Fringe Box



The Worplesdon Witness March 2023

Published on: 13 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 13 Mar, 2023

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

Generous legacy helps buy home for adults with autism and learning difficulties 

It is a momentous time for The Haven Foundation and its volunteers, who ran a charity shop for 20 years in Worplesdon Road, Stoughton.

The late David Finch, who was a hard working volunteer for the foundation, left the foundation a large sum of money in his will. It has helped it to buy a home for adults with autism and learning difficulties in Halifax Close, the recent development off Aldershot Road at Clasford.

The home is called Finch Haven in memory of David Finch.

At the official opening of Finch Haven.

Trustees of The Haven Foundation, Joy Collyer Gibbs and Terry Harvey, were joined by many of its volunteers for an opening ceremony of the home.

And Joy will be forever grateful to her loyal volunteers and customers as now her 46-year-old autistic and epileptic son will be living in the home for five adults.

The purchase of the home was also possible with help and support, over 10 years, by Guildford Borough Councillor Bob Mc Shee, and Worplesdon Parish Council.

The chairman of Worplesdon Parish Council, Nigel Mitchell, was delighted, honoured and privileged to open the home.

Litter pick in Wood Street Village

The next Wood Street Village litter pick is on Saturday, April 29, at 3pm, meet outside St Alban’s Church.

Organised by the village association, do join them to make the village sparkle.

Black bags, litter pickers and high-viz bibs are provided courtesy of Guildford Borough Council who will collect the bagged-up rubbish.

Photo from the previous Wood Street Village litter pick.

At the previous litter pick in February, those who took part enjoyed a free drink at the Royal Oak pub, courtesy of the association.

Makeover for kiosk formerly a phone box

It’s now six years since a redundant phone box in Frog Grove Lane, Wood Street Village was adopted as a lending library, now called a kiosk.

Once a phone box now a kiosk and lending library.

During that time it has been adorned with floral displays marking specific occasions, and has just been refurbished by residents Colin Green and Robert Pidgeon.

The fresh coat of paint and repairs are just in time for King Charles III’s coronation.

Successful half-term children’s workshop at the Sime Gallery

The Sime Gallery’s children’s half-term workshop was a huge success with more than 60 children attending and led by 25 enthusiastic volunteers.

One of the artworks produced at the children’s half-term workshop.

Over the past few weeks groups have enjoyed talks by Mary Broughton about Sime’s art and his life.

This has brought many more visitors to the gallery that is open on Wednesdays and Sundays, 2pm to 4pm, with a café available. Click here for the gallery’s website  for more details.

Recently purchased cabinets allow more of Sime’s artwork to be viewed.

Young adults from the halow project have had their first of a series of visits.

The gallery will be taking part in a Earth Day event at Haslemere Educational Museum in April as well as local church activities for Easter.

Take a look at Rokers old and new

If you visit The Farmhouse cafe at Rokers in Fairlands you may have seen some old photographs of the farm, hanging on the wall.

Vintage aerial photo of Rokers farm.

Today you can see the latest building work taking place and compare the farm and business Bunny Roker founded in 1962.

Bunny celebrated his 90th birthday in 2020 and his business has come a long way since he started it with a bag of potatoes and a lot of ambition.

It has developed as an animal feeds, tack shop, and country store, plus the Farmhouse café, and has also featured a children’s soft play centre and a golf course.

The first part of the new animal feed and track store is built. The second building is well under way and is expected be completed soon.

Check out Rokers’ website for the range of goods sold.

Church’s lynch gate is nearly 100 years old

The lynch gate at the entrance to St Mary’s Church at Perry Hill  is nearly 100 years old.

Plans for the church’s lynch gate.

While looking at a photo inside the church of the plans, it reminded me that it was installed in 1924 and partly gifted by local timber merchant William Heburn, in his will.

It was designed by Captain H. R. Blacking and completed by the firm of Stanley Ellis Ltd.

Old iron gate and fence, St Mary’s churchyard.

Previously, the entrance had been a pair of plain iron gates. There is an iron gate at the rear of St Mary’s on to the Marylands estate, the house being a former rectory. The gate is fascinating and I always wonder what stories it and the lynch gate could tell.

Queen Elizabeth II and members of the royal family walked through the lynch gate on their visits to the church. Maybe King Charles III will visit one day?

New youth club at St Alban’s Church

St Alban’s Church in Wood Street Village is hosting a new youth club starting on Friday May 5.

Parish churches’ annual report is imminent

St Mary’s and St Alban’s churches’ annual report will be published in April. Items will focus on its events group, parish lunches, holiday at home, flower team, website, IT group, bellringers, music and eco groups.

It will also include news from Wood Street Village Association, Wood Street Village Cricket Club, Fairwood Helpers, and the Sime Gallery.

The churches can be contacted via who are pleased to keep residents up to date with what’s going on.

There is a weekly email encouraging people to join in activities, which include a welcome coffee morning at Worplesdon Place hotel and restaurant on the first Saturday of the month at 10.30am, to meet new friends.

Parish lunches are at St Alban’s Church on March 21 and April 18. For more details contact the parish office on 01483 233091.

Final of Worplesdon Young Musician competition, Saturday, March 25

The final of the Worplesdon Young Musician 2023 competition and concert is at St Alban’s Church on Saturday afternoon, March 25, at 2.15pm.

Tickets are £10 from the parish office on 01483 233091.

There are 12 finalists and the overall standard of musicianship is very high and it’s fair to say Worplesdon has Talent!

The young musicians come either from the parish or local schools and their ages range from seven to 17 years, while instruments include voice, clarinet, violin, piano, guitar and saxophone.

Damaged road barriers reinstated

The roundabout at the junction of Salt Box Road and Worplesdon Road and the roundabout at the junction of Salt Box Road and Woking Road have had their barriers put back after damage in recent weeks by vehicles.

It is possible that vehicles are being driven too fast, despite the recent lowering of the speed limit in this area.

Damage at the roundabout at the junction of Salt Box Road and Worplesdon Road.

How to report pot holes, blocked drains, kerb, pavement, vegetation issues, and more

Surrey County Council is responsible for highway repairs. Issues can be reported by email to

Worplesdon’s Surrey County Councillor Keith Witham urges people to report these issues and says: “Don’t assume someone else has done it.”

You can also view weekly highways bulletins for the Guildford area on Surrey County Council’s website. Click here.

For five days from Monday, March 13, Burdenshott Road has been closed from Goose Rye Road to Woking Road with alternative routes on the A320 Woking Road, Salt Box Road and the A322 Worplesdon road.

The £2 bus fare cap for a single journey in Surrey has been extended to June 30.

However, one Worplesdon resident used this offer to go to Shere, but was disappointed they could not enjoy the view from the window of the bus. However, they were pleased to report the driver did have a clear view.

Yes this is a photo of the bus’s dirty window.

Parish council news

Worplesdon Parish Council has changed the name of its annual meeting to annual assembly. It takes place on Friday, March 24, at 7.3o0pm at Worplesdon Memorial Hall.

At its full council meeting on February 24, it welcomed people to comment and ask questions on the proposed solar panel farm at Blackwell Farm, off the Hog’s Back, and the impact of a pre school’s businesses if a new school is opened at either Worplesdon Primary School or Wood Street Village Infant School.

Items on the meeting’s agenda included Guildford Borough and Surrey County Councillors’ reports, 13 planning applications were considered, and a proposed interpretation board “Jacobs Well Safari”.

There are now notices giving details of two trial wildflower areas at Harry’s Meadow, Jacobs Well.

A separate meeting will be held on March 21 for its annual review of policies and procedures.

Other topics included the Christmas lights at Perry Hill, including a précis of a site meeting held in February,  given by the chairman, Nigel Mitchell.

To mark the coronation of Charles III, 850 recycled leather bookmarks will be bought and distributed to children at local schools.

Damage done by parked vehicles around Wood Street Village green was discussed, while an application by Wood Street Village Horticultural Society to hold a plant sale on the green in May was granted.

A request for improved amenities to park cycles at Wood Street Village’s community car park was discussed.

A payments list was approved along with bank reconciliation and the monthly budget report. There had also been a VAT refund.

A request for a grant by the Sime Gallery for a book on caricatures was agreed. There were land management and health and safety reports, along with the clerk and chairman’s reports that included details for standing as parish councillor at the May 4 elections, and 14 updates from the chairman on his activities for the month including community speed watch, attending meetings, and issues relating to the parish and borough councils.

An item to be included on the agenda for next meeting was proposed. This relates to the suitable alternative natural green space (SANG) at Wood Street Village, which has still not been formally opened.

The general purposes and finance meeting is on Thursday, March 16, at 7.30pm.

The next full council meeting is on April 6.

Another flood forum meeting, the multi agency meeting to resolve flooding issues within the parish, was held on February 24.

Minutes will be available to view on Worplesdon Parish Council’s website.

The flood forum walkabout is being held on July 14, meeting at Wood Street Village green near the Maypole at 10am. The walk will be 6 km in length during the two-hour meeting. Appropriate footwear is required.

The next flood forum meeting will be on November 17 at 10am at Worplesdon Parish Council office.

Picture from the most recent flood forum meeting.

Jacobs Well Residents Association’s emergency general meeting

The association’s emergency general meeting will be on Friday, March 31, 7.30pm at the village hall.

The meeting is to determine whether a new committee can be formed after the resignation in October of the chairman.

If a replacement chairman and committee members cannot be found, a decision will be made regarding its funds and assets after which the association will be formally dissolved.

News from Worplesdon Women’s Institute

At its meeting on March 1, the guest speaker was Sarah Slater, a guide lecturer at Hampton Court Palace.

She gave a talk on the history of women’s clothing from Tudor times to the 20th century.

She has made historical costumes by hand using curtains that were no longer needed and dressed a mannequin in Tudor costume showing how layers of clothes were built up with lacing and pins holding them together.

It was all very apt for celebrating International Women’s Day the following week.

The next meeting will be a birthday lunch on April 5, and members are invited to create a table decoration.

Its spring sale will be on April 12.

Spring lambs at Merrist Wood College

Merrist Wood College has welcomed spring with the birth of new lambs.

Lambing time at Merrist Wood College.

However, a reminder to people is to keep dogs on leads so as not to frighten pregnant ewes.

The college has a huge litter of piglets too.

It also focused on International Women’s Day, while government funding has enabled the college to buy new high-tech green technology equipment for students.

The two posters below feature forthcoming events.

Music and dance at Fairlands

There will be live music at Fairlands Community Centre on Saturday, March 18, with Snake Hip Jake.

Starting at 8pm, tickets are £10 in advance or £12 on the door. It is being hosted by the Surrey Swing Dance Society.

There is a quiz on March 22, and bingo on March 24.

There will be celebrations on April 22, to mark St George’s Day.

On bank holiday, Monday, May 8, to celebrate the coronation, there will be a picnic “fit for a king” on the playing fields behind the community centre with stalls, live music and an exhibition inside the hall.

Pubs round up

At the Royal Oak, Wood Street Village, they are saying “Elvis is back” and book now to dine there on Mothering Sunday, March 19.

At the Cricketers, Rydes Hill there is a reggae party on April 1 and the pub reminds visitors of its new outdoor play equipment.

There will be a Mother’s Day brunch from chef Olly at the White Hart, Wood Street Village.

The Jolly Farmer pub on Burdenshott Road held its ninth food and wine pairing event, featuring food from Portugal. Don’t forget its Sunday roasts.

Unexpected snow sculptures

The unexpected snow for one day last week brought out the snow sculptures.

Little snowman.

There were two snowmen at Worplesdon Memorial Hall’s grounds and a throne on Perry Hill green. Was this ready for the coronation?

Throne for a king?

There was also a lovely snow-filled sky one evening as photographed over Worplesdon Tennis Club.

Colourful sunset and clouds.

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