Chiswick Calendar party 2024 – CRAP awards and comedy

Image above: Editor of The Chiswick Calendar Bridget Osborne with Ruth Cadbury MP; photographs by Anna Kunst

CRAP awards and a sketch with Ruth Cadbury MP and Jeremy Vine

Ruth Cadbury MP presented The Chiswick Calendar’s CRAP awards (Chiswick Residents’ Active Participation) at our party on Thursday (11 January), to people, or groups who had done something over the past year to make Chiswick a better, or more interesting place to live.

She also put her reputation in our hands (a considerable risk) by taking part in a sketch, presented and co-written by Jeremy Vine and based on the Two Ronnies Mastermind sketch from 1980, in which the contestant has to give the answer to the previous question. She was there with the two other MPs who represent parts of Chiswick in parliament – Rupa Huq and Andy Slaughter.

The occasion marked our ninth birthday as a website and weekly newsletter, and the last year that Ruth will represent Chiswick in Parliament. Whether or not she wins the next General Election, she will no longer be our MP, as the boundary changes mean the portion of Chiswick which is currently in Brentford & Isleworth will be in the constituency of Hammersmith & Chiswick after the next election, expected in the autumn.

Image above: Editor of The Chiswick Calendar Bridget Osborne at the party

2024 CRAP awards

We have given community awards for several years to recognise people for the contribution they make to Chiswick life. Previous winners have been a mix of individuals and organisations, including charities such as West London Welcome and The Upper Room, and new initiatives such as the Chiswick Flower Market and Chiswick Cheese Market. Many of those who organise cultural and social events in Chiswick, or run businesses here, were at the party.

READ ALSO: Winners of The Chiswick Calendar’s 2023 community awards

This year we focused on Chiswick’s cultural life. Ruth presented each with a certificate printed and framed for us by Snappy Snaps and a presentation bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale.

Image above: Ruth Cadbury; Bridget Osborne; Torin Douglas

Torin Douglas

Torin Douglas has received one of our community awards before, and rather more importantly, he has received an MBE for his work in the community. As Director of the Chiswick Book Festival and a prime mover in the Bedford Park Festival and any of the other cultural events which emerge from St Michael & All Angels Church, he does more than anyone else to enrich Chiswick’s cultural and community life.

We are particularly grateful to him for being a supporter of The Chiswick Calendar from its inception, offering advice and encouragement. He hosts an annual networking drinks with ArtsEd, which was also last week, to further his aim of bringing people together in Chiswick, rather than each arts organisation, media platform and business remaining in its own separate silo. That is the ethos which has enabled cultural events in Chiswick to flourish.

This year’s CRAP award was to mark 15 years of the Chiswick Book Festival, which they celebrated in 2023.

Image above: Ruth Cadbury presenting the award to Simon and Sarah Reilly

Sarah & Simon Reilly – Theatre at the Tabard

Sarah and Simon Reilly took over the running of the studio theatre above the Tabard pub in the summer of 2022, with their company Take Note Theatre. Simon is the artistic director and Sarah the executive director and creative producer.

Since they have taken over the lease it has been an uphill struggle to refurbish the theatre space and bring in enough money to create consistently high quality productions, but they have managed it. Three shows won awards in last year’s London Pub Theatres awards – Next Door’s Baby, About Bill and The Silence of Snow, about the author Patrick Hamilton, who lived in Chiswick, putting them firmly on the pub theatre map.

Their most recent production, The Secret Garden has been nominated for the Standing Ovation Awards, run by London Pub Theatres, and it has been nominated for a Office – an Off West End Award. And now – the icing on the cake – they have a Chiswick Calendar CRAP award to put on the wall.

Image above: Chris Parker from Chiswick Cinema receiving his award

Chris Parker – Chiswick Cinema

The Chiswick Cinema celebrated its second year last summer. Unlike most cinemas, where you just go and get your popcorn and watch a film, Chris and general manager Keiichi have made it a very firm policy to open the space to the community of Chiswick. They have made the bar and ground floor space available to community groups to hold events; created a tiny gallery in the reception area for artists to show their work on rotation; but also the public is also welcome to come and work on a laptop in the warm with a cup of coffee, without even seeing a film.

Best of all, Chris has initiated a programme of Q&A events, bringing A list actors, director and writers that gives the BFI a run for its money, all within walking distance of home for Chiswick residents.

Over the past year we have had the Richard Attenborough centenary season, which Chris planned with Michael Attenborough, Richard’s son. Also a Karel Reisz season; director John Madden came to talk about Shakespeare in Love. Vanessa Redgrave, Stephen Frears, Penelope Wilton, Geraldine James and Sir Ben Kingsley have all popped in for a Q&A session. Not least we have established a Chiswick In Film festival together with industry professionals Rob Sprackling (writer) and Andrea Carnevali (editor) – the third of which will take place this November.

Image above: Guests at The Chiswick Calendar party

Simon Randall – Headliners comedy club

Simon Randall has been running Headliners Comedy Club in the back room of George IV for more than 20 years. He attract really big names: Nina Conti was there last weekend. She was brilliant, as was Ardal O’Hanlon when he appeared in the autumn.

When I interviewed Omid Djalili last summer, for the Ealing Comedy Festival (which Simon also runs), he told me what a debt of gratitude they all owed Simon for plugging away promoting comedy in west London. For us it’s just great to be able to see top class standup week in, week out, without having to go into town.

Image above: Guests at The Chiswick Calendar party

Paul Hyman – In the Drink campaign

Paul Hyman runs Active 360, the paddleboarding centre at Kew Bridge. He regularly organises clean-ups of the river by paddleboard, picking plastic bags out of the bushes and picking up traffic cones, polystyrene, bottles – all the detritis of London life which ruins the look of the River Thames and represents a danger to wildlife.

He is a prime mover in the In the Drink campaign to persuade pubs, particularly riverside pubs, not to use plastic cups.

Image above: Guests at The Chiswick Calendar party

Donna Schoenherr – Ballet4Life & Move into Wellbeing

Donna Schoenherr’s Ballet4Life dance school is celebrating 20 years this year. A professional ballet dancer herself, she offers classes not just in ballet but in all sorts of different dance genres, to adults, both beginners and those who want to return to dance later in life. She also set up Move into Wellbeing to offer classes to people with restricted movement.

Simon, Paul and Donna were not able to be at the event to pick up their awards in person.

Image above: Leonora Yorath; Jo McCaul; Michelle Lepherd

Chiswick Women’s cricket team

Chiswick has a women’s cricket team. It was started during Covid when Leonora Yorath decided she wanted to get out of the house and get some exercise. There has been a men’s team for decades, so she thought it about time there was a women’s one. They started playing competitively in a league last season.

Last year’s team captain Jo McCaul and newly trained ladies coach Michelle Lepherd joined Leonora to pick up their award.

Image above: Jill Spencer receiving the award on behalf of the Chiswick Repair Cafe

Chiswick Repair Cafe

Of all the recent initiatives in Chiswick I think the Chiswick Repair Cafe is the most forward looking – it enables people to keep items they love and value, and it promotes sustainability. Once a month in Christ Church on Turnham Green on a Saturday, you will find a collection of volunteer menders, with a variety of tools, willing to have a go at mending anything. And more volunteers at the ready with home made cake. How can anyone fail to admire such an enterprise? Our thanks to Charlotte Bullock, Kate Hollis, Marie-Claire Meisels and Jill Spencer for setting it up.

Image above: Zac Moxon, Head of Music at Chiswick School receiving his award

Zac Moxon – Chiswick School Head of Music

Zac won the Outstanding New Teacher of the Year award at the 2023 Pearson National Teaching Awards. As the award suggests, he has only been teaching a year or two, but is already Head of Music at Chiswick School. He wins our award for taking the school’s music out into the community. The school now has several choirs and rock bands, and a steel band run by Samuel Dubois. They make their music groups avaialable to play  in the pubs, churches and open air markets, and at community events.

Thanks to …

Our sponsors – John D Wood, who are stepping down this year but have sponsored us from the beginning, allowing us to grow; continuing support from Asahi, Fuller’s and the Hogarth Club.

Thanks to our new sponsors, Horton & Garton, and Rocks Lane sports centre, who have sponsored our new sports directory.

Thanks to Jeremy Vine for co-writing and presenting our version of the Two Ronnies Mastermind sketch, and to Ruth Cadbury for performing it with him. Thanks to the Two Ronnies and their writers for their comedy genius!

Thanks also to violinist David Juritz and pianist Sally Heath for the music, and to George IV general manager Ben Bullman for hosting us and providing the beer.

See who you can spot, who you know, among the party goers.

 

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