Ridgefest

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Raise a glass of Ridgeview English Sparkling Wine to Ridgefest 

 

Following its huge success in 2018, Ridgefest is back this year on 24th August – and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before.  

Nestled among the vines of the Ridgeview Wine Estate, with a stunning backdrop of the South Downs, Ridgefest is the perfect summer day out, bursting with beautiful food, great live music and of course, award-winning English Sparkling Wine will be flowing. 

Ridgeview started in 1995 and more than 20 years later, production has increased to more than a quarter of a million bottles, sold worldwide. 

2019’s line-up promises to delight all the senses – there will be delicious offerings from an eclectic selection of street food vendors, live bands and acoustic sets, DJ sets and a silent disco. Added to this is Ridgeview Sparkling Wine as well as unique drinks offerings in the cocktail lounge and tours of the vineyard and winery. 

Ridgefest is held at a winery and is so much more than a traditional wine festival – like the ethos of Ridgeview itself, Ridgefest promises to be a fun, unique, fantastic festival for all.  

The festival in Ditchling Common, Sussex, welcomes around 600 guests, between noon and 10pm.

Tickets

Available to buy from the Ridgeview website

Be Nice, Say Hi!

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Respecting the rights of all users is the idea behind a new campaign which has launched in the Surrey Hills 

 

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: “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. 

He urged cyclists to be more aware when passing horses and added Cycling UK was delighted to be the BHS promote the Be Nice, Say Hi message. 

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. 

The first sign was put up close to Mane Chance Sanctuary in Compton, Surrey. Founding trustee and actor Jenny Seagrove hopes to see the campaign take up elsewhere. 

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.”    

The Big Butterfly Count

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Join the Big Butterfly Count and spot the species

This summer marks the 10th anniversary of the Big Butterfly Count – the world’s largest butterfly survey. 

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation is calling on everyone to do as many 15-minute counts as possible between today, Friday 19th and Sunday, 11th August. 

Just record what you see and send your results to www.bigbutterflycount.org or submit them using the free Big ButterflyCount app. 

Last year a record 100,000 participants took part, spotting almost one million butterflies across the UK. 

This summer, experts are keen to see how common garden butterflies are faring, as despite many species bouncing back in the 2018 heatwave, colourful favourites such as the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock both recorded poor years.  

Butterfly Conservation vice-president Chris Packham is following in the footsteps of Sir David Attenborough by getting behind the campaign this year. 

Chris said: “It’s easy to feel powerless when confronted with endless decline statistics from birds to bees to butterflies, but the fight for our environmental future starts with small acts, it starts with you.  

“That’s why I urge you to take part in the Big Butterfly Count this summer. By taking part in the count you are showing that our butterflies, our wildlife and our environment are worth fighting for.” 

Get involved:

People can take part in their gardens or local parks, but there are plenty of free events taking place across the country too – more details can be found here…

Castle to Coast

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Take on a triathlon with a difference from Windsor to Brighton

Travel from Windsor Castle all the way to the coast at Brighton on a journey covering more than 81 miles –  but you’ll be completing it in a one-day triathlon. 

You’ll start with a 1.2 mile swim at Eton Dorney followed by a 67mile open road cycle through the Surrey Hills before finishing off with a 13.2 mile run up Ditchling Beacon and over the South Downs. 

There’s no competitive side to it and no timings instead it’s just about enjoying the adventure of the swim, cycle and run on Saturday, 10th August. 

Lee Brown, director and founder of Fullsteam, the endurance events company, says: “In 2019 we wantedtocreate something new in the world of triathlon.Castleto Coast’s sportive format will appealtothose lookingtostep uptoa middle-distance triathlon without the pressures of racing and beating the clock.” 

Swimmers will start the event in the water, in waves, and take on the continuous lap before taking to the saddle and embarking on the cycle ride which is fully supported with a feed station, toilet facilities, mechanical assistance and marshals at key locations as riders make their way along the route and 3,400ft of climbs. 

Then you’ll hand over your bike over to the transport team who will either take it on to Brighton for you or back to Windsor. All equipment for the run and changing facilities will be available in a sports centre. 

A finish line party will greet you on the seafront in Brighton where you’ll collect your medal. If you’re then heading back to Windsor, support staff from Fullsteam will take you back on the organised transport. 

Entry, which is limited to 500, costs from £160 before 1st August. 

  For more information about the event and full entry information, including costs, visit www.fullste.am 

Help save lives

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Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance needs you!  

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is the charity that brings emergency critical care to people who need it most, in their hour of need. 

It costs £15,000 a day to keep the Air Ambulance flying and saving lives and last year the charity’s Critical Care Teams were called to 1,429 incidents across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.    

Highly skilled crews of doctors, paramedics and pilots can be at road traffic collisions, sporting accidents, collapses and a variety of other incidents within minutes, ready to deliver the same level of care you would receive at a hospital emergency department. 

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is entirely funded by the generosity of our local community and we rely upon our team of volunteers to support our fundraising efforts.   

This is where your help is needed.  They are urgently looking for new events volunteers, speakers, van drivers, maintenance support volunteers and collection pot agents. Volunteers are also needed to join the new event support team, which supports HIOWAA on an ad-hoc basis at the mass participation events.   

Volunteering for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is fun and rewarding and you can volunteer as often or as little as you wish.  Volunteering can fit around your own life and commitments.  

If you have some spare time and would like to donate it to this life-saving cause, please contact the volunteering team on:

  [email protected] or 02380 743516 or visit the website for more details: www.hiowaa.org.

Restless Minds: Ward Thomas

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Ward Thomas – AKA 24-year-old twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy who went to school near Cranleigh – tell us about their influences ahead of their gig this month.

Millennials face a barrage of criticism as well as being burdened with the anxiety social media can cause. So Lizzy and Catherine Ward Thomas come across as a thoroughly refreshing duo.

Lyrically the twins have tackled issues close to their hearts on their new album Restless Minds, with observations on social media, the women’s movement, what “the truth” means today and mental health, which inspired #NoScrollSunday.

With support from The Wandering Hearts, they will perform at Guildford’s G Live on Tuesday, 26th February, which is almost a home gig. “We know Guildford very well,” the sisters tell me. “We grew up only 20 minutes away and went to school near Cranleigh. We’ve been to the Borderline a lot to watch fellow musicians play as well as playing there ourselves.”

Catherine and Lizzy grew up in a very musical family. “Our parents were in a band and they played a lot of The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles. Our cousin introduced us to country music and we became obsessed with Dixie Chicks and many others. We’ve listened to a whole range of genres growing up and still do now. We’re drawn to a great melody, an authentic storyline with great lyrics. We also feel strongly that – in this modern digital age – we all crave honesty, authenticity and things that take us back to our roots. So that could also be what’s drawing people into country more nowadays.”

Country music might be enjoying a surge in popularity but the twins dislike pigeon-holing their music when it comes to genres… “So when we write, we go into the room with the attitude of ‘let’s write what we feel today’. Then when we get to the studio we always have fun experimenting with what kind of production works best for a particular song. So we’re always wanting to be open-minded to blending genres together within an album.”

I wonder what it’s like performing and making music as twins? “It’s great! We’ve gone through a lot together growing up but have different perspectives on the same topic or event. So it really works in the creative process. And performing together is a real treat as we have a lot of fun connecting with each other musically on stage and singing together in general. We’re really excited to get back on the road!”

● Ward Thomas will play at Guildford’s G Live on Tuesday, 26th February.

For more information please visit www.wardthomasmusic.com/live

Bowie & beyond

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Liz Nicholls chats to Woody Woodmansey ahead of the Holy Holy show this month…

Three years on from Bowie’s death, his bandmate Woody Woodmansey still finds the concept of him being “gone” utterly surreal.

“He’s probably in my thoughts most of the time,” says Woody, “but it’s the same for everyone – he doesn’t go away. The music we created has lasted the test of time. We never ever thought the music we made 40 years ago would still be on the radio.”

Together with producer Tony Visconti, drummer and “Spider Man from Mars” Woody are getting set to take their Holy Holy tour around the UK with an all star band including glorious Bowie-esque vocals from Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory. The group will perform Bowie’s material from 1969-73.

I ask Woody about meeting David for the first time, when he arrived at his flat in a big gothic building in Beckenham… “I had all these questions in my head,” says Woody. “Like: was he clever or thick? Could he write? Mick [Ronson] had raved on and on about him. I was expecting this curly-haired folkie from Space Oddity but he opened the door in a rainbow T-shirt, silver belt and red corduroy trousers and shoes he’d painted blue stars on. We chatted about music and I could tell he was intelligent. Then he picked his 12 string up and amazed me with his presence – he never flinched for a moment.”

Woody duly turned down the tempting offer of a managerial job at a glasses factory in his native Yorkshire to join Bowie down in London and make history. “The music industry had become so

boring and we wanted to give it a kick up the ****, which I guess we did!” laughs Woody.

I ask Woody whether his love of music started at school. “No! I didn’t become aware if music until after school,” he laughs his throaty, smoky cackle. “I just played Hendrix, Led Zep and Cream records, putting my finger on the vinyl to slow it down a bit and hear what the drums were doing so I could copy it. I only learned the rudiments later.”

This time three years ago, Woody and the band were playing the High Line in New York, not far from where David lived. “It was his birthday and Tony decided to call him. We played a bad karaoke version of Happy Birthday. The audience joined in and he loved that. He asked them what they thought of Black Star, which had come out that day and they went wild! We said we’d catch up soon but of course never did because two days later his son messaged the news. David had always seemed invincible. On the Ziggy tours he was barely eating and was often really ill but he always got on stage and smashed it. After the news we weren’t sure whether to carry on but David would have so we did, in celebration of him. And here we are now, still celebrating him. Our rider might be a bit less rock and roll but the spirit is just the same.”

● The Holy Holy UK tour runs from 8th to 24th February, including shows at Guildford’s G Live and London Palladium.

BEAT cancer…

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A Woking couple have launched a “BEAT” awareness campaign for ovarian cancer.

The husband of a Woking woman who realised she had ovarian cancer after reading an article about it, is leading a campaign to make 20,000 women aware of the signs.

Kathryn Norris was diagnosed in March 2017. She had been eating less, felt tired and noticed her breasts were swollen. Her GP referred her for a transvaginal ultrasound, but before this she became uncomfortable with abdominal bloating. She remembered a magazine article highlighting the key symptoms of ovarian cancer; B for bloating, E for eating less and feeling fuller quicker, A for abdominal pain and T for toilet changes.

The ultrasound revealed the 66-year-old did indeed have stage 2 ovarian cancer. After a hysterectomy and six months of chemotherapy she is being monitored every three months. “I feel so lucky my disease was caught early enough to be treated and to give me the chance of staying healthy,” says Kathryn who is now a grandmother.

Her husband Graham, the men’s captain at Hoebridge Golf Club, is using his term to spread awareness of the signs of the disease and is leading a BEAT campaign to tell 20,000 women about the symptoms and raise £20,000 for ovarian cancer charities. The idea is that every woman told will tell 10 more and he is starting with the 120 lady members.

Graham and ladies captain Pat Collins aim to reach their target by December helping charities Ovacome and Ovarian Cancer Action and have fundraising events planned including a golf day in July. He says: “If this helps to save one life it’s has been worth it.”

   For more about ovarian cancer please visit www.ovacome.org.uk or www.ovarian.org.uk

Magic of musicals: Anton & Erin

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Strictly Come Dancing’s “Mr Debonair” Anton du Beke tells Peter Anderson about his upcoming show in Guildford, together with dance partner Erin Boag.

Dance those Magic Musicals will present a marvellous world in which ballroom meets musical theatre with song and dance numbers set to iconic shows which have delighted audiences for decades.

Anton and Erin will be joined on stage by a sensational West End dance ensemble to present dances to Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, 42nd Street and many other well-known musicals. They will be accompanied by the London Concert Orchestra conducted by Richard Balcombe who has also arranged the music, and the brilliant star vocalist Lance Ellington who may well be joined by Anton in some numbers!

I wondered, with this wide variety of musicals, which was Anton’s favourite decade for dance in musicals? “It’s not a choice I could make,” he laughs. “Each had some brilliant points, from the “big bands” of the 1920s, of which I’m a great fan, through to the spectacular choreography of Busby Berkeley to the incredible musicals between the 1950s and more recent times with shows like Wicked and Jersey Boys.”

Anton says this will be more a show-within-a-show with a selection of music from each musical, and then of course all the evenings will conclude with the now popular Q&A session with Anton and Erin. A desire by the couple to stretch themselves means neither of them have choreographed any of the numbers in the show that has fallen to Nikki Woollaston. As well as choreographing a number of Anton & Erin’s recent tours, Nikki has also choreographed many operas and musicals including Oklahoma at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

With all these numbers from musicals, would Anton fancy touring with a musical himself? “Maybe some time in the future,” he tells me. “One of the problems with musicals is they tend to stay at a theatre for a week, and with my twins as young as they are I just don’t want to be continually away from them. Doing the shows like I do, for the most part I can get back to south Bucks and be with my wife and the twins at night.”

Speaking of venues, is there one that Anton would love to take one of his and Erin’s shows to? There can only be one, he says. “The London Palladium! I so loved working with Sir Bruce Forsyth on Strictly and it was a place he made his own.”

Dance those Magic Musicals is on Saturday, 23rd February, at Guildford’s G Live.

For tickets please visit www.glive.co.uk or call 01483 369350.

Party popper! Abigail’s Party in Woking

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Jodie Prenger leads the cast in Abigail’s Party, Mike Leigh’s ground-breaking play at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre from Monday, 25th February, to Saturday, 2nd March.

Welcome to 1970s suburbia and its heady mix of free-flowing cocktails, classic disco and cheese and pineapple sticks…

Mike Leigh’s iconic Abigail’s Party is one of Britain’s most celebrated comedies and was described by The Guardian as “one of the greatest plays about the human condition ever written”.

Jodie says: “Abigail’s Party is a true British classic and a real bucket list part for me. I’m thrilled to be involved in something so wonderful. I can’t wait to get started!”

Jodie landed the role of Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh’s revival production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane after winning BBC One’s I’d Do Anything.

She has guest presented for Elaine Paige and Paul O’Grady on many occasions with BBC Radio 2. Other BBC Radio 2 appearances include Wogan, co-hosting Going Out With Alan Carr, Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show, The Olivier Awards 2010 and Children in Need 2009 with Graham Norton. Recently, Jodie starred in the one-woman UK tour of Shirley Valentine and has just finished playing the role of Kelly in the production of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends on its UK tour with music written by Nick Lloyd Webber.

● New Victoria Theatre is in the Peacocks Centre, Woking, GU21 6GQ.

  To book tickets call 0844 871 7645 or visit www.atgtickets/woking