This month we take a stroll around town with Max McMurdo, TV presenter, upcycler, tinkerer and local hero. Max first appeared on our TV screens back in 2008, when he took on the likes of Peter Jones and Theo Paphites in the Dragons’ Den, successfully gaining investment in his upcycling business, Reestore. In 2011 he joined a group of like-minded creative optimists to take part in We Are Bedford’s Castle Quay Weekender – an empty shops arts festival in Castle Lane – and we haven’t let him go since.
Over the last few years, Max has become a much-loved TV presenter, sharing the screen with George Clarke, Gok Wan and Kirsty Allsopp on a plethora of home improvement shows. His is also co-host on the marvellous Shed of the Year show. Recently, Max and chef Alex Westley have teamed up with Emmaus in Carlton to create the Soupervan – a converted caravan that hits the streets every week to deliver soup to the homeless and needy of Bedford. In May, Max will be joining the BedPop Repair Shop at the Higgins, so watch this space for more info coming soon.
Born here or blow in? Bedford Hospital
Best thing about Bedford? Glorious countryside and walking Luna [dog] around the fields
Best place to get a coffee or cuppa? YMCA coffee shop called 1844 as they serve suspended coffees so you can put one in for a person who needs it.
Best breakfast? It has to be Rancheros at the Pavilion in Bedford Park – although their eggs Benedict comes a very close second!
The one place you’d recommend to visitors? Priory Marina and Park – obviously that’s why I decided to build my floating home there!
Bedford’s best boozer? I worked in the Litten Tree for many years behind the bar, we had some very good times! For food I LOVE the Plough in Bolnhurst.
Best Bedfordian? Well I’m slightly biased but my late father and namesake did a lot for Bedford and surrounding areas. He was mayor of Sandy and a member of Bedford council. If I can achieve a fraction of his accomplishments I’ll be very proud indeed.
Ever eaten a Bedfordshire Clanger? Yes I’m from Sandy the home of Gunns bakery – I grew up thinking they were standard cuisine!
Three words that sum up Bedford: creative, generous, enterprising
NB: When we came up with the ‘Best of Bedford’ concept, one of the Bedfordians in our sights was US TV host and Mark Rutherford School alumni, John Oliver. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to get hold of him, but we have evidence that we have infiltrated his consciousness. John recently appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert (viewing figures in excess of 3 million. You Tube clip viewed 1.25 million times) to take a satirical look at Bedford’s Community Calendar. The Bedford Clanger website was the source of a number of their cultural highlights, including ‘weekday witching hour’ activities at the Millennium Country Park and an hour long flight safety talk at Shuttleworth. The Place (featuring the thing at the time) and Rogan’s Books (book closing workshops) also got a mention. Thanks, John!