Plaque unveiling at the Claire Tiltman Centre

Council Chairperson Lucy Canham unveiling a plaque of dedication to Claire Tiltman, accompanied by Emma Edwards, Vicki Atkins and Barbara Rumbal.

The Claire Tiltman Centre in Cotton Lane was officially opened last week, with a poignant celebration to mark the event and pay tribute to Claire’s memory.

The council were very pleased Claire’s friends and family could join many other community representatives for the special occasion.

Guests were provided with an introductory background to the development of the eco-centre by parish council chairperson Lucy Canham, who talked about the journey to completion and the aspirations for the facility to become a local resource for sustainable living and ecology education, as well as having a focus on youth activities.

This was followed with a presentation by Martin Sweet, Quartermaster of the Brent 6th Dartford Scout Group, who are now based at the centre – their first real home since formation in 2006. Martin spoke about how the group has grown considerably and how much having a dedicated base means to them as it will enable them to provide so much more to the 130 young people that attend weekly sessions.

Claire’s friend, Joanne Roberts, sent a special video message as she now lives in Mexico and was disappointed to not be able to attend in person. This was followed with a speech by Emma Edwards who spoke on behalf of Claire’s friends and family and of their delight that Claire’s memory could now be attributed to something positive, in particular to a centre that will clearly have so much impact on young people in the area. She expressed her hope that children using the new centre will have lots of fun and laughs, and also be a bit mischievous, just as Claire was.

A break in proceedings allowed guests to have a look around the new venue, followed by the official opening and unveiling of a plaque of dedication to Claire.

Rounding off the day was a special keynote presentation by BBC investigative journalist, Andy Pagg, who recounted his challenge to retrofit a bus to travel across the world on nothing but food waste products. Andy also spoke about how his trip across many countries and continents had given him direct sight of how much climate change was wreaking havoc in the world. He congratulated the council on having the foresight to construct an eco-friendly, sustainable community building and hoped it would be an example to be copied as we aim to move towards a more carbon-neutral way of life.

The centre is a fantastic new venue for the parish, perfect for meetings, training and conferences, as well as many other activities requiring a large capacity hall. Venue bookings for the facility will open imminently but the council encourages anyone interested in using the new centre to contact the teamcreate new email to discuss further.