IDENTICAL twins who are special police officers in their spare time were awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours. Special Constable Adam Parsons, who lives in Woking, and Special Sergeant Toby Parsons, from London, work for the Metropolitan Police. 

They were honoured for the “boundless hours, averaging 500 per year” they have devoted to policing on top of their day jobs since joining the force in 1990. Professor Berendina Norton, from West Byfleet, was made an MBE for her services to music, particularly for helping to train military musicians. She has worked for the Royal Military School of Music for 20 years.

A 10-YEAR-OLD boy who donated his Christmas presents to help the homeless wants to make his gesture an annual appeal. Henry Carter delivered three crates packed with necessities such as bedding, food and toiletries to the Woking-based York Road Project. 

He launched his collection in the belief that everyone should receive a gift at Christmas, and his mum, Elle, set up a drop-off point for donations at the Carter & Shields hair salon in Goldsworth Road, in which she is a partner. Elle said: “The generosity of everyone in Woking and the surrounding areas was incredible.”

TOP SPOT – Woking Girls Under 11 Schools District football team won team of the year at the annual Sport Woking Awards. The girls won multiple trophies. Three of the team progressed to Reading Ladies U12, and others to AFC Wimbledon U12. They are flanked by manager Adam Gunn and head coach Leighton Wilks. (Tindle)

THE coronavirus pandemic was “absolutely devastating” for cancer patients because many have had lifesaving treatment rescheduled or cancelled, said Nina Barough, founder and chief executive of the Woking-based breast cancer charity Walk the Walk. 

Nina, who spoke to the News & Mail in the run-up to World Cancer Day, said: “A lot of people had to go into isolation because they were high risk which meant living apart from families. 

“On top of that, the face-to-face treatments that people depend on, many of them coming from charities working within hospitals, did not take place. A lot of those organisations have not been able to continue.”


CLIMATE activists believe air pollution in parts of Woking is worse than is realised by the borough council because it does not measure tiny polluting particulates. 

Excess amounts of nitrogen dioxide from vehicle exhausts have been declared at two areas, but the more dangerous microscopic matter is not monitored, Woking Extinction Rebellion says. Group spokesman Andrew Malcher said the results from the independent network of particulate sensors set up by the local Green Party last year were alarming. 

A council website page said: “The air quality in our borough is generally good. We carry out regular reviews to check current levels of pollutants and review predicted future levels against the government’s health-based standards.”

MEMORY LANE – Ann Weller, the mother of Woking-born music legend Paul, made a nostalgic visit to the Shah Jahan Mosque, where she was the caretaker 60 years ago. Ann, 82, is pictured with her daughter Nicky, Paul and Muhammed Habib, the mosque manager. (Picture supplied)

COMMUNITY support has been key to the success of Woking Hospice as it marked the opening of its first building 25 years ago, said its founder. People across the borough got into the spirit of raising funds for a hospice from the moment the idea was launched, according to Rhod Lofting, life president of the charity that supports the hospice services. 

Rhod, who led the project when he was Mayor of Woking in 1990-91, said: “What helped was the way the people of Woking and the outside villages took me to heart. The public were just great.” 

A 13-YEAR-OLD Horsell girl won the right to compete in the indoor skydiving world cup after finishing first in the juniors and fourth overall in the British championships. Emily King took up the sport when she was four and within three years was winning local competitions as a freestyle soloist. 

When she was 10, she finished third in the national championships. Freestyle skydiving involves complex acrobatic routines to music in a vertical wind tunnel that allows the athletes to float and “fly”.  Emily was planning to compete in the 2023 world championships in Slovakia in April.


ALAN Dowson was fired from his role as Woking Football Club manager after a poor run of results culminating in a home defeat to Notts County. Club chairman Rosemary Johnson also stepped down, with immediate effect. 

Geordie Dowson – known as Dowse – made himself a firm favourite with local charities for all the fundraising he did within the community. Darren Sarll, who managed the Cards’ league rivals Yeovil Town, was later appointed as his replacement. John Katz, an American baseball club owner who has a majority share in Woking, became chief executive.

ROYAL VISIT – Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, played with youngsters when she opened The Lighthouse's Jigsaw Hub drop-in centre, next door to the charity's base in Woking High Street. (The Lighthouse)

WEST Byfleet man Robert Bell, who runs an import-export company that trades goods from Ukraine across the world, was on the front line in the besieged country helping to feed and provide medical attention to people after the Russian invasion. 

It was part of an outpouring of local support for Ukraine with a host of donation projects, including one set up by the Polish Saturday School in Woking, a Bisley company sending four lorries with relief supplies for refugees and a Knaphill man taking donations of supplies to Ukraine in his van at his own expense. 

WEEKS of worry for the Vicar of Horsell came to a happy conclusion when he was able to welcome his Ukrainian mother into the UK. The Rev Dmitry Lutsenko, of St Mary’s Church, met 68-year-old Larysa at Luton airport off a flight from Wrocklaw, in Poland, the last leg of a 19-day ordeal in which she had fled the Russian invasion of her homeland alone and crossed the border into Poland. 

Larysa then became tangled up in the often-confused UK visa system, prompting Mr Lutsenko to mount a tenacious campaign on behalf of his mother, turning to Woking MP Jonathan Lord and the News & Mail for assistance.