Meeting the Beeston FC’s Under 10’s Sunday team reminds you of why Beeston has such a good local feel about it.
The team is largely made up of players who are from or live in Beeston and it’s clear that this has an impact on the positive atmosphere at the club.
“I enjoy playing for Beeston because there’s a good team with good chemistry. If you’re feeling down they never say you didn’t do that well, they will cheer you up, try to make you laugh, or just say no you didn’t do that wrong you did everything right,” said Kyle, aged 9.
William, aged 10 agrees saying, “I would describe Beeston FC as talented, amazing, good chemistry and just the best team in the world really.”
So why is there such a positive atmosphere around Beeston FC and what is it that makes them so popular?
“Beeston Football Club is very community-based,” said the under 16’s Sunday coach and club treasurer Leroy Payne.
“We use the C word a lot as it’s a big tagline for the club due to the amazing community we have here in Beeston. We’ve got a lot of volunteers and we’ve got some really strong teams built from the people in the local area.”
“The club was founded by a group of local football volunteers out of Round Hill Primary School in 1988 as Beeston Centurions, but we changed the name to Beeston Football Club in 2015 and it’s just progressed and gone on to become one of the biggest clubs in the area.”
The club recently acquired a 99-year old lease for a plot of land on Trent Vale road, formerly the works ground for Plessey and Ericsson, which is well known amongst thousands of people in Nottinghamshire, who played football, hockey, cricket, tennis and squash there over decades.
The local community especially around the Rylands have all really warmed to us and we feel as though we’re well respected
Back in November, the club were hoping to win £10,000 from the Aviva Community Fund to improve the facilities at the Trent Vale site and although they were unsuccessful, they still received over 5000 votes one of the highest numbers in the competition.
“Beeston FC has had a great impact on the community,” said Leroy. “We invited loads of people to vote for our Aviva community fund through social media and we received an incredible number of votes. It was greeted very positively on Beeston updated as well.”
“The local community especially around the Rylands have all really warmed to us and we feel as though we’re well respected. We’ve also got some good coaches and volunteers who are always willing to help.”
Charles Walker, one of the under 10’s coaches has played a key role in the development of the club over the past few years and is hoping to develop a girl’s football team at the club.
“We’ve currently got an under 13’s girls team who aren’t playing matches yet, but we train nine of them.”
“We’re trying to get the number of girls in our team up to twelve and then we can apply for the Wild Cats scheme through the FA. [It’s] A girl’s national football scheme aimed at those under 11, where a club is chosen in each area to try to get thirty girls playing football within three months.”
“We also want to use it as a way of getting other people involved in the club particularly women, as we’re looking to get some older girls in to do some volunteering for us, because I think they can be good role models for the girls.”
There is no doubt that Beeston FC has become more than just a football club, but also a way of getting together with friends and having fun. Beeston FC is a fantastic representation of the community spirit that Beeston has.
Last year, we decided to cast our gaze onto the unsung heroes of Beeston.
The word ‘hero’ was everywhere last year, following the tragic death of Owen Jenkins at Beeston Weir. It got us thinking how heroism stretches wide, from those who immediately sacrificed their lives to rescue others (as Owen did) to those who understand we are all part of a community, and that community works best when we all put a little bit in.
We asked online for your nominations, and wow. They flowed in, all telling stories of people who make this great town better. From people who give a few hours a week behind a charity shop till, to those who run major campaign in the face of vast opposition, these are the people who never ask for thanks, never seek out the limelight, but just get on with doing what they do because they think its right.
We were so overwhelmed with the response we have decided to run it as a regular feature rather than a one-off. If you made a nomination and they don’t feature here, then fret not, we most likely will get them on here soon.
If you have a hero you would like to nominate, send us their name, what they do / have done, and a few words on what makes them special. Here’s our first selection:
STEWART CRAVEN; CANALSIDE HERITAGE
When we requested nominations for community heroes, we got so many emails putting Stewart forward we can’t fit all the comments on here. But here are a select few:
“He kept walking past the dilapidated and decaying lock cottages saying if only someone would do something…and then he realised that he would have to be that someone it has taken years but the Canalside Heritage Centre is now yet another of Beeston’s key attractions, and it is all down to Stewart, the man is a star…and a hero.”
“Without his unfailing commitment to this project which opened in June this year, it would never have got off the ground and I think you’ll agree the Centre is a very welcome addition to Beeston & The Rylands.”
“He’s worked tirelessly over at least the last ten years to create the Canalside Heritage Centre.”
“Been tenacious and committed, and battled hard whilst also battling some serious health issues.”
“He’s ignored those who said it could never happen, and believed in his vision creating a fantastic community facility for Beeston Rylands and beyond.”
“Even after all his work, he continues to give many hours to the project, from chairing the Trustees, to being the big man in red for our Breakfast with Santa events (shush!).”
“Stewart has created a legacy for our community and should be recognised for this.”
GRAHAM MACHIN, MIDDLE STREET RESOURCE CENTRE
“As the chair of BCR, which is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, he has spent the last few years tirelessly negotiating with Notts. County Council to ensure the continuance of Middle Street Resource Centre as a place that offers socially inclusive activities. In addition he brings his personal support qualities and values to volunteers, members, visitors and staff in whatever way he can. It would be hard to estimate the time and effort he has put into this work, which began when he was still working full time, and the kindness, wisdom and foresight he continues to bring to the Centre.”
TAMAR FEAST, WE DIG NG9
When a small area of land off a side street began to look a bit scruffy, a local decided to take actions into her own hands. Tamar Feast, who some may remember from this very magazine a few years ago, was that community hero. Where others saw a scruffy verge, she saw a tiny wildlife refuge. With the help of some willing, green-fingered volunteers, she set to work planting, adding attractive stacked-tyre planters and, in a brilliant bit of work, made a ‘bug hotel’ out of stacked pallets. Go and have a look. If insects had Trip Advisor, the reviews would be rave. Despite the seeming best intention of the council, utility companies and other less corporate vandals, this little corner of Beeston has been transformed into a beautiful, bio-diverse paradise. You’ll find it on the corner of Wilmot Lane and Barrydale Avenue. As one nominator told us:
“Every street needs a Tamar.”
Miss Madeline Redhead, of Redhead-Scott School of Dance
“She has been running a dance school for over 40 years. There are other dance studios but there are people in Beeston and surrounding areas who went there as children, then their children went and then their children went . It’s moved around but the school has been a little sung business and cultural institution for 3 generations of pupils and over 40 years. Many of her pupils have gone on to be professional dancers and to perform in professional productions. Her dance school partner is a former pupil. She’s brought pleasure to thousands of children and parents, and contributed to the local economy.”
An extra big helping of The Beestonian this Christmas…
It’s rolled around again, Foxie at Hallams dons her Santa Suit, the pied wagtails flutter across the Square, and poor old Beeman suffers a season of silly-string toupees and drunken snogs by post-office party drunkards. Ah, Christmas!
It’s been a year of ups and downs. We’ve seen new businesses pop up all over town, and our creative scene once again punch well above its weight. The Canalside Heritage Centre, a labour of love for the last decade, finally opened its doors. Our I Am Beeston project blossomed into a bit of an institution (look out for an exciting twist we’ll be bringing to that in the New Year). Lets Go To Beeston was relaunched. We gave Beeston its first bespoke poem, and felt a bit sad that Bartons was going –but very happy that housing will soon be springing up on its expansive brownfield site. We took on Network Rail when they threatened to close the foot-crossings into the Nature Reserve, and won (for now). Oxjam, as you will read inside, smashed all previous records.
Yet there has been sadness. We lost many great Beestonians, not least with the tragic death of Owen Jenkins in the Summer. Also much-missed are Sally Pollard, wife (and Maid Marion) of our columnist (and Robin Hood) Tim Pollard. Nobel Laureate, MRI inventor and charming Beestonian Sir Peter Mansfield; local musician and Blue Monkey ale aficionado Mikk Skinner: RIP. We’re still awaiting any concrete news on the mess that is the central Beeston Phase 2 development, despite a flurry of vague statements to the contrary.
But we’re blathering before we’ve even been properly introduced. So let’s sort that.
If you’ve picked this up at the Lights Switch On, and wonder what the dickens you’ve got possession of, welcome. We’re The Beestonian, and we’re pleased to meet you. Open me up: you’ll find stuff all about this wonderful town from Indian poets to Thai cafes; somersaulting geniuses to supermarket horrors.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll note we’ve put on a bit of weight. Don’t worry, it’s not over-indulgence of mince pies, but the fact that we had so much stuff to cram into this issue we’ve gone up to 20 pages. We just keep on growing, and we’re still free. We’ll always be free.
How do we do that? How do we act like local Santas and give you this all for free? Well, we’re ran by volunteers and our print costs are paid by our lovely local sponsors. Find them inside, and pay them a visit, and tell ‘em we sent you. And if you run a business and fancy your ad sharing space with the excellence within, we’d be delighted to have you: see inside for details.
And if you see one of our writers in the pub, and fancy buying them a drink: well, that will be the best Christmas pressie ever. Have a good ‘un!
For this issue of the magazine, I was asked by Matt, our editor in chief if I could do a more in depth interview for the #IamBeeston project.
“Who was going to be the subject?” I enquired. “Sandie Deacon of the Boathouse Café at Beeston Marina. She’s retiring after spending twenty five years in catering”.
Beeston Marina is always a great place to visit, with the narrow boats, the water and the scenery. There were quite a few people in the Café drinking tea and eating cake when I arrived to chat to Sandie. She was busy in the kitchen. So I drank a cup of hot chocolate whilst I waited.
To begin the interview I asked Sandie where she was born, and how she came to the Rylands. “I was born in Hurley, Berkshire. It was similar to the Rylands as there was one road in and out and close to the river. When I left school, I went to catering college in Slough. I got into cooking through my aunty. She was the catering manager at Handley Page, the aircraft manufacturer. I sometimes went to see her and she let me do some cooking. She used to cook for big events like Ascot and the Farnborough Air Show. I got my City & Guilds 706/1 and 706/2, which meant that I was allowed to wear the big white chef’s hat.”
Moving through the years a bit, Sandie met her partner Tony when they were both doing a sports course at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire. But Tony, a qualified PT instructor, lived in Birmingham, whilst Sandie was nearly a three hour journey away in Wokingham. So Sandie moved to this area, so she wouldn’t have so far to travel to be with Tony. “I saw a vacancy at a place in Stapleford, but was turned down, as I was over qualified. But Tony and I saw a job going at the bar next door to here. So I started there in October 2006. Then a few weeks later this café came up for sale. So we took it over, and have been here ever since. We also do outside catering for weddings, parties etc. We live in a mobile home around the corner. Which is good, as we are often here from five thirty in the morning.”
“Tony works four to five days a week. My daughter Sarah is the manager now that I’ve retired. Although I do help out when needed, as we sometimes get very, very busy. Take this morning, when we had a lot of fishermen in wanting a breakfast.” I asked Sandie how she would be spending her time, now that she’s put down her mixing bowl. “I like photography. Especially birds. I’m always at the nature reserve, seeing what’s flown in. I do like kingfishers. I see them a lot, but they are difficult to photograph. I got a new Nikon camera for my birthday. I’m just saving up now for a better lens. I also like walking and reading.”
I asked Sandie about the history of the café. “It’s been here about twenty five to thirty years. Tony is into local history, and is a member of the Bramcote History Group.” Sandie highlighted a number of wooden plaques that were fixed to one of the doors. “These are of local people and customers that had sadly died. Here’s Owen’s.” Sandi touches the carved rugby ball with affection, and remembers Owen Jenkins, who unfortunately drowned this summer in the nearby weir whilst saving two girls that had fallen in the water. “It was so sad when Owen went. I knew him and his family. The way in which the people of Beeston responded was amazing. We did the catering at the funeral. No charge. It was the least we could have done.”
“We received four thousand votes on the Canal & River Trust’s recent ‘Best Riverside Café’ competition. We had a mystery diner in here.”
I noticed a photo of the late Mikk Skinner, who I had photographed for the #IamBeeston project a few weeks before he died. “He lived in one of the mobile homes too. Lovely bloke. The photo was given to us by one of his friends. Beeston is such a friendly place and the people are lovely. So laid back. I love it here. I sometimes think I’m at the seaside when I look out the window. There’s always something different to see throughout the year. There’s always something to do in Beeston, but I do wish events etc would be advertised more. There always seems to be a lack of advertising for events, even down here. I don’t know whose fault it is, but it should be improved.”
I also noticed some certificates and press cuttings about the café. “We are best known for our breakfasts and have received many comments in the Post newspaper. We received four thousand votes on the Canal & River Trust’s recent ‘Best Riverside Café’ competition. We had a mystery diner in here. The final is in Loughborough next week.”
Congratulations are now in order; as the Boathouse did indeed win in the East Midlands Waterside Hospitality Awards, and now have a certificate to prove it. I saw a photo on the back end of a Nottingham City Transport bus of the cafe. “I took that photo of the café. One of our customers spotted it on Mansfield Road and managed to get a shot of it.” The number of the bus is 908. So if you see it on your travels around Nottingham, give it a wave. “Buses around here are a bit hit an miss. I think there should be better transport in the Rylands, as people have missed hospital appointments, as their bus hasn’t turned up. I think the tram is good, and I will drive into Beeston and take it into town. You can park all day for two pounds.”
On the subject of transport, I’m sure many people will have seen the old World War II landing craft moored near the café. “That’s been in quite a few films now. The latest one starred George Clooney and Matt Damon (The Monuments Men) and we were hoping that they would have paid us a visit. But alas they didn’t. Suggs from Madness filmed here for an episode of a TV series called ‘WW2 Treasure Hunters’, which is shown on the History channel.”
The late afternoon sun was starting to set as we went outside, so I could take Sandie’s photo of her holding the now famous I Am Beeston sign. The last of the customers were leaving, and Sarah was collecting cups and plates from the tables as I said goodbye. And yes, I can see Sandie’s point about being at the seaside, with the water, the seagulls flying by and the pirate staring out from his crow’s nest.
As Christmas approaches, I felt it would be terribly tardy of me not to give Beeston’s favourite magpies a bit of a shout out.
Since opening their decorative doors in April 2016, Two Little Magpies up at Broadgate Shops have been serving us up a delightful selection of handmade crafts and original artworks supplied by local creatives. But that’s not the only reason we love them so much. Because of Lucy’s fondness for Beeston and the wonderful characters within it, Creatives Beeston’s Bee Creative project has been allowed to thrive and develop into the hugely successful community project it has now become.
Homeless, after The Candela Shop closed down in January 2016, the Bee Creative team were looking for a space to spend one evening a month indulging in a bit of craft therapy. We had some great evenings in the White Lion, Refan and The Star Inn, all of whom made us very welcome, but lacked the security and consistency that a regular spot could provide. Loyal followers turned up eagerly but it was difficult to reach the people that were less confident to arrive in random places on an ad hoc monthly basis.
“During the two-hour sessions they are taught useful craft skills that we build on each week and they generally go home with something they are proud of.”
As soon as I met Lucy, she was keen to consider offering her shiny new studio space to us for our monthly craft sessions. She even suggested she arranged the first one for us, seemingly delighted at the chance to test-drive the studio. There was no charge but we set up a donation scheme so that she wasn’t out of pocket and this worked really well. People were as generous with their cash as Lucy was with her time and resources and we had a surplus by Christmas. We used the pot of money to provide refreshments and materials for a Mind Crafternoon, where donations were collected for the charity, and put together a pamper evening with fizz, nibbles and free craft activities as well as an opportunity for subsidised massage therapy.
Bee Creative moved to bigger premises this June, we are now at Middle Street Resource Centre, where between eight to twenty people gather every Monday night to create, de-stress and generally spend a couple of hours in the company of a great bunch of supportive people. During the two-hour sessions they are taught useful craft skills that we build on each week and they generally go home with something they are proud of. Our collaboration with Two Little Magpies continues though. One of the original members of the craft group now works at the shop and has designed our new Creative Beeston logo, which will be revealed in the new year. And you can expect to see them joining forces next year in creating some community events.
Two Little Magpies have since put together a comprehensive selection of fabulous workshops of their own that are proving very popular with the locals. As well as the instructed workshops in which you can craft some paper flowers or stitch yourself a Dorset button, Lucy has set up a few ‘drop-in’ nights where you rock up with your own projects for a bit of ‘Stitch and Chat’ or more amusingly ‘Smutty Stitch!’ The latter session is described as ‘not for the faint hearted’ and unsurprisingly the next one is fully booked! Who knew Beeston was full of such filthy folk?!
If like me, you love the independents in your town then please remember to shop local this Christmas. Leave the mass-produced tat on the shelf and buy something lovingly handmade from one of our many creatives. I don’t know about you, but it feels a lot better to know that your money is staying in the local economy and is more than likely sustaining one of the families in your community. What can be more wholesome than that?
You can find Two Little Magpies at 112, High Road , Beeston. For details of all of their crafty events follow them on facebook or check out their website www.twolittlemagpies.co.uk
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
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.
“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!”
What does Beeston mean to you? Is it your home or a place you’re visiting (and if you live here is it somewhere you’ve been for a few months, a year, decades or your entire life)?
When you look at photos of ‘old’ Beeston from last century (maybe on one of the excellent Beeston Facebook pages) do you remember how it was, or is Beeston’s current incarnation your only experience – and how do you see, live in, use and enjoy Beeston these days?
Lots of questions, I know – but the reason I ask is I’ve recently become much more aware that ‘my’ Beeston isn’t the same as your Beeston – the places I frequent you may never visit and vice-versa. Places I think are great and make our town new, exciting and vibrant may be places you’d never dream of entering and there are plenty of local shops and venues I really should try for the first time.
I recently had an interesting and eye-opening conversation on one of those Beeston Facebook pages about the possibility of late-night noise pollution from a (very good) restaurant near my house which has applied for much extended licensing hours. Most replies thought I was concerned over nothing as it wouldn’t affect many people and the benefits would outweigh the potential disruption to the few locals who it did – and maybe they had a point, maybe the needs of the many do outweigh the needs of the few (to quote Mr Spock from ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’). But again, it got me thinking about what different people want from our town; for instance a good night out, an excellent and profitable business or a good night’s sleep uninterrupted by loud and protracted conversations right outside your house at closing time.
My view of Beeston changed when we had our daughter Scarlett
So, what makes your Beeston?
Over the past few months I’ve written a lot about my wife Sal’s advanced and incurable breast cancer, which is weird, because I’d never have thought I’d write about it, let alone have it published. I certainly had no intention of writing an ‘Our Cancer Diary’-type column, partly because it just feels a bit wrong but mainly because it makes it a bit tricky to drop jokes into; Bad Cancer is hardly a laugh a minute subject for anyone.
But in the same way my view of Beeston changed when we had our daughter Scarlett and I suddenly discovered Beeston had a great medical centre, soft play areas and parks that I’d really not bothered about before I now know what great at home and on-call medical services Beeston has – and after Sal finally made it out of the house on her borrowed electric wheelchair what utterly dreadful pavements and roads we have, as well as what places are easy to get into and around, something yet again I’d not really thought about until I had to.
The biggest change for me though is where all of these things come together.
As I said, I never intended to write about our experience of Sal’s cancer. Hell, neither of us want it, we want a long and happy and pain-free life of course – but the other day I had a truly wonderful email from someone who’s relatively new to Beeston, someone we’ve never met but had initially read about Sal and me on the ‘Beeston Updated’ Facebook site and just wanted to send both of us best wishes and support. We were genuinely touched, humbled and astounded as it was a truly lovely thought and gesture. We ended up talking about why their family had moved here (it turns out they love Beeston and couldn’t be happier to have moved) and I realised that for us the reason Beeston is such a great place to live isn’t just our friends and family (awesome as they are) or the facilities, shops, services or even late night restaurants – it’s the brilliant, wonderful and caring people we have here.
Beeston, you are awesome, thank you.
Nottingham’s Official Robin Hood
Now if you live in Beeston, and travel up and down Chilwell High Road regularly, you might already know what I am talking about by the title alone. In one of the terraces along there, lives an inhabitant of our little town who continually treats us to a selection of stylish window displays that bring joy to the faces of many who pass by.
I have often wanted to explore who this mystery window dresser is and the reasons why they make the time to do this.
As an enthusiastic supporter of any community art project, I posted a card through the letter box to ask if they would like to chat to me about it and was thrilled when I got a response. A lady called Fran sent me a text to thank me for my kind comments and to give her a call. When I spoke to her I realised that we already knew each other, via the close community that is Beeston café culture, and we chatted for ages about many things but mostly her motivation to cheer up her little bit of Beeston.
Fran has been creating her wonderful exhibitions for over ten years now and it all started when she was working at the high street retailer, Accessorize. Often when they took down their window display the staff were left with a selection of useless but pretty objects that would gather dust in a box or get thrown away. Inspired by the impact a well-dressed window can have on passers-by, she decided that she would much prefer to take things home and create her own version of the display in her front window at home. And so it began…
She regularly receives thank you cards and messages of appreciation from local people
She finds her inspiration in many places and her magpie’s nest is full to the rafters with bright, shiny objects and other things saved for their aesthetic qualities. She tries to update the window regularly, usually in line with calendar events and the seasons and can often feel the pressure to make sure she hasn’t left a display in too long – she doesn’t want to disappoint her fan club. Fran tells me that she regularly receives thank you cards and messages of appreciation from local people and this makes it all the more worthwhile. She does it simply ‘because it makes people smile’, and by her own admission ‘keeps her out of mischief.’
Fran has a great eye for detail and her presentations have got more ambitious over the years. It is fun, and she enjoys thinking up new ideas, careful not to replicate any she has done previously. What I like about them is the connection with local people that Fran is making with these displays, and it goes deeper than just making someone’s day. She is investing in her community, showing a sense of pride in where she lives and is more than happy to hear that she is beginning to inspire others to do the same.
And it was simply this that prompted me to publicly applaud the efforts of this dedicated decorator, who tirelessly creates these scenes for others to enjoy. Fran, we think you are awesome!
I wonder what will she do next…?
Beeston is full to the brim with creativity if you look for it.
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…
Julie Lord – Building Manager for the Beeston Youth and Community Centre
“I used to live in Carlton, but moved in with some relatives who lived in the Rylands. When their house came up for sale, I bought it. That was twenty four years ago now.”
“Beeston has a diverse community. It has some great shops too. Then there are all the open and green spaces. The nature reserve is only minutes away.”
“Although I don’t use it, I do think that the tram has benefited Beeston. I would certainly say that Beeston is improving all the time.”