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Crime pays for pooches at Barnsbury Square’s summer fete

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10 July, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Doggie dress-up competition winners Naomi Jeffs and Laika

Robber dogs and bandit owners reigned on Saturday when Barnsbury Square was transformed into a summer garden party. The square off Thornhill Road featured a bake-off, tombola, and a doggie dress-up competition where Polly Arrowsmith and her poodle Hattie came second. They both dressed up as bank robbers with Polly throwing fake pound notes into the air while Hattie donned a black mask. Meanwhile, the winners of the competition, Naomi Jeffs and her labrador Laika, shared a similar theme of police dog and prisoner.

Competition runners-up Polly Arrowsmith and Hattie

The crime-buster won a gourmet dog food hamper from Lily’s Kitchen. Dog portrait artist Claire Thorogood documented the four-legged animals who ventured into the square. Members of 5th Islington Scout Group helped run the party organised by community group Friends of Barnsbury Square Gardens. “They were great kids, they helped to run things and helped by joining in and doing the games. They were mucking in,” said Jo Arden, volunteer with Friends of Barnsbury Square Gardens. Of the event, Jo said: “It was really lovely, everybody had a wonderful time and really enjoyed it.” The square hosts social events with teas and coffees on Tuesdays at 2pm and on Saturdays at 11am.

Looking well for a festival!

Go-karting at last year’s Summer Wellbing festival in Manor Gardens.
Photo: Steven Baron / Drivers & Norris

With summer comes festivals and this weekend will see the Summer Wellbeing festival take over Manor Gardens in Holloway. The whole road will be closed off for a few hours from lunchtime on Saturday and there will be steel bands, go-kart building and taster yoga and pilates sessions. More than 800 people visited the festival last year organised by Manor Gardens Welfare Trust which has supported the needs of the borough’s most vulnerable people since 1913. “We’re planning a fantastic variety of activities that will make you feel good,” says event organiser Felicity Ford, director of fundraising at Manor Gardens, adding: “There will be something for all ages.” Find out more at

Pulling out all the stops for St Thomas’s organ

Organist Andrew Greer and Rev Stephen Cole at St Thomas the Apostle Church in Finsbury Park

Churchgoers launched a campaign to save their beloved 127-year-old organ last month. Members of St Thomas the Apostle Church in St Thomas’s Road, Finsbury Park, alongside the organist Andrew Greer are holding a series of events to raise money to restore the organ which was made by a famous Holloway organ maker Alfred Monk. The organ was praised by experts as a fine example of the English Victorian organ school and an important historic artefact.

Funds are being raised to restore the 127-year-old organ at St Thomas’s

Pipes leaking air make the organ sound like an engine when it’s being played and people reading Bible passages now need to shout to be heard across the church. “I can’t hear even hear anyone singing when I’m playing,” says Mr Greer. Rev Stephen Cole, vicar at St Thomas’s estimates he needs to raise at least £80,000 to get the organ running smoothly again as it needs a complete refurbishment and there are only few specialists who can do the work in London. “If we can’t raise it well keep tinkering with it. Everything musical in the church depends on the organ, it’s played at everything. It supports and leads the congregation and singing is very important,” he said. St Thomas’s held a fundraising concert last Thursday which featured music from Gillespie band and Highbury Chamber choir. To find out about future events, go to


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