Photographs of unsung heroes from New Addington now adorn the hoardings at the site of the new multi-million pound leisure and community centre, after being unveiled.
The specially commissioned images, which decorate one side of the hoardings on Heroes Walk – located between Chertsey Crescent and Central Parade – were publicly revealed to the heroes themselves and the wider community at an opening party on Saturday.
More than 300 nominations were received as part of the art project, which aims to celebrate those living, working or going to school in New Addington who have gone the extra mile for their community, or have selflessly dedicated their time to local projects.
The local heroes were shortlisted by the Heroes Walk team and each had their photo taken by portrait photographer Tania Dolvers.
The featured heroes include Gareth and Steve Merridew – a father and son nominated for their work keeping young people off the streets with their judo classes; Kerry Hector – who was nominated for transforming a single-decker bus into a mobile cinema to enable disadvantaged children to experience the magic of the movies; and schoolgirl Della Mead, who was nominated for her fundraising for epilepsy charities in her sister’s memory.
Paralympian Lee Mitchell also features in recognition of his voluntary work, and the Salvation Army and Fieldway Family Centre were also among the heroes selected in recognition of their integral role in the community.
As part of the council-supported project, the Heroes Walk team also worked closely with pupils at Meridian High School where the students worked with leading street artist Zincstyles, to produce a piece of artwork that illustrates what an active lifestyle in New Addington means to them.
Their DANCEPLAYSWIMRUN artwork which is opposite the images of the heroes, was also unveiled at Saturday’s event and uses bold, monochrome lettering to highlight some of the activities that will be on offer at the new leisure and community centre when the facility opens at the end of the year.
“Residents should rightly celebrate and be proud of their community, and the achievements of those in it, and I’m sure these photographs and the stories behind them will inspire many.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning
Kobi Prempeh, Heroes Walk curator, added: “I want to thank the people of New Addington for being so welcoming and supportive of what we’ve been up to. Heroes Walk has been an amazing experience for all members of the team. It’s been a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with the creative genius of Zincstyles and the photographic talents of Tania Dolvers. I am happy to announce that New Addington will be the first place in history to have a Heroes Walk, as we plan to take this initiative around the world in the future.”
The full list of local heroes featured on hoardings are:
• Gareth and Steve Merridew – the father and son were nominated for their work to keep young people off the street with judo classes and their support of the Vine Food Bank.
• Mick Watts – who was nominated for his work with the elderly, which includes organising bingo, coach trips and pensioners’ tea parties.
• Marie Pace – who was nominated in recognition of her work running the New Addington autism group.
• Jan Beeching – who was nominated for knitting hundreds of poppies every year, the proceeds of which are donated to the Royal British Legion. She also knits teddy bears which she donates to hospices and hospitals.
• Lin Green – who was nominated for her work over the past 25 years with the New Addington Little League which has seen her support 200 young people through community football.
• Kerry Hector – who was nominated for transforming a single-decker bus into a mobile movie cinema so she can bring the magic of cinema to children in low-income areas.
• Amanda Grace – who was nominated for her use of dance, drama and singing classes as a form of expression and fitness, and to keep young people off the streets.
• Pete Clarke – a retired New Addington firefighter who was nominated for his work serving New Addington and wider London, and in recognition of Crossfire, a programme he spearheaded to educate young people about the dangers of fire-setting.
• Kyle Taylor – who was nominated by his school (Meridian High School) in recognition of his recent scholarship for Brit School, and his involvement in community performances.
• Della Mead – who was nominated by her school (Meridian High School) for her fundraising efforts for epilepsy charities both inside and out of school in memory of her sister who died following an epileptic seizure.
• Lilian Groves and her family – who were nominated for their tireless campaigning which forced the government to introduce a new drug/drive law in 2015.
• Brenda Kirby – a former Croydon councillor and Mayor who was nominated for her work in setting up the Brenda Kirby Cancer centre.
• Paul Dowie – who was nominated in recognition of setting up the Croydon Steel Orchestra which gives local young people the chance to be involved in something musically creative.
• Shane Kinsey – who was nominated for his voluntary work with the New Addington Carnival and Christmas pantomime and TS Defiance NTC, a nautical training corps unit based in new Addington.
• PC Simon Parker – who was nominated for his work making New Addington a safer place, and was commended by students at Meridian High School for being a friendly and approachable face of the local police service.
• Angelia Jordan – the Rowland Brothers employee was nominated for being phenomenal support to local families suffering bereavements.
• PSCO Adam Fenton and PC Ricky Philips – who were nominated for their work bringing Laws of the Game into local primary schools which aims to tackle antisocial and criminal behaviour and help break down barriers between young people and the police.
• Jenny Taylor – who was nominated in recognition of her 40 years of voluntary work running TS Defiance, where she has been a friend and mentor to every cadet at the unit.
• Lee Mitchell – who was nominated in recognition of being a Paralympian, and of his involvement in the New Addington Carnival and Christmas lights through volunteering.
• The Salvation Army – which was nominated for its work at the Vine Food Bank and its work in the wider community over the past 60 years, including its musical performances.
• Fieldway Family Centre – which was nominated for the running of the Fieldway Food Stop, and being a place offering help and support, with no judgement, to the community.