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Croydon Advertiser stories feed from registered users of the site and Northcliffe Media editorial

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    A TOWN centre nightclub which has been linked to violence had its licence revoked on Wednesday.

    Police had presented the council's licensing sub-committee with a thick dossier about The Roxbury.

    In it, Detective Superintendent Simon Messinger says there is strong intelligence linking the club to a gang, although the name is blacked out.

    He writes: "Identified members of this group have been seen in and around the venue on a regular basis."

    Omitting the name, he said they are in dispute with a number of other gangs within Croydon and other London boroughs, both north and south.

    But David Dadds, the legal representative for The Roxbury, hit back at such links when he spoke at the hearing at the town hall.

    Mr Dadds told the committee: "Known gang members, known to who? Known to the police, not to us.

    "People don't go round with a badge, like McDonald's, saying I'm a gang member."

    Mr Dadds accused the police of using a "sledgehammer to crack a nut".

    He added: "Partnership is about working together and problem-solving jointly. We do want to promote the licensing objectives. This is the first review we've had.

    "We believe there is a middle way which is a suspension to deal with these things identified."

    But Met lawyer Luke Ponte argued the police couldn't be accused of giving The Roxbury "sufficient warning and time to get its house in order."

    Mr Ponte told the hearing: "The police have take every step it can to avoid this hearing, but to no avail."

    Last week, the Advertiser revealed statements handed to the licensing sub-committee included evidence that the head of a gang member was hit with a tripod on the dance floor, while more than 500 people were left queuing outside after ticket sales for an event exceeded the capacity.

    The Roxbury has been shut since November 10, due to fears of a shooting at a promoted event where gang members were reported to be planning to gather.

    Police thought a rival gang could have been plotting revenge following a death in July.

    Councillor Maria Gatland, chair of the sub-committee, agreed that the only course of action was to revoke the licence, rather than temporarily suspend it for a month, as had been suggested by The Roxbury.

    The Roxbury nightclub has licence revoked

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    CLOSE to 500 job opportunities will be created by council plans to open a leading-edge centre for fledgling entrepreneurs.

    The authority is planning to launch an Innovation Centre offering owners of new small and medium--size businesses the chance to share affordable top quality offices and IT facilities.

    The council believes its scheme will go further than existing commercial start-up business space offers by having experts on hand to help the businesses grow.

    Councillor Vidhi Mohan, the council's cabinet member for communities and economic development, said: "The Innovation Centre will fill an unmet demand that has been identified within Croydon for the provision of this new type of workspace to support new business potential while linked to a university.

    "It will be the flagship for Croydon having a reputation as an enterprising city and for the council's plans for economic growth, employment creation and the development of skills."

    The go ahead in principle for the centre was given by the council's cabinet on Monday with a view to it playing an important role in boosting economic growth and supporting entrepreneurs who may otherwise get no help.

    The council's intention is to sublease the whole operation to an expert provider of business advice, almost certainly linked to a university or research institute which already runs an innovation centre and can provide professional staff. The role of the advisers will include helping each business manage risk, secure finance and commercialise ideas quickly.

    The centre's set-up will be funded by a £1.5m grant from the Mayor of London's post-riot regeneration fund.

    It is expected the council will take out a ten-year lease in existing office space, hopefully close to East Croydon Station and its excellent transport links. A report to the cabinet says the centre is likely to take tenants from Croydon and the wider south London and coast-to-capital catchment areas.

    It adds: "Borough-wide marketing will focus on finding entrepreneurs from areas with highest unemployment and riot affected areas."

    Figures presented to the cabinet showed that the centre could support 267 businesses over the initial ten-year lease, creating 470 jobs. The centre would be able to accommodate 40 businesses and provide workspaces, offices and meeting rooms.

    Hundreds of jobs to be created by Croydon Innovation Centre scheme

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    STRUGGLING Addington High will become an academy by April in a bid to improve standards, it was this week confirmed.

    Ravens Wood executive principal Professor George Berwick has told the Advertiser that he hopes to turn the 881-student school in Fairchildes Avenue into an "outstanding" one.

    His school's role as a sponsor will include helping teachers and upholding standards at the school, which was deemed "inadequate" by Ofsted in September.

    Mr Berwick said: "Our aspiration is to turn Addington High into an outstanding school.

    "Our key strategy [for raising academic achievements] is to improve the quality of the learning experience provided for the students.

    "We will provide staff with access to a renowned set of teaching development programmes, developed by Ravens Wood as the founding teaching school in the country."

    Jo Tanner, chair of governors at Addington High, said the school was already working closely with Ravens Wood, in particular with its former deputy head teacher John Hernandez, now head at Norlington School for Boys in Waltham Forest.

    She said: "Ravens Wood is an exemplary school, the first-ever teaching school, so the blueprint for excellence.

    "We could not have a better partner. I have been very encouraged by conversations with the school on how we can transfer that expertise and excellence."

    She said the school was consulting with staff over the move, but it was too soon to know whether there would be any changes to roles.

    She added: "The response from staff has been superb, nothing but professional. I am very proud of them. The reviews we have had of our teaching staff from Ravens Wood have been very good."

    Becoming an academy also means Addington High will no longer be controlled by Croydon Council and will have more freedom with its budget and curriculum.

    Ms Tanner said: "It is more about what we can learn from Ravens Wood; what we can gain. There will not be any fundamental changes to the school itself, this is about a reinvigoration and reconcentration."

    She added that the name of the school would remain the same.

    Ravens Wood School, based in Bromley, says on its website that it has a "clear focus on the academic achievement we want for our students."

    It adds: "We also see ourselves as a school community, committed to excellence and innovation."

    Addington High to become academy by April 2013

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    This Saturday, Carols By Candlelight will be taking place at the ever popular Matthews Yard, just off Surrey Street Market.

    We hope that the evening will provide locals with an opportunity to take a breathing space before the Christmas period begins, as well as a chance to meet new friends.

    On Saturday 22nd December, at 7pm, we will be joined by the Fifth Croydon Pipes And Drums, who recently performed at the Civic Remembrance service, and soul singer AbiRozan who will be performing her spellbinding version of Silent Night.

    Everyone is welcome, religious or not. We hope to offer a space where people can step into the festive spirit and celebrate the sense of community which is thriving in our town.

    It will be a fitting way for everyone who has been involved with, or supported Matthews Yard to round off what has been a great year at this superb new community space in Old Town.

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    A CAFÉ and co-working space has turned to crowdfunding to find money to open an independent theatre.

    Matthews Yard owner Saif Bonar believes the project could help fill the culture gap left following the closure of the David Lean Cinema and the Clocktower arts complex.

    But he says investors – in the traditional sense – will not touch his idea for a free-to-hire community theatre and rehearsal space with a barge pole.

    Instead he has turned to Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing website where designers and developers pitch projects and ask the public to back them with their cash.

    Mr Bonar is seeking £5,000 to transform a 100 square metre space at the back of Matthews Yard, off Surrey Street, into a theatre capable of hosting live performances and rehearsals.

    He believes that continuing cuts to arts budgets could mean crowdfunding will become the primary method of financing such projects.

    He said: "If I went to a private investor with a business plan for a community theatre they wouldn't go near it with a barge pole.

    "Traditional venues such as the Warehouse Theatre have gone into administration, and funding cuts mean there is less outside help available.

    "There's definitely still demand but if you are going to try to do this sort of thing then, increasingly, it makes sense that the community buys into it.

    "If people value arts and creativity then they should step up and fund it."

    Kickstarter gives each project a month to reach its goal. If the target is not met Mr Bonar will get nothing.

    To encourage people to lend their support, project creators are able to offer incentives.

    Whoever pledges £5 towards the theatre will have their name permanently painted on a supporters' wall, plus a free tea or coffee and a cake. Back Matthew's Yard with £25 and perks include 12 months' social membership to the lounge, with benefits increasing incrementally the more money is promised.

    Mr Bonar hopes to encourage other businesses to pledge larger sums in exchange for having their logos displayed above the entrance to the studio.

    He said: "It's not just about asking people for money, or being greedy with the equity. If someone puts £5 in, they get £5 back. If they put £50 in they will get £120 worth of stuff."

    Matthews Yard opened as a café and co-working space in April. Since then, however, events, including art exhibitions and live music, have become its main source of income.

    Even though groups get the space for free, the business benefits from selling food and drink.

    Mr Bonar hopes the theatre project will help build on this momentum, and also help the office space to thrive.

    He said: "A community theatre is a risky idea but I think there's a demand for it. For me this isn't just about making money.

    "It's about creating something people can take ownership of and which really adds something to what's on offer in Croydon." The studio at Matthews Yard would be designed for amateur theatre, performing arts, film and live music. The £5,000 funding would allow for the refurbishment of the space, installation of a stage, green room and seating as well as a public address system, lighting rig and relevant public safety equipment such as a fire alarm system. If owner Saif Bonar is able to raise more money, the venue could soon be equipped with better quality equipment and acoustics. Mr Bonar acknowledges the risks involved with the project but believes they can be mitigated by the interest Matthews Yard has generated, and – by allowing the theatre groups, troupes and artists to use the space for free. He said: "This unique model will attract more productions and ensure the space is rapidly established as a vibrant, lively and positive performing arts resource for Croydon and south London." To ensure it remains viable Mr Bonar will continue to sell alcoholic and other refreshments alongside food. The hall will also be available for private hire, at a cost, from time to time. To back the Matthews Yard theatre project click here

    Matthews Yard owner to use crowdfunding to set up independent theatre in Croydon

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    WHITE Brits now make up less than half of Croydon's population, new figures show.

    Data from the 2011 Census shows 47.3 per cent - 171,878 of the borough's 363,378 population - described themselves as being "White British". In 2001, the figure stood at 63.7 per cent.

    The second-largest ethnic group in Croydon was Black Caribbeans who make up 8.6 per cent - 31,251 people. Indians were the third largest group at 6.8 per cent - 24,710.

    A total of 18 ethnic categories make up Croydon's population.

    Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell said he was "privileged" to represent a borough so culturally diverse, but called for a "two-way street" between cultures to ensure further integration remains successful.

    He said: "People from different backgrounds make a huge contribution economically, setting up businesses and working in our public services, and culturally, to our cultural life. I'm privileged as MP to say that.

    "I think it is about people living here being welcomed to communities and people that come here making an effort to learn the language among other things. It is a two-way street.

    "There is an issue about the pace of change. I would argue that during the previous Government the scale of change was too high.

    "What we need to do is to make sure that people integrate properly into our society and I think Croydon is much better at doing that than most parts of the country."

    Mr Barwell added it was "perfectly possible" to deliver public services effectively which accommodate people's varying needs amid growing diversity.

    The statistics also show a sizeable decline in the proportion of Christians, with 56.4 per cent – 204,945 – who now consider themselves Christian, compared to 65.1 per cent – 218,150 – in 2001.

    The number of Muslims, meanwhile has increased by almost half from 17,760 in 2001 to 29,434 last year.

    Hinduism is the next fastest-growing religion with an increase from 5.1 to 6 per cent.

    Other than Christianity, the only other religion to drop in its proportion was Judaism by 0.1 per cent.

    The figures released to the Advertiser also show the largest age bracket in Croydon is 15-to-64-year-olds, which make up 67.4 per cent – 243,463.

    The average age of the borough is 35. Woman also outnumber men, with 100 for every 94.2.

    Full censuses measuring shifts in populations in each local authority jurisdiction across the UK have been taken every ten years since 1801.

    The changing face of Croydon's population revealed by 2011 Census

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    WAITROSE is in talks to build a large supermarket and community centre on the site of a council car park in Coulsdon, the Advertiser can reveal.

    Developers working for Croydon Council are considering the major development in Lion Green Road, at the foot of soon-to-be-developed Cane Hill.

    They have asked the council to assess its potential environmental impact, a possible first step in the planning process, while a council spokesman said the plans were an "outline idea" and nothing was decided.

    The proposals are for a 4,700sq m retail foodstore and a community hall of 1,500sq m.

    A spokesman for Waitrose, which has a medium-sized store in Brighton Road, said on Wednesday: "We have had discussions with the council and their development partners about exploring this opportunity as one to relocate our existing branch there. However, these are still at a early stage and no firm plans are in place."

    The plans are being proposed by the Croydon Council Urban Regeneration Vehicle, a partnership between the council and developer John Laing to develop certain sites in the borough.

    Community leaders and local residents expressed mixed feelings about the possible development.

    Amanda Davis, chairman of the Coulsdon Business Partnership, said she worried the supermarket might not encourage people to visit the town centre. She said: "They may come and use the supermarket but not go around town, just come and go. There needs to be the right mix of shops to help people into the town centre."

    Coulsdon resident Millen Shah, who lives in Edward Road, said: "I am in favour of dual-use developments and I think it would be great to have a community centre; we desperately need one.

    "It would be nice to have some kind of area designated for health and fitness, such as a gym or some kind of courts – tennis or badminton or squash."

    He added: "But I also know quite a few people in our road shop via online deliveries.

    "Given this, do we actually need to have a big supermarket located in the town?"

    Charles King, chairman of the East Coulsdon Residents' Association, echoed Ms Davis's concerns, saying he was wary of the location on the edge of the town centre.

    He said "We do need a supermarket; there are various surveys about the 'leakage' as they call it that takes place because there is not a big enough supermarket to do a big family shop

    "But we are wary of having it at Lion Green Road, because of concern of the 'Tesco Purley effect' – people will shop there but not come into the town."

    Talks begin over Waitrose plans for Coulsdon car park site

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    CRYSTAL Palace's cheerleaders are mirroring the Eagles fine run of form – having already sold more copies of their 2013 calendar than this year's effort.

    Each page of the calendar, which has so far sold 600 copies, features a photo from a match day at Selhurst Park.

    Claire Eglinton, 23, has been a Crystal for two seasons and was more than happy to star in 2012's October.

    Now she is 2013's February and is looking forward to Eagles fans seeing her.

    She said: "I had October last year so it was really strange getting tweets throughout the month with pictures of my page on people's desks and stuff like that but it was really fun too. I enjoy it.

    "I felt really comfortable doing it because we're just in our normal uniforms and we're on the pitch we're on all the time.

    "It was the same photographers as last year too so that was good.

    "I really feel like there are more people supporting the Crystals' now. More people like us then don't.

    "I'm really pleased so many calendars have been sold. It proves people like us and are interested in us, not just on the pitch or in a YouTube video."

    Claire joined the Crystals in 2011 and was new to cheerleading, although she has been dancing her entire life.

    She said: "When Crystal Palace rang me they asked if I wanted to audition. Before I knew it I was in the team.

    "All the girls are really lovely, it's a great group. I really enjoy doing it, the atmosphere is amazing and I love being able to sign everything and meet people and stuff.

    "It's much more like dancing than typical cheerleading so it wasn't too difficult for me to get used to. I love being a Crystal."

    The calendars cost £8 and are available from the box office or by phoning 08712 000 071.

    Crystal Palace cheerleaders' 2013 calendar a hit with fans

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    RESOUNDING endorsements from customers have helped wedding cake maker Elsa Santana come out tops in a national competition.

    Her business Let it Be Cake, which she runs from her home in Upper Selsdon Road, Selsdon, has been highly commended in the Ice the Cake "incredible" wedding suppliers awards. This is the first time Elsa, who started the business two years ago, has entered the annual competition.

    She said: "I am really excited about doing so well. Although you enter yourself before you can even be considered for the final you have to receive ten written testimonials from customers. I have seen some of feedback from those testimonials and they were great. It is so nice to know from your customers that you are doing the right things."

    She will now receive a certificate marking her achievement which she can display at future wedding shows when looking for new customers.

    Elsa said: "It is going to be very useful because sometimes it's hard to convince people that you can run a business from home which is doing so well."

    Elsa added she intended to continue to concentrate on making wedding cakes.

    She said: "I love making wedding cakes and it is a great industry to be in. It is so good to be part of someone's big day."

    Selsdon cake makers highly commended in national competition

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    WARLINGHAM lost to league leaders Brighton last Saturday, but they put on a good show to push the high-flyers all the way.

    In fact, Brighton would have been relieved to still be at the top after a closely-fought game in the winter sunshine.

    A late try from Warlingham captain Zack King went unseen by the referee and the chance to share the spoils went begging, but a mammoth effort by the fiery home team in the final quarter earned them scant reward as Brighton persistently handled in the ruck to prevent Warlingham's progression.

    In the early moments of the match, Warlingham took the game to their visitors with hooker James Delderfield putting in his trademark crunching tackles and centre Ben Wimble looking elusive with the ball in hand.

    The early pressure put Brighton on the back foot and when No 8 Tom Street emerged from a rolling maul, Brighton had no answer to his pumping footwork and a try resulted. However, Kozminski failed with the conversion.

    The Brighton back-line is renowned in this league as being a potent force and, after they took a quick penalty, the ball was shipped to the centre and they scored an easy, converted try under the posts.

    The future looked ominous for the hosts as Brighton followed up with a second converted try after some boiler-room pressure was exerted on the Warlingham line.

    After the break, Warlingham took control of the game but, for a short period when lock Luke Delderfield was harshly yellow-carded, the Warlingham pack looked wobbly.

    A desperate kick out of defence fell to the dangerous Brighton back line, who showed their class by swiftly moving the ball to their right winger, who then outstripped the defence for an unconverted try in the corner.

    From a scrappy melee on the halfway line, Wimble emerged with the ball and scampered 50 metres to score Warlingham's second try, which was then converted by fly-half Joe McEvoy.

    Brighton were at sixes and sevens as flanker Dan Street and captain King drove forward with earnest desire, supported by the chirpy scrum-half Stephen Murtagh.

    And new full-back Josh Williams earned his spurs with some fearsome tackles, while the Brighton back-line was nullified for the remainder of the second period.

    McEvoy put in a booming 22-metre drop-out deep into the Brighton territory and Warlingham sensed the opportunity to strike back again.

    However, both sides showed some frustration when Warlingham prop Scutt, along with a Brighton forward were yellow-carded.

    In the final quarter, Warlingham camped on the visitors' line with Brighton determined to spoil any attack with cynical foul play that gave Warlingham several penalties but no further coloured cards or penalty tries.

    Despite every player on the pitch, including the away side and all in attendance, accepting a King try had been scored, the referee declined the score and gave Warlingham yet another penalty.

    Brighton were ecstatic at the final whistle and the four points that went with it, but Warlingham, who took the losing bonus point, would have felt rather hard done by.

    Meanwhile, Warlingham's third XV beat Old Reigatians 28-19 in their match.

    Tomorrow, the first XV travel to Sevenoaks for the last league game of the calendar year.

    Warlingham defeated by Brighton in closely-fought game

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    SUTTON faces becoming "morally bankrupt", borough church leaders have warned, due to a sharp decline in the number of Christians and an apparent upsurge of atheists.

    Data from the 2011 Census shows 58 per cent of people – 110,285 of Sutton's 190,146 population – now consider themselves Christian, compared with 70.5 per cent in 2001.

    Despite still being the largest faith group, the drop makes Christianity the fastest declining religion.

    Meanwhile, a quarter of all people have suggested they could be atheists by declaring themselves to be of "No Religion".

    The fastest growing religion is Hinduism, which rose from 2.1 per cent in 2001 to 4 per cent in 2011, followed by Islam, which increased from 2.3 to 4 per cent.

    Sina Adesanya, pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Carshalton, said: "Society is going to go bankrupt at the rate we are going, especially in morality. It's going down faster than I ever thought.

    "It is very disappointing and it's very worrying.

    "People are left alone to do things the way they want to and the doctrines of God are not being passed down from generation to generation any more."

    Martin Camroux, vicar of Trinity Church in Cheam Road, added: "It is a reflection of a society that has been secularising for the last 50 years."

    Further cultural shifts mean white Britons now make up less than three quarters of the borough's population.

    A total of 70.9 per cent – 134,813 – are white Britons compared with 83.7 per cent in 2001.

    Eighteen ethnic categories now comprise Sutton's population, which grew from 181,500 in 2001 to 190,146 in 2011. "Other White", which can include South African or Polish people, is the second largest racial grouping with Indians the third largest at 3.4 per cent.

    The figures for Sutton released to the Advertiser also show the largest age bracket is 15 to 64-year-olds, which make up 67 per cent – 127,397.

    The average age is now 38, as opposed to 36 ten years previously, while woman outnumber men with 94.6 men to every 100 women.

    A spokesman for the Diocese of Southwark, which oversees churches in Sutton, said the fall in Christianity "is disappointing to see".

    Full censuses measuring shifts in populations in each local authority jurisdiction across the UK have been taken every ten years since 1801.

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    ANOTHER Croydon University Hospital director has resigned, the Advertiser can reveal.
    News of Karen Jones resigning comes just days after the Advertiser revealed chairman Michael Parker will be stepping down.
    A press release is set to be issued later today or tomorrow, the Advertiser understands, which will say Ms Jones, a non-executive director, has left for "personal reasons".
    We revealed on Friday Mr Parker was "asked" to resign because he was against current interim chief executive, John Goulston, being included in the list of candidates to become permanent chief. Mr Parker will officially step down on December 31.
    Mike Bell, currently vice chair at NHS London Strategic Health Authority, will be installed as interim chair from January 2, 2013.
    Mr Bell will also undertake a review of governance which will decide who is appointed the trust's next chief executive.
    But the Advertiser understands the decision to make Mr Goulston permanently chief executive has already been made.
    The Advertiser also understands Mr Parker is resigning after becoming unhappy at the decision to install Mr Goulston. As a result, he has been "asked" to resign.
    The resignation forms the latest in a saga of instability at the top which has dogged the trust as it struggles to address failings highlighted in a damning health watchdog report earlier this year, which found lives were being put at risk.
    Read the full story of the week's events in Friday's edition of the Advertiser.

    BREAKING: Second Croydon University Hospital director resigns within days

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    A MOTORCYCLIST has been injured during a crash in New Addington.
    The man, in his 40s, is currently being treated by paramedics following the incident in Lodge Lane at 11.39am.
    No other vehicles are believed to have been involved in the crash.
    London Ambulance Service (LAS) have sent one ambulance and a single responder in a car to the scene.

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    A GROUP of churches is planning a lunch for hundreds of homeless families facing Christmas in a bed and breakfast.
    Croydon Churches Forum hopes to organise a party for 200 families currently in emergency accommodation in Gilroy Court Hotel in Thornton Heath.
    Twenty volunteers have offered to prepare and serve the food during the lunch at Praise House, in London Road, this Friday (December 21).
    Now the forum is in urgent need of an individual or business to lend them a marquee for the event which starts at 1pm. 
    Pastor Damian Luke, chairman of Croydon Churches Forum, is also calling for donations of food such as turkeys, potatoes, sprouts, mince pies and Christmas puddings.
    Pastor Luke said: "It's a bit of a mad idea to try and arrange something like this in such short space of time but so far we've had a really good response.
    "Our biggest problem is that we need someone with a marquee who is willing to let us use it for free.
    "A company has agreed to give us heaters free-of-charge as long as we find a marquee. Any help we can get would be really appreciated."
    As a result of a chronic shortage of available housing, there are currently 543 households in emergency accommodation in Croydon, of which around 230 are placed in Gilroy Court, in London Road, Thornton Heath.
    Croydon Council has been criticised for leaving families in bed and breakfasts and hostels for unlawful periods of time and in cramped conditions, such as 17 people using one kitchen.
    Coverage of Croydon's housing crisis in the Advertiser and nationally spurred Pastor Luke into action.
    He said: "I stood outside Gilroy Court one evening and saw three children wearing school uniform. I knew they would probably share one bedroom with their parents.
    "These are some of the most hard-up people in our community, many of whom have children.
    "Circumstances of life have brought them to where they are - they didn't put themselves in that position.
    "That's all they have got and I felt we should do something."
    If you can help donate a marquee or food for the event please ring Praise House on 020 8649 5678.

    Pastor's urgent appeal for help ahead of Christmas lunch for Croydon's homeless

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  • 12/18/12--20:00: My Croydon: Adam Michael
  • Adam Michael, 25, a junior copywriter from central Croydon, tells us why he feels Croydon's negative reputation is undeserved I have lived in Croydon...

    For two years. I'm currently living near Centrale, best place I've ever lived.

    The best thing about Croydon is....

    The people, everyone helps each other out, even more so since the riots. There also seems to be a level of entrepreneurialism, people like Saif (Bonar) at Matthews Yard are helping to drive Croydon forward as a technological and social hub.

    The worst thing about Croydon is...

    The reputation and stigma attached to being from Croydon. If people actually came to the town they would see their preconceptions about it are so wrong.

    My perfect day in Croydon would consist of...

    Breakfast at Camden coffee shop followed by lots of shopping. Then lunch at La Tasca topped off by watching a gig at Fairfield Halls and dinner at Chiquitos.

    One thing people don't know about Croydon is...

    It's the hometown of current England manager Roy Hodgson.

    The person in Croydon I most admire is...

    The Reeves family. They could have upped and left but they have stayed and shown loyalty to the town.

    If I was in charge of Croydon for a day, I would...

    Give the green light to Westfield.

    If I could sum up Croydon in three words, they would be...

    Hardworking. Investable. Resilient

    Would you like to feature in My Croydon? Please send your answers to the above questions, plus a photo of yourself, to

    My Croydon: Adam Michael

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    Croydon Advertiser columnist Veronica Madden, a mother of four from Purley

    IT'S one of those days. You know them, ones where you wish you could just get back into bed and dream about shoes.

    One thing I've discovered since my latest bundle of joy has arrived, is that joy is not a word to describe my mornings.

    Alarm goes, for the fifth time. "Snooze" and I have a pretty rocky relationship. In the past she did me a favour and managed to give me the extra Zs I needed to make it through the day zombie face-free, but of recent times she mostly makes me dangerously late and frankly a pretty frightful sight.

    I rant, wail and plead with my big kiddos to wash, dress and eat as fast as humanly possible. Meanwhile, I frantically feed the infant like a woodpecker.

    She's not at all impressed with my urgency and beautifully vomits across the front room floor. Yum. No time for fixing that little spray, I strap her into the car seat giving her a bottle to sup on instead. Thank God she can now hold it herself. Genius.

    Throwing PE kits, children, lunchboxes and school poster projects into the car we are good to go. I inform son that my Peugeot 307 is no place for Hulk attacks on his older sister while trying to find the keys I have just used to open the door.

    One brief game of musical chairs later I realise I have already put them in the ignition! Handy.

    Arriving at the school gate I am pained to discover it is Photo Day! My fridge (that also acts as my noticeboard of life) has let me down. Somewhere among the scribbled drawings and photographs of my thinner days lies the reminder hidden by son's artwork.

    I try to hide my distressed expression when nemesis mum informs me that the photos will take place first thing. Attempting to do daughter's hair at the gate while fixing son's wonky collar, I myself smell of eau de infant vomit. Lovely.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, my Licked Finger Of Doom makes an appearance. I despised my own mum doing this to me but I now realise the value of this cleaning tool. Even the Hulk can't stop me – it's for the greater good.

    Other children pass in horror. Some avoid all eye contact through fear they may be slimed too. Note to self, if you ever need to clear a playground lick your finger and point, it works every time.

    My pouting preteen and handsome boy head off. I watch and hope that my hasty investment into their appearance will pay off.

    But either way let's get real, Mr Photographer has a harder job than me. It will take some serious luck to catch my offspring smiling in unison with eyes open and tongues in …

    Diary of a Yummy Mummy: I only hope my spit and lick does the trick for school photo day

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    HAIRDRESSER Alex Dimmock has defied the stereotype and written a novel that is already getting five-star reviews in the USA and Japan.

    Selsdon snipper Mrs Dimmock, 26, of Coombe Road, South Croydon, wanted to find a way to keep herself from falling asleep while her toddler Fin was napping in the evenings.

    Mrs Dimmock, who works at Carly O'Connor's hairdressers in Selsdon, started writing a book that would eventually become the first novel in a trilogy, which she has described as a "fantasy adventure romance".

    She said: "I've always dabbled in writing since I was a kid but I would always run out of ideas or only half finish it.

    "Then about a year ago my husband started up his own business and I was spending a lot of time on my own while Fin was asleep.

    "I'm not really one for watching TV or anything so I started writing.

    "When I tell people at the hairdressers that I've written a book they usually look at me as if to say it must be awful.

    "I suppose most people don't expect a hairdresser to have written a book. But now lots of my customers have downloaded it on their Kindles and have told me how much they have enjoyed it."

    Mrs Dimmock's book, The Collective, was self-published on Kindle and has already been read by people around the world who have given it rave reviews, despite the book only being released a week ago.

    She said: "When the hairdressers is quiet we all read it on the laptop. I am proud, it's very strange.

    "I used to write when I was so tired I didn't think I'd written it when I read it the next day.

    "I have the whole trilogy mapped out and I'm halfway through writing the second one.

    "I've been getting five-star reviews on Amazon, which is brilliant but strange. My goal is to get into the top 100 books on Kindle. I want it to be as big as Twilight.

    "I'm a local girl so I really hope local people help me make it successful and enjoy the book."

    Selsdon hairdresser releases 'fantasy adventure romance' novel

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    PETER Hood, once head chorister at Addington Palace, wants a reunion. Here he recalls some happy memories... THE name of Gareth Malone will, I am sure, be well known to you as the man who has created choirs in schools, places of work and, most famously, with the Military Wives.

    Thanks to television, Gareth is clearly the choirmaster of today.

    Back in the late 1950s, however, the choirmaster of the day was Mr Martin J R How.

    Mr How created, trained and nurtured the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) Headquarters' Choir based at Addington Palace.

    I first encountered Martin, or 'Mr How' as he was to us in those days, when, at the age of nine, I was singing in assembly at Winton House School.

    As we sang, this rather strange figure walked between the lines of boys, stooping so that his ear was on a level with our mouths, and, having listened intently to us all, made his selection.

    The chosen few were then inducted into the choir at Addington Palace and a very wonderful and exciting period of our lives began.

    Addington Palace became our spiritual home and Martin became our guide and mentor.

    As the headquarters of the RSCM, Addington Palace was primarily a music college for trainee organists and choirmasters who came from all over the world to study there.

    In order that a full choir could be created, featuring the voices of trebles alongside the altos, tenors and basses, boys were recruited from local schools and local church choirs, including Winton House, Elmhurst, Gilbert Scott, St Mildred's in Addiscombe, St John's in Selsdon and St Mary's in Addington Village.

    The recruiting was just the start for Martin; once he had found the voices with potential, he then went on to fashion us into a wonderful choir – a choir which not only sang at regular weekly Evensong services in the chapel at Addington Palace, but which was also invited to sing in many cathedrals and at Lambeth Palace.

    We also featured in a number of television programmes.

    But for me, the pinnacle of my career as a choirboy came in 1963, when, as head chorister, I led the choir into Westminster Abbey, and, later that year, was presented to Her Majesty the Queen when she made a visit to Addington Palace.

    But, the period that I am particularly wishing to focus on is 1955 to 1960.

    These were the years when Martin How not only created a celebrated choir at Addington Palace, but also, with the help of Lindsay Colquhoun, a music student from Australia, established the RSCM Scout Troop.

    A number of us from that era have stayed in touch with Martin or have recently made contact. These include Colin Creed, Tony Clarke, Harry King, Richard Barnes, Graham Bill, Graham Madeley and me – Peter Hood.

    But we would now like to track down as many as possible of the choristers whom we remember from those days, in order to invite them to attend a grand reunion lunch at Addington Palace next spring; a lunch at which Martin will be our guest of honour.

    If any reader was in the RSCM Headquarters' Choir between 1955 and 1960 then please get in touch with me –

    Also, if anyone knows a family member, friend or neighbour who was in the choir, I'd similarly like to hear from you.

    To jog memories, below is a list of "boys" we'd like to make contact with. I have also noted the secondary schools that they attended below.

    John Newnham Derek Cork, Raymond Ghent, Melvyn Turtell, Adrian Lucas Selhurst Geoffrey King, Martin Skeet Shirley Secondary John Eages, Paul Rangecroft, (who worked for Crosse and Blackwell and became 'Paul' of 'Paul and the Alpines') Whitgift John Woodland, Robin and Simon Jenkin (twins), Harvey Cousins, David Cargill, David Collingham , John Halliday, Aldwyn Wills. John Ruskin David Lewsey, Raymond Brett, Malcolm Ford, Graham Telfer, Brian Weller. Trinity Peter Bennett, Christopher Chambers, Laurie King, Howard Norman, Colin Sell. The Others Peter Shepherd, Malcolm Cunningham, Nigel Carter, Gerald Hargreaves (Hawesdown and Scouts), Martin Clifton-Everest, Graham Feakins, Nicholas Pairaudeau, John Ellis, Michael Grierson (Heath Clark), Richard Stevens, David Stevens, Andrew Stubbs (Scouts), Jeremy Target, Ian Pascall, Stuart Cowell (Scouts), Michael Rogers, Roderick Thompson, Nigel Whittaker, Derek Freebury, Stephen Webber, Michael Martin (Archbishop Tennyson and Scouts), Peter Blagden (Riddlesdown), Stephen Duerr, Philip Crockford, Adrian Crowley (Ashburton and Scouts), Peter Wilson (Scouts), Christopher Facey (Scouts), Jimmy Watkins, Roger Durstan (Wells Cathedral School and Selhurst School of Performing Arts),Jeremy Targett, Melvyn Griffiths, Stuart Davies, Simon Weedon, Richard McColvin, Derek Freebury, Andrew Carrick-Smith, Ronnie Songhurst, Fred Songhurst, and Dougie Brasset.

    Former Addington Palace head chorister recalls happy memories of 1950s

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    TEMPORARY classrooms will be built on top of a playing field as part of the latest plan to address a shortage of reception places in Croydon.

    Pupils at Howard Primary, in South Croydon, will return from their Christmas break to prefabricated buildings on the field where they play at break times.

    Head teacher John Robinson admitted the loss of half the already tiny field for 18 months was "not the greatest thing" but said it was necessary if the school was to help create extra places.

    "To gain we have to have a bit of pain," he told the Advertiser.

    Howard Primary, in Dering Place, will take a bulge class of 30 extra pupils next month before being permanently expanded next September.

    It is among five schools which will take an additional reception class next year as part of the council's attempt to create hundreds of extra reception places by 2015. Howard's temporary classrooms will be in use until a new building is finished in 18 months' time.

    Mr Robinson said: "Everyone has agreed this is the right way forward because we can now support a wider selection of our community.

    "Some of the space will be turned into a playground for the reception class, so we are losing some playing field but gaining a play area."

    Kathy Bee, Labour's education spokesman, said the choice between playing space and catering for more pupils is a relatively easy one to make.

    "Temporarily sacrificing playing fields is not ideal but children going without a place at school is unacceptable," she explained.

    Mr Robinson is adamant permanent expansion is the best option for the long term future of the school.

    He said: "Each year we have more than 300 applications for 30 reception places.

    "That's a lot of children who have to go to other places, often travelling further away."

    The other schools which will be permanently expanded in September are; Parish Church CofE Infants and Junior School, Downsview Primary, Forestdale Primary, and Norbury Manor.

    There are already extra reception classes in place at 13 schools, as well as bulge Year 1 classes at Purley Oaks and Winterbourne Nursery and Infant School.

    The expansions were approved at a Croydon Council cabinet meeting on Monday, during which councillors also rubber stamped the creation of two special educational needs bases at Chipstead Valley Primary and Fairchildes Primary.

    Winterbourne Boys' Junior School - the only all-male state junior in the country – could close as part of a renewed attempt to address Croydon's school place shortfall. The plan was put forward in a hastily written addendum to a education paper put before last Monday's cabinet meeting. It said that governors of the boys' school and Winterbourne Nursery and Infant School wish to consult the public over amalgamating to become an all-through primary from September 2013. While the new school, in Thornton Heath, would continue to admit 150 pupils a year at reception level its junior site would increase to three forms of entry, creating an extra class at Key Stage 2. Winterbourne Girls' has opted out of the proposals which have the backing of the head teachers of the boys' and infants schools. The paper was so quickly written that it erroneously stated that governors of Woodside Junior School were involved. No schools involved were prepared to comment on the plans. The council has approved plans to open a secondary school specialising in sports in the hope of creating an Olympic legacy in Croydon. A proposal for a six forms of entry school at the sports and science specialist school across the Croydon Arena and Croydon Adult Learning and Training (CALAT) centre sites in South Norwood was discussed at Monday's cabinet meeting. Councillors supported the idea, which rests on whether the London Assembly would grant permission for the green site to be used as a school. The council believes the option stands a good chance of being approved as it complements the existing sports facilities.

    Classrooms to be built on playing field to cope with bulge class at Croydon school

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    A HOME to help troubled youths get back on their feet is being opened in Coulsdon.

    Transitional Plus Care (TPC) is opening the home for four people aged between 16 and 18 at number 107 Marlpit Lane.

    A TPC spokesman said the move follows the company's placing on a Croydon Council list of preferred organisations to provide "semi-accommodation based support" to looked-after 16 to 17-year-olds.

    Operations director Darren Hobbs said: "The work we will undertake at Marlpit Lane forms part of Croydon Council's Framework Agreement.

    "We provide support to young people to help them develop their independent living skills as well as enabling them to access employment, training and education. We do not cook, clean or provide care to the young people who are placed with us."

    He added that two live-out staff would oversee the home in Marlpit Lane – which TPC is renting – and support its residents.

    He said: "The staff do not sleep within the houses, but have a presence in order to ensure that the service is maintained to a high standard."

    A spokesman for Croydon Council said it had not yet referred any youngsters to the company, and that the home could also house youngsters from other boroughs.

    TPC will probably have to apply for planning permission, because the lawful use of the building is as a single-family dwelling.

    A spokesman for Croydon Council said: "We are liaising with the developers to understand the nature of the proposed use and their intentions.

    "This may result in a planning application. Neighbours will be able to comment on the proposal if we get an application."

    She added: "The council receives applications for proposals that are yet to commence and retrospective applications to retain uses that have commenced.

    "We deal with both in the same way, having regard to the relevant planning policies and to other material planning considerations."

    TPC representatives met with councillors, residents and the police two weeks ago to discuss their plans.

    Mr Hobbs added: "Transitional Plus Care and the young people placed with us by the local authority will strive to play a positive and committed role in the life of the local community.

    "There is great emphasis being placed on local authorities to keep young care-leavers within their local authority areas, as opposed to dispersing them to all parts of the country."

    TPC, which is registered with the Care Quality Commission, runs sites across the country to support young people leaving care, young offender institutes and other institutional settings.

    Its other homes include those in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.

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