Backstage at Aura’s Odyssey – Wendy Bell

Listen to the interview here.

WENDY BELL – Crawley Town Centre BID

When Creative Crawley said they wanted to bring a five metre tall puppet called Aura to Crawley I said, ‘Brilliant! When can you do it?’ We loved the idea. Crawley is such a diverse, multicultural town, it’s a place where everybody belongs. It doesn’t matter what your background or your history is. Having a whole season dedicated to the idea of ‘You’re Welcome’ is an amazing thing to do.

I am in charge of the Business Improvement District for Crawley town centre. Our aim is to create a thriving place where people want to be. One of the ways we do that is through a programme called Enlivenment, which is about making Crawley a standout destination in the local area.

We’ve been working with Creative Crawley since they started, and were involved in the creation of a huge mural on the side of Marks and Spencer. It’s become iconic. A lot of businesses include it in their literature.

We’ve also had a festive lighting scheme, and a walkthrough light-up bauble which got an amazing response. I’ve been on LinkedIn for years and I sometimes post things, but when I put a picture of the Christmas bauble on my profile I got more likes than anything else I’ve ever put on there.

In October we have a whole month dedicated to Creepy Crawley. When people say ‘I’m from Crawley’, everyone says ‘Oh, Creepy Crawley!’. We wanted to take ownership of that, so we’ve planned a month of spooky events including ghost tours. 

I’m born and bred in Crawley. Although I’ve worked in lots of different places, I came back here because I love the town. It’s been a fantastic place to grow up and I’ve raised my own daughter here. People have a view of Crawley as being urban, but actually it’s full of greenery, trees and grass. I back onto farmers’ fields and woods. It’s not the urban grey spot that people think it is.

Wendy is the BID Manager of Crawley Town Centre BID. You can find out more about Aura’s Odyssey here

Interview by Tim Bano