June 19 2013 Latest news:
Robin de Peyer, Reporter
Thursday, July 12, 2012
An Olympic torchbearer is appealing for £20,000 funding for a summer programme of art and community work aboard a 1965 Routemaster bus.
Professor Ed Berman MBE, who lives on the Isle of Dogs, has dedicated much of his life to community projects, including the Inter-Action Trust which he founded in 1968.
One of his most recent projects was the launch of the Fun Art Bus, which brings exhibitions, theatre and advice groups to communities across the country. The bus was due to be embarking on a tour of London in conjunction with the Olympic Festival of London 2012, but a funding issue is putting the tour in jeopardy.
Professor Berman, 71, said: “We have run into a disastrous situation which requires us to raise £20,000 quickly or we may not be able to be in the Festival of London 2012 or indeed carry on with the three years touring of the Bus with its follow-up self-help development projects which start next April.”
Orignally from America, Mr Berman came to the UK to study at Oxford in 1962, and has remained here ever since. His illustrious career has seen him balance spells as a special advisor to cabinet ministers Michael Hesseltine and Tom King with extensive community work.
It is this community work which led to him being nominated as a torchbearer, a duty he will perform on July 27. He admits that he has concerns over whether the back injury he is carrying will impact on his ability to complete the stint, and said he hopes LOCOG will allow him to hitch a ride on the back of the vintage Routemaster.
“I had wanted to do my 300 yards on the back of the bus. I have a very bad back injury and can only walk some 50 yards at a time before I have to rest for a minute. I’m pleading with LOCOG to let me do this,” he said.
Funding permitting, the bus should be out and about in the Tower Hamlets community from July 16 to July 31, with free entry to groups from the borough.