With so many negative things happening in the world in general it’s sometimes easy to overlook the positive side of life. So let me take the opportunity to thank and praise people, writes Toby Wood of Peterborough Civic Society.
Much has been spoken and written about Peter Boizot who was the embodiment of the notion of giving something back to the community. Peter and his contribution to the city should never be forgotten, so our civic leaders should consider how best to commemorate his achievements.
Perhaps recognition at the new Peterborough University may be suitable – a building or faculty could be named after him. And Peterborough United should consider a long-lasting tribute, perhaps by naming a stand, area or room in any new ground or facility. Better still, Peter used his money to fund projects across the city that bridged arts, sports and entertainment. So what better way to honour him than to name a new bridge after him! BBB – Build the Boizot Bridge!
As part of publicising the Civic Society’s blue plaque scheme, I have been asked to speak to a wide variety of groups who are interested in what the society has done so far, and what is planned for the future. Consequently I have talked to a wide variety of community groups, Rotary clubs, U3A groups, social clubs and Women’s Institutes all over the city.
As I travel round Peterborough I am constantly amazed at just how vibrant they are. Invariably, many of these groups consist of older people who are always welcoming, courteous and full of life and zest. They also meet in rooms and halls that are clean, tidy, well looked after, and usually bright. These groups provide a focus for people, as well as companionship and are vital voluntary networks which help to support, care and watch out for their members. Without these groups, the incidence of loneliness and isolation would undoubtedly grow.
It would be invidious to name these groups individually, but I would like to recognise their contribution to Peterborough life. You all know who you are! However, I will break my own rule by naming the venue with the comfiest seats – Glinton Village Hall – unless you know different?
Another specific group I would like to say thank you to, is that little group of litter pickers/rubbish collectors that patrol our city centre. I often see Peterborough’s very own gilet jaunes (without the revolutionary bit) quietly getting on with the job of trying to keep up with the seemingly never-ending task of keeping the streets spick and span with their litter pickers and trolleys.
Of course this job should be completely redundant but, until it is, many thanks to you! My point is illustrated by the splendid Elvis aka Chris Lambert, so expertly caught in the accompanying photograph by Chris Porsz (thanks for the photo Chris!). There are many other individuals and groups that deserve recognition – I merely use Elvis to illustrate my point – I hope his ears are burning!
Civic pride isn’t just about buildings, heritage, planning and environment. It’s about people who, individually and collectively, take responsibility for caring for and promoting the place in which they live.
It’s about having a positive attitude to our city and finding ways to play a part, however small. If only our national politicians demonstrated the same levels of positivity and commitment that I have encountered on my travels around this city. Oh well, we can only hope!