The members of The Bayle Residents’ Association committee are listed below.
The group meets up on the last Friday each month. Our aim is simply to keep everyone posted on local activities, events and developments. Hopefully, we can help to spread a little bit of community spirit and make it even more pleasant to work or live in The Bayle.
Do let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions!
Chair: Jon O’Connor
I have worked in education for 40 years and am currently National Director for CSNET, working with around 500 co-operative schools nationally. I am also Project Lead for The School Bus Project, which supports refugee education provision across Europe.
Coming from a family of actors and writers, I always wanted to be a writer and musician. I am married to Amanda and we have three children, who all appear to have turned out OK! We both work at The Woodshed Gallery located on Bail Steps and feel very much at home living in The Bayle with good friends and neighbours.
Secretary: Markéta Patel
I moved with my husband and two daughters to Folkestone at the end of 2018. The Bayle for us was a case of love at first sight and we got involved with the local community immediately. I treasure its heritage, people, the nature, the views and the local atmosphere very much and I feel very fortunate to live here.
Originally from The Czech Republic, I used to run my own interior design practice in Prague. Outside my job, I was very active with many architectural community based projects and participated on several events with local councils, businesses, schools and residents of Prague 6.
As a member of the Committee and Secretary I have set myself some personal goals for my contribution to the work of our group. I would like to see the Green Bayle 2020 become an effective, fun and engaging initiative. I am very much an outdoor and sporty person, so I would love to host some community based sport/well-being activity in the Bayle area. Another challenge is to contribute to promote our green areas as safe, inspiring places for all generations.
Treasurer: Paul Fox
My wife and I came to live on the Bayle in 1971 and I have been a member of the Association since then. I am a chartered accountant and am currently the Treasurer for the Association, though for several years I was the Chairman. I am a former Town Councilllor and founder member of the New Folkestone society.
Neighbourhood Watch coordinator: Carl Mehta
I moved to Folkestone in September 2019 from London where I had lived and worked almost all my life. I was a police officer for over thirty-three years in London and retired at the end of 2015 as a Detective Superintendent and deputy head of New Scotland Yard’s, Homicide and Major Crime Command.
Following retirement, I worked for the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the regulator for charities, as their head of investigations, enforcement and engagement for nearly two years. I left the Commission to take some time out, travel and pursue hobbies as well as spent time in my home in France, trying desperately to improve my French. Having always dreamed of living by the sea, but with no prior connection to Folkestone, I explored a few places along this part of the coast and by chance found a flat near The Bayle, which blew me away! To be in the heart of this most historic part of town, with a strong and vibrant community who have welcomed me, has made it a joy to be here and start my new life. Keen to join the Association to preserve and improve the quality of life and beauty of the area, I was privileged enough to be elected as the Neighbourhood Watch coordinator, perhaps bringing some of my past experience to benefit the community.
I realised my dream of returning to live by the seaside after a period of commuting from Surrey, and settled here permanently in November 2016. I originally come from Sweden where I worked in retail and teaching. Here in England I spent 26 years working in the commercial sector of the pharmaceutical industry. I am now fully dedicated to enjoying life here on The Bayle, with the aim of contributing to making it “a better place to live and work”. The value of living in this unique community soon became apparent: people connect in a very unusual way, so that living here is almost like being part of a family. People look out for their neighbours and help each other without hesitation. How I can personally make a difference is something I always ask myself, when considering how I can best support my friends and our community. As an example, the opportunity arose soon after I arrived to join the Bayle’s Hanging Basket Team, along with Amanda and other friends.
My personal creativity has been in full flow since moving here! With support from our own local experts, my DIY mission so far has been a success. I also enjoy gardening, flower arranging, yoga, Tai Chi, cooking, socialising and keeping fit by walking Rocky, our 8 months’ old mini Schnauzer. My partner Chris still works in London but comes down every weekend.
Eileen Mitchell is our Glendale Link representative and has led a varied life, working in Youth Services and public sector roles for many years before she retired to live here in The Bayle. In her youth she was a passionate gardener and loved sport. In her 80s now, she is widowed and has two children – a son who lives in Ireland and a daughter living in Herefordshire. She lives in a one-bedroom flat in Glendale at the heart of The Bayle, with a view of the Pond area and is very happy living here. Until recently she was a member of the Church but is now a baptized Jehovah’s Witness. She says: “I have always been known as an evangelist. I care for people.”
My wife and I were both born in Folkestone and moved to the Bayle three years ago. We have both been struck by the feeling of community and wellbeing that comes from living in our corner of town. It’s one of those rare places that manages to maintain a village feel, whilst being right in the heart of a busy town. We are supporters of the night-time economy and the local businesses that surround us, believing that if they are thriving it can only enhance the area further. I left school at 15 and have spent my working life in manufacturing, where I’m currently employed as a project manager. In my spare time I enjoy records, socialising, travel, collecting various junk, food, fitness and art.