Rottingdean Local Spotlight
Clive Bonny lives with his wife Sue and two chihuahuas in a house at the top of Nevill Road on Beacon Hill called Windmill Downs close to Rottingdean’s signature Smock Mill.
“I’ve enjoyed the magnificent views across the English Channel since 1966 when my family moved to the south coast from Blackpool. In the summer months in the 1950’s and 1960’s Sue stayed at Rottingdean’s Newick House Hotel. We married in 1976 at St Mary’s Church in Shoreham and enjoyed several years in Roedean before a hop skip and jump onto Beacon Hill. We can still see the Norman church in Shoreham where we spent our childhood, and we have wonderful views from Beachy Head to the Isle of Wight on a clear day.
Rottingdean’s community history is fascinating: a Neolithic flint settlement on Beacon Hill in 3500BC later became the site for Championship bare knuckled boxing fights, and the world’s biggest cricket score, 67, off a single ball. Our village was named in the Doomsday Book after the Norman Conquest. Locals were unlucky victims of the Hundred Years War when in 1377 the French invaded and burned St Margarets Church with the villagers inside; the local vicar supported hundreds of lucky smugglers of wines and spirits via underground tunnels from the shore to the pubs and church. Our local characters include many famous artists, politicians, musicians and writers.
The cobbled flint cottages, pubs and clubs are a tremendous reflection of the village history. Our annual torchlight procession is a testament to this, with over 2000 local people in the high street celebrating in pirate dress the victory over the local tax collectors. The new Localism Bill now gives our Parish Council and local people greater powers to manage our community affairs. I hope our community takes advantage of this over the next few years.
There are many different ways to link into community activities. I enjoy the Rottingdean Camera Club and the Rottingdean (social) Club in the High Street where there are lots of lively characters. I’m a life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and writer of business pocketbooks. I’m also a member of the Albion 1901 Football Club with over 2000 business members, and we are enjoying great success at the new Amex Stadium. The Brighton Marathon and Half Marathon now bring thousands of runners to our doorstep every year, with Beacon Hill being their turning point. I’ve joined the runners on my roller blades as the cycle way along the cliff from Brighton is a perfect surface.
In the 1980’s I joined the first few London Marathons and my last was on roller blades around the Goodwood Race Circuit for the British Heart Foundation. My eldest son Ben is doing the London to Brighton cycle ride for the same charity this year. I’m walking with the many supporters of the Sussex Heart Foundation from the Marina to Hove on my birthday May 13 to celebrate the achievements of Brighton’s Royal Sussex Hospital cardiac doctors and nurses who recently saved my life!
On the business front my work involves me in advising small businesses and social enterprises how to grow and diversify, reduce costs, and manage risks in these tough economic times. Recent clients have included a waste management charity, a hotel, school academy, football club, website developer, printer, publisher, roofer, surveyor, fencing supplier, chauffeur company, and PR company. Last year I worked with students from Brighton Fashion Week building the world’s largest Pompom from recycled clothes in Jubilee Square. A fifteen foot monster, and it is still visible on You-Tube.
I’m currently encouraging local organisations to a national best practice scheme called the Responsible Business Awards. It recognises people’s achievements in developing enterprises which protect the environment and support community development. Mutual support and reciprocity create resilience, and this award scheme will help communities to sustain themselves, and become more self-sufficient. Sustainability is difficult to achieve without the help of others.
The Royal Society of Arts is also sponsoring my work to promote the local recycling of clothes to reduce the massive waste going to landfill. 12% of landfill is waste textile materials. Local school students can redesign waste textiles into new items, and in doing so demonstrate their entrepreneurship skills to make them more employable.
I also help others obtain government grants for their own enterprise development. Recycling taxpayers money back to them can produce some great results at very low cost. If you want to know more about that email me at Clive@consult-smp.com
And thanks for reading this article!