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HRH The Duchess of Cambridge formerly opens Kensington Aldridge Academy and the Kensington Leisure Centre

Yesterday HRH The Duchess of Cambridge officially offended the new Kensington Aldridge Academy and Kensington Leisure Centre.  The new facilities stand on the site of the former leisure centre where, during their time at Wetherby School, both Their Royal Highnesses The Duke  of Cambridge and Prince Harry had swimming lessons.

Her Royal Highness toured the academy, met Principal David Benson, students and staff, and sat in on a geography and RE lesson.  The Duchess then enjoyed a short presentation from students in the theatre before unveiling a plaque to commemorate her visit (and being given a posy from 3 year old Florence Aldridge).  Before leaving the Duchess visited the academy’s Creates Hub for young entrepreneurs, and met students are are designing items for sale at Portobello Road Market.

Her Royal Highness then took a short walk to the leisure centre, due to open to residents of Kensington in March, to tour the state of the art facilities and watch sporting displays from local primary school children and other community groups.  She then attended a reception to meet those involved in the project and unveiled a plaque to mark her visit to the leisure centre.

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Images & Copyright:  Lucy Elliott / www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Celebrities help raise funds for Canine Partners at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea (or A Carol Service where Dogs Nearly Steal the Show)

Organised by Angela Hamlin, Director of Draycott Nursing & Care, the evening was always going to be different – especially when celebrities and dogs were involved. The dogs, from Canine Partners behaved impeccably, even for the requisite photo shoot. Celebrities included Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Lisa Aziz (LBC Presenter), Emma Munro-Wilson (singer), Fran Newman-Young (Made in Chelsea) and Zara Boland (TV Vet). The Mayor and Mayoress of Kensington & Chelsea were in attendance. St Luke’s Church, Chelsea was packed; the Choir helped us to get into the festive spirit, and the beautiful, patient (and it has to be said) very photographic dogs added a definate je ne sais quoi. Money was raised for Canine Partners, a small charity training dogs to work with disabled folk, enabling them to have a much improved quality of life. An incredible association between and man and dog.

If you would like to learn more about the work of Draycott Nursing or Canine Partners please see www.draycottnursing.co.uk and www.caninepartners.org.uk

Images and copyright: www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Jaime Winstone sits for sculpture

Jaime Winstone, the young actress who already has several films to her name (e.g. Kiduldhood, Bullet Boy, Totally Frank and Goldplated),  sat at the Calken Gallery to pose for Royal Academy-trained and Landsdeer Prize-winning sculptor, Michael Talbot.  In addition to Jaime, Sir Malcolm Rifkind has already ‘sat’, and there will be others in the near future, culminating in an exhibition at the Calken Gallery later this year.  Jaime  clearly enjoying the session made a model sitter.

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott www.lucyelliottphotography.com
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Sir Trevor Macdonald charms local residents at a Charity Event in Kensington

Sir Trevor Maconald recently opened the ‘Curtain’s Up’ Charity Event in Kensington.  Delighting residents he happily posed with them and spent time chatting with actors and stallholders alike.  Actors from Bad Girls, Casualty, Sharpe, Coronation Street and others all took part in this event, raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society and SANDS (Stillborn and Neonatal Death Charity).  Sir Trevor gave a moving speech, and later in the day Susan Hampshire drew the raffle.  Refreshments were prepared by Master Chef Semi-Finalist Julia Gray.  The event was an opportunity for actors to donate their collectables with stalls offering handbags, crafts, jewellery and clothes.  The event raised £900 for the Alzheimer’s Society and £400 for SANDS.  Congratulations to the organisers and those who took part in the day’s event.

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www.curtainupevents.co.uk

 

Bronze Head for Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Sir Malcolm recently attended the Calken Gallery in Kensington Church St. to pose for a live portrait sitting.  Once the sculpture is completed by Michael Talbot, it will be caste in bronze.  The life size sculpture will be exhibited at the Gallery as part of their ‘Prominent People in Kensington’ exhibition.  During the sitting, Sir Malcolm took a call from The Times (on and off the record) to discuss matters relating to the Leveson Inquiry.  History in the making.

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com

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Calken Gallery, 117 Kensington Church St. London W 7LN  www.calkengallery.com

 

The New Holland Park School

The new Holland Park School has both the X Factor and the Wow Factor, of that there is absolutely no doubt.  The design and internal layout has been very carefully thought out.  In vision it reminded me of the airport at Singapore.  All I can think is those very very lucky children who are going to spend their formative years in such inspirational surroundings.  Every detail, from iMacs to specially designed furniture in maple, to mixed gender loos, to a competitive 25 metre swimming pool, to mesh and copper frontages, to a 1950s style American diner canteen.  They will have it all.

Colin Hall, the Headmaster, absolutely brimming with enthusiasm (and quite rightly, pride), cannot wait for the 19th November when the pupils transfer formally from the ‘old school’ to the new.

The building of the school has not been without controversy, but with time, and once residents get to see the building for themselves I hope they will forget the inconvenience and the wrangle it caused.  The result of such a beautiful building, will surely inspire everyone, but particularly  those who do not come from wealthy backgrounds, that they can achieve anything.

The building is mostly glass, giving a huge sense of light and space despite its housing some 1350 pupils.  To my mind the beautiful bespoke new tables and chairs just waited for some graffiti in traditional school style, particularly on such a momentous occasion ‘i woz ere 19.11.12’ but Colin is quite confident and spoke with pride that his pupils appreciate nice things and that the furniture, well made and very strong, will last for years and years.  The external of the building to the East and West are clad in copper and mesh creating a fluid feeling and one reflecting the nearby trees from either the park or gardens.

The sports grounds available to pupils are larger and better than was previously available  and the sports hall dug deep into the basement is huge – Colin anticipates the standard of games, as well as enthusiasm for sport in general going up dramatically.  And good news for local residents, there are plans in the future to allow local community groups to use the swimming pool and sports hall.

I can only imagine that the school with its classrooms, so light and airy will inspire future generations of pupils to aim higher than they could have ever dreamed.  This is inclusive society at its very best.

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott, www.lucyelliottphotography.com

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Kensington Court Resident’s Association Street Party

For once the sun shone! This was the third Kensington Court Resident’s Association Street Party – each year the organisers state with pure conviction that the next one will be even better, and this proved the case. More local businesses not only supported the event with generous sponsorship/raffle prizes, but actually took part. So the gentlemen from The Milestone Hotel beautifully decked out in Green and Gold spurred us on to guess the number of eggs used at the hotel in a week; Gordon from Gallery 19 sizzled his sausages; Emidio from Locanda Otteomezzo carved risotto out from the centre of a huge cheese, Cote had a stall, regularly replenished by a trolley from the restaurant and children either played on the fire engine provided by the local fire brigade or were entertained by food and activities on the ‘Kids Korner’ organised by Susie Gau.  Huge numbers of locals, the elderly, families, couples and dogs attended, chatted, jigged to jazz, had arms or nails painted by Valentino staff, tasted samples from the Kensington Kitchen, Café Montparnasse and enjoyed drink provided by the Builder’s Arms.  Congratulations to Sophie Ibrahim who won the under 5′s art competition and Sofia Barker, the over 5′s.   This event is certainly now on the Kensington Calendar. Funds raised through the generosity of the residents and businesses go to the Knightsbridge branch of Riding for the Disabled – a wonderful charity allowing children with differing levels of disability the opportunity to flourish. Many are involved in this but particular thanks to the two major sponsors Thackerays, the local estate agent and Lumina who sponsored the music (a vital ingredient to the success of the party), whilst Babylon/The Roof Gardens backed the party.  Huge thanks must also go to Sandra French who organised the event, Susie Gau, Alex French, Marion Hahn, Sally Cooper, Yvonne Wurtzburg, Penny Coulten, David Griffiths, Tim Douglas, Mike Gee, Cheryll Davies, Susannah Rodgers, Emma Hagestadt and Carrie-Ann Huddleston.  The firemen were from the White Watch Kensington Station of the London Fire Brigade.  Local businesses who generously donated prizes for the raffle were Arcadia, Cote, Gallery 19, eMotion Health Club, Imenio, Le Pain Quotidien, the London School of Painting and Drawing, The Milestone Hotel (who also organised the Art Prize), Montparnasse Cafe, Kall Kwik, the Thackeray Gallery, Pomegranate and Valentino.  And not least thanks to John Gau, Chair of the Kensington Residents Association!

Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com

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