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Make it a Big Day of fun in the park

01 September, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Tackling the climbing tower at last year’s Big Day Out

THE borough’s treasured Whittington Park will host a celebration next Saturday (September 9) with a huge climbing wall and an opportunity for pond dipping at the yearly festivity called The Big Day Out which draws in hundreds of residents. “We’ve been producing a party for at least five years,” says Loan Tran, project development manager at the park’s community space. “It’s particularly important to bring people together with all the things going on politically – there’s a lot of divisions. It’s always a lot of organisation involved but I feel it’s a great way to bring the community together. Although everything is free, people can support the community centre by donating to our building fund by buying raffle tickets. Money will also go to the over-60s lunch fund.” The pond dipping will see children with nets exploring the murky depths of the park’s ponds and there will be face painting and a bouncy castle at the ready for those who want to let off steam. The day will run from 12.30-5.30pm. To find out more about the event go to:

Cheers to Martin – a true gentleman

Friends and neighbours of Martin Chapman (below) celebrate his memory with a BBQ, joined by Claudia Webbe, centre. Tony O’Loughlin is pictured far left

RESIDENTS celebrated the life of a tenant by holding a BBQ on their roof terrace in his honour on Saturday, with their favourite councillor. Martin Chapman, a resident at a tenants’ association flat off City Road, died from cancer a few months ago but his neighbours wanted to send him off in style. Tony O’Loughlin described Martin as a “true old-fashioned gentleman”. He said: “He was a local character, he liked a drink or two or three or four. He was very known in the area and was immaculately dressed. He was ill all of his life but I never heard a complaint from him.” “He was hilarious – one of life’s characters,” added Tony, who led a toast at the BBQ with champagne to commemorate Martin. There are 19 flats in the block and a communal terrace with recently installed irrigation system and new flower pots. Tony said he invited Cllr Claudia Webbe to the BBQ after she helped the block fight planning developers who wanted to extend a nearby building, which would potentially decrease natural light. The planners won but the residents remained friends with Cllr Webbe. “She remembered Martin. She remembered him at the Town Hall at a planning meeting,” said Tony. “He had a back support called a turtle shell. It was a huge shell that had to be tied on. When we got to the meeting he took off his overcoat. He said it was for sympathy.”

All change on the waterfront

Beryl Windsor, left and Sasha Mears

THIS year’s Angel Canal Festival on Sunday (September 3) will be the last for three organisers who have put together the event for nearly 20 years. Sasha Mears, Beryl Windsor and Steve Burt took up the mantle after the deaths of co-founders Crystal Hale and Jim Lagden. The festival, which will take place in the City Road Basin from 11am-5pm, will feature donkey rides, boat races and kayaking. There will be a special guest appearance from the Mayor of Islington, Cllr Una O’Halloran who will arrive by canal boat – think Lord Mayor of London procession, but on water and with a little less gold.

Beryl, who is now 78, said she’s stepping down to travel the canals of Britain with her husband Steve. Around 20 years ago, Beryl was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and her bucket list of things still left to do included owning a canal boat. Luckily, she made a full recovery and found herself on a boat in the St Pancras Basin where she was persuaded to take on the organisation of the festival. “Quite frankly I’m ready to go, I’m ready to hand it on to somebody younger who is more professional than I am,” says Beryl. “You have no idea the forms you have to fill in – I hate filling in forms.” Beryl said it’s hoped that the Town Hall with the Canal and River Trust will be taking over organisational duties from next year. This year’s festival will also see Isla the Mermaid giving out glittery fake tattoos in a corner of the basin which will be transformed into a seaside setting. More details at:


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