Cllr Beryl Hunwicks

THE biggest crowd ever attended Saturday’s Party in the Park, with around 20,000 people estimated to have enjoyed a day out in the summer sun.

The organisers, Celebrate Woking, said around twice as many as expected packed into Woking Park for the annual event.

Groove Manoova, getting the crowd moving with their high-energy funk

They were entertained with a day full of entertainments and activities which started at noon and continued until 9pm.

Party in the Park returned for an eighth year, featuring live music, street theatre, dance displays and a funfair, alongside a food village offering a large variety of freshly made food and craft beers.

Supported by a number of local and national organisations, including the News & Mail, the party exceeded all expectations. All-day sunshine and temperatures of around 25⁰C in the shade contributed to its success.

The Urban Astronauts were promoting environmental issues

An opening parade of performers led by the UDM Samba band set the fiesta mood for the day. The drum and dance crews showcasing different cultures were greeted in the main field by Mayor of Woking, Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, as they made their way around the park.

Among the new attractions this year was a new stage for Dance Woking in the Bandstand Field. The low-level stage featured community dance groups, in contrast to headline acts on the main stage.

Celebrate Woking Manager at Woking Borough Council, Riëtte Thomas, said: “This year we worked with a local production crew, MC Production Group Ltd, and event management company, AAT, which we really feel made a difference. They showed genuine pride in putting on a great event for Woking. This is what we want for Party in the Park; for it to be a community-led event that is a celebration of everything great about Woking.”

For the full story and double page picture spread, get the 11 July edition of the News & Mail

A PLAYGROUND in West Byfleet has been extended and improved after parents successfully campaigned for £25,000 in county council funding.

Beryl Hunwicks, the Mayor of Woking, centre with children and parents at the improved West Byfleet Play Area in Camphill Road

Woking Borough Council added £35,000 for the work, which took just over three months. The project included an extension of the existing play area, new equipment, a wooden activity trail, junior multi-play climbing frame, rope tunnel and multi see-saw.

The opening of the refurbished play area was attended by Beryl Hunwicks, the Mayor of Woking.

The campaign to get the grant was led by parents Rebecca Bradshaw and Emma Slaymaker.

Rebecca said the resulting playground was a brilliant facility and the campaign included other parents and West Byfleet residents.

“There is now equipment for older junior school children. The park is also very much a community facility,” Rebecca said.

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

THE couple who founded the Ambassador Theatre Group joined a veteran fireman who has worked as a volunteer for the Red Cross for half a century in being given the Freedom of the Borough by Woking council.

Beryl Hunwicks, the Mayor of Woking, presents Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire with velum scrolls marking them being given Freedom of the Borough

Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire, who live in West Byfleet, built ATG into the world’s number one live-theatre company with almost 50 venues in Britain, the US and Europe.

They topped The Stage 100 most influential people in UK theatre every year between 2010 and 2016 and were first in the Evening Standard “Power 1,000” in theatre in 2013.

In 2005, Dame Rosemary became only the second female president of the Society of London Theatre in its 100 year history.

She said: “To be bestowed the Honorary Freedom of the Borough by Woking Borough Council is a true honour. Woking Borough is not only our home but also the home to our businesses having spent more than two decades running Ambassador Theatre Group here.”

Mick Bullen, who has volunteered with the Red Cross for more than 50 years

The honour was also given to Mick Bullen who joined the Fire Brigade in 1961, serving at Woking, Chertsey and Painshill in senior positions and working as an instructor at Reigate. Mick retired from the fire service in 1989.

His work with the Red Cross began in 1965 driving ambulances and in 2016 he became county vice- president.

“When I first volunteered for the Red Cross all those years ago, who’d have thought I’d be still going over 50 years later. It is moments like this that make you proud to be part of this community,” he said.

Beryl Hunwicks, the Mayor of Woking, presented all three with the Freeman’s Badge, ceremonial velum scroll and certificate marking the occasion. Their names will be inscribed on the Roll of Freemen of the Borough, which hangs in the council chamber.

For the full story get the 20 June edition of the News & Mail