A classic winter BBQ

By James Gaydon

I’d like to introduce you to Christian Stevenson aka DJ BBQ.

Christian has been a local resident in Cuckfield for 11 years. He was raised in Maryland, America and spent some time in Colorado before moving to the UK. Christian and his wife Naya were looking for a warm friendly community with green surroundings and once they visited Cuckfield they knew they had found the place to plant their roots and make a home for themselves and future Stevensons (there are now three more!).

Sitting in The Talbot with Christian it is clear to see his appeal. With bucket loads of charisma, Christian makes everyone feel like an old friend and a part of what is going on. It is this Stevenson American charm that has made him an obvious ‘face’ to lead the Save The Ship campaign which has hit the local and national news. Christian, Jo Roche and the whole Cuckfield community have been doing all they can to preserve the local amenities and highlight the PR errors made by the Co-op in this latest acquisition. The campaigners did their best, battling to keep the village and its services accessible to all and keep the Co-op where it is. Christian said: “We feel totally cheated; we were lied to. Clearly the Co-op doesn’t care about our community.” Indeed the talk of the pub while I sat with him revolved around this ongoing situation. Everyone I spoke to seems concerned for the future of Cuckfield’s High Street but they are trying to remain positive. 

Christian has always been quite focused on the Cuckfield community and is keen to get stuck in. You might have heard of Christian some years ago when he pushed through the project to build a skatepark (The Bowl) at Whitemans Green. Some local mums had recognised the need for kids to have somewhere to skate and made an appeal in the Parish news requesting further expertise. Christian – a skater/BMX rider and surfer since childhood – had just finished a BAFTA award-winning series called Rad for Channel 5 at the time. Some might say a perfect match! He was happy to step in and pull some strings to make it happen. After some design work, negiotation and some friendly arm-twisting, Christian presented the skatepark that still (seven years later) gets used by 5-50 year olds. I suggested that, in my experience, of skateparks there can sometimes be young troublemakers making the place intimidating. Christian joked saying that problem has never been an issue as the troublemakers don’t like to stray far from fried chicken so tend to stay in Haywards Heath! The facility still looks good as new, despite being used by local skaters both large and small. Apparently the park is occasionally visited by dads who refuse to think they have ‘lost it’ desperately trying to teach their unimpressed seven year old son how an ‘Ollie’ should be done on an antique skateboard... so I am told!

Read full article on pages 12 & 13.