‘The Steeple Times’ chooses our Heroes & Villains 2021; the 25 best and 25 worst people of the last year and the 25 who’ll be missed and the 25 who won’t
Happy New Year to all our readers. Our ‘Heroes & Villains’ list was well received in 2020 and as we move into 2021, we yet again to echo our sentiments from last year and join all celebrating ‘good riddance’ to the monstrous mess that so sadly continued from 2020 into 2021.
May we now all hope that this period of uncertainty is coming towards it end and may we salute the heroic frontline workers who’ve continued to work towards getting a solution to this.
Our Heroes & Villains 2021 list follows, but first we make a special award:
SPECIAL AWARD – HERO OF THE DECADE
MARCUS RASHFORD MBE
Whilst our villain of the year of 2020, Priti Patel, continued to carry on ‘snitchin’ and ‘snoopin’ in 2020, another of last year’s inclusions, Marcus Rashford, has quite deservedly since been awarded an MBE after he and his fans funded 21 million meals (with two thirds going to children and families in need).
For such amazing dedication and tenacity in his quest to help others, this 24-year-old truly deserves to be commended as not just a hero of the year, but as one of the most remarkable men of the decade. We salute Marcus Rashford and join those lauding him for showing compassion, kindness and decency.
Long may this decent gent continue – but may we also hope that one day soon, a country like Britain stops actually needing to rely on the efforts of such people. It is time in 2022 for our Prime Minister to work towards provide a solution to this crisis, rather than, as it did in 2021, to allow itself to get mixed up in scandals such as ‘Wallpapergate’ and the disgraceful protection of its very own self-serving members like ‘MP for the BVI’ Geoffrey Cox QC and the now money grabbing rather than constituent focused ex-MP Owen Paterson.
HEROES OF 2021
We’ve seen some great people do some wonderful things during 2022 and in the face adversity and strife, it is yet again healthcare heroes who are the ones most deserving of our ultimate respect as they continue to fight to rid us all of coronavirus.
Elsewhere, others have put on extreme shows of courage, broken down barriers and supported those working to expose injustice. We celebrate them all, but our first selection for our Heroes & Villains 2021 list had to be:
WINNER – Richard Ratcliffe
Iranian-British dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been imprisoned for no good reason in Iran for 19 months. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, meanwhile, has never given up hope and his 21-day hunger strike in Westminster in 2021 was illustration of his dedication and courage.
Though the British government has done little to nothing to help him and that the Foreign Secretary has yet to reach a solution is beyond disgraceful, Ratcliffe remains hopeful and in December remarked: “It feels like things are moving and movement is good. My greatest fear is inertia. I always feel it’s shameful, how could it happen, but it did.”
Aged just 27 and born deaf, Rose Ayling-Ellis has played Frankie Lewis in the BBC One soap EastEnders since 2020. In 2021, she became the first deaf contestant on the channel’s Strictly Come Dancing and went on to win the show’s nineteenth series.
Her victory brought joy to the nation and of her success, award winning deaf and disabled journalist Liam O’Dell remarked: “It goes to show how, with the right support, deaf people can achieve anything… It’s important now that the buzz, passion and momentum generated by Rose’s journey does not dissipate – let’s continue uplifting deaf people!”
In spite of being of humble origins and leaving school aged just 12, “old school, blood and blisters businessman” Alfie Best has risen to the top and deservedly recently won the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ at the Signature Awards at the Park Lane Hilton, London.
Described as “the world’s first gypsy billionaire” by the Mirror in August 2021, Wlydecrest Parks chairman and founder Best remarked: “I’m a Romany gypsy. I’m a gypsy through and through and sometimes I pinch myself.”
Generous, flamboyant and the owner of a fleet of helicopters and supercars, Best is the largest residential park and holiday home operator in the UK. He has over 91 parks in the UK alone and is also the owner of East Thurrock United.
Alfie Best, interviewed first by The Steeple Times in April 2017, is someone with tenacity and dedication to hard work. He sets an example to others that if you put in the hours, you’ll get the results and success you desire.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, LG, GCVO, CSM, PC
Herself an “avid reader as a child,” the second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, started what she described as a ‘Reading Room’ that is “inspired by the success of Her Royal Highness’s reading lists shared during the pandemic in 2020” in the last year.”
It has involved everyone from William Boyd and Susan Hill to Kazuo Ishiguro and Hilary Mantel and of why she started it, she herself stated:
“To me, reading is a great adventure. I’ve loved it since I was very small and I’d love everybody else to enjoy it as much as I do. You can escape and you can travel and you can laugh and you can cry. There’s every kind of emotion that humans experience in a book… It has been a lovely way of communicating.”
We urge readers of The Steeple Times to join the 128,000 who’ve already followed this worthy endeavour on Instagram.
Tony Hudgell (AKA ‘Bear’)
In his relatively short life thus far, 7-year-old double amputee and victim of parental abuse as a baby Tony Hudgell has morphed into a courageous changemaker.
Having raised over £1.5 million to date for the Evelina Children’s Hospital and won a Pride of Britain Award in 2020, it was announced that ‘Tony’s Law’ – which will see the maximum sentence for child abuse increased from 14 years to life imprisonment – would come into law in November 2021.
This unstoppable dynamo – now adopted by two loving parents and living in West Malling, Kent – is a true “inspiration” and described as someone who “never complains, carries on no matter what is thrown at him – all the challenges, he just gets back up and carries on.”
Featured in The Steeple Times in August 2020 after he had raised £145,000 for good causes by walking two marathons in spite of having cerebral palsy and autism, Tobias Weller became the youngest ever person to be honoured with a British Empire Medal (BEM) aged just 11 on 1st January 2022.
Nicknamed ‘Captain’ for following in the footsteps of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore, Weller responded to the news by announcing:
“I’m chuffed to bits… It feels absolutely amazing to be honoured by the Queen. My mum told me about the award on Christmas Day and I thought, ‘wow! I am so excited.’”
“It makes me feel magnificent. I love raising money for charity and knowing I have helped other children is a lovely feeling. I am so proud and privileged.”
VILLAINS OF 2021
As could only be expected, many of the usual suspects to be considered villains in the context of our Heroes & Villains listings have behaved appallingly during 2021. Amongst them, towards the top of such a collection, has to be the buffoon that supposedly runs Britain but seems too busy consuming cheese and wine with his puppet mistress wife, Boris Johnson, and the mendacious money grabber the Duchess of Sussex and her sidekick drip of a husband, Prince Harry.
This dastardly duo – quite rightly now known as ‘Ginge and Cringe’ – have caused pain to the Queen at a time when she has lost her stalwart husband and joining them, others consistent in their vileness and ridiculousness must include, as ever, publican Tim Martin for whining about his beloved Brexit causing his profits to slump and the especially moronic media mouthpieces Darren Grimes, Owen Jones and Richard Madeley for their continuing crackpot craziness.
Self-serving tyrannical tycoons like couldn’t-run-a-train-on-time-yet-wants-to-be-king-of-space Sir Richard Branson, mate of ‘Randy Andy’ and rotten anti-BLM ranter Bernie Ecclestone and destroyers of thousands of jobs Sir Philip Green and his title-obssessed wife ‘Call Me Lady Tina’ (AKA ‘Lady Greed’) also made their mark in the year. Finally, other reliably regular villains certainly have to include PPE money grabbing bra flogger Baroness Mone OBE and fellow Tory peer and associate of dildo floggers and ‘Poundland muckspreader’ Baroness Brady CBE.
WINNER – Ghislaine Maxwell
Now, unlike the entirely innocent and wrongly incarcerated Nazanin Zaghhari-Ratcliffe, rightly certain to spend the rest of her days rotting in the clink, mucky madam Ghislaine Maxwell (pictured in happier times with her father’s rival, Rupert Murdoch) will never again be called a “socialite.”
This wicked wench will henceforth quite deservedly will forever be labelled a “sex offender” and “sex trafficker” and again The Steeple Times joins those calling for the 1994 Met Police investigation into what went on at the alleged brothel at her Stanhope Mews East mews house to urgently be reopened.
We know that’ll be unlikely to occur whilst her school and university mate Dame Cressida Dick remains in charge and equally, we suspect, the deviant daughter of a murdering pension pot plunderer will not offer up any powerful names of those that so disgustingly ‘enjoyed’ abusing the innocent victims she so willingly passed around.
Shame on her and in 2022 and beyond, may Ghislaine Maxwell forever rot in hell.
In June 2021, The Steeple Times featured the story of how The Sun excused the unfunny comedian Russell Brand as “quick thinking and a hero” after his German Shepherd dog, Bear, caught a female wallaby “whilst it had its baby in its pouch” and “mauled it to death” in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. He should have instead been condemned and most certainly not saluted and at time we remarked:
“If Brand’s dog had attacked sheep or a child – which it quite potentially could do next given it plainly has a clear penchant for blood – would The Sun so easily have leapt to his defence? The hypocrisy of this shocking story is clear and today we call upon the RSPCA and police to intervene before Brand’s dog slaughters something else.”
As far as we are aware, disgustingly, both Bear and Brand remain at large; where the poor wallaby and its baby is buried is, however, unknown.
Racing “blow-in” – given his being the son of a panel-beater and lacking any familial connections to horse racing – Gordon Elliott brought utter disgrace to the sport in March 2021 when he was banned as a trainer for 12 months after being captured on camera sitting on a dead horse whilst on his mobile phone and making a V-sign. Outrageously, this sick scumbag was allowed back into the game just 6 months later and nobody seemed to bat an eyelid.
PR pontificating prized pillock Ivy Holt of Media PR is so “highbrow” that we haven’t even got a photo of her – not that we’re bothered; it’d probably break your screens, she’s probably as ugly as sin physically on top of her ugly as sin soul.
This wannabe Brian Basham and fake news muckspreader was called out by The Steeple Times on 1st April 2021 – April Fools’ Day – after she tried to make a mockery of our previous day’s story about the twentieth anniversary of the tragic murder of Stuart Lubbock at the home of the disgraced ‘entertainer’ Michael Barrymore. Shame on her; what an utter disgrace.
Ms Holt (AKA Ivy Elizabeth Barbara Elsby) thought herself clever for sending a press release containing nothing but fake news. When questioned, she claimed that we, instead, were at fault for hurting the feelings of the deranged drug addict Lindsay Lohan. Frankly, this stupid cow and her crappy clients ‘Love Yourself’ ought to have got real. Next!
If you were a barrister, you’d most probably abide by the law and be a pillar of the community. Sadly, Rebecca Sabben-Clare of 7 King’s Bench isn’t such a person and after failing to keep her dog on a lead, the result was that her out-of-control beast savagely killed a seal that it managed to get its teeth into.
Sabben-Clare, instead of putting her hands up in shame, then tried to PR her way out of the situation and herself lawyered up. Why the police didn’t prosecute this unfit-to-own-an-animal-of-any-kind barbarian is beyond comprehension.
James Staley (AKA ‘Jes Staley’)
In February 2020, The Steeple Times made reference to an investigation into Barclays CEO Jes Staley (pictured left) in connection to his close connection to the croaked just under a year earlier paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
It took 627 days until anything progressed, but on 1st November 2021, this Boston, Massachusetts born close associate of Ghislaine Maxwell’s ex-lover finally stepped down. The mucky madam, meanwhile, had her Barclays account closed shut down while she was trying to fund her case in February 2020 on the basis of her links to the proceeds of crime.
THOSE WHO’LL BE MISSED
Sadly, as with any year, countless great people pass on into the skies and amongst the many who’ll be greatly missed are are the Queen’s late husband and constant stalwart Prince Philip, the billionaire businessmen Sir David Barclay and Galen Weston OC, CVO, OOnt, footballer Jimmy Greaves, founder of Tramp nightclub Johnny Gold, the Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, the talk show host Larry King, the actresses Helen McCrory OBE and Una Stubbs, the racehorse trainer Zoe Davison and the Cheveley Park Stud owner David Thompson CBE.
Our twenty-five selections follow, but naturally the winner of the most missed for our Heroes & Villains 2021 list had to be:
WINNER – Archbishop Desmond Tutu OMSG CH GCStJ
A 90-year-old humanitarian, human rights activist and key force in the campaign to end apartheid, this humble South African hero to millions insisted on “no ostentatiousness or lavish spending” for his funeral and that he be given “the cheapest available coffin.”
Of him, via a video message shown at his funeral, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the head of the worldwide Anglican church, remarked:
“Archbishop Tutu lit up the world… that light has lit up countries globally that were struggling with fear, conflict, persecution, oppression, where the marginalised suffered.”
“When we were in the dark, he brought light. For me to praise him is like a mouse giving tribute to an elephant.”
“South Africa has given us extraordinary examples of towering leaders of the rainbow nation with President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu… Many Nobel winners’ lights have grown dimmer over time, but Archbishop Tutu’s has grown brighter.”
The late Archbishop himself once wisely added: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” He was spot on and with his passing, humanity is all the poorer.
A “socialite and style setter” according to The New York Times, Harry Brant fulfilled the prophecy of “the good die young” when he was found dead aged just 24 in January 2021.
Son of the industrialist Peter M. Brant and original supermodel Stephanie Seymour, this modern-day “Little Lord Fauntleroy,” as Vanity Fair once called him, “pushed the boundaries on gender stereotype” and released unisex makeup collections with MAC with his brother even in 2015 and 2016.
Of his passing, his family announced in a statement: “He was a creative, loving and powerful soul that brought light into so many people’s hearts. He was truly a beautiful person inside and out.”
The Steeple Times interviewed actor John Challis in May 2013. He told us that “mobile phones are a bloody nuisance” and that he loathed the word “gobsmacked.” He spoke of ABBA being his guilty pleasure and his love of the Hotel Splendido in Portofino and though he became best known for playing a conniving car dealer in Only Fools and Horses, he was only meant to be in the sitcom for one episode.
Loved by millions as ‘Boycie’ and known for his “swaggering braggadocio, a nasal twang, a nice line in sadistic asides and a staccato machine-gun laugh,” Challis was made an honorary citizen of Serbia due to his character’s popularity there, sparked up a friendship with the rapper Ice-T via Twitter and was even a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation society.
Thrice married and born in Clifton, Bristol, the legend that was John Challis died aged 79 in September 2021. The statement: “Come on, Marlene. Let’s go home and ignore each other for the evening” will sadly now never be heard directly from his lips ever again.
A campaigner to the end for justice for his raped and murdered son, Stuart – a father of two who was killed in the most gruesome manner in March 2001 at the home of the since deservedly disgraced ‘entertainer’ Michael Barrymore – died after a long battle with cancer in September 2021.
Though he never managed to see any of those present at the Roydon, Essex bungalow when his son died, he will forever be remembered for being “mild-mannered” yet having “the heart of a lion.”
Born in Northern Rhodesia in 1933, British-South African novelist Wilbur Smith (pictured with his beloved wife, Niso) had published an astonishing 49 books and sold over 140 million copies by the time he died in November 2021.
Smith was an international household name whose swashbuckling adventure stories gripped readers for over half a century. He covered critical periods including the dawn of colonial Africa, the American Civil War and the apartheid era South Africa and did so with style and panache.
In 2018, in his memoir On Leopard Rock, the author recounted his life and remarked he’d had ““tough times, bad marriages … burnt the midnight oil getting nowhere, but it has, all in the end, added up to a phenomenally fulfilled and wonderful life.” Believer in “deep research” Smith concluded: “I want to be remembered as somebody who gave pleasure to millions” and he most certainly will.
THOSE WHO WON’T BE MISSED
It is much harder to choose villains who deserve to be dead than heroes who deserve to be missed given they are all loved by somebody whatever they may have done, but lots of bad guys and gals have gone in 2021 – amongst them mobsters, murderers, rapists and sex offenders.
Those that especially stand out for our Heroes & Villains 2021 list include:
WINNER – Bernard L. Madoff
Having been sent to prison for 150 years, the maximum sentence allowed, on 29th June 2009, Queens, New York born Bernie Madoff died in prison on 14th April 2021.
An individual rotten to his core and the personification of greed this Ponzi schemer stole not only £48 billion ($65 billion), but also left behind a family in ruins. One of his two sons died of cancer, the other committed suicide and to the end this wicked “wizard of lies” and all-round wrong ‘un.
Quite rightly, in June 2020, this fraudster’s request for release on compassionate grounds was denied. His wife, Ruth, continues to deny any knowledge of the fraud in spite of being the long-time keeper of his books.
Founder of the Real IRA Michael McKevitt was the brother-in-law of hunger striking Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) hunger striker Bobby Sands.
A County Leith native and eventually expelled from the Real IRA, McKevitt was one of four men found liable for the 1988 Omagh bombing and jailed in 2003 for “directing terroism” between August 1999 and October 2000. He had allegedly planned to assassinate the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair and died following a battle with cancer on 2nd January 2021.
Donald Rumsfeld, 13th and 21st United States Secretary of Defense
Forever more, Donald Rumsfeld’s name will be associated with “the biggest military fiasco in US history, the 2003 invasion of Iraq in pursuit of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, alongside the widespread use of torture that has dogged America’s reputation ever since” according to The Guardian.
A Donald Trump supporter described by Henry Kissinger as “the most ruthless man” he ever knew, the villain Rumsfeld was also labelled the “worst secretary of defense in American history” and a man who “lacked the wisdom to change his mind” by The Atlantic. Many believe this psychopath will burn in hell; they are more than likely right.
Phil Spector (born Harvey Phillip Spector)
Born in The Bronx, New York in December 1939, this clearly talented but totally unsound of mind American record producer, musician and songwriter worked with The Beatles, The Ronettes and Tina Turner.
In 2009, this monstrous twisted drug addict was convicted of the 2003 murder by shooting of the actress Lana Clarkson at his then home, the Pyrenees Castle in Alhambra, California, and sentenced to nineteen years to life in prison. Phil Spector died in the clink in Los Angeles, in January 2021. The world is a better place for this repugnant specimen’s passing.
Raymond Teret (AKA ‘Ugli’ and ‘Ugly Ray’)
Chauffeur to the perverted paedophile Sir Jimmy Savile turned radio DJ, Salisbury born Ray Teret was accused of over thirty offences of sexual abuse and eventually convicted of seven counts of rape and eleven counts of indecent assault in December 2014.
Sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, this wicked fan of Jungle Fever by The Tornadoes was described on conviction as “a devious, manipulative sexual predator [who] preyed upon [girls who] were naïve and inexperienced and in awe of who he was.” He died in May at HMP Manchester aged 80.
AND FINALLY… A SELECTION OF FIVE AMAZING ANIMALS WHO’VE SADLY LEFT US IN 2021
Some incredible animals spotted doing incredible things have kept us all going in the dark days 2021, but amongst those that sadly passed and are thus included on our Heroes & Villains 2021 list are:
WINNER – Seal named ‘Freddie Mercury’
Though the death of any majestic animal is awful, the way in which an irresponsible barrister (one of our Villains of 2021) named Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC reacted after her “snarling” terrier-cross mauled to death a “defenceless” seal on the River Thames in March 2021 was utterly disgraceful.
‘Freddie Mercury,’ as the seal was nicknamed, shamefully never got justice whilst the reprehensible Sabben-Clare was not even prosecuted. The lesson here is this: If you spot this wicked woman and her deranged dog in 2022, run for the hills.
Racehorse named ‘Galileo’
Aged 23 at the time of his death in July 2021, Galileo was a spectacular Irish Thoroughbred racehorse who ran eight times and won six races including The Derby, the Irish Stakes, the King George VI and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001. After his retirement, he became one of the most sought after sires of the world with notable offspring including Frankel, Nathaniel, and Anthony Van Dyck.
Minke whale calf named ‘Minnie’
In May 2021, an injured minke whale calf became trapped at Teddington Lock in the River Thames. Stuck sixty miles from the estuary, this poor 13-foot long juvenile – which was named ‘Minnie’ – got stuck in weeds after “running out of river and having nowhere to go.” After a desperate attempt to save the “poor fella,” the unfortunate mammal had to be put down with an overdose of anaesthetic.
Racehorse named ‘Roy Rocket’
With nine 1st places along with two 2nd and six 3rd places at Brighton during his eleven-year life, “Roy’s The Boy,” as he was known was “an incredible horse.” Stubborn to the point he wouldn’t go anywhere else, this favourite of punters even had an octogenarian fan named Iris who forced his trainer, John Berry, to down flasks of gin prior to sending him to post.
Dolphin named ‘Winter’
This female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was found when she circa two months old tangled in a crab trap line in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida in December 2005. Without circulation to her tail flukes as a result, ‘Winter’ lost her tail and was given a prosthetic replacement. In turn, it allowed her make a complete recovery and become an international star featuring in books, films and Nintendo games even. She died in November 2021 of a twisted intestine.
THANK YOU AND ALL THE BEST FOR 2022
All at The Steeple Times would like to thank everyone who has contributed suggestions to our list of the Heroes & Villains 2021. Most have expressed that they would rather not be named so we shall respect that, but all their contributions are greatly appreciated.
May we end by wishing you and yours great times and prosperity in 2022 and may this, for us all, be a much better year.
Cheers and happiness galore and do send your suggestions for the heroes and villains of 2022 to us at [email protected] as the year progresses.