A BESPOKE curtains and blinds business run by a young Goldsworth Park mum has expanded so much that she has had to move into a shop in Horsell High Street.

Sophie Wickenden started Sophie Sews six years ago at home after studying interior design at Guildford College and then learning how to make curtains through adult education services in Woking.

“I first made curtains for family and friends and it took off from there. I set up a website and it continued to grow,” Sophie said.

The Mayor, Cllr Will Forster, at the official opening of the shop, with Sophie Wickenden left) and some of her family, friends and customers

Storing material and curtain poles at home became a problem and so Sophie found an empty shop that was formerly a dry cleaners and started setting up in June.

“I wanted the holidays to be over and get everything ready. Having the shop means my life is divided into home and work and its also made the business easier,” Sophie said.

She has so much business that she has contracted out the curtain-making to a specialist company in Norfolk. Sophie designs all the curtains and helps customers to choose the fittings and soft furnishings.

The curtains are then installed by her fitters, who are from Chobham and Knaphill. At the moment, the only other staff is Sophie’s PA, but she is hoping to employ another local person.

Sophie went to Sythwood School and then to one in Esher. Her husband, Paul, is a landscape gardener originally from Chobham.

They have two daughters, Poppy, 8, and Ebonie, 4, who go to Beaufort Primary School in Goldsworth Park, where Sophie is joint chairman of the PTA.

Poppy is already showing special awareness above her years, one of the qualities needed to be an interior designer.

Sophie said bespoke curtains are not cheap but are priced competitively compared with similar services elsewhere.

“It works well for a lot of people who are not sure what they want and what exactly to get,” she said.

Sophie held two opening days at the shop on Friday and Saturday last week and said that many local people she hadn’t previously met, as well as former customers, popped in to congratulate her.

“It was really lovely. Now it’s back to work – there a lot going on,” she said.

WOKING Archery Club – which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary – is facing a challenge to its existence.

The club, one of the largest and most active clubs for the sport in the Southern Counties, has been based on land rented from RHS Wisley in Wisley village for the last 28 years.

However, RHS Wisley is planning a major redevelopment of its land and because of this the club must vacate its site by May 2019.

Woking Mayor and Mayoress Will Forster and Hannah Thompson meet club chairman Roy Watts and member Eleanor Piper at the archery club’s event on Sunday

The club, which was founded in1968, is urgently seeking new headquarters.

“We have been looking for a new venue for some time now, but without much success,” club chairman Roy Watts told the News & Mail. “It is now becoming imperative that we find a new location if we are to avoid the demise of WAC, and with it archery in Woking borough.

“WAC membership includes archers of all ages and abilities from right across the social spectrum and we are especially proud of our ability to cater for both able bodied and disabled sportsmen and women,” he added.

For the full story, see the 20 September edition of the News & Mail

FOUR more pubs and restaurants from across the borough have received gold awards in the Best Bar None scheme.

The Cricketers in Horsell, The Ogilvy in Woking town centre, the New Haweli and the Yeoman Harvester, both in West Byfleet, have joined the Slug & Lettuce in the centre of Woking in gaining the highest accreditation.

Woking Best Bar None Gold Accreditation for The Cricketers in Horsell. L to R: Laura Watts – General Manager, Luke Bunyan – Supervisor, Charlotte Edwardes – Assistant Manager, Clive Price – Managing Director Barons Pubs Ltd., Cllr Debbie Harlow.

BBN assessors rated all five premises highly in: prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; prevention of public nuisance; child protection; social responsibility; and training for staff covering these areas.

Cllr Debbie Harlow, chairman of Woking Borough Council’s licensing committee, said: “It’s great to see four more licenced premises in Woking achieve the gold accreditation. They all thoroughly deserve their success for providing their patrons with quality customer service in a safe and responsible establishment.”

Charlotte Edwardes, assistant manager at The Cricketers, said the award was “absolutely brilliant” and that the managers and staff were extremely proud to have been given such a prestigious award.

Time is running out for your chance to vote for your favourite pubs, bar or restaurants in the Woking News & Mail Peoples’ Choice Award.  The deadline is Sunday 30 September. Visit

MORE on the BBN winners in next week’s paper

KATIE Bradley, Upstagers, Saiichi Sugiyama and the Will Purdue Band are among a host of acts lined up to play an inaugural blues festival at Woking’s new live music venue, the Fiery Bird.

The eight-hour event on Saturday 29 September will see a series of solo acts and bands spread across two stages in in a show that will bring established artists to the town and offer a chance for up and coming locals to shine.

Katie Bradley

Also on the bill will be David Skinner, Blues Café, Hot Wires, J Lee & The Hoodoo Skulls, Fillerup, Bluestone Bills, Nika & Parrot Jam, and a Mega Jam where musicians are welcome to join in.

The festival, which will run from 3pm until 11pm, is being co-organised with Surrey Blues Society and tickets – just £10! – are available on the Fiery Bird website.

If you can’t wait that long for a bit of live music, the Phoenix open mic event is back at the venue in Church Street East on Monday next week (24 September) from 7.30pm.

IT’S A staggering 53 years since the most successful folk/rock duo of all time recorded their first No 1 hit single The Sound of Silence.

But while the real Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel no longer tour, the tribute show The Simon and Garfunkel Story has performed in more than 50 countries across the world, from Sydney to Seattle.

Following a run at the Lyric Theatre in London’s Shaftsbury Avenue, the show with its cast of West End actor-musicians is heading to Woking’s New Victoria Theatre on Friday 28 September.

It will take the audience from the pair’s humble beginnings as rock ‘n’ roll duo Tom and Jerry, through their massive success and dramatic break-up before finishing with a recreation of the 1981 Central Park re-formation concert.

Using a huge projection screen, the show features 1960s photos and film footage while a full live band perform all their hits including Mrs Robinson, Cecilia, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Homeward Bound, Sound of Silence and more.

CHOBHAM’s unbeaten start to their 2018-19 campaign came crashing back to earth when they lost 27-8 away to Sevenoaks on Saturday.

Despite matching their hosts for large periods of the game, Chobham lacked the killer-punch in the final 22, which proved to be their undoing in comparison to previous weeks.

Chobham struggled to get on the front foot against Sevenoaks


The Surrey Heath side got off to the worst possible starts after gifting the hosts a seven-pointer straight from the kick off.

However, it wasn’t long before Chobham got themselves back in the game through a superb first phase move from the lineout; perfectly executed and finished by Josh Devitt, who was forced off the field at the same time.

The visitors missed several scoring opportunities, seemingly unable to find their way out of second gear, while Sevenoaks proved much more clinical.

“Our lineout faltered throughout the game and we struggled to get on the front foot, which is something we need to work on this week in preparation for Saturday’s game against Westcombe Park,” said Chobham’s player coach Ryan Gregory.

For the full report and more pictures, get the 20 September edition of the News & Mail

THIS year’s Woking & Sam Beare Hospices Midnight Walk is going global – as one of the walkers synchronises with the event in the US.

Carol Cornish from Windlesham, who is part of a local group called Steph’s Striders, plans to start her walk at 2pm by Lake Washington in Seattle.

Carol Cornish (second left) with fellow members of Steph’s Striders Denise Grainger, Ann Reynolds, Hilary Dyce, Marie Christine Ockenden, Pauline McKenna, Ellie Kelsey and Sally Frangou

At the same time, fellow group members will set off at 10pm for the eight-mile walk in Woking on Friday 28 September.

The Striders formed their team in memory of their good friend Steph, who died at the hospice in April this year.

Carol’s visit to her family in Seattle is clashed with the midnight sponsored event, so she has came up with a unique way of still being able to complete her eight miles.

As the UK trail makes its way across Woking from Denton Way in Goldsworth Park, Carol will walk to Seattle on a coastal road to Carillion Point and back again, also eight miles.

Steph’s Striders will keep in touch with each other on Facetime during the walk to share the experience.

“Steph loved taking part in the Midnight Walk and we want to do this for her,” says Carol, who is taking part in it for the first time. “It is so important to support the work of the hospice – it is such a calm, caring and amazing place”

For information on how to take part in this year’s Midnight Walk in memory of a loved one and to support the work of Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, you can register at

HEALTHCARE company GlucoRx has been named one of the UK’s top 100 tech firms in a new Sunday Times league table published on the weekend.

The Woking supplier of diabetes products to the NHS recorded a 66 per cent sales growth over the past three years and was ranked 70th in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table.

GlucoRx group managing director Chris Chapman

The table ranks Britain’s private technology, media and telecoms companies with the fastest-growing sales and GlucoRX, in Monument Way West, is one of only two in the county and seven in the region to feature.

Chris Chapman, group managing director, said: “We are immensely proud to have appeared in the Tech Track 100 for the first time. It’s a vindication of our desire to make a real difference to the care of people with diabetes and we will continuously innovate on their behalf to develop technology with a real purpose.”

For full details, pick up a copy of 13 September edition

A TOWN Centre pub, The Slug & Lettuce, has set the bar in this year’s Woking Best Bar None scheme, with just a month left for members of the public to cast their vote.

The Slug & Lettuce is the first licenced premises to receive a 2018 gold award under the scheme aimed at promoting sensible drinking and the promotion of responsible licensed premises management.

“The gold accreditation shows that people can come to a safe, fun and friendly venue of their evening out,” says Spencer Varley, Manager of The Slug & Lettuce. “The accreditation is a great acknowledgement of the team, who deliver these high standards every day. I’m proud of them. Thank you to my team, head office and our customers.”

Pictured L to R: Sgt Stephen Kirkpatrick of Surrey Ploice, Cllr Debbie Harlow, Spencer Varley – Manager of the Slug & Lettuce, Lucy Chester Coordinator of Woking Street Angels and Mick McDonnell- Best Bar None National Coordinator.

For more details, see the 6th September edition of the News & Mail

A GATWICK Airport worker from Woking who saved a passenger from the brink of death has been awarded a top national life-saving honour.

Accolade: David Coomber with his Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate

David Coomber, 53, received a Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate after he resuscitated a man whose heart stopped beating.

David, who lives in Ripley, spotted the 56-year-old man in the international departure lounge clearly unwell: “He was sweaty, had clammy skin and had chest pains. He was also struggling to breath,” David said.

David found a faint pulse on the man who then quickly lost consciousness.  “He collapsed right in front of me.  I immediately put him in the recovery position. I tried to take his pulse, but it was undetectable, and his lips had turned blue, indicating a lack of oxygen.”

For the full story, see the 6th September edition of the News & Mail