We are delighted with the news that Pat Trembath, Chair of the Sydenham Society for 14 years and long-time community activist has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to the community in Sydenham.
Pat is still heavily involved in many aspects of Sydenham life – as Administrator of the Sydenham Arts Festival, as a member of the Town Centre Management Group and as a member of the Sydenham Assembly Coordinating Committee (to mention just a few!).
To give an account of all Pat’s activities in Sydenham and the surrounding area over the last decades would fill a large book. But to give you a flavour of some of Pat’s achievements, here is the interview that Sydenham Society member Sue Grindlay conducted with Pat in 2009 shortly after Pat stood down as Chair of the Society:
Pat was Chair of the Sydenham Society from 1994 – 2008. She is now a member of the Conservation and Planning and the Events Committee. She is Editor of the Sydenham Society Newsletter.
Anyone who thought Pat would retire to her rocking chair and knit once she gave up being Chair of the Sydenham Society would have been sorely mistaken. Pat has been as active, albeit in the background, as before and she remains committed to the Society.
Pat was Chair of the Society for fourteen years and it is largely due to her energy and dedication that the Society achieved the profile it has today.
Pat grew up in Dulwich and went to school at Sydenham High after the 11 plus. She married Bob in 1966 and three years later they bought their first home in Sydenham, a run-down house overlooking Wells Park.
Pat became involved in organizing the Sydenham Community Festivals in the mid to late 1970s and, when the festivals ended in the early 1980s, Pat joined the Amenities Committee of the Sydenham Society, and quickly rose through the ranks to be on the Executive.
In 1994 Pat became Chair and held the post for 14 years until she stepped down in 2008. There have been 4 major campaigns in that time. Bell Green was the first and, although the Society did not prevent the Savacentre from being built, the scale of the development is considerably less than was first proposed. The other 3 campaigns – Forest Hill Pools, “The Greyhound” and the Sydenham Road improvements are about to be realised, and Pat believes that the Society has played an important role in delivering positive outcomes.
Pat is a motivator. Always prepared to “roll her sleeves up” she inspired others to do the same. Another feature of her leadership qualities was her ability to engage with local councillors and council officers. Pat made contacts in the community before the word ‘networking’ was invented. She believes that early on the Society may have adopted a confrontational approach to those in authority, and Pat managed to get people on board and to gain trust. This has been built up over the years and, although we may not always agree, we are now able to work together for the good of the community.
Pat remains on both the conservation and events committees. She organizes the Quiz Nite, Club 26 and is Editor of the newsletter. She also chairs a board of trustees of a music charity and the Crystal Palace Community Development Trust. She is also the Assistant Administrator and one of the Directors of the Sydenham Arts Festival, ironically, she observes, full circle from the beginning of her involvement with local matters!
Pat has many interests in her spare time, and these include live performance, eating out and travel. In the last few years she has visited New Zealand,Peru, the Galapagos, Borneo, India, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa – a trip to Nepal is currently being planned. Pat has two daughters and two grandchildren. Although an inveterate globetrotter, Pat’s heart is in Sydenham and, with so many strings to her bow, don’t expect to see that rocking chair for a good while yet.
Photo courtesy of Chris Best