“It has always been hard being known as ‘Sensible’ when sometimes I’m not,” Raymond Burns said on Saturday, wearing a bright Hawaiian shirt, baggy shorts and trademark red beret.
“But it helped me in my career so I shouldn’t really complain.”
He had just spent half an hour laying down on park bench painted bright orange and posing for a range of pictures at the opening of the “Sensible Bench”, taking its name from Burns’ stage persona, Captain Sensible, who infamously immortalised this corner of south London in his song Croydon.
The bench is the focal piece of a scrap of waste land which has been transformed into a small garden by the hard work of volunteers from the South Norwood Tourist Board and Crystal Palace Transition Team, plus donations from local businesses and the council.
The Captain hopes the park will spur local residents of Norwood and Croydon to be more conscious of their environment. “It shouldn’t be down to the local council for people to look after where they live.
“Fifty years ago, owners of terraced houses used to scrub their portion of the pavement right down to the gutter. They all did, and working class streets positively sparkled in those days.
“I am often seen out cleaning up where I live so people should do the same.”
But the former leader of the 1980s punk group The Damned expressed his relief that the SNTB remembered him fondly enough to choose to name the new garden and its bench after him. “You usually have to wait until you’re dead and gone before receiving your own bench with name on and all that,” he said.
“But protocol was been overlooked in my case, probably in the interests of a jolly up in the pub afterwards.”
Coming to Croydon
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- David Lean Cinema: Locke, July 31
- Mind-Loosening Workshop, Aug 2
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Aug 2
- Patchwork and quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, Aug 4
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 6
- David Lean Cinema: Grand Budapest Hotel, Aug 7
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 13
- David Lean Cinema: The Wind Rises, Aug 14
- Mind-Loosing Workshop, Aug 16
- David Lean Cinema: The Love Punch, Aug 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Aug 16
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 20
- David Lean Cinema: Stop The Pounding Heart, Aug 21
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 27
- David Lean Cinema: Frank, Aug 28
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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