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People of Brentwood: A snapshot

PUBLISHED: 11:26 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 21:43 08 November 2020

Natasha Radford at the Chicken and Frog bookshop. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

Natasha Radford at the Chicken and Frog bookshop. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

Ricci Fothergill

Enjoy Brentwood More took a glimpse into the lives of a few core members of the community - pub landlords, vicars, shopowners - to ask them about some of their earliest memories of Brentwood, how they ended up here and what’s going on in their lives away, a snapshot of ordinariness away from the chaotic news.

Natasha Radford at the Chicken and Frog bookshop. Picture: Ricci FothergillNatasha Radford at the Chicken and Frog bookshop. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

Natasha Radford owner of Chicken and Frog bookshop

“We have been living in Brentwood for 15 years. My first memory here is sitting in the car, outside King George’s Park and thinking: ‘Yes, this is where I want to live.’

Ian Southgate from Brentwood Theatre.Ian Southgate from Brentwood Theatre.

“I grew up in Loughton, Essex. My parents then moved to Redbridge when I was 18. Once we got married, we lived in Clayhall, which is on the borders of Ilford. Our two daughters were pretty young when we decided that we wanted a little bit more green and a little less traffic and concrete!

“I think that Brentwood has a real sense of community, which is wonderful. It’s also easy to get into London - we didn’t want to feel stuck in the middle of nowhere, so Brentwood was the perfect compromise between town and country.”

Father Mark North. Picture: Ricci FothergillFather Mark North. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

“Just the open spaces and everything was so clean. The architecture of some of the buildings is so beautiful too. I felt very calm and just knew it was the right move for our family.”

Ian Southgate, Theatre manager at Brentwood Theatre

Father Mark North. Picture: Ricci FothergillFather Mark North. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

“I’m most afraid that the industry I’ve dedicated my life to – theatre – won’t survive the impact of the pandemic. Every day I’m hearing of friends and colleagues within the industry being made redundant and being without work for months or venues closing and laying off staff because they can’t afford to keep going without support.

“I have been a musical director for local amateur dramatic groups here in Brentwood for 20 years and I am at my happiest when a show opens for that first night and everything comes together after months of preparation; the cast, the band, the staging, the lighting and the reaction of the audience. 
“Nothing makes me smile more than the anticipation of that first live performance and I feel so lucky to have experienced this happiest of moments many times and hopefully many more to come.”

Father Mark North of the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury

Eilieen. Picture: Ricci FothergillEilieen. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

“In the midst of the fear and upset that has enveloped our nation, and the world, at the time, my faith helps me to look forward to the future in confidence, trusting in Jesus Christ and holding on to His promise of eternal life.

“This good news helps me to remain calm and focused and teaches me not to fear illness and death, but to see it as part of our pilgrimage through life.

Marrying my beautiful wife, the birth of our amazing son and my ordination to the priesthood would all be happy and important moments in my life - as well as riding through the vale of Ffestiniog, in North Wales, on the Ffestiniog Railway is a regular source of joy and relaxation!”

Paul Duley landlord at the Brave Nelson

“A long time ago I got very drunk and I said to my self that I would never drink again and to this day I haven’t - I think that was my first memory here. I went to Sam’s nightclub, I knew the owner who was my old boss when at Dukes nightclub.

“I had just moved here because I’d just bought the Brave Nelson. Before I’d lived in Romford all my life, people are really happy here and Romford felt like it was becoming less safe, it was getting a bad reputation.”

Eileen Williams and Hermaine Bailey, residents at Brentwood Care Centre

“The senior carers here and all the staff inspire me, they make me feel valued and safe when they are around me, I don’t know how they do what they do it’s a huge responsibility to look after us all in the caring way that they do,” said Hermaine.
Eileen: “For me also, my children do as when I look at all my children and I am so very proud of their achievements.”

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