It was at 12.10 this afternoon when I rolled up at the ROWE Community Centre on Isleworth's Worton estate, straight from Church. Usually ten minutes after the start of an event like this little would be going on beyond a few late arrivals hastily setting up their stalls.
And yet the ROWE Fun Day, with its Doctor Who theme, was already in full swing, with many kids outside enjoying the rides and others having their photos taken inside the Community Centre. Teas, coffees, cold drinks and hot dogs were being sold and members of the Committee were walking around the site selling raffle tickets (I was later to win a meal for two but I can assure everyone it was kosher - I'd left by the time the raffle was drawn!).
ICG Committee members Tricia Doran and Cheryl-Ann Khan had set up a stall selling clothes, a tombola and a "prize every time" duck-fishing thing. Another few quid for the group's coffers, always welcome.
Back inside the building I made a new friend (photo to follow as soon as my daughter gets time to show me how to transfer it across).
Organising a vibrant residents' organisation has always been something of a challenge for the Committee of ROWE (Residents of Worton Estate). There have always been good people there to do the work, but usually just enough of them to achieve critical mass. However, possibly as a defensive reaction to the local political situation, ROWE seems to becoming more proactive and determined than ever before. The dozen or so people who were circulating around the event selling raffle tickets, providing food and drinks and generally marshaling events worked hard, and the very reasonable turnout was just reward for their efforts.
Although I don't actually live on Worton I have a long historical association with the estate. My father was raised in Octavia Road, opposite the Green, and my aunt, uncle and cousins lived there until the middle of the 1990s. As a teenager I would encounter many of the youths from the estate, not always on friendly terms, at the youth club that was held every Monday night in the Hall at Isleworth Congregational, which I now once again attend.
I feel honoured to have been asked to continue my association with ROWE after ceasing to be a ward councillor in May, and was pleased to have the opportunity to help out around the place today.
Events like this reassure me that the spirit of the community in Isleworth will survive whatever short-term challenges are thrown our way.