GUY Fawkes Night and Halloween will feature in the half-term activities at Woking’s Lightbox gallery next week.

There will be a combination of drop-in family workshops and bookable activities on offer, starting with designing your own Halloween lanterns on Tuesday (29 October). Suitable for ages 5-7 years, this must be booked in advance.

GO WITH THE GLOW – Youngsters can design a Halloween lantern at The Lightbox next week

Wednesday (30 October) will have three activities on offer. Once Upon a Pillow Fight for ages 3+ is an interactive storytelling play, while Acrobalance for ages 7-11 will see the cast of Once Upon a Pillow Fight teach children and their adults new tricks. There’s also a free drop-in workshop making spooky spiders from recycled materials, anytime between 1.30-4pm.

On Halloween (Thursday 31 October), visitors can learn the basics of stop-frame animation through storyboarding in a full-day workshop.

You can end the week with a bang by making Firework Rockets or exploding Fizzy Rockets on Friday 1 November. Drop in anytime between 1.30-4pm.

For further details on activities, prices and booking, please visit or call 01483 737800

For more on this story, get the 24 October edition of the News & Mail

NEARLY 1,300 children with special needs and their families are to get free tickets to the Aladdin at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking, courtesy of a Chobham-based charity.

Gordon Parris presents a cheque for the charity first night of Aladdin to New Victoria Theatre director Simon Thomsett with cast members, from second left, Pearce Barron, Mischa Eckersley, Bobby Davro and Brendan Cole. (Picture by Bob Holmes)

The Children with Special Needs Foundation presented a cheque for £25,000 to the theatre to buy out the first night of the pantomime on 6 December. The money will also cover treats for the children and an outing to a performance for Park School in Woking.

Gordon and Ann Parris, the charity founders, are in the process of the mammoth task of allocating seats, involving sending out up to 500 letters and then dealing with requests about seating.

Most of the money for the free shows comes from the foundation’s fundraising throughout the year as well as large donations from companies such as Waitrose and the Foxhills Country Club in Ottershaw.

“We are always looking for sponsors and if any company wants to help, we will put their name in the programme,” Gordon said.

The charity is also organising a similar outing for children to see Robin Hood at the Camberley Theatre.

For the full story get the 10 October edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Fire Station opened its doors to the public recently and was rewarded with an excellent turnout under glorious blue skies.

Firefighter Richard Colyer in the cab with Ana Tymechko and Maksim, 4

The free event, on 14 September, drew plenty of families, who came along to meet their local fire crews and enjoy taking part in the activities on offer.

Natasha Middleditch with a suitably dressed Fleur, 3

Children loved, among other attractions, dressing up as firefighters, having rides on mini fire engines and getting behind the wheel of the real thing.

There were also displays to engage all ages, notably a blazing reminder of the dangers that a pan of hot fat can present.  

A ready supply of refreshments, cakes and ice creams were on hand to maintain energy levels on a warm afternoon, along with toys and collectibles to buy.

All proceeds from the event are donated to two charities – the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices and The Fire Fighters Charity.

For more pictures of the event, get the 19 September edition of the News & Mail

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