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Abdul Rais

Abdul Rais

The year was 1980 when I realised my life would change… I used to work as an IT consultant and I made up my mind that I was going to leave London and go somewhere cheaper.

I just happened to be going through one of the computer magazines during my break and I noticed a tiny advert about an IT consultant’s job in Milton Keynes. I had never heard of Milton Keynes and had no idea where it was but I just got curious and I rang up and got the job.

Abdul outside the Magistrates Court where he works as an interpreter

The thing that attracted me was that when I drove past the shopping centre I was fascinated with the structure of the building… After the interview I got the job offer and I was told that if you had a job the MK development Corporation would find you accommodation within 6 weeks or so and I found that quite attractive.

“I had never heard of Milton Keynes and had no idea where it was but I just got curious and I rang up and got the job!”

I moved to Netherfield and the size of the property was amazing, I was living in a little flat in London, so for me it was heaven!

Anne Marie Newman

Anne Marie Newman

I met my partner on a dating website 6 years ago – he is from Milton Keynes, I was from Oxford. And after a few months of dating, I fell in love with both him and MK so I decided to move in with him!

At the time I was commuting back to Oxford every day for work… that’s until I fell pregnant with my little boy Joshi 3 years ago. All of a sudden I was on maternity leave, on my own in Milton Keynes, with all my family and friends down in Oxford.

Anne Marie and her son Joshi

I knew I had to make Milton Keynes friends if I didn’t want to stay lonely. So I started a Facebook group called Mummies Meetings MK, to see if there were any other mums out there in the same position as me – with a small child and no one to see. At first it was just me on my own in this Facebook group, with the hope that someone would want to be friends with me… and there was!

“I’ve set out what I wanted to achieve – to find friends, and help other mums in Milton Keynes find friends. It’s incredible.”

In that first night my phone kept beeping, to alert me to the new joiners. I got to 100 in the first evening. And every day since I’ve had at least one mum join the group – we’re at nearly 900 now! For that first meeting we met at a local garden centre for a coffee. I thought there’d be 5 or 6 mums come… but 36 turned up! And it’s grown from there. We now meet regularly, at coffee shops or at my favourite lake – Willen. But a lot of the events are held at my house. I host the parties here, put on some food and decorate the house saying 20 mums can come. Then 30 or more will turn up! But it’s so much fun, and I’ve set out what I wanted to achieve – to find friends, and help other mums in Milton Keynes find friends. It’s incredible.”

Anouar Kassim

Anouar Kassim

I happened to fly to Luton airport and then I caught a bus to go to Bolton. It passed through MK and I said “that’s wonderful”.

It had nice countryside and everything.

Amouar Kassim

My folks used to live in Bolton and the bus took me through MK. I said how wonderful it is and that it’s a breath of fresh air.

“I said how wonderful it is and that it’s a breath of fresh air”

The houses are designed differently – there was a lot of greenery and everything was environmentally friendly. Coming from Holland where I had stayed for a few years it was refreshing that there was a bicycle path – it was incredible!

Bianca Chappell

Bianca Chappell

I’ve lived in Milton Keynes for 26 years after moving with my family at 8 years old with my father’s job. We came from London and I honestly felt like we’d moved to Emmerdale! It was very quiet and different from London, but I got used to it very quickly.

I loved that after school my friends and I could go out to play, in the greenery, and build dens out of trees or whatever. Roll on 20 years and I now have children of my own who love it here. It was while I was pregnant I founded Mumpreneurs- the very first organisation to support mums in business in Milton Keynes.

Bianca showing off some of her favourite 6 inch heels!

It’s a not for profit networking agency that puts on events once a week, to unite, connect, motivate and empower women starting up in business – and they also happen to be mums. We bring these ladies together, to spend time talking and learning from each other. To help each other. So that’s my day job.

“At home I’m a mummy! So I take off my 6 inch heels, the Uggs go on, the hair ties into a pineapple on top of my head, and I go into mummy mode.”

Then at home I’m a mummy! So I take off my 6 inch heels, the uggs go on, the hair ties into a pineapple on top of my head, and I go into mummy mode. We are a very out doorsy family so when the sun’s out, we’re out. We’re in the parks, in the mud – there’s nothing a shower can’t fix! We have a real love affiliation with the tree cathedral in Willen Lake, that’s a very special place for our family. We love the Buddhist Temple – for anyone who hasn’t been, I urge you to knock on the door and go in. Even though we are Christians, we love to go there for our time together as a family.”

Bill Griffiths

Bill Griffiths

The museum is of great importance to me – and to Milton Keynes – as it tells the story of the area. And it all started after the announcement of MK.

People in the area at the time became very worried about this new town coming. You could imagine the situation; families who had been here for generations found their way of life was not going to continue. They were scared they were going to be swept away.

Bill Griffiths is the Museum Director at Milton Keynes Museum

So they started collecting everything that became available. So as farms finished, they pulled together the machinery. As little industries closed they would gather the engines they’d driven, or whatever. They kept whatever they could. But then they had nowhere to put it, until eventually Stacey Hill Farm became available in Wolverton… and the museum was born. I am so passionate about this place.

“People in the area at the time became very worried about this new town coming. You could imagine the situation; families who had been here for generations found their way of life was not going to continue.”

We discovered Milton Keynes just after we got married. I was working for London Zoo at the time, but we realised quite quickly that it would be cheaper for me to commute from MK to London rather than to live near work! So we brought a house in Bletchley, then later moved to Heelands. 26 years ago I was made redundant from the Zoo and it was then I found the museum. And alongside my wonderful volunteers – without whom the museum would be nothing – we’ve gone from strength to strength. I am deeply passionate about the museum, but I’m equally passionate about Milton Keynes as a place. We have everything! I think it’s just fantastic.”

Bob Hill

Bob Hill

I came here as a junior in 1972 and joined the Development Corporation where I developed my career to becoming the commercial director, responsible for selling Milton Keynes to the world!

People saw this as a concrete jungle, so I made sure the ads I agreed refuted this claim. All of our ads were aimed to get people to come and look at the place, to see it wasn’t just concrete.  It was a fantastic job because I believed in MK.  There was a lot of heartache on the way – it wasn’t just a case of putting up the ads and they all came tumbling in.

Bob Hill talking to MK People

Heartache came when you bust a gut to try and persuade a company to come to Milton Keynes and they didn’t.  I remember a big bank was looking to move to either Milton Keynes or Bournemouth – they were their final two. and they chose Bournemouth.  Not because they didn’t like Milton Keynes, but because the senior managers liked sailing, but not on a lake!  they wanted to sail on the sea.

“I’ve loved being part of it and I’ve loved living here.”

I worked hard for that pitch, but as i’ve often said, the reality is that we’re halfway between London and Birmingham and halfway between Oxford and Cambridge.  If I couldn’t sell this, what could I sell?

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