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Tea, tango and quick-step time for a get-together

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03 August, 2017 — By Aleesha Hansel, Emily Finch

Jessie Stafford and Iris Evans enjoying the event at City University with Finsbury and Clerkenwell Volunteers

A university hall was transformed into a ballroom dance scene on Saturday thanks to the work of 10 volunteers. More than 50 elderly people waltzed, tango’d and quick-stepped their way around the main hall at City University in Clerkenwell.

Stella and Harry Sheen taking a break from the dancing

In between dances they chatted away and enjoyed sandwiches with cups of tea. “One or two people were very good dancers, dancing was a big thing for them. It was a great success,” says lead volunteer Andrew Thompson from Finsbury and Clerkenwell Volunteers who organised the event. Andrew, who has been chairman of the organisation for seven years, first started as a volunteer while working in the City. He said he wanted to get to know more about the people in the borough and the group organises social events for elderly residents.

A good time was had by all

Their befriending scheme has successfully coupled up around 80 volunteers with an elderly person and friendships have blossomed. “It’s to prevent isolation and get people out of the house,” Andrew says. To find out more go to

Jon’s mission to change city grey to a healthy green

Jon Davies: promoting the worth of spending more time with nature

An awarding-winning garden designer is urging Canonbury residents to reconnect with nature by visiting his secret garden. Jon Davies, 35, and architect Andreas Christodoulou have created an edible flower and herb plot off Canonbury Square as part of their Future Gardens project. The project started as a response to climate change and to help encourage neighbours to get together and “feel a sense of pride and stewardship towards the joint land around their homes.” After winning the Best Garden for a Changing World award at the Hampton Court Flower show a month ago, the pair are now on a mission to “green up grey Britain” and introduce urban farming to Islington. The project also aims to show people that gardens can be practical as well as beautiful. “More research proves the importance of spending time with nature and the positive effect upon physical and mental health,” says Jon. “This is a small example of how we as city dwellers can work towards prevention of ailments rather than treatment of health issues.” To find out more contact Jon on Twitter @GardenerFuture

Roger steps up to raise funds for Alzheimer’s

Roger Stephens will be taking the Memory Walk on September 10. PHOTO: Lalage Stephens

An Angel resident is gearing up for a charity walk next month to raise funds for an organisation which supports his brother who suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s. Roger Stephens, 72, has already raised just under £2,000 in sponsorship for the Alzheimer’s Society.

His 9.5km Memory Walk on September 10, organised by the charity, will start at the Barbican centre in City Road and Roger will be accompanied by his wife Lalage as well as Nicky, his younger brother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Roger says the money raised will help combat the disease by funding research and will also go towards supporting groups such as the one his brother attends run by the charity.

“He loves drawing and encouraging other people in the support group,” says Roger. “He has a wonderful notebook of sketches. They’re line draw­ings, occasionally mundane things, but he makes them very interesting.” Nicky was an art school teacher and a very talented musician. “I miss him as one would miss a brother, he’s the person in the world I’ve known the longest,” says Roger.

To donate and to find out more about the Memory Walk, go to Roger’s Just Giving page:

Reports by Emily Finch and Aleesha Hansel


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