LOCAL companies have been celebrating after being awarded a prestigious business honour, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Woking-based engineering company Semmco has been recognised for International Trade for outstanding short-term growth in overseas sales over the last three years.

GRAND DESIGN – Stanhope-Seta has received the Queen’s Award for Innovation for the design and manufacture of FIJI

Semmco designs innovative solutions to create a safe and efficient working environment for aviation, helicopter and rail customers, engineering maintenance equipment, access platforms and aircraft refuelling systems. The company has seen its overseas sales grow from £392,340 as 19% of total sales in 2015 to £1.365 million as 40.5% of total sales in December 2017.

“We are extremely proud to have received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category this year. It’s an incredible achievement and a testament to the hard work of every person at Semmco,” said Stuart McOnie, managing director.

“We’ve had an exciting few years; in 2017 we saw the opening of our maintenance and assembly facility in Dubai. Last year we expanded our design and manufacturing facility in Woking due to high demand, and this year we opened our USA office in Texas. This award win puts us in good stead for the future.”

Semmco has an impressive roster of customers, including British Airways, Qantas, Delta, Easy Jet, First Capital Connect, Alstrom and Rolls Royce. It will celebrate its award during a royal reception for the Queen’s Awards winners in the summer.

Now in its 53rd year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years.

Among those is Stanhope-Seta a family-owned business that specialises in the design and manufacture of laboratory test instruments for quality control applications. From its manufacturing base in Chertsey, they export innovative instruments worldwide and have received a Queen’s Award for Innovation.

The award, granted for the design and manufacture of the Fame in Jet instrument (FIJI), is the third such honour to be bestowed upon Stanhope-Seta, having previously won the International Trade award in 2012 and the award for Innovation in 2014.

The FIJI detects ultra-low levels of a chemical compound known as fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), classified as a contaminant in aviation fuel whose presence must be strictly controlled. FAME contamination in sufficient quantities could result in airport closures and grounded aircraft.

The FIJI provides a rapid and reliable method of detection, and is now deployed around the world in both commercial and military settings and forms one of the key testing techniques designed to ensure that aviation fuel is fit and safe for use in today’s aircraft.

“The Queen’s Award is the most prestigious business award made to UK companies and winning a third award is a proud and defining moment in the company’s history,” said Stanhope-Seta directors Giles and Martin Verity. “It is a real achievement to receive this award in recognition of our loyal, hardworking team. We will continue to fly the flag for Britain with its development and manufacturing excellence.”

IF YOU know who Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka are, get set for a treat. The magical world of In The Night Garden will be live in Woking on its first ever tour of UK theatres.

The CBeebies stars will bring their show to the New Victoria Theatre on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May.

Using full-size costumes, puppets with music and dancing, the show aims to be a favourite for young pre-schoolers – and their parents.

Director Will Tuckett says: “Children know these characters so well, much better than we ever might think. They see them as proper friends – when they appear on stage live they are seeing friends liberated from the television or tablet. They are there, waving at THEM.”

“It’s genuinely heart-warming, truly magical…and makes me love my job.”

THE passion of a West End environmentalist in looking after a patch of local heathland was celebrated in a special Mother’s Day episode of the BBC TV’s Countryfile programme.

Mary Adler’s many years of conservation work on Brentmoor Heath were featured, including her efforts in helping save the land from housing development.

Mary Adler (second right) during the filming on Brentmoor Heath. Also pictured are, from left, daughter-in-law Jenny with four-month-old grandson Arthur, son Charles with granddaughter Emma, husband Mick, SWT education director Aimee Clarke, Matt Baker, son James and Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker and a camera crew met Mary on the 75 acres of countryside which surround her home at New England Hill, off Red Road.

She was described as “a remarkable woman who has embodied the spirit Surrey Wildlife Trust for more than 30 years, who was made an MBE for her work to protect and enhance the heathland”.

Countryfile highlighted Mary’s success in inspiring several generations of children to become interested in conservation – including her son James. He recently became head of biodiversity for Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT), which now manages Brentmoor Heath.

Mary is still a registered volunteer with the trust and continues to take a keen interest in the nature reserve and the surrounding countryside. “We walk the area twice a day and do a lot of litter picking and clearing up the packets which dog walkers unfortunately leave behind,” she said this week.

“If I see any problems or anything which needs attention, I let the SWT warden know.

“I enjoyed being involved in the Countryfile filming. It was fascinating to get an insight on what they do to make the programme. They certainly work very hard.”

Countryfile closed its Mothering Sunday tribute by filming Mary’s granddaughter, Emma, 2½, attending a Wild Tots session at Nower Wood Education Reserve at Leatherhead.

For the full story get the 11 April edition of the News & Mail

IT’S been 17 years in the making, but Woking fans will now get the opportunity to meet with the new developer for the proposed Cardinal Court stadium development at Kingfield.

With the various cross-party working contracts all signed, Woking’s board of directors are inviting fans to attend a special fans’ forum at Cardinals Bar on 16 April to learn more about the proposed plans to future-proof the National League South club.

For many, it will be the first time that they will have the opportunity to pose real questions to the project team after years of speculation as to what a new Woking Community Stadium project might comprise.

Speaking exclusively to the News & Mail, Wayne Gold, owner of GolDev Woking Limited, which is coordinating the proposed redevelopment of the Kingfield site in south Woking, is pleased with the progress to date.

He said: “When I first met representatives of Woking, they gave me their views and aspirations for the club.  Similarly, I gave my views in terms of ideas and we reached an agreement in principle.  I then went away to pull together the various components.

“There’s a lot of land interest at Kingfield and there were a lot of individual parties that had an interest through one means or another; however, we have now been able to get everyone on board contractually.

“We (GolDev) have since exchanged contracts with the football club and Woking Borough Council and we’re now proceeding with the planning application for the Kingfield site.

“Therefore, it’s the right time to properly engage with fans now that we have something we can share with them and discuss,” he added.

For more information on the time of the fans’ forum on 16 April, please go to www.wokingfc.co.uk or call the club on 01483 772470.

For the full story and further details of how to get involved get the 11 April edition of the News & Mail

Sixty Explorer Scouts took part recently in Woking District’s annual two-day Expedition Challenge.

The route led competitive teams of four or five scouts, aged 14 to 18, on a 45-kilometre hike. They carried all their equipment, including food and cooking gear for the weekend, and wore costumes of their team’s choice, such as the Spice Girls, French onion sellers and bananas.

Whimsically dressed Explorer Scouts enjoy a well earned meal after the first day of the expedition

The teams had to catch a train early on Saturday, from Woking to their start point at Liphook station. They then had to navigate onto the South Downs and to West Harting Down, before ending the day at their campsite in Rogate. There they cooked and enjoyed meals such as spicy chorizo sausages and pasta, and meatballs and rice.

After a cold but frost-free night’s sleep and surviving the clocks going forward, the teams spent a damp and overcast second day hiking back to Liphook and the return train to Woking.

During the expedition, the Scouts had to complete a project based on their observations of the countryside and then give a humorous account of their findings.

The winning team represented the Explorer scouts at the Phoenix Unit in Byfleet.

For the special picture feature get the 11 April edition of the News & Mail

A TEAM from Woking High have stormed to success to become regional champions in The Overwatch Digital Schoolhouse Esports Tournament.

Woking High’s triumphant OnlyW! team

The winning team Only W!, consists of three Year 10 students, Cyrus Howbrook, Morgan Seymour and Tung Nguyen. Their gaming triumph means they have secured themselves a place in the tournament’s grand finale, which will take place at London’s Gfinity Arena, the UK’s only custom built esports venue, on 10 April as part of the London Games Festival.

“The boys have been absolutely brilliant,” said Ahemd Afana, head of computing at Woking High. “They’ve worked hard at this and put in plenty of practice. They’re close friends and they know each other’s style of play, which really helps.”

For the full story get the 4 April edition of the News & Mail

AS THE First World War ended in 1918, some friends in Woking decided to form a women’s hockey club. They met at Lucy’s Tearooms in Broadway and started the Swifts Hockey Club.

Some of the photographs and memorabilia on display in the clubhouse

They played matches against other female sides, including Molesey, Ealing, Wimbledon and Wallington, with home games on the recreation ground that was to become Woking Park.

At least two founder members played for England during the club’s successful early days and the club was a force to be reckoned with the in 1930s. After a slump in the 1950s and 60s, with two just teams being run, an influx of new young players and, at the same time, a few strong older players, enabled three teams and eventually four to be fielded.

One hundred years after the women’s club was formed, the club has been celebrating the Swifts’ centenary, with a special day of events at Goldsworth Park on Saturday.

Guest of honour Shirley Hand speaks to the players

The guest of honour was Shirley Hand, a life member who joined the club in the 1950s and was the 2nd XI captain, hon secretary, ladies’ chairman and a frequent umpire during her playing days. She reminisced about how things were in her playing days, highlighting how times have changed.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Woking, Will Forster and Hannah Thompson, were also guests, introduced by the club’s ladies’ chairman Linda Jacks.

Cllr Forster talked about the growth in women’s rights since 1918 and how the hockey club has given women the opportunity to take part in sport.

The day featured the first team’s last league match of the season, against Epsom Ladies I and celebration games between veteran Swifts, current players and some of the younger players.

“We concluded official celebrations with a toast and a short speech from me,” said Linda. “It was a really fantastic day, much enjoyed by current and many former players who returned to mark the occasion. Lots of bonds were reborn.”

For the full story and pictures get today’s (4 April) News & Mail

MORE than 100 knives were handed in during the recent week-long amnesty in Surrey.

“Tackling knife crime is a daily priority for Surrey Police, and our involvement and support of Operation Sceptre, a national anti-knife crime campaign, has proved a success once again,” said a Surrey Police spokesman.

Knife banks were set up so carriers could hand in their weapons safely without fear of prosecution

“Officers have been visiting schools and continuing to engage with communities to highlight the choices people have, and the dangers of carrying a knife.”

Knife banks were located at Woking, Guildford, Reigate and Staines Police Stations, giving knife carriers the opportunity to hand the blades in without fear of questions being asked or prosecution. A total of 108 weapons were surrendered during the week in March.

“We are determined to steer our young people away from a culture of violence and to break the cycle as we have seen the devastating effect knife crime has on people’s lives both across the country and here in Surrey,” said Chief Inspector Mark Offord.

For the full story get today’s (4 March) edition of the News & Mail

THIRTY budding actors have enrolled for workshops run by the revived Woking Youth Theatre.

WYT has been relaunched by a group of former members, now well into their forties and fifties,  after closing more than 10 years ago.

The new class of the revived Woking Youth Theatre with Emma Hough, the workshop leader and Bruce Hazelton, the WYT chairman.

Bruce Hazelton, the group’s chairman, said the first workshop was a great success, with participants engaging in drama-based games and improvisation for nearly two hours.

Workshops are lead by Emma Hough who has a Masters Degree in musical theatre.

Catherine Lake, youngest daughter of WYT’s late founder David Hawksworth said she was delighted by the revived group.

“Woking Youth Theatre has started again! The room was buzzing with new faces,” Catherine said. “The workshop was just right and they all seemed to love it. Roll on next week.”

For the full story get the 28 March edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Police Station is to be closed down and its site in Station Approach sold.

The move follows the £20.5 million purchase by Surrey Police of an office complex in Leatherhead, which will replace Mount Browne in Guildford as the force headquarters.

Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro

Temporary Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said the eventual closure and sale of the Woking station would not affect local police provision, pointing out the officers based at the station are members of central Surrey-wide teams.

“Our changes in location will not alter how we respond to, work with, and consider ourselves a part of, Surrey’s many communities.”

David Munro, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, said: “This is really exciting news and heralds the start of a new chapter in the proud history of Surrey Police.

“Some of our current buildings, including the Mount Browne HQ site, are outdated, poor quality, in the wrong place and expensive to manage and maintain.”

For the full story get the 28 March edition of the News & Mail