Charity Concert For Japan Earthquake appeal

Columnist - Ron Smith

By Ron Smith our cultural correspondent
Photos by Chris Hurwitz Bremner

Trinity Church (Nether Street – near Tally Ho) was the perfect venue for this final charity concert in aid of Diabetes UK, held on Saturday 28th May. Eighty Finchleans enjoyed a wonderful evening of superb music and song which was performed by truly gifted and accomplished young talent, too many to mention, who delighted us with their skilful performances on a variety of instruments

The programme included pieces of Classical music by ten of the Youngsters which included a very mature performance on the Cello by Anoushka Sharp, and a brilliant performance of Chopin  Etude No 4 in C sharp minor (piano) by Tiffany Cheng.

Concert photo

The Adults performed Classical and Pop including Japanese songs by Apparei with Hideaki Domon on guitar, and Norikazu Saruyama (vocal), whilst Kofi Karikari gave a powerful exhibition of Percussion instruments and wonderful rhythm.

The evening ended after three hours with all the performers and the audience singing “HEY JUDE” by the Beatles.

A vote of thanks was made to Chris Hurwitz Bremmner at Trinity Church for the use of it, and his great support and help in organising the events over the month.

Concert photo

Thanks were also given to Maki Asano who organised the show with help from Shino and many other helper. Entrance was only £5 and the event raised £400.

The donations will be sent to the children’s music group in Kesennuma in Miyagi, Japan to buy new instruments to replace the ones destroyed and lost in the Tsunami and Earthquake.

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As Tennessee Ernie Ford once sung: “Another month older and deeper in work”

Or was it “Another day older and deeper in debt”? No matter as what I am trying to say is, it is the end of May and I have just posted June’s editorial to 1 Editorial which you can find right at the top of the page. Whilst I am in “reminder” mode, remeber, I posted the June events a few days ago at 3 Events, also along the top of this page.

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Underground problems over the coming weekend – do you want these every week?

London Underground

Blackfriars Tube station on the District and Circle lines will be closed until late this year for Thameslink redevelopment works.

Cannon Street Tube station on the District and Circle lines will be closed every weekend until mid-2012 for redevelopment works.

Farringdon Tube station on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines will be closed all weekend for Thameslink works.

The Circle line will be suspended all weekend due to line upgrade work at Edgware Road.

Bond Street station on the Central and Jubilee lines will be closed before 6am and after 11pm on Saturday and before 7am and after 11pm on Sunday due to major escalator refurbishment work

The District line will be suspended all weekend between Earl’s Court and Kensington (Olympia) and between Edgware Road and Wimbledon due to line upgrade work and track replacement work.

The Hammersmith & City line will be suspended all weekend between Baker Street and Hammersmith due to line upgrade work.

The Jubilee line will be completely suspended on Sunday morning until 8.15am. Between 8.15am and 9.30pm the line will be suspended between West Hampstead and Stanmore, and after 9.30pm it will be suspended between Waterloo and Stanmore due to line upgrade work.

The Metropolitan line will be suspended on Sunday between Aldgate and Uxbridge due to track replacement work.

Northern line trains will not stop at Tottenham Court Road until late November due to station improvement work.

The Piccadilly line will be suspended on Sunday between South Harrow and Uxbridge due to track replacement work.

The Victoria line will be suspended all weekend between Highbury & Islington and Brixton due to track improvement work.

Resignation letter of Lynne Hillan, leader of Barnet Council

Leader of the Barnet Council steps down

At the last council meeting on the 17th May, Councillor Lynne Hillan, Leader of Barnet Council, announced she was stepping down as Leader with immediate effect – but you all knew this! However, you may be interested in reading her resignation letter which was read out in full at the meeting.

The Chief Executive of the Council read out the following statement from Cllr Hillan.

“As many of you will know I have been receiving treatment for cancer for some time. Over recent weeks my condition has worsened and I have had to reconsider my role in the Leadership of the council.

“Each and every day I have represented the people of Barnet as a councillor has been a great privilege and I feel particularly honoured to have served as Leader over the last year and a half. Rather to my surprise, I have also enjoyed it.

“The last few decades have seen dramatic changes in the borough, particularly with Barnet becoming a far more family orientated place. I’ve seen these changes in my own street. In part this is down to the work the council has done in supporting its residents, particularly through our excellent schools.

“When I first took up my post as Cabinet member in children’s service we had 11 schools deemed inadequate by Ofsted. During my time in the council we have developed the best state schools in London and I was thrilled that during my Leadership the children’s service received the highest possible rating from Ofsted. And having fought to keep special schools open at a time when other councils were closing theirs, I am delighted that all of our special schools have during the last year been rated as outstanding.

“It’s a sign of how well the council now serves its residents that I can also look back on my time as Leader and see that adults social services – the portfolio for which I have greatest affection – also received the highest possible rating from its regulator.

“During my time as Leader I have seen Barnet Council find its place firmly on the national stage. We have a reputation as a pioneering and innovative council, not afraid to challenge the status quo or push the boundaries.

“We have paved the way for national pilots such as Right to Control and community budgets and we have constantly looked at new ways to involve residents in the running of their services.

“This has not just been down to the willingness of the council to put its residents at the heart of everything we do. It is because Barnet is a place where community really matters, where people care for their neighbours and where there is already a Big Society. In some ways I feel the national mood is catching up with Barnet, rather than the other way round.

“My son Ben constantly complains that I and my friends talk about nothing other than politics. And I’m afraid I can’t think of any time when this has been more true than over the last 12 months when we have worked to establish a three year budget that leaves us well prepared to face the future.

“I am proud that we’ve been able to set a budget that will continue to protect services for those who most need the council’s help and support.

“As one might expect, the people of Barnet have understood the challenge we face and our budget meeting, the last I have been able to attend as Leader, took place without the histrionics we saw in some other places.

“I know we have got a very strong Cabinet and my colleagues will be more than able to provide the Leadership the council will need over the coming years.

“I am immensely grateful for the advice and support that Cabinet and group colleagues have given me during my Leadership.

“I am sure that the manifesto on which we ran and won in the last local elections will provide a clear agenda for the borough in the future.

“There has been a growth in cynicism about politicians and their aims. But I have been proud to have worked with both colleagues and opponents who have a deep commitment to public service and an ambition to better the lot of all of Barnet’s residents.

“In all my time at the council I hope you will agree I have been a fighter; fighting for my ward, fighting for better services for residents and fighting for a better deal for Barnet.

“I now have other, more personal battles to fight, and I cannot fight these while holding the responsibilities that Leadership of the Council brings. I am therefore announcing that I am standing down as Leader of the Council.

“I wish you well.”

The caretaker, Councillor Andrew Harper (current Deputy Leader) will look after matters until a new leader is elected.

An evening’s free wine-tasting at Finchley’s Majestic Wine Warehouse – hic!

Majestic courtyard

The Majestic frontage in Ballards Lane

by Pam and Andrew Taylor

Every now and again – a few times each year – we receive an invitation to a wine tasting at Majestic’s warehouse, 204 Ballards Lane (N3 2NA)

Their phone number is 020 8346 5852 we should warn you that the wine tastings are only for customers and their guests

We always try and go to these wine tasting evenings as it’s a good way to discover new wines and we meet some really pleasant people there.

We don’t have a car any more, so we pop along to check out the wines and, as Majestic are in the EasyFundraising scheme, we order on the Internet when we get home and they deliver to us free of charge.

Because Majestic are, in principle, wholesalers, you have to buy a minimum of twelve bottles per order. However, recently, they have reduced the minimum to six bottles, but you have to collect if you buy in this smaller quantity.

Wine tasting at MajesticThere were less of visitors this time, although admittedly, we do tend to go earlier, before we have dinner which also avoids the crowds and we get more time talking to the experts.

Wine tasting at MajesticThe evening did prove to be very sociable, even earlier on, and we were also able to promote the Arrow.

Wine tasting at MajesticWine tasting at MajesticThere was some delicious cheese, salamis and French bread supplied by Vallebonna, Italian and Sardinian food and wine, in Wimbledon. The cheeses and meats certainly assisted with our enjoyment of the various wines. We tried wines from New Zealand, France, Italy, Chile and even the Lebanon. There was one particular wine everyone seemed to rave about, including us. This was the “Saint Clair” Pinot Noir 2009 from New Zealand which was on offer at £14.39 a bottle. The lowest price on the tasting was at £4.79 (Concho Y Toro Sauvignon Blanc from Chile) and the most costly was a £17.99 (Chateau Musar 2003 from the Lebanon). Yes we were also surprised at such a costly Lebanese wine!

Wine tasting at Majestic

The staff were extremely friendly, knowledgeable and helpful and we are pleased that they always start the evening off for everyone with a small glass of champagne.

If you ever receive an invitation to a wine tasting, I recommend that you give it a try. However, you have to bear in mind that “You have to be in it to win it” as invitations can only be sent out if they have your address. Go to their website at and click the register button in the top right corner. You will receive special offers at the beginning of each season, and three or four times a year a special invitation to an evening’s wine tasting. They have been known to hold a professional wine-tasting, with an expert, where we all sit down at a table for a few hours.

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We have six different events to offer you tomorrow (Saturday) in Finchley, are you free?

We have now put the June events up on our events page, look along the top of the page for 3 Events.

And, of course, as this is only the 27th, we have left on the May events between the 27th and the 31st. In fact there are six different events to go to tomorrow so you can’t say there is nothing on offer in our growing community.

If you are holding an event and you’d like it written up in the newspaper, why not invite a journalist and photographer to attend? You never know, we might be able to twist one of our volunteers arm to attend! And, the publicity, even after the event, may draw more members to your group.

However, we would prefer it if one of your group could take the photographs and write the articles rather than you having to give us complimentary admission. We have so few volunteers we find it hard to stretch ourselves at the best of times. In fact, if you jot down a series of notes, Andrew can easily weave them into an article for you.

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The recent recital at St-Mary-at-Finchley Parish Church


A marvellous evening of songs and arias, was performed at St- Mary-at-Finchley Parish Church, London N3 on Saturday 21 May 2011

 “Churches together in Finchley” are a gathering of more that a dozen churches embracing six denominations from every corner of Finchley. It has been around as an organisation under a variety if titles for about 40years, and Christian Aid is one of the many actions.

The songs were sung by Rachel Weston, and Carl Gombrich. The piano soloist, and accompanist was Yukiko Osedo,

The recital started at 6pm approx, after 180 people aged from one year old through to very senior persons, were treated to a delightful programme of songs from Rogers and Hammerstein , Sondheim, Verdi, Gilbert and Sullivan ,and a delightful rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody sung by Rachel and Carl .

Carls version of the Mikado was brilliant, and a thrilling performance of The White Cliffs of Dover by Rachel and Yuki, had most of the audience in full voice, which ended a superb evening.

 You can find out more about Rachel Weston at she is married to Carl Gombrich who is the Director of the Arts and Sciences (BASc) undergraduate degree programme at the University College London (UCL)

Carl has sung in over 30 major operatic roles with various National Companies. He is also on the committee of Friends of Avenue House in Finchley.

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