woking

THERE was great excitement for 22 youngsters from 1st Knaphill Beavers who were given a bird’s eye view of progress on the three new towers in Woking town centre.

Left to right: Nick Daniell from Sir Robert McAlpine, Miranda Soane Beaver Scout Leader and five Beavers with site mascot Ivor Goodsite and, Jenna, one of three young leaders helping on the visit.

The children, aged six and seven, learnt about construction site safety and had a go at constructing towers themselves before going on-site to see the cranes in action escorted by site engineers and mascot Ivor Goodsite.

Beaver Nihal, 6, said: “I’ve been really looking forward to seeing the buildings and the cranes. It was really good to see them close up.”

Nick Daniell from Sir Robert McAlpine, showing the children around the site said: “It is great to have some community engagement and nurture an interest in engineering from an early age. We hope that some of these youngsters will be interested in joining the construction industry in the future.”

WOKING is an example to the rest of the country of interfaith understanding and the integration of Islam in the community, the Minister for Faith has said.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth was speaking during a tour of the Shah Jahan Mosque three days after 50 people were shot dead at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Minister for Faith Lord Bourne, left, speaking with Head Imam Hafiz Hashmi, middle, and his wife Kauser Akhtar

The visit had been planned months before the tragedy and is part of a tour by the minister to places of worship around the country to promote interfaith understanding.

“As long as I live, I won’t understand what prompts somebody to do what happened in Christchurch. It has been condemned by people around the globe, and rightly so,” he said. “We must ask what we can do to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen.”

He was shown around the first purpose-built mosque in Britain by Hafiz Hashmi, the Head Iman, and his wife Kauser Akhtar, who is chairwoman of the South East England Faiths Forum and faith links adviser for Surrey Faith Links, run by the Diocese of Guildford.

Lord Bourne said the strong interfaith links in Woking “is where we want everybody to be”, paying tribute to the leadership of the Imam and Kauser, describing it as “very powerful in the world in which we are living”.

They told the minister about the mosque’s involvement in the community, from the annual Armistice Day parade in Woking Town Centre and helping the homeless, as well as working with people of all faiths and hosting regular visits from schools. They also explained that, along with formal open days at the mosque, it is open for anyone to visit and the Imam is available to answer questions about Islam.

“These are things that are very close to the government’s heart,” said Lord Bourne. “We want to demystify religion. A lot of Christians are wary of mosques, but not so much as they used to be. People are more familiar with their local mosques because of examples of things such as that happening in Woking.”

“We should be shouting about what is happening in Woking,” said Lord Bourne. “It should be happening elsewhere.”

A prayer and peace vigil for the victims and families of the New Zealand shootings is being held at the Shah Jahan Mosque on Saturday 23 March, starting at 2pm. All members of the community are invited to attend, to show solidarity and unity against such terror attacks.

For the full story get the 21 March edition of the News & Mail

WOKING borough commander Detective Inspector Andy Greaves has said targeting drug-related crime is the priority for local police.

“Drugs are the threads that affects so much crime in the borough,” he told a community meeting in Knaphill last week.

Woking borough commander Detective Inspector Andy Greaves

DI Greaves said this included drug-related violence in the town centre, especially some of the takeaways in Chertsey Road and in surrounding streets where people had been stabbed and seriously injured.

“Walton Court in Sheerwater is a hub of criminal activity, including drug-dealing violence. We have obtained a number of closure orders to protect vulnerable residents from gangs coming in, particularly from London and South Coast.”

“Walton Court in Sheerwater is a hub of criminal activity, including drug-dealing violence. We have obtained a number of closure orders to protect vulnerable residents from gangs coming in, particularly from London and South Coast.”

The Knaphill meeting had been called because of concern about a rise in antisocial behaviour and thefts in the area. DI Greaves added that while reported crime had reduced by 1.5% since last year, there were significant spikes, including a 5.3% increase in drug-related violence and a 7.4% rise in domestic violence.

For the full story get the 14 March edition of the News & Mail

RAIN, hail and blustering wind made running difficult, but more than 3,500 people completed the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon on Sunday.

Woking Mayoress Hannah Thompson congratulates first woman home Emma Davis, second Lesley Locks, far right, and third Lucie Custance, far left

They streamed for over three hours from Woking Park to Jacobs Well and back, in another successful staging of the largest event of its kind in the county.

Serious club runners out to set a record or a new personal best, joggers raising money for charity and children enjoying the kids’ races braved some awful weather in the day’s three events.

There was an overall total of 4,385 finishers, in the half marathon and the five and two-kilometre races.

“The runners and organisers faced some challenging conditions, especially when we were packing up,” said Hollie Light, the Surrey Half marketing manager. “But there were some excellent performances, especially from some of the teams taking part.”

Two participants – Richard Moffat and Evie Read – are waiting for confirmation that they have broken the Guinness World Record for pushing a disabled children’s buggy in a half marathon.

With Evie being pushed by Richard around the course, they took three minutes off the current world record of one hour 35 minutes.

Teenager Evie, from Headley Down, near Haslemere, has ataxia-telangiectasia (AT), a rare genetic disease. She and friend Richard, from Ascot, were raising money for the Action for A-T charity.

An innovation for entrants this year was a pre-race meditation session in Woking Leisure Centre.

“A lot of runners get anxious before a race and this helped them relax and prepare themselves in a quiet place,” said Hollie. “There were also massage and yoga sessions for runners after the race.”

For the full story and picture feature get the 14 March edition of the News & Mail

Woking FC manager Alan Dowson will be just one of the thousands of runners taking part in the Surrey Half-Marathon this Sunday, the community-minded ‘Dowse’ taking on the challenge to raise money for Woking & Sam Beare Hospices.

Dowse and Ian Dyer in training for the Surrey Half Marathon

Motorists should be prepared for potential traffic delays, as Surrey’s largest half-marathon returns to Woking Leisure Centre for its sixth year on Sunday.

The mass-participation community event for people entering the half-marathon, 5km or 2km distances will mean a number of temporary road closures between Woking and Guildford from 7.30am.

Residents are advised to plan any essential journeys in advance and allow extra time to reach destinations. Organisers have been working with local authorities throughout the year to ensure they can facilitate regular journeys made by care providers and other emergency vehicles throughout race day.

For more information about affected roads or the event, visit www.surreyhalfmarathon.co.uk.

WOKING Youth Theatre – whose former members include stars of films and TV programmes such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Victoria and The Crown – is being revived after it closed nearly 15 years ago.

A group of former young WYT performers, led by Bruce Hazelton, is relaunching the weekly workshops run by professional actors and teachers.

Two generations of WYT. From left, Bruce, Juliet and Alex Hazelton with Max Harris and Emma Brewer

Many of the former WYT members have gone on to great success on stage and screen, including Anna Wilson Jones (Victoria), Dermot Keaney (Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3), Victoria Hamilton (The Crown, Doctor Foster), Sam Underwood (Homeland), and Abbie Osmon (We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia).

Bruce said: “We are very excited to get WYT up and running again. It’s a huge responsibility to step into David’s shoes but we have so many talented ex members, willing to impart their knowledge; in acting, singing, dance, stage management, production, costume design and other things”.

He said he wanted to continue the late founder David Hawksworth’s vision of providing a safe environment for children to “have a laugh and put on a play”.

“David wanted it to continue to be earthy and not artsy fartsy; somewhere where the kids can be themselves.”

Founder of WYT David Hawksworth who passed away in 2015

Bruce and the others setting up the revived WYT, including David Hawksworth’s daughters Sarah Tubb and Catherine Lake, have spent the past year finding a venue and setting up the group as a charity.

He said he hoped that the first show from the new WYT would be performed next year, hopefully at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre.

A web designer by trade, Bruce was heavily involved in setting up the News & Mail when this paper relaunched in 2011.

For the full story and details on how to get involved with WYT, pick up the 7 March edition of the News & Mail

THE annual Woking Shopmobility pancake race was won by the marketing team from Woking Borough Council on a crisp but dry day.

RETURNING CHAMPION: Woking FC mascot K.C. Cat tries for a second year running as fastest mascot

They finished ahead of Fidessa, from the town centre-based recruitment company, with Seafarers, more used to serving fish and chips, coming third.

A shortage of entrants led Shopmobility to enter a team at the last minute.

“We had fun, but didn’t win our heat,” said the charity’s Joyce Browning.

Despite the slight drop in the number of competitors, there was a good crowd of spectators for the 24th pancake race in Jubilee Square, and the 12th run by the charity that hires out mobility scooters, powered and manual wheelchairs to help shoppers in the town centre.

For the full story and picture feature get the 7 March edition of the News & Mail.

CRITICALLY ill patients will be more comfortable during their hospital stay thanks to the efforts of a Byfleet-based dance school.

Susan Robinson School of Ballet raised £12,000 for a special intensive care unit bed at Royal Surrey County Hospital.

BED BOOST- Cedric Jones (centre) and Susan Robinson School of Ballet dancers Millie, 11, and Elliott, 13, with Ced’s Bed and medical staff at the Royal Surrey

The money is the proceeds of a gala production in aid of the hospital’s official charity staged by the school last year.

Susan Robinson Jones, from Byfleet, who set up the school 40 years ago, chose to support the charity after her husband, Cedric Jones, was successfully treated for cancer of the oesophagus at the hospital in 2016.

It was while Cedric recovered in the intensive care unit that the couple realised the specialist beds that helped his recovery were limited due to costing £12,000 each.

With the support of the people involved in the ballet school, Susan was determined to raise the money to buy a specialist bed for the hospital. The new bed has been named Ced’s Bed.

More than 120 dancers aged three to 18 were involved in five performances of the variety show, Reverence, at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking last April. The money was raised through ticket proceeds, a raffle and cakes sales.

“When Cedric was diagnosed, it was an incredibly tough time for us,” said Susan. But everyone we met along the way, from the surgeons to the nutrition nurses, were so positive. They have given us our lives back and we are very grateful for that.

“We wanted to do something that would make a difference to people going through what Cedric went through. If we can make that whole experience a little more comfortable, it’s worth it.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we received and want to thank everyone who came along to the gala and gave so generously.”

The hospital’s matron of critical care, Sue Herson, commented: “The beds allow for patients to be in the correct position at the early stages of recovery. This reduces complications to patients when ventilated, as well as allowing a good upright seated position for physiotherapy.

“The beds also allow patients to stand upright from the foot end of the bed, allowing them to stand and move at an earlier recovery stage. Rolling on their side to get out of bed, causes less stress, pain and discomfort.”

The Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity funds projects that provide life-saving equipment, redevelop wards, invest in staff development and fund innovative research. Find out more at www.rschcharity.org.uk or call 01483 464146.

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.

WOKING returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory away to Truro City on Tuesday.

Going straight into The Cards’ starting line-up was midfielder Olu Durojaiye, who signed from Bostik League Premier Division outfit Haringey Borough on Monday.

Hodges, right, on the ball

Despite having made their longest journey of the season – a daunting 240 miles – Woking got off to a superb start at Treyew Road, David Tarpey and Jake Hyde peppering the goal with shots. The pressure finally paid off when Armani Little unleashed a rocket from 25 yards and beat City keeper Harvey Rivers.

Truro, with two wins and a draw from their five previous games this month, showed more steel in the second half and it was clear they weren’t going to roll over. But Woking were able to soak up the home side’s pressure and were good value for their win, which sees them back on track after the disappointment of Saturday’s match, a 2-0 defeat away to Dartford.

“It’s no secret that Dartford are a big, strong side that look to hit you on the counter attack,” said Woking manager Alan Dowson.

“The lad who elbowed Hodgy (Paul Hodges) should have been booked; how he didn’t receive a booking, God only knows.”

“I feel a bit hard done by from our two matches against Dartford. I thought we should have got something out of both,” he added.

For the full match reports and pictures, see the 28 February edition of the News & Mail