Beeston boxer is fighting in Notts this weekend

22-year-old Beeston resident Joe Hughes is a professional boxer who will be fighting in only his second pro fight this weekend at Harvey Hadden Stadium. 

Joe won his first fight after just 50 seconds and will be hoping for a repeat of that result when he takes on Uzzy Ahmed from Birmingham on July 6th.

I had a chat with him recently to find out more about Beeston’s resident boxer ahead of Saturday’s showdown.  

Could you tell me a little bit about how you got into boxing?

“Originally, I got into it when I was a youngster to get rid of a little bit of energy and to stop me misbehaving. Then I stopped doing it until I was 17. My Grandfather passed away with cancer so I signed up to have a charity boxing event and from there I just carried on with it. Last Christmas I signed professionally and had my pro debut in March.”

Who’s on your coaching team and do you have a trainer, who helps you with these fights?

“I train in Hyson Green. My coach is called Barrington Brown, he’s a former professional boxer himself. My assistant coach is Mark Howe, who is also a former professional, so two ex-professionals are now coaching me. 

From left: head trainer Barrington Brown, manager Scott Calow and assistant trainer Mark Howell.

 How did the fight come about and how was it organised?

“When you sign as a professional, you get a manager and you sign all your contracts with your promoter and he gave me a date for my debut which was on the 16th March. My manager organises who my opponent is. I just turn up, sell tickets and fight.”

Do you box full-time and how are your preparations going for the fight on Saturday? 

“I train full-time and I work part-time for just 3 hours a day as a lifeguard. I’ve just been doing a lot of running, training twice a day, dieting and a lot of sparring work and just doing anything that my head coach tells me really.”

What are your future aspirations when it comes to boxing?

“A lot of boxers say this and I think it’s the best way to go about it, you’ve got to take every fight as the fight you’ve got in front of you, but I would say as a short term goal for the next year or two years would be to win an area title.”

Joe won his first fight by knock out after just 50 seconds.

Could you explain what an area title is?

“An area title would be the whole of the Midlands. Everyone in the Midlands competes for one title in my weight class which is super-featherweight, so if I work my way up the rankings then I could apply to have a shot at the title and hopefully win that. After that maybe defend it a couple of times and then move on to either the English or the British titles.”

Who is your opponent and how many fights has he had before?

“The guy I’m fighting has had three fights and his record is two losses and one draw, so he’s looking for his first win.” 

Tickets are available by contacting Joe on 07804732595 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jhboxing7/. Doors open at 6:30 pm with the first fight of the night at 7:30 pm. 

Beeston Highlights of 2017

We asked the users of Beeston Updated what their Beeston highlights of 2017 were:

“The highlight for me are the collection of 2017 highlights produced by this group.” – John M

“This was our first proper summer living in Beeston and the Beeston beach was a highlight for my boys! They loved it…in fact my little boy still points to the area and tells/signs to me it’s ‘gone’.” – Laura L

“The reopening of Beeston library. Fantastic job. All should use it.” – Jackie S

“The Awesome wrestling shows that happen at the Shed every month. Pushing 400 people every month now and they are CRAZY!!! :)” – Paul G

“Last Tuesday, I had a really good boiled egg.” – John C

“Oxjam, and Bartons putting events on again.” – Sophie O

“Totally Tapped opening!” – Louise S

“The bringing of our Community together at this year’s 12th BEESTON CARNIVAL. Big thanks to all that make this annual event possible! XX” – Lynda L

“The Proms in the Park fireworks bang outside our kitchen balcony were a pure joy moment for me. And the Canal Heritage Centre. I love the restoration and new life of an old building, the great community spirit surrounding it, the sense of history…” – Sarah G

 

Huda and the Harasser

This article was a collectively written piece by ESOL students in Beeston, and is based on a real event. Some names have been changed.

Huda would usually give Beeston ‘Ten out of ten: it’s a place I felt safe in and liked to call me home”. But a terrifying series of events changed that for a while.

Huda came to Beeston four years ago. Originally from Egypt, she settled here when her husband got the chance to study for a PhD at the nearby university “It is a place I felt good about raising my children” she says “I love the community events, and always try and be part of what’s going on. It’s a town full of things to be involved with”.

One morning, this was to change. She noticed an elderly man staring at her on the street. At first, she didn’t pay much attention to this: strange, but not that unusual. Yet when he appeared outside her house, and appear every time she was out, she started to get scared “It was not really a fear for me, but a fear for my children. I couldn’t understand why he was doing what he was doing, but he kept following me, kept standing outside my house. You don’t know if this person could have a gun or a knife, or if they could suddenly decide to do something drastic”.

The worry got to her. While her husband was sympathetic, she found it hard to convey how the stalker made her feel. Plus, the intensity of working on his doctorate made Huda reluctant to keep mentioning it: he had enough stress with the workload. Yet the effects were getting stronger: she found herself placing a pushchair across the door at night to delay anyone breaking in. She changed the route she took to and from school, turning a five-minute journey into a forty-minute one. She struggled to sleep. “It sounds crazy. I taught karate in Egypt – I’m a black belt – and he was an old man. But fear makes you irrational”. Her love for her adopted town fell away “It was no longer ten out of ten. It was zero out of ten. I felt scared, lonely and isolated”.

Huda found she was not alone in being stalked: other women had suffered the same thing in varying degrees. Talking to them made her feel less alone, and let her see that this could be dealt with.

After two months, she visited the police to report the staling, but it proved fruitless. While they were generally sympathetic, as the man had not spoken to her, or tried to physically attack her, there was little that they could do. Bereft and scared, she mentioned her troubles to a member of staff at her SureStart centre.

This got things moving. Huda found she was not alone in being stalked: other women had suffered the same thing in varying degrees. Talking to them made her feel less alone, and let her see that this could be dealt with. Her teacher at SureStart made some enquiries, eventually contacting the local PCSO, a friendly woman called Paula. Paula listened, and while she explained that the man was known to them, and mental health issues led him to act in such ways. While Paula assured her he was probably harmless, she still recognized the trauma he was subjecting Huda to.

The PCSO could act as a community officer rather than a straightforward police officer, heading off trouble before it became a criminal issue. This is a vital and effective service, as proved by Paula’s intervention. She visited the stalker.

This worked. The stalker saw the damage he was doing, and as suddenly as it began, it stopped. That’s not to say Huda was instantly ok: she now carries a personal alarm and has the number of the PCSO in her phone. But she does feel secure when out and about and is enjoying Beeston again “The help I got, and how effectively it was sorted was wonderful. There are some very kind people here. I’m back to giving Beeston ten out of ten!”

 

Poetry For The Mind

(First published on Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature , republished with kind permission

Middle Street Resource Centre is an inconspicuous building. Long a feature of Beeston, its unassuming structure belies the vibrant creative activity within. The charity, Mindset, runs from here, lending support to those with mental health issues, and the socially excluded. It has been an invaluable asset for Beeston and surrounding areas, signposting and providing activities for those looking for them. The filmmaker Shane Meadows has run exclusive fundraisers at the centre, and it has gained plaudits from all quarters of the East Midlands, as well as from further afield.

There are a multitude of courses here for people to participate in, from music appreciation to carpentry. A beautiful, meticulously-tended vegetable garden is a testament to the work done by the volunteers who have made it their own. We at Nottingham City of Literature are here for a less green-fingered reason, though: to meet an inspiring poetry group that has just put out their first anthology.

The Middle Street Poetry Group was co-founded in 2014 by Steve Plowright, a local poet, songwriter, and craftsman who has been dealing with acute mental health issues for decades. Around the time of the millennium, he set his poetry down in a self-published anthology, Bi-Polar Rhythms: a raw, often terrifying look into his own chaotic head. The book is a visceral read, and it would be easy to assume that the writing process behind it must have been painful. Yet Steve also found that it had a remarkably therapeutic effect. As one of the group participants later comments [of writing poetry], “It gets my thoughts out of my head, and onto paper.”

However, the purpose of the group is not merely to provide catharsis. “It’s good fun,” Steve explains, as he sets up for the session. “People have to enjoy it.”

The group-members gather, some clutching their own poetry, some with other’s work. They form a circle, and with no real prompt, start to share poetry. Tom has brought along four poems, each one exquisitely crafted tales of his life – of alcohol and breakdown. The group listen intently. They discuss the poems afterwards, opening up to each other and exploring the meaning behind the lines. It would be too simplistic to label this ‘talking therapy’; it is a spontaneous discussion, with any therapeutic aspect merely a helpful by-product.

A cheerful older gentleman named Dennis tells me that he has only just started reading and writing poetry, at age 74. “I’ve always liked reading, just never poetry.” Has the group converted him? “Oh, yes. It’s my hobby now.”

Ray, a young man with his poetry in pixel form, ready to be read off his tablet, tells me how the sessions have boosted his social confidence; first encouraging him to read aloud to the group, and then to the general public.

It’s also an educational experience. In the previous week’s session, the chosen topic was the First World War. While the usual Sassoon and Wilfred Owen poetry was read, so too was that of the often-overlooked Irish war poets. Notable among these was Francis Ledwidge.

“I’ll go home and google poets and poems we talk about,” one member told me, “and then find something else, then something else. It’s constant learning in a subject I never thought I’d be interested in.”

Another member, Yasmin, found the session on war challenging but ultimately effective: “I like nice things,” she explains. “War, and talking about war – it’s horrible, horrible. But when I went home and my mind had thought through what we’d talked about, I felt a wave of emotion and empathy, which I’d have never been able to face before this. It had a huge impact on me.”

Nick brings in lyrics that he judges are more poetry, with a particular love of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. “So much can be poetry,” he tells the group.

Earlier this year, Steve realised they’d produced enough good poetry to justify putting together a collection, and thus Journeys Through the Mind came to be. A diverse and fascinating volume, beautifully illustrated, they’ve sold most of their initial run of 100 copies and are considering printing more. For most of the contributors, it’s their first time in print.

Poetry has proven to be a force for good with the group. They relish playing off each other, developing each other’s work, interacting and inspiring. Their weekly Monday meetings are looked forward to; they lend a crucial structure to the group and provide motivation for the participants.

“I get excited on a Sunday and re-read my poetry,” one of them explains. “I want it to be just right.”

The group are now hoping to take their book on tour and perform in public places. If you know of a good venue, or a similar group to collaborate with, please get in touch with us via the Contact Us page.

Mikk Skinner

I am Beeston: Mikk Skinner

We took Mikk’s photo a few weeks ago for the I Am Beeston project. Very sadly, Mikk died suddenly soon after.

And so we print this as a tribute to one of our favourite Beestonians, a kind and thoughtful man who never found a musical instrument he couldn’t play or a Blue Monkey Ale he couldn’t sup. RIP Mikk.

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Mikk Skinner
IT Technician

“Although I was born in Bristol, I moved to Beeston in the late nineteen sixties. I was head chorister at Beeston Parish Church.”

“Beeston has some great pubs for chilling out. It also has a lively acoustic music scene.”

“I think Beeston needs a spectacular and magical sculpture. Something like the Kelpies in Scotland. Something that would get people to visit. Maybe we could have a giant bee!”

Gary

I Am Beeston: Gary Thomas

You may remember last summer, we ran a series of photographs on our Facebook page featuring people who lived, worked or studied in Beeston. This was in response to the dreadful racial attacks that were, and are still taking place post Brexit vote. We wanted to show, and did very successfully, what a peaceful, integrated and generally wonderful place that Beeston is.

So we thought we would bring it back. Our roving photographer Christopher Frost has been out and about around our town and looking for more people to feature and share their views..

Gary Thomas

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“People will know me as the owner of Mish Mash at the Creative Corner. They can also see me pottering around the site keeping it neat and tidy”.

“I was born in Beeston, although I have lived in Mapperley and Breaston. I love the feeling that the town is something special, full of enthusiastic people. The Blue Plaque scheme is great”.

“The one thing that does annoy me are people who drop litter. I would like to see more public art and I think the new ‘Beeston’ sign on Lower Road should have been bigger and not just angled in such a way that only the tram passengers can see it”.

Christopher Frost

Beeston Memories

I haven’t lived in Beeston for many years although I was born and raised here.

I was born in Chilwell, just across the road from the Charlton Arms and in 1936 or ’37 (I don’t exactly remember, I was about 4 years old) my parents moved into a new house on Queens Rd West, close to Chilwell Manor Golf Course and across the road from the field at the rear of Barton’s garage where I and my mates played among the piles of old tyres left there.

In Sept 1937 I started school at Church St School just behind Beeston Parish Church. Now, I am left handed and every time I picked up a pencil in my left hand, I was rapped over the knuckles. After three months of that I developed a severe stammer so I was removed from there and went to Park Lodge, a primary school on Park Rd just along from the Hop Pole on Chilwell Rd Beeston – or High St Chilwell, as the pub marks the change of name. It was only a few minutes’ walk from home up what I see is now called Wilmot Lane but all the time I was there was called Factory Lane. Myford’s Lathes were made in the semi derelict buildings at the top of the lane and opposite the Hop Pole.

We played in Barton’s field, in the golf course and around the Attenborough Nature Reserve which we knew just as ‘The Gravel Pits’

Because of my stammer I had several years of speech therapy and elocution lessons which eventually ‘killed’ the stammer. They also changed my accent somewhat so these days no one can tell exactly where I am from, it is what a friend described as a ‘generic Northern accent, could be from anywhere north of a line from Bristol to the Wash.’

During the war, it is surprising how much freedom we kids had after school. There were relatively few people around, most men were in the Forces unless they were in essential industries, Police and emergency services. We would wander for miles and as long as we were home for dinner, no one seemed to worry. We played in Barton’s field, in the golf course and around the Attenborough Nature Reserve which we knew just as ‘The Gravel Pits’. Certainly in the early part of the war we had plenty of air raids when we had to leave home and go to the shelters which were erected all over the place. The nearest shelter to home was about 100 metres along the road towards Beeston. The warning was warbling sirens from all the factories and the All Clear after the raid was a steady note from them. Even after all these years, if I hear a warbling factory siren, my stomach does a little flip!

In 1943, there was a severe scarlet fever epidemic and hospital buildings kept for a possible smallpox epidemic were opened to isolate those with scarlet fever. I got it and was put in hospital somewhere near the old City Hospital. My parents visited me twice a week: they were not allowed to actually enter the ward but stood at the closed door and we talked through the glass. I was always given a big bundle of comics and magazines which my dad collected from his workmates. He was one of the managers at Ericsson Telephones factory. I had ‘complications’ so spent 13 weeks in the hospital. They were Impetigo, scabies, ringworm etc, all skin diseases caused by poor hygiene in the ward and as a result I was unable to take the 11 Plus school exams. Nothing from the hospital ward was allowed out while we were ill and for that 13 weeks, 7 days a week, dinner was Irish Stew and Rice Pudding. It was years before I could face either of those dishes again!

The 11 Plus decided whether you went to a Grammar School or a very basic Comprehensive School. As I couldn’t take the exam, that would have meant the Comprehensive School so my parents sent me to West Bridgford High School on Musters Rd, a private school owned and run by Mr and Mrs Caro. I don’t know what happened to the school after I left but I found it had been closed some time when I was in Nottingham some 16 years or so ago.

I well remember the big floods of 1946 and ’47. The school was closed for a month on both occasions. The 1947 floods were the worst, Ericsson’s factory was surrounded by water, there was a wall round the site which with pups running all the time, kept the water out of the factory. To get people to work, double deck buses would run through the floods with extensions to lift the exhaust pipe out of the water and the workers would ride on the upper deck. My dad told me later that when the waters had receded enough to turn the pumps off, there was sufficient fuel left for around another 12 hours or so.

KW

What A Relief!

Hello, good citizen of Beeston, how are you this lovely spring day?

Very well, thank you – the sun is shining, the Crown has been refurbished and… hang on a minute, you don’t normally start your turgid ramblings with an individual greeting, what’s going on?

Ah. Bother, you noticed. Weeeell… this column is a bit different. It tackles some… er… odd subject matter. I just thought I’d warn you. Don’t read it out loud, m’kay? Especially in the pub.

As some of you may know, my lovely wife Sal is really quite poorly with a scary and incurable breast cancer which has spread to her bones, liver and brain. She’s coping with it reasonably well though, for the most part she’s in good spirits and we have our beautiful three year old daughter to keep us laughing which helps a lot. Moreover, thanks to the enormous generosity of a considerable number of very lovely people we recently had our garage converted into a downstairs bedroom for her as (just after we got married last September) Sal lost the use of her legs and partially because of this is unfortunately now quite often in considerable pain.

I’d promised her and her best friend Lou a spa break before Sal’s diagnosis nearly two years ago as who wouldn’t enjoy a champagne filled weekend of pampering, relaxation and massage? Because of her condition though it appears almost impossible now as there don’t appear to be many hotel/spa resorts that will treat clients with advanced cancer (insurance issues I guess). So I thought I’d see if there was anyone locally who could help, not only for Sal and her pain but also for me as I do a lot of lifting these days and Sal keeps insisting, probably very sensibly, that I need to look after myself as well as her.

So I went online and Googled ‘Beeston Massage’.

Wow.

Wow? Why ‘Wow’?

Erm… look, I’m not hopelessly naïve, nor do I imagine Beeston is a haven of purity, decency and light (after all, our town topped the list of ‘Places People Have Extra-marital Affairs’ a couple of years ago) but one of the first links I found was to a site that reviews the… ahem… professional services of ‘Ladies of Transactional Affection’, so to speak.

Come again?

Very funny. Imagine a ‘TripAdvisor for Personal Services’ with a very in-depth and detailed review of the ‘goings on’ at the (now already closed) new massage parlour on Regent Street, as well as a many other locations. It was, to quote Star Trek’s Mr Spock, “Fascinating”. I read sections of the reviews out to Sal, her Mum and a group of friends when they were round and we were all laughing fit to burst (which was actually great therapy in itself).

I find that hard to swallow…

Stop that now. Anyway, it just got me thinking about the ‘darker’ side of Beeston, what goes on behind closed doors and how much of a good or bad thing it was. As I said, I’m not that naïve to think it doesn’t happen everywhere and Beeston is surely no exception – so I’m not sure why the Broadgate establishment only lasted a few weeks before closing…

Maybe they’ll wait fifteen minutes and try again?  

You’re just being silly now. But as I said, maybe Beeston is packed full of naughtiness – or is demand drooping (sorry, dropping)? Was the closure due to local pressure, lack of demand or not paying the right business rates? Might it simply be that Beeston is no longer the illicit nookie capital of the UK, (and if not should we be pleased or disappointed)?

No idea, I’m going to the pub for a stiff one.

Oh suit yourself, I can tell you’re not taking this seriously. The really sad thing is Sal and I still haven’t found somewhere who can provide a nice, soothing and entirely respectable massage.

Oh, that’s a real shame. I do so love a happy ending…. 

Tim Pollard

Stu: A Life Lost

Nothing quite makes you question mortality than those two great bookends of life: birth and death.

The former had been dwelling on my mind for some time, as my son grew from the size of a poppy seed when the pregnancy test striped, to 8lb 6oz of squirming, screaming life, emerging in early November after a torturously long labour. The feeling that had grown through the nine months preceding the labour became flesh: I was now responsible for a life. Looking at him, blinking under hospital lights, I realised that what he became was an empty canvas. It was up to myself and his mother to paint his early life, set him on the right paths. Trying to extrapolate what he would become when he was my age…it’s a heady, terrifying thought.

Around the same time, in the days leading up to his arrival, I became aware of a departure. Stuart Alexander Smith was a guy I had not known long, but had become very fond of.

I’d first met him when I asked a friend to help me mend a bike I’d been gifted. Stuart had tagged along. He was new to the area, and this had got him out the house. Afterwards we had a cup of tea – he was teetotal – and a chat. He was instantly personable, instantly interesting. He was fascinated with The Beestonian, and became an avid reader, reading each issue cover to cover and letting me know the bits he particularly like. “Write for us one time” I suggested “A view of Beeston from an ex-con who has come here to find a quiet life”. He liked the idea, but I never received any copy.

A gentle man hidden behind a rough demeanour, I realised I hadn’t heard from him for a while. The random meetings on the High Road, where he’d tell me of the life he was rebuilding after a spell in prison. It too had been a while since I’d received one of his FB messages asking for advice about Beeston (he was from the South, as you’d know instantly by his deep, cockney accent), or his thoughts on politics (hugely anti-authoritarian, but mellowing & inspired by Corbyn to join Labour). I checked his Facebook page, and was shocked and saddened to see people leaving tributes to his life. Stuart had died. I didn’t even know he was ill.

I contacted his friends. They explained he’d had a cancer diagnosis which was too advanced to treat. It all happened quickly apparently. Not enough time to hear about it, not enough time to say goodbye.

How could a man, so full of heart and generous of spirit, leave like that? How awful was it that just as he was finding some peace in his life, he would be taken so ruthlessly?

I couldn’t make his funeral, a week after the birth of my boy. The experience of a difficult birth had taken a huge chunk out of my wife’s energy, and her recovery was slow yet steady. Others did make it to Bramcote Crematorium, on a cold November afternoon, one of those grey days where the darkness never really breaks.

He believed that world peace can only be achieved by individuals finding their own personal peace

He died without obituary, so I hope this serves. A friend of his told me with much sadness: “He had no family”. Yet it would be wrong to say he died lonely: he was blessed with a great friend in Trowell resident Gareth Whitedog, who gave a eulogy. “I really can’t tell you what a good friend he was to me over the years” he told me when I got in contact. I asked about his life before Beeston. “He was born in Wood Green (North London) in 1952. His father died when he was quite young; and he was devastated when his mum died in the eighties. I met him at college: he then became a court clerk, then a building surveyor for East Barnet Council, where he became massively disillusioned with the way councils operate. He couldn’t tolerate injustice, you see.”

Other jobs followed. “He had many facets” Gareth explained “scholar, builder, surveyor, wheeler, dealer, wheeler dealer, music lover, audiophile, free thinker, comedian, poet, philosopher, mystic, conspiracy theorist, conspiracy theory debunker, detectorist, angler, space cadet, star ship captain, and covert galactic special forces operative, to mention a few”.

However, his liberty was curtailed in the late noughties when he was given an eight-year sentence for drug offences. His thirst for knowledge never ebbed: he was an incredibly well-read man “Prison is great for books” he once told me “I was a captive audience. They were my escape”.

Released on license in December 2012, Gareth took him in. “We couldn’t see him going into some awful offenders’ hostel, or something” he explained. This is when I would have first met him. He was infinitely interesting, often bizarre in his esoteric look at the world, but even his more outré ideas were underpinned by a great love of humanity.

“He was a spiritual man, a follower of an Indian guru” Gareth told me “and he believed that world peace can only be achieved by individuals finding their own personal peace, and bringing that into the world on a day-by-day basis”

It may seem bizarre to print an obituary in this mag. It may seem especially odd that if it wasn’t for a kind friend taking him in, he would never have become a Beestonian and crossed my path.

But he did, and he deserves some form of memorial. Beeston barely knew him, and I have no doubt that if cancer hadn’t snatched him away, he would have become a great part of our community. It was not to be. So let this serve some form of memorial to a man of great humility; and the potential we lost when he finally found that ultimate peace.

Stewart Alexander Smith, born 17/7/52; died  26/10/16

 

One Lump Or Two

Like the White Queen in ‘Alice Through theLooking Glass’’, I try to believe six impossible things before breakfast, but Trump becoming US President was a one too many. So when I found out that an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed café had opened up near the Nottingham Railway Station, I just had to go down the rabbit hole and find out all about it.

The Wonderland Café is situated in the basement of the old Hopkinson building on Station Street, and began trading in December. It is the creation of Beestonian Ash Hudson, who lives in the Rylands, but is originally from Chesterfield. Ash had previously worked there selling watches from a stall. When the tearoom closed down, he had the crazy idea of running one himself, using his favourite book as inspiration. And so Wonderland was born. It is currently open seven days a week between 12 & 5pm.

Hopkinson’s began as a Victorian engineering business, but in 2010 the building became an arts centre. In fact I exhibited some photographs there in that year, as part of a Flickr group that I was involved in. But now it contains three floors crammed with antiques and collectables:  real nostalgia trip down Memory Lane.

There are two ways to reach the café. One is to hunt out the stairs amongst the shelves of bric a brac, while the other is more direct, being down the side alley, where signs and a mannequin direct you. Due to the high winds that day, Ash had had to lock those away, so the stairs it was.

The café area is quite large, with twelve tables and seating for fifty people. Motifs from the book are everywhere, although Ash was keen to point out that he has followed Carroll’s original novel, rather than the 1951 Disney film. Ash of course is the Mad Hatter. There isn’t really anyone else he could be. He employs two waitresses, who become The Red Queen and Alice, when they are looking after the customers.  Of which there are many, especially on a Saturday.

There is a small, but interesting menu, with teas, sandwiches, and a stew on offer. And of course cake, some of which come courtesy of our very own Beeston Brownie Company.

Tea parties, either for two people, or groups, are welcomed, and themed events are in the pipeline for this year, the first being a ‘Lonely Queen of Hearts’ speed-dating event set for St Valentine’s Day.

The café has been kitted out with props sourced directly from Hopkinson’s. Someone that works in the building has specially made some of the more intricate and unusual items, while two flamingos came courtesy of eBay.  Local graffiti artist ‘smallkid’ has used spray paint to create a forest scene of giant mushrooms along one wall, and a row of grinning Cheshire Cats and the signage outside.

The Internet has been brilliant for Wonderland, as its story was one of the most locally shared on Facebook during 2016, with over 11,000 mentions. Ash originally wanted to open a café in Beeston, as he loves the town so much, and was looking at the former estate agents on Wollaton Road, but was beaten to it by what is now home to vintage café ‘Time For Tea’.

The future looks exciting, as Ash has plans to turn the rest of the basement area into a bar/restaurant. He is going to launch a Kickstarter project in May, which we wish him luck with.

‘Drink Me’ cocktails anyone?

Wonderland can be contacted on 07930 877496.

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