Parade with Pride

Karen Neville

Community

Woking is the venue for the first Pride event to take place in Surrey and Woking couldn’t be prouder to be hosting the celebration.

The colourful vibrant parade will start at HG Wells Conference Centre, when accompanied by the Mayor of Woking it will pass through the town gates and around the centre.

From midday the gates will open in Woking Park where you can enjoy live entertainment on the big stage until 10pm. There will be a large family/youth zone including activities, workshops, face paint and support guidance as well as food and drink stalls and local traders.

The chairman of Pride in Surrey, Stephen Ireland said not only does this year mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall but also now the first year of an LGBT+ Pride event in Surrey.

He said: “I am thrilled to be working with such a supportive council and Outline Surrey to not only create an amazing event but also raise awareness of the available support to those within the community.”

Mayor of Woking, cllr Will Forster, said they were delighted Woking will host the inaugural Pride in Surrey parade on Saturday, 10th August.

He said: “It is another example of Woking’s growing reputation for hosting colourful and inclusive annual events.

“Pride in Surrey celebrates the inclusion and diversity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) culture and community within Surrey.”

Want to go?

Tickets are required for the event in Woking Park, they are free to all but organisers need you to register to plan for your health and safety.

For more information

Millie’s Milestone

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Local mum Jessica Simmons explains more about how you can help her wonderful daughter walk, run and jump like any other child

Millie was born at 29 weeks weighing just 3lbs 2oz. Having spent time at the special care baby unit at Royal Surrey County Hospital under a special lamp to treat jaundice, we faced the first major battle – a feeding problem. Her tummy would swell when she had breast milk which meant her feeds would be dropped and then started again. Eventually the swelling stopped and she was growing well.

A routine brain ultrasound revealed ‘white matter’ which we were told is normal in pre-term babies. Finally, our time in SCBU was over and we were able to go home to Millie’s sisters and enjoying having three happy healthy girls.

We were admitted to hospital several times the first winter when she contracted bronchiolitis. At the last admission she was connected to a CPAP machine to help her breathe as it was so laboured.

At home we carried on like any other family. Millie wasn’t reaching the milestones of other children, but we put this down to her being born early and that eventually she would roll over, sit and crawl.

At her yearly review we talked about how Millie’s legs were very stiff and tight which made getting her into a sitting position very difficult. A few days later we received a letter – one part stuck out – “Millie is showing signs of Diplegic Cerebral Palsy”. I stood in my kitchen reading the letter and it just felt like my world was falling apart. I felt so alone.

A consultant confirmed Millie was showing signs of Diplegic Cerebral Palsy, which causes tense muscles and spasms. Leg muscles tend to be very tight, and over time, this causes joints to stiffen reducing movement. Since Millie was diagnosed she has tackled so many obstacles, and we have too – our day-to-day lives have changed dramatically, we have had to learn various ways of aiding Millie. She has developed her own way of carrying out everyday movement.

When Millie was diagnosed we began looking for answers and stumbled upon SDR – Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, the nerves which cause the spasticity in the legs are cut. We are due to see specialists at Great Ormond Street in September to see if it’s suitable for Millie. We have to meet the NHS funding guidelines but that’s no guarantee of getting the financial help. Since last June we have been fundraising – holding a grand ball, doing obstacle courses and quiz nights. But we need to raise a lot more. The operation isn’t a miracle cure, Millie will need to have several years of intensive physiotherapy to get the most out of this.

Millie is amazing, every day she has a smile on her face and we want to share that with everyone!

Donate to the cause

Museum & Jigsaw

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Community

Haslemere Museum and Jigsaw School have teamed up to help special needs visitors get the most out of museum visits.

Autism gives people a special view of the world which can make unexpected events and visits to unfamiliar places very challenging but this initiative can help with that.

Hayley Locke, a senior teacher at Jigsaw, visited the museum, which already had many facilities for school visits, after being approached by them.

She said it felt like a safe place “with lots of interactive activities”. Hayley added: “I could see our pupils enjoying a trip there, including those I wouldn’t usually suggest to visit a museum.”

Kay Topping, the museum’s education officer, visited Jigsaw to watch some classroom sessions as the school worked on preparing pupils to visit the museum’s dinosaurs gallery. The class teacher demonstrated the four-step format used, based on a method called Attention Autism. This ranged from handling dinosaur and fossil toys to making fossils.

“It was great to see the children in their own environment and see how a session works at school,” said Kay.

“I learnt not to expect them to engage too much, and that engagement is more likely to be with individuals rather than as a group.”

Six pupils aged six to 11 went on the museum visit – which was a great success and included a session on dinosaurs, handling the toys and making fossils. The children were prepared with the visual schedule and social story and arrived to a familiar face.

“The trip went well, especially as this was a totally new environment for the children,” Kay said.

Hayley agreed: “It was lovely to see each pupil engaging with the activities. The preparation and the familiar learning format certainly helped them get a lot more out of it.

“One pupil was nervous of the new place but once calm he enjoyed stirring the plaster to make fossils. Another loved all the dinosaur toys and is now keen to explore other animals in the museum.”

Further visits are planned including to the African exhibition.

Photos show Harry exploring dinosaur toys and Tristan getting to grips with the ammonite 

More information

Find out more about the Jigsaw School and what they do here

Cheese & Chilli Festival

Karen Neville

Community

If you want to spice up your Sunday then try out the hottest ticket in town – or in Guildford at least – and get along to the Cheese & Chilli Festival in Guildford.

This will be the festival’s fourth year with a whole host of activities for all ages including free cooking demos, a taste tent, beer festival, street theatre, live music, crazy golf, human-sized table football as well as lots of cheese and chilli.

Taking place in Shalford Park today (21st), you’ll be able to enjoy the man v food challenge and a Ready Steady Cook interactive cooking session as well as the chilli eating competition when things will really be hotting up!

And what could be better after you’ve eaten some good hot chillis than taking part in a game of human-sized table football – strap yourself in and attach yourself to a metal bar and swing.

If you prefer something more sedate there are a variety of stalls, a magic show, Punch & Judy show, balloon modelling and treasure hunts to entertain the kids.

As an extra special treat at the Guildford event, there’s the chance to be a VIP with two special price tickets (£50 and £100) offering you the chance to enjoy cocktails, beers, Mexican or Thai lunch, access to the hot tubs and a bottle of hot sauce and limited edition poster.

Get your tickets

For more information and to buy tickets which cost £8 adults, seniors £6 and under 16s free, visit the Cheese & Chilli Festival website below

Tickets can also be bought at the door or in advance at Guildford’s Tourist Information Centre.

Guildford Summer Festival

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Community

Guildford Summer Festival, with sponsor Silent Pool Gin, is back for its 36th year between 8th June to 10th August

Guildford Summer Festival is a huge celebration of all that is great and good about the town.

You’ll be able to enjoy a whole host of theatre, sport, art, music, walks, heritage, tours and days out to keep you busy over the summer.

New events for this year include Animal Encounter Tours at Merrist Wood and the University of Surrey Conductors Concert at Holy Trinity Church. Don’t miss the Woodland Fairy Fair at Watts Gallery and take a trip to the beach at Guildford on sea outside the Electric Theatre.

Popular returning attractions include the festival craft fair, farmers’ markets, cricket festival, Guildford Lions raft race, drama in the castle grounds and classical concerts. Also back by popular demand are the free Alice Day at the castle (3rd August) and the Cheese and Chili Festivals at Shalford Park (21st & 22nd July).
Join a free guided town walk exploring the history, the Alan Turing walk and new Leading Lights Walk where you can meet characters from the past. Staying outdoors there’s the Round the Hogs Back Cycle Tour to join too.

The whole Guildford Summer Festival is being sponsored by Silent Pool Gin.

There are arts exhibitions to view at the Mill Studio, Watts Gallery and Guildford House Gallery and theatre at G Live and the Yvonne Arnaud as well as Guildford Fringe Festival at several venues in July.

Find out more

Festival brochures can be picked up at the Tourist Information Centre and tickets are on sale now for most events.

Harrison’s Fund

Karen Neville

Community

Join Box Hill brunch walk and raise money for Harrison’s Fund

Two mums from Surrey are organising a walk to raise money for a charity that funds research into a life-limiting condition for children.

Klara Cecmanova, 41, and Vicky Lush, 49, from Epsom have organised The Box Hill Walk as part of local charity, Harrison’s Fund’s Harrison’s Brunch campaign. The walk starts at 9.45am on Sunday, 30th June at Box Hill Viewpoint and sees walkers walk down the hill and back up the steps to the top, followed by a bring your own picnic.

Klara has been a big supporter of the charity since two of her boys Theo (7) and Oskar (5) were diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2014.

She said: “Due to their condition, both Theo and Oskar would struggle to walk up Box Hill, their muscles just aren’t strong enough.
“We would love to see as many people as possible at the top of Box Hill ready to help our little warriors down the steep slope, over the stepping stones, and back up the stairs to the top – a tough walk for those that are fully fit but almost impossible for our boys.

“We’ll be able to see the area we live in from the viewpoint so they’ll get a real kick out of this and once back at the top we’ll be relaxing with rugs and a picnic so bring your own and get to know us and your local community.”

We would love to see as many people as possible at the top of Box Hill

Harrison’s Fund was set up in 2012 and funds research into Duchenne – a rare genetic condition which affects all the muscles in the body, causing them to waste away.  Harrison’s Fund’s goal is to get as much money as possible into the hands of the world’s best researchers, who are working to find a cure for Duchenne. The charity is currently funding 16 research projects in the US and the UK.

Klara and Vicky have been raising money for the charity since 2015 when she was part of a local team of women to put on a big community event. Since then it has become an annual event organised by parents with children of the same age who have seen the boys grow from active little boys to becoming increasingly wheelchair bound. The walk is part of the charity’s Harrison’s Brunch campaign which encourages everyone to host a brunch during the month of June to raise money.

Luci Roberts, campaigns executive at Harrison’s Fund said: “Theo and Oskar, like all boys with Duchenne, are an inspiration to us all. Even though their little bodies are slowly failing them, inside, they are just still, little boys who love an adventure, so we hope the local community will join them on their own adventure this June.”

All the proceeds from Harrison’s Brunch will go directly to fund the purchase of a “high throughput analyser” which enables scientists to compare different gene medicines when working in a lab. By using computer automation, the analyser can screen different models and evaluate them in a fraction of the time it would take a team of scientists.

Support the walk or join them

Be nice, say hi!

Karen Neville

Community

Visitors to the Surrey Hills are encouraged to “Be Nice, Say Hi”, as the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) adopts the joint campaign to help cyclists and horse riders to pass safely.

Cycling UK and The British Horse Society (BHS) joined forces to launch a consideration and courtesy awareness message of Be Nice, Say Hi to help users to pass safely last summer, as they believed better advice was needed for people cycling to understand how to overtake horses safely.

The Surrey Hills AONB is the first area in the south east to take up the initiative. Board director Rob Fairbanks said: “The campaign is particularly relevant in the Surrey Hills due to proximity to London and increased recreational pressures. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Cycling UK and the British Horse Society to raise awareness of shared access in our landscape and respecting the rights of all users.”

Lovers of the outdoors will soon notice the discreet message of Be Nice, Say Hi appearing on signposts across the region, however for more detailed information the charities have produced a downloadable leaflet and two short films.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Every time a cyclist encounters a horse, there are three brains involved: the cyclist’s, the rider’s and the horse’s. Many people aren’t familiar with horses, and there can be confusion on what they should do when overtaking on a bike. Cyclists may already know to pass wide and slow when it’s safe to do so – but they could still startle the horse unless the horse and rider are made aware of your presence.

“Generally, if a cyclist startles a horse, it is due to simple lack of awareness that a horse needs more time to react, which is why Cycling UK is pleased to be helping the BHS promote the consideration and courtesy message of Be Nice, Say Hi and is delighted to see it adopted in the Surrey Hills.”

Horses can react quickly when startled, so the two charities are encouraging cyclists to drop their pace and call out a greeting, giving the horse and rider time to react before overtaking wide and slow. By alerting the rider and horse to their presence, cyclists run less risk of the horse reacting, and reduce the risk of injury – not just to the rider and their horse, but also themselves.

Mark Weston, director of access at The British Horse Society said they were thrilled to see the area adopting the message.

He said:  “As vulnerable road users, horse riders, carriage drivers and cyclists face considerable dangers on our roads and the need for safer off road riding opportunities has never been greater.

“By promoting the courtesy and awareness message of Be Nice, Say Hi in the Surrey Hills (AONB) we hope that more riders and cyclists will have the confidence to pass one another comfortably and safely.”

The first sign was symbolically put up close to Mane Chance Sanctuary in Compton, Surrey. Founding trustee and actor Jenny Seagrove was pleased to see the campaign gaining traction in the area and hopes to see it taken up across the country.

She said: “The welfare of horses is at the very heart of what we do at Mane Chance Sanctuary and I think the Be Nice, Say Hi campaign should be applauded for considering the needs of both horses and humans as they share our beautiful countryside.”

Read about bike week

Bike Week 2019 has just passed, but why not get inspired to get back on the saddle while we still have long evenings?

Go wild in Guildford

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Community

Watch out for the giant badger on 1st and 2nd June and take on the 30 Days Wild challenge

Could you go wild for 30 days in June? That’s the challenge being issued by Countryfile’s Matt Baker.

The UK’s biggest nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, is encouraging people to do something wild every day of the month and get closer to nature.

Matt was inspired by the work of Surrey Wildlife Trust when filming in the county in April and is urging Surrey residents to join in in their thousands.

The challenge is proven to make people healthier, happier and more likely to do something to help the wildlife in their gardens and enjoy nature on their doorstep.

And the choice is yours when it comes to what you do to ‘go wild’ – you could just lie in the grass and gaze up at the clouds, spend some time by the river, admire the dragonflies, create a bucket pond at home or listen to birdsong instead of putting your headphones in on the way to school or work.

The Trust has plenty of ideas on its website and there’s an app which will generate daily ideas.

If you’re in Guildford on Saturday 1st and Sunday, 2nd June don’t be surprised to see a giant badger in High Street – he’ll be celebrating as part of a weekend of activities to mark the wildlife trust’s 60th anniversary. Be inspired by the large pop-up wildlife garden and gardening experts. Get up close to wildlife, take part in fun wildlife themed activities, face painting and trails and much more. There’s also free entry to the Wild Surrey Art and Photography Exhibition at Guildford House Gallery which runs until 16th June.

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Charlotte Magowan said: “30 Wild Days is the perfect excuse to just get out there every day and enjoy nature where we live.

“Surrey’s countryside is incredible and it’s just too easy to get stuck in the hamster wheel of life and miss the beauty of the natural world.

“Whether you decide to watch the sun go down, listen to a dawn chorus, take a meeting outside, feed the birds or take a video of a minibeast, we want everyone to get closer to nature. It is only by experiencing nature that we recognise its value and realise how important it is to protect it.”

There are a wide range of events, walks and talks taking place as part of SWT’s diamond anniversary, to find out how to get involved and inspiration for ideas visit Surrey Wildlife Trust

Recycling champions

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Community

Chilworth school celebrate being recycling champions

More than 11 tonnes of clothes and shoes were collected by schools across Surrey as part of The Salvation Army’s county-wide recycling competition.

And the winning school amassing 0.3 tonnes was Chilworth C of E Infant School who were awarded a trophy and certificate to honour their achievement.

The Recycle with Michael initiative aimed to divert thousands of tonnes of textiles from landfill and generate funds for The Salvation Army to help vulnerable people across the UK.

Chilworth C of E was one of 27 schools in Surrey which took part and gathered the largest donation of goods – worked out as the highest ratio of weight to pupils – of all the schools which took part in the region.

The school was visited by the scheme’s mascot Michael who met pupils and Year 1 teacher, Katie Porter and handed out the prizes.

The Recycle with Michael scheme aims to educate young people about the importance of recycling in a fun and engaging way and there are lots of free downloadable teaching materials available online.

Head of corporate partnershiops at Salvation Army Trading Company Td, Kirk Bradley congratulated Chilworth C of E Infant School on their efforts.

He said: “We were overwhelmed by the school’s response to the campaign and the dedication of pupils and staff in promoting and acting on the recycling message.

“Our van was full to the brim on collection day thanks to all the donations. Participation in the competition across the whole county has been amazing.

“We hope this is the start of a determined drive to give unwanted items a new lease of life – turning clothes, shoes and textiles into funds for local schools as well as for our charitable work.”

For more information and to get involved, visit www.recyclewithmichael.co.uk

Surrey Day

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Community

Celebrate Surrey Day with some fantastic fun for the whole family!

Surrey is celebrating just how special it is with one big day of events and activities on Saturday, 4th May.

Around 26 million people visit the county each year to enjoy the theatres, art galleries, restaurants, hotels and countless attractions and stunning countryside that make up Surrey.

There are a whole host of events planned for the day to celebrate just how great Surrey is with something for everyone, with many of the venues and events boasting special offers and discounts.

Among the highlights are The Sculpture Park near Farnham where you can enjoy exhibits from national and international artists on display in the arboretum and water gardens. Walk the two-mile trail that winds through 10 acres of natural beauty with art all along the way.

From art to vines and Denbies Vineyard in Dorking is offering free 45-minute tours (10am and 11am) for Surrey residents. Wander among the vines while listening to a recorded commentary. If you go into the Hogs Back Brewery Shop and say ‘Happy Surrey Day’ when you buy their draught golden ale Surrey Nirvana you can enjoy 10 per cent off.

National Trust property Clandon Park is offering free entry to Surrey folk on proof of residency. There’s the chance to explore the ruins and gardens and meet members of the team behind Clandon’s restoration who will give an insight into the work going on behind the scenes to restore it to its former glory after the fire in 2015.

There’s also a Surrey Day BBQ to enjoy at StanHill Court Hotel, Charlwood, bring the whole family along and enjoy entertainment and activities to celebrate how fab Surrey is.

If you’re celebrating it should involve some fizz and cake so pop along to Greyfriars Vineyard in Puttenham and stop by the Cellar Door Shop and sample some sparkle. Sales from cakes on the day will be given to charity.

There’s more food and drink to celebrate with on Surrey Day with a street party at The Silent Pool in Albury where a cluster of artisan producers will come together so you can sample gin and cocktails, award-winning English wine, locally brewed beer, cheese, Indian nibbles and ice cream all while enjoying live music. Take a stroll up to the vineyard to experience the views over the Surrey Hills and bring your children along to join in the vineyard toy trail.

For the more active among you, how about becoming a skywalker at the Skywalk Adventure in Esher – try out the 22 obstacles and 4 zip wires or go underground and climb down into the caves under Dorking to see where secret meetings were held and people went from pub to pub without going above ground.

There are a whole host of activities and events to enjoy, you’re sure to find something for you to get out and celebrate Surrey!

  For more details head to Visit Surrey