Fundraising

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

A TEACHING assistant at a school in Sheerwater has described how the death of a close friend inspired her to complete The MoonWalk London on Saturday.

Anita Allard planned to complete the half-marathon walk on behalf of her friend Kirsty, who had been undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Anita Allard in her disco-tastic walking gear

But just days before taking on the challenge for the first time, Anita learned that Kirsty had died. “I’d planned to do the walk for her, then surprise her with a picture with her name on the board at the end. I’ve got the picture, but quite what I’ll do with it I’m not sure yet.

“She died on the Tuesday, and I found out on Wednesday. She seemed to be recovering well.

“It’s been devastating, but it made me even more determined to do the walk. I knew I couldn’t pull out.

“Every bit of my body hurts right now, but as I was walking it really came home to me that if Kirsty could go through radiotherapy, chemotherapy, sickness and discomfort every week, I could push through a few aches and pains.”

An emotional Anita, 45, said that she plans to do the MoonWalk again, and was delighted that she and three friends had raised £1,800 for the locally-based charity, Walk the Walk.

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

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

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

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

REPRESENTATIVES from all sections of the community gathered at the HG Wells Centre on Saturday night to raise money for a good cause.

YORK ROAD PROJECT: Mel Roth, Cath Stamper, Cherisse and Steve Dealtry

A glamourous swirl of evening dresses and dinner suits caught the eye as people attended the Mayor’s Civic Ball in support of the York Road Project, raising more than £7,254 for the Woking charity which looks after the homeless in the borough.

“It was great to welcome representatives from business, charities, community groups and political life,” said Woking Mayor Cllr Will Forster. “Many thanks to everyone who came along and donated to support the York Road Project, thank you all!”

HOSTS: The Mayor and Mayoress of Woking, Cllr Will Forster and Hannah Thompson

The black-tie event began with a drinks reception in the Griffin Lounge, before the guests enjoyed dinner, entertainment from the Crashing Waiters – which involved everyone present banging out rhythms on various kitchen utensils – and dancing. The evening also included an auction and raffle.

“It’s been a great honour for York Road Project to be the Mayor’s chosen charity during his tenure and the Civic Ball demonstrated the amazing level of support we’ve received from the Woking community,” said Cath Stamper, the charity’s chief executive.

“The Civic Ball was an excellent evening, we were delighted to be there and it helped to further raise the profile of our charity locally,” added Cherisse Dealtry, deputy chief executive.

For the full picture feature pick up the 7 March edition of the News & Mail

A TEAM of around 60 children, teachers and parents from Knaphill School and Knaphill Lower School are taking part in the Surrey Half Marathon on Sunday to raise money to buy defibrillators.

The organiser is Mandy Walsh, who has children in both schools, and who will taking part in her second Surrey Half Marathon.

A group of the Knaphill Schools runners who have been using the Woking Junior Parkrun on Sunday mornings at Woking Park as part of their training

Mandy said the idea came after one of the parents and a teacher went on a first aid course and decided that the schools needed to have a defibrillator.

The runners hope to raise enough money to buy two of the lifesaving devices, which can cost around £1,000 each, so that both schools can have them installed.

Many said that nearly 30 children and more than 20 adults had agreed to take part, although some had dropped out because of injury.

“For a lot of them, this will be their first half marathon. A few are running the 5K, which will be the first time they have run for anything, except for the bus,” she said.

About 15 Lower School children, aged 6 and 7 will be taking part in the 2K kids’ race.

“It’s quite a distance for them. The kids are having their own training sessions in the playground and a few of the adults are training together.”

Donations to support the runners can be made at www.justgiving.com/knaphillschools

A STUDENT is raising funds for a Woking dementia care service that provided “amazing care” for her grandad at the end of his life.

Grace Williams, 20, is staging a coffee morning and silent auction at The Bradbury Centre in Maybury.

SPECIAL GRANDAD: Grace Williams with grandfather George Gray

She was moved by the love and kindness the centre’s day care staff showed her grandfather, George Gray.

George, who lived in Woking, was one of the UK’s most successful businessmen as the founding chief executive of major services company Serco. He was diagnosed with dementia in 2013.

Grace said she hoped as many local people as possible would come and support her fundraising event on Thursday 2 March.

“My grandpa was such a happy, smart, inspiring and humble man, and not just in my eyes, but to so many people who were fortunate enough to know him,” said Grace, who also comes from Woking

“I want to do something to give back to the team at The Bradbury Centre. I also want more people to know about it, as this service is so precious.”

“Even in the later stages of the illness, where Grandpa was non-verbal and largely unresponsive, the staff managed to get him to join in some of the activities like arts and crafts and the Tovertafel Table projector, which we call the ‘magic table’.

“Everyone would show him such tenderness and kindness.”

Grace, who is studying psychology at the University of Bristol, was so inspired by the day care service that she volunteers there during the holidays.

The silent auction will include a large collection of items to bid for, including a bungee jump experience, beer tasting and a brewery tour, paintballing and gift vouchers for Nando’s and burger restaurant GBK.

Grace at the seaside with George when she was a child

Bradbury day care manager Francesca Simpson said she was delighted that Grace wanted to do something for the centre.

“Grace is an inspiring young woman and it’s wonderful that she wants to raise funds for us in memory of George,” she added.

“I know that George would be incredibly proud of Grace, and the rest of her family, and I do hope that lots of the local community come along to support this wonderful event. Everyone is welcome!”

The fundraising coffee morning is at the centre in Smiles Place, off Lavender Road, Maybury, from 11am to 2pm. For more details, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/GeorgeGray4.