April 2018

A man who spent much of his time examining the origin of the universeA man who spent much of his time examining the origin of the universe

For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learnt to talk and we learnt to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need do is make sure we keep talking.

If the above is a somewhat more profound opening gambit than you have come to expect from this publication, it's because those are the words of one of the greatest scientific minds in the history of the world, the late Professor Stephen Hawking. Being known for the accessible way in which he communicated his discoveries and theories, it seems to be an apt quote to remember him by. Apt also for this publication, which thrives on the fact that it belongs to a community that communicates. And by appreciating this communication – be it through campaign groups, neighbourhood watches or local clubs and societies – one can align Professor Hawking's comments about mankind's achievements with the smaller scale workings of a suburban community. Indeed, communities only exist because – as the professor points out – we learnt to talk and listen. So, let's keep doing just that.

And if you're finding this is all still too profound, let's dial it down with a final quote from the man who spent much of his time examining the origin of the universe: "I can't disguise myself with a wig and dark glasses – the wheelchair gives me away."