‘Local Heroes’ is an exciting new scheme ‘The Community Brain’ is running. Over the last few months they took in nominations in order to recognise local people who have been a crucial part of the community. Of those selected, seven have been chosen to have artwork of them created by students from Surbiton High School. These portraits will ultimately be presented in Tolworth station in March 2022.

Two of the Local Heroes, Stuart Tree and Paul Cockle, visited Surbiton High, in order to meet the students who would be painting them and to have their photos taken for reference for the artwork. I wanted to find out a little more about these two nominations and what they had done for the community.

Firstly, I made my way over to Stuart Tree, to find out why he had been nominated for the award. I discovered that, Stuart has been volunteering at the Corinthian-Casuals football club for the last ten years as a programme editor and a media and press officer. He told me that he was in charge of making day to day decisions at the amateur football club.

Throughout its life, the club has maintained its amateur ethos and despite the club’s sporting nature Stuart told me that the club promoted the idea that ‘there was more to life than sport’ and that the club was part of a ‘bigger collective’.

I was interested in who exactly was involved with the club. Stuart told me that the Corinthian-Casuals currently have 23 youth teams for boys aged 7-18.He also told me that the Corinthian-Casuals run a football academy in partnership with a local school, which encourages young men away from a life of gang violence/ street crime.Despite the fact there is currently no women’s team in Corinthian-Casuals football club, Stuart told me that they are currently working into expanding.

Next, I met Paul Cockle, who is in charge of a community group from Chessington called ‘Angels Of the Hood.’

Their mission is to offer free food to vulnerable people in the community, who are suffering from food poverty. Paul told me that after finding out that 10 billion slices of bread are thrown away daily worldwide his ‘mouth dropped open’ and he thought that ‘someone needs to do something about this’. So, in March 2020 he founded ‘Angels of the Hood’. The group collect from four big supermarkets and give food that would otherwise go to waste, to people who really need it. I really loved how passionate and informative Paul was. After he told me that 30 percent of world- wide carbon emissions come from food waste, he said something that really stuck with me:

‘We have to start caring for the world or it will be too, late.’

It was incredible to meet two inspirational and interesting men who are doing so much for the community. Watch out for their portraits being displayed in Tolworth station March 2022!