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Who’s Who at The Guildford Dragon NEWS

Published on: 6 Feb, 2021
Updated on: 19 Jul, 2023

It is always good to know something about those who write the articles you read so this article sets out to tell you something of who is who in The Dragon team.

Here at The Guildford Dragon NEWS we all work from our homes but are keen to stress that we are definitely GUILDFORD based and completely independent.

Martin Giles (publisher/editor)

Martin Giles

Martin went to school in Guildford and has lived in the town since 1985 moving to St Catherine’s in 1992 where he resides with his wife, Fiona. They have two grown-up sons.

He served for ten years in the local Queen’s Regiment and then worked as a journalist on a newspaper in Canada before embarking on a career with the Home Office for 21 years.

Strictly non-party political, Martin is a keen advocate of local democracy and hopes that The Guildford Dragon NEWS will continue to encourage debate on local issues and a greater interest in local politics. “A major enemy to local politics is apathy,” he says. “We should all take our responsibilities as voters and community members seriously. To do so we need to be properly informed.”

Martin is also a keen local historian. His family history is deeply rooted in the Guildford area and 20th-century history was a regular topic of debate during childhood family meals. Together with David Rose and others, he has given local history presentations and led history walks in St Catherine’s and Guildford.

When he finds some spare time he enjoys local history, reading, walking, and cycling (slowly).

David Rose (contributor and Through Time editor)

David Rose

David has lived in Guildford all his life. He has written (and co-written) 14 local history books on Guildford, plus countless articles about the area’s history.

As a collector of all things ‘local’, he has an ever-increasing archive of old photos, books, directories and other ephemera, plus a collection of old bottles and related packaging. He regularly gives illustrated history talks on many topics.

He works for Voluntary Action South West Surrey co-ordinating its Joining In! project, which supports community involvement and is currently helping to grow the Guildford Time Bank. In the latter people are joining up to give their time helping others and earning time credits in return for help they may need themselves.

David is also an exam invigilator at George Abbot School.

His current musical venture is playing guitar and singing in the Park Barn-Based Rhythm of Life Community Choir, which he helped to establish.

He worked for many years in local newspapers, particularly the Surrey Advertiser, where he was a senior journalist before quitting in 2011. He says that all seems a long time ago!

He is married to Helen with one daughter.

Hugh Coakley (reporter, “Shop Front” editor, advertising manager and beekeeping columnist)

Hugh Coakley.

Hugh was a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He has lived in Guildford with his family since 1990.

He started writing the monthly Beekeeper’s Notes for The Dragon and looking after the Events By Date section and advertising in May 2015.

Since retiring in 2018, Hugh has taken on a more general reporting role with a particular interest in all things retail and business in the town.

Grandchildren, bees, honey, reading, learning to play the piano and, of course, The Guildford Dragon NEWS keeps Hugh busy.

Chris Dick (Effingham reporter)

Chris Dick

Chris Dick is a retired civil servant and former chairman of two local Effingham groups, the residents association and the conservation group.

Married with two grown-up children and two grandchildren, he has been an Effingham resident for 20 years.

No longer a member of any political party, he finds reporting on village events an intriguing new challenge and some of his news photographs have been sold to national papers.

When not scribbling, he enjoys walking his dog. Chris started with The Guildford Dragon in 2016.

David Reading (Ash reporter)

David Reading

David is a former journalist who was born in Guildford in 1947. He began his journalism training with the Surrey Advertiser in 1965 and worked at various newspapers around the South before settling in Ash. He and his wife Sylvia have two grown-up daughters.

In 1994 David co-founded a national charity, the Anaphylaxis Campaign, after his 17-year-old daughter Sarah died from an allergic reaction to peanuts. The organisation was set up to raise awareness of severe allergic conditions and to educate those affected, as well as working with the government, food industry, schools and medical professionals. He was the charity’s CEO for 15 years.

David has played the guitar in various bands since 1964 and one of his roles with The Dragon is to write 0ccasional articles centring on his memories of the Guildford music scene since that time. His main role with the Dragon is reporter for the Ash area.

Apart from music, David’s other interests are photography, tai chi and writing. He has just completed a book on religion, which he plans to self-publish on the Internet. He joined The Guildford Dragon team in November 2016.

Malcolm Fincham (bird watching columnist)

Malcolm Fincham

Malcolm has always lived in Guildford and his passion for wildlife and the countryside began at a young age.

He began to photograph birds in their natural surroundings as a way to help him identify some of the rarer species he encountered. Over time, and upgrading of his cameras and lenses, he became more satisfied with his results. In 2012 he wrote his first Birdwatcher’s Diary column for The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

He visits the countryside and nature reserves in the Guildford area on a regular basis, as well a taking trips further afield into neighbouring counties and also to other parts of the UK when on holiday. He records his sightings of birds, butterflies and animals, as well as the changing seasons in his regular column in a true countryman’s style.

And yes, his surname is real – part of it just happens to be the word ‘finch’! (mark “FAO Malcolm Fincham”)

Alice Fowler

Alice Fowler (occasional reporter and theatre reviews)

Alice worked for many years as an interviewer and feature writer for the national press. She is passionate about the arts and enjoys writing theatre reviews and other features for The Dragon. A keen walker and cyclist, Alice is committed to conserving the wonderful Surrey countryside. She lives in Guildford with her family.

Alice started writing for The Guildford Dragon in July 2016. (mark “FAO Alice Fowler”)

Ferenc Hepp (theatre reviews)

Ferenc Hepp

Ferenc is originally from Hungary but has lived in the UK since the age of 13. His interest in theatre started at a young age with his first major role-playing the part of Donald Duck for a GCSE Drama devised project, but since has moved on to Shakespeare as part of his Theatre Studies Degree and currently an active member of Godalming Theatre Group.

He moved to Guildford in 1996 and has worked at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, the Electric Theatre, as well as a number of other local venues and now runs the box office and manages the performances by Guildford School of Acting at the University of Surrey.

His public appearances are not restricted to the stage; he is also a tennis line judge at Wimbledon, taken part in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics and been a contestant on the Weakest Link and Bargain Hunt, as well as being an extra in Midsomer Murders.

Ferenc has been our main stage critic since August 2015. (mark “FAO Ferenc Hepp”).

Mandy Millyard.

Mandy Millyard (photographer)

Mandy has been a keen photographer since her mid-teens. Originally a film photographer, she grudgingly bought a digital camera 10 years ago. Her main passion is street photography, and finds interest in the ‘mundane and everyday’. Is currently exhibiting at GU Art in Swan Lane.

She was born in Bolton and is a proud northerner, even though she has lived in the south for most of her life. Mandy is married and has a daughter, and a dog called Dave.

Her role at The Dragon is to take photographs to accompany reporter’s written articles.

Mandy joined The Dragon team in March 2021 but had been contributing occasional photographs for some years. (mark “FAO Mandy Millyard”)


Last updated May 31, 2023

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