31 January 2006

31 January 2006

Trio accused of ‘shameful’ attendance

AN OPPOSITION councillor has criticised the poor attendence of a group of Labour councillors as "shameful". Downham councillor Mark Morris is disappointed councillors Heidi Nash, Ruth Watt and Sabina Padmore have failed to regularly attend council meetings since last April.

Cllr Nash, for Lewisham Central, has missed six out of eight full council meetings.

Cllr Padmore, for New Cross, missed five out of eight and Cllr Watt for Bellingham has missed half of the meetings.

And Cllr Padmore has missed all six Public Accounts Select Committee meetings between May and December last year.

Cllr Watt has missed all Adult Care and Health Select Committee meetings since June last year.

Trust veers towards red

A NEW report has revealed Lewisham Primary Care Trust's (PCT) finances are in poor health. The PCT has reported a £2.28m deficit, in the report penned by its director of finance and resources Tom Breen. Mr Breen admits the figures show the PCT is under "severe financial pressure".

Proposal to create new park for housing estate

A PLAN to create a new park for housing estate residents is set to be considered by planning bosses. The would see a new open space created between Cornmill Lane and Elmira Street, on the Sundermead Estate, Lewisham. The new park, which would be on Metropolitan Open Land, would include a children's play area, a cafe and ornamental gardens.

Jailed after drug bust holiday raid

A MAN whose house was raided by police while he holidayed in Greece has been jailed for possession of firearms, drugs and laundered money. Gary Alan Cheeseman, 31, of Drakefell Road, New Cross, was jailed at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday for seven years and six months. Cops found a semi-automatic pistol, seven rounds of live ammunition, a bullet-proof vest, a canister of CS gas, 19.2 kilos of cannabis resin and £31,143 in cash when they raided his home and the empty flat above on September 26.

Vomit virus hits school

PARENTS have been panicked by a vomiting and diarrhoea illness that has struck down their children. Health officials took swabs from the mouths of youngsters at Sandhurst Infant and Junior School, Catford, to find out the cause of the out-break. The problem has been ongoing for several weeks and 18 pupils were absent from one class on Wednesday.

Blackheath's Nick Ferrari - an interview

Nick Ferrari, who does not wish to state his age, is the breakfast presenter of LBC 97.3FM. In 2005 he broke the mould with a series of sell-out stage shows, re-enacting his LBC radio show for a live audience. The shows were so popular they will be restaged later this year to coincide with the April launch of his debut book, 'The World According to Nick Ferrari'. In addition to this, he has just been re-signed to LBC on a three-year contract. He lives in Blackheath with his wife and two children. Click link for full interview.

29 January 2006

29 January 2006

I'm afraid that Transport For London's Camera network seems to be offline, so for the moment we have blue squares where cams of Deptford and Catford should be. Fingers crossed this will be sorted out soon.

MP makes exhibition trip

CULTURE minister David Lammy visited a museum to see an exhibition. Mr Lammy visited the Amazon to Caribbean, Early Peoples of the Rainforest exhibition at the Horniman Museum in London Road, Forest Hill. He was given a tour by Dr Hassan Arero, the first black curator to be appointed by a British museum.

Mayor defends Met chief’s allegation of media racism

The London mayor has defended comments made by the Metropolitan police commissioner, where he claimed that the media is institutionally racist due to the way murder cases are reported in the mainstream press. The comments made by Sir Ian Blair have caused a furore forcing him to apologise to the families of two girls murdered in Soham after he questioned why the story generated such a media frenzy compared with many other cases involving victims from ethnic groups.

During the meeting, the commissioner said the murders of those from ethnic communities will not generate the same amount of interest. “That death of the young lawyer was terrible, but an Asian man was dragged to his death, a woman was chopped up in Lewisham, a chap shot in the head in a Trident murder- they got a paragraph on page 97,” he said during the meeting.

Taking to the streets for pension protest

ELDERLY residents joined forces and travelled to the capital to campaign for a better deal. Around 60 pensioners from Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley took part in a national pensioners' march in central London. The pensioners marched on Whitehall to try to convince the Government to agree to an increase in the state pension.

Laurence gets second chance

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is having a second go at the £1 million jackpot on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? after a mix-up over the top question. Llwelyn-Bowen, who lives in Blackheath, was asked about the English translation of the US's Latin motto. But programme maker Celador later admitted the question was "ambiguous".

Two-year diary tells of gran's ‘atrocious’ treatment at hospital

HOSPITAL bosses have promised an "urgent investigation" into claims it subjected an elderly patient to "neglect" and "atrocious" treatment. Linda Holmes makes the claims in a damning two-year diary of her mother's treatment at Lewisham Hospital. In the diary Mrs Holmes says her 74-year-old mother Rose Matthews, who died last November, suffered due to a catalogue of errors.

No station upgrades due before Olympics

A deal announced with the East European Bank this month, will see £450million go towards setting up the new train line, including installing signalling systems and laying track. But passengers in Lewisham will have to wait before seeing any improvements to their stations on the line - New Cross, New Cross Gate, Sydenham, Brockley, Honor Oak Park and Forest Hill.

Massive facelift for Lewisham schools

AFTER a 'long and tortuous process', detailed plans for a massive rebuild and refurbishment of a borough's secondary schools have been agreed. IT HAS been hailed as a borough's largest schools spending project for half a century.

The investment in Lewisham is set to increase the number of school places by 870. Councillors at Wednesday's Mayor and cabinet committee agreed Lewisham's "strategic business case" for the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. The document will now be submitted to the Government for approval.

Planners decide on pool

SWIMMING facilities in Lewisham will be boosted after the borough's decison-makers rubber-stamped plans for a new pool. A 25m six-lane pool is expected to open at the Wavelengths centre, Giffin Street, Deptford, by spring 2008. Plans for the facility, which is expected to cost around £4m, were finalised by Lewisham's cabinet at a meeting last Wednesday.

Playtime is over

PARENTS are frustrated at the decision to close a playground which was a "lifeline" for stressed shoppers. The play area at Lewisham Shopping Centre, Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, was closed in November because of safety concerns. But parents are angry. They say the playground was popular with children and took the hassle away from their shopping experience.

Shortage of teachers as schools debt soars to £120m

Ten most indebted primaries:

Fir Tree Primary School, Sandwell, £483,839; Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School, Lewisham, £394,313; The Furness Primary School, Brent, £372,667; Matthew Boulton Community Primary School, Birmingham, £337,088; Westwood Park Primary School, Bradford, £293,602; St Augustine's C of E Community School, Bradford, £288,449; Abbey Hey Primary School, Manchester, £287,775; Gascoigne Primary School, Barking and Dagenham, £260,585; The Westborough Primary School and Nursery, Southend-on-Sea, £259,781; Amherst Primary School, Hackney, £247,469.

25 January 2006

25 January 2006

Orient expressed already at school

BLACKHEATH not Brighton is leading the way in teaching pupils the Chinese language, according to a headteacher. Last week bosses at Brighton College in East Sussex claimed it was set to become the first place in the country to make Mandarin Chinese a compulsory subject. However, Blackheath High School headteacher Lisa Laws has hit back, saying her school is already well advanced at teaching the language.

Programme gives out warm feeling

A £1.2M initiative is helping thousands of people feel warmer in their homes. The money, provided by British Gas, has helped 2,400 Lewisham households benefit from free energy-efficiency advice and improvements such as loft insulation. An extra £210,000 has also been made available to residents across the borough via benefits which were previously unclaimed.

Joint initiative proposes community centre plan

The Moonshot Centre, Fordham Park, Deptford, will have facilities including IT rooms, dance studio, cafe and creche. It will provide a base for groups, including the Playhouse Nursery and Irie Dance Theatre. The new centre, due to open in the autumn, is being funded by £2.6m from Lewisham Council and £500,000 from SureStart, the Government's childcare initiative.

'Immigrant racket forgery factories uncovered'

It is thought up to 1,000 bogus driving licences and 300 forged passports were among items seized in swoops on suspected forgery factories at addresses in Sydenham and Brixton. Officers are also said to have found computers, printers, fake National Insurance cards and 1,000 blank ID cards. They were printed in five different languages, including French, Spanish and English.

Notice served to allotment users

Around 30 plotholders on St Norbert's Allotments, St Norbert Road, Brockley, have been given eviction notices and told they must be off the land by April. They are now asking the council to intervene and wrest control of the land from its current owner UGS Properties. UGS sent out the eviction notices even though it has not lodged any formal planning application to build on the land.

Defra confirms 22.9% recycling rate with St Edmundsbury top

Recycling in Newham is the lowest in the country - residents there recycle and compost just 6.2% of their rubbish, with Tower Hamlets following closely behind with 7.4%. Lewisham also features in the bottom 10 authorities for recycling and composting, with a 10.2% rate. Recycling rates actually dropped in the Corporation of London (down from 19% in 2003/04 to 14.3%) and in Croydon (down from 14% to 13%).

Bus Crash

Four people, including the driver, suffered minor injuries after a bus ploughed into a shop front, in Lewis Grove, Lewisham. Three fire crews were called to deal with the crash, which happened just after 1am, on Monday.

Duo blaze a trail in village

The pocket-sized Blackheath Village Trail and Guide has just been published by the Blackheath Society. Written by two society members, historian Neil Rhind and architectural journalist Tony Aldous, it points out the buildings of interest. And with the aid of a bird's eye map by artist Peter Kent, it leads people around the village as defined by its 20mph zone. The guide was paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund's Awards for All scheme and is available from the society by calling 020 8297 1937.

Posties rapped over rubber bands

Lewisham Council estimates up to 5,000 elastic bands are dropped in the borough by postal workers every month. Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said valuable time was being wasted picking them up and urged Royal Mail to take a "collective responsibility". Royal Mail said although the bands were bio-degradable they would urge staff to take extra care in future.

22 January 2006

London / Lewisham Secondary School League Tables

Schools in each area are ranked by the percentage of pupils achieving at least five A* to C grades at the GCSE or vocational equivalent, shown in the third column. Ties are broken by the number of pupils taking exams, shown in the second column. The fourth column shows the average points score per candidate taking Level 2 qualifications. The fifth column shows the value added by a school to its pupils' progress between age 11 and GCSE. Full details can be found on the scan.

Lewisham Schools listed (for those of you here via a net search) are Sydenham High School, St Dunstan's College, Prendergast, Forest Hill, Bonus Pastor, Sydenham, Deptford Green, Sedgehill, Addey and Stanhope, Northbrook, Catford Girls, Crofton, St Joseph's Academy, Allenby Tutorial Centre, Haberdashers' Aske's College and Knights Academy, Christ The King 6th Form, Crossways Academy and Lewisham College.

14 January 2006

16 January 2006

Backlash against Ken's homes wish

KEN Livingstone wants to increase the number of homes built in a borough by more than 1,000 each year. But Lewisham council is opposing the London Mayor's targets for its area. The borough's's current target is 17,350 extra homes by 2016, meaning 870 each year. The revised figure is for the period between 2007 to 2017. It proposes 10,700 new homes in that timescale, which works out at 1,070 extra a year.

Eviction threat for pigeon feeder

A council tenant who has infuriated her neighbours for 10 years by feeding hundreds of pigeons in her front garden has been warned she faces eviction. Lewisham Council said Norma Hughes had ignored repeated warnings about feeding the birds, which neighbours said posed a health risk and cause a nuisance.

School opens after intruder scare

A secondary school which shut because staff thought an intruder was hiding in the roof is to reopen this week. Despite police searches using infra-red heat detectors at the Crofton School in Lewisham, south-east London, the man has not been found. Associate head teacher Rob Cooper said staff were confident he had gone, but said extra security measures would stay in place "as long as necessary".

Extra bus for busy routes

The 225 route from Bermondsey station, which currently terminates at Lewisham, will now run to Hither Green station and Hither Green Lane. And the 181, which runs from Lewisham to Downham, is being extended to Grove Park station, Baring Road, Grove Park.

More dirt dished onto ‘tired’ town

Last month News Shopper, sister newspaper of This Is Local London, invited residents to share their views on the town, in response to a Canadian visitor who renamed it "Crapford". But instead of leaping to the defence of Catford, a host of residents have contacted us to stick the knife into their home town. Clevon Cottrell, of Thornsdeach Road, wants to see Catford given a major clean-up.

Mr Cottrell, 70, said: "There are a lot of dirty people in Catford."

12 January 2006

12 January 2006

School shut while police hunt man

A secondary school has been shut while police hunt for a man believed to be hiding in the ceiling cavities. Lewisham Council said teachers at Crofton School, Lewisham, first became suspicious that somebody was entering the school out of hours in December.

On Monday they caught sight of the man after they heard him moving around. The south-east London school will be shut until next week. Year 11 students will study for their GCSEs in a building the man has not accessed.

Boy in plot to kill his family

A BOY of 14 murdered his younger sister and tried to beat his brother to death as he plotted to kill his whole family so he could be adopted "by a rich couple", a court heard yesterday. The boy, of Brockley, South East London, denies murder, attempted murder and arson. See also.

Call to rid roads of speed humps

A CAMPAIGNER who has got the hump with sleeping policemen is urging others to join his crusade against them. Nick Hill, of Birkhall Road, Catford, thinks speed humps are a waste of money which cause accidents and damage to cars "thudding" over them. To see Mr Hill's website, visit www.roadhumpcampaign.org

Extra pool is splash news

A NEW swimming pool for Deptford is expected to get the nod of approval tonight. The 25m, six-lane pool would be built at Wavelengths Leisure Centre in Giffin Street alongside the existing complex. It would provide extra space for swimming lessons and improve fitness facilities, said a Lewisham council report. More people swim than do any other sport in the borough, according to the council.

11 January 2006

Chelsea's Joe Cole puts Grove Park on the news map

Chelsea's Joe Cole Beaten Up Over Page Three Girl
Cole 'thumped in babe row'
Cole in fight over Page 3 girl

England star Joe Cole today protested his innocence after being beaten up by a man in a jealous rage over a Page Three girl. Cole was said to be "getting close" to 19-year-old Keeley Hazell during a late-night party at her home when he was attacked.

The Chelsea midfielder was so badly roughed-up during the assault that he fled the house through a window without his shoes, shirt, mobile phone or wallet. Bloodied and bruised Cole then ran to the nearest minicab office where drivers initially failed to recognise him because of his dishevelled state.

The incident happened on Saturday after the Blues' 2-1 FA Cup Third Round home win over Huddersfield Town. Cole, Chelsea captain John Terry and Bobby Zamora and Anton Ferdinand of West Ham, went to the West End Embassy club. They linked up with Page Three girls, including former hairdresser Miss Hazell, Lauren Pope, Nikkala and Nicola T Cole. Later Cole, Ferdinand and others carried on the party at Miss Hazell's semi-detached home in Grove Park.

At Far and Near Minicabs an employee said: "No one recognised him at first. He looked more like a yobbo."

10 January 2006

10 January 2006

Teen 'killed sister in arson attack'

A teenager set his family home ablaze, killing his youngest sister, because he wanted to be adopted by a rich couple, the Old Bailey heard today. The youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was just 14 when he torched his home in Lewisham, south-east London, during the early hours of April 24, 2004 while the rest of the family slept, the court heard.

'I don't want to be treated like a coolie'

Sinna Mani, president of the British Organisation for People of Indian Origin, is livid. He has been attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the annual conclave of overseas Indians, every year. But this year, he says, "The event has been organised so badly that no one knew what is happening here." Mani, who was the mayor of the London borough of Lewisham and a member of the Investment Regulatory Authority in the United Kingdom, says he is currently involved in investment projects worth nearly 100 million pounds. His projects include a theme park in Haridwar, Uttaranchal, and a holiday home in Amritsar, Punjab.

Group campaigns over parking costs

PENSIONERS are continuing their fight against "unfair" parking charges at a hospital. Lewisham Hospital is set to review its policy of charging blue badge holders to park in the hospital car park. But Deptford Action Group for the Elderly is still angry hospital bosses will not commit to allowing elderly motorists to park for free.

Councils forecast efficiency miss despite initial success

Lewisham Council has reduced projected housing efficiency gains from £935,000 to £535,000 and Newham Council has said it will not meet its predicted gains of £76,000 by the end of the year.

Prison sentences for gang of four

A GANG caught with £25,000 of fake DVDs has been jailed. The four men were snared by police after they were spotted loading boxes of pirate movies into a car, in Creekside Depot, Deptford, on September 1, last year. Blackfriars Crown Court heard how the quartet Kenneth Ho, aged 33; Ah-Ming Wong, aged 33; Xing Wang, aged 46 and Chang Wang, aged 32 got involved in the scam to make extra cash.

Battered by thief - over a can of coke

A SHOPLIFTER attacked a terrified store worker who caught him pinching a can of Coke and a sausage roll. Anthony Marks, 32, repeatedly kicked and punched middle-aged Azhar Awan before threatening him with a bottle. Southwark Crown Court heard how Mr Awan had challenged the defendant after he caught him stuffing his pockets with stolen goods at a branch of Budgens in Deptford. Marks, of Deptford High Road, Deptford, was arrested at the shop after the assault on November 19.

Parents celebrating New Year arrivals

Nine babies were born on News Year's Day at Lewisham Hospital in Lewisham High Street.

Town is not a cat-astrophe

CATFORD "crap" town or cool town? This is the debate which has dominated News Shopper's letters page ever since one distinctly unimpressed visitor re-christened Catford as "Crap-ford". Now council chiefs are fighting back to defend the honour of the "vibrant and diverse" town.

See The Man From Catford for a local view.

New Gateway homes under fire

Higher-income earners, all from Lewisham and Bexley, were not keen to move to the Thames Gateway. Only areas with fast transport links and a strong cultural heritage would attract them. They also shot down the idea of mixed communities. "You don't want to get your perfect house, then have a burnt out Ford Cortina at the end of your drive," said one Bexley resident.

Tube network gets £450m boost

THE vital East London line project to strengthen South London's link to the Tube network has been given a £450million boost. Phase one of the £900million extension will see it extend down to West Croydon via Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill, Sydenham, Crystal Palace, Penge West, Anerley and Norwood Junction.

Pirate radio has its plug pulled

A PIRATE radio station that disrupted frequencies used by firefighters has been closed down. Whoa FM broadcast hip-hop and R'n'B across London from the top of Countisbury House in Crescent Wood Road, Sydenham, until it was raided last Tuesday.

Ex-leader in bid for mayor’s job

A FORMER Bromley Council leader is launching a bid for the top job in Lewisham. Chris Maines has been announced as the man the Liberal Democrats hope will bring them to power and unseat current Labour Mayor Steve Bullock. If elected, Mr Maines says his first priority will be to scrap the directly-elected mayoral system, which was introduced in 2002.

Guide book bringing village history to life

The Blackheath Society has published a pocket-sized book, detailing the history behind the buildings and shops found in the village, which dates back to 1790. Lewisham's deputy mayor and ward councillor Gavin Moore said: "The Blackheath Society's expertise and unparalleled knowledge has brought this history to life in their fascinating new Village Trail and Guide." For copies of the guide, call 020 8297 1937.

Corner shops' future 'very bleak'

The future for Britain's corner shops is "very, very bleak indeed", a Labour MP has warned amid suggestions that supermarkets could wipe them out in under a decade. Jim Dowd warned that the expansion of Tesco and other retail giants to the High Street could spell the end for small, independent stores. The MP for Lewisham West chairs the cross-party small shops group which has conducted an in-depth inquiry into the current state of the sector. Its preliminary findings were reported by the Sunday Telegraph to include a fear that such retailers are "not expected to survive" beyond 2015.

See also - Wise men trying to save corner shops are the very ones who put Tesco there

04 January 2006

Lewisham Link - Robert Elms 94.9fm

Robert Elms currently hosts the lunchtime slot on Radio London / London Radio / LDN or whatever it's called this week! Every now and then they focus on a certain area and it's highlights. Lewisham has already been given the treatment so pop along to the site and leave your comments in the feedback section (bottom of the page) and *ahem* "Big Up" the area, as I believe the youngsters say :)

Results of Lewisham Highlights.


The Jordan, 354, Lewisham High St
The Rising Sun, 120 Loampit Vale
The Coach and Horses, 323 Lewisham High Street
The Hare and Billet, Hare And Billet Rd
The Rose of Lee, 162, Lee High Rd
The Dog and Bell, North Street
The Dacre Arms, 11 Kingswood Place
The Railway, Blackheath


Blighty's, 117-119 Lewisham High St
Something Fishy,117-119 Lewisham High St
Sapporo, Lewisham High Street
Spice of Life, Lee high Road
The Greek Tavern, Catford
Masons in Ladywell Road
Villa Moura, Portuguese restaurant in Lee
Tas Firin, Lee High Road
The Kaya House, Deptford Broadway
Welcome Noodle House (Chinese), 47-49 Lee High Road
Hunkarim (Lebanese), 21 Lee High Road
Green Cabin (Sri Lankan), 244 Lewisham High Street
Everest Curry House on Loampit Hill


Ozzies Café, 247a Lewisham Way
Maggie's Café, nr Lewisham Train station


Lewisham Shopping Centre Molesworth Street
Lewisham Market, Lewisham High Street,

Places to visit

The Hornimans Museum, 100 London Road, Forest Hill,
The Horniman has a unique range of exhibitions, events and activities which illustrate the cultural and natural world.
Hales Gallery (art Gallery) 70 Deptford High Street
Honor Oak Art Gallery, 52 Honor Oak Park Forest Hill
Rivoli Ballroom

For Information

Lewisham Library Building ,199-201 Lewisham High Street
Lewisham Tourist Information Centre, 199-201, Lewisham High Street


Ladywell Swimming Pool, Lewisham High Street,
Lewisham 10 Pin Bowling, Belmont Hill
Laban - contemporary dance centre, Deptford Creekside in Herzog + de
Meuron award winning new building

On site - Millwall

I drove past "The Den" today and took this quick picture. I've always tried to avoid anything to do with Millwall because when I was growing up they were always associated with the worst elements of football, although many fans would argue this is down to the press needing a hate figure. A former Chairman of the club, Reg Burr, once commented; "Millwall are a convenient coat peg for football to hang its social ills on."

I thought it was time I hit Wikipedia to find out more now it's rumoured that ex-Liverpool ace Robbie Fowler could be playing for them. Gossip suggests that Fowler is one of the richest men in English sport due to his massive property portfolio - so expect those empty Blackheath properties to be snapped up soon!

Millwall Football Club is a football team based at the 20,146 capacity New Den Stadium in Bermondsey, Zampa Road, south east London, England. They currently play in the Football League Championship.

Their team nickname is The Lions, fomerly The Dockers. They changed the nickname after their FA Cup run of 1900, to the semi final, after being refered to as "Lions," for their acts of giant killing, adopting a lion emblem, bearing the legend; "We Fear No Foe." The emblem, along with its legend, was not added to their shirts until the 1930's. "We Fear No Foe" was changed later, however, to just "MFC." They also reached the semi final in 1903, 1907 and 1937. Their 1937 appearance was notable, as they became the first team in the old third division to reach the last four. Their "traditional strip" consists of blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks. The club was founded in 1885 as Millwall Rovers, by Scottish dock workers from the town of Greenock, where the local Scottish Football League side Morton F.C. share the clubs' colours. The club's name comes from where it was founded, at the Millwall Docks on the Isle of Dogs, across the River Thames from where the club now plays.

Full name Millwall Football Club
Nickname(s) The Lions
Founded 1885
Ground New Den Stadium, London
Capacity 20,146
Chairman Peter de Savary
Manager David Tuttle
League The Championship
2004-05 Championship, 10th

01 January 2006

01 January 2006

A Happy New Year to the three people who read this page ;)

Transports of delight over road schemes

Lewisham Council has won the most funding it has ever had from TfL – £2.8million – to pay for transport improvements next year. This sum maintains the increase won by the borough last year after putting forward a persuasive case for spending on a variety of projects.

Prison for man who had gun 'to kill himself'

After three months in custody, Gill was sentenced to five-and-a-half years at Croydon Crown Court by Judge Timothy Stow. Gill also admitted a charge of dangerous driving in Rushey Green, Catford, on July 24 this year. Judge Stow jailed Gill for six months to run consecutively to his five-and-a-half year sentence.

Councils push scheme to wrap up Christmas

RESIDENTS are being urged to recycle items left over from their Christmas festivities. Council bosses want people to recycle everything from old greetings cards and wrapping paper to wine bottles and jam jars. Lewisham and Greenwich councils are asking residents to leave their Christmas trees at recycling collection points. Lewisham residents can leave trees at nine collection points across the borough, including Deptford Park and Sydenham Wells Park. For more information, call 020 8314 7171 or email recycling@lewisham.gov.uk

Delightful comedy provides real alternative to panto

The Importance of Being Earnest, Brockley Jack Theatre, Brockley Road, Brockley, now until January 7, Tickets £10/£7, box office 020 8291 6354. This production at the Brockley Jack Theatre is performed as if we too were in a Victorian era and is very loyal to the text. Yet the humour and the behaviour translates so well into contemporary times.

Wedded bliss for gay couple after 32 years

AN ELDERLY gay couple have been granted their Christmas wish, the chance to make their 32-year relationship "honest". Alan Ashmole, 74, and Ivan Rowland, 68, last week became one of the first couples in the borough to exchange vows in a new civil partnership ceremony. The pair say they were delighted to tie the knot on the day gay marriages' became law across England. Mr Ashmole and Mr Rowland, of Codrington Hill, Forest Hill, married at a ceremony at Lewisham Register Office, on December 21.

Driver discovered in pool of blood

A VAN driver slashed his wrists with a kitchen knife days after he was caught drink-driving, an inquest heard. David Wilson, 58, wrote off his van in an accident and a breath test at the scene proved positive. Southwark Coroners' Court heard how days later he was found lying face down in a pool of his own blood at his home in Meadow Close, Catford, on September 23.

Arrest after four-month police manhunt

AN ALLEGED kidnapper who sparked a massive manhunt has been captured by police. Dwayne Callender, aged 23, was arrested in Brockley on December 20 ending a four-month search by Lewisham police. News Shopper ran a number of appeals trying to trace Callender and the case was also featured on the BBC's Crimewatch programme. The charge relates to the capture of a bus driver, who was bundled into a car in Musgrove Road, New Cross, in the early hours of September 1.

Aiming to be your mayor

Councillor Darren Johnson, who has twice stood as the Green candidate for London Mayor, will not challenge current Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock in next May's poll. The Greens have chosen Lewisham Environment Trust chairman Mike Keogh as their mayoral candidate. Cllr Johnson, who represents Brockley, says he wants to concentrate on his responsibilites as a councillor and member of the London Assembly.