Fringe Box



Effingham Eye: A Family Crisis and Village News

Published on: 23 Feb, 2019
Updated on: 26 Feb, 2019

Chris Dick starts with a more personal than normal report on a family crisis and then moves on to: No HGVs signs, a visit to local glassworks, toddler’s playground, and a new all-weather pitch.

What can be more distressing than a seriously poorly child?

This issue could not go without some massive thank yous to a local MP and medical staff for their kindness and support during what has been for all involved a harrowing experience.

Jasper at the Royal Surrey

There can be little more distressing than having a very sick child and when our young two-year-old grandson Jaspar had been surviving on drips for five days, unable to eat or drink without immediately vomiting, you can imagine how worried we and his parents had become.

He had been suffering from chronic constipation, something many of us can have from time to time, but this was acute and he was now going downhill fast. Something was badly wrong.

As a result, he had been admitted to the Royal Surrey Hospital on January 31 but they do not operate on children under five so he was awaiting transfer to the paediatric wing of St George’s Hospital, Tooting.

Our medical crisis coincided with the only snow we have had so far this winter, on February 1 that had grounded all but essential ambulance movement. Additionally, no beds could be found at St George’s.

Because Jasper seemed to be suffering from constipation, however acute, his case was considered less urgent. In fact, his young life was at increasing risk and we were forced to watch him wilting away, stuck in some kind of medical limbo between two wonderful NHS hospitals that, for different reasons were unable to treat him.

Delay had become, for Jasper, a real life and death issue. On top of that, Jasper’s mother was 32-weeks pregnant and stressed.

Sir Paul Beresford MP

In desperation, I turned to our local MP, Sir Paul Beresford, for help. I was not sure if it would be something he could help us with or not. I cannot thank him enough for what happened next.

Part of the role of any MP is to step in when systems are, nearly always unintentionally, failing individuals. Sir Paul stepped up and, for our family, became a saviour.

In less than an hour from making contact, a bed was found at St Georges and Jasper was transferred on February 5. He was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease, a rare condition that causes poo to become stuck because nerves in a section of the bowel are not working. It mainly affects babies and young children.

Parliament Ted turned up to keep Jaspar company

Jasper was operated on the next day but we were not out of the woods by any means and Jasper was then under constant observation and treatment in Post Op Intensive Care.

Over the following week, a raft of emails was exchanged as Sir Paul showed how much he cared. I knew his knighthood had been awarded for his work regarding child protection laws and I knew of his support for the former chief constable of Surrey Police Lynn Owens regarding the fight against paedophilia. But I had no idea of how much Sir Paul cared about the wellbeing of kids.

Jasper is now back at home three kilos lighter. He will require another operation in a few month’s time but things are much rosier.  So, at a time when our MPs are getting a lot of stick for the current political turmoil, I want to put on record my thanks to Sir Paul for his kindness and much appreciated support in this different aspect of his work.

I also wish to thank the dedicated, caring and highly professional staff of both the fantastic hospitals. Seeing their staff in action over a two-week period was a privilege. I cannot begin to properly express my gratitude to Sir Paul and the NHS staff.

Jasper as he is now at Toddlers’ Playground King George V (KGV) recreation grounds.

St Lawrence Church to close temporarily except on Sundays

St Lawrence Church Effingham to close during renovations

St Lawrence Church will be closed for about four weeks from February 25 except Sundays.

The closure is to provide time to install a completely new lighting system and wiring for the clock bells. Once completed it might be possible for the latter to be automatically switched off during services and perhaps even in the small hours of the night.

However, silent chimes are always a contentious issue and, ignoring the EU Noise Pollution legislation, this is bound to attract differing points of view. (Yup, I managed to sneak Brexit into yet another article! [Once is enough. Ed])

Glass Works

Adam Aaronson and assistant Will Rapley

Taking up an invitation to visit Adam Aaronson’s glassworks hidden away on the west boundary with Squires Garden Centre off the A246 in our neighbouring village of West Horsley was an opportunity not to be missed. I have always wanted to see how this art comes into being since I inherited some stunning Venetian glass pieces that practically nobody likes … including our children.

For anyone interested in how glassware and objet d’art are created then why not take a visit yourself. Seeing Adam and his crew in action was a sight to behold. The heat in the building is off the scale and watching him draw out and shapes in the molten glass required dark glasses for protection.

But here was an artist using his skills and willing to pass them on to. Adam runs courses for abled and less abled visitors. You can make your own goblet or whatever under supervision after just one lesson.

I’d met Adam at Guildford Borough Council during one of the public hearing days for the Local Plan (or was it the Wisley appeal?). Our afternoon together was fascinating as we covered a range of subjects that had nothing to do with glass manufacture. Those subjects must wait for another day.

See Adam’s website at:

Verges versus HGVs

New signs installed on Browns Lane and Church Street, Effingham

Well done Effingham Parish Council, and in particular County Cllr Julie Iles, for organising the installation of “Unsuitable for HGVs” road signs at both ends of Browns Lane and Church Street, Effingham.

HGV dominate local roads

The signs went up after complaints had been made to Effingham Parish Council about the damaged state of the verges, risks to pedestrians and unsuitably wide vehicles using the roads. The road narrows down to virtually single lane outside St Lawrence Church with no pedestrian footpath on a blind bend.

Unfortunately, the “20 is plenty” speed restrictions initiative is not well thought of locally so it is unlikely the frequency of accidents will be diminished. But hopefully, with this new signage, the verges will start to recover.

Toddler’s Playground

Work starts on the new KGV Toddler’s Playground at the end of February and should be completed before Easter. It cannot start soon enough as the current entrance gate is inoperable and the fencing is in tatters, with nails clearly visible at kiddie height. The old cherry tree has been removed but is, at the time of going to press, providing kids with a wonderful impromptu climbing frame.

KGV Toddlers Playground with old cherry tree in background before renovation starts

New 3G All-weather Pitch for KGV

The October 2018 edition of this column drew attention the dilapidated state of the old KGV tennis courts. And the chairman of Effingham Village Recreational Trustee (EVRT) Chris Iles had explained that the management trustees were in discussion with Bookham Colts about repurposing the area.

KGV Tennis Courts

Readers may be pleased to learn that a planning application has now been lodged with Guildford Borough Council (GBC) for a new 3G multi-purpose all-weather pitch. Readers wishing to know more can go onto the GBC planning portal and search reference 19/P/00092.

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