Archive for May, 2012

The Kensington Magazine and Dr Joan Martin at No. 11 Downing St.

In Autumn last year The Times ran an article about the Sternberg Award, an initiative by Sir Sigmund Sternberg recognising the huge contribution those over 70 can make to their community. We considered Dr Joan Martin who runs the Emperor’s Swimming Club in North Kensington for disabled people was top of the list and so nominated her. Joan started the swimming club in 1955 and since then, every Friday night has attended. She’s now 96 and in addition to teaching swimming she regularly tends the Vicarage gardens and is still involved in the Guide movement. In fact we were not able to daly too long at Downing St. as she had to rush off to a Guides meeting.

Accompanying Joan to receive her award by James Harding, Editor of The Times and Michael Sternberg (son of) was Joy Puritz who also lives in Kensington and recently wrote Joan’s biography.

Joan did not win but did come as a Runner Up and received a certifcate from James and Michael. The winner was Colin Murray Parkes aged 84 who set up the first hospice-based bereavement service. After his retirement at 65, he “embarked on a second career exploring the links between grief, terrorism, violence and reconciliation”.

Despite George Osborne taking a break from the trials of the Euro to meet the finalists, this was an informal but inspirational event – the older generation have a lot to be proud of and their contribution to the local or wider community is not to be underestimated.

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott, The Kensington Magazine

L-R top to bottom:  Lucy Elliott & Joan Martin; Michael Sternberg & Joan; James Harding; Colin Murray Parkes; Joan & Colin; James & Joan; Joy Puritz & Joan


Miller of Kensington celebrate 25 years in Stratford Road

Mohamed el Banna, owner of Miller of Kensington celebrated being in Stratford Road for 25 years with a large street party. Young and old, all nationalities, residents and businesses joined in, danced, chatted or took photographs. The Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Julie Mills popped along for an impromptu dance on the pavement, toddlers organised their own dance routine (of a fashion) and Eight Ray provided the music. It was a wonderful afternoon sponsored by local businesses, Kensington Design, Fait Maison, La Piccolo Dely, Chez Patrick, The Garden Basket, Minx and of course Mohamed whom we wish every success for another 25 great years in the neighborhood.

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/The Kensington Magazine



BBC TV Presenter Simon Reeve at Kuoni in Kensington

Recently Kuoni in Kensington High St. hosted an evening with Simon Reeve for residents and friends to meet him and learn more about his recent travels for the BBC programme ‘Indian Ocean’. The evening was informal and very relaxed, Simon is charismatic and down to earth, even to the description of how in Mogadishu (the most dangerous city on earth) he had to wear special shrapnel protective boxers. His knowledge of sustainable development is enormous and he is passionate about it, e.g. pointing out that we should not be overly critical of other countries with a heavy deforestation programme, since we only have to look at the UK to see we too have lost many of our forests. Kuoni were extremely generous with the champagne and nibbles, Simon an excellent and most informative talker – a combination of which is bound to have encouraged some on the night to sign up for the more exotic trips Kuoni offer (without the camera crew of course).

Images and copyright: Lucy M Elliott, The Kensington Magazine

Image of Lucy and Simon:  Kind courtesy Kuoni




Golden Oldies Golden Diamond Jubilee Lunch

Fabulous afternoon.  A lunch party for ten Kensington Residents – the true ‘Golden Oldies’ whose ages ranged from the spring chicken of just 80 to a sightly more mature 96.  A three course lunch with wine at the Milestone Hotel, a visit by the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Julie Mills, and a photo shoot by the Kensington & Chelsea Chronicle.   A very special occasion and a tremendous thank you to the Mayor and the Milestone for making this such a success.

This event was later reported in The Kensington & Chelsea Chronicle


Images: Top:  Copyright Matthew Grayson/Kensington & Chelsea Chronicle;

Images:below copyright Catherine Chandler

will.i.am in conversation with Paul Thompson of the Royal College of Art as part of Innovation Night 2012

Great excitement in the auditorium as we wait for will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas; a well known pop band from the mid 1990s, still playing now and Very Famous. What is probably not so well known is ‘Willy’s’ (as his Grandma and Mama refer to him) philanthropic interests. Not content with co-hosting the current TV series, ‘The Voice’, or going out with another major celeb, will.i.am spends a great deal of time and personal commitment to his ‘i’ foundations. For students, for the homeless and for the future of technology. Technology is another of his passions and he has a clear vision of how human’s have evolved to understand and connect with the technology that we face. His example of how a three year old in the 1970s might have moved their thumb and forefinger to achieve a bird opening its mouth in the shadows (and didn’t we all do that) to today’s three year old who would use the same movement to ‘zoom’ on a smart phone or smart t.v.

Not being particularly acquainted with pop stars, I was surprised at his grasp for ‘development’ and his genuine commitment to make lives better for others, particularly in the area where he grew up in America. His answering of questions were thought provoking, sometimes funny and sometimes hit with such realism that you wondered why no one else was talking about this, particularly from the technological perspective.

An inspiring evening and an inspired choice of guest. Well done to the RCA (and to the Royal Geographical Society for hosting the event) and to will.i.am. for coming over to London to ‘be in conversation with Paul Thompson for Innovation Night 2012′.  More of these please.


images and copyright: Lucy Elliott The Kensington Magazine (apologies for the quality but I was sitting right at the back of the auditorium with a large girl blocking the view)





Launch of singer/songwriter Sonya Titus at a Farewell Party for the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea

A private party was held for the Mayor, Councillor Julie Mills to thank her for her wonderful work as Mayor over the past year. Organised by local resident Annie Redmile and attended by very appreciative residents in the Borough, Julie was presented with a gift and flowers. To mark the occasion and somewhat appropriately, just as we say farewell to Julie, we welcomed Sonya Titus a resident of Kensington who is embarking on her career as a singer/songwriter. Accompanied by her guitar and teacher, she played two of her songs in public for the very first time. It seemed incongrous to the usual events held in the Mayor’s Parlour, but it was a lovely change, and Sonya’s voice was reminiscent of Joan Boaz. Another number was played to illustrate how it would sound with the proper backing, and then to the amusement of all in the room, a well known song was played during which some sponteneous dancing took place. (I don’t think this will happen under the next Mayor).  To complete the soiree, Sonya’s father generously presented the Mayor with a cheque for her chosen charity of the year. We have high hopes for Sonya, so watch this space!


Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott The Kensington Magazine