The Great Get Together

Fire Brigade photos courtesy of Martin Poole ( All other photos courtesy
of Andy Hasson (

A message from one of the event organisers:-
It was I think a very happy day. I saw the full range. A young girl cartwheeling down Upper Hamilton Road the moment the road closed sign went up, the three girls secretly practising their street dancing in the Hall because no one was there. Lovely games for the kids, quorate PCA meeting, the random bubble man who turned up from nowhere, the firemen….well, a long queue is all I can say……..
Magic Mike and his music, you are SO kind to do that for all of us Mike, Carolyn and the best playlist ever, all the bar staff, hanky waving Morris, choristers, Disco divas, the busiest bar ever at the Chimney and the yummiest free cakes from Joes. Mega quick clearing up …… and Bunting. Bunting is the best …. as is cake and shared food and laughter and kindness and friends and smiling at strangers ….
Because that is Prestonville.
That’s you.
Thank-you. x

Football Panel

A fascinating evening of informed comment on the “beautiful game” mixed with occasional insights into the more controversial aspects of the sport. Excellent contributions from all the panellists, under the expert guidance of local journalist and author Nick Szczepanik.

Journalists debate questions about English Football from a transfixed audience.
The Football Panel evening kicked off with Nick Szczepanik, author of Pulp Football, taking on the job of chairing, and he was flanked on either side by two football journalists. On the left Ian Winrow Football Editor at Wardles and Andy Naylor Chief sports writer at The Argus, then on the right Paul Hayward from the Daily Telegraph and Adam Powley Lecturer and acclaimed author.
First question coming from the audience was about Brighton and Hove Albion. Andy Naylor, Albion correspondent gave his expert opinion. The audience was incredibly focused and silent, you could hear a pin drop, as the opinions from the stage filled the hall.
Nick superbly fielded the questions with tact in his distinctive voice.
At the interval time the conversation of the audience flowed. Everyone was talking. Hum of voices rang around the hall into the rafters deep in discussion. The Hall suddenly became alive. The intense silence had been broken. Men and a few ladies huddled together in little groups with a pint enjoying football topics. The journalists mingling with the audience.
The second half was an open forum.
The audience returned to their seats now more involved and more vocal and asked direct questions regards journalism and stories coming to light. Censorship and sensitive topics like Youth football and the controversy involved.
A question generated a discussion about the Arsenal manager then moved onto the Tottenham manager.
“What happened to Manchester’s bid to be the centre for football or does London still command the top players due to the high wages?”
The journalists commented on the chaos of agents and agencies over owning footballers especially the very top players.
A point was raised for the need for regulations to be put in place.
“Is the FA fit for purpose?” a direct question from someone in the front row. The conclusion – the urgent need for reform.
English football was compared to other countries and the revenue it generates.
Heated topics stirred up at the close of the evening lightened by humour and the wit of Nick Szczepanik.
Angela Mackay

Photos courtesy of Andy Hasson –

Phones for Refugees

Our Phones for Refugees event on Friday was a great success. Thanks to everyone who donated cash or devices.
Leila Crerar and Caroline Lucas MP (below) spoke movingly about the plight of refugees in Europe. Your phones and laptops make an important contribution to helping some of those refugees get connected.
If you weren’t able to attend the event but would still like to help Refugee Info Bus   – a small grassroots charity that started in the Calais “Jungle” refugee camp and which provides free WIFI to refugees together with Legal and Human Rights education – you can find out more details, and also make a donation, by clicking here.

Photo © Andy Hasson

Prestonville History Night

The Hall was filled to capacity as the neighbours of Prestonville listened intently to the history of their streets and roads.
Andy from Brighton & Hove Stuff explained how Prestonville was built in small stages with a few houses at a time because it was expensive and were usually let rather than bought because buying was not commonplace then. He showed us a useful reference annual called the Kelly directory which recorded every inhabitant that lived in each street and what they did for a living. Then the directories were phased out when phone landlines arrived. Stanford Road was one of the first streets and when the railways started to flourish the streets west of Stanford grew and the fields were developed into streets. Stanford School was used as a hospital during the war. There was a gun siege in Buxton Road in 1984 and beneath Exeter Street Hall they found Saxon burial remains.
The Argus newspaper closed its printing presses when computers arrived. Andy was offered and acquired the Argus picture library going back many years of thousands of photographs. He showed us a black and white photo of school girls on Brigden Street.
Rob from Step Back In Time has made his living from selling postcards and prints of Brighton & Hove. When postcards were invented in the 1800’s they were blank. If you affixed a stamp and posted it, it only took a couple of hours to arrive for example in Portslade from Brighton. Then the law changed and larger picture postcards became available. Once again he has several thousand photos of Brighton.
At the end of the evening the lucky raffle ticket winner received an illustrated street map of their choice of Brighton.
Angela McKay

They helped save the floor – and brought down the roof!

‘Stand up to Dry Rot’ Comedy NightExeter Street Hall 12th March 2017
There was not a dry eye in the hall as we weeped with laughter at a selection of excellent stand up comedians and superb MC whisking back and forth linking several comedians. First act was Ben giving a hysterical miming rendition of Lady in Red to a local Dad in the front row. Margaret came on stage next offering us ‘motivation’ and a sort of life coaching session for the audience with an American accent and straight face that occasionally at the end could not control the odd smirk escaping. An Australian bartender by night in London who came especially to do this gig talked about her sad but funny life as a twenty something. After the raffle prize of a game for cats was won by a cat owner the top bill act stepped foot on stage with a strong confident singing voice. Strumming his words on an accoustic guitar of what it is like to find life on the dodgy side of 40.
The ‘Stand up to Dry Rot’ comedy evening formed a substantial and specific part of the £3K fundraised to treat the dry root on the hall floor. And now the restoration and repair work has the go ahead this Easter.

All photos © Andy Hasson (