THE PAPER WINTER 2018 | ISSUE 7 | BROUGHT TO YOU BRITAIN’S OLDEST PUB | YEOLDEFIGHTINGCOCKS.CO.UK
CLASS ACT Stars back local charity Page 3
ON TO A WINNER YOFC scoops two awards at food and drink festival Page 5
THE BIG INTERVIEW From Bourne to Bond… Page 6
Help our pubs get the Chancellor to St Albans
GROUP of St Albans pubs, local businesses and community groups are asking local people to join their campaign to persuade the Chancellor Philip Hammond to visit our city to see first-hand the devastating effect that the hike in business rates is having on their city’s pubs. The Save St Albans Pubs campaign is calling for an urgent reform of business rates, and so far they have managed to enlist the support of Anne Main, MP for St Albans, after going to Parliament to present their case to her. She has since joined them on a walking tour of the local pubs (pictured), which was led by Sean Hughes, landlord of The Boot and chairman of Save St Albans Pubs, Christo Tofalli, landlord of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and vice-chairman of the campaign group and Mandy McNeill, also vice-chair of the group. Following on from her visit to the city, Main has written to the Chancellor to invite him to meet St Albans landlords. The Chancellor has recently announced plans to cut rates by a third for those retail premises with a retail value below £51,000, and although Save St Albans Pubs said this was “a positive step in the right
direction”, it will not help many St Albans pubs, which have a higher rateable value than this. The total increase of rateable value on St Albans city pubs went up 56% after the Business Rates Reform 2017, and this is not evenly spread with two city pubs seeing rises of more than 200% and two-thirds of the city’s pubs seriously affected. The pubs impacted would need to sell 200,000 extra pints per year to cover the hike. Tofalli said the group is fighting “an extraordinary hike in business rates that is causing pub closures and the loss of jobs and tourism in our city”.
“Unless we have reform and relevant taxes, licensing laws and duty costs, this pub is over. The way business rates for pubs are calculated makes no sense at all – using turnover doesn’t work for pubs. The pubs that are in the really high value areas of the city end up putting the prices up to make a profit and this damages businesses. “Our pubs generate £40 million per year for our local economy, employ 1,600 people, pay £20 million in wages and are vital in local food chains by supporting farms and businesses. Our pubs raise hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for local charities
and community groups. This is a part of the pub culture that often goes unsaid, but is part of the fabric of being a community pub. The St Albans pubs family works tirelessly to help others. But we now need your help with this campaign. We have to get the Chancellor here to see how destructive this hike is for most of our pubs, or our very existence is threatened.” For info on how you can help, read the campaign group’s newsletter, and follow Save St Albans Pubs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @SaveStAlbansPubs and savestalbanspubs.com. There will be information about joining the supporters’ club, a Save St Albans Pubs pub crawl, how you can volunteer to be part of the campaign and how you can support the campaign through donations.
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Landlord’s hasty drivel THE YOFC PAPER WINTER 2018
Some want to call it editor’s notes, but I’m not having any of it
s I write this, Christmas celebrations are just beginning in the city. Our Christmas menu is every bit worth our third in a row Best Pub in the St Albans Food and Drink Awards.
This is a chance to say we are all so proud. Without the care, dedication and belief in the dream from our hard-working loyal team, the country’s oldest pub would not be the gem it is. I am very much looking forward to the Meraki Christmas Festival. It won’t only be fun for all the family, it is a lifeline to the many local businesses that will benefit from the many thousands of people visiting our city. It’s been a hard year for many of the independent businesses, with an onslaught of business rate rises so this event is essential to everyone that
shops locally. We have a marvellous and a very special array of independent businesses from clothes to pubs, please make sure you use them. My worry is the landscape may change forever already so we really need to look after what we have. Now. Carols til closing is by far my favourite event of the year with Father Richard on Thursday 20 December at 8pm. It’s going to be big with a special guest from the Abbey, the Sub Dean, Abi. It rhymes already, it’s going to be good. Then we end the year and welcome the new one in with
“It’s been a hard year for many of the independent businesses, with an onslaught of business rate rises so this event is essential to everyone that shops locally” my favourite and the best band in St Albans – Katie plus Juan. Not to be missed. Get your tickets soon. Merry Christmas everyone and let’s hope 2019 is a year of good fortune for everyone.
WHAT’S ON IN QUARTER 1 (AND A BIT OF XMAS 2018) St Albans Christmas Market St Albans Christmas offering is a special one this year with festive events spread over three locations all run by Meraki, the organisers of the summer festival. The Meraki Christmas Festival kicked off on 30 November in the Vintry Garden, and will be there until 22 December. The Herts Showground will he hosting a week of the Meraki Christmas Festival from 30 November to 6 December, then the festival will head to Verulamium Park from 8-22 December. merakichristmas.com
10 December at 8pm at The White Lion, then heads to The Boot on 13 December, The Mermaid on 17 December, The White Hart Tap on 18 December with the final round of carol singing with the odd Christmas favourite thrown in at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks on 20 December.
Christmas at YOFC Christmas at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is quite an affair with sumptuous dishes, fine wine and a range of real ale. There is something for everyone on the Christmas menu which is available until 22 December. Three courses costs £35 per head and includes a glass of prosecco. To book, go to firstname.lastname@example.org
New Year’s Eve at YOFC Raise a glass to the end of 2018 and get ready to welcome in 2019 at UK’s oldest pub with the amazing Katie Plus Juan.
Carols ‘til Closing Father Richard Watson, Vicar of St Saviour’s Church, St Alban, will be warming up his vocals in the lead-up to Christmas as he prepares to lead five evenings of carol singing and festive merriment at some of the city’s much-loved pubs. The legendary Carols ‘til Closing pub tour kicks off on
HAVING FUN IN QUARTER ONE There’s LOADS going on in and near the pub in the first three months of 2019. JANUARY ST ALBANS MUSEUM + GALLERY – 1 December-3 March Game Plan at the Museum An exhibition running in the St Albans Museum + Gallery which celebrates the joy and excitement of playing board games - Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered, curated by the V&A Museum of Childhood. stalbansmuseums.org.uk
ALBAN ARENA – 11 January Beyond The Barricade Anyone who loves musical theatre cannot miss this concert, now in its 19th year. The UK’s longest running Musical Theatre Concert Tour features past principal performers from Les Miserables. With two hours of the best of Broadway and the West End, ending with a stunning finale from Les Mis. alban-arena.co.uk FEBRUARY ABBEY THEATRE 8-16 Feb Company of Ten presents Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey Beautiful Thing is a gentle and hugely optimistic play. Teenagers Ste and Jamie are both being bullied. Ste seeks refuge at Jamie’s, and their awkward but joyous relationship develops. MARCH ALBAN ARENA – 20 March Nish Kumar, It’s In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves Double Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee Nish Kumar is taking his brand new show on a national tour of the UK! He’s the host of The Mash Report, and is on Live at the Apollo (BBC2), Taskmaster (Dave), Live From the BBC (Netflix), QI (BBC2) Have I Got News For You (BBC1) and Joel & Nish Vs The World (Netflix/Comedy Central).
Stars of stage and screen give support to local charity THE YOFC PAPER WINTER 2018
Credit: Rankin and Sarah Dunn
WO of the biggest names in British acting, Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley OBE, have thrown their support behind a local charity in calling for the wealthy to donate their Winter Fuel Allowance to help others in need this winter. The charity, Small Acts of Kindness distributes vital Warm in Winter packs to those suffering from the cold and, with more donations, will be able to help more people across the county. The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free state payment of between £100 and £300 which will be given to all those of 65 years and older, and is not means tested. This means that many people who do not need this money, will receive it, while there are other older people who cannot afford to keep their homes warm. Most payments are made automatically between November and December. Dame Judi said: “If you receive this allowance but don’t need it, why not send your payment to the charity Small Acts of Kindness. They help older people who are really struggling to keep warm when the cold weather hits by giving them practical Warm in Winter packs. It’s so important to think of others who are less fortunate in our society, and this is a simple way of making a real difference to people’s lives.” Joanna Lumley says that donating the allowance could actually save lives. “It is a little shocking that we have many older people who are actually having to choose between food and heating, when there are thousands of people receiving this lump sum who don’t need it, and would much rather their payment benefitted someone who is struggling to keep warm
Joanna Lumley and Judi Dench have given their full support to Small Acts of Kindness this winter. It isn’t possible to automatically have this payment redirected to someone more needy, although I know that an awful lot of people would want to – so I would absolutely urge anyone who gets this benefit, but doesn’t need it, to donate it to the charity Small Acts of Kindness, so they can distribute thousands more Warm in Winter gift bags to older people this winter, and actually save more lives than they are usually able to.” As the weather is forecast to turn bitter, and even snowy, the CEO of the charity, Lynne Misner, says the support of Dame Judi and Joanna could save lives. Lynne says: “It is a fact there are older people across the country who are having to choose between eating and heating when the weather gets cold. “We are hugely grateful to Dame Judi and Joanna Lum-
ley for taking time out of their busy schedules to give us their support and call for those who do not need this allowance to donate it to us so we can help others. “These wonderful women are both national treasures and are thinking of others at a time when others sorely need our thoughts.” This winter is predicted to be one of the coldest winters in decades and the Small Acts of Kindness charity will distribute more than 5,000 practical Warm in Winter gift bags to older people in need in Hertfordshire. If more people donate their Winter Fuel Payment, they can help considerably more people who are in danger from the freezing temperatures. If you want to donate your allowance to the charity this winter, visit, smallactsofkindness.co.uk or call on 01923 372717
OLLIE Foundation employee wins Chamber award THE OLLIE Foundation’s first employee, Verity Bramwell, has won the Chamber of Commerce Community Business Young Employee 2018 Award. The charity, which funds training to help prevent young people committing suicide, has since employed its second employee, Amy, and has delivered its first fully funded training. It has also seen the release of a short suicide awareness film, Ollie. The charity will be releasing training dates for 2019 shortly. It has also confirmed the details of its Morgan Falconer memorial golf day on 23 May 2019. For more details, go to theolliefoundation.org
A fine mid-Victorian farmhouse of great charm & Character Model Farm Approached by a long tree-lined drive (Langleybury Fields), Model Farm is a fine mid-Victorian farmhouse of great charm and character that retains many original features. It provides light and spacious family accommodation that was designed to take maximum advantage of light and aspects to south and west over the parkland. There is scope for extension (Subject to Planning Consent) â€“ Entrance Hall l Cloakroom l Drawing Room l Dining Room l Study l Farmhouse Kitchen l Larder l Utility & Laundry Room l Basement l Landing l Four Bedrooms l Dressing Room l Two Bathrooms l Attractive lawned Garden to 3 sides l Ample Parking l Stables l Approx. 3 Acres Paddocks l Further c8.25 Acre Field (by separate negotiation). Model Farm is in a most attractive environment that is well placed for access to major local centres and excellent road & rail communications. It is about 1 mile from A41 (J20) and within 2 miles of M25 and Kings Langley station (for Euston). St Albans - 1/2 page 210mm x 148mm
For professional advice on all property matters, contact Aitchisons on 01727 855556
THE YOFC PAPER WINTER 2018
YOFC does the awards double Credit: Stephanie Belton
E Olde Fighting Cocks was honoured to pick up not one, but two awards back in the autumn at the St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards. The public of St Albans and surrounding areas voted for their favourite food and drink businesses at these annual awards and the pub won the award for Best Pub for the third year running – which was fantastic news for Christo and the team. However, the pub also took home a special award for Food and Drink Champion, for Outstanding Achievement, and, although it has Christo’s name on it, he dedicated the award to his loyal team. Other winners included Charlie’s Coffee and Company, which took the accolade for Best Hot Beverage, a new award category this year. Lussmanns won
the award for Best Restaurant for a Special Occasion and the title of Best Newcomer went to Heartwood Tea Rooms in Sandridge. More than 190 businesses and individuals were nominated for these awards. The Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Cllr Rosemary Farmer, who opened the awards ceremony at Sopwell House hotel, said: “It’s
a real achievement to win one of these coveted awards which highlight the fantastic food and drink businesses we have here in St Albans District. These food and drink businesses have obviously struck the right note with the public. I congratulate all the winners for their hard work, customer care, culinary and hospitality skills, and passion for what they do.”
Popular strongman contest returns to St Albans venue YOU may have seen the UK Strongest Man competition on Channel 5 recently. If you did, you probably recognised St Albans, and the athletics track in Verulamium Park, where it was filmed, which is just a short hop from YOFC. Well the good news is that it proved so popular in the city that it’s coming back in 2019. And the team behind the tournament have some great events planned in the lead-up to the main competition that will be taking place at the athletics track again from 26-28 July. The team will also be working with local businesses and charities to put on this family event with a festival vibe. It sold out fast last year, so don’t miss out for your Strongman fix this year. Tickets available from ultimatestrongman.tv/
HELPING OUR CITY SHOP LOCAL THIS CHRISTMAS The ST ALBANS GIFT CARD is here in time for Christmas. It’s the ideal stocking filler, handy last-minute gift and perfect for that ‘hard to buy for’ person. For details of everywhere that sells and accepts the new St Albans Gift Card, pop by stalbansgiftcard.co.uk Brought to you by St Albans BID
AD M IS SI
‘It would be great to b THE YOFC PAPER WINTER 2018
INCENT Franklin is as versatile an actor as they get, and, with a string of recent successes under his belt, is very much in demand. Seen in September on our TV screens playing the Minister of State for Counter Terrorism Mike Travis in the BBC’s most successful drama for 10 years, Bodyguard, you can see him now at cinemas as magistrate Rev Ethelston in Mike Leigh’s historical drama Peterloo (“grit and brilliance” says The Guardian) and in the very popular crazy Christmas comedy Nativity Rocks. His past credits are too many to list but include movies such as The Bourne Identity and Vera Drake. He is also one of the funniest actors of his generation, and moves effortlessly between comedy and serious drama. Well-known for playing the buzz-word-mad Stewart Pearson in The Thick of It, he had me in hysterics as the wedding planner in Confetti, was very moving as the troubled but lovable Henry in the Channel 4 drama Cucumber, and has nailed many hard-hitting parts on the London stage. Vince has lived a stone’s throw from the pub for years and brought his children up in St Albans, but he hails from Bradford, and his accent - and I venture to say ‘Northerness’ hasn’t left him. Although hugely entertaining company (with a super-quick wit and vocabulary to rival the late Terry Wogan’s) he is as far away from the stereotypical acting luvvie as you can get. I asked him about his
successful acting career, why he also has a ‘normal’ job, and why he made St Albans his home.
Hi Vince, I know you are mad busy! What’s your day-to-day schedule like? I have no schedule. I just listen to the Today programme on Radio 4 until I can’t stand it any more and then deal with whatever plate’s about to fall, whatever fire’s getting out of control. I have a book to finish writing (or I’ll have to give the publisher their money back), some voice-overs to do, a load of stuff about pensions to write for my ‘other job’, and our children are getting ready for GCSEs and A’ levels, so there’s nagging to be done. And I’ve a reading to get ready for the Institute of Cancer Research’s carol concert. I also have to do my accounts, or I’ll go to prison. Were you surprised by the phenomenal reaction to Bodyguard? I was surprised. I knew the script was great – Jed Mercurio’s no slouch, and there were some great people in it, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into viewers. Making people wait a week between episodes, rather than encouraging them to binge the whole series on the iPlayer, helped. It meant people ‘owned’ the series for a week – arguing over watercoolers and pints about who was guilty and who could be trusted – before they found out what happened next. It became an event – like Bake-Off with bombs! Congratulations on the positive reviews for Peterloo. What was this film like to work on? I’m really proud of being part of Peterloo. It’s a terrible and important part of our history that hardly anyone has heard of. Working with Mike (Leigh)
Vincent recently played the role of Mike Travis, Minister of State for Counter Terrorism, Bodyguard, the BBC’s most successful drama for 10 years (main picture). He has also recently starred in Mike Leigh’s latest film Peterloo (picture below)
Credit: Channel 4 and World Productions
Sophie Banks catches up with St Albans resident Vincent Franklin, who many of you may recognise from the BBC’s hit series of the decade
is fascinating, exhausting and sometimes frustrating – his films are created through improvisation, so you can’t just learn the lines and turn up. I love the research – especially as most of us were playing people that really existed back in 1819. So there’s loads of research, and not just the big political stuff, but what your character ate, what music he listened to, what poets he read. You can’t really improvise with Mike until you have a robust history with lots of colour that can inform all your choices – sorry, this is sounding a bit pretentious. But improvising as Ethelston was great fun. He was a monster. And it’s great to play monsters. You get to think the things, say the things, do
the things, that you’d never do yourself. His confidence in his own world view is terrifying. And he did have a great wig. You also have many stage credits to your name. Which medium do you prefer? All actors say ‘stage’ don’t they? You’re certainly more in control on stage than you are on film or telly. There’s nothing between you and the audience. But I like being at home in the evening with my wife and kids and I need to pay the mortgage – so theatre is an indulgence that I only allow myself now and then. I think the secret is to make the most of the thing you’re doing now rather than wishing it was something else.
be a Bond villain...’ THE YOFC PAPER WINTER 2018
to be the Home Secretary and then to turn up at a conference and talk to 300 lawyers about language. Why do you live in St Albans? We moved here 17 years ago when all this was fields. We couldn’t afford to move here now. It’s as close to Yorkshire as you can get and still be at an audition in London in 40 minutes – or four hours if the Thameslink isn’t being co-operative. It’s a really comfortable place to be – maybe a bit too comfortable. We mustn’t fool ourselves into thinking that it’s real. No real place has this many coffee shops. We’re only one up from a town invented by Disney. What’s your perfect weekend? My perfect weekend is with my wife. And, if they can spare the time, with my kids too. There’s probably a walk involved. And some cooking.
What was your first role? My first role was ‘sheep’ in the nativity play at Haworth Church. It just meant crawling on your hands and knees with a sheepskin rug on your back. It hasn’t changed much since really, except the rug’s now likely to be on my head. Is there anyone you’ve always wanted to work with? Mike Leigh, so that’s a box I’m lucky to have ticked. And working with the late Victoria Wood turned a hero into a mate. But if I ever got the chance to work with Alan Bennett, that would be the full set. What would be your dream part? Ohh, I don’t know. It would be
great to be a Bond villain. But if I could do a voice for a Pixar film, that would be the ultimate – as long as it wasn’t the voice of some dull human. Would you ever go in the jungle? Or on any other reality style show? I’d no more go into the jungle than I would have a colonoscopy in Piccadilly Circus. Good luck to people who do it, but it’s not for me. What role would Mike Travis be playing in the whole Brexit manoeuvres? Mike knows how to be the last man standing. He’s a careful, precise, planner. So, I suspect he’d just wait until they’ve all destroyed each other’s
reputations in public and then he’d step in and ‘reluctantly’ take over.
What’s your favourite tipple? Oh that’s easy – bitter in a pub, red wine in a restaurant, (don’t care that it’s fish we’re eating), whisky sour if I’ve accidentally landed in a cocktail bar, and a whisky mac if it’s Christmas.
You are so in demand right now – but I know you also co-run a successful communications agency (Quiet Room) with big brands as clients. Do you still need the safety net that a ‘normal’ job gives you, given how busy you are on our screens? I don’t think for a minute that a few good years means you have a ‘career’. I might never work again. And as a pessimist, I know the day you take down your safety net is the same day you miss the trapeze. And doing lots of things is what life’s about, isn’t it? It’s great to spend a few weeks pretending
What’s coming up for you in 2019? I’ve just finished filming Gentleman Jack for the BBC and/or HBO. It’s written by Sally Wainwright, the woman behind Happy Valley, and it’s based on real people from the 1830s. I get to be a villain again – my own carriage, my own bank, and a great dog! There’s a bit of tidying up to do on that and then it’ll be on telly next year. Meanwhile, I’ve got to finish writing this book – which I’m writing with local author Alex Johnson – that’ll then be out next year.
The YOFC Times catches up SAB – the St Albans Business Community set up by Popdance founder Sue Wybrow in 2009 – to find out what 2018 has been like for this growing community
What a SAB year it has been What an incredibly interesting year it’s been for The Businesses Community St Albans! Otherwise known as St Albans Businesses! We’ve had a slight rebrand. We’ve had a slight name change. We’ve got a fantastic new website. We’ve opened Business Communities in Enfield, Milton Keynes, Welwyn and Hatfield and across Bedfordshire. And we’ve started a Business Community Worldwide. But the core of what we started hasn’t changed. We set up The Businesses Community to support businesses, to give them a platform to get their businesses out there no matter what size - from start-ups to large corporations. For people to find out more about the incredible people behind these amazing businesses. To work together, collaborate, share ideas, help each other out and to build a community for all things business. The Businesses Community website is a place where businesses can showcase what they do, where they can share
what they do, where they can share their expertise, why they started their businesses, share their events, feature their products and services in the #ShopLocalShop – making it even easier for people to
Looking back at 2018 we’ve been reflecting on lessons learnt at My Mustard. In order to move forward successfully, sometimes looking back on what we’ve learnt is just as important. 1. Make your brand clear and consistent. From your front door to out and about to online, your brand should be instantly recognisable and memorable. Even if you do want to amend, update or simply change it, your brand should still be the essence of what you do.
#ShopLocal. Where we feature those businesses via our social media platforms – giving them a wide, active and engaged audience to showcase their businesses to. So businesses don’t have to do
2. Innovation and technology may be constantly changing but one simple thing remains the same: your clients. While we are continually keeping up with the latest marketing tools, the clients’ needs are basically the same. As long as you focus on your clients’ requirements, then you are already half way there. What’s important is to combine what your client wants with what technology best fits this need. 3. Your team is your most important resource. The knowledge and creative input from your colleagues cannot be underestimated. Share information by regular communication and you’ll be overwhelmed by what you can learn!
everything themselves – where they are supported, encouraged and are very much part of the TBC Team. We’ve had quizzes, socials, exhibitions, events, jellies, monthly Team Up meetings, BizCom our quarterly publication, the TBC Thank You Bank, ecomms, videos, roundabouts, year planners, days out and lots and lots of amazing new members join the team. Come and join a truly incredible business community! The Businesses Community – Where Anything’s Possible thebusinessescommunity. com
4. Get out there and network. We may all be guilty of getting on with the job in hand, but let’s not forget that networking is the best way to meet new contacts, share ideas and build on existing relationships. And it puts a smile on your face. And there’s usually coffee and if you’re lucky, wine. 5. If something’s not working, then don’t be afraid to change it. After all the analysing, number crunching, time, effort, resource and hard work, if it’s not right for your business, your clients and your team, it’s not a weakness to accept defeat. Learn and move on.
Radio Verulam and YOFC Advent Calendar takes to the airwaves
Credit: Andy Lawrence
Radio Verulam is the radio station for St Albans. Weâ€™ve teamed up with YOFC Magazine to bring you some great deals and Christmas cheer from local businesses. Each morning at 8am we will be opening an advent calendar window and revealing whatâ€™s behind it. Join Kerry and the Good Morning St Albans team weekdays from 6am to get you up and out with a smile and the latest news on your commute.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY 2019 FROM THE TEAM AT YE OLDE FIGHTING COCKS
Come and visit Santa in our winter wonderland!
£9.99 per child*
To make your visit to Santa’s Grotto extra special, include a visit to our Winter Wonderland restaurant for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. Burston Garden Centre, North Orbital Road, St Albans AL2 2DS Tel: 01727 832444 @BurstonStAlbans /BurstonGardenCentre @burstongardencentre
To book tickets visit www.burston.co.uk or call 0131 513 9541** Terms and conditions apply* a booking fee of £1.50 applies per transaction** Calls charged at standard rate. Adults charged £1 charitable donation.
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LOUDBIRD PR AND COMMUNICATIONS Want to see your business grabbing the headlines or trending on social media for all the right reasons in 2019? Then get in touch with us, Sophie and Angie at www.loudbird.co.uk
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LOUDBIRD PR AND COMMUNICATIONS Want to see your business grabbing the headlines or trending on social media for all the right reasons in 2019? Then get in touch with us, Sophie and Angie at www.loudbird.co.uk Credit: Charles Baker
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY 2019 FROM THE TEAM AT YE OLDE FIGHTING COCKS
THE YOFC PAPER WINTER 2018
star welcomes New £1m sixth-form opens TV St Albans teens to THE YOFC’S nearest secondary school Marlborough Science Academy has invested more than £1 million in a new sixth-form building to accommodate the school’s increasing number of post-16 students. The new block will be known as the Merlin Centre, named after Merlin Williams, a much loved and highly respected colleague, who passed away two years ago. Students have been involved in the whole design and build process of the new building, which will be able to cater for 250 post-16 pupils – 50 more than previous numbers – with more than 20 A Level and BTEC subjects to choose from including Maths, Politics, Photography, Classics and Psychology to name but a few. There are a further five subjects available through the Alban Learning Partners consortium with St
new stage school
Merlin Williams’ wife Cathy and children Albans Girls School, Loreto College, Samuel Ryder Academy and Townsend CoE School. The two-storey building has its first floor dedicated to post 16 students with a café, a silent study area, two post-16 classrooms, toilets and two offices. The ground floor of the new building has three classrooms, including one for music, IT and a general teaching space. Current post-16 students have
welcomed the opening of the new building. George Chaney, 17, said: “The silent study area has already meant I can make serious headway with my revision and exam preparation.” While Yasmin Ali, 17, said: “The social area is stylish and, the sofas are comfortable. The variety of food served here is also really good. The “choose your own filling” is a really popular idea with students.”
We GOLD WINNERS IN THE NATIONAL COMMUNITY RADIO AWARDS FOR SPEECH & JOURNALISM FOR THE PARENTS’ SHOW!
ST ALBANS teenagers Victoria Beavis and Sam Jackson-Hale (pictured below) who attended Marlborough Science Academy and St Columba’s College, have started their Diplomas in Performing Arts at TV star Pauline Quirke’s new full-time performing arts school in London. For those who want to follow in their footsteps, audtions will be taking place next year at The Pauline Quirke Academy in King’s Cross on 21 February, 11 April and 27 June. To apply, go to pqastudios.com
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THE YOFC PAPER WINTER 2018
The EYES (on St Albans) have it
EZ Levy is a local guy, brought up and schooled in St Albans, but his 35 years in the eyewear business took him all over the country, and saw him run outlets in Glasgow and Newcastle, as well as nearer home, in the heart of Soho. But his strong links with this city eventually brought him home, and the man who has supplied and styled celebrities such as Chris Eubank, the Pet Shop Boys and Martin Freeman, opened his first store in St Albans, EYES on St Albans, in the summer. EYES on St Albans in The Quadrant in Marshalswick offers the highest quality stylish eyewear and comprehensive eye care to consumers. Stocking cutting-edge brands favoured by the A list, such as the full collection by current must-have New York brand MOSCOT (worn by Johnny Depp, Lady GaGa, Leonardo Di Caprio and David Beckham). It is one of the only stores in the country to stock all of these aspirational brands under one roof. “I have always wanted to bring the highest quality eyewear and eye care to the residents of my home city, who I know are discerning about how they look and feel,” says Jez. “This is the only store of its kind in Hertfordshire,” he says. “My mantra is that it’s all about design, quality and service, so all three elements have to be on point. We have the highest quality, most stylish eye-
wear money can buy, but I also need customers to know we are committed to looking after their eye health, so we use the latest advanced eye-testing equipment too. “I’m so passionate about the quality of the eyecare that we’ve even created our own eyewear cleaning fluid and cloths (Squeaky Clean) and a complimentary self-service top-up facility in the shop, so that our customers’ most valuable assets – their eyes, are treated perfectly.” The frames – and sunglasses – he sells are the latest styles from the highest quality designers, and so unsurprisingly, the retail space reflects this. It is all urban brickwork, specially commissioned mirrors and unique pieces of art, and is designed to feel more Soho or New York (where the imported tin ceiling comes from) than St Albans. The customer experience reflects the premium aesthetic; there is always a cup of the best coffee, on offer, and Jez prides himself on being able to take one look at a customer and advise them on the pefect styles to suit their faces. “Shopping for frames is tricky,” he says. “Having an expert advise you on style can make all the difference in how good you look in your glasses.” And, if all this wasn’t enough, the store
also has complimentary prosecco on offer, and even its own EYES on St Albans dedicated prosecco fridge. Proving beyond doubt that this local man really does know the residents of his home city best. A must visit, so take a trip to St Albans soon to meet Jez and his fantastic team at The Quadrant, Marshalswick, St Albans AL4 9RD 01727 838003 www.eyesonstalbans.com THREE HOURS FREE PARKING
THE PERFECT GIFT FOR ANY OCCASION Gift vouchers and luxury spa packages available at Verulamium Spa Please call 01727 736087 to book or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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