A close community in Brookmans Park
14:25 04 February 2010
Specialist shops, national tennis champions, active octogenarians, and a world record-breaking teenage sailor Brookmans Park residents have a lot to be proud of
FISHMONGERS as independent shops are uncommon these days, with supermarkets taking much of the business they rely on to survive, but Ian Wheeler has bucked the trend with a thriving business in Brookmans Park.
JR Hammersley is a business which has been going since 1923, moving from Barnet to Brookmans Park in 1990.
Ian, 44, has been a fishmonger since he was 17 and says he has customers who come from all over Hertfordshire. Asked the secret to his success, he says, Selling quality fish at as reasonable a price as I can. We go to market every day and I always see my fish before I buy it. Ian says he buys on average half a tonne of fish per week at Billingsgate Market in London.
Brookmans Park has other specialist shops which are a dying breed, including a butchers, bakers and greengrocers. Its a close community and has a good variety of shops, says Ian. We help each other out. People wouldnt come here for just one thing, so the variety keeps the village going.
Anyone for tennis?
THE Brookmans Park Lawn Tennis Club was founded about 85 years ago and has nurtured some talented tennis players including internationally ranked juniors David and Matthew Thompson who played at Wimbledon in 2009.
Sue Kilbey, honorary secretary of the club, has been a member for 10 years and says, We play in the Hertfordshire League and we have a ladies team which is in the Championships, which is the top division. We have a very successful junior section as well, with the Under 16 girls winning the National Junior Club League Competition this year.
Sue says, I have always had an interest in tennis but its only since my children have got older that Ive got back into it. Asked what she enjoys most about being a member, Sue says, The fact that Im in touch with people in the community that I share an interest with. Its also good physical exercise, and Im getting fresh air in lovely surroundings.
She adds, We are always looking for new members and we never really have a time when all the courts are taken. For information about club membership, call Mrs Leonard, the membership secretary, on 01707 644571.
Time to dance
LINE dancing can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities, as teacher Margaret Hall is keen to point out.
Margaret first took up line dancing 10 years ago and now runs Steppin Time classes at Brookmans Parks United Reform Church on Wednesdays and at Brookmans Park Primary School on Thursdays.
She says, Its all single people; thats one of the joys of line dancing you dont have to be in a couple. I get a lot of retired people in my classes, and even have 80-year-olds. It gives people the chance to get up and dance. Anyone can line dance, it just depends how much effort you put in. I enjoy teaching beginners and seeing them improve.
Margaret, who is fully qualified through the International Dance Teachers Association, says she is always looking for new members. Expect a lot of fun, she says, adding, Any form of dancing is good for the body and for the mind.
If you are interested in joining a Steppin Time class, call Margaret on 01707 655866.
Been aroundthe world
TEENAGE sailor Michael Perham was a pupil at Chancellors School in Brookmans Park when he made history and became the youngest person to sail the Atlantic solo, aged just 14.
Not satisfied with achieving this world record in January 2007, Michael, who started sailing at the age of seven, set his sights on becoming the youngest person to sail around the world single handed.
He began the epic journey in November 2008 and, after conquering boat troubles, battling against 50ft waves, howling gales and a near capsize, he completed the 30,000-mile journey in August 2009. He says on his online blog that when he sailed up the English Channel for the homecoming in Portsmouth he was, fit to burst with happiness. No one could take the smile off my face, thats for sure!
The 17-year-old, joined by Australian adventurer Don McIntyre, now plans to take part in the 2010 Bounty Boat Expedition. In aid of research into motor neurone disease, the 4,000-mile expedition in April is a bid to follow in the footsteps of William Bligh.