Charles Goodson-Wickes: The man with a finger in every Islington pie
PUBLISHED: 12:22 16 February 2017
Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes is Islington’s representative to the Royal Family. He talks to the Gazette about his work and aspirations for our borough.
Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes has his finger in every Islington pie. His duties range from leading Islington Veterans’ Association to supporting the work of Sadler’s Wells dance theatre.
As representative deputy lieutenant for Islington, he is effectively the monarchy’s representative in our borough, and hosts every royal family visit.
As former Tory MP for Wimbledon between 1987 and 1997, Dr Goodson-Wickes is perhaps an unlikely community leader in the “lefty luvvie” heartland of Islington.
But the 71-year-old has zero interest in politics. “It’s a role that reflects my enthusiasm for the voluntary sector,” he says.
“Part of it is assessment for the Queen’s Award to Voluntary Service, and Islington community groups have a higher strike rate than any other borough – which I very much enjoy. Islington has a long tradition of people giving back to their communities.”
He has been deputy lieutenant since 2011, after 12 years of biding his time. “I was first nominated to be a deputy lieutenant in 1999. Over the years, I was offered the chance to represent several boroughs. But I turned them all down as I had no connections to them.
“When Islington came along in 2011, however, I was thrilled. I have enormous connections to Islington.
“I was born in the City of London Maternity Hospital in Liverpool Road [which closed in 1975 and is now housing] and lived in Theberton Street when I worked at Bart’s Hospital. And I have been an Arsenal season ticket holder for years.
“So I have enjoyed every minute of this role. I hope I am just as visible in Holloway as I am in Clerkenwell.”
Speaking of Clerkenwell, Dr Goodson-Wickes adds one aspiration is “to build a better relationship between the south of Islington and the City of London”. He says: “I think there could be more co-operation across the border. Look at all the historical buildings like Charterhouse. I think we can build on this. We shouldn’t be too fussy about border lines.”