Other News

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

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

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.”

MEMBERS of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) at Gordon’s School welcomed Wing Commander Martin Larwood-Hughes recently to review their Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force Sections for the biennial inspection.

Balanced Outlook – Outdoor adventures for the Army section of the Gordon’s Combined Cadet Force

Wing Commander Larwood-Hughes, head of the Combined Cadet Force (RAF) branch of the Air Cadets, inspected a parade of the cadets, accompanied by the school’s Pipes and Drums.

Afterwards he visited a number of training stands to see the school’s tri-service cadets in action.

Royal Air Force cadets perfect their landing techniques with the school’s new flight simulator

Navy cadets were in the swimming pool practising their watermanship skills, while Army cadets put on a display of target shooting in the school’s indoor shooting range.

The role of the CCF at Gordon’s in West End, Woking, is to provide students with the opportunity to develop their powers of leadership, self-reliance and resourcefulness.

Wing Commander Larwood-Hughes said: “What a fabulous day reviewing the CCF. I was treated to a fantastic opening parade, then following an excellent lunch I watched lots of activities. Well done Gordon’s, you did your school proud.”

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

SIR Trevor Brooking was among a host of sporting celebrities at a golf challenge organised by JDRF, the UK’s type 1 diabetes charity.

The event was held at Woking Golf Club to help raise money for medical research and services.

Football star Sir Trevor Brooking at the JDRF golf day

Football legend Sir Trevor, twice an FA Cup winner with West Ham United and an England regular, said: “I’m delighted to support JDRF’s research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes rely on multiple blood tests and insulin injections every day just to stay alive, until we find that cure.

“Type 1 diabetes could happen to anyone at any age, it can’t be prevented, and is not linked to lifestyle. As a father and grandfather I can appreciate the challenges faced, by those with type 1 diabetes and their families, when people are diagnosed with this condition that turns people’s lives upside down.”

A total of 57 supporters registered to take part in the pro-celebrity golf day, including former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence,  BBC sports journalist Rob Bonnet, grand prix racing driver and Top Gear presenter Tiff Needell and a nine-year-old golf enthusiast living with type 1 diabetes, Cameron Fincher.

For more information on diabetes or to donate, visit www.jdrf.org.uk.

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

THE Biz Theatre School raised £2,068.49 for Shooting Star Chase hospice through its three performances of the musical Cats at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking.

The Biz Theatre School’s fundraising cast of Cats

This means the school has now contributed a total of £ 37,304.33 to the charity through fundraising at its productions.

The school is holding open auditions this Saturday for eight to 21-year-olds to be part of its Chicago musical theatre summer school and production. Potential participants are welcome at Christ’s College in Larch Avenue, Guildford between noon and 2pm.

The young people selected will work with a top West End production team.

The theatre school’s production of its take on the Tony Award-winning musical will be at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre on 16 and 17 August.

Chicago (High School Edition) will feature a full orchestra, scenery and stunning dance numbers.

It is a specially adapted version of the classic musical, maintaining the plot, score and Fosse-styled choreography, making it more appropriate for people of all ages.

A SPECIAL “Raise the Roof” fund raising car wash was held on Saturday morning, to help repair the damage caused after lead was stolen from St John’s Church roof.

Young people from the St John’s Church community, along with a few adult volunteers

The event was organised and manned by young people aged seven to 16 from the church’s congregation. As well as rolling up their sleeves to provide the required elbow grease on the day, they also arranged for a Suds & Bubbles café, offering tea and cake for waiting customers.

Cakes were donated by church members, with the café set up under a gazebo which provided some respite from the changeable weather on Saturday.

Young congregation members Charlotte, Zoe and Ellis hard at work

“We had the lead stolen from our church roof and the young people wanted to help in any way they could,” said Andy Williamson, the youth minister. “They came up with the idea of the car wash. It’s very encouraging to know they want to participate fully in the life of the church.”

The lead was stolen on two separate occasions at the start of March, first overnight on Sunday before the thieves returned a few days later. The thieves dislodged and damaged ridge tiles and slates as they ripped out the lead, even breaking apart a section of parapet. The theft caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

He estimated they had washed as many as 40 cars that morning, raising a total of £553.68.

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

LAST year, Georgia Sugg could hardly get out of bed, her energy sapped by health problems which had plagued her since she was a child.

Reading a book, calling a friend for a chat, or any activity lasting more than 30 minutes left her exhausted. Eating was a huge effort and earning a living seemed impossible.

Georgia with some of her paintings

Georgia’s ambition of getting a highly paid City job in data analytics had been shattered. But she is now forming radically different career – and a counter to her pain and suffering – through art.

The 23-year-old has devised a unique method of creating aesthetic artwork, using special mixes of paint, and gravity to spread the colours, as she draws a lot of her inspiration from nature.

Her paintings have found buyers and she is running a series of workshops to introduce others to a relaxing pastime which could draw out their inner artist.

Georgia, who lives in Horsell, suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). She has the symptoms of five active viruses, including measles and Epstein-Barr, alongside Lyme disease, multiple sensitivities and a mould called Patulin.

The condition which was eventually diagnosed as CFS hit her hard when she was 16, at the start of her AS-level year at school. “It was literally overnight that everything changed, and it wasn’t until around three years later that we finally understood why it happened,” she said.

“I had always been an ill child, having regular bouts of tonsillitis, chest infections, digestive issues and several unexplained week-long stays in hospital. I wasn’t exactly surprised when I was hit with another virus, but I still haven’t fully recovered.

Her condition was finally properly diagnosed by a private clinic. She was prescribed a course of immunotherapy, antivirals and antibiotics, which resulted in a dramatic improvement in her symptoms.

Earlier last year, Georgia had found the art supplies which she used while doing her AS-levels at Guildford High School. She managed to spend 15 minutes once or twice a week painting, finding fulfilment in creating pictures of clouds.

The new treatments enabled her to spend up to three hours day on artwork, developing her experimental pouring techniques. “The more I made, the more I began to realise that, now I was no longer constrained by the fear of extreme crashes, I could look into places to start selling,” she said.

She has been approved to display her paintings to weekend events run by Contemporary Art Fairs and has been rewarded with several sales and commissions.

Georgia, who uses the garage at the house where she lives with parents Sally and Chris as her studio, is running classes at the Mayford Centre in Mayford. She is promoting these and her newly-found career at www.artbygeorgiasugg.co.uk.

“It has been the most overwhelmingly wonderful feeling to have both my health returning and a goal to work towards,” she said. “I am so grateful to begin to feel more like myself again.”

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

PUPILS at the Marist Catholic Primary School having been putting their best foot forward on a new endeavour, all taking part in “the Daily Mile”.

READY, SET, GO!: Pupils at the Marist Catholic Primary School running the Daily Mile

“This is a national initiative which we are taking on throughout the school as it has been proven that when children run daily, it not only improves their general fitness and health, but also improves concentration in the classroom, not to mention being fun and sociable,” said Sheila Helsby, a Year 1 teacher at the West Byfleet school.

“Every day, each teacher will choose a convenient time to take their class outside in the fresh air to run around the all-weather field. Despite the name, it’s never a set distance. The idea is for each child to run or jog at their own pace for 15 minutes, walking when they need to catch their breath. Children run in their school clothes and there’s no need for any equipment. They can chat to their friends as they run along.”

Studies have shown that when young children run for 15 minutes, 75% will run at least one mile or more and this increases to 90% for older primary school children. Regular physical activity such as the Daily Mile can lead to improvements in social, mental and emotional health.

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

WOKING Palace opens for the first time this year on Saturday and Sunday. From 11am-5pm, visitors to the eight-acre moated site can learn about its fascinating history from the 12th century through to the Tudors and beyond.

Faded Glory: The site of Woking Palace has been of great interest to archaeologists

There will also be displays about the history of beekeeping, archaeological excavations at Woking Palace from 2009 to 2015, and the Old Woking Test Pitting Project.  During both days, volunteers from the Friends of Woking Palace will provide guided tours round the site with the last tours starting at about 4.00pm. There will also be a variety of children’s activities.  Set beside the River Wey the ruins of Woking Palace are surrounded by a rural landscape that was once the 590-acre deer park belonging to Woking Manor.

Please note there is no parking at Woking Palace or in Carters Lane. Disabled visitors should contact Friends of Woking Palace by e-mail to info@woking-palace.org or phone to 07722 299026 to arrange special parking.  Entry is free but donations are always welcome.

For further information visit the Friends’ website