THE Chobham-based Children with Special Needs Foundation has donated £4,000 to this weekend’s Handycamp, which is run in conjunction with Woking Scouts.

“This is the 15th year that we have helped to sponsor the Handycamp at Woodlarks, in Farnham,” said Gordon Parris, who began the charity in 1995 when he and his wife, Ann, were mayor and mayoress of Surrey Heath.

ALL IN A GOOD CAUSE – Gordon Parris, founder of the Children with Special Needs Foundation, presents a cheque for £4,000 to Woking Scouts, led by District Explorer Scout Commissioner Brian Pinto, right, to help fund the Handycamp weekend

“The donation to Handycamp covers £1,000-worth of food for the weekend, and the rest goes towards the general running costs.”

Woking Scouts “buddy up” with special-needs students to give them the opportunity to try typical Scouting activities.

“The activities can include swimming, canoeing, archery, even rock-wall climbing,” said Gordon. “We’re trying to help the children achieve even more of their goals.

“We enjoy being able to help this brilliant event as when we visit it is obvious that everyone is having a good time.”

For more information on the work of the foundation or to donate, please visit:

For the full story get the 5 September edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Rotary Club Annual Kids’ Day provided a fabulous morning of entertainment for children with special needs this month.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK – Members of the Spenceley, Lintott, Hall and Connelly families, plus some furry friends, enjoy the day

During their visit to Mizens Railway at Knaphill, the youngsters enjoyed more than 700 trips on the miniature steam and diesel locomotives, as well as bouncy castles, face-painting and balloon-modelling sessions.

IF THE CAP FITS – Danielle, 11, makes sure everything is running smoothly

The 269 children and  250 helpers and carers who attended the event also tucked into ice cream and a tasty barbecue during their visit.

This is the 11th year that Rotary has run this event, and Woking Rotary would like to thank all those at Mizens Railway, Woking Rotarian and the helpers who gave their time for nothing.

The event could not have happened without them.

See the 22 August edition for more pictures (pictures by Len Walker)

A YOUNG Knaphill resident has suggested an “eco message” in a bottle, as a way to tackle the environmental dangers of discarded plastics.

Bonnie, 10, a pupil at The Hermitage School, thinks making eco brick bottles can also help keep kids busy during the holidays: “Calling all kids – don’t get bored in the school holiday. Help save the planet from plastic waste and have fun at the same time by making eco-brick bottles.”

Bonnie and her sister Loren working to save the planet with eco-bricks

An eco-brick is a plastic bottle filled with the types of plastic that can’t be recycled, such as crisp packets, plastic straws and cutlery, vegetable packaging and food containers.

“Get a litre bottle and make sure it is dry inside. Fold, cut or crush your collection of non-recyclable stuff into tiny pieces. ‘Post’ the bits into the bottle,” explained Bonnie.

“Now find a strong stick and push it down as far as you can. Since the bottle will be laid on its side so that you can see the bottom, make sure the bottom is colourful. Keep pushing the stuff down with the stick until it is tightly packed.

“When you have made a collection of bottle bricks, they can be stuck together to make loads of things depending on how many ‘bricks’ you make. In some places they have had enough bottle bricks to make furniture and sheds!” said Bonnie

“Help save our future; help save our planet. Do something useful. You will love making them and it will stop you saying ‘I’m bored’ in the holidays. Each filled bottle will remind you what could have polluted the ocean or damaged wildlife.”

TAKE a trip back in time for a prehistoric adventure around The Square in Camberley to keep young explorers busy over the summer holidays.

Come face to face with prehistoric monsters in Camberley

Free summer event DinoLive has opened at the shopping centre, inviting families to come face to face with a set of animatronic dinosaurs, including the tyrannosaurus, the flying pteranodon and “meat-eating bull” the carnotaurus.

Behold the majestic Pterandon

As part of the exhibition, The Square is inviting families to pick up a leaflet from their customer service desk and answer fact-finding questions (found next to each dinosaur). Once completed, families can then return their leaflet and children aged 3-12 can win a set of mini dinosaur rubbers.

The Square will also be entering completed dinosaur questionnaires into their free prize draw – with one lucky family wining a £100 gift card to spend at the centre.

There are other free events in Cambridge Square (in front of House of Fraser) throughout August, including Excavation Workshop on 3 August, and Dinosaur Paint Pottery on 24 August. Visit for details.

THE flumes at Woking Pool in the Park have been replaced by two new ones with a The War of the Worlds theme.

The £1 million features, built by the pool operator Freedom Leisure in partnership with Woking Borough Council, open on Saturday 27 July with an official launch, including a competition for a family to win free swimming for the summer holidays.

New flumes The Martian and The Time Traveller are set to officially open tomorrow

The original flumes were installed in the early 1990s and have been replaced by The Martian, designed for younger children and The Time Traveller, which has brightly coloured stripes and is a faster, more exciting ride.

Steve May, Freedom Leisure contract manager, said: “We are very aware of how loved these flumes are by local children and are therefore delighted to be not only bringing them back into full working order, but also in time for the school holidays. 

“They look great and the Time Traveller is particularly thrilling. Both start inside but take riders outside the pool hall building but end back in the building.”

For the full story get the 25 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

WOKING Football Club’s Kingfield Stadium has just rounded off two weeks of community tournaments hosted by the club’s official charity Cardinals in the Community over the last two weeks from events for local schools to over 50s men.

Chris Sexton, Senior Development Coach and Coach Mentor, said: “We are grateful for everyone’s support and this year for funding provided by The Premier League Primary Stars Programme. The children, in particular, enjoyed the opportunity to play in the stadium where they often come to watch matches.”

The victorious year 4 Pirbright girls team

The first event was the Year 4 Boys, which saw 15 teams entered with a semi-final between Goldsworth and Hermitage and Greenfield and Horsell. Both games were closely contested ending with a tense final between Horsell and Hermitages.

The following day it was the turn of the Year 4, 5 & 6 Girls. Six teams were entered in the Year 4 tournament and 15 in the year 5/6. Year 4 was run as a league basis with Pirbright coming out on top and lifting the cup.

The pace slowed a little for the next tournament and it was the turn of the over 50s men in their fifth Annual Walking Football Tournament. Eight teams competed with the top four proceeding to the semi-finals.

The last tournament was the 5th Annual Wellbeing Tournament, this year 15 teams took part and were divided into two leagues and then a cup and plate competition.

Chris added: “We would like to thank all teams for making all our tournaments so successful and look forward to seeing you all next year.”

For tournament results and more get the 13 June edition of the News & Mail

BOYS and girls from the Woking area joined more than 500 fledgling Scouts and their leaders from across Surrey for a Beavers Go Wild camp at Bentley Copse Activity Centre.

Beavers with some “friends” they met in the woods

Members of West Byfleet, 8th Woking, 1st Send, 1st Knaphill, Goldsworth Park, 1st St John’s and Brookwood Scout groups enjoyed a weekend of camping and activities.

More than 50 opportunities were on offer, including archery, go-karts, climbing, caving, assault course, firelighting. The Beavers – aged six to eight – also got to learn about malaria from the Surrey Scouts international team.

A group of intrepid Beavers prepare to take on the climbing wall

Six-year-old James said: “I had lots of fun and I enjoyed the cave maze best.”

Sarah, aged seven, added: “The best bit of the weekend was the climbing. I was scared at first, but I got to the top.”

The assistant county commissioner for Beaver Scout, Denise Iverson, commented: “It was great meeting all the youngsters and seeing over 500 Beavers and leaders have a great time.”

See the special picture feature in today’s (6 June) edition of the News & Mail

FORMER Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sam Skillcorn (née Lowe) is encouraging more youngsters to look at Judo as fitting way to improve their body and mind.

After narrowly missing out on competing at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Sam and husband Vince set-up Fighting Fitness Judo (formerly Pyrford Judo Club) in 2015.

Coach Sam Skillcorn with students Jack and Amelia

Since opening its doors, the club’s membership has increased substantially, with over 200 judo students now practising the sport on a weekly basis.

The News & Mail caught up with Sam at The Arbor Centre in Pyrford last Saturday to get the lowdown on the club’s rise to the fore.

She said: “Vince and I always knew that we wanted to keep our hand in when we eventually retired from competing, but you’re never quite prepared for when that time comes.

“We were asked if we would like to take over the running of Pyrford Judo Club, which had been running for 30 years by Graham Hoptroff.

“It was a bit daunting at first – to run our own club: however, we haven’t looked back since as we now coach up to 650 children across three centres and at 27 different schools each term,” she added.

Students Jack and Amelia put Sam’s coaching into practice

Following the couple’s decision to retire from competitive sport six-and-a-half years ago, the success of Fighting Fitness Judo is evident for all to see.

Despite competing at the highest competition levels, though, the duo – both third dan black belts – still had to gain their level 1 and 2 coaching qualifications. 

Since then, Vince has successfully gained a masters in advanced sport coaching practice. He is one of only a handful of people in the country to hold the award.

“For us, the main purpose of doing what we do is to make Judo, fun and accessible for all. 

“There’s no point trying to force a child to love any sport if they don’t like it, but similarly if they take to it, it’s important to give them all the encouragement to excel. That’s the ethos that we promote at Fighting Fitness Judo.

“Students take part in lots of different movement skills. As a result, they develop spatial awareness, balance and greater agility. 

After just four years, Fighting Fitness Judo has become a reputable name across Woking and further afield, with more girls now actively participating in the sport.

The club’s Judo players will also be competing in the Surrey under-16s and senior closed trials on 28 April in a bid to make the Surrey county squad.

For more information on Fighting Fitness Judo, or to take up a free trial, please go

For the full story get the 18 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 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

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