A DISUSED phone box in Brookwood has been transformed into a riot of colour thanks to a floral installation.

The work, by professional window dresser and designer Jodie Pratt, is part of the Brookwood in Bloom project.

The poppy field design inside the phone box

Jodie said she was inspired by all the beautiful poppy fields in Surrey this year and the flower is a central part of the design.

“I created a large wreath stick to adorn the outside of the box and re-created a daisy poppy field which is showcased inside. It looks like some of the plants are growing through. There are also cornflowers and flowers of different colours with some foraging to soften it up,” she said.

The decorated phone box is among more than 30 containers, including a fire grate, a bicycle and a wheelbarrow, dotted along roads that are brightening the village.

The phone box even has its own Instagram page, #Brookwoodinbloomphonebox, which is regularly updated with photos and uplifting messages.

For the full story get the 11 July edition of the News & Mail

SOME of the best amateur theatre in the country will be performed in Woking when the Rhoda McGaw Theatre hosts the British All Winners Festival.

Sixteen plays that have won drama festivals around the country will feature in the festival being hosted by the Woking Drama Association.

The group Mutley and Minques will perform their spoof version of The Hound of the Baskerviles

 The programme, which runs until Saturday 20 July, consists mostly of short or one-act plays with a full-length comic version of The Hound of the Baskervilles on Friday 19 July. Young performers from three groups will feature on Youth Night on Wednesday 17 July.

On the last night of the festival, awards will be given in various categories, presented by Sir Derek Jacobi.

The prizes include the Sir Derek Jacobi Award for New Playwriting, which is being given for the first time this year.

Stewart Mison, the Woking-based chairman of the National Drama Festivals Association, said the British All Winners Festival was held at a different venue each year.

“We’re delighted that Woking was selected as the ‘host’ this year and we’re very excited to see some of the productions being performed for us,” Stewart said.

For more information, visit www.wokingdramafestival.co.uk or call the ATG box office on 0844 871 7643.

For the full story, get the 11 July edition of the News & Mail

THE victim of a violent attack outside a Knaphill pub has spoken of its crippling impact: “Basically, my life is finished.”

The 53-year-old man was attacked as he left The Anchor pub, the assault putting him in hospital for two months with serious head injuries that have caused continuing memory loss.

Security camera footage of the four men police want to speak to in connection with the assault

“It’s the smallest things you take for granted every day that I can’t do. If you break a bone it can heal, but it’s different with a brain injury,” he said.

“Everything you can think of has gone. Basically, my life is finished.”

It is believed the victim was followed, possibly by five men, as he left The Anchor pub in Lower Guildford Road at 7.50pm on 26 March and then attacked.

Police officers are keen to speak to four men in connection with the incident.

One was wearing a white Under Armour t-shirt, blue jeans, dark baseball cap and has a brown goatee style beard; the second was wearing a chequered long-sleeved shirt, has a full, styled brown beard with brown slicked back hair, with bright coloured eyes; the third one was wearing a dark coloured Under Armour hat, green t-shirt, bald head with brown heavy stubble and the fourth man was wearing a dark coloured sign written or logoed hooded jumper and has messy brown hair with brown stubble.

If you know who any of the men are, were in the area at the time, or if you have any information, please contact Surrey Police on 101 or http://surrey.police.uk/TellUsMore , quoting reference PR/45190031713. You can also give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.

For the full story get the 11 July edition of the News & Mail

WOKING climate change activists took part in a 12,000-strong lobby of MPs at Parliament calling for immediate action to help the environment.

Woking MP Jonathan Lord was among 225 MPs who accepted an invitation to answer questions on what the government was doing to combat global warming.

Activists, including Emma Gallagher, with Woking MP Jonathan Lord

He was invited by 18-year-old Emma Gallagher, from West Byfleet, who is a volunteer with the charity CAFOD. The organisers of the lobby last Wednesday were led by Greener UK and the Climate Coalition, with help from many other organisations, including Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Emma, a philosophy student at Durham University, said Mr Lord answered the questions posed by about 60 people from in and around Woking.

“Many were frustrated by his response about what the Government has done so far,” Emma said.

“Brexit has dominated the current political situation. Look at the current heatwave; we can see the impact of climate change,” she said.

Emma said that the Government was setting targets but there were questions as to whether the deadlines were too long and action wasn’t being taken.

“Corals are being bleached. Fossil fuels are being burnt. But small and incremental changes can make a difference, so whether its ditching single use plastic or speaking to your MP about climate change, do it – every little helps, but the time for these changes, is now.”

For the full story get the 4 July edition of the News & Mail

THE Crown in Horsell has been declared the best pub in Surrey by the Campaign for Real Ale.

The Crown landlady Antoinette Harvey with partner John Mintram, centre, and Kevin Travers, from  CAMRA Surrey with the pub’s two award certificates.

The pub won through to the regional awards after winning the CAMRA Surrey Hampshire Borders Branch Pub of The Year. It is now entered for the National Pub of The Year award. The top 16 will be announced in September, with the winner revealed next February.

Antoinette Harvey, who has been landlady of The Crown for 21 years said that the pub has gone through many different guises and is now a community pub serving drinks at a reasonable price. 

She said: “We have the best customers, who make it a real pleasure to work here and of course we have fantastic staff.”

For the full story get the 4 July edition of the News & Mail

THE TOWN centre’s new luxury hotel is now almost 100 metres – 328 feet – off the ground “a significant milestone” in Woking’s £540m transformation recognised in a sky-high celebration last week.

The topping-off of the 23rd storey sees the new 189-room Hilton building on track to form a key focal point in the Victoria Square transformation project. The occasion brought together local councillors, representatives from Hilton Worldwide, construction leaders and investors.

Hilton’s Stephen Cassidy with Woking Borough Council chief executive Ray Morgan

The building project, which is part of a joint venture between Woking Borough Council and shopping centre owner and investor Moyallen Group, is being spearheaded by Sir Robert McAlpine. Due to be completed in late 2020, it is strategically located at the junction of Victoria Way and Church Street West.

Set to become one of the best-connected hotels in Surrey and the South East of England, it will complement the existing DoubleTree by Hilton Woking which opened in 2016 with 177 guest rooms and 12 suites.

The development of Victoria Square “represents a real game-changer for Woking” says Cllr David Bittleston

Patrick Fitzgibbon, Hilton’s senior vice-president for development, Europe, Middle East and Asia, Hilton, said: “The town is undergoing a major transformation and its ambitious regeneration – together with the town’s fantastic connectivity to central London and its main airports – makes it a prestigious location in which to introduce our flagship brand.”

Victoria Square will also incorporate 429 apartments across two new residential towers and will include a multi-storey car park, a medical centre and two public plazas. It also offers a further 75,000 square feet of innovative retail space.

At 34 and 32 storeys high, the site’s tallest residential tower will be 118 metres – 387 feet – high. These are earmarked for phased completion from late 2020, with a complete fit-out for apartments and occupation by 2021.

For the full story get the 4 July edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Lions Club celebrated its most successful charity run on Sunday. More than 600 runners registered for its Martian Race, with about 510 taking part.

PRIZE GUYS  – Simon Egan, centre, the winner of the men’s 21k event, with second Rich Lazell, left, and third Adam Bennett ….plus a friend

The June 30th event, over a choice of either five, 10 or 21-kilometre distances, passed the sandpits on Horsell Common, where the aliens landed in the HG Wells novel The War of the Worlds.

LITTLE GREEN MEN – The Martians have landed, again, on Horsell Common

“The income generated that day for good causes was only £1,000, compared with the probability of over £10,000 this year when the running costs have been included.”

Roger went on: “A big thank you is due to all those involved, but we are especially grateful to Horsell Scouts, without whom we would not have had all the tents, and particularly the First Aid set-up, and to Trident Honda for being our sponsor this year and meeting the cost of the unique Martian Medals.”

For more details of the race and results, please visit www.martianrace.org

For the full story and picture spread get the 4 July edition of the News & Mail

DETAILS of ambitious plans to transform Woking FC’s ground to English Football League standards and build an estimated 1,000 flats on nearby ground in a £10 million project are to be revealed to local residents in a series of public consultations.

The outline proposals were revealed in April last year when Woking Borough Council reached an agreement with property developer GolDev Limited.

Woking FC’s current stadium at Kingfield

In plans that have been discussed and developed behind the scenes since 2002, Laithwaite Community Stadium would become a 10,000-seat facility that would allow the club to aim for promotion at least up to League One.

The ground currently holds a maximum of 6,000 fans, with 2,500 of those seated. There are a number of other improvements, such as greater accessibility and media facilities that would be necessary to qualify the ground to host games in the upper tiers of the game.

The estimated £10 million cost would be financed by building nearly 1,000 flats and 10,000 sq ft of retail space creating a new neighbourhood at Kingfield, to be called Cardinal Court.

The plans, along with images of the expanded stadium and Cardinal Court will be shown to the public for the first time at a consultation held at the Laithwaite Community Stadium next Friday (12 July) from 2pm to 8pm.

There will be two more consultations at the ground next Saturday from 10am to noon and on Tuesday 16 July from 2pm to 6pm. A fourth consultation will take place on Thursday 18 July from 4pm to 8pm at Mayford Village Hall.

Woking FC chairman Rosemary Johnson

Members of the project team will be at the sessions where residents will have the opportunity to ask questions and give their views.

GolDev is due to give a briefing to councillors next Wednesday, followed by a presentation of Woking FC fans the following day.

Rosemary Johnson, chairman of Woking Football Club, said: “We are looking forward to presenting the Woking Community Stadium proposals to the community. We want this project to work for our club, our supporters, and the community to which we belong, and we look forward to hearing your views on the proposals.”

Once the consultations have been held, the plans could then be altered and go through a series of planning applications through the council.

For the full story get the 4 July News & Mail

LOCAL mother Katie Jackson has been recognised as Resident of the Year at the A2Dominion annual awards ceremony.

Katie, 24, who lives in Maybury, was praised as an outstanding example of a resident facing adversity and changing their life, and the lives of others, for the better.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE – Resident of the Year award winner Katie Jackson, centre, with  Dawn Wightman, director of housing services at A2Dominion, and Kay Soyemi, who presented Katie with her award

“I’m honestly shocked at winning this award and feel really emotional,” Katie said.  “I was homeless with a young son before A2Dominion assisted me with accommodation, and the support I’ve received from them since has been amazing.

A2Dominion is a residential property group with more than 37,000 homes across London and southern England.

Katie lives on Lancaster Close, one of A2Dominion’s young parents’ schemes, and also volunteers there.

Julie Brooker, employment advisor at A2Dominion who nominated Katie, said: “Katie has worked incredibly hard at turning her life around and is a valuable member of the Care and Support Funding Panel.

“She has not only improved her own situation, but is now mentoring other young people and inspiring them to do the same. She is a truly deserving winner of this award.”

For the full story get the 27 June edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Football Club’s manager has donated a prized possession to be auctioned in aid of the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices charity.

Alan Dowson handed over his Conference South Play Off medal to support the organisation’s fundraising efforts.

Alan Dowson hands over his medal to Phil Wormley

The medal is one of a limited edition of 23 given to the team and support staff at the club when it beat Welling Utd in the play-off final to be promoted back to the National League.

The promotion represents a successful season for “Dowse” and his players and a significant moment in the Cards’ history.

“I am delighted to give my winner’s medal to such a worthy and important cause as Woking & Sam Beare Hospices,” said Alan.

Woking & Sam Beare Hospices is running a silent auction for bids to win the medal.

Bids for the medal should be sent, along with your name and a contact number, to business@wsbhospices.co.uk.

Payment, by cheque, credit card or cash, must be made within 24 hours of the auction deadline of noon on Friday 12 July. The winner will be announced during the pre-season friendly against Oxford United on Saturday 13 July.

For terms and conditions and more information, visit www.wsbhospices.co.uk/businessgroup.

For the full story get the 27 June edition of the News & Mail