Community

GET up close to the Pirbright Cricket Club clock tower that sits on top of its pavilion, and you may be able to make out the letters “JBA” and “ESA”.

These are the initials of club chairman Peter Austin’s parents, a fitting tribute for the service they gave their country during the Second World War.

The pavilion’s clock tower bears the initials of club chairman Austin’s parents

Austin’s father John was a bomber pilot in a secret squadron, and in the latter part of the war dropped agents into occupied France.

The clock tower will be preserved as Austin and club president Derek Bytheway now lead plans to pull down the existing pavilion and create a bigger, modern facility that they hope will re-energise the local sporting community.

It needs it. Bisley and Lightwater are among neighbouring cricket clubs to have folded in recent years – and with Bytheway stating that member numbers have decreased by a third in the last 10 years, it’s easy to see why.

Pirbright’s Peter Austin (left) and Derek Bytheway

“We’re fighting a battle constantly to make sure we’ve got enough players. However, we’ve got to remain optimistic, because we’ve got a great set-up here,” said Bytheway.

“We haven’t historically had the infrastructure – there are two football clubs in Pirbright that play outside the village because facilities haven’t been good enough – but we’re hoping that the youth programme that we’re introducing for cricket will be fully operational at the beginning of next season (bringing in more players).”

In conjunction with these efforts – the club are also running an inaugural colts event on the 27-28 August – the pavilion will be a centrepiece for daily life in Pirbright, as Bytheway explained. “It’ll be the hub of the community and available to all Pirbrighters,” he said.

“There’ll be a cafe, which will be a great help for the people locally. 500 kids come to school in Pirbright every day, and when the children are dropped off, the mums have got nowhere to go to have a coffee. Hopefully they’ll come in here. I would love to see it open seven days a week, nine hours a day.”

For the full story, see the 27 June edition of the News & Mail

PARK Road in Woking held their annual street party on Sunday 2 June with a record attendance of about 120. The weather was kinder than last year’s sweltering heat, and a plant sale raised £200 for Woking Hospice.

The street party – the Big Lunch – was an idea begun in 2009 by the Eden Project. The aim is to get as many people as possible to have lunch with their neighbours once a year.

Residents of Park Road smile politely as their lunch is interrupted by a Woking News & Mail photographer

It grew out of research that showed people were increasingly feeling isolated from their neighbours, and that communities were not developing as they did in the past.

Park Road started their street party in 2009 and this was its eleventh continuous year, with party-goers made up of family and friends, and neighbours from Ivy Lane and Sylvan Close. New residents were welcomed, including a family from the USA, and goodbyes said to those moving on.

After a wonderful barbecue lunch with fantastic salads and puddings prepared by the residents, there was just time to make space for tea and cakes as the ice cream van arrived!

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

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

WOKING Athletic Club long-distance runner Stephen Blake flew the flag for the borough at the Virgin Money London Marathon.

A victorious and exhausted Stephen Blake after crossing the finish line of this year’s London Marathon

Blake, 31, ran the world-famous endurance race in a personal best time of 2:28.13 hours to finish in an impressed 56th place out of more than 40,000 competitors.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon in history (2:2.38 hours) to win the prestigious event for a fourth time. Britain’s Mo Farah finished fifth.

Blake improved hugely on his time of 2:39.17 recorded at the 2018 London Marathon, which saw him finish in 139th place.

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.

MORE than a dozen community-minded neighbours, including seven children, from Priors Croft got together recently to give their immediate area a spring clean and collected six bags of rubbish.

Andrew Bates and Beverley James, with young litter-pickers (left to right) Harry, Jack, Charlie, Leon, Bentley, Kian and Owen

“We had noticed the rubbish building up and thought that it was about time to do something about it again,” said Beverley James. “We’ve done these before and, like last time, the children really enjoyed being involved.”

“The area is a lot tidier now and hopefully people will think twice before littering it,” added Andrew Bates. “Next time, we hope to involve neighbouring streets in Old Woking and make this a bigger thing.”

If you would like to be involved in a future litter pick in Old Woking, please contact Andrew at andrewdavidbates@gmail.com.

AS THE First World War ended in 1918, some friends in Woking decided to form a women’s hockey club. They met at Lucy’s Tearooms in Broadway and started the Swifts Hockey Club.

Some of the photographs and memorabilia on display in the clubhouse

They played matches against other female sides, including Molesey, Ealing, Wimbledon and Wallington, with home games on the recreation ground that was to become Woking Park.

At least two founder members played for England during the club’s successful early days and the club was a force to be reckoned with the in 1930s. After a slump in the 1950s and 60s, with two just teams being run, an influx of new young players and, at the same time, a few strong older players, enabled three teams and eventually four to be fielded.

One hundred years after the women’s club was formed, the club has been celebrating the Swifts’ centenary, with a special day of events at Goldsworth Park on Saturday.

Guest of honour Shirley Hand speaks to the players

The guest of honour was Shirley Hand, a life member who joined the club in the 1950s and was the 2nd XI captain, hon secretary, ladies’ chairman and a frequent umpire during her playing days. She reminisced about how things were in her playing days, highlighting how times have changed.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Woking, Will Forster and Hannah Thompson, were also guests, introduced by the club’s ladies’ chairman Linda Jacks.

Cllr Forster talked about the growth in women’s rights since 1918 and how the hockey club has given women the opportunity to take part in sport.

The day featured the first team’s last league match of the season, against Epsom Ladies I and celebration games between veteran Swifts, current players and some of the younger players.

“We concluded official celebrations with a toast and a short speech from me,” said Linda. “It was a really fantastic day, much enjoyed by current and many former players who returned to mark the occasion. Lots of bonds were reborn.”

For the full story and pictures get today’s (4 April) News & Mail

THIRTY budding actors have enrolled for workshops run by the revived Woking Youth Theatre.

WYT has been relaunched by a group of former members, now well into their forties and fifties,  after closing more than 10 years ago.

The new class of the revived Woking Youth Theatre with Emma Hough, the workshop leader and Bruce Hazelton, the WYT chairman.

Bruce Hazelton, the group’s chairman, said the first workshop was a great success, with participants engaging in drama-based games and improvisation for nearly two hours.

Workshops are lead by Emma Hough who has a Masters Degree in musical theatre.

Catherine Lake, youngest daughter of WYT’s late founder David Hawksworth said she was delighted by the revived group.

“Woking Youth Theatre has started again! The room was buzzing with new faces,” Catherine said. “The workshop was just right and they all seemed to love it. Roll on next week.”

For the full story get the 28 March edition of the News & Mail

AROUND 1,000 people attended a prayer vigil at the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking in honour of the 50 people shot dead at two mosques in New Zealand.

They included dignitaries led by Phillip Hammond, the Chancellor and MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, Michael More-Molyneux, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, David Munro, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, and Jonathan Lord, the Woking MP.

Visitors arrive for the peace vigil, next to prayer mats laid out in memory of those killed in Christchurch

Christians, Jews and Hindus and senior figures from those faiths were in attendance. They included Rabbi Kath Vardi of the North West Surrey Synagogue, Father Peter Andrews from St Dunstan’s Church, Syed Naqvi, chairman of the Surrey Muslim Association, the Rev Nick Hutchinson, of St Paul’s Church, Woking, and Simon Trick, chairman of Woking People of Faith.

Mohammed Habib, the mosque manager, said it was reassuring to see so many people come together.

“It shows that love, peace and humanity are more powerful than hatred and bigotry,” Mohammed said.

Fifty prayer mats were laid out in front of the mosque in memory of those killed in Christchurch.

Mohammed said the fact that people had come together over the massacre in Woking and around the world showed whatever the killer had intended to happen had failed.

He said the vigil on Saturday was a fantastic event.

For the full story get the 28 March edition of the News & Mail