A WOKING hairdresser is starring in a reality show pitting professional avant garde stylista against each other.

Donna O’Donoghue, who lives in Westfield, is a contestant on Extreme Hair Wars, which began on Thursday 20 September on Channel 5 Star.

Battle of the stylists – Donna is starring in Extreme Hair Wars

Donna ran a salon in Knaphill for 15 years and is now a styling teacher and does hair for special events.

One of those was a Star Wars-themed wedding and another featured a bride as an Elvish princess from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

She said the programme was “probably the most stressful, out-of-my-comfort-zone, experience I’ve ever had.

“That bit you see on reality programmes where contestants are waiting to hear their fate – that went on for 45 minutes,” Donna said.

She said she later learnt that the delay was caused by a heated argument between the judges and the show producers as to which contestant had to leave.

“I’m hoping that will be shown,” she said.

Read the full story in the 20 September edition of the News & Mail

AMERICAN-STYLE high-rise living could come to Woking if a 33-storey apartment block in Commercial Way is given the go-ahead.

Cortland UK, the British arm of a developer based in Atlanta, Georgia, hopes to build 290 homes on the former British Home Stores premises, now occupied by the British Heart Foundation.

Artist impression of part of the proposed Cortland development

The company held public consultations in Christ Church last week showing that half the flats would be one-bed and the other half two and three-bed.

There are no plans for any shops or offices, as in some of the other town centre developments, but there would be “a tech-hub and co-working space for residents and visitors to enjoy”.

The block would contain a swimming pool and gym for the residents and there would be 24-hour concierge service. Uniformed porters are regular sights in the doorways of upmarket blocks in US cities.

Richard Olsen, Executive chairman of Cortland UK, Richard Olsen, said that the developer can make a real difference to Woking.

“The population of Woking is estimated to increase by 10,000 people by 2034. Woking is an attractive town for those living, working and visiting London.

“With improvements across the town, enviable links to Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, London and its major airports, it is a highly attractive town to live in,” Mr Olsen said.

For the full story, see 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 www.wsbhospices.co.uk/midnightwalk.

A CHURCH break-in was foiled and the intruder sent packing, thanks to the quick actions of a local churchwarden.

Adrian Vincent surprised the would-be burglar after the man had broken into All Saints Church in Woodham, and pursued the intruder while giving directions to the police over his phone as the man fled the scene, running off into woodland.


All Saints churchwarden Adrian Vincent


“My wife, who is more kind than me, is praying for the man that he sees the error of his ways,” said Adrian. “While I am praying that he be brought to justice.”

The break-in was foiled on Sunday night, September 9. All Saints Church – currently holding an art exhibition of the works of local artists – had suffered several incidents of petty vandalism.

“On the previous Monday night we had a stone thrown through the church hall window, smashing it and damaging the cooker inside. On the Friday night we had a flower pot smashed and a display stamped on. On the Saturday night we had a stone thrown smashing the patio window of the church room where our Art Exhibition is being held,” Adrian said.

“So, on the Sunday night I sat in the church room with the lights out, watching the porch which is illuminated by our security lights. I was particularly concerned to try and protect the church because we have our Art Exhibition on at the moment. Also, the church doesn’t have the money to keep paying the excess on our insurance policy for repairs after every incident.”

Break-in damage at the church in Woodham

Around 8.30pm he saw a man with dark hair, about 20 years old, 5ft 10in, with slim build and a yellow draw-string bag over his shoulders.

“He started looking round for a stone, and I called the police. He couldn’t find a stone on the patio because I had earlier that day replaced the pebble border with gravel,” said the vigilant churchwarden. “I rang 999 and the man walked round the back of the church and returned with a stone. While I was on the phone to the police, he threw a stone which smashed the outer pane of one of our other patio doors. He then threw another stone which broke the glass of our church door.

“He stepped through the door into the church and then saw me in the room on the phone. I said ‘excuse me, I don’t think you should be in here’ and he jumped back through the broken door and ran off.

“I followed after him, giving directions to the police on the phone. He ran off down the woodland path beside the church, which leads to the Sands pub, but I didn’t have my torch with me and didn’t want to follow him through dark woodlands.”

The police arrived shortly after and took a statement, and arranged for the broken pane to be boarded up.

Niul Foat pictures, part of the art exhibition at All Saints

Thanks to Adrian’s quick actions, the art exhibition at All Saints – displaying the evocative oil landscapes and drawings of Richard Head and the vibrant abstracts of Niul Foat – remained open to visitors. The final day for viewing is Saturday 15 September, from 11am-5.30pm – entry is free and refreshments are available, with a guided tour of the church as well as part of Heritage Open Days. Visit www.allsaintswoodham.org.uk for details.

SHOPPERS were caught by surprise when Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood made a spectacular appearance in Woking town centre to launch the New Victoria Theatre’s fairy godmother of all pantomimes, Cinderella.

Craig Revel Horwood in the role of the Wicked Stepmother

Gracing the town in a horse and carriage, he was paying an early visit before he takes to the stage as the Wicked Stepmother later this year.

Although well-known for his role as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, Craig is no stranger to the stage having recently returned to his roots as a performer in musical theatre, starring as Miss Hannigan in the West End production of Annie. Among other credits, he choreographed and directed the UK tour of Sister Act, starring Alexandra Burke.

Cinderella’s coach and horses arrive in Woking Town Centre. Craig Revel-Horwood, as the Wicked Stepmother alongside the carriage-driver with Cinderella and Buttons (Sophie Isaacs and Phil Butler) in the carriage

Also making a grand entrance last week were other Cinderella cast members, including comedian and entertainer Phil Butler as Buttons, West End star Sophie Isaacs in the fairytale role of Cinderella, and Wendy Somerville and Suzie Chard as the Wicked Stepsisters.

Always one of the biggest events of the year, the New Victoria panto will run from 7 December until 6 January and the box office is already taking bookings.

For more pictures of the launch, see the 13 September edition of the News & Mail

RUSH-HOUR commuters were held up at Woking railway station after a man was injured while walking across the tracks.


Man receiving treatment at Woking railway station – Picture: Guildford Dragon NEWS

British Transport Police officers were called to the station just before 4.45pm on Monday after railway staff helped the man onto a platform, where he was treated for unknown injuries.

Passengers on platforms 2 and 4 were told to move to platform 5 and electrical power to rail lines was switched off.

A BTP spokesman said that officers were called to the station, following a report of a person trespassing on the tracks.

“Officers attended the scene alongside paramedics and a man has been taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. An investigation is now underway to determine how the man came to be by the tracks.”

For the full story, see the 13 September edition of the News & Mail

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

Free birthday burritos as Woking store turns one

Special offer is for those who are born in September

TACO Bell Woking is turning one and to celebrate they are giving away a free birthday burrito to all burrito lovers who are born in September.

Woking’s Taco Bell in Chertsey Street is celebrating its first birthday

“It has been a fantastic first year for the team here in Woking and to say thank you for the support and to mark the occasion, we want to throw a banger of a celebration this weekend, with a free burrito for our customers who share a September birthday with us,” said store manager Georgia.

“Whether you choose to go for our delicious cheesy double melt birthday burrito or opt for the vegetarian option, we look forward to sharing the celebrations with Woking.”

This weekend, 8-9 September, the Mexican-inspired restaurant, which opened on 5 September last year, will be extending its birthday celebrations, giving burrito fans who share a September birthday, a free birthday burrito from the popular menu. For vegetarians, the cheesy double melt birthday burrito can be swapped for the bean burrito, so whether you’re a meat eater or a veggie, there will be a burrito that will just be the icing on the cake!

To claim a free burrito, visitors to the restaurant on Chertsey Road this weekend simply have to show their ID when ordering their meal.

PLANS for a power station at West Byfleet appear to have been permanently extinguished by the owner of the land targeted for electricity generators.

Byfleet United Charity, which owns the former Camphill tip, has ended its relationship with the company which caused a public outcry with its plan.

UK Power Reserve Ltd unexpectedly withdrew its planning application for 33 gas-powered generators on the land, in the face of more than 1,000 objections.

Now the charity’s trustees have decided not to continue with the proposal for land next to Camphill Industrial Estate.

The decision has been welcomed in the community, where objectors feared UK Power Reserve would return with an amended planning application.

Generating units similar to those proposed for a power station at West Byfleet

The chairman of Byfleet Neighbourhood Forum, Wade Pollard, told the News & Mail: “I am very relieved that Byfleet United Charity has decided not to allow a power station to be built on their land.

“I keep reading more about studies showing how harmful air pollution is to health. This was my main concern.”

“I would like to thank the trustees for listening to residents and making the difficult decision to sacrifice income for the long term good of the health of the community.”

Byfleet, West Byfleet and Pyrford Residents’ Association told its members: “We recognise that for BUC’s trustees, this must have been a difficult decision, because the deal would have offered the charity a substantial source of income to assist their important work in the local community.

“However, they have listened and responded positively to the understandable concerns of the local community.”

UK Power Reserve is building or applying to build standby generating stations around the UK, including locations in Melton Mowbray, Gloucester, Warrington, Dudley and Runcorn. The electricity produced backs up the National Grid at times of shortage and high demand.

The company said it had no comment to make after it withdrew its application for planning permission to Woking Borough Council.