Beeston FC look forward to an exciting future as work begins on new clubhouse

It’s been a long road, but Beeston FC have finally reached the total needed to build a new clubhouse and renovate the old Plessey sports ground at Trent Vale.

We’ve been covering the Bees for several years now, during which time they’ve been trying to raise money to receive a grant from the Football Association and the Premier League.

The near £500,000 grant will cover a large amount of the £600,000 cost of the project which will benefit both the club and the local community.

A statement from the club’s development officer Sarah Green, read: “it’s fantastic seeing work begin on our clubhouse. The years of planning and fundraising by our hard-working volunteers have finally paid off.

“You can see a real transformation of the old building and the rooms are taking shape. We aim to maintain the history of the building by reinstalling the iconic Plessey Sports Club clock outside and displaying old photographs and articles inside when the work is completed in spring 2021.

“The community room is huge and will be such an asset to local sports, social and community groups in this area – especially now that social distancing demands larger rooms.

“There’s still work to do, and we are greatly helped by our community partnership with the Beeston based company Reckitt Benckiser who are working hard to continue our general site tidy up, replanting and internal painting of the clubhouse in the new year.”

Long term Beeston residents will know that the site has plenty of history to it, none more so than Ray Walker who used to feature for the old Plessey football team whilst his daughter went on to play netball at the same location.

With the site having been abandoned for decades, Ray is delighted to see that work is beginning to hopefully bring the ground back to its former glory.

“I’m glad that somebody picked it up. I would love to see it help to build a strong Beeston team,” he said.

“I think Jack Charlton said it best, ‘the one thing I couldn’t do was play, but I could stop other people playing.’ That was me.”

Football runs in Ray’s family with his father and grandfather making appearances for Notts County and Nottingham Forest respectively. Although Ray himself never played at the same level as them, he believes that his athletic abilities made him a match for anyone.

“I was never a great footballer. I think Jack Charlton said it best, ‘the one thing I couldn’t do was play, but I could stop other people playing.’ That was me,” recalls Ray.

“Being six-foot-three, I was a very physical player. My school always wanted me to play Rugby, the headteacher even tried to get my father to convince me, but it was because of my Dad that I wanted to play football.

“Looking back, I now realise that Rugby may have been the better way to go,” he admits.

It’s easy to see why Ray thinks that. After initially giving up on his dream of becoming a professional footballer when he was 21, Ray returned to the game in his late twenties to play for a club in Long Eaton, however, his playing days were cut short after suffering a serious leg injury.

“I went into a tackle which I now realise was a bit silly,” Ray says.

“It smashed my leg up. I was in hospital and they operated on it, screwed it all together again and said no more football for you!”

It wasn’t all bad news for Ray though.

“The sick pay from the government wasn’t taxable, so I was better off financially from it. I got two or three quid a week more than what I was earning at the factory. I also got a pay rise shortly after because I’d just turned 30,” he chuckled.

Characters like Ray have special memories of Trent Vale. Now it’s Beeston FC who have the chance to create even more.

IS

How a pair of Beeston creatives joined forces to keep the flame flickering

We are, as this and every previous issue will attest to, a wildly creative town. Artists, musicians, crafters, writers et al keep kicking out staggeringly super work which we happily try and inform you of.

A global pandemic and fundamental shift in how the world works isn’t a reason for despair, it’s a chance to innovate. Say hello to Nottingham Stories: Separation and Serenade.

When she realised that the third annual Nottingham Chamber Music Festival was not going to be going ahead due to lockdown, the festival’s director Beestonian violist Carmen Flores didn’t just retire her instrument and bow while it went on. She instead picked up the phone and rang a local professional filmmaker, Tim Bassford of Turbine Creative. Together, they cooked up a brilliant idea.

Like the best ideas, it’s startlingly simple. They would visit a well-known Nottingham building, closed due to lockdown, and film Carmen performing Bach within. As Carmen rings out beautiful music to fill the empty spaces, Tim’s camera provides an accompaniment, highlighting the locations beauty. It’s not a film about music, It’s not music with film. It’s a synthesis. Carmen may be performing solo, but the overall feeling is a duet of eye and ear. Nottingham Council House, Delilahs, The Royal Concert Hall, St Mary’s In The Lace Market, Nottingham Contemporary and the High School all feature, each familiar, each filmed in ways that make you see them anew.

During the film’s individual premieres, donations to the Help Musicians charity (https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/support-our-work/make-a-donation) were encouraged, to support musicians who have struggled to earn a living while the COVID crisis grinds on.

The videos were shot in July and released on a thrice-weekly basis during September. They proved to be, as the best music does, able to bring out emotions you weren’t previously aware existed. Personally, I felt initial melancholy – I missed these places – hope. While the empty buildings still wait to fill and surge with life again, a flame of creativity burns, and it burns bright.

The films are available to watch for free here.

MT

Working nine till five (in your dressing gown)

One of the consequences of Coronavirus is that many of us have had to start working from home. As a stand-up comedian, this hasn’t been easy, you can’t just start doing an impromptu gig at the dinner table, treating your kids like drunken hecklers. You can’t do “your mum” style put-downs when you’re married to her.

If you ever wanted an insight into what it’s like to be married to a comedian, my wife Jemma once came to a gig with me. Afterwards, I overheard her talking to an audience member who said, “was that your husband on stage earlier?” “Yes,” Jemma said. They then said, “oh it must be great living with him, I bet you never stop laughing!” Jemma sighed wearily and replied, “oh yes, it’s hilarious…”

Over the last six months, social media has been flooded with pictures of people’s home office setups, which range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Some people have a set up like the HQ of Google. Two monitors, a perfectly positioned desk, expertly lit so they can slay all those crucial Zoom meetings.

Others are perched on the toilet, naked from the waist down, with their laptops balanced on an Alibaba laundry basket, trying to stop the cat from flashing its bumhole on the webcam.

When I worked in an office I kept the fact that I did stand up comedy a bit of a secret. The two worlds don’t really mix, an office isn’t a comedy club: “Give is a cheer if you know how the photocopier works!”

“Right, are you ready for your next meeting? let’s start the applause…..build it up, stamp your feet, go wild and crazy and welcome to the Projector a very good friend of mine, Kevin and his monthly sales figures!”

The government have tried to encourage people back into the office, but it hasn’t been easy. They assumed that people would relish the chance to get back to normal, pick up where they left off all those months ago. But they forgot one small point. Most people really hate their jobs.

We’ve all had a taste of a different life and now we don’t want to go back.

In this month’s article, I take a look at some of the things many of us wouldn’t miss about working in an office.

Wasted time

There used to be the mindset that working from home meant that you were skiving. Rolling over in bed to hit send on an email before going back to sleep. This pandemic has shown that to be nonsense. Studies have shown that people are more productive when they are at home, because they feel like they’re on their own time. Forget promotions and pay rises, nothing is more motivating than your own inflatable hot tub, a box set and an ice-cold beer.

It was all about trust. There wasn’t any. The manager wanted you at a desk where they could see you, like a toddler in a tie. At their disposal, so they could drag you into pointless meetings that went on for hours, where the only outcome was “I think we need another meeting”

The commute

Nothing starts your day like a two-hour journey nestled nose deep into a strangers armpit. Or perhaps you’re pinned against the glass of a train window, as the person next to you unfolds their morning paper like they are trying to change a duvet. Only a psychopath could miss the morning commute. Even in your own car, it’s miserable. Sitting there in that little metal coffin, staring at the exhaust in front, listening to Heart FM and wondering what happened to your dreams.
The rush hour just seemed to get earlier every day, with Friday afternoon seemingly the exact point in the week where everyone would synchronize their car accidents, causing hours of tailbacks all across the country.

Lunch

Why sit in your own garden eating home-cooked food you’ve lovingly prepared, when you can spend a tenner on a floppy cheese sandwich, which has been thrown together by someone in a factory who has just recently tested positive for COVID?

The amount of money we wasted on Coffee and lunches was staggering. Of course, there are the smug people with a fresh pasta salad they made the night before. But the rest of us have woken up fifteen minutes before we have to leave and we’ve had to brush our teeth in the car park.

You have to have a think about what lunch you bring in to the office. A tuna salad may seem like a fairly innocuous, but not when it’s in a poorly sealed Tupperware. Tuna juice is one of the most potent substances known to man and it’s got a longer half-life than Novichok. Even a small leak makes your rucksack smell like a fishing trawler. It gets into your skin, on your clothes, everywhere you go you’re followed by hundreds of stray cats.

Smelly food, in general, should be banned from an office. Anyone who brings in a curry to reheat in a communal microwave needs to get in the bin. That’s not lunch, that’s social terrorism.

I stopped taking a yoghurt to work. I had too many accidents. Is there anything more stressful than opening a yoghurt when you’re wearing a black suit? They are so highly pressurized, peeling back that film lid is like trying to defuse a bomb. No matter how gentle you are, it just fires itself at you, spitting the stuff everywhere like an angry cobra.

Making tea

When you’re working from home and you get up to make a brew, it doesn’t condemn you to an hour at the kettle, working your way through more orders than a barista in Starbucks. There is always that one person in an office, who waits until someone gets up before asking for a drink, never offering to make one themselves. I feel for them when working from home, just staring at an empty cup, gasping for a drink but not having the skills to make it happen.

Some of the orders are ridiculous too, “Make sure you leave the T-Bag in for thirty seconds, stir three times, sweetener and no sugar. Make sure you use soya milk for Susan as normal milk will kill her!”

Hot Desking

I’ve never been keen on the idea of hot desking. Why do I have to share custody of a mouse with Bryan? It’s not the school hamster? We’ve all seen him idly scratching his testicles near the water cooler. Is it called a hot desk because after he’s been on it I’d like to set fire to it?

Banter

“Office Banter” or as it’s now more commonly known “harassment” is another thing I think we’d all like to see the back of. There is nothing wrong with having a laugh with your colleagues, but the phrase, “Is just banter mate!” has been used as a defence by so many bellends over the years.

There is a place for humour in the workplace, but it has to be well-timed and well balanced. A witty remark or an inside joke always goes down well. Saying, “It’s nearly Friday!” at 9.30 am on a Monday morning, quite rightly makes the rest of the office want to strangle you with a printer cable.

Cakes

An unwritten rule in any office is that when it’s your birthday, you bring in cakes. This is part of your contract. I was once working in an office when someone decided to buck this trend and bring in a fruit platter. People looked at her like she’d left a dog turd on the desk. There was genuine anger. I swear I saw people taking their money back out of her card.

Team building days

Team building events, for when eight hours a day five days a week just isn’t enough for some people. If you don’t like these people now, standing in a cagoule in a forest in the pouring rain, trying to make a den out of twigs certainly won’t improve matters.

Boring people

The worst thing to have in an office is that painfully boring person, who sucks the life out of everyone. If you’re thinking that you haven’t got one in your organisation then it’s probably you.

As soon as they start talking, you’re just thinking of ways to get out of the conversation. You wonder if you could fake a heart attack? Or secretly text a family member to ring you with an emergency?

There was a guy I used to work called Alan Koch, it was a German name I think, ironic really because people called him that anyway.

He’d box you in in the corridor. He knew you wanted to leave, so he never stopped talking. I think he could probably play the didgeridoo because he was doing circular breathing. Getting away from him was like trying to pull out into traffic at a busy junction. You can be polite and wait for a gap, but at some point, you have to just got to put your head down and go for it, otherwise, you’ll be there all day.

Wherever he went people would dive into meeting rooms to avoid him, it was like watching a tornado sweeping across a plain.

My boss once got trapped by him near the door, he had nowhere to go and Alan had him in the tractor beam of one of his long anecdotes. With a look of despair on his face, my boss spotted me over Alan’s shoulder and, with tears almost welling in his eyes, mouthed the words, “help me.”

So that concludes the meeting for today folks. Please don’t forget to read the minutes when I send them through. It’ll be tomorrow though, I’m off back to bed now until the school run.

SB

I am Beeston: Lynne Bottomley – Enjoying Life

“I was born in Beeston on a Goose Fair Thursday, with the Beeston Boiler Company’s 5 o’clock hooter heralding my arrival. My parents both worked there, before finding other employment at the nearby university. I was educated at Charles Williams Infants, Roundhill Junior and Bramcote Hills Grammar. At the age of 12, I pulled a young boy out from Beeston Canal. It made the front page of the Evening Post.

“I had various jobs over the years, but started at Ford’s on the High Road whilst I was still at school, then moving to the Midland Bank, which is now HSBC in The Square. The next big thing in my life was to marry a soldier and moved to Germany. We lived in many locations over the years, mainly in the South, such as Hamlyn and Herford. I learnt enough of the German language to get by with the help of my German neighbours, and they in turn learned English. We also spent a couple of years in Cyprus. Whilst living there, I helped at our local thrift shop to raise money for our Brownies and Cubs, also did a sponsored parachute jump.

“On returning to the area, I got a job at Chilwell Depot. I was fortunate enough to stand in the turret of a Challenger Tank as it went round the test track. I also took an evening BTEC course at Broxtowe College to further improve my knowledge of the German language. I left the area again for several years, but my heart was set on returning to Beeston, so I could be closer to my family. I returned to Beeston almost 2 years ago and was lucky enough to find something central.

“In general I find the people of Beeston friendly and helpful. It has the amenities and good transport links I require and are within easy walking distance. The local beauty spots I will never tire of, such as Highfields. I feel I am now at home and looking forward to making new friends and acquaintances.”

CDF

Lockdown writing

When I retired three years ago I looked around for something to fill my time and joined a WEA Creative Writing course that happened at the Pearson Centre every Thursday morning. It was a good choice for me, making new friends and having a writing project every week to keep me on my toes.

One Thursday earlier this year before lockdown, our brilliant tutor Debs Tyler-Bennett, showed us a press cutting that she had found about a box of memorabilia found in the loft of a house that was being cleared ready for sale, the owner of the house sadly was now in a care home suffering with dementia. The memorabilia showed that in 1934 a Mr and Mrs Fuller from Derbyshire had bought a motor home and trekked to the Sahara desert, taking their maid with them, Mary who slept in a tent outside the caravan all the way to the Sahara! The box of photos and press cuttings was sold at auction, which was why it had come to the public eye. We talked about the article as a group and then Debs said ‘ok you’ve got 10 minutes to write something about this story – go!’

It was amazing how, after the 10 minutes had passed, the ten of us in the group had each come up with a different take on the story! I had put myself in the shoes of the maid, Mary, thinking she was probably a young girl with limited education who had never left Derbyshire in her short life and now found herself leaving home for an indeterminate length of time and camping out all through Europe to the African continent at the bidding of her employers.

I found I couldn’t stop writing about this epic journey and the result is this short story, ‘Dear Mam… ‘ which is available to buy on Amazon and Kindle.

I have been a volunteer at Attenborough Nature Centre for many years, behind the reception counter and am sad that I can’t be there at the moment, due to COVID. So to keep involved as much as I can I have donated a number of copies of my book to the Nature Centre for them to sell. So please pop along to Attenborough and help them out by buying a copy of ‘Dear Mam…’

You could read it while you’re having your coffee there!

GH

Unsocial distancing

Corona blah-blah virus continues to strike, quickly destroying 2020 like the alcoholic drink with twice the strength, and all of the hangover.

In fact, if 2020 was a drink it wouldn’t actually be the fortified wine of the Mad Dog variety, it would, in fact, be warm cheap tequila reminiscent of supermarket hand sanitizer. I was horrified to learn the American company have actually brought out a special limited edition Gold flavour to celebrate its year and namesake, I don’t think sales are going well…

Well, I can assure you this tale does actually have a happy ending, (it’s 2020 I take what I can ) as I indeed went to a festival this year, continuing my 16-year reign of at least once a year retreating to a tent after sampling an array of music. This one wasn’t even on my original plan for this year but as most know by now, even the best-laid plans…

The future of festivals and large scale events is still undecided, for me the feeling of chatting to strangers and sat in a field with a drink in hand, live music and sun on my face, is still my happy place; my mental health has been hit hard by the continual negativity and hardships this year has inflicted. People talk about the new normal, I quite liked the old one, and I struggle to get to grips with zoom meetings, face-mask rules, new etiquette regarding hugging, elbows? And pay by app? Pay at the bar? Don’t stand at the bar, masks on for the loo, one-way system, no way system, no cash? Only cash? Track and trace forms, hand sanitiser, but not no-touch dispensers, the possibilities have been endless, I long for the old way this new world is hard and confusing.

While I was endlessly scrolling Social Media I saw a socially distanced and legal Responsible reboot festival to be held on 8th August, hosted by Barking Mad festivals and held at the Vic Inn bikers club. A limited number of 60 tickets were sold at £10 and camping an extra £10 each, I would have probably have given them a kidney to actually get a chance to go, £20 quid seemed very cheap, we brought the tickets online and waited hoping it wasn’t cancelled or postponed.

On the day we rocked up nice and early, I pitched up the tent on the grassy bit of the car park at the back as instructed and found the guy on the door, quite ingeniously they decided to give away a safe pack with every ticket, no close contact hand stamps or wristbands, no they decided to stamp the name of the festival on face-masks which had to be worn when going into the pub, which was marked out with one-way directions and Perspex behind the bar, so far so good, also was a handy bottle of hand sanitiser with the festival name on a sticker attached to the front, earplugs and a few sweets and freebie badges, these packs had been vac sealed as well, very thoughtful and practical!

“I am all for a good time but not when so much is at risk.”

The music was to be on the outdoor stage, people had tables to sit at, with limiting tickets and strictly no walk-ins, the event was to be all in line with all the latest advice. Starting early afternoon The Jellyfish Are Calling hit the stage and immediately I got shivers, they could have been the worst band in the world but I was happy, I had waited all year for this.

The line up was a mix of punk with Noose, rock and roll with The Blue Carpet Band and a sprinkling of ska with Kid Klumsy. It was all going so well until high energy rap metal and rock and roll band Dog Rotten, a mixture of alcohol, lowered inhibitions and good music led to a surge at the front of the band and a mosh pit was formed. Myself and a friend looked on in horror – it was all way too much. Drinks were being thrown and even the local photographer and reviewer dived in!

Don’t in any way get me wrong, this time last year we probably would have been straight in too, but it was all too intense and worrying. My friend headed to find the promoter – no sign. Leaving no option but to go to the pub landlord who immediately got the p/a Mr BadAxe to announce about social distancing and the one-way system which was being pretty much ignored at this point, the band finished their set and immediately the tension went away, the crowd of moshers too drunk to care, headed off to call it a night, leaving the rest of us to relax and enjoy the evening safe in the knowledge we had done all we can to not get the place shut down. I am all for a good time but not when so much is at risk.

Verdict- I loved the music however it is too early, I could immediately see why festivals and big events haven’t got the go-ahead, after a few drinks all the health and safety went out the window, till next year it is!!

LD

How Beeston FC are bouncing back from the pandemic

Whilst professional football makes its return to the sounds of artificial crowd noise, Beeston FC are also trying to adapt to a new normal.

The club’s senior and under 18 teams are gradually returning to training, after the FA announced that clubs were able to train in groups of five with a coach.

At the same time, strict measures have been put in place, including players having to fill out new medical forms to see if they’ve had the virus, whilst regular use of hand sanitizer is being used by all.

Changing rooms and toilets have remained closed and players are encouraged to leave the site promptly at the end of training.

“We’re really pleased to be back,” says club chair Charlie Walker.

“It’s a bit strange and the training sessions take quite a lot of planning because they have to be socially distanced, but it’s gone well so far.”

Unfortunately, the lockdown happened just as the club were hoping to gain some off the pitch momentum, with fundraising events lined up in March and April being cancelled.

The club have been fundraising, due to them needing £50,000 to receive a near £500,000 grant from the Football Association and Premier League, as they plan towards renovating the old Plessey sports ground to build a new clubhouse.

However, Charlie tells me that whilst they still need to raise over £8000, the club have been given the go-ahead to start work on the site.

“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to start the on-site building work In mid-July, that’s our hope.

“We were expecting to hit our target by the end of April, but because of the COVID-19 situation, it meant that some organisations that were going to give us money, weren’t able to.”

To reduce costs, the club have begun clearing out the site themselves, with help from members of the Trent Vale squash club and among others, local councillor, Kate Foale (pictured above.)

“It’s a nine-acre site. Six acres will be used for football, but what about the other three acres of space?”

“Recently we’ve been clearing the old tennis courts, cricket nets and the netball court,” said Charlie.

“We’ve also been emptying the old clubhouse of everything. There were some 30-year-old football boots, which had been cast into the corner of a changing room after maybe somebody had a bad game and decided to retire. They might have even been mine!”

Whilst Charlie acknowledges that the clubhouse will be the obvious focus of the club, he believes that there will be opportunities for the site to be used beyond just football.

“It’s a nine-acre site. Six acres will be used for football, but what about the other three acres of space? There’s potential for it to be used by other sports clubs, such as a running club or something of that nature.”

As covered in a previous issue, one way in which the club have been trying to raise money is by having supporter plaques, with the names of those who have donated towards their efforts, erected on a wall when the new site is built.

Charlie believes that a combination of the plaques and donations will make a big difference, whilst sponsorship from local business’ will also help the daily running of the club, allowing them to put some of their own finances towards the £50,000 total.

“Covering the cost of running the club, gives us a little bit more money from club income to put into the project. It should take us about a year so we’re hoping for it to be completed by the start of the 2021/22 season.

“Obviously, it’s not the right time, but when things ease up, we will also be running some fundraising events.”

The goal of trying to raise £50,000 is a major challenge in itself, but the disruption caused by this pandemic has made it an even greater task.

Yet, the hard work and dedication from everyone involved, has given Beeston FC every chance of reaching their target. Hopefully, for the club and the community as a whole, they will succeed.

IS

Game, set and match Beeston!

I shouldn’t be writing this. I should, right now, be sitting in front of the telly with a glass of red booze, watching as men and women in Persil-bright white clothes whack a ball over a net while grunting.

Alas, another casualty of the virus is Wimbledon, that late June, early July distraction that sees Sue Barker and some former, gone-to-seed players try and keep viewers rapt at scenes of hurtling rain and disgruntled punters scowling under posh brollies.

Not this year. No French open, no US Open, no Queens, not even our own little Open over at the tennis centre that straddles the Beeston/Nottingham border. And with it, no crowding at municipal tennis courts.

It’s a familiar thing each year that coincides with the first strawberry served at Wimbledon: people dig out their dusty rackets, roll a wristband on and hit the courts that pepper the area: the ones on the Uni, the ones at Priory Island. Chilwell, Town Street in Bramcote. Perhaps, for the more committed, the excellent facilities of the two local tennis clubs in Chilwell and Attenborough.

“There is still much to do in getting it ready for the future Federers and neo-Novaks amongst us…”

Despite this, Beeston itself does not have a single court – or so many thought, and would have continued to think if those great folk down at Beeston FC hadn’t uncovered one beneath a thick woody blanket of ivy and bramble.

Beneath this overgrown mat, a fine, well surfaced and clearly marked court lurked, and when revealed was found to be usable. However, a net is fairly essential to play, and a little research by the team discovered the manufacturer of the correct one to fit the posts snugly.

There is still much to do in getting it ready for the future Federers and neo-Novaks amongst us, but for Beestonians the loss of watching the British seeds crash out in the first round down in North London is more than mitigated by the Rylands getting its own court. Game, set and match Beeston!

MT

The carnival is over (but only for this year)

July 11th was meant to be the day of the 15th Beeston Carnival. But due to Corvid-19, organisers Lynda & Pat Lally, made the extremely difficult decision in early May to cancel this year’s festivities. To find out how difficult this was, and history of the carnival, I contacted the dynamic duo for their thoughts on having to postpone one of the town’s most well-loved and visited events. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I sent Lynda a series of questions, and here’s what she had to say…

“During my year of being mayor (2005/06), I had seen how some parts of Broxtowe were still very much communities and thought that my own hometown was losing this, and so our motto for the carnival became ‘Bringing our Community Together’. We have a come a long way in those fourteen years, from having a budget of £250 and the kindness of groups like Beeston’s Oasis Christian Centre, the Scouts, Air Cadets, and various other community-based organisations. Not forgetting Beeston Pipe Band, who performed for free to kick start the revival of the carnival in 2006. Most of these groups are still with us, and many more support the event annually. It is showcasing all the things that are great about Beeston.

“We have been through one of the boxes filled with newspaper cuttings about the carnival. It’s been an incredible 14 years and we have touched so many people’s lives and given some platform to go forward in life with, whether it be to follow their passion or just to raise the profile of a charity and raise some money for many charities in the community. After searching back, we found pictures, videos and Pathe news stories going back to the 1930s.

“Then it was a two-day event over a weekend, with band competitions and a very regal Queen being driven around on a special Bartons queen mobile! The films are on YouTube, and it’s amazing to watch. We never realised how near we were to doing things in the same vain. Beeston businesses sponsored it, bands played, local groups all came together and there was a huge walking parade which spun around Dovecote Lane. The event itself was held at the rugby ground on Ireland Avenue. The Carnival Queen’s cape was made and paid for by local businessman Walter Hayes. It was an extravagant piece, even though times were tough back then.

“I think the biggest thing for us, when reviving Beeston Carnival, was giving the chance to highlight the work that all these amazing community groups do. Mostly run by volunteers. It’s something that makes our town and our community. That, and more importantly, to make them some much-needed funds. It has always been a small team that brings such a huge annual event together and some who started with us back then, are still there holding it all together. I would like to thank them all, as without them we would not have survived for this long.

“You would think that in July we would be reasonably safe with the weather, but we have had many rainy carnival days. Most we have survived when eventually the sun came out. The one that comes to mind which nearly made us postpone was the 2007 event. After continuous rain for weeks, it didn’t stop on Carnival Day. It was touch and go as to whether we could proceed safely. But with a few stalls and groups turning up, we managed to proceed.

“As ever, the public came out to support the event and the very wet parade and entertainment in the park went ahead.

“Last years was a bad one for us, and it nearly ended Beeston Carnival for good. Pat and I, and our very capable volunteers know one thing, and that SAFETY is our main concern.

“I am immensely proud of the way we have always handled the safety of all of the carnival days. So it was with great concern when we were told that the carnival had to pay a traffic management company to manage our parade, even though most of the walking parade is on a pedestrian walkway. Roads needed to be shut off and diversions put in place. This would have caused huge traffic problems, admin fees to be paid and so it went on. There was a great deal of public support for us when it seemed the only way forward was to pay over £2000 for the very important part of the carnival to proceed. I was adamant that if the parade couldn’t proceed, the carnival wouldn’t either. But some common sense was applied, although it had its implications and our stress levels were very high. How is that Red Tape can seek to destroy wonderful community events like this? Some may argue that is necessary. I couldn’t possibly comment any further!

“2020. Well, here we are faced with another dilemma. The Corona Virus. Who could have guessed that this would stop our wonderful annual community event? Yes, it was a big decision to cancel, and we talked to our volunteers for weeks, wondering if things would improve and we could go ahead. However, we knew that eventually, we would have to make the decision to cancel, like so many other groups and organisations across the world, who have had to cancel their events.

“Who knows where we will be next year? And for all those who run events in and around our community, we can only hope that things will return to some normality, for the sake of bringing our community together once again.”

CF

Meet the ABCAT artists

In the latest issue, Debra Urbacz spoke to those involved in the ABCAT art trail which started in 2011 as part of Open Studios Notts.

 Rita Mitchell (the founder)

“At the beginning of lockdown, I started this painting which had been on my mind for some time.  It is the third of a series of interiors, initially inspired by Vermeer and his use of light.  The adrenaline rush of a new painting helped to push away, for a few hours, the fears and sadness brought about by the daily news. Each day I could ‘go to work’, shut the studio door and gradually transform a blank canvas into ‘The Bar.’ I published a blog of the process as a spur to keep going and to share my painting journey.”

View Rita’s work here

Adrian Pearson

“It starts with a love for good design, be it typographic, furniture, whatever it is, it needs to be well considered and executed beautifully, ‘if you’re going to do it, do it well or not at all,  I guess could be my mantra.

“Being an Artist, Designer and Signpainter, my work in the main has commercial applications, together with some artworks for the home being installed as statement pieces.

“These vary through the nature of my profession from painted and gilded wooden panels to verre eglomise, (an age-old practice where the artist’s paints and gilds in reverse on glass).

“The last week in May I was kept busy painting a Mural for Tobi Frames in Long Eaton, all designed and painted by myself, traditionally, without the use of design software. This year was to be my first ABC Art Trail.”

 Sara Gaynor Visual Artist

“I’m a visual artist working in the medium of experimental photography and an Associate Member of Backlit Gallery and studios in Nottingham. I have been a participating artist on the trail since 2016. During Lockdown I have created a new unexpected body of photographs titled ‘Searching for light through the Darkness,’ exploring newly discovered, hidden and rekindled spaces, on my daily cycle rides within a 2 – 25-mile radius. I have also been experimenting with found nature in my outdoor space  – converging analogue and digital methods to create new artwork – the image ‘Cornucopia’ is a sample of the new photographs created from this experimentation. I am exhibiting my photographs from the Global Sistaz United Project in a virtual exhibition through City Arts Nottingham as part of Refugee Week in mid-June. I have also been busy hosting weekly photography sessions through zoom to our collective, Beeston Snappers.”

Tony Moss

Tony is a mature Fine Arts graduate and his art references modernist architecture in his own signature style.

It would have been his second year on the Art Trail and is very disappointed that it didn’t take place, as his first experience of it in 2019 was both enjoyable and successful.  He says that ironically the lockdown has been a constructive period for him, as it has concentrated his attention on a Project that started in the autumn of 2019. Basically, he was commissioned by a Company called Little Van Gogh to produce a series of eleven large size paintings to circulate and be exhibited around the UK in various prestigious commercial and office locations.

The theme is ‘Sensing Space via Architectural Modernism’ (see –  www.littlevangogh.co.uk – artists). The first exhibition is currently taking place in Guildford.

 Janet Barnes

“Since the last art trail I’ve been busy painting, and in March I completed a 20-day voluntary social isolation painting challenge (before the coronavirus lockdown) in Wales: www.paintingwithmrp.com. 

“On my return from Wales, I’ve been taking part in a weekly lockdown painting challenge.

“I’ve been using my creative practice as a way of coping and making sense of what’s happening.”

For printed copies of “20 Days in 2020” journal (minimum donation of £5 per copy, with all profits going to Parkinson’s UK), or any other enquiries email janetmbarnes@ntlworld.com.

Karen Attwood

“Like other artists, I found it very difficult to even think about creating new work under such traumatic conditions. But I still needed to make and share. So, I made a few little craft videos for the Beeston Heritage Canalside Centre Adult Craft course and I really enjoyed making a collaborative video with alto members of East of England Singers.

“Since February I have been furiously making a massive rug, a huge blanket and a large quantity of community masks.

“It would have been my third ABC Art Trail this year and even though it was cancelled, I put up a mini-exhibition of my latest work.

“I even managed to sell some via my Felted Embroidered Art Etsy shop. A lot of the local sponsors offered to carry forward their 2020 donation to 2021, which was a very generous investment in the future.

“I am already looking forward to the Trail next year which, all being well, will take place on 5th and 6th June.”

 Oksana Holbrook

“I am a textile designer with a Masters in Textile Design.

“Primarily a machine knitter, I am passionate about sustainability working only with natural fibres.

“I presently design and produce hooked rag rugs from recycled and scrap fabric with a heavy emphasis on colour and pattern; something which I have inherited from my Ukrainian heritage.

“My involvement with the ABCAT trail is now in its fourth year, with me taking over as Treasurer at the end of last year.

“As so many shows had been cancelled, I have been concentrating on producing new work for next year, but have also been spending my time clutter clearing and experimenting with cake and bread making.”

Lynda Child

“I am a local artist/printmaker. Initially, during lockdown, I found it hard to be creative. I turned to sewing, an activity I could pick up and put down rather than printmaking which required lots of focus.

“I got out a part made quilt and completed it.

“As shops were closed I joined together leftover fabrics to make a patterned binding. I had intended this to be one fabric. It meant that I wasted nothing and was really pleased with the final quilt. I’ve called it, ‘Lockdown Logcabin’. Log Cabin is a traditional patchwork design. I’m now designing a child’s cot quilt.

“I’ve also made lots of brightly coloured face masks for a charity supporting vulnerable young adults.
During the sunny weather, I did lots of sketching in the garden.”

 Oliver Lovley SGFA

“I am a fine art painter working mainly in oil on board. I have been producing a lot of new figurative paintings lately that are viewable on my website www.oliverlovley.com. As well as this doing live demonstrations on my social media pages. I was part of the ABC Art trail for the first time in 2019.

“I am a member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art in London and I teach classes locally at Artworks art shop in Beeston. I have also exhibited at the Lakeside Arts Centre.”

View Oliver’s website here

Contact him on 07532 179119 or visit his Facebook page

Zoë Zegzula

“I love working with a variety of media, but textiles hold the greatest fascination for me. The immense variety of textures and colours, natural or manmade, provides inspiration for endless ideas. I find working with textiles very relaxing, rewarding and essential to my well-being.

“The nature of my art requires me to have a ‘stash’. This consists of an extensive collection of new, gifted and pre-used textiles ready to turn into future pictures. I use a variety of machine and hand embroidery techniques to produce my art which I have studied for several years at City & Guilds level.

“Taking inspiration from our British Countryside continuously inspires me with inspiration for new work. I love combining art with textiles which stretches the boundary between art and craft.

“I exhibit mainly in the East Midlands at Art & Craft events, I have had solo exhibitions and attended Art Trails. I have been a member of the ABC Art Trail from the beginning and really enjoy the camaraderie with fellow local creatives which has enriched my life.

“I really look forward to the next Art Trail in June 2021.”

Visit Zoe’s website here

Email her at zoe.zegzula@mail.com

DU