Chairman's Blog - December 2013


St Saviour's Church was packed for the funeral of John Hughes, who gave so many years of service to local residents.  He ran the Horticultural Section, and also organised the trips to the RHS Gardens at Wisley, and to see the Christmas lights in London.  What was clear from the tributes paid to him was that this was only a small part of his work for the community, as he was involved in many other organisations and societies, including the Church. He never sought any personal recognition, but the numbers present to celebrate his life and work showed the high regard in which he was held.  He was a “gentleman”. RIP. Read more about John here.


The new sports field and pavilion for Raynes Park High School was formally opened by the Mayor on Saturday 16th November. For those who don’t know where it is, it can be seen from the Bushey Road flyover, on the left as you go towards Shannon Corner. The field itself is accessed from Westway Close. 

The sports field has 10 acres, and is beautifully laid out. It will be used both by the High School, and also by the two local primary schools. To make the maximum use of it, and to justify the funding towards it granted by the Football Foundation, the ground will be shared out of school hours by the Westside Football Club, which runs football teams for young  people. In summer it will be used for cricket and other sports. 

The Pavilion is impressive, and has ample changing rooms and kitchen and eating areas.  

The creation of the field and pavilion is the achievement principally of the former Head Teacher of Raynes Park, Ian Newman, who conceived the idea as long ago as 1996 and fought doggedly to overcome all the problems of bringing the long disused sports ground, formerly owned by Royal and Sun Alliance, into community use. This involved persuading the later owners into giving the ground, together with a financial dowry, to the Council, in return for getting planning permission for the town houses and flats, which are now built and accessed off Fairway.   Once planning permission was achieved, he had to raise well over a million pounds to pay for the upgrading of the ground and the building of the Pavilion. 

The Pavilion has been rightly named after him as a tribute. 


Those walking on Cannon Hill Common, or driving along Cannon Hill Lane, will have seen the delightful beds of wild flowers planted near the verge. These were planted as a result of collaboration between our affiliated organisation, the Friends of Cannon Hill Common, and the Council. The newsletter of the Friends says that they were planted in May, but took time to germinate because of the cold weather earlier in the year. The Friends hope to carry on the initiative next year, and to extend it if possible to the site of the old pavilion. We urge everyone to join the Friends who do such good work to improve the Common.  


For the first time ever the centre of Raynes Park is going to be lit up for Christmas. By the time you read this, they should be there for all to see, as the Mayor is due to switch them on 28th November. There should also be a Christmas tree, donated by Waitrose.  We, as an Association, have been pressing for some Christmas cheer in the centre for some years, and we look forward to seeing the place in lights!


The Council has announced that the Council run car parks will, for the second year running, be free of charge on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas. This is to boost the sales of local traders. Unfortunately, and for the second year running, this won’t assist the traders in Raynes Park since it won’t apply to the car park next to Waitrose.  This makes the Council seem rather Scroogist.


There won’t be any Scrooges at our Christmas Partywhich will be held at the Residents’ Pavilion at 129 Grand Drive on Tuesday 10th December. It will be an opportunity for all members, including those who have not yet seen the complete refurbishment of the building, to come and enjoy some festive cheer. There will be nice things to eat, and Bucks Fizz and Mulled Wine to drink. 

The evening starts with an open meeting at 8 pm, at which anything can be discussed, but we will be well into the festivities by 9.  Do come and get Christmas off with a bang! 

John  Elvidge




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