Rebecca Frayn re-elected as Chair of Turnham Green Friends

Image above: Rebecca Frayn; photograph James Willcocks

Rebecca Frayn has been re-elected as Chair of the Turnham Green Friends group. The Friends look after the upkeep of Turnham Green in collaboration with the council’s parks department. Things turned distinctly unfriendly earlier this year when members fell out over whether or not to plant more cherry trees to add to the existing cherry tree avenue on the Green.

Rebecca resigned as Chair after Cllr Joanna Biddolph stopped the cherry tree planting literally the day before it was due to take place, claiming irregularities in the decision making process of the Friends. The cherry trees went to the other end of the borough and to Ealing borough (though they were planted on Acton Green Common) and the group has not functioned since. The whole affair left a sour taste. One might even say it gave Rebecca the pip.

It has taken since February to sort out, but now members of Turnham Green Friends have voted to elect a Chair and carry on. Jill Spencer, who complained to Cllr Biddolph when the Friends’ AGM voted in favour of planting cherry trees, stood against Rebecca. She won 21% votes, to Rebecca’s 79%.

Image above: Turnham Green with the cherry blossom out

‘Newly constituted’ group seeks new volunteers

Rebecca, a film and documentary maker whose feature film Misbehaviour came out just before the first lockdown, gave her reaction to The Chiswick Calendar:

“I thank members for their kind support in returning me as chair and look forward to a resumption of a group that unites rather than divides us as a community. I would like to acknowledge the exceptional dedication and determination of Ed Stanley our secretary who has worked so skilfully for many months to reach out to the membership and other stakeholders to put together a newly constituted group, so ably aided more recently by Azim Karimjee, our treasurer.

“I would also like to remind anyone who uses or has a connection with the Green that they are all welcome to join us by contacting or via our website.  We are all, in partnership with the Council, custodians of this wonderful open space and as a committee, we would welcome a wider and more diverse membership with open arms.”

According to the Friends of Turnham Green website, the group is a community based voluntary organisation, founded in 2007.

‘Volunteers have been working tirelessly ever since to rescue Turnham Green from municipal shabbiness. We began by successfully lobbying to remove derelict buildings and in their place created a natural play area for children together with a large wild flower meadow.

‘Since then we have raised money to replace broken bins, cracked paths, bent railings and also undertaken a number of collaborations with Abundance London to improve bio-diversity. As a result, the park has received the Green Flag award from the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy for the past 4 years in a row. We hold an annual AGM at Christ Church every year and a team of enthusiastic volunteers regularly turn out in rain or shine to help with twice yearly weeding and planting sessions’.

Cycleway could be named the ‘Cherry Tree Line’

The group has tried to put the ‘Cherrygate‘ row behind it, but there may be a perpetual reminder of it in the naming of the new cycle route Cycleway 9. Environmental charity Possible has launched a ’name the cycle lane’ competition.

‘If we care about something, we give it a name. So why are London’s cycleways known by codes like CS2, C5 or Q1? They’re amazing parts of our transport system, connecting us to our work and loved ones, helping us to exercise, keep pollution down and enjoy our city. They need proper names!’

The name for Cycleway 9 will be one of three suggestions: The Garden Way –  because it goes between Kew Gardens and Kensington Gardens, Claudia Way – in celebration of Claudia Jones, the founder of Carnival in London, and Cherry Tree Line – because of all the trees along the route, the Cherry Tree is the most prolific.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar website

See also: Misbehaviour

See also: ‘Cherrygate’

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