woking

BUSINESS people were told there was “a remarkable story” evolving in Woking following the town centre refurbishment.

Borough Council deputy chief executive Douglas Spinks, speaking at a Woking Means Business breakfast meeting, alluded to the fictional Martian invasion of the town in HG Wells’ classic book The War of the Worlds at a briefing introduced by BBC broadcaster and journalist Declan Curry.

Mr Spinks said: “The early editions of the evening papers had startled London with enormous headlines: A MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM MARS: REMARKABLE STORY FROM WOKING”.

BREAKFAST CLUB - broadcaster Declan Curry, Connect 2 innovate chief executive Anne Crean, Surrey Chambers of Commerce chief executive Louise Punter, Asian Woking Business Forum chairman Shahid Azeem (back row) David Ludlow, of Barlow Robbins solicitors, Jon Jagger, of Menzies LLP, and Woking Borough Council deputy chief executive Douglas Spinks

BREAKFAST CLUB – Front row, left to right, broadcaster Declan Curry, Connect 2 innovate chief executive Anne Crean, Surrey Chambers of Commerce chief executive Louise Punter, Asian Woking Business Forum chairman Shahid Azeem. Back row, left to right, David Ludlow, of Barlow Robbins solicitors, Jon Jagger, of Menzies LLP, and Woking Borough Council deputy chief executive Douglas Spinks

Referring to the 18-month town centre refurbishment, Mr Spinks added: “There is a remarkable story happening here in Woking right here and now, notwithstanding the current economic climate”.

He said the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) would be adding “a prestigious name to add to the town” and suggested the charity would not be moving its 300-strong workforce and headquarters from Godalming to Woking if it did not want to send “the right impression to visitors from around the world”.

Mr Spinks touched upon McLaren’s car production, the access road to Sheerwater and planning application for an ASDA store before announcing that the council had set aside £4.6million to “alter the public realm of Commercial Way”.

Plans were currently sketch proposals, he said but added: “Like any redecoration, you realise how shabby other areas are.”

Mr Spinks admitted the town market had been “a long-running eyesore” and welcomed the future arrival of M&S as an anchor store in a planned £150million redevelopment to integrate the Peacocks and Wolsey Place shopping centres.

Summing up, Mr Spinks said the town’s evolving picture demonstrated the “remarkable story taking place in Woking today”, some led by the borough council, others in partnership with the council alongside private schemes.

He said: “Together we are making a difference, we are achieving great things and the message is, Woking is open for business.”

During the meeting Woking Borough Council’s chief executive Ray Morgan told business people to “stop whining and moaning, it’s a waste of time.”

He suggested businesses should become “less dour” and encouraged them to turn off the TV, stop listening to depressing messages in the media and be creative instead by coming “up with good ideas”.

Asked to expand on the theme by BBC Radio 5 journalist Declan Curry in a question and answer session, Mr Morgan said he did not understand the English culture of “looking on the negative side” and suggested the Olympic spirit had lifted the nation.

On a trip he maded to London, he said: “Everyone was talking about it the Olympics on the Tube. Why beat each other up when we try and fail? It is part of the journey to success.”

In his introduction to the briefing Mr Curry admitted some commentators believed Britain was going through the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, due in part to the toxic factor of debt.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS - Woking mayoress Anne Murray with Jamie Ludlow (left) and Kevin Lopez of West Byfleet-based Top Click Media

OPEN FOR BUSINESS – Woking mayoress Anne Murray with Jamie Ludlow (left) and Kevin Lopez of West Byfleet-based Top Click Media at the Woking Means Business exhibition in the HG Wells Centre

He said: “We were too reliant on debts with banks at the centre of the web and we forgot that this was not a substitute for hard work.”

Mr Curry bemoaned the fact that millions of adults across Britain could not read or write, add up or subtract despite 12 years of compulsory education. And he suggested businesses should invest in climate, low carbon energy, skills and talent and adapt the workplace to accommodate an ageing population.

In his introduction, Woking Borough Council deputy leader David Bittleston, a born and bred Wokingite, said he remembered when the town centre consisted of Robinsons’ department store in Chertsey Road towards Woolworths and he recalled the swimming pool with a disco beneath it. He said: “We’ve moved on a long way since then.

During the Q&A session West Byfleet Business Association chairman Pauline Hedges said the plans for Woking were wonderful but asked, ‘what about the rest of the borough?’

Mr  Morgan admitted that some would consider his answer was not PC but the majority of the council’s income came from trading in Woking.

He added: “You have to fix the heart first before you fix the leg.”

WOKING were dealt a major blow late last night as it emerged that Giuseppe Sole will spend at least 12 months on the sidelines.

The Cards’ prolific striker seriously damaged his right knee in a challenge with Dartford’s Nathan Collier in the 1-0 win at Kingfield last month.

He will play no further start this season and will not feature again until the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

Devastated Sole told the Woking News & Mail: “It is a bit of shock as I was expecting to be out no longer than a month.

HAPPIER TIMES - Giuseppe Sole celebrates after Woking wrapped up the league title last season

HAPPIER TIMES – Giuseppe Sole celebrates after Woking wrapped up the league title last season

“But Stuart Douglas picked up on the injury and realised that it wasn’t healing as quickly it should have been. I went for a scan and obviously we got the bad news.

“I can’t really do anything now except stay positive and look forward to next season.”

Sole had been in light training just two weeks after hobbling off against Dartford, but experienced significant discomfort when trying to change direction.

A scan revealed the awkward collision had separated the lateral collateral ligament from the bone.

Specialists confirmed a simple procedure could repair the damage and surgery was booked in for Monday (September 10).

But Sole will require an additional operation after it was discovered that his anterior cruciate ligament had also suffered trauma.

The second operation will push back Sole’s return to action by three months.

Kingfield’s record-breaking cult-hero is doing all he can to stay positive.

He added: “Either way I was going to miss the rest of the season – nine months or 12 months, there’s not much difference when you’re out for that long.

“I’m trying to keep positive and I’ll find myself something to do – I’ll be watching a lot TV.

“But I’ll still be around the club on Saturdays supporting the team, 100 per cent.

“The reaction on Twitter has been fantastic and my phone has been going mad, I’ve had a lot of support from the fans”

He also paid great respect to the club who moved immediately to authorise the funding of treatment.

Sole said: “I just wanted to say a big thanks to the board, the chairman, Garry Hill, Steve Thompson and of course Stuart who haven’t cut any corners.

“I’m in for the operation on Monday and I only had the scan last Wednesday, they’ve really been on top of everything – I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.

“I’ve spoken to the gaffer but there’s not much to be said, that’s just football and that’s life sometimes.”

 

JAILED – Linda and and John Hirst

A WOKING woman has been jailed for her part in a £10million investment scam.

Linda Hirst, 62, will serve two and a half years after being found guilty of money laundering.

Her estranged husband John Hirst, 61, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire, was sentenced to nine years as the brains behind the ‘Ponzi’ scheme.

The couple’s accountant Richard Pollett, 70, of Poole, Dorset, was jailed for six and a half years. He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.

All three appeared at Bradford Crown Court today (August 31) for sentencing.

The fraud was named after gangster Carlos Ponzi who set up similar schemes in America in the 1920s.

Mr Hirst’s victims were promised high rates of interest and told their money was guaranteed.

More than 120 people invested thousands of pounds of their life savings in the bogus scheme.

But cash was going to offshore accounts controlled by Mr Hirst, with only tiny amounts going back to the investors each month.

Of the £10m handed over between 2001 and 2009 only about £4.6m was paid back to investors.

In 2009 the Serious Fraud Squad began an investigation after a series of delayed payments to investors.

Mrs Hirst was found guilty of three counts of money laundering totalling £750,000 and one count of evading a liability by deception.

Mr Hirst pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and two counts of money laundering at the beginning of the original trial.

He and Pollett set up the scheme – based in Majorca – in 2001 and all three defendents lived a lavish lifestyle on the proceeds of the con.

Judge Jonathan Durham-Hall QC said those targetedwere mainly ordinary, hard-working people who put their pensions and savings into the scheme.

Mr Hirst also tried to involve other members of his family.

His solicitor son, Daniel Hirst, and Linda Hirst’s daughter, Zoe Waite, were cleared of money laundering charges at a trial earlier this year.

Judge Durham-Hall told Hirst and Pollett: “You are through and through common criminals. What you did, and what makes this case of the utmost gravity, was brutal, callous and cruel. You are corrupt.

“This was an appalling and shocking course of conduct in which so many were targeted and so many have, in effect, had the remainder of their lives shattered and ruined.”

Sentencing Mrs Hirst, the judge said: “You enjoyed the most profligate of high standards of living, jet-setting here and there, cruises here and there, and Mr Hirst showered you with money and jewels.”

Charles Dewey, one of the investors in the scheme, described the trio as evil.

Mr Dewey, from Somerset, said: “This man has taken £300,000 from us, we’re now left with nothing. We’ve got nothing to our name now, we’re living on benefits with two children. It’s a very difficult situation.”

“That man has ripped our lives apart. I think they’re evil people. I’m very relieved that, at long last, justice has been made to bear on him.”

Mr Hirst, a former insurance salesman, had previously been convicted for fraudulently taking redundancy money from former Yorkshire miners in the 1990s.

COLLISION - the mangled bike and the clothes the woman had to be cut out of

COLLISION – the mangled bike and the clothes the woman had to be cut out of

A FEMALE cyclist is fighting for her life after being knocked off her bike in Horsell.

The woman, in her 50s, was in a collision with a BMW 3 series at the mini-roundabout at the junction of Brewery Road and Church Hill at around 7.25am on Tuesday (August 28).

She was air-lifted to the Royal London Hospital and was said by police at the scene to have suffered life-threatneing head injuries.

The roundabout and a number of surrounding routes were closed while an investigation was carried out.

Officers are appealing for anyone who may have seen the collision, or the circumstances leading up to it, to come forward.

Any witnesses should contact the Surrey Police Collision Investigation Unit on 01483 639922 quoting reference P12251814.

APPEAL - police are asking witnesses to come forward and help investigations

APPEAL – police are asking witnesses to come forward and help investigations

FEELING GREEN - Mark Ricketts and Woking slide to a 3-1 defeat

FEELING GREEN – Mark Ricketts and Woking slide to a 3-1 defeat

Forest Green 3
Woking 1

GARRY HILL was left reeling after a stoppage time poacher’s double from Forest Green’s Matt Taylor denied the Cards a first point on their travels.

Forest Green gave a beleaguered Woking a second-half battering after Kevin Betsy had given the visitors the lead with a first-half penalty.

And the Cards looked to be escaping The New Lawn with a positive result despite Magno Vieira squaring things up with a close-range finish in the 62nd-minute.

But the resistance was shattered in the cruellest of fashions and with just seconds remaining super-sub Taylor netted twice in time added on to give the hosts all three points.

A disappointed Hill described Taylor’s double strike as a moment of madness.

He said: “We haven’t had a bad start with six points out of twelve but it’s disappointing when you think you have a point in the bag.

“Injury time is a time to slow the game down and make sure everyone clears their head and takes responsibility.

“But we haven’t done that and that is what hurts me – we’ve worked hard but that gap in part-time and full-time started to tell on us at the end.

“I think that a neutral watching the game today would say that apart from the last five or 10 minutes that was nothing between the two teams.

“We said it would be important in the second half not to conceded – I thought we gave the ball away cheaply at times and we got punished.

“It’s disappointing to lose a game in injury time – it was a mad minute.”

Woking made all the early running and promised much with early attempts from Bradley Bubb and Betsy.

But despite moving the ball around wonderfully well on the deck it was the route one option that first seriously opened up the Forest Green defence.

Aaron Howe punted a huge kick forward but Bubb was hesitant in the area as the ball sailed over everyone else’s head and Sam Russell was allowed to punch clear.

Lee Sawyer then took the wrong option on the edge of the area and fired well wide when Loick Pires was better placed to his right.

Rovers were content to look after the ball deep in their own half but failed to carve out any chances of their own even with the persistent efforts of lightning-quick James Norwood down the flanks.

Kevin Betsy should have tested Russell after a 50-50 between Jack Parkinson and Jamie Collins released the forward and at the other end James Rowe tried his luck from long range.

A drab game finally burst into life in the 34th-minute.

Reece Styche combined with Rowe and Norwood to spring Woking’s offside trap only to see Mike Cestor steer a dangerous cross out for a corner at the back post.

Mark Ricketts almost found the back of the net a minute later with a driven 35-yard strike but the effort lacked the required dip and whistled just over the bar.

Only the fingertips of Howe kept the scores level as he turned Jamie Turley’s bullet header over the bar.

But the best chance of the half fell to the Cards and in-form striker Pires.

Betsy threaded the striker through down the right channel but the forward fluffed his lines, skewing a right-foot shot wide of the mark.

But Betsy spared his team-mates blushes, showing great composure to slot home a 42nd-minute penalty after Pires was bundled to the ground by Jamie Turley as he attacked Sawyer’s hanging cross.

Forest Green started the second-half brightly and fired off an early warning when Styche turned Ed Asafu-Adjaye’s cross round the post.

Substitute Kieron Forbes drew a save from Howe but Cards were not without chances of their own, Joe McNerney coming so close to producing a carbon copy of his stunning free-kick against Barrow last week in the 50th-minute.

But with Rovers shifting through the gears, Woking failed to exploit a handful of counter-attack opportunities as the game became more and more stretched.

Howe made an excellent one-handed save from Magno Vieira after Styche’s high cross fell to him in the area.

Vieira had the last laugh, however, as he helped Collins’ header over the line from a 61st-minute Forest Green corner.

With the rain hammering down Woking defenders stood like statues as another Collins’ header caused problems in the area, this knock-down ricocheting around the six-yard box before Adam Newton eventually cleared.

Newton was then forced to head Turley’s cross wide for a corner but not before Norwood drilled across the goal and wide from just inside the area.

Woking never got to grips with the second-half tempo and their frustration was summed up when Sawyer was cautioned for a cynical swipe at the legs of Norwood as the striker bore down on Woking’s defence.

Brett Johnson joined him in the book when he was adjudged to have illegally stopped substitute Phil Marsh, but Rowe failed to test Howe from the free-kick.

Despite the onslaught it looked as though Woking had done enough to earn a point.

But Taylor broke Woking hearts in stoppage time, two goals in as many minutes turning a hard-fought first away point into a painful defeat.

First the striker was well positioned to prod home Marsh’s cross and immediately after the restart he arrived at the back-post to slide home Norwood’ s measured square-ball.

 

SOUL SISTER - Denise Black leads a star-studded cast in Sister Act

SOUL SISTER – Denise Black leads a star-studded cast in Sister Act

THERE will be a distinctly soapy feel to Sister Act when it arrives in Woking this month.

Corrie star Denise Black is currently taking centre stage and she’ll be joined by Michael Starke, who played the scally Sinbad in Brookside and has since featured as Kenneth Hopkirk in the Sunday evening TV favourite The Royal.

Denise, who is probably best known as siren hairdresser Denise Osbourne in the Street, is currently taking on the role of Mother Superior in a two-week run of the divine musical Sister Act, while Michael plays Monsignor Howard.

This smash hit musical first opened at the London Palladium in 2009 where it went on to be seen by more than a million people, running for 18 months and achieving huge acclaim.

Sister Act The Musical has been nominated for four Olivier Awards and has won countless others including Broadway.com’s Best Musical.

Whoopi Goldberg, star of the original hit film and producer of the show, says: “We were thrilled to open Sister Act in London but I’m even more excited to have the show tour in the UK so even more folks get to experience those singing nuns.

“It’s a great show for everyone – your kids, your granny, even the neighbour next door who you might not like so much! I promise, you’ll have a great night at the theatre. Look out Great Britain – the sisters are coming!”

The musical tells the unlikely tale of disco diva Deloris Van Cartier who witnesses a murder and is then put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found – a convent!

Disguised as a nun, she quickly finds fans among her fellow ‘sisters’ but makes the wrong impression on the convent’s strict mother superior.

When she turns her attention to the convent’s off-key choir, helping the nuns to find their true voices and breathing new life into the rundown neighbourhood, her cover could be blown for good.

With the gang giving chase, is time running out for Deloris? Or have they underestimated the power of her new found sisterhood?

Alongside Denise and Michael, the current production of Sister Act The Musical features rising new star
Cynthia Erivo as nun-on-the-run Deloris.

Sister Act is at the New Victoria Theatre from Tuesday, August 28 until Saturday, September 8.

A KNAPHILL man planning to expand a nightclub business to Torquay has been barred from all pubs and clubs in the seaside town after allegedly glassing a clubber.

Bed Bar managing director Paul Fisher, of Northwood Avenue,  has been charged with unlawful wounding.

The 32-year-old is accused of glassing Mario Montinaro in the early hours of May 3, at the Cafe Mambo nightclub in the Devon town.

Mr Montinaro was taken to hospital and doctors were required to remove glass from his neck.

The 22-year-old victim also had cuts to the side of his face which needed butterfly stitches.

At a hearing at Torquay magistrates’ court last Thursday (August 9), Mr Fisher pleaded not guilty and requested that the case be directed to trial by jury, which the magistrate agreed to.

A commital date has been set for Friday, October 5 back at Torquay magistrates’ court, with the trial
expected to start next spring at Exeter Crown Court.

As a bail condition Mr Fisher has been excluded from entering licensed premises in Torquay, except for hotels where he has made a reservation. He is still allowed to visit restaurants, supermarkets and the new Bed Bar in Torquay.

It is understood the team behind the Bed Bar nightspots in Church Path, Woking, and Reading have  taken over the lease of the former Pure nightclub in Torquay and plan to open for business in late September.

Mr Fisher’s lawyer,  Alex Tribick, said: “It was made clear by Paul that his preference was for a trial by jury, as he feels confident that in front of 12 of his peers, justice will prevail in this case, and the magistrate agreed that should be the case.

“It is ironic that he finds himself in this unfortunate position, with this prosecution hanging over him, given his work with Bed Bar, which is dedicated to making people’s nights out as enjoyable as they should be.”

In June Mr Fisher was ­celebrating the Bed Bar being named the best in ­Woking at the inaugural Best Bar None awards.

He represented the nightclub at the event held at HG Wells Centre, where Bed Bar also won the prestigious People’s Choice award, ­voted for by the general ­public.

After picking up the award Mr Fisher said he had hopes of making the soon-to-open Bed Bar in Torquay just as successful.
He said: “We have now reviewed all our policies and ­procedures and this award is for all the hard work we have put in.

“There is a Bed Bar in Reading and a new bar in ­Torquay and both of those will be entering the Best Bar None competition next year.

“We want to win all three.”

Wrexham 3
Woking 1

GARRY HILL reckons it could have all been so different for Woking as the Cards took their first tentative steps back into the Blue Square Premier.

Woking looked to be crumbling in the heat of the Racecourse Ground and trailed to first-half goals from Rob Ogleby and Dean Keates.

But invigorated after the break thanks to the introduction of Bradley Bubb and Giuseppe Sole, Cards hit back and reduced the deficit in the 65th minute when Bubb slotted past Joslain Mayebi.

Kevin Betsy saw a diving header flapped off the line moments later before Mark Creighton’s powerful header 15 minutes from time killed off the visitors’ hopes.

We were a little bit nervous in places which I understand with it being the first game of the season

And Hill believes Betsy’s miss was the turning point, insisting Woking’s momentum at the time could have turned the opening day fixture on its head.

The manager said: “We had a chat at half-time and the thing we wanted most was a response – I said if we can get a goal early in the second-half how will Wrexham react?

“We got the goal we wanted and we were much better in the second-half, we started playing football and there was a big turning point in the match at 2-1. We were certainly on top for a 10 minute period.

“Giuseppe Sole has put in a fantastic cross and Kevin Betsy has hit the target but – whether he got a clean connection with it – the keeper has stopped it.

“Within five minutes of when it should have been 2-2 and us being in the ascendency we’ve been punished and it’s 3-1. It was a big five minutes in the game.

“It would have been interesting to see how the game would have gone with the momentum with us. We’ll learn lessons as we go through the fixtures but I’ve got no complaints at the final whistle.”

The Cards reeked of opening night nerves and their hesitancy and lack of conviction in the final third only acted as encouragement to the promotion candidates and their 4,000 strong support.

Joe McNerney was caught napping as early as the 11th minute by Ogleby, and was lucky to escape punishment when Danny Wright sent his turn and shot just wide from the edge of the area.

Wright – whose aerial presence caused Woking’s back-line all types of trouble in a shaky first-half – was at the heart of Wrexham’s next assault, but Ogleby contrived to send his defence splitting pass into the side netting.

But the U21 Welsh international made amends just 90 seconds later and fired the Dragons into an 18th minute advantage.

Neil Ashton was left in acres of space down the left and was allowed to cross. Ogleby held off his man to steer a wonderful volley over Aaron Howe and into the Woking goal.

The classy finish highlighted the gulf between the two sides in the opening period and only a timely block from Brett Johnson denied Jay Harris a clear cut chance moments later.

It was not until the 32nd minute that Woking registered their first strike at goal – Kevin Betsy earning a corner with a fierce shot but the visitors remained void of inspiration in a flat first-half.

And with time ticking away Wrexham doubled their lead with a goal that twinned their obvious craft with their underlying graft.

Ormerod exchanged passes with skipper Keates before sending a searching low cross into a congested six-yard box.

Ogleby’s attempted volley was blocked in the melee, but Keates had continued his run and was ideally placed to rifle across Howe and into the bottom corner.

Hill added: “It’s a big blow for us to concede on half-time.

“As a manager you hope your side can get out there and settle into the game but I think we showed them a little bit too much respect.

“We were a little bit nervous in places which I understand with it being the first game of the season. They got an early goal and that settled them in front of the home crowd and we were hoping to get in at half-time 1-0.

“I thought if we can get in at half-time at 1-0 we’d have a lot to play for after the break.

“It was a big goal at a big time in the game and Wrexham probably went in thinking they’d go on to win it comfortably.”

But reinvigorated after the interval, the Cards came out swinging.

Gavin McCallum snapped a shot high over the bar, while substitute Bubb flashed a header just wide from Mike Cestor’s whipped cross.

And it was Wrexham’s hesitancy that gave Woking a life-line.

A mistimed header sparked confusion between Joslain Mayebi and the rest of his static defence and Bubb – on the pitch for a matter of minutes – slotted the ball under the on-rushing keeper.

Betsy should have buried Sole’s inch-perfect cross six minutes later but his diving header was just kept out by Mayebi.

And his profligacy was punished within moments as a man nicknamed the Beast roared in at the back post to restore Wrexham’s two goal cushion.

Mark Creighton was left unmarked in the penalty area and did not need a second invitation to thunder home a simple corner.

Adrian Cieslewicz came off the bench and almost added a fourth for the hosts, but the Polish winger struck the woodwork after rounding Howe.

It was far from the roasting a newly promoted side may have been given on entering the Dragons’ den on the opening day, but Woking will be looking to come back strong and get their first points on the board when Dartford visit Kingfield on Tuesday.

 

POTENTIAL - Hill has secured the services of Brett Williams on loan

POTENTIAL – Hill has secured the services of Brett Williams on loan

GARRY HILL has snapped up nomadic midfielder Dean Sinclair just a day after announcing that Reading forward Brett Williams had joined the club on loan.

Sinclair will get a crack at the Blue Square Premier after impressing Hill and assistant Steve Thompson during his trial at Kingfield.

The versatile 27-year-old started his career with Norwich before going on to score 19 goals in 125 appearances for Barnet.

He secured a switch to Charlton in 2007 but spent much of his four year stay at the Valley on loan at either Cheltenham or Grimsby.

Sinclair dropped into non-league football with Arlesey Town in 2011 but was picked up by Hayes & Yeading and then Lowestoft Town before Hill offered him the chance to make his mark at Kingfield.

The Cards chief also adds hot propspect Williams to his attacking arsenal after finalising a long-term loan deal for the striker.

Williams – who led the line in the 2-1 win over Aldershot on Saturday – came through the ranks at Eastleigh before sealing a switch to the Madjeski in January 2011.

He found the net twice whilst on loan with Rotherham last season before finishing the campaign with three goals in 18 appearances for League Two Northampton.

Reaction to follow

HEROES – fans in Ripley show their support as Team GB manoeuvre their way through the scenic village as Olympic fever grips the nation

HEROES – fans in Ripley show their support as Team GB manoeuvre their way through the scenic village as Olympic fever grips the nation

A NATION swelled with pride as the Olympic Games burst into life over the weekend, and Woking was at the emotional heart of it.

Thousands lined the streets as the men’s and women’s road races thundered through the borough.

West Byfleet LI:VE was teeming with Union flags as Olympic fever took a firm grip on the village.

Red, white and blue clad fans roared on Team GB’s world champion Mark Cavendish and Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins, only for their  medal hopes to fade on Saturday.

To have something so special come through our tiny community is truly remarkable and something we should all cherish

But they were rewarded on Sunday when Lizzie Armitstead took silver in the women’s race to claim our first medal of the Games.

Robyn Dean, 18, and Jordon Styles, 19, from Georgelands, Ripley, (right) got into the Olympic spirit by painting their faces with Union flags before watching the race in White Rose Lane. Robyn said: “I got a picture of Mark Cavendish, I’m so proud. It’s nice to see the village coming together.”

Woking mayor Michael Smith, who cycled to Saturday’s festivities at West  Byfleet recreation ground, said residents had done the borough proud with their incredible show of support.

He added: “We stood on Parvis Road and it was great to be involved in a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“The fans and crowd responded incredibly to the road race and it was an amazing coming together.

“It’s unfortunate we missed out in the men’s race but it was a huge bonus to get silver in the women’s event.”

There was an overwhelming sense of pride as pictures of our area’s leafy streets were beamed across the world.

James White, 87, of West Byfleet said: “To have something so special come through our tiny community is truly remarkable and something we should all cherish. I won’t see London host the Olympics again in my lifetime so this is something to savour.”

More than a million fans lined the course for the men’s and women’s race which whizzed by Weybridge, whooshed through West Byfleet, powered on past Pyrford and ripped through Ripley en route to the gruelling climbs of Box Hill before returning to London and the finish line on the Mall.

Anita and Ray French, Sue Gibbs and her daughters Jess and Ellie and their pal Natasha Newson had ringside seats outside Hedgecroft Cottages in Newark Lane, Ripley.

Natasha said: “It was exciting and so fast.” Sue added: “You could feel the breeze coming off them.”

Dutchmen Marcel Elzenaar, Meino Meines, Ed Noorman and Gerard Meines, from Assen, all took part in an impromptu Mexican wave with other spectators in Ripley once the athletes had passed.

Gerard said the village and crowds had generated a ‘very nice atmosphere’.

Little Sam Perei, of Wentworth Close, spent two days with a friend making an Olympic banner to spur on Team GB. He watched the race with his mum Lottie, his brother Harry and their pet dog Amber. Sam said: “I worked very hard on the sign.”

Residents at Boltons Close in Pyrford marked the event with a party.

Despite the huge number of people out celebrating in the streets, Surrey Police have reported just two arrests.

Chief superintendent Gavin Stephens said: “There were only two event-related arrests in Surrey over the whole weekend and this is testament to the fantastic spirit of the thousands of people who came out to cheer on the cyclists.”