Fringe Box



The Worplesdon Witness January 2023

Published on: 14 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 22 Jan, 2023

Jan Messinger with her round up of news from the parish of Worplesdon.

Churches’ Christmas worship

Worplesdon’s Anglican churches’ Christmas services included a crib service at St Alban’s in Wood Street Village, with children dressing up and acting out the nativity, while after its nine lessons and carols service the congregation enjoyed mince pies from The Christmas Bakery and mulled wine.

About 50 people attended midnight mass on Christmas Eve at St Mary’s Church, Perry Hill, and both churches had Eucharist services on Christmas Day at 10.30am.

Saying farewell to the Revd Barry Hanson.

A farewell service was held at St Alban’s Church on Sunday, January 8, for curate, the Revd Barry Hanson. Parishioners came together with a joint service to say goodbye and with a shared lunch.

A rendition of “Every parish needs a Barry“ was sung to the theme tune of the TV soap Neighbours.

On Saturday, January 20, at Normandy Village Hall, there will be a Burns Night supper and Scottish reeling with Craigievar Ceilidh, a band featured in the film Four Weddings And A Funeral. To buy tickets, send an email to or phone 01483 233091.

At total of £500.06 was raised for The Children’s Society by singing carols on the green at Wood Street Village, Worplesdon Place hotel and restaurant and Worplesdon View care home.

Carolling at Worplesdon Place.

John McLean has thanked church members who sung and supported their community and everyone for their generosity.

Carols on the green at Wood Street Village.

Time to renew association membership

Residents are reminded to renew their membership of the Fairlands, Liddington Hall and Gravetts Lane Community Association.

Fairlands Community Centre.

With rising energy bills at the Fairlands Community Centre of 400% from £8,000 to £30,000 per year, residents’ support is needed.

Rising energy bills are also affecting other halls such as Worplesdon Memorial Hall, Jacobs Well Village Hall, and St Alban’s Church Hall.

The rector of the parish, the Revd Alex Russell, has thanked the community for the gift of monies towards the rising cost of energy bills at its two churches.

The halls are used by small businesses. For example, for yoga, dance, pilates, and who rely upon modest hire charges so they can survive.

Bootcamp challenge

Evolve Bootcamps is offering a six-week challenge for those feeling tired, stressed, bloated and out of shape after Christmas.

They are fun, social and non-military style group fitness sessions.

It is now based at Rokers Animal feeds and Tack Shop, off Holly lane. Website: or phone 07951 545597. 

Gaskins served up more than 500 free Christmas lunches

Matt and Martha Gaskin again provided 500 free Christmas lunches for people lonely, isolated or vulnerable.

At St Thomas of Canterbury School in Merrow, volunteers helped to prepare the meals, including Guildford MP Angela Richardson, who chopped carrots.

The Gaskin family from Jacobs Well has been providing Christmas lunches for a number of years. Since the pandemic lunches have been delivered door to door, while next year it is hoped a venue can be secured to host people.

News from Merrist Wood College

Active Learning’s Merrist Wood College has raised funds for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices through its Christmas tree collection and recycling services.

As well as courses based at the campus in Worplesdon, it also offers online courses in maths and English, starting in January.

Courses at the college include ecology, animal management and agriculture, equine management and arboriculture and countryside management.

The Merrist Wood Holiday Club, during the half-term break in February, is aimed at children who love the outdoors. To book, go to the college’s website. 

There is also an open event on Wednesday, February 22, for people looking to enrol in September.

Nearby winter warm hubs

The nearest so-called warm hubs to Worplesdon, to which people can attend if suffering from fuel poverty or just want to get out and go to a welcoming environment with other people, are at St Peter’s Church in Bellfields (Tuesdays 10am to 12.30pm), The Hive at Park Barn (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.3pm), and St Francis Church, Westborough, Mondays and Tuesday, 9.30am to 2pm).

The project is being overseen by Surrey County Council. Click here for its website and the page on which location of warm hubs and times of opening can be found.

Parish council news

Items on the agenda at Worplesdon Parish Council’s meeting on January 12, included: looking at nine planning applications, the impact of the disbanding of Jacobs Well Residents’ Association, interpretation boards at Harry’s Meadow, Christmas lights at Perry Hill, land management issues, the forthcoming coronation, Wood Street Village green requests, finance, inspections, parish newsletter delivery and the recent planning and general purposes committee meeting.

People are very welcome to attend meetings and can speak at the start of meetings on items on the agenda.

Local elections take place in May. People who are passionate about their community and want to stand for election can apply by sending an email to:

Typically, people from all backgrounds and experiences who reflect their community put themselves forward as parish councillors. Worplesdon Parish Council is non political, no previous experience is necessary, and training is be provided.

Burst water pipe at sports pavilion

Worplesdon Memorial Hall’s sports pavilion suffered a burst water pipe during the recent cold weather. Most of the rooms in the pavilion were affected and repair / renovation work is needed

Damage caused by the burst water pipe.

Worplesdon Phoenix Football Club, who use the pitch and pavilion, recently had two matches postponed due to the pitch being frozen, while another match had to be halted at half time as the pitch was water-logged.

News from The Christmas Bakery

There is no start date as yet for the bakery’s successful planning application to enlarge the premises, including its work spaces and to create a shop and tea room.

It currently employs 40 staff, many of whom work part time.

As well as operating a busy shop, the bakery offers event and party catering as well as afternoon teas, such as sandwiches, bite-size sausage rolls and cheese straws. plus trios of mini cakes with fruit scones with cream and jam pots. It also offers children’s party boxes.

All of these items must be pre-ordered.

Sime Gallery thanks its volunteers

The Sime Gallery, based at Worplesdon Memorial Hall, welcomed in the new year with a thank you and coffee get-together for its volunteers. This was held at Worplesdon Place hotel and restaurant.

Some Gallery volunteers enjoying their coffee morning.

The gallery’s annual half-term children’s activity afternoon is on Thursday, February 16, from 2pm to 4pm, inside the hall.

Its theme will be linked to nature and trees. Go to the gallery website for more details.

The gallery has installed two more cabinets and new LED lights, to enable more of artist Sidney Sime’s works to be viewed. Visitors are welcome from 2pm to 4pm on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Caretaker vacancy at memorial hall

Lovely sunset over Worplesdon Memorial Hall.

Worplesdon Memorial Hall is advertising for a new caretaker.

In fact, the hall has only had six caretakers in the last 100 years. Could you be the next? Send an email to

New flooring at Worplesdon Memorial Hall.

The entrance to the rear of the hall has just had the flooring replaced including adding the centenary logo.

Hearty talk at women’s institute

Worplesdon Women’s Institute returned after its Christmas break with a talk from Shirley West who spoke about the British Heart Foundation and her nearly 40 years fundraising for it.

In 2013 Shirley was awarded the British Empire Medal for her fundraising. Shirley said she met her husband, Brian, of 58 years, at a party in the memorial hall.

The president of Worplesdon WI, Angela Anscombe (left) and Shirley West.

The WI has held its meetings there since the hall opened 100 years ago.

The speaker at its February meeting will be Roger Beck whose subject is owls. The competition is for a photo of a bird.

Graffiti defaces play equipment

Play equipment in Worpleasdon has been attracting unwanted graffiti over the past few months.

Worplesdon Parish Council is asking parents to remind their children that damaging play equipment is an offence under Section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act of 1971, and as such they could be prosecuted.

Deals down the pub

The White Hart and the Royal Oak pubs, both at Wood Street Village, are offering deals in January to encourage people to dine out.

The Royal Oak is offering free cheesy garlic bread with every two pizzas to eat in or takeaway.

The White Hart is offering 20% off bills that must include main courses, from Monday to Friday until the end of February.

The Jolly Farmer, on Burdenshott Road, is offering a good old fashioned Sunday roast and note its winter opening times on its website.

Worplesdon Place hotel and restaurant is giving £10 off a £30 bill on dinning via its On Tap app until January 31.

All the veg you might need

For those going vegetarian during January, grocers Cheesman Bros, with its farm shop and home delivery, has all the vegetables you could need for your stews, pies, tarts and soups.

Plenty of veg at Cheesman Bros.

The business is based at  Luxford Farm, Broadstreet. Tel: 01483 572469, for more details.

Fancy playing tennis or cricket?

People who join Worplesdon Tennis Club in January will pay for 12 months and get two extra months free.

Floodlit courts at Worplesdon Tennis Club.

Members can play play seven days a week, from 7am to 10pm, with four floodlit courts available.

NHS staff are offered a 20% discount.

Worplesdon and Burpham Cricket Club will soon be be returning to winter net practice, dates to be announced.

Its annual quiz night is on March 4, and with a move to the l’anson League for the first and second teams, fixtures for the new season are soon to be announced.

Wood Street Village Cricket Club’s winter nets practice starts at St Peter’s Catholic School in Merrow on January 22, from 10am to 11.45am. Cost, £4 a session or £30 for 10 weeks.

The club always welcome new members and reminds everyone girls play cricket too and are welcome.

Death of Wood Street Village stalwart

Wood Street Village resident Bill Chester who, for many years, sat on the village association committee, was also its chairperson and organised many summer shows, has died after a short illness.

Lane closed

Thatchers Lane at Perry Hill is being closed for 11 days, from 8am to 4pm, for “fine milling works”. Highway repairs are also taking place on the A322 Worplesdon Road.

Thatchers Lane prepared for road surface work.

Invite to take part in the Big Garden Watch

The RSPB’s annual Big Garden Bird Watch takes place over the weekend of January 27 to 29.

People are asked to count birds in their gardens or local parks. And with nine commons (open spaces) in Worplesdon as well as Brittens Pond, hopefully there will be plenty of bird sightings to add to the count.

You only have to watch the birds around you for one hour, count how many of each species of bird lands on your patch, go online and tell the RSPB what you saw. Click here for RSPB website. 

Time for tea and more in Jacobs Well

Regular afternoon teas have been hosted for 12 years in the lounge at Jacobs Well Village Hall.

All welcome and for more information of the next date send an email to:

As Jacobs Well Residents’ Association no longer exists, its parish councillors, Mike Price and Jonathan Snowball, can be contacted regarding concerns residents may have. Click here for contact details on the parish council’s website.

The country market returns at Jacobs Well Village Hall on Friday, January 20, from 10am to 11.30am.

Jacobs Well Horticultural Society meets monthly at the village hall and the Guildford Club for Disabled meets there on Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm.

Plus, there is bingo in the village hall bar lounge on Saturday, January 21, at 8pm, and on Saturday, January 28, there will be a race night.

It’s Big Band Swing on Tuesday, January 24, at 8pm in the village hall continuing on the last Tuesday of the month. See, for more details.

Surrey Jazz Orchestra.

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