This week’s Brentwood Gazette carries a story about naming roads after celebrities, with someone having the idea of naming a road after Pixie Lott! The article states that no roads are named after contemporary famous people.
Sorry Gazette team, you are wrong there. They know this of course, because I emailed them this letter yesterday morning:
Sadly, last week’s article about naming roads after celebrities did not mention Helen Rollason OBE, who has a road named after in Brentwood West. I, personally, am proud to have the Rollason memory in my ward and I know many other people think that she is richly deserving of this memorial.
But why? What did a Brentwood-based BBC sports reporter achieve in her 43 years before cancer took her in 1999? Well, for a start, she presented coverage of the 1992 & 1996 Olympics, presented Newsround, was deputy sports editor for Radio Essex and was the very first female presenter of Grandstand in 1990. Clearly an inspiration to many female sports journalists who have followed her into this previously male-dominated career.
Helen is remembered even more widely for her charity work, raising £5 million for a cancer wing and having The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity set up in her name of which, Lord Coe is patron. Furthermore, the charity funds an extensive research programme into cancer research in Essex – clearly something that, unfortunately, many of us will benefit from during our life.
Personally, I would like to see more roads named after Brentwood heroes, but Helen’s memory should demonstrate to us that such an accolade should be reserved for those who have really achieved something outstanding for our town, inspiring our young people and leaving a real legacy for future generations.
Cllr Karen Chilvers
Brentwood West Councillor
Ironically, as I was writing this post an email popped up from Rollason Way resident and Brentwood blogger Paul Downie, saying pretty much the very same thing!
There’s been a bit of a lack of research I’m afraid, with all the blocks in Rollason Way named after famous people – two from Brentwood! Here’s the list:
Boardman House (Chris – cyclist)
Botham House (Ian – cricketer)
Christie Court (Linford – sprinter)
Damon House (Hill – racing driver)
Faldo Court (Nick – golfer)
Helen House (Rollason)
Lennox House (Lewis – boxer)
Macarthur Place (Ellen – sailor)
Radcliffe House (Paula – long distance runner)
Redgrave Court (Steve – rower)
Tomlinson House (Jayne – runner)
Torvill Court (Jayne – ice skater)
Watson Court (Michael – boxer)
Wilkinson Court (Johnny – rugby player)
and then two Brentwood sport stars:
Whitbread Place (Fatima – javelin)
Brooking House (Trevor – Freeman of the Borough and footballer)
…….and one more block yet to be named…..