Other News

A WOKING mum who started the “Couch to 5K” challenge back in September, is taking on the London Marathon this weekend.

Sarah Roberts will run the 26.2 miles in aid of the Down’s Syndrome Association, and says her son Oscar is her inspiration.

Marathon mum Sarah Roberts wearing her official Down’s Syndrome Association running gear.

“It goes without saying I’m doing this for Oscar. But I’m also doing this for all the children and adults who happen to have Down’s syndrome and their families to raise awareness and show others that anyone of us can do anything, if we set our mind to it. If you see me, I’ll be the one at the back, shovelling as many jelly babies I can down my throat to get me through it!”

Sarah is keen to point out that she is not a natural runner, but has been upping her mileage week-by-week and was overjoyed when she found out she had secured a place on the Down’s Syndrome Association’s #Team21.

“My son Oscar is now six years old and when he was born, we found out he had Down’s syndrome. It came as a huge shock. I worried so much at first and I remember, when he was around 8 months old feeling this overwhelming need to write things down.

Sarah slows down to take a quick selfie while out training

“I started a blog which I named ‘Don’t Be Sorry’ – because I quickly realised there really was nothing to be sorry about – and I found sharing our experiences online was not only helping me but seemed to be reaching out to others too. Over the years our following across social media has grown and we now have close to 40,000 people following our story.”

Back in 2017, Sarah posted about asking the medical profession to use the word ‘chance’ instead of ‘risk’ when explaining the results of 12-week tests. The post generated almost 3,000 comments and more than 6,000 shares.

“I have never attempted anything this tough before, but I’ve actually really enjoyed the training and I’m hoping it gives other people hope, that if this sleep deprived, kinda chubby mum of three can do it… so can anyone!”

Sarah takes on the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 28th April and can be sponsored here.


For the full story get the 2 May edition of the News & Mail

AN HONORARY Freedom of the Borough Parade for The Army Training Centre (Pirbright) will be held on Sunday at 2.30pm.

Troops from The Army Training Centre will march into Jubilee Square, before an open-air ceremony takes place in front of dignitaries and army officials. Following the ceremony, the parade will march past the Mayor and Civic guests in Church Street East.

Freedom of the Borough Parade through Woking Town Centre in 2017

Members of the public are invited to come and enjoy this event with the troops.

Speaking about the parade, the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Will Forster, said: “The Army Training Centre is the first collective Freedom of the Borough ever bestowed by Woking Borough and the award has only been given to five individuals previously. Therefore, the parade is a very special occasion and I encourage everyone to come and join the troops’ celebration by lining the streets to cheer them along their way.”

Troops assemble in Jubilee Square in 2017

The Army Training Centre, Pirbright was awarded Freedom of the Borough on 8 December 2016. The award is the highest that any Borough can bestow. It recognises exceptional contributions, or distinctive service to the Borough by an individual or group of individuals.

The Army Training Centre, based at the Alexander Barracks in Pirbright, lies within the Parliamentary Constituency of Woking. The Centre has long held a strong relationship with the Borough’s community, one that was officially documented in 2012 when the Armed Forces Community Covenant was signed by the Centre, Woking Borough Council and other public bodies.

The award gives the honour and distinction to all ranks of the Centre to march through the streets of the Borough on ceremonial occasions.

A road closure will be in place along Church Street East from 7am to 3.30pm on the day of the parade.

For the full story get the 25 April edition of the News & Mail

MENTAL health charity Woking Mind opened in 1979 – but now, 40 years on, there are fears it could close.

Based at Courtenay Road, Woking, the charity provide support to people with mental health difficulties.

Woking Mind’s team of Mandy Dhingra, Elle Wilks and Jill Bishop

Some of the 200 registered members have been accessing Woking Mind’s services for 33 years, and last year another 1,005 non-registered members received phone and email support.

The member’s mental health conditions range from mild anxiety and depression to bi-polar, autism, OCD, psychosis, schizophrenia and drug and alcohol problems.

“We don’t offer clinical services. We provide social, emotional and practical support. It’s about being the organisation that people can’t find anywhere else,” said Elle Wilks, chief executive of Woking Mind.

The activities provided at the centre between 10am and 2pm Monday to Wednesday weekly include arts and crafts, creative writing, current affairs, walking, film club, gardening club, gentle exercise and visual journaling.

Last year the charity was in peril after a 60% cut in funding, but permanent staff members Elle Wilks, Jill Bishop and Mandy Dhingra managed to secure funding from Woking Borough Council.

“We’ve bought ourselves six months – but if we don’t raise £50,000 we’ll have to shut down next year,” said Elle.

Without any financial support from the umbrella charity Mind, Woking Mind are entirely self-supported and rely on donations and corporate funding to run their services.

The charity has a number of summer plans to celebrate their anniversary, spread the word and raise money. On Wednesday 10 July they are holding a birthday party for all service users, staff, volunteers and trustees.

Alongside this, Woking Mind are launching “40 for 40”, an initiative encouraging people to take on a 40-themed challenge to raise £40. For example, Freedom Leisure Centre are running a one-hour/40-station circuit class on Saturday 4 May at 11am and Funmumsfitness are running a sponsored 40-minute exercise activity at Sportsbox Woking, also on 4 May.

Debenhams Woking are supporting the charity for the month of April and Woking Mind are asking local businesses to try turning £40 into £400.

On Wednesday 12 June the charity is holding their Annual General Meeting at the Surrey History Centre, with an open invitation, to celebrate the previous year and showcase work from service users.

But amid the plans for the future, the fact remains that Woking Mind desperately need to raise funds to meet the increasing demand on their services.

“It’s a difficult thing for people to do in the current climate, but with us you know that every pound will go towards providing services,” said Elle.

People can help the charity by donating via cheque or online, raising funds and awareness, volunteering and following them on Twitter and Facebook: visit @Wokingmind and facebook.com/Wokingmind/.

For the full story get the 25 April edition of the News & Mail

DUNSBOROUGH Park in Ripley opened its gates last week for the first day of its annual Festival of Tulips.

Nearly 700 people visited the garden on Wednesday, enjoying April sunshine under clear blue skies.

Dunsborough Park in bloom

Dunsborough Park is a country estate, a beautiful home set amongst 100 acres of landscaped gardens, currently open to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme which allows visitors unique access to private gardens to raise money for charity.

Those visiting last week were able to enjoy delicious cakes and teas on sale in aid of the owner’s charity, ARCH (Art Research Creativity and Health), which funds musicians to play therapeutic music concerts in care homes, hospitals and hospices.

“Visitors were in awe of the breathtaking wild meadow of tulips with its random planting and clashing colours near the lovely tranquil Water Garden and folly bridge, as well as new tulips which had been planted within the Walled Garden giving a wonderful variety of blooms and startling splashes of colour,” said Kate Gill, who works at the estate.

“Don’t miss this opportunity to visit an amazing garden and enjoy these striking colourful displays.”

The next public openings are today, 25 April, then tomorrow and Saturday, all in the afternoon from 2pm-6pm. Entrance is £7, children under 14 free.

Teas will be on sale in aid of SSNAP (Support for the Sick Newborn and their Parents); The Princess Alice Hospice and Naomi House Children’s Hospice respectively.

For the special picture feature get the 25 April edition of the News & Mail

Green space, woodland and blossom. Spring bulbs and spectacular camellias in the woodland. Afternoon teas, coffee with home-made cakes and light refreshments, served in the barn. That will be the lovely scene this Easter Monday (22 April) when Timber Hill Gardens in Chobham opens for public view under the National Gardens Scheme (NGS).

The beautiful gardens at Timber Hill are the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing spring afternoon.

Timber Hill has been the home of the Sealy family since 1951. The land has changed beyond recognition in that time from a simple smallholding with sheep to a scenic park with beautiful mature gardens and a woodland which reveal a spectacular succession of shrubs from January through to May.

This has been the result of the huge interest and enthusiasm of the current occupants, Nick and Lavinia Sealy, as well as a longstanding, committed and knowledgeable gardener.

In case children aren’t overwhelmed by all this natural beauty, it’s hoped to have a nature trail and questionnaire to help them enjoy this fabulous natural space.

You’ll find Timber Hill Gardens on the A319 between Chobham and Ottershaw. It will be open on Monday from 11am until 4.30pm. “Entry is £6 for adults, and free for children,” said Lavinia. “Entrance fees will go to the National Garden Scheme while proceeds from refreshments will be donated to Alzheimers and dementia charities.”

For information about Timber Hill Gardens and many spectacular photos visit www.timberhillgarden.co.uk or call 01932 873875.

You’ll find a handy “find a garden” guide to find gardens opening under the NGS on its web site at www.ngs.org.uk.

For the full story get the 18 April edition of the News & Mail

I recently read an article in the Metro about a health charity that was claiming that supermarkets are helping to increase obesity by putting chocolate Easter eggs too soon on their shelves. Apparently three weeks before Easter 23% of the British people had already purchased and eaten a full-sized chocolate egg.

When you look at the nutrition of a medium, hollow chocolate egg, it contains about 400 calories and 45 grams of sugar. A milk chocolate bunny (50 grams) has 270 calories and 28 grams of sugar. And that’s without any extra packs of mini-eggs or chocolate bars.

According to the NHS, the UK recommended maximum daily sugar intake for adults is 30 grams, 24 grams for children seven to 10 years old, and for four to six years old it is 19 grams. Give your child a 50-gram milk chocolate bunny and he/she is already over the maximum daily sugar allowance.

So, based on that information, I can understand the reaction of the health charity mentioned in the article. But what I don’t understand is that they forgot about the fact that when the Easter eggs are cleared, there is still plenty of chocolate on the shelves, even very near the tills. Is that not fuelling obesity then?

Am I against Easter eggs or chocolate in general? No, I’m not.

The whole trick with chocolate Easter eggs is to make sure you buy good quality ones – which brings me to the subject of chocolate.

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Which one is better?

The darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of cocoa and the higher the level of beneficial nutrients. You can get dark chocolate with 35-100% cocoa.

It’s all about the quality of chocolate. Look at these ingredients of a common milk chocolate bar: milk, sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vegetable fats (palm, shea), emulsifiers (E442, E476), flavourings. In every 227 g of this specific milk chocolate there is the equivalent of 426 ml of fresh liquid milk.

And to compare, these are the ingredients of a common available dark chocolate bar: cocoa mass, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla extract

White chocolate is made of cocoa butter (fat). These are ingredients of a supermarket white chocolate bar: cane sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, milkfat, emulsifier soyalecithin, sea salt, vanilla extract.

In Summary:

  • Easter eggs are a fun tradition but limit the consumption.
  • The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial nutrients.
  • If you don’t like dark chocolate, go for a high-quality milk chocolate, but check the ingredients, as some chocolate is highly processed and full of sugar, dairy, emulsifiers and flavouring.
  • As with all processed foods: check labels!
  • For true health benefits, eat raw chocolate (available in health-food stores and some supermarkets).

Happy Easter to you all!

For more information visit www.nutritionforyou.co.uk

For the full article get the 18 April edition of the News & Mail

A LOCAL Waitrose store has donated £490 to Woking-based breast cancer charity Walk the Walk Worldwide.

Nina Barough CBE, founder and chief executive of Walk the Walk, was presented with a supersize cheque by Karen Finn, Community Matters representative at Waitrose in West Byfleet, at a special event at the store.

CHEQUE THIS OUT – Nina Barough CBE and Jan Treacher-Evans, both of Walk the Walk, are delighted to receive a donation  from Oliver Howes, left, Karen Finn and Peter Collis (all Waitrose West Byfleet)

The money was raised through the Waitrose Community Matters Green Token Scheme for customers, and funds will go towards the maintenance of the Walk the Walk cold cap at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospital. The cold cap, also known as a scalp cooler, is used to help patients undergoing certain types of chemotherapy to retain their hair.

Nina said: “All of us at Walk the Walk give a huge thank you to Waitrose in West Byfleet and all of their customers for supporting Walk the Walk. Our aim is to raise money and awareness for breast cancer so that we really can make a difference towards research, which will support all our future health, and for those that are living with cancer.

“Our fundraising is always important, but when it comes from our local community it is even more special. Thank you to all.”

For more information, including on MoonWalk London, please visit www.walkthewalk.org

For the full story get the 18 April edition of the News & Mail

KEEP your mini-superheroes entertained this week at Wolsey Place, as the Woking shopping centre hosts free superhero fun, including visits from Iron Man and Wonder Woman.

Arrive at Superhero HQ on Wednesday and Thursday, 17-18 April, and discover a fully fitted out games and training area, where mini-heroes can be put through their paces and learn all their super skills. They’ll find a great selection of costumes including Spiderman, Thor and Iron Man and plenty of accessories to help them discover their inner powers.

There’s the opportunity to let imaginations run riot in the centre’s free craft workshop, creating their own superhero comic strips on Wednesday and designing a superhero mask on Thursday.  On Wednesday, Iron Man will be visiting, and Thursday it’s the turn of Wonder Woman, allowing the chance to meet the heroes and pose for selfies.

Rowen de Grauw, Customer Experience Manager, Woking Shopping said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming families to Woking Shopping for our free Superheroes event. It’s a theme that truly spans the generations and so we’re confident that it’s an event that the whole family will enjoy with lots of entertainment and photo opportunities galore!”

A CLUB for blind and visually impaired bowlers will close at the end of this year if they cannot attract new members.

The North-West Surrey Visually Impaired Bowls Group, which plays in Knaphill, is down to three members from a high of around 17.

Bowlers at the North-West Surrey Visually Impaired Bowls Group

The club needs helpers as well as players. The game is played with a length of white string running along the centre of the mat, which acts as a guide for partially sighted players and can be felt by blind ones.

A “marker” calls out the position of the jack and at least one other helper is usually on hand for blind players.

Sheila Martin, who is a “marker” and helper, said the group came very close to folding last year when there were just two players.

“One of the ladies has come back, so we have three. But we also need more volunteers. At the moment, it’s just myself and another lady, who is blind, who helps,” Sheila said.

She became involved in the group when her late husband Philip, who was virtually blind, joined about 12 years ago. Philip was a keen bowls player and served as chairman.

After Philip died seven years ago, Sheila continued helping the group, organising competitions against rival clubs and outings such as one to Arundel when the group played against sighted players.

In its heyday, the group would invite up to eight clubs to Knaphill Bowls Club, where it meets every Tuesday from 10am to noon.

“We can’t do that now,” Sheila said. “The other groups would come but we don’t have enough players or helpers to put on a competition.”

The outdoor season begins in the first week of May and runs until September. In autumn and winter, the group moves indoors to play short mat bowls.

Joining fee is £10 with annual membership of £13 and £2 a week for tea.

The group provides some bowls. Players need to have flat shoes with ridges. There is no dress code for new players, but as they become regular members, wear white shirts with grey trousers or skirts.

For more information, call Sheila on 01483 829977 or Stephanie on 01483 823575.

THE passion of a West End environmentalist in looking after a patch of local heathland was celebrated in a special Mother’s Day episode of the BBC TV’s Countryfile programme.

Mary Adler’s many years of conservation work on Brentmoor Heath were featured, including her efforts in helping save the land from housing development.

Mary Adler (second right) during the filming on Brentmoor Heath. Also pictured are, from left, daughter-in-law Jenny with four-month-old grandson Arthur, son Charles with granddaughter Emma, husband Mick, SWT education director Aimee Clarke, Matt Baker, son James and Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker and a camera crew met Mary on the 75 acres of countryside which surround her home at New England Hill, off Red Road.

She was described as “a remarkable woman who has embodied the spirit Surrey Wildlife Trust for more than 30 years, who was made an MBE for her work to protect and enhance the heathland”.

Countryfile highlighted Mary’s success in inspiring several generations of children to become interested in conservation – including her son James. He recently became head of biodiversity for Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT), which now manages Brentmoor Heath.

Mary is still a registered volunteer with the trust and continues to take a keen interest in the nature reserve and the surrounding countryside. “We walk the area twice a day and do a lot of litter picking and clearing up the packets which dog walkers unfortunately leave behind,” she said this week.

“If I see any problems or anything which needs attention, I let the SWT warden know.

“I enjoyed being involved in the Countryfile filming. It was fascinating to get an insight on what they do to make the programme. They certainly work very hard.”

Countryfile closed its Mothering Sunday tribute by filming Mary’s granddaughter, Emma, 2½, attending a Wild Tots session at Nower Wood Education Reserve at Leatherhead.

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