side.

The RNLI E-Class lifeboats, unique to the Thames, have towed larger vessels before but this was a different challenge as there were over 50 partygoers on board. At 110 tons and 100 feet long Mark was apprehensive about how the alongside tow would work:

“We were confident that our lifeboat would be up to the job but relieved that the 900 horse power E-Class was more than capable of making way against the tide with such a large vessel.”

Image: RNLI escorting the drifting Royalty vessel to safety; Chiswick Lifeboat

Partygoers “unaware” of the danger

The next challenge was negotiating the arches of Putney Bridge. Normally the Royalty would proceed in the centre of the arch but this would put the lifeboat under the lowest part of the arch. Mark asked the captain to go as far to the south of the centreline as he judged was safe and asked his crew to lower the lifeboat’s mast and aerials.

After successfully negotiating the bridge, Mark decided that the normal method of allowing the outgoing tide to ease the Royalty onto the pier could result in a sudden jolt, risking injuries onboard.

Using the precise control allowed by the E-class’s twin water jets, Mark was able to gently bring the Royalty alongside. Up to this point the dancing partygoers were unaware that their river trip ended with propulsion provided by another vessel.

“It was a challenging rescue but went smoothly, none of the partygoers noticed that there was an extra blue light in the disco!” said Mark

‘The situation could have had a very different outcome, it was satisfying to confirm that the capability of the E-Class and the extensive training of our crew, Adam Cairns, Tim Hallac and Tim Hughes, allowed us to carry out a seamless rescue for over 50 people.’

At the time, Chiswick lifeboat station manager Wayne Bellamy commented:

‘The RNLI search and rescue service on the tidal Thames has its roots in the campaign of the families who lost loved ones in the Marchioness disaster when 51 people drowned.

“The choice of lifeboats and location of lifeboat stations was established to deal with a similar incident. We daily attend all sorts of incidents but always have in mind that we may need to deal with a large passenger vessel with many people on board. It is gratifying that all our preparations have paid off in this rescue.’

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 4,000 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

Episode 42: Thank you Mr Crombie

Mihir Bose, former BBC Sports editor, talks to David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times, and political commentator Nigel Dudley about his memoir Thank you Mr Crombie – Lessons in Guilt and Gratitude to the British.

Mihir grew up in India, just after Independence, part of a wealthy family with a hierarchy of servants, where as a child he was treated like a little prince. Had he stayed there and remained a partner in what is now India’s accountancy firm, he might have made millions as the country developed. Instead he came to Britain to pursue his passion for journalism.

He met David and Nigel not long after he settled in London, and having been subjected to the usual 1960s racism – violence from National Front skinheads, landladies refusing to rent him a room, he finally found his niche on the Financial Weekly and his tribe, journalists, who did not care about his colour, and they have remained good friends ever since.

In this podcast they talk about how multicultural Britain has changed since those days, the impact of immigration, the legacy of Empire and Mihir’s personal journey.

Listen to the podcast on all the usual podcast platforms or on The Chiswick Calendar website.

More Platforms

Come and see Mihir talking about Thank You Mr Crombie at an event in Chiswick

Mihir will be talking about his memoir to friend and colleague, journalist Peter Oborne, on Wednesday 29 May at George IV pub in Chiswick.

Tickets: Eventbrite

Listen to more episodes here.

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing, we’d love to hear from you!

Firsts Bookfair – London’s rare book fair

One of the most popular and prestigious rare book fairs in the world

Guest blog by Stephen Foster

This week, Firsts Bookfair returns to the Saatchi Gallery in Sloane Square.  It is the UK’s premium event for old and rare books but is also one of the most popular and prestigious rare book fairs in the world.

This fabulous venue is just a short walk from Sloane Square Tube Station on the King’s Road.  Run by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, and open to the public between Friday 17 and Sunday 19 May, it is housed over three floors with exhibitors including not only some of the finest in the UK but from across the globe.

This year’s theme is the Art of the Book, and as usual, there will be some fabulous items on display, all of which can be purchased!

You’ll see everything from Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabula, unique Archives and scarce author signed copies. These museum quality items attract the many libraries and institutions that travel from around the world to purchase for their collections. But as well as that, there is plenty on offer that will not break the bank.

Books can showcase the arts in so many ways, via the printing processes used, the typography, the skilled craft bindings.  Many well-known artists have produced books, and many great artisans have been involved in the fabulous illustrations and designs.

Image: Last year’s ‘Firsts’ Bookfair at the Saatchi Gallery at Sloane Square

Some of the most beautiful books ever produced in England

I’ve been a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association since 2000, and our summer bookfairs have always been a highlight of the calendar, but we’ve found a fantastic home at the Saatchi. A well-lit, spacious gallery, it provides an excellent space to allow us to show off the best of our books.

Last year one of my first sales was of the beautiful Eric Ravilious illustrated book High Street – the only major work with colour lithographs produced during his lifetime.

Images: Eric Ravilious’ illustrations for High Street

He was killed in the War, and the original printing plates were destroyed during the Blitz, preventing any reprint. The previous year, one of my colleagues sold a stunning copy of one of the most beautiful books ever produced in England, William Morris’s 1896 publication, the Kelmscott Chaucer.

Morris was inspired by Emery Walker  to set up the Kelmscott Press, just up the road in Hammersmith. Although we don’t have a copy of the six-figure original, we do have what I think is the best facsimile available of the beautiful Burne Jones illustrated book. It reproduces the Doves Bindery design on the cream Morocco binding, and it’s printed on a beautiful laid paper.

Images: Pages from the Kelmscott Press Chaucer

The very old and ancient are well represented at the event, but there is also the modern. Visually stunning books, posters and fine bindings from the 20th century and to date. First editions with their often iconic dustjacket artwork, Golden Age travel posters, and exquisitely executed designer bookbinding.

One of the more modern books we’ll be taking should feel especially at home in a Saatchi building. It is a special edition of Andrew Graham-Dixon’s book on Howard Hodgkin published in 1994.  Housed in a slipcase, it’s one of only 200 copies that were issued with a signed intaglio print, produced from one plate in two colours and hand-painted with red tempera.

Images: Andrew Graham-Dixon’s book on Howard Hodgkin

Free entry tickets to Chiswick Calendar subscribers

We’re offering a free entry ticket for Chiswick Calendar subscribers – you can download a ticket via the link on our website which gets you in for all three days.

Book tickets – Firsts Bookfair ticket link

We’ll be on stand K98, and you can view some of our highlights on the Firsts website, but we’ve also created a special catalogue of some of the books we’ll be taking.

Come to see the beauties on display, stay to meet the booksellers who know and love their stock, and maybe leave with a beautiful book that sparks a collection.

Stephen Foster is the owner of Foster Books at 183 Chiswick High Rd. 

Foster Books is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. See Stephen’s discount offer to subscribers here: Foster Books Club Card offer

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David and Georgia Tennant to host charity gala night at Pub in the Park

Image: Line-up of celebrities expected at Pub in the Park’s charity gala in Chiswick

An all-star line-up on Friday 28 June

David and Georgia Tennant will be hosting a charity gala at this year’s Pub in the Park at Chiswick House, alongside celebrity chef Tom Kerridge.

The event, on the Friday night (28 June) promises to be a very starry affair, with other well-known actors, musicians, comedians and TV personalities coming to Chiswick to raise money for former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s charity – The Multibank.

Among the line-up of stars who will be coming are Arabella Weir MBE, Claudia Winkelman, Alex Jones, Romesh Ranganthan, Lenny Henry, Stephen Mangan, Gaby Roslin, Simon Rimmer, Dr Ranj Singh, Jose Pizarro, Matt Tebbutt, Mark Wogan, Andrea McLean and Kate Thornton, and there will be a special guest attendance from Multibank founder, Gordon Brown.

“These stars will appear on stage and around the festival,” say the festival organisers, “plus there will be the usual Michelin starred pop-up restaurants and headline music on the main stage from De La Soul, The Feeling, Stereo MCs and a Vernon Kay DJ set.”

“It’s going to be great fun and a spectacular night to celebrate and support a brilliant charity initiative, we are thrilled to be part of it,” said David and Georgia, who live in Chiswick.

Image: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a Multibank

Rasing funds for Multibanks

Multibanks are being established across the UK to fight poverty and maximise recycling of unused goods. A Multibank is much like a food bank, instead offering clothes, toiletries, bedding, baby goods, hygiene items, and furniture – essential things many families simply cannot afford yet desperately need. They often operate alongside existing food banks.

The idea is simple: companies have surplus goods that people need, and local charities know the people who need them; The Multibank initiative connects the two to reduce the effects of both poverty and environmental waste.

The initiative has been featured by Comic Relief, which helped establish it with £1million of seed funding from from Comic Relief and Amazon. The first were set up in Fife, Scotland and Wigan, Greater Manchester.

In its pilot phase, Multibank have helped 200,000 families with two million goods and now propose to offer 20 million goods to families in the greatest need.

“Pub in the Park has supported various Poverty action charities across the UK since it was established in 2017″ said Tom Kerridge. “This event plans to be one of our most worthwhile and spectacular to date”.

The evening aims to raise between £50,000 and £75,000 for the charity which will be used both nationally and to support the newest Multibank in Greenford, West London, opened just last week.

Tickets are from £55 with £10 per ticket going to the charity and Super VIP Party tickets are £300. With £250 for the charity.

Book tickets – Pub in the Park all-star charity night

Image: David and Georgia Tennant; photograph from their Facebook page

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Demystifying estate planning

The award winning wealth management and investment experts Killik & Co have opened a new space on Devonshire Road – House of Killik Chiswick. The Chiswick Calendar is pleased to share their guest blogs on how best to plan and save to acquire the wealth to achieve your goals.

Killik & Co won “Best Discretionary / Advisory Wealth Manager’ in the 2023 FT Investors Chronicle Awards.”

The essentials of estate planning

In this article, Phil Sole, Relationship Manager at House of Killik Chiswick shares his thoughts on the essentials of estate planning, focusing on some ways to mitigate the impact of Inheritance Tax.

What are the cornerstones of estate planning?

The first key step is to set up a valid will. This crucial document ensures that someone’s assets end up in the right hands after their death. The consequence of not having a will in place is that the fixed rules of intestacy apply. These impose a strict statutory running order in terms of who will benefit from an estate.

It is important that people are clear about exactly what a will does and doesn’t cover. For example, a will won’t cover most pensions, life assurance policies, or death in service payments from an employer. Assets held outside the UK are not automatically included, and it may be necessary to create a separate will for the relevant jurisdiction.

Next, it is worth revisiting assets that are jointly owned, such as a main home or bank accounts. They automatically pass to the surviving party when one of them dies, but this might not be how one party would want their share to be distributed.

How should someone choose an executor?

Most people nominate a spouse or partner, on the basis that they are known and trusted. The problem sometimes is that a surviving spouse may themselves be elderly or vulnerable.

Since more than one person can act in this capacity, it is also possible to appoint a combination of, perhaps, a spouse along with any responsible children, plus an external professional. The latter can bring an understanding of the legal and tax issues associated with a death estate and be able to speak or act objectively when it comes to managing any disputes.

Why do powers of attorney matter so much?

There are two types of lasting power of attorney (LPA), one covering property and financial affairs, and the other health and welfare. Once registered, they can be used should someone lose the capacity to look after their own affairs, or earlier if preferred. Many are never invoked but nonetheless provide valuable peace of mind.

How does inheritance tax work?

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is levied on what is called a “death estate,”- all property, belongings, investments, and money of the deceased, less any permitted liabilities, IHT-exempt assets and nil rate bands – and is charged at 40%.

What are the other broad ways to reduce an IHT bill?

The simplest option is to encourage someone to spend more. The trouble is the same people who have worked hard to accumulate wealth are sometimes the least likely to prioritise enjoying it.

The next thing to consider is ‘lifetime gifts’. For example, there is a £6,000 annual exemption available to a couple and, additionally, surplus income can be given away subject to the relevant tests.

These include making sure that any gift forms part of someone’s normal expenditure, does not reduce their standard of living, and is made out of income rather than as a reduction in their assets.

Beyond these opportunities, plus a few others that relate to specific circumstances such as marriage, there is the potentially exempt transfer (PET) rule. This allows gifts of any size to be made to any person, but they must happen at least seven years before someone dies to be fully effective.

Life assurance can be useful to clients who may be facing a large IHT bill without having sufficient liquid assets (for example, cash) to meet it. This situation is common where a family’s wealth is tied up in property. A protection policy won’t reduce the IHT bill, but it should make it easier to settle, provided the premiums are paid in accordance with the contract.

Are there any other options?

Firstly entrepreneurs, and anyone who has invested in unlisted companies in the past, will probably be familiar with the term ‘business relief.’ It applies at a rate of up to 100% on qualifying investments.

What this means is that, provided someone has owned the relevant assets for at least two years prior to death, they should attract a reduction of up to 100% in IHT as part of an estate.

Given that there are no free lunches, the types of investments that qualify are typically higher-risk smaller companies. So, proper consideration needs to be given to whether they are suitable and, assuming that they are, how much of someone’s overall investable wealth should be allocated to them.

The second specialist area is trusts. Here, the idea is that rather than making a direct gift, it is held by a separate vehicle on behalf of an ultimate beneficiary. That sounds simple enough, but trusts must be created with care if they are to achieve their original objectives and stay the right side of the tax rules.

Whether someone is setting up a simple, or a more complicated trust it is vital to get the legal structure right and deal with the related tax and administration issues correctly. Using a suitably qualified tax adviser and solicitor, in collaboration with a financial planner, can be the best bet.

To learn more about how we can help with estate and succession planning, please drop into House of Killik Chiswick for a complimentary chat or email

Please be aware that as with all investments, your capital is at risk and you may not receive back the same amount that you invest. Please note that tax treatments depend on personal circumstances and the rules may be subject to future change.

If you have any questions about this article, or wish to discuss your financial circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact Relationship Manager, Phil Sole and House & Community Coordinator, Emma Walker.

We welcome all Chiswick residents to House of Killik, no appointment necessary.  Pop in for a chat and a coffee at 13 Devonshire Road – we look forward to meeting you soon.

13 Devonshire Road
London W4 2EU
Nearest Tube:
Turnham Green
+44 (0) 207 337 0640
Send us a message to:
8.30am– 5.30pm
Monday– Friday
Weekend and out of hours appointments available on request

May 2024 Books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer from publishers in May and chooses Long Island by Colm Tóibín, Queen Macbeth by Val McDermid and You Like It Darker by Stephen King.

Images: Long Island by Colm Tóibín; Queen Macbeth by Val McDermid; You Like It Darker by Stephen King

Long Island – Colm Tóibín

Set twenty years after his most lauded and lovely literary landmark Brooklyn, Long Island continues the story of Irish immigrant Ellis Lacey, making her way in the United States of America in the late Seventies with her husband, children, friends…and an imminent, great big life-changing clanger that’s going to upend everything.

Colm Toibin is famous for his elegant and restrained writing and vividly drawn characters at turning points in their lives, thinking deep thoughts and probably gazing wistfully into the middle distance quite a lot, and there aren’t many more satisfyingly refined and readable writers out there.

A man with an Irish accent knocks on Eilis Fiorello’s door on Long Island and asks for her by name. Eilis and husband Tony have built a secure, happy life here since leaving Brooklyn, twenty years married and with two children looking towards a good future. But this stranger will reveal something that will make Eilis question the life she has created.

For the first time in years she suddenly feels very far from home and the revelation will see her turn towards Ireland once again. Back to her mother. Back to the town and the people she had chosen to leave behind. Did she make the wrong choice marrying Tony all those years ago? Is it too late now to take a different path?

Images: Long Island; Colm Tóibín

Queen Macbeth – Val McDermid

You’d have to be a pretty amazing author to rewrite acknowledged historical banger-that-you-can’t-mention-out-loud-in-a-theatre Macbeth, turn it on its head and transform it into an absolutely cracking thriller for the modern age, re-examining history while keeping you on the edge of your seat, so it’s good that Val McDermid took the job on, really.

A thousand years ago in an ancient Scottish landscape, a woman is on the run with her three companions – a healer, a weaver and a seer. The men hunting her will kill her – because she is the only one who stands between them and their violent ambition.

She is no lady: she is the first queen of Scotland, married to a king called Macbeth. As the net closes in, we discover a tale of passion, forced marriage, bloody massacre and the harsh realities of medieval Scotland.

At the heart of it is one strong, charismatic woman, who survived loss and jeopardy to outwit the endless plotting of a string of ruthless and power-hungry men. Her struggle won her a country. But now it could cost her life.

Images: Queen Macbeth; Val McDermid; photograph KT Bruce

You Like It Darker – Stephen King

Am I always going to recommend a new Stephen King book regardless of any other new releases in a month? Pretty much, and that’s because even if you think he’s gone off the boil in more recent decades (we are talking about a consistently amazing half century career here after all) not-quite-in-his-prime Stephen King is usually better than half the writers out there, and that’s no disrespect to other authors it’s just…y’know. Stephen King.

‘You like it darker? Fine, so do I’, writes Stephen King in the afterword to this magnificent new collection of twelve stories that delve into the darker part of life – both metaphorical and literal.

King is a master of the form, and these stories, about fate, mortality, luck, and the folds in reality where anything can happen, are as rich and riveting as his novels, both weighty in theme and a huge pleasure to read. King writes to feel ‘the exhilaration of leaving ordinary day-to-day life behind’, and in You Like it Darker, readers will feel that exhilaration too, again and again.

Images: You Like It Darker; Stephen King

Dan Coombes is a bookseller at Bookcase, an independent bookshop open in Chiswick since 1993. A specialist in science fiction, Dan has been a bookseller for 16 years.

Bookcase is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme – see their current discounts for Chiswick Calendar readers here: Bookcase Club Card offer.

See all The Chiswick Calendar’s previous monthly book reviews here.

ArtsEd receives highest accolade from Independent Schools Inspectorate

Guest blog by Peter Middleton, ArtsEd Head Heacher

At the end of March 2024, ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form were inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) as part of their routine cycle of school inspections.

This latest inspection took place under the new framework that was introduced in September 2023. There is no ‘overall judgment’ of the school – ISI have removed single word judgments.

However, they are permitted to identify key areas of Significant Strength in a school. It is a label applied only where a school does something truly exceptional and with impact across the whole student body; the bar is set incredibly high. Accordingly, the School is thrilled that their inspection team identified the following area of Significant Strength at ArtsEd:

“standards that students achieve in performing arts, in line with the school’s expressed aims, are a significant strength of the school.”  ISI Inspection report  2024  (paragraph 4)

The inspection, and report, place student experience and outcome, along with school culture, at its heart; consequently, it provides a much better assessment on whether schools do what they say they do.

During the inspection, ISI inspectors look at whether the standards (The Independent School Standard Regulations) have been met in the following five areas, and the report provides commentary to support its findings:

  • Leadership and management, and governance
  • Quality of education, training and recreation
  • Pupils’ physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Pupils’ social and economic education and contribution to society

It was evident that the Inspectors left having really understood the essence of an ArtsEd education, our values, and crucially our students.  Not only was ArtsEd found to have met these standards in all areas, but the inspection team also identified a key area of outstanding excellence in our school – the strength of our performing arts provision.

The inspectors also recognised key attributes of our students and staff, and the centrality of the ‘ArtsEd Curriculum’, our ethos and values, and the pastoral care. These can be seen throughout the report, and some examples are reflected below:

“Leaders plan a curriculum through which pupils study a wide range of academic and vocational subjects. Pupils develop linguistic, mathematical, scientific and technological skills.  Leaders strategically plan ahead and adapt their curriculum in the light of the changing demands of the world of performing arts.

“Pupils are articulate, attentive, listen with respect and enjoy opportunities to work together

“Pupils have a sense of responsibility; they apply effort to their work and are self-motivated and ambitious” ISI Inspeciton report”  ISI Inspection report 2024  (paragraph 17)

“The leaders of the school have developed a culture of mutual respect and tolerance which is seen in the interactions between pupils and pupils and staff around the school. Inclusion and diversity are prioritised by leaders with the recent appointment of staff and pupil equality, diversity and inclusion leads.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 38)

“The curriculum, school policies and school activities encourage and support an ethos of mutual respect where pupils appreciate the individuality of others and feel they can be their natural selves.  Pupils are kind and tolerant, and there is a clear focus on matters of equality and inclusion.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 27)

“From their arrival at the school, pupils learn to accept responsibility for the standard of their performances and their behaviour. They develop skills of teamwork and leadership through the many opportunities to perform throughout the year.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 42)

The inspection process is, quite rightly, rigorous and detailed and relies on extensive interviews with pupils and staff, lesson observations, work scrutiny and questionnaires. The judgment of the school is built from the bottom up,  from the experience of our students and our parents.

“Leaders and managers have the knowledge, skills and experience to help pupils thrive and flourish.  They are highly attuned to the specific demands of a creative performing arts environment, where pupils need a challenging and broad education as well as a high standard of vocational training.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 10)

Further detail from the report describes the teaching of the performing and creative arts, our Significant Strength, as being:

“inspiring and informed by current professional practice.  Teachers have high expectations of pupils, who receive challenging tasks and are given a busy schedule of performance opportunities.  Pupils respond with focus and energy, producing work of a notably high standard both in the classroom and on the stage.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 22)

“The teaching of performing arts is dynamic and responsive to the needs of the pupils.  It is delivered by professionals who have expert knowledge so that pupils make rapid progress and achieve results well above the national averages in these areas.” ISI Inspection report 2024 (paragraph 4)

We are one of very few schools to have been described as exhibiting a Significant Strength, as it is the highest accolade under the new inspection structure. This is a hugely exciting validation of all that we do here at ArtsEd.

We know this to be a major feature of the education we offer alongside a rigorous academic education, where continual review of teaching and learning strategies is also part of our culture.

I am incredibly proud of this feedback and it clearly reflects our school and who we are.  I am extremely grateful to the whole team here at ArtsEd for their hard work and support, and to all of our families for making our school and community a very special place for children to grow and succeed.

The Acting Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mrs Farida Mannan, is delighted with this outcome:

“The Report is a testament to the dedication of the Day School and Sixth Form staff to our pupils, and also to the genuine affinity the pupils have for this exceptional school.

“The trustees are immensely proud of this achievement on obtaining such a positive report and we will continue to work with the leadership at ArtsEd to maintain high standards across all areas of ArtsEd’s offer. I would like to thank the Senior Leadership Team for leading this successful inspection and all of the staff for their attention to detail, support and continuous hard work.”

This Inspection follows the extremely positive affirmations for ArtsEd’s Higher Education provision, which was recently recognised as being Outstanding by Ofsted (Higher Education RADA funding) and was awarded TEF Gold in late 2023.  Such accolades demonstrate  ArtsEd’s commitment to delivering the highest calibre of teaching and learning within performing arts education.

 At ArtsEd we are conscious that students often seek to move mid-year, or outside the usual entrance points. We have recently opened registration for our September (Day School & Sixth Form Open Evenings 2024 – ArtsEd), but we sometimes have occasional places and would be very happy to consider any and all such applications.  

Please contact to discuss any potential application.

The full ISI report can be found at this link:  ArtsEd-School-Inspection-Report-March-202418

Details of our Day School and Sixth Form Open Event:  Day School & Sixth Form Open Evenings 2024 – ArtsEd

Peter Middleton is the Head Teacher of the day school at ArtsEd 

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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024) – Review by Andrea Carnevali

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Many years after the reign of Caesar, a young ape goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he’s been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. On in cinemas now.

Here’s a film for which I had zero expectations, mostly because the trailer made it look like another one of those loud, brainless, battle-filled, visual-effects-packed and mostly uninteresting wanna-be-blockbusters (or at least that’s what I got out of it), but also because the idea of resuscitating a franchise, which, after the previous three prequels, felt so complete and satisfying, seemed to me to be a pretty pointless cash-in exercise.

But I have to say, while this film surely doesn’t reach the heights (or rather the depths) and richness of the previous instalments (particularly the last two), I did find myself warming up to it and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

This is officially the fourth prequel to the classic original 1978 Planet of the Apes, but don’t worry, the beauty of this one is that you don’t have to do any homework.

In fact, as it turns out, you can shrink the plot of the prequels into just a paragraph without losing your audience: a virus breaks out, makes apes smarter and they take over the planet. There you go. Done. Fast forward 300 years and this new film starts.

Directed by Wes Ball (the man behind the forgettable Maze Runner films) Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (such a mouthful that I’m going to be calling it KOTPOTA from now onwards) is really a standalone “sequel” and sort of “reboot” with a whole new story, a new beginning and new characters.

Clearly the idea is to start building up to more sequels, and given the box office of its first weekend, I can see this developing into another new trilogy. That is not to say that this one doesn’t have a proper ending, because it does.

Sure, there are plenty of echoes of many other films before this, and to say that the message of the film is about colonialism, immigration, xenophobia, is probably giving KOTPOTA  a little bit too much credit, but I have to say, the angle about the different interpretations of history that different people (or in this case, apes) can have, felt fresh and interesting.

If you add to that some properly developed characters and some great visuals, the result is a blockbuster that doesn’t insult your intelligence and at the same time can still entertain.

And of course, this is all without mentioning the main reason why we’re all here: the visual effects, which, I can promise you, are truly stunning!

The CGI-Motion-Capture and scenery, created by the award-winning WETA FX wizards (a company born out of Peter Jackson’s original Lord of the Rings more than two decades ago) are by now so beautifully rendered and well-integrated into the film, that pretty soon you’ll forget those apes were never actually there and in fact. Come to think of it, apes don’t talk either.

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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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:


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)


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

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


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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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

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

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.