Clean Life, Clean Earth

As this issue is looking at the environment, I took a stroll along Chilwell Road to art supply shop Artworks, where being green isn’t just a colour in tubes of watercolour paint, but a small step to help save the planet, as the shop has recently turned part of its floor space into an area where you can buy green goods in recyclable packaging…

The ‘Waste Less Shop’ only opened on the 11th of June this year by Jessica Leatherland, daughter of Frank Noonan, the owner of Artworks. Previously the space was being used for displaying local artists’ work, but it wasn’t really paying its way, so Jessica, a keen environmentalist anyway and a veggie who is trying to go vegan suggested that the space be turned into a shop where people can come to help reduce and eliminate single-use plastics from their house.

 
So what sort of things are available to buy at the moment? They basically fall into five categories: household cleaning products, personal cleaning products, storage for small items, baby clothes and a small section of jewellery. The range of cleaning products includes washing up liquid, laundry detergent and loo cleaner, of which are all dispensed from large containers into reusable bottles. The batch number of the liquid is always written on the bottle, just in case there are any problems with the production.

You can also get your dishes clean by using soap in bar form that doesn’t contain any plastics or palm oil. Long-lasting, it can also be used as a spot cleaner on clothes and carpets. Then there are scrubbing pads that are made from coconut fibre. Get your pots and pans clean without scratching. And when it wears out, you can chuck it into your compost heap.

Going shopping? How about using an organic cotton bag for carrying your bread, fruit and vegetables in, instead of a plastic carrier bag?

For you or that special person in your life, you can buy body butter, toothbrushes made from bamboo and toothpaste tablets, which are especially useful if you’re travelling abroad, as the Border Force won’t confiscate them, as they might with liquid toothpastes.

Crafters and journalists aren’t forgotten either with Coccoina glue that’s been made in Italy since 1927. Created from potato starch and almond paste, it’s a non toxic safe glue that smells of marzipan. Then there are pencils that have been made from old newspapers.

The baby clothes have been made by one of Jessica’s relations, branded under the name of ‘Handmade by Grandma.’ Some of these cute little jackets have been made from bamboo, which sounds unlikely, but are knitted the same way, and is just as soft, if not softer than wool.

Whilst chatting to Frank; as Jessica is currently on maternity leave, he told me about an event that took place in early September at Calverton’s Village Hall. “A local group in Calverton organised this plastic-free pop up shop event. We went along, even though Jessica was pregnant at the time, and it was a very successful day. We met lots of people and saw all sorts of other products. The money that was raised from the event went to the Surfers Against Sewage conservation charity.”

At the other end of Beeston, there’s Out of The World, who also stock green products. I asked Frank how the Waste Less Shop tries to differentiate itself from this larger retailer. “We try not to stock products that they do, and vice versa. If we don’t stock something, then we will send the customer there, and likewise, they will send their customer here.”

As the concern over the environment grows by the day, this can only mean that there has to be a seismic shift in the way that companies make products and how people use them. This also could result in a return to more traditional methods of production and an increase in smaller, independent traders on the high street.

Waste Less Shop offer everyday items to help you reduce your waste. We have a selection of products available to help you eliminate single-use plastic from your home.

CF

 

I Am Beeston: Remembering Alice Grundy

On the 25th of June 2017, the Canalside Heritage Centre opened its doors for the first time, after being transformed into a wonderful visitors centre and cafe from a derelict row of cottages. Of course, I went along with my Beestonian hat on and the famous ‘I Am Beeston’ sign, just in case I should meet some more brilliant Beestonians.

Well actually I did, and one person, in particular, stood out.
A sweet little old lady by the name of Alice Grundy. Besides her great age, unbeknown to me was that she had opened the centre, as she had a strong connection with the area, in that she had lived on the canal and where her young sister Annie, who was eight at the time sadly drowned.

Fast forward to September this year when Beestonian Towers received a message from her son in law Malcolm and her daughter Lesley. They wanted to chat about Alice and the life that she had led. So one evening, I popped down with my jotter and pen. Fortunately, they had provided me with a transcript of the tribute that had been paid to Alice at her funeral. She sadly died a shade before her 100th birthday. So the following is a slightly condensed version of that tribute.

“Alice was born in Liverpool during 1920. She lived with her parents, grandparents and siblings George and Annie. Unfortunately, her parents’ marriage came to an end, so the three youngsters went to live with their grandparents on a houseboat on the canal in the Rylands. And as mentioned previously, in 1930, Annie tragically fell into the water. Something that Alice never got over. She went to Church Street School, before moving to Nether Street. Alice remembered when the area was farms and fields, and buying beer for her grandma from the original Jolly Anglers pub. She also danced on the stage at the Boat and Horses, and played with the Bagshaw brothers who lived in the cottages before they became the heritage centre.

When Alice was 14, she returned to Liverpool to complete her education and began working in a linen shop. But she learned that her friends back in Beeston were earning more as apprentices at Ericssons. So that’s what Alice did. She moved back to Beeston and worked as an electronics tester.

During World War II, she went back to Liverpool to live with her mum and brother George. But their house was destroyed during two air raids, and so they moved to Yorkshire.

“She was very kind and generous and was a volunteer with the Partially Sighted Group…”

After the war, Alice moved back to Beeston, where she met and married a man called Wilf Grundy in 1946. They firstly lived on Waverley Avenue, before moving to Canalside, then to a house in Chilwell, with their children Kevin and Lesley. Wilf was a lawn bowler, and so Alice joined too and became a brilliant player. They won many competitions, both in mixed pairs and separately. They were also involved in Plessey’s Social Club, where they danced the night away on many, many occasions. The slow foxtrot being their favourite, until Wilf passed away in 2002.

But Alice was always thinking of others. She was very kind and generous and was a volunteer with the Partially Sighted Group, where she helped for some 30 years. She was also involved with the Old Mission and the church on Victory Road. She also used to go shopping for people, and used to ride a bike through Beeston, often laden with groceries, and continued to cycle well into her 70s.

Alice moved to Venn Court in the late 1990s where she was the life and soul of the centre. She kept busy playing darts, keeping fit, and being involved in all the social activities that the independent living scheme had to offer.

She clearly enjoyed living life to the full, being positive about life and always having a laugh. Obviously this positive outlook helped her live to almost a century, despite her early setbacks. An inspiration for us all perhaps.”

CF

Life is a cabaret, old friend

For many, the words ‘British Legion’ means a place that old soldiers can go to for a bit of company and a cheap pint. While that part may be true, the Legion in Beeston also means being entertained at a reasonable price. As four years ago, David Clifford, the former road manager of Nottingham’s Paper Lace and Bittersweet, together with his partner Anita opened the club for cabaret evenings. You can forget the end of the pier and novelty acts that made their way onto the stage in Peter Kay’s comedy series Phoenix Nights, David attempts and succeeds in attracting quality acts that people want to see for a very reasonable on the door price of £5, through his many contacts in the music industry.

David, with much help, charity and goodwill from people and companieshas transformed the inside of the nondescript building into a warm, welcoming space for everyone to enjoy a night out. Full Steam Ahead is a sponsor for instance. Some of the improvements have included LED lights for energy conservation, improved soundproofing to stop the neighbours complaining and stage lighting that originally came from Plessey.

The original use of the building hasn’t been lost, as there’s still an area dedicated to veterans of the Korean conflict and the bar is named Troopers, after the Paras. Although most members of the armed forces now tend to go to Chetwynd Barracks for their companionship.The Cabaret Club’s main audience are people in their 30s and 40s. There’s no age restriction either, so families are made most welcome.

“a warm, welcoming space for everyone to enjoy a night out.”

So what sort of entertainment is on offer? Tuesday evenings are set aside for line dancing, Wednesday’s are bingo nights, Beeston Camera Club meets there on a Thursday, while the cabaret nights are the first Friday in the month. There’s also music or comedy on a Saturday too. The venue can also be hired for private parties like weddings. And David has just opened a smaller room that can be used for meetings. Car parking isn’t a problem, as there’s enough space for 60 cars. The club currently has around 150 members and has a loyal following. David and Anita are always thinking of ways to improve the club, as they would hate to see it close.

For that first-hand experience, David invited me and my wife Gail along to see a show. The next cabaret night featured a Cliff Richard and Cher tribute bands. So I thought that would be a good one to choose. We arrived to a packed house who were enjoying the songs of Cliff and his backing band the Shadooz. Will Chandler does a fair impersonation of Harry Webb and tended to keep to a lot of his early back catalogue songs from the 1960s, so we were spared his latter tunes like ‘The Millennium Prayer’. Kelly Marie as Cher came on next, dressed in a similar costume that she appeared in the ‘Turn Back Time’ video. And no, it wasn’t ‘that’ Kelly Marie, who had a hit in 1980 with “Feels Like I’m In Love’.

At the break, a cheque presentation was made to Breast Cancer Care of £620. This was raised by the club, as one of its members Jayne Walker was diagnosed with the disease four years ago but is now free after going through 16 months of therapy. I had a quick chat with Jayne, who comes from Hucknall and she really wants to get the word out about the charity and its work and was genuinely pleased that the club had raised so much through a charity evening held there earlier this year.

There’s a real family atmosphere to the club as members have their birthdays celebrated. While we were there Cliff led the singing of Happy Birthday to one member.

With a change of costume and Cliff was on again for some more songs to entertain the happy audience. I wondered whether Cher would make another appearance, and she did. Well, Kelly did, but as herself. And was something of a rock goddess. She did an amazing version of Guns & Roses’ ‘Sweet Child of Mine’, which went down a storm with the audience.

So if you fancy having somewhere new to go, then why not give the Legion on Hallcroft a go. You never know, you might decide to become a member.

If you want to know more about the club and what it can offer, then give David a call on 07917 773003.

CF

 

I Am Beeston: William Charles Wheatley MBE

The name of William ‘Bill’ Wheatley may not be known to that many Beestonians, but to those that do, he means a great deal to them. My only time of meeting Bill was when I went to his house to chat with him as a subject for the ongoing ‘I Am Beeston’ project. Although I managed to take his photograph, for some long-forgotten reason the interview never took place. Now, of course, it is too late, as Bill sadly passed away in June. So as a way of recompense to him and his family, here is a potted history of his life and his many achievements.

William was born on 31st October 1929 on Moorbridge Road in Stapleford. He was the oldest of four children. Archie his father worked at Stanton Ironworks, while his mum Elsie was what is known as being in service, before becoming a wife, parent and homemaker. When Bill was eight, the family moved to Stanton-by-Dale. At 15, Bill got a job at the Ironworks as an apprentice electrician. National Service arrived when Bill reached 21.

Having knowledge of electrical matters, Bill served in the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) where he instructed recruits on radar systems, at their base in Arborfield, Berkshire.

When he was demobbed in 1952, Bill specialised as an electrical engineer in mining and petrochemical sites. He became a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers and a Chartered Engineer (C Eng MIE). He retired in 1992, after being an engineer for 50 years.

Life changed for Bill when he married his wife Cynthia Chapman in 1957. Bill met Beeston born Cynthia through his involvement in the local Methodist Church on Victory Road. They enjoyed 53 years of marriage, living in the same newly built bungalow on Trent Road in the Rylands before she died in July 2010. The couple had two daughters; Kathryn and Helena. Bill became involved in the church at a very young age, through firstly becoming a choirboy, then as a bell ringer. He loved the Methodist Church nearly as much as Cynthia. as he was involved in the church’s many activities such as teaching, leading the Sunday School, organising a boy’s club and the Christian Endeavour, which aimed at helping young people to find God. In 1963, Bill helped to create the Midland Camping Venture (MVC). This group provided week-long summer holidays for young people and gave them an opportunity to get involved in various outdoor activities. It proved to be very popular, as thousands of young people signed up for these camps. Bill also became a local preacher and looked after the Victory Road church.

But religion wasn’t the only thing that kept Bill busy. After seeing shire horses as a child, Bill found his love of all things nature. He learnt to recognise the calls of different birds and know lots about plants. He even sold rose bushes to Wheatcroft’s. In 1996, he and the late Keith Corbett started the Beeston Wildlife Group, which is very popular with wildlife enthusiasts, and became Chair, after Keith’s passing eleven years later. He was also heavily involved in Attenborough Nature Reserve and other local conservation projects.

His community work was formally recognised in 2008, when he took a trip to Buckingham Palace and received his MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for Voluntary Service to the Community in Beeston, Nottinghamshire’. Bill described this as one of his proudest moments. Then in 2012, Bill was given the Freedom of the Borough of Broxtowe. A fitting tribute to such a remarkable man.

 

Away from the church, nature conservation and helping others, Bill enjoyed reading, with his favourite novel being Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider With Rosie’, possibly whilst listening to some jazz music. He supported Derby County and was a fan of motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi. He also liked steam trains and a bit of plane spotting at RAF Waddington. Bill also spent the best part of 25 years learning Spanish, and at the age of 79, drove for several hours, so he could do some birdwatching.

An inspirational man by any standards. I went to his service of thanksgiving at Beeston Methodist Church on June 22nd. It was a sad, but joyous affair, with many people relating stories and fond memories about their connection with Bill. A lot were from the days of the MVC. This was followed up with a later meeting that day at the Attenborough Nature Centre.

With many thanks to Kathryn Randall
and Heidi Tarlton-Weatherall for the information and photographs.

CF

 

 

 

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