Headlines

MORE than 80 knives were handed in across the county as part of a week-long amnesty organised by Surrey Police.

Knife bins were placed at police stations, including Woking, with people encouraged to hand their blades in anonymously without the fear of prosecution.

The amnesty was part of a national initiative, Operation Sceptre, aimed at tackling knife crime.

The Force was encouraging people to recognise that carrying a knife does not provide protection; a weapon can be used inadvertently in the heat of the moment, or can be turned against the owner and have life-changing effects.

Operational activity which took place during the week saw officers carrying out weapon sweeps and proactive patrols across the county with various partner agencies, including housing agencies, council enforcement teams and Park Patrol.

Superintendent Gary Pike, who led Operation Sceptre on behalf of Surrey Police, said: “Thank you to all those who helped support this campaign. I’m pleased to see that a number of knives have been removed from the streets of Surrey. As far as I’m concerned, one knife is one too many.

“To all those tempted to still carry a knife, our message is clear, it won’t protect you, in fact you’re more likely to come to harm. You will get prosecuted if you are caught. Please think twice before going out with a knife.”

It is illegal to:

  • Sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old
  • Carry a knife in public without good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, e.g a Swiss Army knife
  • Carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • Use any knife in a threatening way, even a legal knife such as a Swiss Army knife.

The maximum penalty for carrying a knife is four years in jail or a £5,000 fine.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, David Munro said: ““Like Superintendent Gary Pike, I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who helped support our most recent knife amnesty campaign. This amnesty encouraged knife owners to safely dispose of these harmful and deadly weapons and I am pleased that 80 knives were handed in.

“We’ve all seen the devastating effect knife crime can have on people’s lives and we must continue working together to rid these off our streets. I am pleased that this amnesty again helped reduce the number of these deadly weapons in Surrey and I hope those still carrying knives will think twice.

“With Surrey Police, myself and my office will continue to raise awareness, particularly amongst young people, that carrying a knife can have the most serious of consequences. They are too often seen as a form of protection when really they pose serious danger to those carrying the knives and others around them.”

The knife amnesty bins were supplied by Black Country Metal Works Limited. All knives surrendered as part of the Surrey amnesty will be used to create a “Dove of Peace Monument”, which will represent the national intolerance of violent and aggressive behaviour associated with knife crime.

HUNDREDS of people clapped, waved and cheered as waves of cyclists passed through villages to the east of Woking borough during the Prudential Ride London events on Sunday.

More than 25,000 sponsored riders were on a route which took them through Byfleet, West Byfleet and Pyrford and on to Ripley en route for Surrey Hills. Our second photograph shows the peleton of professional riders passing through Byfleet.

AMATEUR and professional cyclists saddled up on Sunday for the Prudential Ride London cycling events.

The peleton at Byfleet

More than 25,000 riders took to the roads and were cheered on by thousands of spectators who lined the route.

Cyclists rode from Weybridge, through Byfleet, West Byfleet and Pyrford and on into Ripley en route for the capital and a grandstand finish along The Mall.

Local roads to be closed for the event included Brooklands Road, Parvis Road, Old Woking Road, Oakcroft Road and Upshot Lane and roads connecting them.

It gave organisers time to install safety barriers, make safety checks and allow stewards and volunteers to get into place.

New safety measures adopted by organisers allowed for a relatively incident-free event after riders were forced to stop for around two hours last years when an entrant crashed into a tree.

Cyclist Alexander Kristoff, 30,  won the professional race after a thrilling sprint finish

London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman described the event as “the greatest cycling festival in the world”.

WHILE the plot surrounding a potential takeover of Woking FC thickens, a few things have emerged from behind the smokescreen, writes Andy Fitzsimons.

Despite the National League club’s radio silence on all matters relating to possible investment in the club, an adjourned meeting between two Asian businessmen and a director of another non-league club 16 miles away may hold a clue.

Several names have already been touted in connection with The Cards takeover, including former Chelsea players John Terry and Frank Lampard; and a group of Chinese investors from Lander Holdings, who sought to buy a stakeholding in Southampton FC in January ’17.

However, when two Asian investors made an impromptu visit to Leatherhead FC’s Fetcham Grove ground back in April ’17, this conundrum began to unravel.  Their brief was reportedly crystal clear: to buy a football club on the periphery of the M25.

Since then, a number of potential UK and overseas investors are believed to have been shown around the Kingfield site in south Woking, but Terry and Lampard are not believed to be amongst them.

The News & Mail understands that the club used the former England duo as a red herring to divert attention away from what may be bubbling behind the scenes.

And then there’s the proposed development of the Kingfield site, which is owned by Kingfield Community Sports Centre Limited. Possibly a separate issue from the club, as it will require full planning approval, the current shortage of one and two-bedroom dwellings in the borough makes it an attractive business proposition in its own right.

Amid this backdrop of uncertainly, Alexander Jarvis of Blackbridge Sports, already named as being pivotal to the club investment, is now thought to be weighing up several financial offers.  It is not yet known, though, whether these options include the development, or if Jarvis’ very close Eastern connections mean the aforementioned Asian business consortium is leading the charge for the club.

Any development of the Kingfield site will need to align with Woking Borough Council’s Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan.

The fact that Woking already bucks the trend when it comes to growth over many other Surrey towns cannot be ignored.

Projections show a 13% increase in population from 99,000 in 2014 to 112,000 by 2039, which places a huge demand on housing.  Therefore, it makes the Kingfield site a prime development opportunity, without disenfranchising Surrey’s senior-most football club.

The only certainty is that whatever happens, or doesn’t, securing the long-term future of any football club always takes far longer than people expect.  In this scenario, it’s already much longer than The Cards’ fans would like.

THE News & Mail is pleased to partner with Woking FC to offer discounted tickets to all National League fixtures at The Laithwaite Community Stadium.

For still just 50p a copy, readers of News & Mail will be able to attend any of The Cards’ 2017-18 home league fixtures for just £10.

Don’t Get Shirty: Pick up a copy of the News & Mail to obtain your match day coupon. Picture by: Nick Shaw

To take advantage of this season-long offer, simply complete and cut out the relevant coupon in the paper, present it at the turnstiles on match day and redeem your concession.

There will be 23 coupons available in total throughout the season; the first of which will be printed in the next edition of the News & Mail (3 August ’17) ahead of The Cards’ opening fixture against Gateshead.

So, if you missed out on the club’s unbeatable Early Bird season ticket incentive, this is another chance for you to start saving ahead of the big kick-off on 5 August.

Coupons are applicable to those over the age of 16 or concessions.  Should you require any further information or assistance, please contact the Woking FC club shop on 01483 772470.

MICHAEL Gove is still solidly behind campaigners against a garden village being built on the Fairoaks Airport land.

The MP for Surrey Heath – who was recently appointed Environment Secretary – reasserted his opposition during a visit to the Chobham airfield and business complex on Friday last week.

Mr Gove was taken on a tour of Fairoaks by Douglas Mancini, chairman of the No Fairoaks New Town group. Also present was James Derbyshire from the General Infrastructure Network, which campaigns to keep small airfields operating.

Mr Gove talked to representatives of businesses including High Level Photography, Gamma Aviation, Surrey Car Craft and Synergy Aviation before being taken up in a light aircraft to tour the area.

“It was a great pleasure to meet everyone at Fairoaks, and to listen to their reactions and fears about the potential loss of their precious airport,” he said.

 

MP Michael Gove with Douglas Mancini (left) and James Derbyshire

“I am hugely grateful that I was given the opportunity to view the airport from on high, which was a truly remarkable and beautiful sight, and it certainly put the large scale of the redevelopment proposals into perspective.

“I shall continue to campaign to say ‘no’ to the redevelopment here, until we get absolute guarantees and insurances.”

He added that many residents had told him of their alarm that Fairoaks is threatened with large-scale redevelopment and that they are worried about the impact on Chobham and neighbouring villages.

Mr Mancini told the News & Mail: “Mr Gove heard from several businesses that they will find it difficult to find new premises if they have to move from Fairoaks due to redevelopment.

“All of the companies at the airport are doing very well and have plans to expand. If they have to go it will mean jobs moving from the village, including apprenticeships which some of them have.”

Despite their bid for garden village support being turned down by the Government earlier this year, the Fairoaks owners are pressing ahead with plans for large-scale housing development.

A spokesman for Fairoaks Garden Village Ltd told the News & Mail: “Over the last few months the Fairoaks Garden Village team has continued to develop plans for a new village community at Fairoaks.

“To support the proposals we have undertaken a number of surveys and technical assessments and are using the results, along with the outcomes of our conversations with members of the community, to help shape our plans.

“In the months after the summer holidays we will hold a series of public exhibitions and ask for further feedback.”

CAMPAIGNERS against housing development at Fairoaks Airport are looking forward to their case being heard at a Surrey Heath Borough Council meeting later this month.

They have succeed in getting the full council to consider a plea that it should prevent the airfield land being turned over to housing and instead support its businesses as going concerns.

The council meeting, on Wednesday 26 July, will be just over a year since Surrey Heath submitted an expression of interest to the Government for a Fairoaks Garden Village, entailing at least 1,500 homes.

The bid was not accepted but the owners of Fairoaks still intend to submit a planning application for a large housing estate and business park.

On 26 July, a Chobham Society representative will get five minutes to persuade borough councillors that Fairoaks should be saved as an airport, along with the 65 companies based there being able to remain.

This opportunity is the result of the society’s online petition reaching the required number of signatures to obtain a council debate.

A society spokesman told the News & Mail: “Our petition collected an unprecedented 5,353 signatures in just three months, demonstrating great support for our campaign. The society is delighted that the petition, for the first time on record, has triggered a full council meeting debate.

“We hope as many people as possible will attend the meeting to hear councillors speak.”

Douglas Mancini, chairman of the No Fairoaks New Town action group, said: “Obviously we are delighted that the community really came together to sign the petition. What we get out of the meeting it depends on how democratic Surrey Heath wants to be and how long the councillors devote to the debate.

The council meeting is in Surrey Heath’s HQ in Knoll Road, Camberley, starting at 7pm

A WOMAN who has spent many years volunteering in Chobham was delighted to receive an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honoursby Rob Searle.

Margaret Parry has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to the community.

HONOURED: Volunteer Margaret Parry

“The news was very, very pleasing,” said Mrs Parry, who has run the St Lawrence Club for older people in the village for 13 years. “It was very unexpected.”

Mrs Parry, who lives in Castle Grove Road, Chobham, heard the good news from the Cabinet Office about two weeks ago. “They asked me if I was willing to receive the medal and I replied that I would be happy to receive it,” she added.

Mrs Parry has devoted much of her spare to volunteering since being made redundant from an HR role in BBC television in 1991.

She began by driving for Chobham Neighbourhood Care, giving lifts to local people to places such as hospitals, after being asked by the village vicar to help out.

Then she began helping run the then Chobham old Folks Club, which had been run for many years by Marian Robertson.

When Mrs Robertson died in 2004, Mrs Parry took over and has been in charge ever since. The club has since changed its name to St Lawrence Club and its members are aged from 70.

“But I couldn’t manage it without the fantastic support of the 10 or so people who help me,” said Mrs Parry, who has lived in Chobham with her husband John since 1969.

“What really interests me is how people keep going in their lives and how they relate to other people. The members are those people who have made Chobham what it is and we now have the daughters and sons of some of the original members as members.”

As well as running the club, Mrs Parry ran the box office for the annual Chobham Festival for 10 years, stepping back from that involvement when she became ill last year. John, who she married in 1964, organises the music for the festival.

When not volunteering she finds time to sing with the Guildford-based Vivace Choir and, following her illness, is returning to play full rounds of golf at the Sunningdale Ladies club.

Mrs Parry will be presented with her medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael MoreMolyneux, during a ceremony at his Loseley House, near Guildford, later this year.

As a BEM, she will also receive an invitation for three people to one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace.

ST JOHN the Baptist School in Woking continues to go from strength to strength after its head was named in the Queen’s 2017 birthday honours list last Friday, by Andy Fitzsimons.

Ani Magill, 60, who is a national leader of education (NLE) and executive headteacher at the Catholic comprehensive school, has been recognised for her services to education.

HONOURED: Ani Magill, Executive Headteacher of SJB School.  Picture by Andy Fitzsimons

Magill was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) and joins more than 130 people across the UK honoured for making an outstanding contribution to education, children’s services or advancing equality and diversity.

Speaking to the News & Mail on Tuesday (20 June ’17), the Woking headteacher was unsurprisingly delighted to be nominated by her peers and named in this year’s honours list, which marks the official 91st birthday of the Queen.

“I am of course very grateful to be recognised for a national honour; however, it’s all thanks to the students and the great people that I work with on a daily basis,” she said.

“I’ve been at St John the Baptist School now for 22 years, and even after all those years I still genuinely love coming to work.

“For me, it’s all about people. One person doesn’t make a great school. It’s about the variety of people it employs and the students who pass through it who achieve the best outcomes.

“I am proud of the team I have around me – and what our students have achieved and continue to achieve.

“We strive to be the best school in England, which is why we’ve developed a strong set of morals and values to help everyone succeed.

“From the young people I meet and speak to on a daily basis, I wholeheartedly believe this country is in safe hands, which inspires me.  This is something to celebrate,” added Magill.

The investiture, which ceremonially honours those who have been recognised for a gong, will take place at Buckingham Palace in September (2017).

Magill will be joined by others honoured from the world of sport, politics, business, charity and entertainment, which include the likes of Beatles’ frontman Sir Paul McCartney, novelist JK Rowling, actress Julie Walters and singer Ed Sheeran.

WOKING is to have an annual HG Wells Day which will be marked on the anniversary of the author’s birth on 21 September.

After the success of last year’s Wells in Woking celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of his birth, the Wells in Woking association decided to keep the legacy alive. Each  year a different aspect of the author’s many-faceted life will be  the theme  for  the day.

This year’s event will highlight his contribution to science. The focus will be on young people, specifically students of physics and maths.

HG Wells Day, which will be chaired by Lorraine Ansell, was launched recently at The Lightbox, which was attendedby Paul Allen,  Chairman of the HG Wells Society.

Wells in Woking founder member Tony Kremer said: “Our objective is to make sure that Wells does not slip back into oblivion here in Woking. Last year was a year of fun, talking and walking and generally a cultural year.

“This year we are turning our attention to his more serious contribution to scientific thinking and education, indeed to communicating effectively to ordinary people – the Brian Cox of his time.”

Tony pointed out that notion of time travel barely existed before Wells’ short story The Chronic Argonauts, followed soon after his novel The Time Machine.

The first HG Wells Day will include time as a dimension, which will be explored by  Woking College students, led by Chris Bore of Kingston University and  Matt Klein, joint head of physics at Woking College.

The Woking Community Play Association will perform street theatre around the Martian statue. There will also be talks and discussions with the sculptors of The Martian and that of Wells that is at The Lightbox.

Tony said that the association would like to make Woking the natural home of science fiction in the UK.

The centrepiece events in September will take place at the WWF’s Living Planet Centre on Brewery Road. There will be a lunchtime session aimed at A-level physics and maths students at Woking College, led by Dr Bore and their teacher Matt Klein. In mid-afternoon it will be the turn of students from Woking High School, led by  Sheila Kanani from the Royal Astronomic Society.

In the evening there will be a chat show featuring people who transform wildly challenging sci-fi ideas into tangible form – sculptors and radio producers

There will be sci-fi films that week at The Ambassadors cinemas in the town centre,  Wells-related walks and a Game Jam.

Diabetes UK will benefit from the event. The forerunner of the charity was set up by Wells, who had diabetes.

For further information about getting involved, email Lorraine Ansell at info@lorrainevoiceart.com.

WOKING College hosted a lively Question Time Debate with students asking five of the six candidates hoping to become the town’s MP next week about their views on immigration, tuition fees, the EU, austerity and the youth vote.

The event, in the heat of last Friday afternoon, drew a sizeable audience of 16-19 year-olds from the student body of 1,300, almost half of whom are eligible to vote.

Reducing the voting age to 16 or 17 was one of the question topics and Jonathan Lord, the Conservative candidate, and Troy de Leon, of UKIP, both said they were comfortable with the current voting age of 18, while the Independent candidate Hassan Akberali, Labour’s Fiona Colley and William Forster of the Liberal Democrats all agreed that the voting age should be lower.

One student said he was turning 18 on polling day and each candidate took it in turns to wish him a happy birthday in advance, accompanied by laughter from the audience and the politicians.

The atmosphere became a little more tense when Brexit and austerity came up.

Woking College Hustlings

The college principal and event chairman, Brett Freeman, had asked that the tone be positive and for the candidates not to attack each other’s views.

This truce was broken when Ms Colley referred to the Conservatives “appearing to be delusional” over a post-Brexit Britain.

Mr Lord responded later by saying that when the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition came to power in 2010, they inherited a huge budget deficit left behind by Gordon Brown and his Labour Government.

The Green Party candidate, James Brierley, was not able to attend the debate as he is a full-time teacher and none of his campaign team was available for similar reasons.

UKIP will be represented by Mark Webber, the party’s candidate in South West Surrey, as Mr de Leon will be visiting his wife who is receiving medical treatment in Thailand, where she was born.