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.”