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

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

TWO entrepreneurs who built notable careers in the entertainment industry have relocated part of their business from West Byfleet to Woking town centre, as part of their new company’s expansion.

Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire have spent more than two decades running their former global business, Ambassador Theatre Group, from the town.

Dame Rosemary Squire and Sir Howard Panter, whose new venture of Trafalgar Entertainment has seen significant growth.

Their new business venture, Trafalgar Entertainment, is following a similar path and has moved into Export House in Wolsey Walk.

A live entertainment business, the company has seen significant growth since it was established in 2017. It originally operated from its West End venue of Trafalgar Studios, and has since opened two offices, in The Strand in London and in West Byfleet.

The company has gone on to acquire Trafalgar Releasing, formerly Picturehouse Entertainment, and Stagecoach Performing Arts.

Rosemary Squire, executive chairman and joint chief executive of Trafalgar Entertainment, said: “Howard and I live in Surrey and have based our work here and in London for over two decades.

“When we founded ATG, the New Victoria Theatre and Ambassadors Cinemas at the Peacocks Centre in Woking became our very first regional venues. We later established our head office in the town centre.”

Rosemary, who was made an OBE for services to theatre in 2007, added: “When we started Trafalgar Entertainment in 2017, with so many new colleagues also based in Surrey, we always knew we’d love to have a presence in Woking again. Now of course, we’ve been able to bring our colleagues from Stagecoach Performing Arts along with us, which is a really exciting development and it feels like a homecoming for us all.

“We have two wonderful contemporary office spaces in London and Woking which are great platforms for our future growth. We’re truly delighted with our new home at Export House and we’re looking forward to working alongside the other companies in the building.”

For the full story get the 16 May edition of the News & Mail

A TEACHING assistant at a school in Sheerwater has described how the death of a close friend inspired her to complete The MoonWalk London on Saturday.

Anita Allard planned to complete the half-marathon walk on behalf of her friend Kirsty, who had been undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Anita Allard in her disco-tastic walking gear

But just days before taking on the challenge for the first time, Anita learned that Kirsty had died. “I’d planned to do the walk for her, then surprise her with a picture with her name on the board at the end. I’ve got the picture, but quite what I’ll do with it I’m not sure yet.

“She died on the Tuesday, and I found out on Wednesday. She seemed to be recovering well.

“It’s been devastating, but it made me even more determined to do the walk. I knew I couldn’t pull out.

“Every bit of my body hurts right now, but as I was walking it really came home to me that if Kirsty could go through radiotherapy, chemotherapy, sickness and discomfort every week, I could push through a few aches and pains.”

An emotional Anita, 45, said that she plans to do the MoonWalk again, and was delighted that she and three friends had raised £1,800 for the locally-based charity, Walk the Walk.

For the full story get the 16 May edition of the News & Mail

THE future of the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices is being put at risk from a lack of understanding about its value and that it is a charity reliant on fundraising activities and its 18 shops, the organisation has said.

The comment came after research into the views of local residents.

Woking and Sam Beare Hospices CEO Jayne Cooper

Half of 627 people questioned in the boroughs and areas covered by the hospice did not know that it is a charity and more than a third said they had no idea how it was funded.  

The hospice covers Woking, Surrey Heath, north Guildford, Spelthorne, Runnymede, and West Elmbridge but 31% of those surveyed thought that it cared only for people in Woking.

Jayne Cooper, CEO of Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, said: “There was overwhelming surprise about the volume of services that we provide and a lack of understanding that we care for the whole family and not just the person who is unwell. We also learnt that a large majority where shocked to hear that over 70% of our specialist care is delivered in patient own homes.”

Jayne was speaking in the run-up to the launch of the hospice’s 2019 appeal, which coincides with Dying Matters Week, which began on Monday and runs until Monday 20 May.

For more information, www.wsbhospices.co.uk/2019Appeal

For the full story get the 16 May edition of the New & Mail

AN investigation is underway after a fire broke out at a former pub in Knaphill on Sunday evening.

The former Robin Hood Pub ablaze

Police were called to the site of the former Robin Hood pub in Robin Hood Road around 5.55pm.

“A cordon remains in place this morning while we continue with our enquiries in conjunction with Surrey Fire and Rescue Service to establish the circumstances of the fire,” said a police spokesman.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area around the time of the incident, or anyone with any other information, to contact us as a matter of urgency. If you can help, please contact us on 101, quoting crime reference number PR/45190049280.”

For more details and pictures, see this Thursday’s (16 May) edition of the News & Mail

DRESS up for the 80s disco theme and “Let’s get physical” for Woking & Sam Beare Hospices’ Midnight Walk at 10pm on Friday 21 June.

But this eight-mile challenge for ladies is about more than just the way the charity works to care for its patients’ physical needs – it also enables the hospice’s staff and volunteers to ensure that many other important aspects of their wellbeing are met too.

EVERY STEP YOU TAKE – Being part of Woking & Sam Beare Hospices’ Midnight Walk on June 21 helps to raise vital funds for the charity. This year the walk has an 80s disco theme.

Funds raised by walkers help the charity’s counsellors to listen to patients and also to their family and carers, helping to explore and alleviate their worries.

Event sponsorship can directly help the hospice’s social worker Caroline Hodgson to offer advice on often complicated issues that may be concerning patients and their families, such as benefits and finances, as well as arranging important experiences.

Caroline said: “We’ve organised two weddings, one vow renewal and arranged for a patient to have a virtual reality experience.  We will always try to go the extra mile, that’s what hospice care is about.

“If I can help a patient achieve their dreams, plan for the future, or be there for them at the end, then I’ve done my job.”

At a time when everything can feel confusing and overwhelming, the reassurance given by the CoSI team in people’s own homes overnight, matched with their nursing expertise, can reduce any stress caused by feeling responsible for a loved one’s medical needs, and enable families to be just that – family, not carers.

To support all these elements of the hospice’s care through your physical challenge, please register online for £15. Visit www.wsbhospices.co.uk/midnightwalk.  Female walkers must be aged 11 and upwards.

The hospice would also welcome men and ladies as volunteers to help with marshalling or indoor duties on the walk. There are further volunteering opportunities throughout the year within Woking & Sam Beare Hospices.

Please contact Rachelle Barnett on 01483 742683 or r.barnett@wsbhospices.co.uk to find out more about joining the support team.

For the full story get the 9 May edition of the News & Mail

LOCAL heroes among Woking’s community were celebrated at the Mayor’s Civic Reception recently.

The event was held at the HG Wells Conference and Events Centre, where the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Will Forster, announced Woking’s Eminent Citizen for 2019 and the winners of this year’s Young People’s Civic Award Scheme.

Award winners Kye Jarred, Jaylen Simons and Grace Campbell receive their awards from the Mayor

Liz Pocknell was presented with the Eminent Citizen award in recognition for her outstanding contribution to Guiding and Scouting across the borough.

Woking District has enjoyed many notable achievements since Liz was appointed District Commissioner, including Jamborees in Sweden and Japan, creating a Special Needs Unit and now boasts 1,200 young people and 350 leaders.

The Young People’s Civic Award Scheme aims to reward young people who make an outstanding contribution to the community whose work or achievements may not normally be recognised. The judging panel included representatives from Woking Borough Council, Woking Youth Council, Surrey Police, Sport Woking, and the voluntary sector.

Kye Jarred received the Outstanding Contribution to the Community award for his work raising money in support of Woking-based charity, York Road Project, supporting people who are facing or experiencing homelessness in the community.

Among other achievements, he created “Mission Kyndness” in order to continue his fundraising for the charity and increase awareness. Kye raised £500 to buy 100 £5 Greggs vouchers so that people on the streets could buy a cup of coffee and something to eat.

Eminent Citizen Liz Poknell is presented her award

Jaylen Simons received the Outstanding Achievement award. Jaylen attends Woking College and is an outstanding student who has balanced her study and incredible academic achievement alongside community work and her support for the College’s Student Union.

Jaylen has given up a great deal of her time to tutor a Syrian refugee, teaching English as a foreign language and helping her student both academically and aiding her assimilation into British life. Demonstrating her patience and understanding, she has helped her student to read and write in English – and also how to use slang and send text messages.

A highly motivated, dedicated and enthusiastic student, Jaylen is also in the process of completing her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

“It was an honour to present awards to these exemplary members of our community, who have consistently gone above and beyond what is expected of them in their school, work or private lives, to help others overcome adversity. They are a true inspiration to us all,” said Woking Mayor, Cllr Will Forster.

Each winner received a glass trophy, certificate, and vouchers including cinema tickets for two people, sponsored by The Ambassadors, and a £20 Woking Shopping gift card, sponsored by Woking Shopping.

For the full story get the 9 May edition of the News & Mail

A RETIRED teacher from Woking is preparing to pound the captial’s pavements this Saturday, taking part in The MoonWalk London to raise money for locally-based charity, Walk the Walk.

The charity raises money and awareness for breast cancer, granting funds to various projects and campaigns that are involved with treating the disease.

Eira with Nadine and Jo, the Walkie Talkies

“I’ve known about The MoonWalk for years, and have taken part five times before – my first time was in 2005,” said Eira Meller, 54. “I was running the London Marathon the same year, so was probably at my fittest but since then I felt I needed something that would be a little kinder on my body than running a marathon.

Three years ago, Eira was diagnosed with breast cancer herself.

Eira Meller in her colourful walking gear

“I was checking my breasts when I found the lump. My treatment plan was a lumpectomy, followed by chemo and radiotherapy. This MoonWalk will be my first challenge since having breast cancer. This year there are three of us walking, my friend Nadine who has always taken part with me and also our friend Jo – we’re called the ‘Walkie Talkies’.

She’s looking forward to the event this weekend: “We will be wearing decorated bras at The MoonWalk – they will be glow-in-the-dark with flashing lights! All in line with the disco theme!

“So far, we have raised £1700 between the three of us – our friends and family have been so generous.”

To find out more about Walk the Walk, or to sign up for one of their challenges, visit www.walkthewalk.org

For the full story get the 9 May edition of the News & Mail

AN ANIMAL charity volunteer is seeking 100 people and their dogs to join a fundraising walk as part of her 100th birthday celebrations.

Sally Field has been spending much of her spare time at the Chobham RSPCA centre for 45 years.

Sally Field with Chico the chihuahua-cross

She is a regular dog walker and helps run fundraising events at Millbrook in Guildford Road.

To help mark becoming a centenarian last December, she hopes at least 100 dog owners and their pets will join her event on Saturday 1 June.

“We will be asking the dog walkers who take part for a donation and the money raised will go towards the work that Millbrook does,” said Sally, who lives in Addlestone,

“Spectators are also welcome to come along and give some money and enjoy some refreshments and an ice cream van will be there.”

Sally, who was a cook at Chertsey Fire Station for 23½ years, drives herself to Chobham for her two regular volunteering days each week.

She made bacon rolls and served snacks for a car boot sale at Millbrook last Saturday and has helped run the centre’s annual gala for many years.

Sally has rehomed seven dogs from the RSPCA and her latest pet is a 16-year-old Jack Russell called Roseanna.

Millbrook staff arranged a surprise 100th birthday party for Sally at Hare Hill Social Club in Addlestone, where guests donated a total of £472 to the centre.

The 100-dog walk takes place in the centre grounds between 11am and 2pm. Entry forms can be collected from the Millbrook reception or requested by emailing jo.douglas@rspca.org.uk or calling 0300 123 0740.