Gregory Street: Kerry McCarthy MP Pays Tribute to Reg Gregory

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20 July 2012
A new street in the regenerated area of Barton Hill, in Bristol, has been officially named after a much respected member of the local community. Gregory Street was officially opened on Friday (20 July) by local MP Kerry McCarthy.

The street was named after Reg Gregory, who made a great impression on the local community as a Justice of the Peace, trade unionist, a leading figure in the local Boys Brigade and Methodist Church, and an influential person in the regeneration of the area.

The opening event was attended by local residents and representatives of community groups which knew and fondly remember Reg, including the Boys’ Brigade, the Wellspring health centre the Barton Hill History Group and Easton and Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Management.

Reg passed away in 2009, but, such was his standing in the community that when Sovereign Housing Association canvassed local residents about what the new street should be called, his name was the clear winner.

“Reg was an extraordinary man who left an overwhelmingly positive impression on this part of Bristol through,” said Heather Bowman, Sovereign’s Director of Housing and Communities.

“It’s entirely fitting that this street should bear his name as a constant reminder of the enormous amount of unselfish community work he did here. His enthusiasm and dedication was instrumental in getting the Wellspring health centre built.”

Gregory Street, which sits between Avonvale Road and the urban park in Barton Hill, was created by Sovereign as part of the regeneration of Barton Hill, during which it built 151 new affordable homes.

Kerry McCarthy said: “It is a great honour to have been asked to open Gregory Street. Reg Gregory devoted his life to serving the communities of Barton Hill, Redfield and St George and as a committed trade unionist and Labour Party member he worked tirelessly to improve the lives of ordinary hardworking people. His years of service to the Boys Brigade transformed the lives of generations of children and he was also instrumental in helping establish the Wellspring Healthy Living Centre. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known Reg. I can think of no-one who more deserves to have a street named after them." 

Reg’s son, Bob Gregory, who was at the event, said: “It’s a real honour that a part of Bristol to which my father devoted so much of his energy has been named after him. He was a man of great principle and honesty who gave unwavering commitment the causes he truly believed in throughout his life.”

During his life, Reg was the captain and then president of the 36th Company of the Boys’ Brigade Bristol Battalion, attended Redfield Methodist Church and was an active member of the local Labour Party. He served as a Justice of the Peace for nearly 30 years. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and, having trained as a cobbler, worked for the Cooperative Society his whole life. He was a lifelong member of the Barton Hill History Group.

More recently, Reg was a member of the committee – later renamed Community at Heart – which oversaw the New Deal for Communities funding bid for Barton Hill, Lawrence Hill, the Dings and Redfield. Reg chaired Community at Heart’s health group which went on to build the Wellspring healthy living centre in Barton Hill.

In 2005, Reg received the ‘Experience Corps’ award from Kerry McCarthy at the Houses of Parliament for his voluntary work in the public sector. The following year, he was presented with the Lord Mayor of Bristol’s Medal in recognition for his lifelong community work.


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