In memory of George Tuson by Barbara Wright
George Tuson, who some of you may have know, sadly passed away in December 2016.
As many people know, Streatham Common had considerable protectionist intervention over the years, however by the 1990’s the Streatham Common area was a little ‘tired’ and under resourced. It is against this background that the citizen involvement such as provided by George, on such groups as the Neighbourhood Watch, the Police Consultative Committee and the Streatham Common Management Advisory Committee was so crucial.
The Streatham Common Management Advisory Committee first met on 17th April 1996 and at this meeting George represented Fontaine Road Neighbourhood Watch. He eventually became Chair of the Streatham Common Management Advisory Committee. At about this time the Friends of Streatham Common (FOSC) was set up, primarily to run events on the Common.
Living close to the Common George become involved in numerous meetings to do with local affairs and generously hosting them at his house.
It was during George’s chairmanship of the Management Advisory Committee that I and others on the Committee worked from 2004 with FOSC to produce a ‘Vision’ for Streatham Common, in 2007, bringing to fruition a long outstanding desire of people locally to have written down for posterity all the history, facts and figures about the Common and the Rookery as well as making explicit our vision for the future .Eventually, George joined the Executive of the FOSC in 2010, and the Management Advisory committee ceased to exist in 2011.
George took an active part in many campaigns, events and forums such as:
– To stop a temporary ice rink being built on the Common
– Attending the borough wide Lambeth Parks and Green spaces forum on behalf of local residents,
– The Rookery centenary preparations and celebrations
– The conversion of the derelict kitchen garden into a community garden,
– The Wandle Valley conference in 2010, with regard to the views from the Common
– Regularly volunteering at events on the Common
George will be remembered for his good nature, his campaigns and his absolute commitment over the years to keeping Streatham Common as a Common, as a wild place so precious in a city.
I attended his funeral, on 29th December 2016 representing Friends of Streatham Common, along with Andrew Simpson of the Streatham Common Community Garden.
Thanks to Joyce Bellamy of FOSC formerly of Metropolitan Public Gardens Association (MPGA) for some of the background information on George.