Other News

WOKING-born rock star Rick Parfitt has been honoured with a BBC Music Day Blue Plaque.

The tribute to the Status Quo legend, who died on Christmas Eve last year, was unveiled in Jubilee Square, Woking by his son, Rick Parfitt Junior, and singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner.

Dozens of people, including Rick’s second wife Patty, original Status Quo drummer John Coghlan and Woking Mayor Graham Cundy, watched the unveiling ceremony on this year’s Music Day, last Thursday.

Rick Junior said as the plaque was revealed: “He absolutely would have thought that he wasn’t worthy of this.

“Perhaps that’s the nicest way to think about it. He wouldn’t be in any way arrogant, he wouldn’t be thinking that he was deserving in any way, he would have just been immensely humbled and immensely honoured.”

Rick was chosen for the honour, one of 47 Music Day plaques awarded, by BBC Surrey after a vote by listeners suggesting people or places that have influenced the musical landscape across the country.

The tribute commemorates Richard John ‘Rick’ Parfitt OBE 1948-2016, guitarist, singer, songwriter, who was a member of Status Quo for 50 years.

Bisley Shooting Clubs in last stand

CLUB members at the National Shooting Centre at Bisley have raised alarm bells over the future of their clubhouses.

Almost 30 clubs at Bisley Camp have banded together to form the Association of Bisley Clubs and Tenants (ABCAT) in response to an unprecedented hike in their rent and leases by the National Rifle Association, whose headquarters are also at Bisley.

ABCAT warns that the NRAs actions could see the demise of a number of historic names, including the Artists Rifles Clubhouse, built almost 100 years ago for members of the Artists Rifles Regiment that was incorporated into the Special Air Services after the Second World War.

Meanwhile, a group of Conservative MPs called on the Charity Commission to investigate the NRA, which was set up as a charity to promote marksmanship.

The Artists Rifles is one of a number of organisations at Bisley that have taken legal action against the NRA, but now fears for its survival due to the financial impact of a four-year long legal wrangle over a demand for a five-fold increase in its annual ground rent. It is now awaiting the findings of arbitration due at the end of this week.

In a flurry of claims and counter claims, Mr Andrew Mercer, who took over as CEO of the NRA in 2012, says: “The terms on the lease were agreed on in February this year and were signed by both parties – it’s a matter of pubic record.”

However, Mr Moss Mustafa, who took over the lease and chairmanship of the clubhouse in 2003, describes this as “incorrect” as court proceedings have not been discontinued, only “stayed”, adding: “We have agreed the lease terms but we have still not agreed on the definition of the “Landlord’s Fixtures” nor the definition of the “Tenants Improvements.”

Mr Mustafa says: “The NRA has continued to insist on a rent of £14,700 pa despite being unable to justify this amount to our surveyor.”

The NRA has now taken the issue to rent Arbitration and the ARC fears it is likely to cost them around £20,000 in addition to surveyors’ fees and has launched a fundraising campaign on Justgiving to enable it to continue its battle.

Mr Mercer is also challenging the Artists Rifles Clubhouse’s military links, saying it is held under a private tenancy. He added that, “if servicemen want to use the club for social reasons we understand that, Bisley is lovely, but I don’t think that justifies a cheaper rent from the NRA”.

Mr Mustafa points out that “a number of veterans have helped to fund the £1.2million spent on purchasing the ARC, refurbishing a dilapidated building that had not traded in for two years, effectively subsidising a loss-making business for 14 years since its acquisition in 2003. The other investors were happy for the lease to be in my name as there is trust amongst us.”

Mr Mercer says that The NRA supports the work of about 850 clubs across the UK, of these about 27 have clubhouses at Bisley, explaining that the 108 tenants at Bisley are a combination of residential and clubhouse tenants.

“We are simply trying to apply a rent that is fair and equitable,” he says. “A number of tenants have had very cheap terms over many years. For those who had been paying a fair and marketable rent before, the increase has been very modest. But if you were previously paying a small rent, the rent increase will seem higher.”

ABCAT claims the NRA’s actions run contrary to its role as a national governing body for shooting, which Mr Mercer refutes, saying that Bisley is recognised around the world as the home of target shooting and the most important range in Western Europe.

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 Bapist 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.

EPIC achievements were clocked up on Saturday as cyclists raised more than £12,000 on a charity bike ride. Fifty five people took part in the Downslink Challenge 2017, based at The Garibaldi pub in Knaphill.

Of these, 15 rode 48 miles to Brighton and back and 40 cycled from the seaside resort to the pub.

And four added two hours, and 18 miles, to their journey by completing an extra “butt breaker” challenge. The riders raised money for Woking Hospice and The Orpheus Centre special care home at Godstone.







Organiser Steve McKeown told the News & Mail: “Needless to say the ride was a roaring success and more than £2,000 alone was raised by a fun day at The Garibaldi. “The crowds cheered and clapped every single rider over the finish line which for some riders stirred some emotion. Many people present were so impressed by the day that they approached me about riding in the event next year.”

Much of the ride route was on the Downs Link path, which follows disused railway lines from Guildford to Shoreham by Sea. The there-and-back cyclists, on the Century route, set off for Brighton at 6am. The one-way riders, on the Challenge route, were taken to the resort by road and began their trip at 10am.

All participants were given the option of the extra 18 miles when they arrived at Guildford while travelling up from the coast. This was to follow the River Wey to New Haw and then the Basingstoke Canal to St John’s and then on to Knaphill.

The added section was completed up by Tony Lanzalaco and Craig Phelan on the Challenge and Steve Mckeown and Jerry Peacock on the Century route.

The Orpheus Centre was chosen as a beneficiary because it looked after Steve’s nephew Gary Wheeler, who suffered from muscular dystrophy. Steve heard that Gary had died, aged 30, during last year’s ride and wanted the 2017 ride to support the centre.

The Garibali’s fundraising day was completed with music in the evening from local band Blackbird and several auctions.

Items on sale included a signed David Attenborough Book which went for £110, a signed Paul Weller CD with various Jam memorabilia (£200), a signed Fulham FC shirt (£101) and a squad signed Chelsea shirt (£420).

“The whole day is created and run by the local community and is testimony to the good human spirit that still exists in people,” added Steve.

The organisers are aiming to reach their fundraising target of £15,000. Donations can be made at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/downslink.

ENGLAND rugby players Jonny May and Will Collier have taken time to pay tribute to the war dead at  Brookwood Military Cemetery.

They were invited as part of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s centenary,  and in recognition of the Commission being the Rugby Football Union’s nominated services charity for this season.

May is currently touring with England in Argentina where they have two matches against the Pumas. The first one is on Saturday 10 June.

The two players laid a wreath at the cemetery and visited the CWGC Centenary Exhibition, currently on display at Brookwood.

In its centenary year, the CWGC has linked up with the RFU to raise awareness of the rugby players  who died in the two world wars. The Rugby Remembers campaign encourages young people to discover these stories and visit their local war graves. May and  Collier met some of the young people involved in the campaign.

The CWGC’s Centenary Exhibition, For Then, For Now, Forever, is free to visit and is open every day from 10am to 4pm.

ONE of Woking’s largest employers, Harvey Water Softeners, has donated a new spectrometer device worth £40,000 to a pioneering research study which could revolutionise our understanding of childhood eczema.

The handheld Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer was gifted to the Unit for Population-Based Dermatology Research at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, led by Dr Carsten Flohr, Consultant Dermatologist and senior National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Fellow.

It will be used as part of a clinical trial to investigate the effect of hard water and skin care practices on the skin barrier of newborn babies, looking at how this links in with the development of eczema which affects an estimated 20 per cent of children and seven per cent of adults in the UK.

Dr Flohr said the device will improve the speed and accuracy of future research, adding “The data it gives our teams access to could lead to clearer insights into what drives the breakdown of the skin barrier in eczema.”

(l-r) Dr Carsten Flohr, Harvey Bowden

Harvey Bowden, who founded the family-owned Old Woking company in 1978, said: “It’s exciting to be doing our bit to help with this potentially life-changing work.”

WOKING kids and their parents got the chance to gain gamers’ bragging rights at a three-day event at the Peacocks Centre in the town centre.

The Food Court was transformed into a gamers paradise at a free three-day event with games from the past 30 years available for young and old. There were hundreds of games from PacMan to Super Mario through to modern favourites, such as Minecraft.

James with his son, Alexander 6

Mums and dads took on their youngsters in a battle across the generations.

Rowen De Grauw, customer experience manager at Woking Shopping said: “This was a must-attend event for any keen gamers and provided the opportunity to experience the very best games old and new.

“Whilst this was a kids club event, big kids were more than welcome to come down and enjoy the fun.”


Luke with his son Liam who is 7.

A SEVEN-YEAR old Knaphill boy has just set off for Athens in his first international event to represent the UK at a major international martial arts competition that finishes this weekend.

Jay Coote is competing in the 2017 Amateur Members Association World Championships organised by the International Sport Kickboxing Association. He is a pupil of The Hermitage School in St Johns, and an accomplished gymnast and martial arts athlete with an impressive string of national awards and trophies over.

Jay, who is being accompanied by his father, Dean, is taking part in two individual display categories: open-handed fighting without weapons, and with weapons using bo-staff and nunchucks. He will be competing in the 8-12 and 13-17 age brackets because no formal categories exist for a seven-year-old.

“From a very young age he always showed extreme co-ordination and concentration,” his mother, Gemma, told the News & Mail. “He loved doing anything to the extreme. He rode his bike without stabilisers before he was three, was waterboarding down the Quays in Mytchett at two and snowboarding by himself down a mountain in France at three.

“Then he joined Woking Gymnastics Club’s Kinder Gym at just nine months. He progressed through to the recreational classes where at five he was picked for the Boys Squad. This was coached by Simon Elliott who also coaches three times under 15’s gymnastic champion Jamie Lewis.

“Jay joined Hands Down Martial Arts as a ‘little dragon’ at four. At six, he was asked to join the Elite Team and started competing nationally last year when he was spotted and selected for sponsorship by leading US martial arts organisation Hyper MA who arrange events and supply martial arts weapons and clothing”.

In February this year Jay was asked to send a video of his Martial Arts forms into a panel of judges to be assessed.

“He was selected along with his friend, Isaac Shalgosky, to go to Athens to represent England for the IKSA World Championships,” Gemma said.

Jay told the News & Mail that he was prompted to take up the sport by his dad and uncle Liam who used to do kickboxing and gymnastics.

“I tried it and found that I liked it and could be good at it. I like competitions and the whole idea of competing against other people,” Jay said.

The lad said that when he leaves school he wants to be a stuntman like his Uncle Liam. “He was in a number of films, including Star Wars and Jurassic Park“.

SOME bus fares in and around Woking have gone up with the price of a Day Travel ticket going from £4.80 to £5.

The increase has not been widely publicised but in a statement to the News & Mail, bus operator Arriva admitted the move, blaming rising costs.

The company said that passengers were able to avoid the fare increases by buying their tickets on their smartphone, via the Arriva Bus M-ticket.

“The M-ticket price freeze offer, means that the lower, pre-May 2017 prices, are still available; and passengers can buy daily, weekly, four-weekly or annual tickets at last year’s ticket prices until the offer ends on 30 June. The M-ticket is available via the Arriva UK Bus app,” the statement said.

One News & Mail reader found that a typical single ticket fare had risen to £3.20.

Regular bus passenger Tammy Morris 23, from Knaphill told the News & Mail: “I was not warned of any increase and had what I thought was the right money in my hand when the bus came along. The driver told me that he wanted another 20p but I only had a £20 note which I offered.

“He then told me off because he doesn’t carry a big enough float that time of the morning.”

One bus driver said, “We normally have stickers on the windows warning passengers of a fare increase but this time there has been nothing. I didn’t even know the fares were going up myself until I came in to work on Monday. It’s caused us and our passengers a lot of grief.”
Oliver Monahan, Arriva Area Managing Director for Kent and Surrey, said: “Our approach is to ensure that we offer our passengers great choice, quality and value for money in products and services. Last year we managed to reduce fares, but this year with rising costs we are having to make a small increase – wherever possible fares have remained the same. Specific fare information can be found at www.arrivabus.co.uk/prices-2017-surrey.”