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IT was full steam ahead for visitors when they flocked to an Oktoberfest at Mizens Railway in Knaphill on Sunday.

Oria (4) and Skye (4) from Woking having fun on one of the rides

More than 2,000 people enjoyed the annual family-orientated show which had attractions for young and old.

Laura, Steve, Jane, Paul, Kate and Graham from Woking enjoying their beers

Crowds enjoyed a display of vintage mechanical fairground organs, Mizens’ miniature steam railway, an old time children’s funfair, craft and produce stalls and a display of vintage vehicles from Brooklands Museum.

Refreshments included a bar serving traditional real ales, provided by The Garibaldi pub at Knaphill.

“I think it must have been one of our most successful event to date,’’ said an Oktoberfest spokesman.

PETER Woodhead believes he has a collection of relatives in the Woking area, but he has no idea how many or who they are.

He recently discovered he is the adopted son of a woman from Kingfield, from finding his birth certificate after 22 years of trying to obtain a copy.

Peter Woodhead with Scarlet, the youngest of his five grandchildren

The identity of his real father is still a mystery but he would very much like to meet his mum’s other children and their families.

Peter, who has lived in a small village in Ebbw Vale, South Wales, for many years, has asked the News & Mail to help him reconnect with his Woking past.

His mother was Phyllis Lillian Frazer-Hollins, who at one time lived at 50 Selwood Road, Kingfield.

Her husband was Flight Lieutenant George Albert James Frazer-Hollins, an RAF bomber pilot and holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross who died in a raid over Germany in 1943.

Peter, now in his early 70s, was adopted as a baby in 1946. He has been told his father was a US or Canadian serviceman who left for home shortly after having a relationship with his young widowed mum.

“It was probably shameful in those days to have a child in those circumstances,” said Peter. “Phyllis already had three children and decided soon after I was born to give me up for adoption.”

Phyllis and George had a son in 1935 and daughters in 1938 and 1943.

“I am trying to contact anyone who might be able to help me trace any relatives or friends of Phyllis,” said Peter. “I hope someone can help, as I have been looking for a long time and maybe my search will now come to an end.”

Peter was adopted by William and Mary Woodhead from Woking, who moved to Bracknell soon after he joined their family.

They had a son who was born with spina bifida and, while the boy was still young, moved again to South Wales to be near Cardiff General Hospital, which was one of the few centres specialising in treating the condition.

Peter had a successful career in sales with national companies and as a self-employed salesman. Phyllis died in 1997 but he hopes many of her descendants are still in the area.

SHOPPERS enjoyed a brush with art at the weekend when works were displayed in the town centre.

Woking Society of Arts held one of its popular outdoor exhibitions which caught the public’s eye on Saturday.

It offered shoppers the chance to pick up an artwork at a reasonable price and gave artists the chance to meet shoppers and colleagues.

It also allowed organisers the chance to publicise the Society’s forthcoming indoor exhibition to be held at The Lightbox from Tuesday 17 October until Sunday 22 October.

Seen to be more important than its outdoor cousin, the Autumn indoor exhibition is more prestigious and aimed at a different market.

“Every year the standard seems to improve,’’ said publicity officer Margaret Sharpe.

A PHYSIOTHERAPIST from Woking pushed herself through her first half-marathon to raise money for Unique, a charity which supports individuals and families who have a rare chromosome disorder.

Helen Alexander, 38, ran to raise awareness after her five-year-old son James was diagnosed with a chromosome disorder aged two, after doctors noticed that his development was delayed.

“He wasn’t reaching milestones that he should be at his age and his speech wasn’t progressing,” said Helen. “At the time, it was very hard to accept and it still is. We were told his difficulties would be life long and his learning difficulties and communication problems were going to make life so challenging for him.”

“We are still learning how we can best support him and help him develop his communication and learning,” she added.

Charity runner Helen Alexander with husband Ben and their son James

Helen completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday in two hours and 23 minutes: “The crowds were incredible. I was one of five runners who chose Unique as their charity and we were all delighted to raise money for such a worthy cause. The money will help so many families.

“I would urge other families affected by rare chromosome disorders to get in touch with Unique to help them understand and learn more about your child’s condition,” she said. “They have really helped us and it’s great to connect with others who understand”.

To donate to Helen’s cause, visit www.justgiving.com and search for Helen Alexander.

To coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a new collection of celebrity-designed bras for Walk the Walk will feature in the free Bust Up! exhibition at Woking’s Lightbox Gallery from Tuesday (3 Oct) until Sunday 15 October.

Famous for its MoonWalks, where thousands walk a midnight marathon in bras to raise awareness of breast cancer, Woking-based charity and walking challenge specialists Walk the Walk have raised over £120 million to date.

MoonWalk participants create uniquely-designed bras to wear during the walks, and they have become an iconic part of the charity’s heritage. The celebrities and designers behind the bras in this new collection will be revealed at the exhibition.

Over the years, Walk the Walk bras have included the Lorraine Kelly OBE bra created by Barbour, Ab Fab bra created by Victoria Grant, Nina Saunders bra, BAFTA bra created by Sandy Powell, Little Mix bra created by Jane Bowler and Heather Orr, Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE bra, and many more.

Founded over 20 years ago by Nina Barough CBE after she had a dream about walking the New York City Marathon in a bra to raise money for breast cancer, Walk the Walk is now the UK’s largest grant-making breast cancer charity.

Nina says: “We’re all very excited to be launching Bust Up, our exhibition at the Lightbox. Woking has been the home of Walk the Walk for the past 21 years so it is a huge honour and privilege to be given the opportunity of exhibiting some of our most uniquely decorated bras in such a wonderful venue.”

AN INNOVATIVE new Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC) has been introduced at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in a bid to reduce outpatient appointments.

The virtual fracture clinic team

The new clinic which comprises a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Virtual Fracture Clinic Nurse and Administrative Support will significantly help cut the number of times patients have to attend a traditional fracture clinic.
Under the new approach, hospital patients with acute injuries will initially be seen in A&E and advised they will be assessed in the Virtual Fracture Clinic within a couple of days. Each case is then assessed by a ‘Consultant of the Week’ and the patient’s care pathway is developed from there.

Patients will then receive telephone advice from the VFC team who offer guidance on the next steps for recovery. Follow-up advice on care management is sent to each patient via email or post. Additional patient advice and guidance videos will also be available on the Surrey iMSK website surryimsk.com

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his Senior Clinical Advisor, Professor Sir Norman Williams visited Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals to discuss patient safety with around 40 members of staff.

Trust Medical Director, Dr David Fluck, explained: “Since introducing our ‘4 Ps’ – Patients First, Personal Responsibility, Passion for Excellence and Pride in our Team – around eight years ago we’ve been on a journey to improve patient safety. Key to that is enabling the right culture at our hospitals – one of openness, transparency and mutual support – where colleagues feel able to raise concerns, report incidents and share learning from mistakes.

“We’ve made some great progress with this and I was pleased to share some examples with Jeremy – including our work to improve the early identification and treatment of sepsis and to reduce the number of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. However, we are not complacent and know there is always more to do.”

Jeremy Hunt went on to share his own journey, experiences and reflections on patient safety. He described the stories of some patients and their families which had really struck a chord, leading him to make patient safety one of his biggest priorities.

Mr Hunt said: “I was impressed by the work to create a culture of openness where staff are supported to speak up, helping to achieve our ambition of making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.”

WITH the Second World War looming, Dick Birkhead joined a Territorial Army anti-aircraft unit to help protect key installations around his home at Walton-on-Thames.

Two years later, after distinguished service during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, he found himself fighting off the Japanese invasion of Timor – where he and his comrades were captured by the enemy.

Dick survived the horrors of three years as a prisoner of war and returned to enjoy a long and active life running the family business, supporting charities, playing sports and pursuing several hobbies.

107. Daughters Jayne Lancaster and Ann Banks hand Mr Birkhead his messages from the Queen.

On Sunday, he celebrated his 100th birthday, surrounded by family members and neighbours at his home in Barnes Wallis Court, Byfleet.

Dick was born in Kent to parents Walter and Winfred. The family moved to Walton when he was a boy and his father set up a saddlery store in the town. Dick, who went to Woking Grammar School for Boys, wanted to be an engineer but found himself working in the shop.

His daughter, Jane Lancaster, said it was his engineering skills which helped him survive as a PoW in the Far East, as he was able to help maintain machinery on Japanese forced labour projects.

“He worked on one of the notorious railway projects and later told us how they tried to sabotage equipment,” she told the News & Mail.

Dick left the Army as a sergeant in the 79th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery and later took over the shop from his father. He expanded the saddlery into one of Walton’s most notable businesses, also selling televisions, household goods, sporting equipment, toys and records.

He married Audrey Ashcroft in 1947 and they had three children, Ann, Jane and Bill. The girls have fond memories of working in the shop, Jane running the records department in the 1970s.

Outside of work, Dick devoted his life to charity work through Round Table and Rotary membership and he helped run the local talking newspaper for the blind for 26 years. He was a founder member of Walton-on-Thames Sailing Club.

As a keen amateur engineer, one his proudest projects was the restoration of a BSA Scout sports car after he and Audrey moved to Weybridge on retirement.

Audrey died in 2002 and Dick moved to the Barnes Wallis Court retirement complex in 2007.

He took up a new hobby of sailing model yachts at Silvermere Lake, on the edge of Cobham, and travelled there twice a week on his mobility scooter until last year. He was able to drive a car up to the age of 95.

Dick has eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Many of whom were at his party on Sunday, where the guests included Woking Mayor and Mayoress Graham and Sarah Cundy and entertainment was by members of Woking-based Surrey Pipe Band.

AN ILLUMINATING way to save money is the goal of Horsell CofE Junior School – but the pupils need YOUR help to achieve it.

The junior school is in the running for a £12,000 grant from M&S Energy to replace its original old-fashioned fluorescent strip lighting with energy-efficient LED lights.

But they need votes to make this happen. Placed in the London region and short-listed against six other projects – including a large North London secondary school in East Finchley – the junior school is appealing for the local community to get behind them in the race for the much-needed grant.

“All that’s needed is an email address to vote,” said Bev Tighe, administrative assistant at the school in Meadway Drive. “It takes less than a minute.”

Currently in second place, the school hopes that local support over the next couple of weeks can make all the difference before voting closes on Friday, 20 October.

“LED lights are far more energy efficient and will save the school money at a time when school budgets are tight,” said head teacher Jessica Steele.

“More importantly the fluorescent tube light bulbs buzz and flicker in the classroom which is distracting for all the children and for our hearing-impaired children the buzzing is audible and can interfere with their hearing aids.”

“We would love to be able to install LED lighting in all our classrooms which will make annual savings to our energy bill as well as creating a better learning environment for the children,” she added.

The new lighting would help the school to reduce its carbon footprint as well as save money. The pupils are already keen to help the environment, with “eco warriors” at the school making sure lights are turned off and doors closed when classrooms are empty.

To help Horsell Junior School in their bid for the grant, visit the link to M&S community energy fund – www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/horsell-junior-school-lets-save  – and record your vote for this local project.

THE Lansbury Estate business park, which is home to an eclectic mix of 40 companies, started life as an electrical component manufacturer working out of an old cow shed in St Johns.

Crater Controls, established by Woking-born Arthur Craven and a colleague in 1947, developed from making a range of electrical switches and other components to producing complete goods such as hairdryers and tea-making machines.

Speaking from his office at Lansbury Estate, Arthur, who turns 94 next month, recalled that Crater replaced the old cow shed with a larger building and then needed to move to somewhere even bigger.

He was offered land on the edge of Knaphill on which a multi-storey building was to be put up.

“But I wanted somewhere suitable for flowline production. I walked through some bushes and came upon this site, which was six acres and has just a few derelict buildings on it,” he said.

Arthur got into conversation with a man in an old wooden shed. He was an inmate at Brookwood Mental Hospital and caretaker of the land, which was a former brickworks. Arthur contacted the owners and in 1956 bought the site and built his factory.

At the height of Crater’s fortunes, the company was employing more than 500 people.

Some of the staff were brought in on buses from as far away as Basingstoke. In a move that was very forward-looking at the time, the company provided a crèche for the workers.

Crater moved into the final product business because its customers were having great difficulty in getting their goods manufactured.

“They said ‘Come along, Arthur, you have all the equipment here, why don’t you make them?’”

The small domestic appliances produced from the Knaphill site included up to 10,000 hairdryers a day.

The success came to an abrupt halt one night in 1972 when the first of a set of new heaters caught fire, destroying all the production areas.

There then followed a very difficult eight-year period in which the various lawyers were, in Arthur’s words “at each other’s throats.” The case eventually went to the Old Bailey in a case that lasted a week.

The insurers agreed to pay out on the buildings, but Crater was facing great difficulties. Arthur had started a medical diagnostics equipment company, Medelec Ltd, from his home in Hook Heath. It later moved to St Johns and then to Manor Way in Old Woking.

In 1979, with the legal battle over the factory fire still raging, Arthur sold Medelec Ltd, but despite this and the insurance payout, the future for Crater was grim.

“At the end of 1979, early 1980 I had no choice but to draw stumps,” Arthur recalled sadly.

However, the idea for the current successful business came a few days after Crater folded.

“I went away for a break and when I came back I looked at the buildings and thought they are jolly good buildings and thought there is room for a hell of a lot more, so why don’t we let them to someone else.”

So, Lansbury Estate was born.

I asked Arthur if the name was perhaps related to the great actress Angela Lansbury.

“No, but that will do,” he said. In fact the name was chosen just because it was “nice sounding.”

Arthur’s son Mark, a Lansbury director, explained that by now the Lansbury Estate is home to tenants as diverse as the Woking Hospice warehouse, a producer of precision engineering for McLaren, a software security company, website developers, as well as large companies in the oil industry.

“There is quite a concentration of oil-based designers and engineers in the Woking area,” Mark said.

“They like the location, which suits most of their staff. There are very good transport links and adequate parking on site.”

Mark said that Lansbury Estates carries out all the maintenance on site and has someone who looks after the greenery.

Mark’s brother James and their sisters Kate and Claire also work for Lansbury and during the summer some of their children make it three generations of Cravens working at the company.

Arthur is still working hard as said that “the word ‘retire’ is not in my vocabulary”.

He recalled his first day of work – in 1939 – when at 15 he went into Vickers in Weybridge and suggested that he would make a good apprentice.

He was taken on by a manager called George Edwards, who would later run Vickers and was knighted.

Arthur’s step into running his own company came shortly after the war when one of the Vickers customers reported that they had been unable to buy certain switches.

“I first thought, ‘well we’ll make it here’,” Arthur said. “Then I thought ‘that’s ridiculous, I’ll make it and you can buy it’”.

He came out of that discussion with an order for 30,000 switches and then cast around for somewhere to base his factory.

“I’ve always lived in Woking and it seemed to me that if I was going to start a business it would be rather stupid to start it somewhere else,” Arthur said.

CHOBHAM’S annual nine-day cultural celebration is branching out this year – across the parish boundary into West End.

The splendid Recreation Hall at Gordon’s School is the venue for a performance by one of the country’s best barbershop choruses.

The evening of musical entertainment is one of 10 events for the 2017 Chobham Festival, which starts on Saturday next week, 23 September.

The award-winning a capella group, Royal Harmonics, from Windsor, will be at the school on Thursday 28 September. They have performed for The Queen at a private function.

An evening of vintage jazz in the village hall with the Excel Jazzmen launches the festival on 23 September,

St Lawrence Church in High Street, Chobham, is again the venue for the festival’s two classical concerts – a candlelit performance of Schubert’s Trout Quintet and Beethoven’s Archduke Trio on Tuesday 26 September, and Festive Baroque on Saturday 30 September.

The latter will include Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto, Bach’s Double concerto for Oboe and Violin, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins and two of Handel’s most popular works, The Water Music and the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.

The oboe soloist for the Baroque concert is Helen Barker, who grew up in Woking, before winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where she won all the oboe prizes.

Since then she has had a busy career as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician in London and around the UK.

“I am delighted to have been asked to play at Chobham Festival this year,” said Helen. “As a musician, you end up travelling far and wide, giving many performances hundreds of miles from home, so I am really looking forward to doing a concert which so many of my family and friends will be able to attend easily.”

Author Jane Austen features at this year’s festival, 200 years after her death. Sophie Andrews, a young “Janeite” fan and blogger, will be bringing an entertainment of words and music about Austen heroines.

The event is on Sunday 24 September at Chobham Church Hall, with a glass of bubbly, tea and cake, included.

The weekend of 30 September and 1 October features an art show in the church hall staged by members of Chobham Art Group. On display and for sale will be paintings in oils, pastel, watercolour and mixed media plus miniatures, folios, prints and cards.

Also on the programme is a Ukulele Evening at Pasha in Chobham High Street, on Wednesday 27 September and Songs of Praise in the church, rounding off the festivities, on Sunday 1 October.

No tickets are needed for the ukulele evening at Pasha or Songs of Praise. Other ticket prices range from £10 to £20. Call the box office on 01276 857222 or visit festival.chobham.org for more information.