Thanks to the innovative work of Roger French, the front end of many of Brighton & Hove Buses are appended with the names of someone now deceased (there have been one or two exceptions who are still with us) who have made a great contribution to the City of Brighton & Hove. Roger was for many years the CEO of the Bus Company and he introduced the idea of honouring people in this way before he retired. With some new Buses on their way, there is a chance to nominate some new names to be honoured. The nominations need to be submitted on Tuesday 6th January, and then there will be a public vote. In order to nominate someone a statement of no more than 250 words must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
My own nomination would be for someone who I had the pleasure of working with over a number of years, someone who could be both infuriating and genius in equal measure. Charlie Jordan tragically died in 2009 at the age of 61 and although we were both Trustees together of a small charity, I don’t feel I knew him very well. However the following is an excerpt of the obituary written for the Guardian by Simon Fanshawe. At 249 words I think it would make a great nominating statement. However I have no idea if other people would wish to make a more personal statement? I am thrilled that Simon has agreed to my brutally edited version of his longer piece being used for this purpose. If I have no contradictory responses to this blog I will submit the statement on Monday. After this weeks New Years Honours with a disproportionate focus on Politics, London and the existing establishment as well as the terrible ranking of such honours, I think a Bus named Charlie Jordan would be a great antidote. I may be wrong but I wonder if Charlie would have accepted a CBE even if it had been offered to him? However a bus is certainly in a different league to a medal that rings with all sorts of echoes of a culture that Charlie was not very comfortable with.
“Charlie Jordan, was a chaotic, inspiring, provocative community activist, a whirl of social innovation who dedicated his life to the improve-ment of other people’s. He was co-founder of the Emmaus community in Brighton and Hove and at the time of his death in 2009 he was working on establishing an Emmaus in Hastings. Charlie was born in Cape Town, he grew up in Durham and started to study law and fine art, finishing neither, and became stage manager at the Mermaid Theatre in London. But his calling was community development. He studied youth and community work at Scraptoft in Leicester, taking a job in Oxford. In the early 1980’s Charlie came to Brighton to run Pact (People and Churches Together – now Impact Initiatives), which provided services for community initiatives in Sussex. With a deep commitment to social justice and the fight against poverty, Charlie initiated and nurtured a huge number of schemes in the Brighton and Hove area. These included the Hangleton and Knoll project, where local people run community services and buildings; Stopover, one of the first hostels for homeless teenagers; Workability, which enables people with disabilities to learn skills and find jobs; and Ask Here and Open Door, both of which provide advice, information and housing support for young people. Charlie possessed energy and talent for organising people to take control of their own lives and communities, he was a genius at involving those labelled as disadvantaged or socially excluded in creating their own answers to problems.”