Navin Soni (Bobby) – Plumber

“I was born in Mapperley, but my dad came from the Punjab. He came over from India in 1958 with just £20 in his pocket. He settled in Nottingham and managed to get a job selling knitwear door to door. He then started his own company and was very successful, ending up with a warehouse in Basford”.

“In 1976 we moved to Bramcote. At the age of 9, I was sent to a boarding school at Repton in Derbyshire. But I had an awful time there with bullying and became very withdrawn. I loved the countryside and open spaces though. So, when I was 12, I came back and attended Alderman White and Bramcote Hills schools. Things were a little better, but I blossomed when I went to Broxtowe College and did a BTEC in Business. I then went to Hull University, or as Hull FE College as it was then known, and completed my HND. College life was really good for me. I am proud of my culture and my fellow students accepted me for who I was. They really helped me, become me”.

“I worked with my father for several years until I noticed that the local clothing industry was suffering due to supermarkets and imports. A friend suggested that I become a taxi driver. But I wasn’t keen on that idea. So, whilst still working in the family business, I went to Basford Hall College and did a one year evening class to train as a plumber. That was in 2003. I then worked for around 4-5 years with Gedling Council, before deciding to work for myself. I’m always busy and I like to stay in the Beeston, Chilwell and Toton areas for work”.

“I met my first wife in 1996 and moved to Trafalgar Road in the Rylands. The marriage didn’t work out, and so I moved back to my parent’s house on Hillside Road. But I missed the area so much, that I just had to move back to another house on Trafalgar Road. My second wife is a teacher with Forest Schools, she organises lessons outside, so she shares my love of the countryside”.

“For a hobby I like open water swimming down near Attenborough Nature Reserve. I also like cycling, just like I did when I was young and had a BMX bike. I am trying to learn the piano, something that I took up during Lockdown. Beeston has a lot to offer. I’m never bored. I’ve even made some friends walking the dog”.

“Living in Beeston for so long, I remember Woolworths and Dixons, which was one of my favourite shops. These days its places like Café Roya, The Malt Shovel. I miss The Greyhound, which had some great bands on. Talking of music, I really enjoy the annual Oxjam event. Beeston has a good mix of everything you’d want and so I really wouldn’t want to live anywhere else”.