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Author Archives: chloeszczels

Thornton Heath Festival 2009

Community spirit abounded at the second ever Thornton Heath Festival on Sunday. It was great to see that the efforts and achievements of last year had been recognised and built on so well. I hope we can assume that this will now be a yearly event which will continue to provide the Thornton Heath community with an opportunity to get together and celebrate it’s richness and diversity.

Festival StageThe community stage, a shining success of the first festival, was given more prominence and space this year with a very professional rig and didn’t fail to deliver endless talent from groups and individuals of every age and nationality all day long. It really was fantastic to see and so well organised too.

I was also pleased that there seemed to be an increase in stalls promoting various local small businesses and enterprises, from chilli sauces and ice creams to great fairtrade products. Plus a good range of local community groups – it would be great to see even more of these next year! I have to say, I was glad to find less of an army presence this year, I felt it made for a bit of a heavy atmosphere at the last one and seemed somehow contradictory within a community that is striving hard for peace, harmony and positivity. The Endurance Steel Orchestra that occupied the far end of the High Street this year did a brilliant job and played on for hours with endless smiles and beautiful sounds.

Children's ParadeA new addition to the festival, and one that I was privileged to be a part of, was the wonderful Children’s Procession, with a huge crowd of local children and parents parading down the middle of the high street, marshalled successfully through all the crowds of beaming faces on either side. The parade was the initiative of local community artist Karen Barnett, who had run workshops throughout the year to create two stunning giant puppets that rose high above the crowd and other eye-catching carnival props for the children to wave and wiggle. It was a fantastic sight, headed up by members of the Steel band mentioned earlier, who heroically stepped in at the last minute to provide a true carnival atmosphere. I think this procession made the day for many people, taking part and watching, and I really hope that it becomes a regular feature of the festival and is able to grow and develop each year.

I went home tired, fed and happy with my young daughter still humming the sounds, wearing a smeared facepaint and ketchup grin. We’re already looking forward to next year.


Stop the South London Incinerator

Please do all you can to help to stop plans for the building of a privately run incinerator to burn our waste. Stop the ‘South London Waste Partnership’ becoming a licence to burn away our health, the health of our children and any hopes for a sustainable future. Visit for more info.

Four South London Boroughs are being targetted – Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton. The incineration of household waste:
Depresses recycling and wastes resources
Releases greenhouse gasses
Is often forced through against strong public opposition
Relies on exaggerating future quantities of waste instead of strongly increased recycling and composting
Creates toxic emissions and hazardous ash
Poses significant health risks

The conclusions from a report produced last year by the British Society for Ecological Medicine  make truly disturbing reading….. Read the rest of this entry

The Tea Dance

The Tea Dance
It’s the Sunday tea dance and they’ll all be here today,
Aches and pains forgotten, dance the afternoon away,
Foxtrots, waltzes, some are slow but some quite nifty,
With memories of how it was back in 1950.
Norman’s in the toilet and he’s struggling to pee,
He’s got trouble with his prostate and he’ll likely miss his tea,
Eddy’s got a new love that he met in Thornton Heath,
She does a lovely tango but she hasn’t any teeth.
His latest fancy footwork nearly broke his partner’s neck,
She mistook his outside swivel for a travelling contra check.
Ida’s had her hair done and she’s ready for the saunter,
But she had a vindaloo last night and it’s coming back to haunt her.
Florry’s mini-skirts revealing when she’s spinning in a jive,
She really shouldn’t wear a thong approaching eighty-five.
They’ve had their tea and cakes and chat and had a little laugh,
And gamely rise with creaking knees to face the second half.
Norman’s made it back in time for rumba number one,
His cucaracha’s very neat but he’s left his flies undone.
Vera’s fallen over in a massive crimplene heap,
Bert’s got indigestion and Mabel’s fast asleep.
It’s last waltz time and up they get for Humperdinck’s old tune,
And then “goodbye, good luck, take care. God willing see you soon.”


Tea Dances at Parchmore Community Centre:
Held twice a month in the centre on Friday 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm.
Ring 020 8653 7353 / 8998 for details

TH – the Golden Era

Gold Bus

In 1983, London Transport celebrated its 50th Anniversary by decorating four buses in special liveries. RM1983 was repainted all over in gold, the appropriate colour for a Golden Anniversary. It carried no advertising, just the slogan “We’ve been together now for 50 years” on both sides, and the special 50th Anniversary logo in white. The gold RM1983 entered service on April 30th at Thornton Heath Garage in the Croydon operating district, and then visited all eight operating districts until it was repainted red in February 1984.


Kitchener Road SnowI’ve really enjoyed these last few days.
Thornton Heath came alive on Monday. The snow blew in overnight and, like the cool breath that follows an extra strong mint, did a great job of refreshing what had been feeling like a slightly stale, dog poo tainted community.
Everyone was out. School kids of all ages were pardoned for the day and met up in the street amazed by their freedom. Parents joined them and chatted happily to neighbours they maybe had never spoken to before. Workers returned home having found abandoned train stations and cancelled bus services. Read the rest of this entry