Bendigo eh? Beeston’s legendary bare-knuckled boxer may have thrown in the towel when he died 138 years ago, but his legacy looks like it will never be counted out.
He has books about him, a graphic novel, a blue plaque on Wollaton Road, and a couple of articles in past issues of this magazine. He also is now immortalised on the High Road with a bar named after him – despite being a teetotaller, he’d probably still be chuffed.
Bendigo was not just a decent boxer, but a celebrity and showman. He created a whole mythology about him, from being a triplet (he wasn’t) and the youngest of 21 kids (he wasn’t). However, he could lob a brick from one bank of the Trent to the other, and he was an utter mountain of a man, so we won’t quibble. It’s impossible to overstate his fame: shortly after his death, a town in Australia had a poll to name their town: Bendigo was the overwhelming victor (it’s still there, and apparently a lovely place with a population that cheerfully call themselves ‘Bendigonians’. The guy was MASSIVE, and not just in stature.
However, he doesn’t have a proper statue to mark his fame. There is a rather weathered and battered ceramic above a pub in Sneinton, but considering that he was the Victorian Muhammed Ali this is a poor show.
Step in the Bendigo Memorial Fund (BMF), a group of fans of the late pugilist, who have devoted themselves to raising cash to fund a statue to be stuck in a prominent part of Nottingham. “In Nottingham there are a number of things we need to improve,” BMF spokesman Alan Dawson told us. “The grave itself is not well advertised and the information recorded about him is incorrect. A statue in Trinity Square will put this right.”
So, on the 29th April, the BMF will stage a sponsored walk following the route of William ‘Bendigo’ Thompson’s funeral cortege in 1880. This will be from the site of his former home on the site of Beeston’s Anglo Scotian Mills to his grave at Bath Street in Nottingham City Centre, a distance of 5.7 miles. There will be twenty one people doing the walk, representing Bendigo’s 21 fights. I’ll be one of them (and weather permitting I’ll strap my 16 month old son on my back and bring the number up to 21) At the graveside there will be reading from the book about Bendigo written by Beeston writer, publisher and historian Alan Dance. Local actor Peter Radford will also recite Bendigo’s Sermon, a poem written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You’re welcome to tag along.
However, what we’d REALLY like is your money. Statues, at least good statues, don’t come cheap so anything you can do to help nudge the fund towards its target is hugely welcome. It will also mean that you will be part of Bendigo’s legacy long into the future: this is a statue that WE own, that WE make. Worth a few quid, innit?
Donations can be made directly to the Bendigo Memorial Fund via
Find them on Twitter @bendigonotts or on Facebook @bendigomemorial
A packed ‘Unplugged’ event kicked off Oxjam Beeston 2017 on Saturday 1st July.
A supportive and enthusiastic audience appreciated the diversity of music on offer as well as the real ale, wine and curry provided by the good people of the Middle Street Resource Centre. All of the artists – folk-punk singer Paul Carbuncle, Hungarian folk-rock group ‘Foreign Accent’, Celtic tunesmiths Steve and Penny Benford and two generations of singer songwriters: Lucia Holmes and Colin Tucker – will be appearing at Takeover on 14 October. For pictures, video-clips and a more detailed review of the evening, visit the Oxjam Beeston website (www.oxjambeeston.org) or our Facebook page. ‘Unplugged’ was a joint event between Oxjam and Beeston Community Resource/MINDSET.
If you visited the brilliant Beeston Carnival you may well have seen Oxjam there too with a stall offering free goodies, flyers for our various events, tickets and, of course, some live music.
We are currently seeking sponsors for the Festival. Businesses large and small can become sponsors – we’re glad to say ‘The Star’ and C P Walker have signed up to be major sponsors – others so far include PN Design, The Breeze, Cllr Kate Foale (grant from Divisional Fund) and Second Time Around Folk Club. If you are a large business, maybe you can sponsor a Takeover stage or one of our separate fund-raising events. Small businesses and individuals can become a ‘Friend of Oxjam’ by making a donation of as little as £50. Go to our website and look at the Sponsorship Prospectus. www.oxjambeeston.org The more we can raise from sponsorship, the more we can raise for Oxfam! 2017 COULD be our best ever!
We are also beginning to sign up volunteers to help out on Takeover day (14 October). Go to our website and complete the form.
Want to perform at Oxjam 2017? Venues are being finalised at the time of writing – go to the website for the latest information. Although technically, ‘registration’ for artists closed on 14 July, we will continue to accept registrations for several weeks. We are looking for performers of all sorts of music: rock, rap, ‘covers’, indie, punk, blues, folk, metal, jazz, funk and punk – anything, in fact, performed by any size combo from solo acoustic to loud rock and large community choirs. Again, visit the website!
Events – ADDITIONAL – Rock Night at The Greyhound with The Madeline Rust and friends, Sunday 6 August – £3 on the door – check website or Facebook event for details.
TAKEOVER – Saturday 14 October – to include acoustic/semi-acoustic acts and a special choir event at Beeston Methodist Church, Chilwell Road in the afternoon; heavier acts + some semi-acoustic ones + DJs in the evening. £8 ‘early-bird’ (£10 on the day) ADDITIONAL – we have a special ‘Operatic Arias’ concert on Takeover night (7.30 – 9.30) at the Parish Church (NB SEPARATE TICKET REQUIRED – £10 and concessions)
Classical Oxjam – Saturday 11 November – Parish Church – £8 and concessions
Oxjam Ceilidh – Friday 24 November – Royal British Legion Social Club – £10 (half-price for youngsters).
All tickets are available from Oxfam Books and Music and online from www.wegottickets.com (+ 10% booking fee); Takeover and Classical tickets also available from Guitar Spot; Operatic Arias tickets also from John Kirk Hi-Fi.