Remarkable Characters of Tunbridge Wells celebrated in exhibition

Pam Mills

An exhibition and book to celebrate the Remarkable Characters of Tunbridge Wells has been launched.

The 40 personalities are of all ages and walks of life, but their images and biographies will share space on the walls of Woods’ Restaurant in The Pantiles until September 9.

Slaves musician Isaac Holman, Paralympic gold medallist Will Bayley and EastEnders actress Louise Jameson are just three celebrities with links to the town photographed by Mark Wilkinson and interviewed by Anne Wagstaff for the project.

Characters who have made a difference locally, including Mayor Julia Soyke and Pickering Cancer Drop-In Co-Founder Polly Taylor, are also included in the exhibition and book, which is available for £18 from Waterstones, Halls Independent Book Shop and Tunbridge Wells Museum.

All proceeds from book sales and donations made at Woods will be given to charity Fegans, which provides children’s counselling and parent support in Tunbridge Wells and the South East.

Many of the 40 subjects attended a launch party on Thursday [March 15] to see the portraits unveiled.
Photographer Mark Wilkinson told the Times: “It was not hard to find the people, we had lots of suggestions put forward.

“We tried to have a range of people of different ages and genders, as well as finding people who had made a difference locally as well as nationally.”

He added that the photos were all in square format, which provided an extra challenge, and were shot at locations around Tunbridge Wells. The process took around two years.
Writer Anne Wagstaff said: “There are so many incredibly stories and some that are really unexpected and moving.”
Fegans, based in St James’ Road, Tunbridge Wells, is also running a Remarkable Raffle in-line with the project, with details available on their website,

Ian Soars, charity Chief Executive, said he hoped to raise awareness through the campaign, and also donations to help cover the £250,000 the charity spends on supporting individuals.

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