David Lean Cinema campaign founder decides to stand down

Adrian Winchester, the founding chairman of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign which successfully lobbied for the re-opening of the arthouse venue in the Clocktower last year, is to stand down from his position after more than four years’ hard – and voluntary – work.

Adrian Winchester leading the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign meeting at the Green Dragon pub

Adrian Winchester addressing the meeting in June 2011 which led to the formation of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign

Winchester made the announcement to the Campaign’s 1,200 supporters in a statement which accompanied the news that he (as the newly appointed “Campaign Director”) and two others were to become the group’s first part-time employees since it became a Community Interest Company, or CIC, last month.

It was Winchester’s emails to respond to an Inside Croydon article in April 2011 which provided the inspiration for establishing a campaign to re-open the David Lean Cinema, after the previous council administration had made the ill-considered decision to shut its doors as a cost-cutting measure.

Then, we reported how local celebrity and national treasure Ronnie Corbett had attended the final screening, where he described the decision to close the cinema “monstrous”.

Adrian Winchester was the first to respond to the call from Corbett, who said, “We must start a campaign so that this darling place isn’t trashed.” Together with Inside Croydon, and with support from Shirley Life, Winchester set-up the Facebook page, launched a petition, a Twitter account was established, and a public meeting was held, in the upstairs room of the Green Dragon pub. The Campaign was born.

Winchester’s decision to stand down now, just as the organisation is embarking on its next phase of its development as a CIC, has not been taken lightly. “It’s frustrating as I feel I can provide skills and experience that would be helpful in taking the David Lean Cinema forward,” Winchester told Inside Croydon, “but I simply can’t afford to do it for much longer.”

From June 1, Winchester will have 10 hours paid work per week for the David Lean Cinema – probably on top of many more hours’ work as he has been doing for the Campaign, to the exclusion of almost all else, since 2011.

The Campaign’s other appointments are Stephen Furley as chief projectionist (for seven hours per week), and a six-hour-per-week admin assistant in David Lavelli.

In a statement to members, the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign directors said, “These appointments reflect the contribution being made by these individuals – a contribution which goes well beyond that normally expected of volunteers. Even now, their pay will not fully remunerate them for the time they spend and the responsibilities they hold.

Winchester and other members of the Campaign team celebrate the re-opening of the David Lean Cinema last year

Winchester and other members of the Campaign team celebrate the re-opening of the David Lean Cinema last year

“But the directors of the company see this as a step towards rewarding them properly for their work. These posts also establish an initial structure that should help us to maintain our operations in future.”

Winchester said, “I foolishly let the Campaign largely take over my life and what began as a career break of sorts became seriously extended – but we all share a sense of the David Lean Cinema being a special ’cause’, and giving up in failure would have been heartbreaking. But the price of some degree of success has, in my case, been seriously depleted savings and a lack of house maintenance.

“I’m reaching the point where I urgently need to return to full-time employment in order to fund the house repairs and other work that will be needed, plus I also need to re-start my pension contributions to avoid other serious consequences.

“Leaving the campaign director position and reducing my input to the Campaign is a step I’ll take with immense regret, but in the meantime I’ll strive to make our first months as a CIC as successful as possible.”


About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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2 Responses to David Lean Cinema campaign founder decides to stand down

  1. Thanks for the coverage of these developments. Although after four years I really do need to return to full time employment, I’ve told my committee colleagues that I’ll commit myself to the Director position for three months, and of course there’s no guarantee that I’ll then find a suitable position immediately. But whatever happens, I’ll continue to have some involvement, so I won’t completely disappear.

    Back in April 2011, a combination of factors were influential in inspiring the Campaign, but hearing Ronnie Corbett say those words at the David Lean – and then seeing them reported on Inside Croydon – provided the final impetus. However, although the collaboration that got it started can be traced back to that article, the irony was that on the fateful day I saw it, I was searching online in the hope of finding evidence that someone had already stared a campaign!

    • The thanks are to you, Adrian, for your unstinting work on the campaign, with the rest of your team, which managed to turn around a bad decision, made based on dogmatic politics, rather than in the interests of local people. You and the David Lean Cinema Campaigners demonstrate weekly what can be done with some imagination and co-operative effort.

      Well done.

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