News, People

The Last Word: Linda Drake

 I am a Dulwich resident, and have lived in Southwark for nearly 40 years. I love the variety and vibrancy of this a young, multi cultural area. I work locally as a practice nurse, I job adore, and can recommend to anyone. My husband and younger son both work for the NHS, whilst my older son is a vicar.

How long have you lived in the area?

33 years

What brought you here?

Open spaces and good schools for our young family

What has changed most during that time?

The changes to Lordship Lane, which is now the go-to SE london road for independent restaurants, bars, cinema and shops.

What do you most value about the area/street you live in?

My job as a general practice nurse, specialising in diabetes. I can cycle to work, and together with the local community and businesses we all can encourage people to get tested for diabetes [see diabetes.org.uk ‘preventing diabetes’]. I have worked at the same practice for over 30 years, which either shows how much I love my job, or a real lack of imagination!

What one thing would you change?

The amplified noise from the late night open air events at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, following the recent extensions to their their licensing arrangements, which spoils the quiet, peaceful environment.

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

The parish church of St Barnabas and Christ’s Chapel, two beautiful buildings which bring local Christians together to hear the gospel and serve the local community.

Do you know your neighbours?

My neighbours are amazing; we have a real old-fashioned support network, lots of joint socials, and rallying round to offer help when needed.

The most famous person you’ve seen or met?

The tallest man in the world, who I saw when attending a conference in Kuala Lumpur; I thought he was a street artist on stilts, until I saw his story in the local paper.

Where are you likely to be found on Saturday?

Dulwich library, the most wonderful resource for books, music, IT facilities and numerous groups, classes and events. We must be almost unique in maintaining library services in the current climate of cutbacks.

The best kept secret…

The skilled colorist, Mary at Balayage hair salon in Lordship Lane; of course, I wouldn’t know myself , but ‘my friend’ assures me how natural her highlights are!

What is your favourite shop?

All the local independent shops, but best of all is Bartley’s flower shop in Dulwich village, their flowers are so fresh they seem to last forever.

What was the last thing you bought there?

I try to get something, even a stem or two, every week, it really lifts my spirits to have fresh flowers in the house. Last week it was some vibrant, copper coloured leaves, which look striking with a rust colour chrysanthemum, a real autumnal arrangement.

If money was no object…

I’d invest massively in public health initiatives in Southwark, to address the health inequalities in the borough, especially in the areas of obesity, smoking and mental health problems of our children and young people.

My secret ambition…

To persuade the Mayor of London to set a challenge to Londoners to ‘Loose 10 Million Pounds’, as in weight, not money! This would be funded by a whole programme of local and borough based initiatives, with various incentives and competitions to support increased activity and healthy eating. It could be great fun, and would transform the health and lives of the population.

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