THE Deputy Mayor of Woking completed the gruelling Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge and raised more than £1,700 for the maternity unit at St Peter’s Hospital. M Ilyas Raja, 72, finished the 24-mile walk in the required 12 hours, while people half his age gave up. 

The challenge involves climbs of 5,249 feet up Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. Cllr Raja said the challenge was hard, especially as his practice walks were mostly on level ground in Woking with one or two climbs up Box Hill and Newlands Corner, with none of the journeys more than six hours long.

A 65-year-old man died after a fire in a Knaphill flat. The man, believed to be the tenant of the ground floor flat in Raglan Road, was seriously injured injuries and taken to hospital by an air ambulance helicopter. He died four days later. 

Neighbours reported hearing an explosion before the emergency services arrived to find the flat on fire. Shards of glass were scattered across the road following the incident. 

LEMON-AID – Eight-year-old Jacob Tang (wearing the WWF panda T-shirt) raised nearly £1,000 for Woking-based WWF, mostly from a home-made lemonade and cake stall in Knaphill. A WWF UK spokesman praised his efforts: "The younger generation are growing increasingly aware of the climate crisis and how important it is to protect our planet." (Picture supplied)

WOKING Borough Council declared a “cost of living emergency” that urged the Government to immediately cut the VAT rate from 20% to 17.5% for a year, to reduce household bills. 

The council was also organising a summit meeting for voluntary organisations and public agencies to form a joint plan to alleviate the impact of price increases on the borough’s residents. 

In proposing a motion to declare the emergency, council leader Ann-Marie Barker said a 2.5% VAT cut for a year would save the average Woking household £600. 

The motion said there was evidence that food bank use in Surrey had increased by 300% compared with requests for support in April 2019. Many households with people in work were needing to ask for food donations for the first time.


A REFORM of councillor representation on the boards of Woking Borough Council’s arms-length commercial operations was condemned by the Conservative opposition as a power grab by the ruling Liberal Democrats. 

Previously, councillors including the leader of the council were appointed as unpaid directors of 15 organisations. But the council approved an executive committee proposal that has council leader Ann-Marie Barker as the authority’s sole “shareholder representative” on the boards. 

Cllr Barker said: “The reforms will improve governance of these companies in line with current best practice and allow the council to closely monitor its interests with greater clarity, transparency, and reporting.”

A WOKING man drove his 70-year-old tractor to South West Ireland to raise money for charity. John Leane crossed the finishing line in Knocknagoshel, the village in County Kerry from which his family hail, a week after setting off from the Woking & Sam Beare Hospice in Goldsworth Park. 

“I’m well chuffed,” John said. “The tractor behaved faultlessly, though the driving was like being in a tumble dryer, absolutely stifling.” He raised more than £7,000 for the hospices and Pieta House, an Ireland-based suicide, self-harm crisis and bereavement service.

IMPRESSIVE MARKS – Woking college principal Brett Freeman with A-level students Lois Miller, Tom Mills, Nora Belkniter, Jack Hilton and Emma Booth. The students, and those from other colleges and schools in the area, bucked the national trend by gaining impressive exam marks. (Woking College)

A UKRAINIAN refugee who arrived in Pyrford speaking little English has settled in with a job and a new hobby, thanks to the generosity of the archery community. 

Alla Husak posted a request for a host on the Woking Ukrainian refugee Facebook page because she wanted to be close to her sister and nephew who are with a family in Knaphill. 

Alla is being hosted by Helen and Mark Piper who are deeply involved with competitive archery. Woking Archery Club fast-tracked Alla through its beginners course, required for club membership, and waived all fees, as did all the different levels of archery. She is learning English and is working as a waitress in Woking. 


RESIDENTS expressed their feelings in books of condolence for the Queen at locations in Woking and Surrey Heath. Students, staff and parents gathered on the Gordon’s School parade square to commemorate the passing of the school’s patron. 

The Queen’s father, when he was the Duke of York and she was Princess Elizabeth, was chairman of the Gordon Foundation executive. The young princess is believed to have watched her first film at the school, with boys from what was then Gordon Boys’ Home. 

The school at West End last welcomed the Queen for a visit during its centenary celebrations in 1985, when she unveiled a commemorative plaque. 

Other memories of the Queen’s visits to the area included her officially opening the McLaren Technology Centre on the outskirts of the town, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, in 2004 and three visits to St Mary’s Church at Perry Hill in Worplesdon for ceremonies for people with royal connections.

SOLEMN OCCASION – Those gathered in Jubilee Square for a ceremony marking the death of Queen Elizabeth II laid electric tea lights and flowers under a photograph of the Queen. (Tindle)

PROMINENT citizens shared some of their memories of the Queen, including Woking businessman and former High Sheriff of Surrey, Shahid Azeem.

He said he had been privileged to meet Her Majesty five times, including sitting next to her for a formal lunch in Guildford. “She was a totally amazing person,” he added. 

Rosemary Johnson, a former Woking Mayor and chairman of Woking FC, recalled being invested as an MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2006. “For the few minutes I was in her presence it felt like talking to an interested neighbour rather than royalty,” Rosemary said.

THE Proclamation of the Accession of King Charles III was read by the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Saj Hussain, in Jubilee Square the day after the national proclamation in London. 

In Chobham, the proclamation was read by parish council chairman Les Coombs in a ceremony by the village war memorial.