This issue’s I Am Beeston is Dr. Donna-Marie Urbanowicz – PA for the QMC’s Centre for Spinal Studies and Surgery.

“I was born in London and moved to Beeston in 2003 to complete an MA in American Studies at The University of Nottingham. When I asked them for “good places” to locate to, the University advised me that Beeston was lovely. I was then invited to complete a Ph.D and have never left Beeston. That was 18 years ago now. This is a lovely place for my children to grow up in, and whilst I don’t feel that I have done anything interesting in my time here, I have found Beeston to be a safe environment to raise my family”.

“Beeston has a lot to offer both in terms of its local urban environment and its artisan shops and restaurants. The fact that we have such wide variety of open green spaces in close proximity is wonderful. There is Attenborough Nature Reserve, Wollaton Park and University Park to name a few and all offer a different day out depending on your wishes. Beeston also has a very active high street. Although I feel the town will suffer somewhat with the closure of Argos. There are good stores here, but where we make up for charity shops and eateries, we probably lack in a decent department store. That said, I very rarely feel the need to go into Nottingham, and now that we have the new cinema, the desire to go to the city is not necessarily there”.

“Beeston has and continues to have a real sense of community. I have lived in three different houses during my years here and have been very lucky that both neighbourhoods afforded a community spirit. There is always a friendly face and a smile to be had when you are walking through the park and when my children were really young, I was often stopped in the street for a conversation. I feel very lucky and blessed to have been assimilated into the landscape of Beeston. As an ‘outsider’, I have never been made to feel unwelcome. As a student, I was never dismissed, and as a mother, I was always impressed by the activities offered by such a small community. My children attend the Rattle and Roll nursery rhymes at the library and visited the under 5s play group at Beeston Free Church”.

“I love the fact that Beeston has an amazing array of charity shops. I wander through them on a regular basis as I love the vintage fashion look. I particularly like the 50s era with the full petticoats and cute cardigans. They tend to go with my mega crazy shoes. Sue Ryder has a vintage section that I am often scrabbling in, and many a bargain can be found in the others, if you have time for a browse. Unfortunately, this style is often hard to find, so I tend to shop on-line for my dresses. And as for my shoes…well, let’s just say they are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or hate them.

It does sadden me a little, that there is a definite lack of popular clothes shops in Beeston for the more contemporary market. Considering Beeston is such a diverse town with a large cohort of students and permanent residents alike. Other than the charity shops, buying new clothes in Beeston is very limited to either Peacocks, or the supermarket own brands. It is good to see White Rose open up to attract the younger population, but it is still second-hand. I do feel Beeston would benefit dramatically if a larger well-known clothes store took the plunge and opened a branch here, especially in light of the fact that we now have a new cinema, which is very exciting and will, I have no doubt, increase the foot traffic to the local shops nearby.”

“One of my favourite things about Beeston is the switching on of the Christmas Lights. My father used to call this the “Beeston Lightbulb” and it has become a large part of our Christmas tradition. Again, times have changed and where once the rides used to be all down the high street and the fireworks were in the square, things have moved around more. It will be interesting to see what happens this year with the new cinema now taking up prime real estate. But I am sure it will still be a family fun evening. My family used to travel up from London every year for this event and we made it part of our celebrations. There has always been a wonderful atmosphere in Beeston, that I have never felt unsafe, even when walking home late at night on my own and this is probably one of the greatest achievements that Beeston can offer, safety in the community and in a town that I am proud to call my home”.