Editorial Team


A VICAR is to cycle nearly 280 miles between London and Paris, hoping to raise £5,000 for the Woking-based domestic abuse charity YourSanctuary.

The Rev Neil Hopkins is vicar of Holy Trinity and St Saviours, serving parishioners in Knaphill and Brookwood, which have been supporting YourSanctuary for some time.

The Rev Neil Hopkins heading out to train on his borrowed bike

Neil told the News & Mail that the charity ride, beginning on 5 June, came about because he had offered to ride with a friend who is doing the trip for another good cause.

“On Mothers’ Day, we took some donations to YourSanctuary and I asked them ‘what do you need?’ The answer was money – to keep the service afloat and support the 24-hour helpline.”

Neil said he realised that he could raise money for the charity on the bike ride.

“I thought it probably good for a bloke to be raising money and awareness of domestic abuse.”

He is a keen runner but new to road cycling.

“I used to cycle to college, but that was some time ago.”

Neil has borrowed a bike and has been training since the beginning of the year, while keeping up running, competing in the Surrey Half Marathon and the Maverick Surrey Hills 13km run on 18 May.

“I have a basic level of fitness, but you use different muscles. I felt it more after I had been cycling, when I went back to running.

“Some will set off at a flying pace, but we want to complete each day – you have to average 10mph – and enjoy the journey.”

Neil said the highlight will be the arrival into Paris and the finish at the Eiffel Tower.”

“There will be some prayer and it will be good to have help from the Lord. The main thing is to raise £5,000 for the charity.”

Wendy Denty, from YourSanctuary said the Holy Trinity and St Saviours were among the most supportive churches.

“Neil is doing an incredible thing and we really appreciate him raising much-needed money but also awareness of what we do,” Wendy said.

Neil has a “my donate” page, where he has written: “I thought this [ride] would be apt as the probable difficulty of this journey is nothing compared to journey that many women (and men) make as they escape terrible situations and seek to rebuild new lives away from domestic abuse. So please do give generously.”

To donate to the bike ride fundraising, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/neilcyclestoparis.

To contact YourSanctuary, visit https://www.yoursanctuary.org.uk/ or call the helpline on 01483 776822

For the full story get the 23 May edition of the News & Mail

REVENGE always tastes sweeter when a local rival is involved, so Byfleet Buccaneers had every reason to enjoy their win over Woking & Horsell Lions in Sunday’s Surrey Slam encounter.

Less than two weeks earlier, it had been the Lions who won comfortably – by six wickets – when the sides clashed in the competition’s midweek NW Region Group B.

Byfleet Buccaneers, purple, and Woking & Horsell Lions line up before their latest encounter in the Surrey Slam

The teams were up against each other again at Brewery Road, this time in the Sunday league, which has been added after the runaway success of the Slam’s inaugural summer.

This time, Byfleet inserted their hosts and kept them down to a modest 116-8, which might have been considerably fewer but for the generous donation of 24 extras. Woking & Horsell owed much to Ali Khan’s 30, lifting them from 45-4 with the help of skipper Elliott McPherson, opener Lloyd Siebert having made 19 earlier. There were three wickets apiece for Andy Pelling and Matt Rannie.

Woking & Horsell Lions’ captain Elliott McPherson hits out

Buccaneers didn’t hang about scoring their runs either, knocking them off in 12.3 overs thanks to Sam Coyne (42) and George Mickley (40), both falling to Khan near the end.

“The new Sunday Slam competition is a great chance for cricketers who can’t spare the time to play on Saturday. For us it’s a different line-up from the midweek league side and there are five Sunday games, so it’s a good challenge for everyone,” said Neil McPherson, the Lions team manager.

For the full report get the 23 May edition of the News & Mail

THE International School London in Old Woking is to close at the end of the academic year, with Greenfield School taking over the site.

The deal was formalised last week with ISL Surrey due to close on 28 June and staff staying on until 5 July.

Greenfield School, which is moving to take over the ISL site in Old Woking

The closure of ISL Surrey follows several years of declining intake.

Greenfield School, whose origins go back more than 90 years, will move from its current single building on Brooklyn Road to the 10-acre ISL grounds, which has several buildings, including two forest schools for outdoor learning.

The relocation will mean the school will increase to two-form entry. Offers have been given to the large number of pupils on the waiting list. There are currently just over 200 pupils and the school hopes to gradually double this number.

Tania Botting, Headmistress of Greenfield, said: “We are incredibly excited by the huge potential of the Old Woking Road site. We are so proud of Greenfield’s caring, inclusive ethos and broad curriculum, but we know that our compact school site has prevented us from realising dreams for our PE department and other areas of the school in recent years.

“The new site gives us a much-needed missing piece to our puzzle and will enable us to ensure that Greenfield continues to offer an excellent, all-round education to boys and girls for many years to come.”

For the full story get the 23 May edition of the News & Mail

MARK Styler, a writer of glossy true crime paperbacks, has no idea what he’s walking into when he tries to get an interview with Easterman, a notorious serial killer.


This is the basis of Anthony Horowitz’s psychological thriller Mindgame, which comes to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, from Thursday 30 May to Saturday 1 June.

First he has to get past Dr. Farquhar, the quixotic head of Fairfields – the asylum where Easterman is kept. But soon he discovers that nothing is what it seems. Who is the mysterious Borson? Where did he get the meat in the fridge? And why isn’t the skeleton in the closet?

Mindgame author Horowitz also created Foyle’s War, New Blood, Alex Rider, the Sherlock Holmes novels House of Silk and Moriarty and the James Bond novels Forever and a Dayand Trigger Mortis.

Grease is the word…and you can join in when Sing-a-long-a Grease comes to the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, on Tuesday (28 May).

Basically a screening of the classic film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, the show aims to get the audience up and singing along to all the hits that made it one of the most successful movie musicals of all time.

The evening will begin with the host leading a vocal warm-up before the movie – and fancy dress is very much encouraged…

RUSSELL Kane has added an extra run of dates to his new tour The Fast and the Curious, which is good news for comedy fans in Woking as he’s now heading to the New Victoria Theatre on Thursday 30 May.

The award-winning comic, presenter, actor, social media star, author and scriptwriter’s most recent appearances include his hit TV show BBC Three’s Stupid Man, Smart Phone, BBC podcast Evil Genius, JOE podcast Boys Don’t Cry (which returned for a second series in February), BBC Two’s Live At The Apollo and BBC One’s Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.

ACTION MAN – Russell Kane will be in Woking for an evening of high-energy comedy

Russell also recently took part in the return of Celebrity Apprentice for Comic Relief, which was broadcast on BBC One in March in the run up to Red Nose Day.

He is also well known for his viral Facebook Kaneing videos, which have garnered hundreds of thousands of views.

TWO club records were equalled when Woking AC youngsters starred in the second round of the Youth Development League (Lower Level) South Region Division Two West.

A squad of Woking under-13s and under-15s competed in the meeting at Winchester, Hampshire, last Saturday – and Indiana Marshall stole the show.

Indiana Marshall sprinting to glory in the 4X100m relay

Marshall continued her run of fine form in the under-13 girls’ 75m, 150m and long jump.

In her first event of the day, she equalled Woking’s 150m record with a grade-one time of 20.00 secs.

She showed another impressive turn of speed in the 75m to equal the club record with a time of 10.10 secs.

Needless to say, Marshall won both races – and she achieved a hat-trick of individual victories with a season’s-best 4.48m in the long jump.

Marshall’s super Saturday didn’t end there, either. She anchored the 4x100m team, which also comprised Laura Kersley, Emilia Wazydrag and Alexis Brown, to a success which saw them extend their unbeaten record for the season.

Teddy Gannon hurls a discus

None of the Woking teams finished outside the top two in the other 4x100m relays. The under-13 boys (Walters, Lewis, Oscar Sinnett and Freeman) were second, the under-15 boys (Hayden Christian, George Robertson, Archie Padua and Robbie Thomson) won, and the under-15 girls (Fara Jasani, Freya Standley, Amber Stoner and Oyeyemi) came second.

 Woking athletes fared well in the field, too. Of particular note were the displays of Teddy Gannon and Matthew Smith in the under-15 boys’ discus.

Woking finished in fifth place, with 403 points. Winchester & District won with 681 points, and Chichester Runners (506) were second. Now Woking have a total of seven league points and hold fifth spot in the seven-team standings.

For the full story get today’s (23 May) edition of the News & Mail

THE plight of orangutans losing their homes because of rainforest destruction prompted a six-year-old boy to lobby his neighbours to stop buying palm oil products.

Abishai Prasad, who lives with his mum Smrithy and dad Reji in Knaphill, decided to act after his sister showed him last year’s Christmas advert for Iceland supermarkets, which featured a baby orangutan who had lost its home.

Abishai With his letter asking people to help orangutans by not buying palm oil products

Abishai said: “I like animals and was very upset to see that orangutans are losing their homes. I wanted to do something about it, so I decided to write to our neighbours and the supermarkets.

With the help of his mum, the Year 1 pupil at Knaphill Lower School compiled letters to neighbours and supermarket bosses.

“Please stopping using palm oil because it kills orangutans and I love them,” he wrote. “Let’s leave them alone.”

Smrithy said several neighbours replied saying they would stop using palm oil products. Companies including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda replied within a week. “They assured him that their own-label products don’t use unsustainable palm oil,” she added.

“I watched the advert but didn’t do anything about it until Abishai prompted me to see what I can do to stop using unsustainable palm oil. We now have a list on the fridge of palm oil foods that are OK to buy.”

For the full story get today’s (23 May) edition of the News & Mail

DRUMS beat out a rhythm across Goldsworth Park Lake as teams of paddlers vied to speed colourful boats across the water on Sunday.

Twenty-two teams competed in this year’s dragon boat races, raising money for the Woking and Same Beare Hospices charity – urged on by drummers sitting in the bow. Many of the crews were racing for the first time.

A team of mighty dragon boat racers take to the water, urged on by the beat of their drummer

The 2019 champions were Viscount, one of two teams entered by builders Natta, from Crondall, near Farnham. The company came second last year.

Hundreds of people turned out to watch the races and take part in the family fun day run alongside the event.

A lion from the Chinese School of Woking dances to encourage the racers and bring them fortune

Members of the Chinese School of Woking performed an awakening ceremony dance with their Chinese lions and the painting of the dragon’s eyes by Richard Roberts of sponsors Trident Honda and hospice supporter Sue Cook.

Rachelle Barnett, the events manager for Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, said: “We are delighted to have had so many teams take part this year, the money raised will help us continue to provide our specialist care.

“We would also like to say a huge thank you to all the incredible volunteers who help set up and run the event, we couldn’t do it without them, to the community for joining us and enjoying the day, to all our fantastic Dragon Boat Teams and of course Trident Honda for sponsoring this event for the fourth year – we are truly grateful to you all.”  

See the special picture feature in today’s (23 May) News & Mail

AFTER  training for six months to achieve the Expedition section of the DofE Award, covering navigation, cooking skills and emergency aid, 46 Explorer scouts aged 14 to 18 from the five units in Woking,  together with 22 leaders, made their way to Brecon for a weekend of fun and challenging hikes over the May bank holiday.

Top of the World: A triumphant team of scouts pause to celebrate on a Brecon peak

Having arrived at their campsite in Llangorse, near Brecon, at around 11pm on the Friday, the Scouts pitched camp and bedded down for the night, ready for an early start.  Despite low temperatures and snow on the top of the mountains, Scouts in teams of four or five completed high-level walks, including Pen y Fan and Waun Fach.

Three teams of Explorer Scouts completed their three-day Expedition, covering a distance of about 50 kilometres, walking from Talgarth, around Waun Fach to Crickhowell and Talybont, then back up to Llangors.

During the weekend, two other teams of younger Explorers completed a two-day, 25-kilometre Expedition, walking from Crickhowell, following part of the Beacons Way to Cwmdu and back to Llangorse Lake.

Another team take a quick break to catch their breath

En route the Scouts had to complete their chosen projects, on subjects such as the effect of tourism on the paths, historic buildings and the effects rivers and lakes have on the community. One team carried out their project on the local thoughts of Brexit.

The Expedition was the final part of their Chief Scout’s Award and the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme’s Bronze and Silver Expedition section.

Another group of five Explorers completed a gruelling three-day Expedition as part of their official practice for the Queen’s Scout and DofE Gold Awards, covering around 25km a day in the wildest parts of the Black Mountains. They will now go on to complete a four-day Expedition on Dartmoor in August.

The Expedition section enables the Scouts to gain confidence. “It was a super and fun weekend for all the Scouts,” said Brian Pinto, Explorer Scout Commissioner for Woking. “The terrain was much more challenging than the Surrey Hills and their training in the last two terms certainly paid off, putting their navigation skills to the test.”