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15 December 2017


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Bitterne Parker: Rowenna Davis
Sunday, 13 July 2014 00:00


Rowenna Davis
Rowenna Davis is campaigning to be the next MP for Bitterne Park and the rest of Itchen now that John Denham is retiring. She grew up in London but now lives locally. She spent six years working as a journalist investigating social injustice in modern Britain before switching to politics. She has published a book, 'Tangled Up in Blue', and regularly appears on Sky News. She says she has a long history of charity work, and volunteers at the Old Chemist foodbank on Wednesday mornings.

The Qs & the As

What’s your link with Bitterne Park?  

It's my home! I live in a little flat by the river just off Whitworth Crescent. On Wednesday mornings I volunteer at the foodbank at the Old Chemist. I'm also hoping to be the area's next MP, which would be pretty amazing.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

Definitely Riverside Park. I pulled up on one of those perfect sunny days and the kids and the swans and the bridge took my breath away. I had been in Southampton for a while but hadn't seen it before - a magical secret for those on the east side of the river!

How could it (the area – or indeed your memories) be better?

Speaking to the local traders, I wish business was better for them. It's amazing we have the ice cream parlour and the Butcher’s Hook join us, but it would be good to have the green grocers back, as well as the post office, the bank and the chemist.

I also wish we were a bit more united with other parts of the ward. There is a lot of poverty very close by and I sometimes feel there is quite a big divide between those areas and the more affluent parts.

Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park

The Bitterne Balti is fast becoming Labour activists' local restaurant of choice to strategise and plan campaigns for the general election!

What’s good about the wider city?

The people. I grew up in London and people here seem so much more ready to stop and have a chat, or open the door to you and have a conversation about what they care about.

When I'm encouraging businesses to come here I always say we have got two great rivers, the new forest on our doorstep, two fantastic universities and links to London and the rest of the world via the airport, not to mention a great industrial history and a premiership football team. Who wouldn't move here?!

Southampton: points for improvement?

More jobs and higher wages. I'm shocked by how much poverty there is here when I volunteer at the foodbank, which is feeding about 800 people a month in our city.

What’s your passion in life?

People. I am fascinated by them and their stories how we can make things happen together.

‘I live on the generosity of people who have
been brave enough to believe in me’

How do you put bread on your table?

Good question. I'm a full time candidate at the moment and there is no income for that. I'm still fundraising to pay my rent, so I guess your answer is I live on the generosity of people who have been brave enough to believe in me.

What has your career taught you?

Build relationships. You can't do anything alone.

What really gets your goat?

Social injustice, loneliness... And being stuck on a queue in Cobden Bridge after a long day when you can see your home.

How do you relax?

Friends, lots of dinners, reading and running. I also watch a lot of bad box sets with my partner.

What’s your favourite dish?

It's got to be some kind of fresh fish. Please can we have a fishmonger in the Triangle!

Which is your favourite pub?

Oh this is tough. I love the charm of the Butcher's Hook, but when I want to sit down I would head to the Humble Plum or the Cowherds. The Obelisk garden is lovely in the summer too.

iPod-1G under CC2 by Ben K AdamsWhat do you listen to?

Any music that tells stories - I grew up with a lot of folk and country music.

Can you recommend a really good read?

The Grapes of Wrath - Steinbeck is amazing.

What’s a great day out?

An adventure where you wake up somewhere you have never been before and let fate take you where it will, hopefully with some ocean and mountains thrown in.

What scares you?


Tell us a secret

I'm not sure how many people I've told my previous answer to! Does that count?

Tell us a joke

Why did the crab blush?

Because he saw the salad dressing!

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

Are you going to vote Labour? (Sorry, couldn't resist..)

Thanks so much for taking part!

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions. But before then, do you know a Bitterne Parker we really should feature? If so, please nominate them by emailing us using the contact form, and we'll do our best. No promises, mind. 

Rowenna's website is here

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

iPod pic under CC2 by Ben K Adams



0 #1 KarenA 2014-07-16 03:17
Fundraising to pay your rent, sounds like a good idea. I guess you just need to ask enough people to believe in are brave to ask.
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