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- 02/20/15--09:59: _Young woman taken t...
- 02/20/15--10:56: _Scott Dann, Mile Je...
- 02/21/15--00:44: _Ex-Croydon schoolbo...
- 02/21/15--03:25: _Blind, disabled Cry...
- 02/21/15--04:00: _New Addington famil...
- 02/21/15--04:21: _Car and motorbike c...
- 02/21/15--06:28: _Marouane Chamakh an...
- 02/21/15--09:00: _Croydon Council lea...
- 02/21/15--09:00: _Purley youth centre...
- 02/21/15--09:00: _Crystal Palace 1...
- 02/21/15--10:25: _Alan Pardew defends...
- 02/21/15--10:38: _Crystal Palace boss...
- 02/21/15--10:45: _Crystal Palace fans...
- 02/21/15--12:00: _Croydon knife crime...
- 02/22/15--03:57: _New wheelie bins in...
- 02/22/15--05:08: _Thornton Heath care...
- 02/22/15--05:43: _Cocktail barman who...
- 02/22/15--07:00: _South Norwood resid...
- 02/22/15--09:00: _Baby number two pro...
- 02/22/15--12:00: _South Croydon stude...
- 02/21/15--04:21: Car and motorbike crash in Selsdon
- 02/21/15--09:00: Purley youth centre to lose all council funding
- 02/22/15--03:57: New wheelie bins in Croydon 'will keep streets cleaner'
- 02/22/15--07:00: South Norwood residents want to form community-run pub
- 02/22/15--09:00: Baby number two prompts business venture for Croydon mum
A YOUNG woman was taken to hospital after her car was involved in a collision with a van in South Croydon this morning.
Police were called at approximately 7.40am to reports of the collision in Coombe Road, at the junction with Melville Avenue.
London Ambulance Service attended and the woman, in her 20s, was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
A road closure was put in place while emergency services were at the scene.
No arrests were made.
Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish has named three players from the current squad in his best Eagles all-time XI.
Parish was talking to Sky Sports' Fantasy Football Club television show when he named the best players to wear the famous red and blue in his time as a supporter.
At the back, it was extremely close between Julian Speroni and Nigel Martyn, but it was the latter who got Parish's pick.
In defence, Parish picked Academy product Nathaniel Clyne at right-back, Gareth Southgate and Scott Dann at centre-back, with Kenny Sansom on the left.
In midfield, the Wilfried Zaha took his place on the right wing, with Andy Gray and club captain Mile Jedinak in the middle of the park. Don Rogers took his place on the left wing.
And up front, Parish went for one of the best strikeforces in Palace's history, picking Ian Wright and Mark Bright.
A FORMER Riddlesdown High School pupil who had his leg amputated in life-saving cancer surgery needs £70,000 for a prosthetic limb so he can walk again.
Billy Lee, who grew up in Sundale Avenue, Selsdon, was diagnosed with an aggressive 10cm sarnovia sarcoma tumour 15 days before his 20th birthday in November.
His femur then broke through the stress of the tumour on December 1, making him bedbound over Christmas in Addenbrooke's hospital, Cambridge, for eight weeks.
Despite two sets of high dosage chemotherapy treatments to reduce the tumour, results last month showed his cancer was more aggressive than originally thought, with Billy's only chance of survival to have an immediate full leg and half-hip amputation in Birmingham the week after.
Consultants told Billy and his family he would have to spend his whole life on crutches or in a wheelchair, as the NHS could not fund a prosthetic limb for an amputation of this kind.
The only way Billy, who was months away from completing his three year electrician's apprenticeship when diagnosed, will be able to walk again is to raise £70,000.
His aunt and mother's twin sister Jane Lee, from Forestdale, said: "From the very beginning it was made very clear to him about his leg; he was very much of the mindset that if it got rid of the cancer he wanted to have it done.
"He has been trying to have a positive outlook."
His family, who moved with Billy to Cambridgeshire five years ago, now hope to raise the money in time for when his scar has healed and settled in nine to 12 months.
The money raised will be used to buy a Helix 3D prosthetic leg, which costs £70,000 and needs five yearly servicing, with replacement parts costing £18,500.
Billy, who also attended Selsdon Primary School, had told his parents he would never go out with his mates again or take his girlfriend to a restaurant due to worries about his body image.
His parents, Rebecca, 44, and Spencer, 42, have also been told he will experience depression as a result of the loss of his leg.
But he has already been out with his friends and girlfriend, and his aunt says he is "embracing the challenge" of the fundraising.
Billy's college course has also been placed on hold while he continues his rehabilitation, and his college is committed to helping him pass with flying colours.
Jane, 44, who appeared in five series of ITV show Airline, said: "He's a very sensitive, lovely, caring, happy-go-lucky boy who is always thinking of other people.
"He's one of those people that, even when he was in hospital and you would ask him how he is, he would just ask straight back 'how are you?'"
There will be up to 30 fundraising events for Billy in the next few months, including a sold-out clairvoyant evening on Friday, March 13, at Selsdon Park Hotel.
To donate to Billy's 'back on my own 2 feet' fund visit www.gofundme.com/Billyon2feet
A BLIND, disabled Crystal Palace fan who has had to sit in the away end for much of the season claims a Leicester fan urinated on her wheelchair.
Mandy Maddock, 60, has had to sit at the back of the away end in the Arthur Wait stand while she waits for the club to install an induction loop for radio coverage in another part of the ground.
She has spent much of this season sitting right at the back of the away fans next to Radio Mayday, where she can listen to coverage of the game.
While she picked out Aston Villa fans as very friendly and helpful, she said the Leicester fans she sat next to were "vile", with one even urinating on her wheelchair as she sat in a near-by seat.
She said: "It was so horrible, they were disgusting and so disrespectful."
Crystal Palace ran out 2-0 winners against the Foxes in the September 27 fixture.
Mandy, a former Palace fan of the year, is pushing the club to install new induction loop technology, which the club has said it is looking into.
STAFF from a family centre in New Addington have been crowned Croydon's most knowledgeable safety experts following a competition run by London Fire Brigade.
Wolsey Family Centre proved it had what it takes when it comes to fire safety, first aid and remaining secure when using the internet.
In fact, it was a good day for New Addington as a whole, as community groups from the estate also finished in second and third place too.
London Fire Brigade's Crossfire team visited more than 35 different community groups in Croydon, including youth clubs, retirement homes, Brownies, Girl Guides, Scouts and churches, over a six-month period.
Nine groups took part in the grand final at the All Ages Family Safety Challenge held at Fairfield Halls on Tuesday.
Wolsey's team took home the first prize – tickets to London Zoo. Second place went to Energetic and Wise, a healthy eating group, and third to Pathfinders Youth Group.
Crew manager Zara Long, who is part of the Crossfire team, said: "It was an absolutely brilliant day.
"This was the seventh time we have hosted the event and it was the biggest and best yet. What was really pleasing was the cross-section of people involved.
"We had children from eight years old to pensioners over 70 taking part, and it was great opportunity for us to get across fire and other safety messages.
"One of the highlights was seeing that everyone involved could successfully put people in the recovery position."
She added: "To know there are people out on our streets with that knowledge is really reassuring."
A CAR and a motorbike collided in Selsdon this morning causing a road closure.
Police were called to reports of the collision in Addington Road at approximately 9.45am.
London Ambulance Service attended but did not take anyone to hospital even though a man came off his bike.
The road closure is no longer in place.
Crystal Palace duo James McArthur and Marouane Chamakh have not been included in this afternoon's game with Arsenal.
McArthur still hasn't shaken off a recent injury and was expected to be back in time for today's clash, while Chamakh's non-existent place remains unknown.
Julian Speroni starts in goal, with a back four of Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney and Pape Souare. Delaney will skipper the side.
In midfield, Jordon Mutch partners Joe Ledley in the middle, with Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon out wide.
And in attack, Dwight Gayle will play alongside the in-form Fraizer Campbell.
Mile Jedinak returns to the squad after an ankle injury and takes his place on the substitutes' bench, alongside new signing Shola Ameobi.
Wayne Hennessey, Brede Hangeland, Martin Kelly, Glenn Murray and Yannick Bolasie make up the rest on the bench.
THIS year's council budget will deliver the Labour administration's pledge to freeze council tax and keep frontline services intact, council leader Tony Newman said on Tuesday.
He made the claim at the council tax meeting of the cabinet that recommended acceptance of the budget to next week's full council meeting.
This year's budget contains growth of around £9 million combined with savings of £25 million.
It also states there will be capital investment over the next three years of £133 million in primary schools, £17 million in regenerating New Addington, £16 million in road improvements and £12 million in refurbishing Fairfield Halls.
The budget papers show that to help meet the savings, council staff numbers will be reduced by 71 in the coming financial year, with the possibility of more job losses emerging later.
The freeze on the Croydon element of the council tax means that the average Band D annual payment remains at £1,171.39.
And the slightly better news for council taxpayers is that the Mayor of London has reduced the precept he charges for Greater London Authority services by 1.34 per cent, resulting in overall bills in Croydon actually going down by 0.27 per cent.
Councillor Newman told Tuesday's meeting Labour had inherited a "fiscal shambles" from the previous Conservative administration.
He said: "Our priorities were to deliver a frozen council tax and protect frontline services and that is what we are doing."
Councillor Simon Hall, the cabinet member for finance and treasury, said the council was looking at transforming the way it operated in the light of the £100million spending pressures it faces over the next three years with the aim of "preserving and enhancing frontline services".
Councillor Tim Pollard, leader of the Conservative opposition, said: "There is a lot in this budget which looks familiar."
He said the Conservative group would save the majority of its comments until Monday's full council meeting.
THE only youth centre in Purley will lose almost all of its funding at the end of March when the council pulls its services from the site taking £23,500 rent a year with them.
The Purley Youth Project (PYP) centre has served the town for 20 years and serves 100 children each week across youth clubs and through one to one mentoring.
The council hired out the centre building - which is owned by and sits on the back of Purley United Reformed Church - for youth work on a 20-year contract.
But this finishes at the end of March and will not be renewed, meaning PYP will have to raise all of its £30,000 yearly running costs. The council will also take the computers, photocopiers and broadband connection when it leaves.
Martin Miller, PYP chairman for 25 years and a retired dental surgeon from South Croydon, said the centre is used every day of the week.
He said it has enough funds to run for six to nine months after council funding is withdrawn, but then it will need to source money from elsewhere. This will probably have to be raised by charging groups who CURRENTLY use the centre for free., forcing those who cannot pay out.
Mr Miller said: "Apart from the chicken shop there isn't a great deal for young people in Purley.
"The centre is somewhere safe for them to go where they can find things they enjoy doing. If you stop looking after the young people, they're our future workers and leaders and that's where you need to invest."
Purley Youth Project Juniors (PYPJ), a youth group for seven to 12-year-olds, use the centre every Wednesday and hosts between 60 and 80 children each week.
PYPJ has been the centre's biggest user for 13 years.
David Garfield, who runs the youth group with a team of volunteers, said there is a misconception that Purley is an affluent area that doesn't need any money.
He said: "There are pockets of wealth but people don't realise there is a lot of social housing in Purley and lots of needy families."
"After school a lot of youngsters are wandering around or going home to play on computers, and that is because there isn't anything for them to do."
Mr Garfield said PYPJ will have to do a lot of fundraising to carry on using the centre.
"It would be a disaster if something were to happen to the centre. The children love coming," he said.
Steve O'Connell, Kenley councillor and Greater London Authority member, is helping the centre find alternative funding and is asking the council to support it through the transition.
He said: "There isn't a lot about for young people and PYP do things for a range of ages. They're a real success story and I want them to continue."
A council spokesman said it has rented space in the building since December 2013.
But he said the council will not renew the rental agreement at the end of March because it no longer needs to use the centre "as youth activities are more widely dispersed across the south of the borough".
The spokesman added: "Over the past 12 months, the council has been working to support PYP in preparation for the changes that will follow; and the project's management has been exploring options for the future.
"The council will continue to offer support for the continuation and development of youth provision in the Purley area."
CRYSTAL Palace may have lost 2-1 to Arsenal this afternoon at Selhurst Park but they were certainly not embarrassed by the visitors.
The Eagles can be fairly proud of their performance against Arsene Wenger's side after having a decent amount of possession, but it could have been a very different outcome at the death with the woodwork saving the Gunners.
After Glenn Murray had pulled one back in the third of five added-on minutes, the striker headed against the foot of the post in the final 20 seconds.
It would have been a glorious comeback and probably a fair result, but it just wasn't to be as David Ospina smothered the loose ball.
Arsenal took the lead after eight minutes through Santi Cazorla's penalty, after Pape Souare's clumsy challenge had brought down Danny Welbeck just inside the danger area. It was a borderline decision.
It was a terrible start for the Eagles and also for Souare on his Premier League debut having mis-controlled a pass.
Palace's response was good, however, with Scott Dann inches away from connecting with a free-kick sent in from the right, before Dwight Gayle showed willingness down the opposite flank, only to fluff his final ball.
Pardew's men continued to press the Gunners back, although the Gunners could have made it 2-0 had Laurent Koscielny connected better with a header at the back post from a corner.
Gayle went close direct from a free-kick just before the half-hour mark, before Per Mertesacker got the ball stuck in between his feet as he went to clear a cross, only to escape at the last second with a clearance.
Julian Speroni had little to do so far apart from pick the ball out of the net, as the Eagles' defence stood firm against the likes of Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil.
However, just before the break Palace found themselves two goals behind – and it was harsh on the Eagles.
Sanchez found Welbeck, who looked offside, and his shot was parried by Speroni but only into the path of Giroud to stab home under pressure.
Into the second half and Palace started very brightly, forcing Arsenal back and winning a couple of corners in quick succession.
But they suffered a blow when Campbell went down clutching his right hamstring and was replaced by Yannick Bolasie just before the hour-mark.
And the winger had an immediate impact, running at Callum Chambers and creating chances in front of the Holmesdale Stand, including one where he found Zaha at the back post but the Academy product's shot was blocked.
Zaha then cut the ball back to Jordon Mutch arriving in the danger area, but the January signing got it all wrong with a first-time effort, followed by a wayward Bolasie shot minutes later.
Gayle went closer with a bullet header after connecting with an excellent delivery from Souare, before Puncheon had the whole ground gasping when his direct free-kick curled around the Arsenal wall and just past the post as Ospina was left rooted.
Glenn Murray and Shola Ameobi came on to give Palace some injection up front, but it was Bolasie who continued to be a thorn in Arsenal's side, running through the middle after shrugging off Chambers but his final product was poor in the end.
Murray had a glancing header held by Ospina from a corner, and then in added-on time the goalkeeper saved well from Bolasie on the line.
Palace threw men forward and grabbed a goal back through Murray, who stabbed home from close range after initially blocking a shot from Zaha.
And in the final seconds, Murray was denied a dramatic equaliser when his glancing header stuck the foot of the far post.
It was desperately unlucky for the Eagles, who went off to a standing ovation.
Palace: Speroni, Ward, Souare, Dann, Delaney, Zaha, Mutch, Ledley (Ameobi 80), Puncheon, Gayle (Murray 80), Campbell (Bolasie 58).
Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Hangeland, Jedinak, Kelly.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Report by Mark Ritson, for the Croydon Advertiser
CRYSTAL Palace boss Alan Pardew defended new signing Pape Souare, after his clumsy mistake inside the opening eight minutes gifted Arsenal a penalty.
The Senegal international, making his first Premier League appearance for the Eagles, was caught in possession by Danny Welbeck and in an attempt to win the ball back conceded a spot kick - although replays showed the contact was made outside the box.
Pardew said: "It's an individual error from Pape.
"He's coming out of Ligue One [in France] and it's a difficult adjustment for defenders. He just got caught out, just dwelled on it a little bit and he needs to learn from that.
"I was pleased with his reaction though because if you make a mistake that creates a goal, you have to show good character from what he did from after that period."
Yannick Bolasie came on as a substitute in the 57th minute and put in a superb performance to almost provide Glenn Murray with a last minute equaliser.
His impact on the game drew praise from Pardew.
"It was such a fast cross I actually thought the spin on the ball was going to take the ball into the net but it comes straight into the keeper's hands," said Pardew.
"What can I say, it's difficult for me. I'm asking this team to play a bit more than they're used to but within that team play we had some great individual performances.
"I mean Yannick Bolasie when he came on, he couldn't have done any more than he did in the 30 minute period. He was fantastic.
"If there's one criticism of us today we should have taken the shot earlier, particularly in the first half. It was our final moment in that box that needs to improve.
"We're not far away from being a decent team."
ALAN Pardew said Crystal Palace's performance in the narrow defeat to Arsenal was the "best we've played."
Palace came inches from snatching a draw when Glenn Murray's header struck a post in injury time but it just wasn't to be for the home side.
Moments before, Murray had given Palace a lifeline when he bundled home from inside the six-yard box.
Pape Souare gave away a clumsy penalty early on to allow Santi Cazorla to convert from the spot before Oliver Giroud followed up Julian Speroni's save from Danny Welbeck's shot just before the break.
Pardew said: "We've took a tactical decision to take the game to Arsenal today and the first goal is a mistake by Pape, he should do better, and yet the call is tough on us because it looked like the incident was outside the box.
"So we find ourselves 1-0 down but we continued with our game plan and I was very pleased with our reaction, it's probably the best we've played since I've been manager and I include the victories in that.
"The second goal is offside and that should be made that call, more so than the first. It's a minute before half time and you have to get that call right.
"Still, the second half we continued with the game plan, we didn't change from it, we stayed on the front foot and took the game to Arsenal.
"And if the second one [goes in], the one that hits the post at the end and goes in the keeper's hands, sort of summed our day up really. It just wasn't to be.
"Probably the best players were on our team and yet we've lost and sometimes that happens but we'll have to take that confidence into West Ham.
"It's now about the next game."
THE Holmesdale Fanatics made their feelings about the latest Premier League TV deal very clear before kick off against Arsenal.
Supporters behind the goal held up one of the HF'S renowned banners, this time depicting a fat pig getting ready to 'tuck into' a pile of cash. The Premier League logo was adapted, to instead say 'Premier Greed'.
Underneath, another black and white banner simply read: '£5 billion in the trough'
The banner protest - the latest in a series by the HF this season - follows the record-breaking TV rights deal which the Premier League agreed with Sky and BT Sport earlier this month, worth more than £5 billion.
ELIZA Rebeiro's decision, after a close friend was stabbed, to launch a campaign seven years ago warning children about the dangers of knife crime hit the headlines.
Today, that work continues to play a major role in the day-to-day operation of the charity she established, Lives not Knives (LNK).
But Eliza and her mother, Monique, who head up the operation together, have helped it evolve into what is now a driving force behind getting young people into jobs.
The charity continues to work in around 120 schools, mainly in Croydon, sending out its own youth workers to spread its preventative message about knife crime and gang culture.
Some of those young people are on apprenticeships at LNK, with the intention of becoming fully-trained youth workers.
That scheme has been part of the inspiration behind the decision to tackle the problem of youth unemployment in Croydon head-on.
Monique said: "We haven't changed direction. I think we have grown, mainly through the young people we have been working with."
That continuing contact with young people has pinpointed, she said, the need for more work to be done to prepare young people for the employment.
Monique said: "One of the things we have identified is that many of these young people don't have qualifications.
"There is a feeling that, if they haven't got GCSEs, that's it, and they can go through despair because they feel they have lost out on life."
Part of LNK's mission is to help prove to those young people that this does not have to be the case, by working with Jobcentre Plus to offer a six-week work training programme.
That programme covers the basics; from preparing a CV and being able to present themselves to employers, to identifying their skills and learning how to build upon them.
Monique said: "We are teaching them to forget about the past.
"We get them to think about their skills and what they want to be.
"It is all about confidence building."
It was also important, she said, that they had the ability to find out what skills employers were looking for when they advertise jobs and how they could respond to those demands.
The training courses offered by LNK are being recognised more widely and relationships with businesses across the borough are growing.
Monique said: "Because we have been doing this work for a long time, companies are now coming to us."
She said employers can be confident that young people who have been trained through LNK will be job ready, whether as an apprentice or a full-time member of staff.
Monique added: "Where there are job opportunities we want to make sure that our young people in Croydon are able to take advantage of those opportunities.
"The alternative is that the jobs will go outside the borough and nobody wants that."
LNK's undoubted success has also been helped by the fact the charity is working from large premises offered to it by the Westfield/Hammerson Partnership at the Centrale shopping centre. The unit is big enough for LNK to run training courses, provide a place where young people can meet, and also space to allow start-up businesses to test the market. Monique said: "We are feeling very positive about the future.
"We will work with anybody to achieve our aims and I think that is a winning formula."
IN A bid to increase recycling and make life easier for residents, new green wheelie bins are being introduced across the borough.
A total of £4million is included in the Clean Green Croydon capital budget, which is due to be agreed at the council tax meeting of the full council on Monday.
Councillor Stuart Collins, the cabinet member for Clean Green Croydon, said the majority of the new investment would go on to eventually provide 125,000 homes with the new large wheelie bins, which residents will be able to use for recycling glass, plastics, cans, paper and cardboard.
At present, residents are provided with separate recycling boxes; one for glass, plastic and cans, and one for paper and cardboard, with collections being made in alternating weeks.
Cllr Collins said that under the new system, which will start to be rolled out this year, all recyclable material will be collected in one go from one bin, streamlining the existing arrangements.
Food waste will continue to be collected separately every week.
Flats will be excluded from the project, and Cllr Collins said discussions would also be held with residents who did not have the space at their homes to cope with a second wheelie bin.
All homes are already provided with one bin for general rubbish.
Cllr Collins said: "At present, people have to think every week about what to put out and what box to use, and in some areas this is not working too well.
"There is also often a problem with boxes going missing and mess from rubbish being blown about when lids come off. That will not happen with the large wheelie bins and I hope it will mean the streets will be a lot cleaner."
He said the new system would be a lot easier for people to understand, and was hopeful that it would encourage people who may have problems with recycling to do more, reducing the amount of rubbish going to costly landfill sites.
Cllr Collins was asked by Conservative councillor Donald Speakman, at Tuesday's council tax cabinet meeting, whether the new bins would contain microchips to check the amount of rubbish which was being recycled by residents.
He replied with a quip, saying: "The only chips you will find in our bins will be in the food waste boxes."
A CARER from Thornton Heath has been jailed for attacking a man in a wheelchair she was paid to look after.
Claudine Ingabire, 31, of Stanley Road, slapped her 55-year-old victim twice on the back and attempted to push him out of his wheelchair after demanding money from him and smashing his property.
She had been hired temporarily to look after the man, who is in need of 24-hour care to help with day-to-day living.
The man has been in a wheelchair for the last 20 years following an accident in which he sustained spinal injuries and lost the function of his legs. He also has limited mobility in his arms and none in his fingers.
The court heard Ingabire had attended the victim's house to collect her belongings on July 18 last year but began to demand money from him which he refused to give her.
She then started smashing items, including one of his phones he was using to try and call police for help, which is when she assaulted him.
The victim managed to escape to another room and lock himself in until the police arrived.
Lambeth's Community Safety Unit took over the investigation and arrested Ingabire on a return flight from Belgium on August 19.
She was then charged with assault by beating and criminal damage, which she pleaded guilty to on January 29 at Croydon Magistrates' Court.
She was jailed for four months and ordered to pay £200 compensation to the victim, with an additional £80 victim surcharge.
Detective Inspector Ian Kenward, from Lambeth Community Safety Unit, said: "This case involved the shameful abuse of a vulnerable man by someone in a position of trust.
"I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and resolve shown by the victim throughout the investigation. His evidence and support along with the investigative tenacity of the officers involved were pivotal in bringing this case to a positive conclusion.
"I hope this serves to illustrate that police will do everything within their power to deal with such offences in a robust and timely manner."
MEMBERS of a Coulsdon family doubly hit by cancer are running the London Marathon to raise funds for the hospital that helped them with "absolutely incredible" treatment.
Louann Heale was treated at the Royal Marsden five years ago for breast cancer.
Just a couple of years after she was given the all-clear, her son, Marcus, was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Thankfully, Marcus is also well on his way to overcoming the disease, as he now has to return to the hospital only for three-monthly check-ups.
Now, as a thank-you for their "amazing" care, Marcus, 25, and his dad George, 53, are running the marathon next month to raise funds for the hospital's charity.
Louann explained: "We chose to raise money for the Marsden because they were just absolutely incredible, from the doctors to the nurses, the receptionists. They were just so kind and so wonderful – when you go in you just feel that you're in the right hands."
She said the hospital was particularly impressive in the way they tailored their care for her, and then for her son. "They were just fantastic for myself and then for Marcus. The great thing was that they could provide the right kind of care for youngsters.
"They have completely different worries to older people when it comes to cancer, things like 'how am I going to get a girlfriend'?".
The family, who live in Benham Close, settled in Coulsdon 11 years ago after George and Louann moved to the UK from South Africa in the late 1980s.
Marcus, who works as a hotel cocktail barman, is now planning to move back home with his girlfriend so the couple can save money to emigrate to Canada.
Though Marcus is a newcomer to the race, dad George will be able to offer plenty of advice, since he's taking part for the ninth time.
To back the Heales' fundraising efforts, visit https://www.justgiving.com/George-Heale-London-2015/
SOUTH Norwood residents are looking to open their own completely community-run pub to help push regeneration forward.
A newly formed community group has been meeting to discuss the possibility of opening a pub which could meet the needs of everyone in the community.
The plan has been backed by the council, which is willing to support the venture and help the group find premises.
One of the models the group is looking to use is The Ivy House, in Nunhead, which has had great success as London's first co-operatively owned pub.
A group of Nunhead locals formed a plan to save their treasured pub and used the community Right to Bid element of the Localism Act, managing to raise £810,000 to buy the premises.
Further money was raised by issuing shares to locals who wanted to become stakeholders in the pub.
Group member Hannah Pemberton said: "We want to create a pub that will serve quality food and beers to the community and help act as a beacon of positivity for the area; encouraging other interesting, diverse and quality businesses to come to South Norwood."
Mrs Pemberton said the venture would be staffed and paid for through turnover and that the idea was not – unless they wanted to – to have community members behind the bar.
However, initial meetings of the group have been attended by as many as 50 people and there is a real positivity surrounding the project.
Mrs Pemberton added: "Regeneration in South Norwood is a hot topic with many supporters. A core active group of us felt it was the perfect time to get our own project off the ground to benefit the community. We believe the potential for the project and the area is immense."
Paul Scott, councillor for Woodside, has attended some of the meetings, and says he fully backs the plan. He said: "One of the things that's really positive about this group is they want a pub that really works for as many people in the community as possible.
"So it might be in the morning it is more of a café where toddlers groups can meet, at lunchtime it's more of a gastropub and then in the evening it is a bit more of a good old local boozer. It's also important as well that it sells some fantastic beers."
South Norwood has lost more than ten pubs in the last ten years, with recent additions to the casualty list in The Portmanor and The Ship.
For anyone who wants to get involved, visit southnorwoodcommunitypub.co.uk where you can sign up for email updates.
WHEN Sharon McLean had her second baby, it dawned on her that holding down a full-time job and bringing up a child was going to get a bit too much.
She decided the answer would be to use her business expertise to start up her own venture.
Sharon, now 43, had a background in business, with a degree in business studies and a stint working in marketing for a midwifery company behind her.
And it was those marketing skills which led to the idea of setting up her own company offering business support.
The result was the foundation of Business with Excellence, which has been operating in Croydon now for 13 years.
Sharon said she found there were a lot of women who, like her, wanted to get back into work but needed to combine family life with the job.
She said: "At the time there was not much business support for women who wanted to start their own business."
So she set about filling that gap by taking training courses, information from which, combined with her own skills, she could pass on to other women.
Sharon said: "Networking groups then usually met in the early mornings and it was often not possible for women who had to do the school runs to get along to them."
Her answer was to run her own networking sessions on Saturday mornings when, she said, dads were around to spend a couple of hours looking after the children.
The response to the sessions was enough to convince Sharon she could do more and Business with Excellence began to expand into what is now a core part of its proposition, running seminars and training courses.
With the growth in the business has come a move away from a mainly-women base, and the opportunities to get support and mentoring are now available to anyone who is looking to start-up a business or grow their small enterprise.
And while most of Sharon's events, which now also include running exhibitions at which firms can showcase their goods and services, were originally based in Croydon, her company has spread its wings and is working across London.
She said: "We also do work in schools raising business awareness among Year 10 and 11 pupils and getting them to think about being involved in business and enterprise.
"Starting up was very hard at first because you have to do everything yourself, from being the cleaner to the computer technician."
But the journey, she said, had been worth it and she believes her company is now in a position to deal with what is a growing need.
She said: "A lot of people have been made redundant or have ended up working part-time and are looking to use their skills to help generate additional income."
Sharon is looking to continue to grow her own businesses, with the next step being a plan to have some of its operations online, offering courses and training videos she will present herself via the internet and Skype.
Next month, Sharon will also release a book, about her 13 years with the company.
A STUDENT has established a pupil to pupil tutoring business after his friends helped him pass his A levels.
Wasim Hassanali, a 21-year-old pharmacy Masters student at Kingston University and St George's Medical School, set up Students Achieve last year.
The business trains university undergraduates and recent A-Level graduates as tutors for younger students.
Wasim, from South Croydon, believes young people engage better with teachers closer to their own age who have recent experience of being a pupil themselves.
The former Harris Academy Crystal Palace pupil said his parents paid a maths professor a lot of money to teach him during his A-Levels but he didn't feel it was helping; so he went to the library with his friends instead.
He said: "A concept that would normally take over an hour for my previous tutor to explain would take my friend, who had already completed that exam, half an hour to teach me.
"The age gap between the tutor and tutee was relatively small so learning was not pressurised, and any questions I had I could ask without any sort of hesitation."
The business's motto is: "Education is not about filling someone's head with information but it's about inspiring them."
Within six months, Students Achieve has expanded to offer group tutoring sessions at ARK Oval Primary School.
All his tutors have a minimum A/A* grade in their subject at A-Level, and are guided through the National Curriculum by senior qualified teachers within the company.
Wasim said the business gives young people jobs, with all tutors aged 18 to 26, while creating low-cost tutoring so people from all backgrounds can access quality tuition.
"Why wouldn't they (students) be best suited in passing their knowledge on to other students who are going to sit that same exam a year or two later?" said Wasim.
"And, if a company was to train these top young students with the key concepts in how to tutor and place them in a professional setting, what would stop them providing tuition of a higher quality and at more affordable prices?"
Students Achieve charge £20 an hour for one-to-one tuition and £15 an hour for group tuition, comparing with average prices of £35 an hour.
But Wasim said the business is not underpaying its tutors. He said: "The tutors' ages range from 18-26 years and they get paid well above the standard hourly rate. Hence I do not believe that they are underpaid in any way shape or form."
He added that tutors receive training and support and the pay range varies depending on experience and the level they will be tutoring.
Wasim admitted balancing running a business and studying at university is not easy but he loves his work.
He said: "Although I personally feel I do not put a lot of work into the business – my family and friends would tell you otherwise!
"In any business that you undertake there is a lot of work to be put in, but if you have a passion for what you are trying to achieve, you would not really look at how much