Mystery surrounds the identity of one of the top three Croydon characters, voted for by the public, who has refused to allow their likeness to be used in a public portrait project.
The final portrait for a bench on the walk and cycle route between Wandle Park and Park Hill is due to be unveiled this week, but it will be missing one of the three Croydon celebs chosen by local residents.
Was it Bill Nighy, the acclaimed actor who used to attend John Fisher School? Did Olympic sprinter Donna Fraser ask not to be included?
Or, most likely, did often controversial supermodel Kate Moss decide that this was one publicity shot she could do without?
The portrait bench vote was launched, in trademark clumsy style, on the Croydon Council website more than a year ago, when a shortlist was foisted on the public with candidates’ names spelt incorrectly and film director, Sir David Lean, a glaring omission – probably because the council felt that were the Croydon-born Oscar-winner to be featured in the public artwork, it would only serve to highlight their closure of the eponymous cinema at the Clocktower.
The council was also (again, typically) secretive about the outcome of the poll, first refusing to release the vote count, and only much later conceding that the result was being held back for the big unveiling and that the project was actually in the hands of Sustrans, the sustainable transport group.
What was said to be the top three in the ballot was prematurely revealed in a Town Hall Question Time as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Ronnie Corbett and Peggy Ashcroft.
Dogged work by our loyal reader, Anthony Miller, has finally squeezed from Sustrans the (almost) complete final scores.
- Samuel Coleridge-Taylor 218
- Ronnie Corbett 174
- Peggy Ashcroft 121
- Darren Maskell 110
- Dave Prowse 90
- John Whitgift 89
- David Lean 85
- Cicely Mary Barker 84
- Captain Sensible 60
- Tasha Danvers 23
- Malcolm Muggeridge 38
- Bernard Weatherill 34
- Charles Burgess Fry 33
- Kirsty MacColl 13
- Jim Bush 11
Darren Maskell? No, nothing to do with Wimbledon tennis commentary, but a local stand-up comedian who staged a one-man campaign to subvert the whole shoddy process for the joke that it was. As Maskell said today, “It’s very convenient that I came fourth, isn’t it?”
Yet Sustrans’ response also revealed that another celeb who was not on their shortlist had broken into the top three, and might have been included in the portrait had they not withheld their permission.
“As you will appreciate we must ask the permission of people who are alive before we can create a figure of theme for public display,” their full and helpful response explained. “In fact there was another living personality who poled [sic] in the top three but when we approached them they declined so their name doesn’t appear in the list above.”
Who could this be?
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