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The Last Word – Toni Horton

I’m Toni Horton and I live in SE21 with my husband and two cats.

I am a Life Coach and I work with my clients to help them make positive changes that move them forward into the life, career or relationship that they wish for.

What brought you here?

I was born in Camberwell and grew up in Streatham. I knew the Dulwich area through visits to family and friends and first visited the Dog (Crown and Greyhound) when I was two weeks old. I moved to Dulwich in 1987 and I’ve been here ever since.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t do without?

If I can only have one thing then it would be the Rumsey Pharmacy and Post Office. The staff are so lovely and always go the extra mile to help everybody.

Do you know your neighbours?

Yes I do – I have fantastic neighbours. It’s the first place I have lived where everybody on the road knows each other and we look out for one another. I love our road, it’s a great place to live, we go for dinner and drinks and have the occasional street party.

Do you belong to any groups?

I’ve recently joined the Cooking with Scissors networking group. It can be isolating working for yourself so it’s great to meet a bunch of local business people. I also go to Pilates in Dulwich classes run by the amazing Sandie Ennis.

Describe your perfect weekend…

My perfect weekend would be a mix of reading the papers, having my hair and nails done at Steel Hair, bit of walking, bit of shopping, a pub lunch, an exhibition and then maybe dinner with friends.

Where are you likely to be found on Saturday?

Buying a loaf of Peckham Rye at The Brickhouse and after that you might find me enjoying one of the activities above.

What is your favourite place to eat?

If I go into town one of my favourites is J Sheekey, but one of my new favourite places locally is Banh Banh in Peckham Rye. Even more locally is my friend Susie Pajares house. She is a great Chef and sitting at her kitchen table is always a treat.

The best meal I’ve ever had…

Was probably at The Sportsman in Whitstable. The food is amazing, the staff are lovely and it’s always a great experience. They win lots of awards and this has made it even more difficult to get a table. You have to book about 6 months in advance but believe me, it’s worth the planning.

When I want to relax…

I book a massage with Perfect 10 Mobile Beauty followed by an afternoon in front of the TV catching up. Then maybe a quick doze. Oh, and probably chocolate when I’m watching the TV.

If money was no object…

That would make all kinds of things possible but I would definitely still be a Life Coach – I love my job!

The book I’m reading at the moment…

Just Kids by Patti Smith. I started it years ago and have no idea why I didn’t finish it. It is Patti’s early memoirs and covers her life with Robert Mapplethorpe in New York in the 60’s and 70’s. I think her writing is truly beautiful.

My perfect holiday…

If I’m going on holiday I like to have a mix of relaxation, sightseeing and shopping. So for this I love the States, in particular California and New York. Closer to home I love going to Corfu. I also went to the Amalfi Coast a few years ago for a weekend and can’t wait to go back there one day.



Thalia Droussioti wins Stevie Award for Women in Business

Thalia Droussioti, a longstanding resident of Dulwich who is also the founder and CEO of international media company Global Listings, is named the winner of the hotly contested Stevie® Award in the CEO category for Women in Business for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

Following thousands of submissions from more than 60 countries, the Stevie Award winners were unveiled in a glittering ceremony in Manhattan on Friday night and the event was also broadcast via Livestream.

Thalia Droussioti said: “I am genuinely delighted and truly honoured to be a recipient of the world’s premier business award! It has been a hugely exciting journey to reach this moment – and for my achievements as both a female CEO and entrepreneur to be recognised by such a distinguished panel of international experts is incredibly flattering. I’ve also loved meeting the other nominated top female executives from around the world, each of whom has their own success story to tell.”

Michael Gallagher, President of the Stevie Awards, said: “The judges were so impressed with the accomplishments of all of the Stevie Award-winning women and organizations. The 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business received a record number of nominations and had a record number of ceremony attendees. We congratulate all of this year’s Award winners for their achievements.”

The Stevie Award recognises and celebrates the achievements of female executives, entrepreneurs and the organisations they run – worldwide – and is one of the world’s most coveted business prizes. Now celebrating their 14th year, the Stevie Awards have firmly established themselves as the world’s premier business awards for Women in Business.

This year’s winners of the Stevies were determined by an independent panel of 170 judges, serving on five specialised committees. The judges included many of the world’s most respected executives, entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders. There are seven Stevie Awards programs, each with its own focus, list of categories and schedule.


Dulwich runners storm into national cross country final

The winning team (Left to Right): Annabella Bailey, Ivana Tymczyszyn, Gaby Stein, Daisy Pickering, Phoebe Bowen, Louise Maignan).

Runners from James Allen’s Girls’ School have qualified for the National Cross Country Cup final after double victory in the South East qualifying round.

Cross Country runners from James Allen’s Girls’ School took on schools from across the South East in the regional qualifier for the 2017 National Cross Country Cup and finished first in the individual and team standings.

Phoebe Bowen shot to victory in the Under 13s race finishing in front of more than 100 of her rivals. She was also part of the overall winning team with her team mates, Annabella Bailey, Ivana Tymczyszyn, Gaby Stein, Daisy Pickering, Phoebe Bowen and Louise Maignan. The six girls will now head to the national finals in Sevenoaks on 25th November.

The competition, organised by the English Schools Athletics Association, took place on 11th November and was run over a distance of 2.5 Kilometres.

Phoebe also competes for the Herne Hill Harriers and her victory adds to the first places she took last month in the Run Southwark schools race and the Surrey League cross country in Reigate. Louise and Annabella also finished in the top 5 of Run Southwark race.

This is the second regional success for the school’s athletics team in recent weeks. Last month six girls from JAGS’s senior and junior schools qualified for the national biathlon final (running and swimming) after winning their South East qualifying rounds.


The Christmas Herne Hill Free Film Festival

The Herne Hill Free Film Festival is celebrating Christmas with 9 free events this December, across a range of venues in SE24. The festival runs from the 7th – 20th December with a programme that includes Christmas classics, festive fantasies and, for the scrooges, a few Santa-free films too!

At each event the Herne Hill Free Film Festival will be partnering with Norwood and Brixton Foodbank, to raise awareness of the great work the charity does and to bring food and support to those in need in the local area during the holiday period

Dates: 7th December to 20th December 2017

Venues: Various locations around Herne Hill, SE24

Price: All events are free; no booking is required, but all venues are indoors and have limited capacity

Full Programme:

The festival programme kicks off on the 7th December with a screening of the Oscar winning Babette’s Feast at the Herne Hill Baptist Church. This screening marks the start of the Herne Hill Free Film Festival’s partnership with the Norwood and Brixton Foodbank, at one of the group’s collection points. This means that people coming to any of the festival’s films in December will have the opportunity to bring food or spare change, all of which will be donated to Norwood and Brixton Foodbank so that people in our local area will be able to get the emergency food and support they need this Christmas.

We’re busy on 9th December as not only will we be running a rolling afternoon of Festive Family Shorts at the Judith Kerr Primary School’s Christmas fair but we will also be bringing Elf back to Herne Hill. After making its Herne Hill Free Film Festival debut in 2016, Jon Favreau’s holiday favourite sleigh-rides its way to Holy Trinity Church to spread a little early Christmas cheer in this family friendly screening. This is followed by the slightly less festive Paris, Texas at the Lido Café on the 10th December, marking the recent passing of Harry Dean Stanton with probably his finest film.

Makerspace makes a return to the festival’s programme on the 14th December with a screening of the British classic The Italian Job, transporting audience members from a cold December evening in London to the sunnier climes of late-1960s Turin. After a two-film break, Christmas is then back on at the iconic All Saints Church which hosts a foot-tapping French Christmas on 16th December with Catherine Deneuve’s and Nino Castelnuevo’s musical romance The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. This venue captivated audiences for the first time at Christmas in 2016 and this year it looks set to do the same, with the richly-coloured restoration of this 1964 classic.

On the 17th December Aardman’s Arthur Christmas comes to the Copper Beech Café at JAGs Sports Club. This venue is a newcomer to the area in 2017, and the Herne Hill Free Film Festival is excited to be able to able to pay a visit to screen this animated tale of a Christmas that almost goes wrong.

On the 19th December palm trees then replace Christmas trees on the screen when Jet Trash, the critically acclaimed 2016 British-Indian film shot in Goa, comes to The Prince Regent. Members of the cast and crew will be attending this film, and they have kindly offered to put down their mulled wine and mince pies to answer questions from the audience! The festival finally closes on the 20th December with a traditional European Christmas tale of horned beasts and naughty children given the Hollywood treatment in Krampus at Canopy Beer Co. Neither horned beasts nor naughty children will be permitted to attend.

Now in its 5th year the Herne Hill Free Film Festival was established to bring film to all corners of the local community, to make the experience of cinema accessible to everyone and to introduce people to films they might not otherwise cross paths with.

Note: Programme may be subject to change.


The Massive Violins are coming to South London


If you want a night out this Christmas that is truly sensational, you need go no further than Alleyn’s School in Dulwich where the Massive Violins, based in North London, will be performing their genius versions of iconic rock and pop songs, with some operatic arias thrown in for good measure. The Massive Violins, incidentally, don’t play violins – they play cellos, which, they say, ‘are bigger and better’!

These seven singing cellists are truly unique. They manage to make each song they perform sound even better than the original and, by some peculiar magic, all their songs inspire joy and often laughter as well as being musically thrilling. They do a huge variety of numbers, from Elvis to Adele, via the Beatles, Queen, Simon and Garfunkel, Shaggy, Bjork and many many more.

Ricky Chatto, who founded the band, is particularly partial to the Beach Boys and says,’Good Vibrations is the best pop song ever written and the Beach Boys are the best band – apart from the Massive Violins, obviously.’ He started playing the cello when he was six and is still at it more than 60 years later. He has played in several London orchestras and has his own string quartet. He is also an instrument maker and built most of the cellos played by the band. When he’s not making cellos or playing them he’s a safety engineer.

His daughter Grace is well-known in the pop music world for her band Clean Bandit which has won multiple awards including two Grammys and the Ivor Novello Award. It has also had a string of hits, including Number One smash hit Rather Be and last year’s Christmas Number One Rockabye. She loves singing and playing with the Massives when she can and will be performing her special version of Santa Baby, among others, at the Alleyn’s gig.

There is so much to say about all the Massive Violins members, but not enough space. Briefly, Camilla is a music therapist and the most stunning soprano, Jess is an editor and publisher and a beautiful contralto, Matt is a film director and also a stunning soprano, Saul is a doctor and does a mean Mr Blue Sky, and Guido’s Elvis is better than Elvis.

Here’s what some of their celebrity fans say about them:

“The MVs demonstrably have fiendish talents and, while producing the sound of angels vocally and instrumentally, are also diabolically entertaining . . . [They] have fun like a stampede of energetic wild animals.”
George Hinchliffe of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

“I LOVE the Massive Violins. Wherever they are I’ll seek them out.”
Alison Steadman

“I like them a LOT”
Simon Amstell

“If it’s a unique bobby-dazzler of an evening you’re looking for … seven cellists brimming over with great comic timing and a fantastic repertoire… unmissable.” Neil Morrissey

Book now to avoid disappointment.

The Massive Violins. MCT at Alleyn’s School, Townley Rd. SE22 8SU on Sunday 17 December at 7.30pm. Tickets £16. Children and young people of school age £12. Book online here.