REpresentative Deputy Lieutenant for the borough of Bexley
Mr David Easton JP DL
Appointed Rep DL: 2020
David was born in SE London and has worked in the capital throughout his entire career. He served as a uniformed officer for 27 years, across all parts of London, in the London Fire Brigade, attending many of the major incidents that occurred in the capital during that period. Since 2000, David has worked for the London Borough of Bexley, and currently has responsibility for a number of departments, including the organisation and management of election events and the promotion of the Mayoralty and work of local Councillors. David is passionate about the role of the Civic and Ceremonial Mayoralty in local areas and is keen to further young people’s knowledge and understanding of this historical aspect of London’s heritage. He has served as a Magistrate on the SE London Bench since April 2006 and over recent years, as a Presiding Justice on that Bench. David and his wife, Janet, have four children and eight grandchildren.
Further information about the London Borough of Bexley can be found at http://www.bexley.gov.uk
A very special Citizenship Ceremony at Danson House
One of the greatest honours of any British citizen is to greet and welcome new citizens to our wonderful country. For many across the world, the dream of coming to the United Kingdom and going through the long process of obtaining lawful British Citizenship is something that takes many years, much determination and hard work and for many, they have to give up the chance of ever returning to their land of birth. The Citizenship Ceremonies held at Danson House, for those who choose Bexley, are always perfectly organised, beautiful in ceremony and always emotional events. The pride of those receiving their Certificates of Naturalisation can be seen, felt and shared, every time a new citizen comes forward to meet the Mayor, or the Rep DL.
These wonderful ceremonies are delivered to perfection by the KCC team at Danson House, on behalf of the Borough and the team there, led by Jane and Anna, should be congratulated for how each week their professionalism shines through. Our new residents leave Danson House with the feeling that they have joined a new family – that of the United Kingdom.
Congratulations to all of our new citizens, to the wonderful team at Danson House and a special vote of thanks to our outgoing Bexley Mayor, Councillor Nick O’Hare and our outgoing Bexley Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rags Sandhu, who both brought very individual and personal perspectives to the ceremonies they officiated at. Both of their life journeys started many thousands of miles from the UK and both continue to serve the Borough in the most caring and professional manner.
70th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice – Korean War
Thursday 27 July 2023 marked the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice of what many still call the ‘forgotten war’ – The ‘Korean’ Conflict. Hostilities and tensions had built in Korea since the end of the second World War and fighting broke out in June 1950, when the North Koreans, backed by Russia and China, invaded South Korea, which was by then, an ally of the West. Along with troops from a range of countries, approximately 60,000 British combat troops took part in this war, many thousands of miles from their home lands. 1,106 British soldiers, along with 37,000 US service officers lost their lives, but Korean casualties, on both sides, were much higher.
Although an Armistice was signed in July 1953, hostilities have never formally ceased and to this day, flareups and difficulties are experienced along the border between North and South Korea. Most British citizens did not know where Korea was, when the war began and thought that the new war, so closely following on from the Second World War, would greatly impact on British territory, but that did not happen, hence the war not even being reported much in the UK media at the time.
The Royal British Legion, as always, ensure that this conflict, along with so many others, and with those who lost their lives, are always remembered. For a tale of absolute heroism in the face of very difficult circumstances and odds, the story of the ‘Glorious Gloucesters’, in this war will never fail to remind us of the bravery of our armed forces.
The Rep DL joined the Mayor, the Mayoress and veterans of the conflict, on 27 July 2023, to lay a wreath in honour of those who fought, were injured, or indeed lost their lives. The service was led, as always so well, by The Reverend Trevor Wyatt, Vicar at Christ Church, Bexleyheath and it was an honour for everyone to be there and simply remember – We will Remember Them.
Coronation of King Charles III Weekend – 6-8 May 2023
Following the sad news that Her Majesty The Queen had passed, all eyes began to focus on the weekend of Saturday 6 May to Monday 8 May 2023 and the Coronation of our new King Charles III. As expected, the London Borough of Bexley did not disappoint in their support of the Coronation weekend and with almost 100 street parties planned, along with celebrations in the towns of Bexley, a wonderful weekend looked inevitable.
The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Rep DL (Mr David Easton) agreed to try and attend every street party and it was a very tall order. The weather did not play perfectly across the weekend, but nearly every street party received a visitor, including the local MPs visiting and joining in.
It was a wonderful sight with, quite literally, thousands of local residents taking part. Live music, rock and reggae bands, mountains of food, dressing up in uniforms, and tiaras, it truly was a magnificent weekend in the Borough. From Sidcup to Welling, to Thamesmead, to Erith, to Crayford, to Bexleyheath, Falconwood and Blendon & Penhill, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and DL joined in with the fun and celebrations. Cakes, judging best doggies, best costumes, in fact, almost best ‘everything’ competitions, along with presenting awards, medals and gifts to all children across Bexley. It was a weekend that, while exhausting to take part in, will remain a memory for everyone that took part. For many residents in the UK, this was their first experience of a Coronation celebration and Bexley certainly played its party for the new King. Here are just a few of the photos from the fabulous celebration weekend.
Visit to LB Bexley by Ambassador Osman Koray Ertaş
The Borough of Bexley and the Representative DL, Mr David Easton, were once again very proud and honoured to receive a serving Ambassador to the United Kingdom recently. Ambassador Osman Koray Ertaş, accompanied by the Turkish Consul General, Mr Bekir Utku Atahan, visited Bexley in June, in honour of the Borough’s first newly-elected Turkish Mayor.
Ambassador Osman Koray Ertaş has travelled far in his career, including working in Washington and Bucharest, but his early years, as a post-graduate student, were spent here in Britain. Ambassador Ertaş studied International Relations at Ankara University, graduating in 1996, and from there went on to gain his master’s degree in European Studies at the University of Sussex.
Ambassador Ertaş stood with the Mayor, and all of the other guests, as the Turkish National Anthem, ‘Istiklal Marsi’ (The Independence March) was played so superbly by young musicians from young musicians from Bexley Music under the leadership of their Head of School, Julie Stanning.
While at Bexley, the Ambassador met, among others, the local Old Bexley & Sidcup MP, Louie French, and members of the local Turkish communities, including the Mayor’s Chaplain, Hussain Hodja.
After refreshments, the local Rauf R Denktas Turkish School performed two readings for the Ambassador, which were very warmly received. The Mayor then thanked the Ambassador and VIP guests for visiting Bexley. The Mayor presented a plaque to the Ambassador on behalf of the Borough of Bexley. The Ambassador also spoke, very warmly about the welcome he had received at Bexley.
Greek and Turkish Cypriot Faith Leaders join at Bexley’s Mayor-Making (May 2023)
At the Annual Council meeting in May, the Rep DL, Mr David Easton, met with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot Faith Leaders. The outgoing Mayor, Councillor Nick O’Hare, had chosen Fr Thomas Koutroukis to be his Chaplain for his Mayoral year, 2022/2023. When he handed over to the incoming Mayor, Councillor Ahmet Dourmoush, we had the privilege also of meeting his new Chaplain, Hussain Hodja Chaplain for 2023/2024. It was an honour to meet with them both and having worked with Fr Thomas throughout the past year, it was clear how much had been achieved for the various communities within the Borough. Everyone is now looking forward to working with Hussain Hodja and much is planned that will see all of Bexley’s communities working much closer together going forward.
Mayor and Rep DL, Mr David Easton, present Outstanding Achievement Awards to crews at E28 Bexley & E40 Sidcup Fire Stations
The 19 July 2022 was a Tuesday and it followed the previous day, which had been the hottest day of the year so far – the temperatures had been soaring for days and on the 19th, one of the hottest ever recorded in the UK, the temperature reached over 40.3 degrees C, in Bexley.
On the morning of the 19th July 2022, after putting out two small wildfires near St Columbus School Bexleyheath, E281, Bexley’s Pump Ladder was mobilised to support a 30-pump wildfire in Upminster. The fire was declared ‘persons reported’ and ‘cylinders reported’ whilst en route – clearly a very dangerous situation.
Upon arrival, the size of the fire became apparent, with acres and acres of woodland alight, threatening surrounding properties and farms. Bexley’s crew were tasked with driving to a secluded part of the woodland and fighting a huge part of the fire with whatever means necessary. The fire had started to take a large selection of pine trees and flames were now some thirty feet high.
Due to brigade resources being stretched, because of many other large fires happening elsewhere in London, it was clear Bexley would have to deal with this fire for a period of time, on their own.
With limited water supplies and no radio communications, the crew managed to contain the high flames and stop them spreading to a nearby farm and trainline. This was achieved by the incredibly hard work of the crew, using a combination of water, beaters and creating fire breaks in the land, the whole time working in 40 degrees plus heat.
The crew worked some nine hours in those conditions that day, with little to no rest, to contain that fire as best they could. Without their hard work and dedication that day, much more land and farmers livelihood would have been lost.
Sidcup’s crew were mobilised to multiple fields alight in East London at 1230hrs on that day. They were, quite literally, the only appliance available in London at the time of mobilisation and they spent five hours, single-handedly extinguishing multiple pockets of fires, in a 45 Hectare area – an area equivalent to about 65 football pitches.
On return to the station, they were further mobilised to a block of flats alight in Walthamstow. This was a real incident that became a six-pump fire, and would have been much more, but there were simply no more appliances available.
En-route to this incident, the crew were informed from their control that there were Fire Survival Guidance calls in progress. Every crew member wore BA, fighting the fires in the 1st,2nd and 3rd floor flats. They simply state that, fortunately no injuries or fatalities were experienced at the incident, but that does not tell the whole story. The crews did not return to station until past 9pm that evening.
On the day, these amazing people, who are part of the team that is the London Fire Brigade, just did their job. What they do not say is that they worked tirelessly, giving everything they had to ensure that Londoners everywhere were as safe as they possibly could be. Each and every one of these firefighters is worthy of the highest praise, not just for that fateful day in 2022, but for every single time they report for a shift. London firefighters are there for us 24/7, 365 days a year. For all firefighters across the UK, who simply did their job that fateful day in July 2022, it was just another day – it is what they have trained for, practised and visualised and when the question was asked of them, their answer and response was unequivocal.
Congratulations and thank you to all of the UK’s firefighters.
Bexley commemorates the first anniversary of the Invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in 2022 (February 2023)
The Rep DL was honoured to join the Mayor, Councillor Nick O’Hare, and Sidcup community representatives, in February to commemorate the first anniversary of the Invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in 2022. A very special service was held in St John The Evangelist Church, Sidcup, led by The Reverend Cathy Knight-Scott. The church has been at the centre of local support for Ukrainian refugees, who are staying within the community, while their loved ones remain back in the Ukraine.
The church community has supported the refugees in so many ways, including providing accommodation to house the ‘Aid Relief’, which they send regularly down to Poland, in support of the humanitarian aid project there.
A Book of Commemoration, kept in the church, was prepared and written by Mr Barry Theobald-Hicks OStJ KCSG ADC FLS FRSA FSA(Scot). The beauty of the work can be seen in the photograph.
We were honoured to be joined by Mrs Sue Petty, Executive Director, Sidcup Partners.
Bexley welcomes the Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic of Greece, His Excellency Mr Ioannis Raptakis
Earlier this year, the Representative DL was honoured to greet the Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic of Greece, His Excellency Mr Ioannis Raptakis, on behalf of the Borough, when he visited the Mayor of Bexley, Councillor Nick O’Hare.
After His Excellency had met with The Mayor and other officials from the Borough, everyone stood as the Greek National Anthem, The Hymn to Liberty, was played so superbly by young musicians from young musicians from Bexley Music, under the leadership of their Head of School, Julie Stanning.
An extremely respected and experienced Diplomat, Ambassador Raptakis has served as the Greek Consul General in Sydney, Australia (2004 – 2007), The Ambassador of Greece to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Maldives (2012 – 2015), the Ambassador of Greece to Vietnam and Laos (2017 – 2019), Director for South Eastern Europe Countries (2019 – 2020) and since 2020 as the Ambassador of The Hellenic Republic of Greece to the UK. Ambassador Raptakis speaks many languages, including Greek, English, French, German, and Spanish.
While at Bexley, Ambassador Raptakis met, among others, the Leader of the Council, Chief Executive and members of Bexley’s Greek communities, including the Greek Community President, Mr Vasilis Tsimis and the Greek Community Priest, Father Thomas Koutoukis.
The Ambassador clearly enjoyed his visit to Bexley, the first by an Ambassador to the United Kingdom and he spent some while making friends with members of Bexley’s Greek Communities.
Bexley celebrates the Platinum Jubilee with over 150 street parties
The Borough of Bexley took Her Majesty’s Jubilee celebrations to their hearts – and out on to the streets, between 2 to 5 June 2022. Over 150 streets, roads and cul-de -acs were blocked off with bunting, food, fun and people from every part of the Borough. It was a fantastic, busy and packed few days. The Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Leader of the Council and Deputy Lieutenant were on the road for almost four days, meeting and shaking hands with, quite literally, thousands of people.
They were asked to judge the ‘best cakes’, ‘best home made crown’, ‘classiest bunting’ and the DL’s favourite, ‘the street’s prettiest doggie’ (that was a tough one, as someone was always going to be upset!). But we all escaped unscathed, apart from the DL, who apparently got married to a local resident, who he had never met before, amidst the celebrations.
It really was just the best fun and everyone spoke about the ‘uniqueness’ of the moment and the fact that none of us attending the parties would ever see such a celebration again in the shape of a Platinum Jubilee.
The photographs are but a very small selection of the amazing spirit shown by Bexley’s residents and businesses over the first weekend of June 2022.
Royal Marine Keith Phillips – Killed on the Falkland Islands on 11 June 1982
Royal Marine Keith Phillips was a young man who was born and grew up in Crayford. He attended early school at Marvels Lane Junior School, followed by The South East London School.
As a youngster, Keith was an Army Cadet in Bexleyheath. Like many young teenagers in those days, Keith liked motorbikes, music, and football. He was the eldest of three boys, his younger brothers, twins Mark and Colin were born in South London in 1965.
He excelled as a young cadet in the Borough and when he was 18yo, he immediately signed up to join the Royal Marines as a Commando. It was less than two years later that he found himself travelling down to the Falklands, as part of the 45 Commando Battle Contingent, ordered there to retake the islands, following the invasion by Argentinian forces a few days earlier.
Tragically, as he was returning from a patrol in the battle zone with his unit, he died with three other Marines in an incident where they were mistaken for the enemy. Keith died just before the main assault on Two Sisters.
Keith is remembered on all of the main Falkland Islands war memorials, both in the UK and in the Falklands, but he also has a very special plaque dedicated to him in St Paulinus’ Church, Perry Street, Crayford.
The inscription there is on a clear diamond paned window with the Royal Marine Crest inserted into stained glass. The inscription beneath reads:
In memory of
Keith John Phillips
Killed in action in The Falkland Islands
11th June 1982
His final resting place is in Blue Beach Military Cemetery in Port San Carlos, Falkland Islands.
Laying a wreath in the colours of the Falklands war Medal ribbon, Dave Easton joined Keith’s childhood friends, Stuart Wilson and his brother, Col Clinton Reilly, Cllr Nigel Betts, who knew Keith as a young cadet, along with representatives of the Royal Marine Commandos, who served on the Falklands, alongside Keith. The Chairman of the City of London Royal Marines Association, Graeme Golightly, laid a wreath in memory of a very brave, young Bexley man, who died 40 years ago.
What a day Thursday 2 June 2022 turned out to be? The weather was beautiful as the London Borough of Bexley lit 12 beacons across its entire breadth with thousands of people turning out in Welling, Thamesmead, Sidcup, Crayford, Bexleyheath and other parts of the borough to light a beacon to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.
Dave Easton, the Rep DL, joined Bexley’s new Mayor, Councillor Nick O’Hare at Danson House, in the centre of the borough to light two beacons, on queue at 9.45pm. Almost 400 residents sung along as the National Anthem played loudly across the park. The beacons were lit and a real party atmosphere across this part of London was underway, kicking of three days of street parties, fun and celebrations of our remarkable Queen.
Prayers for Ukraine – Sidcup works hard for the refugees
A very special event took place at St John’s Church, Sidcup, in May when the congregation welcomed some of the Borough’s Ukrainian visitors for a service of prayer for the nation of Ukraine and it’s people, wherever they might be across the world at this time.
Many of Bexley’s residents have opened their homes and their hearts to Ukrainians, who have fled to the UK for some safety and respite. Bexley’s DL joined the newly elected Mayor, Cllr Nick O’Hare and Louie French, MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup to meet with the Ukrainian families, offer them comfort, love and support and to pray with them for peace in their home lands. The over-riding message we heard was that they were so very grateful for all that the UK and Sidcup were doing for them, but how they longed to travel back home to be with their husbands, brothers and sons, who remain in the Ukraine, fighting for their survival.
What is clear in Sidcup also is that the Ukrainians have organised themselves, with help from the Vicar, The Reverend Cathy Knight-Scott, along with the various congregations in Sidcup, to arrange for the many gifts of clothes and other items to be transported to the Ukraine. They are working hard themselves to look after each other, support their loved ones back home and take part in their temporary new homes.
It was a privilege to spend time with them all and our hope is that they may return home safely very soon.
Happy Birthday Your Majesty – From Bexley’s newest citizens
Thursday 21 April, the date of Her Majesty’s 96th birthday, was also the date of two very special Citizenship Ceremonies in the London Borough of Bexley. The Citizenship Ceremonies have been undertaken by Kent County Council, on behalf of LBB for almost 11 years now and the ceremonies are joyous and wonderful occasions to be at.
Normally, Bexley’s Mayor attends these ceremonies, but the honour of presenting the Citizenship Certificates to Bexley’s residents is often passed to the Borough’s Representative Deputy Lieutenant It is a true and deep honour to be asked to meet the residents in this way and they are clearly overjoyed to be involved in this ceremony. It means so much to them.
As the two ceremonies fell on the occasion of Her Majesty’s 96th birthday, both groups of citizens, along with the team at Danson House and Dave Easton, the Rep DL, agreed that they should get together to sing Happy Birthday to Her Majesty and wish her a very happy 96th birthday – in this, her Platinum Jubilee year on the throne.
The team at Danson House do such a wonderful job of the Citizenship Ceremonies and each occasion feels very personal and special.
A Thank you to the volunteers at Bexley’s vaccination centres
Bexley’s Rep DL, Dave Easton recently had the opportunity to join the Mayor, James Hunt, in thanking many of the volunteers that had spent much of the previous 16 months working at vaccination centres across Bexley. A wonderful tea party was organised by Bexley Voluntary Services Council to say thank you to over 70 local residents, who had donated over 9,000 hours of their time to ensure that Bexley’s residents were able to receive their vaccinations against Covid 19. The afternoon was a great success and there was much laughter, as the volunteers recalled their work on ‘the front line’. Bexley really does have a lot to say thank you for to these amazing people, many of whom have now moved on to volunteer in many other ways. Along the way, they have all clearly become good friends and everyone of them spoke as to how much they gained from undertaking this incredibly important role – Congratulations and well done to all volunteers across Bexley, London and the UK We are all very grateful to you. Thank you.
Dave Easton enjoyed a thoroughly wonderful afternoon hearing about the stories and experiences of the volunteers in Bexley
The volunteers that assisted across Bexley’s vaccination centres enjoy afternoon tea in the former library in Erith Town Centre
The Mayor, James Hunt, with Kate Shrager, who organises the BVSC volunteers in Bexley
Palm Sunday Service
A wonderful Palm Sunday service was organised in April 2022 by the Vicar, The Reverend Cathy Knight-Scott and her team at St John The Evangelist Church, Sidcup. The Mayor, local MP and the Rep DL were all invited to take part in a dramatic reading of the ‘Passion’. The story of the arrival of Jesus Christ in front of adoring crowds, within a week, of his crucifixion on the Cross, was also portrayed by members of the clergy and the congregation.
This very special service was made even more memorable, because we were joined by Ukrainian families now living in the borough. After the service, we shared a cup of tea, some amazing cakes (All of my events seem to end in cake!) and talked in great depth about the tragedy of what was happening in their homeland. Some of those we met have family and friends living in Mariupol, where so many sad stories are becoming known.
The service was a real success and featured a procession within and around the church. It is hoped and planned that we will all meet there again next year, hopefully to catch up again with our new Ukrainian friends from Sidcup’s community.
Bexley’s DL joined members of the congregation, the Mayor, local MP, Louie French and several Ukrainian families that attended the church on Palm Sunday, 2022.
Mayor, James Hunt, local MP, Louie French, Police Sgt Steve Watson and the Rep DL join members of the Ukrainian community, now living in Bexley, at the Palm Sunday Service, 2022.
The Lord-Lieutenant’s gift tree planted in honour of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne
On 6 February 2022, the Mayor of Bexley invited the Rep DL along to Hall Place, near Bexley, to take part in a very special tree-planting. That date marked the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne and it was important that the Borough recognised such a unique and important date in the nation’s history.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE had previously donated an oak sapling tree to the Mayor, late in 2021 and it was agreed that it should be planted as soon as possible – this was such that perfect occasion. So with many thanks to the Lord Lieutenant, the Mayor and Rep DL were joined by Borough MPs, The Right Honourable Sir David Evennett, his wife, Lady Marilyn Evennett, Louie French MP and the GLA London Assembly Member for Bexley & Bromley, Peter Fortune. We were also accompanied by Councillor David Leaf, the Council’s Deputy Leader.
Many guests and residents watched as the tree was planted. Among the guests attending were the past Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Bexley, Major David Hewer OBE TD DL and his wife, Mrs Diane Hewer and we were all delighted to meet up with them again.
The Mayor of Bexley, Councillor James Hunt, is assisted by the Rep DL to plant the tree that was donated by the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London
The Mayor was also joined by the Mayoress, Mrs Christine Hunt (far right) and Major David Hewer OBE TD DL and his wife, Mrs Diane Hewer
The Mayor, Rep DL and Flt Lt Kris Cottier were able to trace the tree that was planted in 2012, at Hall Place, for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee
The plaque that accompanies the tree that was planted in 2012, at Hall Place, for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee
The Mayor was clearly giving precise instructions to the Rep DL as to how he wanted the tree planted, as Sir David, Louie, Peter and Cllr Leaf watched closely. This truly was a lovely and happy occasion and although it commemorated the passing of King George VI, it also marked the day that Princess Elizabeth became Her Majesty The Queen.
Bexley’s Cadets and Cadet Leaders awarded by the Lord Lieutenant
Dave Easton JP DL, accompanied by The Mayor of Bexley, Councillor James Hunt, joined the Lord Lieutenant and other DLs from across London recently to recognise and applaud the work of our Cadets and Cadet Leaders across the Capital. This was a very special awards evening, organised by the Reserve Forces and Cadet’s Association for Greater London where a host of well-deserved awards were presented by Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, Lord Lieutenant, Greater London.
Once again, the Borough of Bexley was well represented in the awards list and there were lots of cheers and applause as the following awards were presented to our very own Bexley winners:
Meritorious Service to London’s Cadets
Chaplain (SCC) Dlive Jones RNR, Bexley & Lewisham Unit Sea Cadets
Certificate of Commendation for Adult Instructor to London’s Cadet Movement
Sgt Paul Nasskau, 359 (Bexleyheath Squadron, Kent Wing, RAF Cadets)
Most Outstanding Army Cadet Force Detachment Commander
Sergeant Major Instructor Debbie Goodall, 106 Cadet Detachment, SE London Army Cadet Force
Army Cadet Force Citizenship Award
109 (Royal Artillery) Cadet Detachment, SE London Army Cadet Force.
Raising the Pride Flag in Bexley – LGBT History Month
Bexley’s Rep DL was delighted to be invited to join the Borough’s Mayor, Chief Executive and other councillors and officers on 1 February 2022 to stand in support of the Council’s LGBTQ+ group, as they raised a very special flag at the Civic Offices.
Tuesday 1 February 2022 marked the beginning of LGBT History Month in the UK. The group donated a new Progress Pride Flag to the borough and this was raised in Bexleyheath on that date to mark the start of a month of working and learning together about each other. The flag was designed to place a greater emphasis on ‘inclusion and progression’. Bexley’s community is an umbrella of all different kinds of people and that is what makes it and London such a special place to live. The flag aims to capture the differences and uniqueness of all people and that brings with it a unique and powerful message of togetherness.
Crayford plants a tree to honour Her Majesty The Queen
Bexley’s Rep DL, Dave Easton, was honoured to be asked to plant a tree on 6 February 2022, to mark the occasion of Her Majesty’s 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. This date marks the passing of her father, King George VI and the date that Her Majesty became Queen. Dave was proud to join Bexleyheath & Crayford’s MP, The Right Honourable Sir David Evennett and Lady Marilyn Evennett to meet Crayford’s local residents.
On 23 July 2019, Prince Michael of Kent visited Crayford on a beautifully hot and sunny day, where he unveiled a most amazing bench and witnessed the artwork, completed by local school children, that remembered the famous flight across the Atlantic by Alcock & Brown – a project with its roots firmly seated in Crayford. The tree planting in Crayford in February was organised by the Alcock & Brown Project Group, who had masterminded the whole project and visit back in 2019. Led by two amazing, local ladies – Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis and Janet Hearn-Gillham, and so very well supported by their husbands, Peter Lucia-Hennis and David Gillham, they were the brains, the engine room and the driving force behind all of the wonderful events that took place in Crayford Town Centre. They could be seen working, sometimes very late at night, or early in the morning, preparing, fixing, mending and cleaning, to ensure that Crayford looked as good as it did in July 2019. They truly are an inspirational and wonderful group of Bexley and Crayford residents.
Local residents and cadet units stood once again in February in the centre of Crayford in February to honour and show their love and respect for our Monarch, Queen Elizabeth.
The borough has a rich history of celebrating our Royal Family in this part of Bexley, with trees being planted by Princess Marina, The Duke of Gloucester and of course, when The Duke of Kent also visited Hall Place, where his tree stands and grows proudly.
The Project Group were keen to plant a tree as a perfectly fitting and acceptable way of honouring Her Majesty and the unique service she has given to her people and our country. Funds from the Alcock & Brown project Group made February’s event possible.
Bexley’s DL with Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis and Janet Hearn-Gillham, their family and friends, who have been paramount in organising the work of the Alcock & Brown Project Group
Bexley’s DL with Sir David Evennett MP, and many of the local residents, groups and cadets that joined them on 6 February to mark this lovely event
Bexley’s DL with Flt Lt Kris Cottier, who, along with his wife Clare, has worked hard for many years with RAF Cadets in the Borough of Bexley. Kris is really very well known, particularly in the Welling area of the borough and has been a keen supporter of Bexley’s Mayoralty, being the person everyone goes to for help and advice with Bexley’s Air Cadets
The beautiful stone and plaque that now sits proudly in the Waterside Gardens, Crayford, along with the tree planted on 6 February
Bexley welcomes our Nation’s new British Citizens
It is a huge privilege and honour to be able to welcome our nation’s new British Citizens. To receive their British Citizenship, each applicant has to engage in a process that can take them many years and they face challenges along the way of learning to adapt to and living in a foreign country, often without the support of close family. But, undeterred, these amazing people apply themselves and do whatever is necessary, in order that they can adopt the British way of life as their own. The ceremonies are always emotional, happy and fun events, ending in their much prized ‘Certificate of Naturalisation’ being presented to them by the borough’s Mayor, or Representative Deputy Lieutenant. Photographs are a must and there are lots taken at every ceremony. The pride and pleasure shown by each new citizen is almost tangible and the fellowship continues after the event over a tea, or coffee and always cake. Citizenship Ceremonies are a joy to attend and be a part of.
Dave Easton welcomes new citizens to the borough in Danson House, Danson Park.
Helena Mrozek from France wore the most amazing Union Flag facemask when she received her British Citizenship in December
The Mayor of Bexley, Cllr James Hunt and Bexley’s Deputy Lieutenant travelled up to Hyde Park in November to meet with the Lord Lieutenant, Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE and all of London’s other Mayors. The purpose of the visit was to receive a gift of a sapling oak tree, that had been purchased personally by Sir Kenneth, as a gift to each London borough. This gift is to mark HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy.
The aim of the Queen’s Green Canopy is to ‘Plant a tree for the Jubilee’. More information about this wonderful initiative can be accessed at: The Queen’s Green Canopy (queensgreencanopy.org)
The Lord Lieutenant is joined by London’s Mayors on a beautifully sunny November day in Hyde Park
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow – The Mayor receives the sapling oak tree from the Lord Lieutenant
In November, the Mayor of Bexley, Cllr James Hunt and the Representative Deputy Lieutenant attended the Annual Service of Remembrance in Bexleyheath, in memory of all those who have been affected by war and lost their lives since 1914. When that event had finished, the Mayor and the DL toured the borough, visiting individual war memorials and privately laying a wreath. These very quiet and personal visits have become a tradition in itself here in Bexley now and it provides an opportunity for reflection, thanksgiving and personal prayer on behalf of all Bexley’s residents that have given so much in times of war.
The War Memorial at Callender’s Cables & Construction Co Ltd, Lower Belvedere
The War Memorial in Danson Park, which sits in memory of those who served and lost their lives as prisoners of war in the Far East, during the Second World War
The War Memorial, situated in a wood in Bexley, that remembers the boys from the 1st Bexleyheath Scout Group that gave their lives during both World Wars
Four amazing young people from the Northumberland Heath Boy’s Brigade & Girls Association were the very proud recipients recently of the Association’s Queen’s Badge and certificate. A packed church witnessed each young person receive their award from the Borough’s Deputy Lieutenant and everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Carol Service. The lovely evening was rounded up when everyone enjoyed a drink a slice of that cake.
Charlie Newnham receives his Queen’s Boy’s Brigade & Girls Association Certificate and Badge from Dave Easton
Nellie Silver receives her Queen’s Boy’s Brigade & Girls Association Certificate and Badge from Dave Easton
Sophie White receives her Queen’s Boy’s Brigade & Girls Association Certificate and Badge from Dave Easton
Charlie, Nellie and Sophie proudly showing of the cake that had been specially prepared for the occasion. Sadly, another BB colleague, Lily, could not be at the presentation event.
In September, the Lord Lieutenant held the annual Lord Lieutenant’s and Greater London RFCA Awards Ceremony in Central London. The borough’s Deputy Lieutenant, joined by Councillor Nigel Betts, who is Bexley’s Armed Forces Representative, and also the SSAFA rep (The Armed Forces Charity) in the borough, attended the event and witnessed awards being presented to some of London’s most amazing Cadet Association personnel.
Two of Bexley’s young officers received awards at the event.
2Lt Jay Russell, 107 Cadet Detachment ACF Bexleyheath was there in person to receive his award “in recognition of outstanding service to the Army Cadet Force as a Detachment Commander 2020”.
Signaller Glenn Buckett, 71 Yeomanry Signal Regiment Bexleyheath, was not able to attend the event. Glenn was awarded ‘Volunteer Reservist of the year 2020 Runner-up’. Glenn’s citation read: The award is given to the individual whose outstanding achievement in any military field over the previous 12 months have not been recognised by any other award. Glenn’s award was received on his behalf by a colleague officer.
2Lt Jay Russell and his colleague with their awards. Also pictured are the borough’s Deputy Lieutenant and Councillor Nigel Betts.
Bexley’s Rep DL was delighted to accept an invitation to visit 106ACF at one of their get-together nights recently, in Sidcup. Dave was made to feel very welcome and he enjoyed meeting and watching the cadets undertake drill training, as well as some more ‘fun’ and serious events, It was clear, as Dave spoke with all of the cadets that the ACF is a youth organisation that welcomes everyone, all ages up to 18yo and there is a role for everyone. The cadets looked amazing in their uniforms and it was clear that they were proud to be there, hosting Dave and Bexley’s Mayor. Dave was able to present a Deputy Lieutenant’s Certificate to SSgt Louis Clark and other awards to several of the cadets.
Dave Easton presents the Deputy Lieutenant’s Certificate to Staff Cadet SSgt Louis Clark.
Presenting the prestigious DOE Gold Award to Cadet Instructor Jordan Farrelly. Having now reached the age of leaving the ACF as a cadet, Jordan has now returned as an adult instructor.
A group of five cadets administered first aid to an elderly gentleman, who had fell and broken his ankle. Each cadet received a certificate to congratulate them on their fantastic response.
Among the cadets that Dave Easton met was Savanah Senior. Savanah is a fairly new cadet, but is thoroughly enjoying her new-found role in the ACF.
The 2020 Best Royal Signals Cadet Detachment Award
Saturday 26 June 2021 was a very important date for 107 Detachment, GLSE Sector Army Cadet Force. Not simply because it was Armed Forces Day 2021, but it was the date when they were presented with the most prestigious of awards – Best Royal Signals Cadet Detachment in the UK 2020.
2Lt Jay Russell and his young cadets were presented with a certificate, a plaque for their wall in the barracks and a model of ‘Jimmy’ – Mercury, the Roman God of Communications, which is the primary role of the Royal Signals.
2020 was a tough year for our nation’s young people in particular, but over 50 cadet force detachments went online and undertook some 20 difficult challenges throughout the year – sword drill, bake-offs and even building their own ‘jimmy’ at home!
The judges commented: ““We were astounded by the variety, quality and immense amount of training that has been achieved, despite the challenges of COVID-19 over half of the training year. The creativity and commitment in delivering virtual training by so many cadet detachments was inspirational. “We were also taken aback by the achievements of the cadets as individuals and their amazing commitment and resilience during such a testing year.”
It was a real honour and privilege for Bexley’s Representative DL, Dave Easton, who joined Bexley’s Mayor, James Hunt and The Right Honourable Sir David Evennett MP and the Council Leader, Teresa O’Neill, to meet and congratulate Jay Russell and the young people of Bexley, who are under his leadership.
The highlight of the morning for everyone attending was the screening of a very special message that the Lord Lieutenant, Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE had prepared and recorded especially for the occasion. At the end of Sir Kenneth’s message, he invited Cadet Ziggy Ajibode to march forward and raise the new Corps of Royal Signals flag, which had been presented to the detachment on that day.
The Mayor of Bexley congratulates the young Cadets of 107 ACF
The plaque, certificate and the model of ‘jimmy’, which forms the basis of the regiment’s cap badge
The Mayor of Bexley presents the plaue for best ACF Detachment to 2Lt Jay Russell
107 ACF’s cadets with 2Lt Jay Russell and their detachment Sgt (Holding the model of (Jmmy’)
A close-up of the certificate that was presented by the Mayor to 2Lt Jay Russell
Raising the Flag for Armed Forces Day
Bexley’s Representative Deputy Lieutenant, Dave Easton, joined the Mayor of Bexley, Councillor James Hunt, and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Teresa O’Neill, on Monday 21 June 2021, to raise a flag, denoting the start of Armed Forces Week 2021.
The annual event takes place across the Capital and culminates in Armed Forces Day, this year on Saturday 26 June. It is a wonderful opportunity for Bexley and the rest of the UK to recognise and to say thank you to all of our armed service communities and our veterans, for their service to our nation.
While the numbers attending had to be reduced this year, the event was incredibly well supported, including attendance from Borough’s MPs, Sir David Evennett and James Brokenshire. The local Fire Borough Commander and representatives from Bexleyheath Police also attended, to say thank you to the Royal British Legion and Veteran attendees.
The short service of thanks was led by The Reverend Mark Blakely, who is the current Mayor’s Chaplain.
The Armed Forces Day flag can be seen flying on the flagpole furthest to the left of the photograph.
One minute silence for HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
Bexley’s Representative Deputy Lieutenant, Dave Easton, joined the Mayor and MPs from across the borough on Saturday 17 April to stand in silence outside the Civic Offices, Bexleyheath, in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh, whose funeral service was being held at Windsor Castle at that time.
(From left to right: Councillor Teresa O’Neill, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, The Right Honourable Sir David Evennett MP for Bexleyheath & Crayford, Councillor James Hunt, Mayor of the London Borough of Bexley 2020/2021, Dave Easton JP DL, The Right Honourable James Brokenshire MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup & Minister for Security, and the Borough’s Macebearer, Mr Paul Holloway).
The Mayor said: “It is so important that we remember and recognise the wonderful and fun experiences that thousands of Bexley’s young people have benefitted from by taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. He personally created and promoted the activities, remaining close to the ethos and organisation of the scheme, even after he formally retired from public service.
We remember, with great fondness, his visit to the former Civic Offices and Bexleyheath town centre on 13 March 1984.
His loss will be felt deeply, not just by his family and the people of the United Kingdom, but across the Commonwealth and around the world.”
On Tuesday 15 September 2020, Dave Easton, Representative Deputy Lieutenant, LB Bexley, joined the Mayor of Bexley and other dignitaries, outside the Civic Offices in Bexleyheath, to commemorate Battle of Britain Day 2020.
It was a warm, bright and dry day, much as it was back in September 1940 and the sounds of an air-raid warning were once again, sounded over the borough, along with the iconic music of Dame Vera Lynn and the sound of a Spitfire.
Dave spoke about the attack on Buckingham Palace that was averted by a brave fighter pilot, who used his Hurricane aircraft to, quite literally, barge the enemy plane, which was aiming directly for the Royal residence. The pilot’s brave actions saved the palace from further damage and the scene was recreated in the film, The Battle of Britain.
The RAF Ensign was hoisted and flew throughout the week of commemorations.
On Saturday 15 August 2020, Dave Easton, Representative Deputy Lieutenant, LB Bexley, joined the Mayor of Bexley and Borough representatives in Danson Park, to commemorate VJ Day 2020.
In the centre of the park is a simple, but poignant memorial to the Far East Prisoner of War Association (London). The stone memorial, along with a cluster of 21 oak trees, was placed there on 21 November 1985, by a former Councillor of the borough, Alec Pease, who was himself a prisoner of the Japanese Army in Burma.
The two stars that sit on top of the memorial are actually cast from the medals that were awarded to Alec. His son, Edward Pease, attended the event and laid a wreath on behalf of all Prisoners of War in the Far East.
Dave spoke about the wartime experiences of his father, Charlie Easton, who was himself captured by the Japanese Army in Burma.
Bexley’s representative Deputy Lieutenant, Major David Hewer OBE TD D, and the Mayor of Bexley, Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis, planting a tree to celebrate National Tree Planting Week 2019.
The Lord Lieutenant, Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, CStJ, FRSA, FBCS, encouraged the borough’s Deputy Lieutenants to plant a tree during this year’s event. Major Hewer contacted the Council and a decision was taken to plant a Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica Glauca) in the grounds of the beautiful Danson House in Danson Park, Bexley. The tree was placed very close to where the Lord Lieutenant himself planted a tree in 2018.
Set overlooking the award-winning Danson Park, Danson House is a Grade I listed Palladian villa, It was officially re-opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in July 2005. Built by Sir John Boyd in 1766 for his second wife Catherine Chapone, Danson House was originally designed by architect Sir Robert Taylor (who was also the architect of the Bank of England). In the twentieth century, the house fell into an almost ruinous state. In 1995 English Heritage identified the house as ‘the most significant building at risk in London’, signalling the start of a decade of restoration. In 2005 the restored interior opened to the public for the first time in thirty years.
Trio of Bexley Organisations win Faith Award
Bexley’s winners are Basics of Sikhi Sunday Katha in the Inspiring Youth category; Bexley Interfaith Forum in the Interfaith Relations section; and part of the Promoting Inclusion winners is the Yog Foundation. Their work was celebrated at the London Faith and Belief Community Awards ceremony on November 26 at the Royal Society of Medicine.
The Faith and Belief Forum is an interfaith organisation, supported by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Greater London’s Council on Faith.