In our most recent Community Bytes newsletter, David Hall has written a piece on the embodiment of community spirit and how the amazing works of Dame June Whitfield and Tony Kane (pictured below) continue to live on in our Merton communities and beyond.
The deaths of two Wimbledon stalwarts at the end of last year Dame June Whitfield and Tony Kane, reminded me of the importance of recognising the significant contribution that we can all make to our local community here in Merton.
Dame June Whitfield was of course celebrated nationally and beyond for her appearances in sitcoms Terry and June and Absolutely Fabulous but her long career had many other highlights on TV, film and radio. As a local resident for many years she also got involved in the community with roles as President of the Wimbledon FC Supporters Club – and more recently as an Honorary president of Carlton Theatre Group.
It was in the latter role that I was fortunate to meet her when I was Chair of Carlton and she was our honoured guest at one of our productions, and our Carlton Summer Party in 2010. I remember how she particularly charmed my late father in law (who was the same age as her) when they met at the party. Her wisdom and insight was very useful to young and older aspiring actors alike!
Tony Kane had a significant presence locally having set up Time & Leisure with his daughter Lucy some 21 years ago, or T&L (also their initials) as he joked in one of his final articles celebrating the local magazine.
Tony was also a driving force behind setting up Wimbledon Bookfest in 2006 with Fiona Razvi which has been an inspiration to other local events such as Wimbledon Music Festival and Merton Arts Festival. His passion for the arts extended to running his own art studio, and he had published children’s stories and a novel (If Britain Had Fallen) in 2017. He was also recently in discussion with Carlton about performing a play he was writing. T&L has been sponsoring the Wimbledon Studio Theatre during the last year or so.
Wimbledon’s future was important to Tony who became an active member of the Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre in recent years and he was a panellist at the WCA workshop on the future of community space in November 2016.
Many people pass on within our community each year, some more celebrated than others, and their passing will have an effect on the people who know and love them. As a website which is seeking to embrace all that is good about Wimbledon and Merton more widely, we welcome any articles commemorating the contributions of people who have added to our vibrant local community in whatever capacity.
Written by David Hall, WCA Chair