A VETERAN peace, anti-nuclear, climate change and sustainability campaigner from Pyrford has died.

Mary Holdstock passed away aged 83 in Woking Hospice on Friday 28 December.

Her life had been one of involvement in many local organisations, notably the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Woking United Nations Association and Woking Local Agenda 21.

She was until recently an active member the Woking Debates committee, encouraging co-operation and discussion on important topics which affect the borough and the wider world.

Mary and Douglas Holdstock with Nagasaki nuclear bomb survivor Marika Jiva, before the presentation of Declarations of Public Conscience to the International Court of Justice in 1996.

Mary was born on 13January 1935 in Corby Glen, Lincolnshire, the second of seven children. Her father was a farmer and, as the eldest daughter, she cared for all her younger siblings.

After training as a nurse in Manchester and at University College Hospital, London, she met and married her future husband, Douglas Holdstock, who was then a junior physician.

In 1971, they moved to Woking with their two daughters, Jennifer and Rosemary, and Mary worked for 17 years as a nurse at the Rowley Bristow orthopaedic hospital in Pyrford.

Mary acted as Douglas’s secretary when he began writing and editing articles and books using a medical perspective to campaign for peace. They were both active in the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and founder members of the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear War.

Douglas was editor of the campaign’s journal before he died in 2008 and Mary was on the editorial board for 31 years.

Her anti-nuclear activities included taking supplies to the women’s protest camp at the Greenham Common cruise missiles base in the 1980s and 90s. She also did administration work for Crisis at Christmas.

“Both Mary and Douglas were extremely caring people and they campaigned against nuclear weapons and for a more peaceful, inclusive society as members of numerous organisations,” said Jennifer.

“She was also concerned about protecting the environment and enjoyed being a member of RHS Wisley.

Mary leaves her daughters and four grandchildren. Her family have thanked the hospice team for their “fantastic care” during her illness.

At Mary’s request, her funeral will be at the Shamley Green woodland burial ground. The family intend to hold a memorial event later in the year.

JACKFEST is back in Woking on Saturday 26 January at the Fiery Bird.

The event used to be staged at Westfield Club but has moved to the town’s 1,000-capacity venue for this year’s gig in aid of Shooting Star Chase.

Bands will include the female-fronted London outfit Argonaut, whose guitarist Nathan hails from Woking, and are promoting their latest album, Forever, plus three-piece Rollin’ Machine from Southend who play garage punk and have a new EP, Off The Clock, out soon.

Also on the bill will be Woking band Birdsworth and mod four-piece The Sha La La’s, back for their third Jackfest.

ANDY Reiss could read music at the age of five – but took the long route to stage stardom.

The creator of “best of the musicals” show Beyond The Barricade eventually hit the West End but only because of a chance audition after years of working in child care law.

“I was always surrounded by music from an early age with my parents and grandparents being involved in Hednesford Salvation Army brass band,” explains the singer, who made his name in Les Miserables. “By the age of five I had learnt how to read and play music. I think that definitely gave me a good grounding in music for my future.

“I played in a few bands during my later teenage years, but I always loved performing in the local musical theatre societies too.”

Andy Reiss, second right, with his fellow Beyond The Barricade stars David Fawcett, Katie Leeming and Poppy Tierney

However, Andy didn’t follow his passion for a career at first.

“I went to university and studied economics with child care law, and worked within that field for a number of years,” he explains.

“However, most of my spare time was given over to performing on stage. I then attended an open audition for the first production of Les Miserables outside the West End, just because I wanted to give it a go, and was very surprised when they offered me a contract.

“I thought it would just be 12 months’ work and I’d go back to my day job. I never dreamed I would end up touring with the show in Manchester, Dublin and Edinburgh, and then transferring to the West End. It was also a great privilege to return to Les Mis, as the resident director for the first National Tour.”

He then set up Beyond the Barricade, a concert portrayal of the great songs in musical theatre, all performed live by former West End stars. Andy is joined by David Fawcett, Katie Leeming and Poppy Tierney to sing classics from the likes of The Phantom of The Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Jersey Boys, Miss Saigon, Hamilton and, of course, Les Miserables.

“The original concept came about when David and I were performers in Les Miserables,” says Andy. “I saw the potential of creating a concert version of some of the most popular songs from the musical theatre genre.

“I wanted to make sure the songs were true to the original versions, so that the audience could invest in sitting and listening to a concert version, but be completely immersed in the storytelling of each particular song,” Andy says.

“We take our audience on a journey through some of the greatest stage musicals.”

The 20th anniversary tour of Beyond the Barricade reaches the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, on Sunday 13 January.

WOKING Foodbank has received more donations in the run-up to Christmas than ever in its five-year history and has more than enough to give to needy people in the borough.

AlisonBuckland, the charity’s administrator, said the organisation was “swimming in food” adding”: “We’d like to celebrate the huge amount of donations the generous people of Woking have given – we are delighted.”

Alison said the spike in donations began at Harvest Festival time in the autumn and was boosted by a big campaign at a local supermarket which led to a delivery of 800kg of food, including lots of Christmas fare.

She said more donations were expected from a “foodbank challenge” at a supermarket in Sheerwater, where people were filming themselves dropping off items and then posting it on social media and challenging family members or friends to do the same.

“The amount coming in is causing a bit of a logistical problem. We are almost bursting at the seams but it’s a good problem to have,” Alison said.

She said that the donations meant that everyone who has been coming to the food bank since the beginning of this month has had the opportunity to take a Christmas hamper, which has items such as stuffing, a Christmas pudding, cake, biscuits and chocolates.

Last week,the food bank posted an urgent message on its website saying that its warehouse was full and was closed until the new year.

The message continued: “If you have already arranged a collection with us, please do still bring that in to us.  If you are planning a collection, please don’t forget us but consider delaying until the spring when we are likely to have shortages again. 

“Another alternative would be to donate supermarket gift vouchers, we can then purchase bread and some fresh items as required.”

Alison said that the gift vouchers were used to buy baby milk for a mother who was ill and couldn’t get out to get it herself.

The main foodbank is at The Lighthouse in Woking High Street with branches at the Salvation Army in Sythwood and the Mascot Hub in Sheerwater, open at various times from Mondays to Fridays.

The Food Bank also donates food to various Christmas lunches across the borough.

TheLighthouse food bank will host its own lunch, for about 80 people, preceded by a church service.

“People have been so generous. One person walked in with some food and we said we had enough and they gave us gift vouchers worth £100 instead,” Alison said.

MORE than 250 local people braved damp and cold weather to take part in the Woking & Same Beare Hospices Santa Fun Run at Woking Park.

The runners warmed up in the leisure centre to Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You with stretches led by Emma Goodman-Home from EmergyFit before gathering outside to follow either the full 4.5km route or the 1.5km option.

OFF WE GO – Santas on the run

The children could have their faces painted by Michelle Kersley while the band band Herd of Sax provided musical entertainment.

The hospices events manager Rachelle Barnett said: “We are delighted that so many ‘Santas’ of all ages joined us to support our hospice and to celebrate the festive season with us. They looked fantastic.

“We really value our Santa Fun Runners’ support towards raising the £8 million we spend providing free care each year to some 2,000 people and their families and carers across North West Surrey. Events like our Santa Fun Run make a vital difference to people’s lives that is keenly felt at this time of year, and we thank all our participants for their support. “

THE Woking branch of a storage and business facilities company is offering free space for donations to a children’s hospice and free delivery of Christmas gifts.

Titan Storage Solutions is providing up to 300 sqft of storage space for direct donations or overflow items that the charity cannot store.

Donations intended for Christmas should be made before next Friday (14 December).

A Titan spokesman said: “We noticed Shooting Star Chase was collecting donations so we wanted to help to brighten up the children’s Christmas by helping the charity get as many donations as possible over the Christmas period.

“We realised that if they were to have a high number of donations they would need somewhere to store their items – and rather than paying for this the charity were delighted we could help by providing free storage and a free drop-off service.

GENEROUS – Titan Storage Solutions’ Woking branch opened in February last year

“After this Christmas appeal we have offered to assist with any storage needs that the charity has on an on-going basis so we can continue to support them.”

Titan staff have been in Woking town centre this week promoting the charity collection.

New clothing, bedding and toys can be posted or delivered to Titan Storage Solutions on Orchard Business Park, Forsyth Road, Woking GU21 5RZ, or delivered directly to Shooting Star Chase.

The Woking branch of Titan opened in February last year and is the latest facility for the company, which has five other stores  in the southeast, Essex and the Midlands and plans to open two more next year.

As well as storage, Titan offers office space, meeting rooms and parking and mail and delivery acceptance services for businesses and individuals.

FOR more information on the charity, visit

ELEVEN brave Woking women have stripped off for photographs in a calendar to raise money for the Shooting Star Chase children’s hospice.

The idea was the brainchild of Radio Woking DJ Christine “Dobbo” Mabbutt to raise extra funds alongside the Jackfest gig planned for next month.

Last year Christine and husband Andrew, a fellow Radio Woking DJ, ran the first concert in honour of their nephew Jack Bruce who has muscular dystrophy and is regularly helped by Shooting Star Chase.

“I felt like doing something outrageous and daring that would also help with self-confidence,” Christine said.

The Shooting Star Chase calendar girls, from left, Dominika Suilk Louise Bruce, Becky Upton, Julia Eaton, Alison Leah Ellis, Jan Wylie, Christine (Dobbo) Mabbutt, Sue Mabbutt, Jo Taylor, Ann White and Tina Farrer,

She approached 10 members of her family and friends, all aged over 50, and they all happily agreed to take part.

Christine also secured highly respected photographer Derek D’Souza and the group all gathered in her lounge for the shoot.

Much like original Calendar Girls, popularised by the 2003 film, the women all used strategically placed props and chose ones that meant something to them. One is holding a bottle of Madeira wine, another is holding up a favourite book, one of the women is posing with a pair of buns – just like in the film, while Christine is wearing headphones, holding up records and standing behind a music player.

“Some of the group were a little shy at first, but they soon felt very relaxed and really enjoyed it. How often do you have your picture taken by a top photographer while raising money for a great cause?”

The calendar is being produced by Knaphill Print and will be available to buy for £10 by emailing

It will be available to buy at Jackfest, which will be held on 26 January 2019 at the Fiery Bird music venue.

The evening will feature local bands Birdsworth and The Sha La’s as well as DJs Murph and Mabbs from Radio Woking.

There will be a charity auction with the highlights being signed photographs of music legend Paul Weller and the band Ocean Colour Scene and T-shirts signed by Stone Foundation and Faith.

Christine said she has not set a target for the fundraising but the first Jackfest brought in £2,300, and that was a smaller event at a smaller venue.

She is already thinking ahead to build on the fundraising and said the Woking calendar girls were all keen to repeat the photo shoot for 2020.

“We’ll have time to come up with different ideas for the props,” Christine said.

VOLUNTEERS who patrol the streets of Woking late at night looking out for vulnerable people have a new uniform to keep them warm and dry.

Members of Woking Street Angels are wearing new jackets and fleeces bought with a donation from the Tesco Bags for Help scheme.

The Street Angels are trained volunteers who have been keeping watch in the town centre from 10pm until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights for the past eight years.

Tesco Bags of Help community enabler Jennifer Rose with one of the new Street Angels jackets. Those pictured also include Street Angels co-ordinator Lucy Chester (first right), Cllr Beryl Hunwicks (third left), borough council Head of Community Safety Camilla Edmiston (third right), PCSO Mark Trappitt and Street Angels trustees

They work closely with the police, borough council, door staff and medical services to help people with problems such as those caused by drinking too much.

“We ensure night-time visitors have a pleasant and safe experience in our town,” said the group’s co-ordinator, Lucy Chester.

“There was a great need for the angels to have some new jackets and fleeces to ensure they are kept warm and dry, especially through autumn and winter. Tesco kindly included Woking Street Angels in their Bags for Help, scheme which has funded 20 new jackets and fleeces.

Police community support officer Mark Trippett added: “The Street Angels play a big part in helping vulnerable people in Woking and ease the pressure on the police during the hours they’re on duty.”

Woking Borough Council’s portfolio holder for community safety, Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, said: “The Street Angels have made a considerable difference and are unsung heroes. It’s wonderful that Tesco have provided them with the new kit.”

If you would like to volunteer to patrol with Woking Street Angels for at least one night a month, contact Lucy by email on or call 07827 914714.

THE main man of Christmas – Mr Claus himself – will be heading to Woking’s Rhoda McGaw Theatre next week to appear in a stage version of the book, Dear Santa.

Written by Rod Campbell, the author of children’s book Dear Zoo, Dear Santa is packed with Christmas songs and lots of audience participation. There’s also the chance to meet and receive a Christmas gift from Santa himself.

Santa and his cheeky are appearing at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre from Wednesday next week

It’s the story of Santa’s determination to deliver a fantastic Christmas present to Sarah. But things don’t go well, and he doesn’t get it right straight away. With the help of his cheeky Elf, he finally settles on something “perfect”, just in time for Christmas Eve.

Aimed at children aged two to seven, the production runs from Wednesday 5 December until Christmas Eve, Monday 24 December.

FOR Craig Revel Horwood, taking on the role of a panto villain in the form of the Wicked Stepmother is simply a return to his roots.

Now famous as a judge on TV favourite Strictly Come Dancing, he says he’s simply revisiting a style from early in his career when he first performed drag in the clubs.

“I do feel like I’ve come full circle,” he says, adding with a laugh: “I just wish I was as beautiful as I was 30 years ago.”

CLASSIC ROLE – Craig Revel Horwood as the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella

Now aged 53, the Aussie-born star reckons he tries his best to keep in shape – even at Christmas.

“You have to look after yourself, as you can’t go off partying the whole time,” he says. “But panto is fantastic, it keeps me thin all the way through Christmas.

“Also, I love it because it’s an introduction for children to live theatre and, as live theatre is my passion, I really encourage that. It also teaches children generally about theatre, which I think is the most important thing about doing panto.

“Coming to the theatre is a unique and individual experience and you can interact with the cast too. It’s great.”

Craig keeps a hectic schedule, planning his professional commitments up to three years in advance. “I’m working on material now for Christmas 2020,” he explained. “It’s crazy.”

Last year, in addition to panto, he appeared in Annie, recorded the voice of supercilious snake Cornelius – for new animated series Sadie Sparks – and resumed his role on national favourite Strictly, a job he’s had since the first series in 2004.

And he’s far from jaded. “I still get very excited and very nervous when I hear the opening music,” he says. “It’s a whole new bunch of people, a whole new cast, so it’s always fresh.”

He’s still a dancer at heart. “The Argentine Tango is my favourite, I just love that,” he says. “It’s the way the body is intertwined, how fast it is and how the woman responds to the man’s lead and how much is improvised, it’s a very cool dance, when it’s done well.”

Despite his reputation as a brutal judge, he adds: “Seeing people who’ve never danced before realising that dance can actually be taught, and just seeing the enjoyment that people get out of it is great.

“It’s a gift. People are no longer socially inept when it comes to dancing and that’s fantastic.”

Having worked as a dancer, choreographer, theatre director, TV judge and panto star, Craig is a popular figure but claims being in the public gaze is not something he generally enjoys.

“The only thing I find good about being a celebrity is that you can raise money for charity and I’ve done quite a lot of that,” he says. “My mum has chronic rheumatoid arthritis, but osteoporosis can be prevented by exercise up to the age of 23 so that’s why it was a charity I chose in order to change people’s lives.”

On top of all this, he choreographed the final scene of the Paddington 2 movie, is to make his film acting debut in Nativity Rocks and has been playing Miss Hannigan in Annie in the West End.

“Life is very short and you have to just go out and don’t fear anything,” he says. “I’m open to whatever comes along. I’d love to direct a film as well, but I think I need to act first to see how it all works then can apply everything I’ve learned from that, and from directing musicals, to film, and perhaps promote dance in film. I’d love to do that.”

His stint as the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, begins on Friday 7 December and continues until Sunday 6 January.