It’s panto time!

Oh no it isn’t…

Oh yes it is, and in Charlton as well! On Thursday 24, Friday 25 and Saturday 26 February, the Alexandra Players will be performing Dick Turpin by Peter Webster at the Alexandra Hall on Bramshot Avenue. It might not be the most traditional of panto tales, but all the elements are there – the Dame, the baddy, the comedy policemen, the pantomime horse…

The Saturday matinee is already sold out, but there are still tickets for evening performances, which start at 8pm. For tickets you can send an email, stating your name, how many tickets you want and for which night, to


Football for £5 at The Valley on Saturday

Charlton Athletic are hoping for a sell-out crowd at The Valley on Saturday with all tickets for their home match against Exeter City priced just £5, and are rolling out the welcome mat for the club’s neighbours to come and sample the atmosphere with the side on the up.

The deal comes six weeks after the club was sold, and a month after Addicks favourite Chris Powell was installed as manager. The team have won all four matches so far under the new boss, including last weekend’s 3-2 victory over Peterborough United.

Tickets usually start at £17.50, but the club’s new owners want to increase attendances at The Valley, which have slipped as the club tumbled through the leagues. From seeing sell-out crowds of over 27,000 in the Premier League – when club executives were looking at expanding the ground to a 40,000 capacity – crowds have fallen to below 14,000 in League One.

The Addicks are now comfortably in the play-off places following the win over Peterborough.

“Chris Powell’s appointment as manager is just part of the renewal that is already going on under the new owners,” said head of club development Rick Everitt. “Helping us to build the crowd and atmosphere at The Valley is an important contribution fans can make to try to ensure that our stay in this division is as short as possible.

“We need fans to spread the word to their friends, extended family and neighbours that this is their chance to come along and see what football in SE7 has to offer.”

Tickets are available from The Valley box office (open weekdays 9am-5pm) as well as online or by calling 0871 226 1905.

Could royal charter save Maryon Wilson animals?

Maryon Wilson Park, Charlton

A royal charter could prevent Greenwich Council from closing the animal centre at Maryon Wilson Park, according to the head of its users’ group.

Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks chairman Tim Anderson told local podcast In The Meantime the parks were given to the council’s predecessors under the condition that it kept the park’s deer in place.

Council officials have drawn up plans to withdraw £43,000 of funding from the centre, which risks closure if outside funding cannot be found. Cuts to government grants have left the council with a £62m hole in its budget.

Mr Anderson told ITM, which is presented by Charlton Champion contributor Matt Clinch, that the park was gifted by the Maryon Wilson family under a serious of “covenants and indentures”.

“It has to retain its rural nature, it has to have access to the public, it has to have toilets, and the Maryon Wilson family also gifted the deer,” he explained.

“We understand this was done under a royal charter. I’m not sure how aware the current councillors are of this, but [a council leaflet] states a royal charter exists, signed by Henry VIII, stating the deer must remain. It could well be the deer are protected along with the rurual nature of the park.

“It’s a special place, and it was gifted for a special purpose. As the friends of the park, we’ll work with the council on whatever they come up with, but we’re saying to the council – don’t give a closure date, we can work and solve the problem. We want the council to take the initiative – and they may have a legal imperative to do that – and listen to what people are saying.”

Mr Anderson said he was not consulted about the plans, and had first read about them on The Charlton Champion – even though a member of the council’s cabinet, Woolwich Riverside councillor and culture spokesman John Fahy – is a member of the group.

He said he feared the park could become a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour without the animal centre, which he said was “unique in London”.

Greenwich councillors are due to formally vote on next year’s budget at a meeting on 2 March. Charlton councillor Allan MacCarthy, who sits on the council’s scrutiny committee which is dealing with the cutbacks, told a Charlton Central Residents Association meeting on Monday it was difficult to persuade those unfamiliar with the animal centre of its worth when there were competing demands on the council’s agenda.

“It’s very hard when you’re talking about people’s jobs,” he said. “Especially when they don’t know the facility and what it does for the neighbouring schools, and even people who are just walking past.”

At that same meeting, fellow Charlton councillor Janet Gillman said her husband – Kidbrooke with Hornfair representative and mayor-to-be Jim Gillman – had asked officials to drop a £30,000 “mayor making” ceremony in his honour because of the financial situation.

The full interview with Tim Anderson can be downloaded from the In The Meantime website or via iTunes. Photo above courtesy of Flickr user Pisci.

Glenn Tilbrook back at the Anchor and Hope

Squeeze singer and SE7 resident Glenn Tilbrook is back playing free shows at the Anchor and Hope on Tuesdays in February – so that’s starting tonight, then, with support from Ceri James and Andy D.

(Thanks to Transpontine for the reminder. Above is a clip of Glenn covering Black Sabbath’s Paranoid last year, instead of him doing his new material last month, since the geniuses who run EMI think allowing their artists’ new music to be promoted through embedding YouTube videos will somehow damage their massively indebted business. )