East Surrey

Category Archives: General

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions – ones often made include to ‘Eat Less, Drink Less and Get Fitter’. How often do we break one or more of these? The first hurdle we often fall at is getting fitter as we get bored with the mundane routine of going to a gym or ‘following the leader’ in an aerobics class.

Never fear Springfit Gymnastics and Trampolining Club can help provide you with a solution – why not join one of their Adult only Gymnastics or Trampolining Classes or one of their immensely popular ‘Freestyle Gymnastics’ classes or choose get fit with your child at a Adult and Child Trampolining Class? Not only will you be having fun but you will be getting fit at the same time and no class is ever exactly the same so boredom will not set in.

Most people probably think that these sports are best suited to youngsters but not only are they both accessible to people of any age or ability but they can provide you with numerous health benefits as well.

Gymnastics is widely renowned as a sport that can improve overall fitness, strength, balance and body control as well as helping to improve athletic performance in any other sport. What most people do not realise is that it also provides many psychological benefits such as improved mental focus and concentration and discipline.

The most persuasive benefit of gymnastics is that it really GOOD FUN! Learning how to tumble, flip, swing, and come as close to self powered flight as is possible anything but boring. There is always another step to learn; it is possible to learn something new every single class you attend.

Of course a regular workout also releases ‘happy hormones’ (endorphins) that improve mood long after the class has finished! The fact that there are many diverse and wide reaching disciplines within the sport means that anyone can give it a go. There are so many benefits to trampolining as well it is hard to believe why everyone is not bouncing their way to getting fit!

One of the lesser known but more popular facts is that studies have shown that the activity of trampolining is one of the most beneficial methods to genuinely reduce cellulite – yes you heard me right REDUCES CELLULITE!With trampolining, the springs take away all the impact of the road (that you would get from running), and so as a result, the activity has been shown in tests to be 3 times more beneficial to you than running – so a ten minute bounce is the same as a half hour run. Other benefits include improvements in your sense of balance, cardiovascular health and firming and toning of your muscles.

Again most of all you will laugh smile and laugh your way through the class as it is such good fun! Want to read more about the benefits of gymnastics or trampolining then visit Springfit’s website www.springfit.org

If you are interested in one of these class then do not hesitate to drop Springfit an email on [email protected] or call them on 0203 478 0203.

Calling Local Young Talent

Graham Norton announces the winners Glee Club competition Glee Club final Glee Club finalistsThe search for the best Glee Club performers in the UK has begun and this year local young talent from Surrey are invited to enter this amazing event. Entries have opened for the 5th annual Jack Petchey Glee Club Challenge 2015.

The largest Glee Club competition in the UK has expanded to include Surrey to what has been a Greater London and Essex competition. Now even more young people will get the opportunity to ‘tread the boards’ and share a fantastic Glee experience.

The music and dance programme is aimed at young performers aged 11-25 years and offers a chance to win a share of £5,000 in prizes and perform at the World famous IndigO2 at The O2 Arena. The prestigious Grand Final takes place in March 2016.

TV’s Graham Norton is Patron of the Challenge and Chief Judge. He will once again head the judging panel at the spectacular Gala Final. He said “Every year I am moved by these young people. There is so much passion in their performances it brings a tear to the eye. They are a joy to watch and a real challenge to judge. Everyone should enter!”

Other celebrity patrons and judges include TV and West End personalities John Partridge, Tamzin Outhwaite, Brenda Edwards and Daniel Boys, as well as BBC Entertainment Correspondent Brenda Emmanus.

Over 2,500 performers have taken part in this fantastic competition since it launched in 2011. It’s a flagship programme of the Jack Petchey Foundation inspired by the hugely successful and award winning Glee TV series.

The Challenge is open to schools, youth clubs, drama and dance groups, friends with a passion for performing, established groups or those just starting out. The top 40 groups will be put through their paces at a series of boot camps and workshops by industry professionals to hone their performing skills.

Lee Thompson, Programme Director said “The Jack Petchey Glee Club Challenge just keeps getting bigger and better and it’s not just about attracting the best. We are looking for potential and the boot camps are designed to help groups improve their performance skills and confidence. So I would urge any group of young people with an interest in performing to take a look at the website and have a go. You never know you could be performing in front of 1,500 people next March!”

Talented performers from Surrey who make it through the early heats of the song and dance contest may be asked to perform at the Surrey regional final, due to take place at Tiffin Boys’ School, Kingston Upon Thames on Sunday 29th November.

Whoever you are The Jack Petchey Glee Club Challenge wants to hear from you. Entrants must be aged between 11 and 25 and groups must number between eight and 30 performers. So don’t stop believin’. Entry is absolutely FREE and couldn’t be easier just visit www.gleeclubchallenge.co.uk for further details. Closing date for entries is 25 September 2015

Miniature fleet of cars get spruced up in local car wash

Legoland's miniature fleet of cars get spruced up in local car washThe LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort’s famous LEGO® City Driving School is being expanded and improved this year. To ensure the miniature Fiat cars are in tip top condition when the Resort opens on Friday, 13 March a local car wash was called upon to give them a thorough wash and brush up.

The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort team were at Platts Car Wash in Marlow to give the tiny 72cm by 144cm cars (roughly 1/8 of the size of a small car) the full valet service – from vacuuming, to hand polishing and, of course, a full car wash.Legoland's miniature fleet of cars get spruced up in local car wash

“We have lots of new cars in the fleet this year in our bigger and better LEGO City Driving School. We want to make sure ALL our vehicles are in tip top condition when guests get behind the wheel in a couple of weeks,” explained Lauren Moss, Senior Press officer at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort “It may be a slow drive back to Windsor but these sparkling cars will definitely be on the test tracks in the new LEGO City area when we reopen.”

Legoland's miniature fleet of cars get spruced up in local car wash

Warwick Davis & Year 7 studentsActor Warwick Davis has visited Dunottar School in Reigate to talk to students about a charity, which he co-founded.

Little People UK aims to help people with dwarfism to build a positive future by offering them, and their families and friends, friendship and support.

Warwick, who is the charity’s patron, said: “Some people with dwarfism feel isolated and shy.  The charity helps to provide them with confidence.”

Little People UK, which will soon celebrate its third birthday, holds annual conventions, workshops, social events, help with grants, and provides support from doctors, physiotherapists and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators.

With a career spanning over three decades, Warwick is best known for his roles in WillowStar WarsHarry Potter films and most recently on our TV screens in Life’s Too Short, Doctor Who, An Idiot Abroad 3.  As founder and director of The Reduced Height Theatre Company, he was featured on the BBC’s Modern Times.


In a lively question and answer session, students quizzed him about his favourite part played (Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi); his funniest moments; his experience of being in Doctor Who (‘it had been my ambition for many years’); his favourite Harry Potter films (The Prisoner of Azkaban and Deathly Hallows Part 2), the last day of filming the final Harry Potter film, and the best part about being in Harry Potter (‘the privilege of bringing one of J.K. Rowling’s characters to screen and working alongside all those brilliant British actors’).  He also explained that he became an actor purely by chance.

After presenting the school with a signed copy of his book Size Matters Not, eager pupils queued up for photographs and autographs.

Charlie Kent & Warwick Davis
Smile please! Pupil Charlie Kent takes a selfie with Warwick

Head teacher, Rowena Cole, said: “It was brilliant for both staff and pupils to meet Warwick and to hear about his different experiences both on and off screen.  It was a really entertaining afternoon, but I also hope it will have reminded our pupils that, in a very image conscious world, it is important to look beyond the image to the person underneath; the fact that most of our pupils left school half an hour late to spend additional time with Warwick is testament to his warmth and the connection he was able to create.’

Warwick Davis and Lesley Moon

Staff get in on the act! Warwick and Accounts Assistant Lesley Moon


Unwillingly to School still 6 © Blue Sky UKLibraries to screen childrens film for Shakespeare WeekACE funding for family activities in libraries 16 – 22 March 2015

@ShakespeareWeek / #ShakespeareWeek 

“I’m convinced this programme will bring Shakespeare to life, inspire children and spark alifelong interest in our country’s favourite bard.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey

Public libraries are backing Shakespeare Week (16-22 March) with a new initiative for families to join in the national celebration of Shakespeare especially for children aged 5-11.  The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Libraries (ASCEL) have teamed up with Shakespeare Week to help library services bring the Bard to life for families and groups, thanks to an award from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts (Libraries Fund).

More than 1 million children are expected to take part in Shakespeare Week 2015, with their schools and families.  The celebration is run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in partnership with dozens of leading arts and heritage organisations to inspire a whole generation of children through Shakespeare’s stories, language and heritage.

The libraries line-up includes a brand new short film, about a young, ordinary boy, dawdling and daydreaming as his mum hustles him to get ready for school.  The boy, of course, is William Shakespeare, the world’s best known playwright, and the message of the humorous film is that every child can be extraordinary. Filmed on location where Shakespeare grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon (at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, his classroom at King Edward’s School, and his mother’s home at Mary Arden’s Farm), it features 9 year-old Noah George Mauchlen in his first public performance. The film, titled ‘Unwillingly to School’, will be available exclusively to libraries running Shakespeare Week events and activities.

More family-friendly library activities will include hunting for Shakespeare’s characters, mask-making based on the animals in Shakespeare’s plays, costume and set design challenges, and using a scroll to write your own play.  There will be a Shakespeare-themed pack for Chatterbooks, the UK’s largest network of children’s reading groups, from The Reading Agency.

Partners for Shakespeare Week 2015 – Celebrate in Libraries include the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL), Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and The Reading Agency.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said, “Libraries sit at the very heart of our communities so I can’t think of a better way to take Shakespeare to families across the country. I’m delighted that Arts Council England funding is being used to pull together such a creative line-up and I’m convinced this programme will bring Shakespeare to life, inspire children and spark a lifelong interest in our country’s favourite bard.”

Ciara Eastell, SCL President, said, “Public libraries are in the unique position of being free, central to their community, and holding millions of volumes of materials for inspiration, research and study. Libraries inspire people to learn more about what interests them and we are thrilled to be promoting Shakespeare Week to our customers. I hope library services will work with local arts and cultural groups to make Shakespeare Week 2015 really special.”

Jacqueline Green, Head of Learning and Participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, “This year we have extended Shakespeare Week to families with a new, dedicated section on the website full of ideas to encourage children and adults alike to continue their adventures with Shakespeare beyond the school gate. This project by our leading library partners, funded by Arts Council England, will really help us to give everyone the opportunity to have fun with Shakespeare – and perhaps reach a generation of parents who didn’t have the benefit of Shakespeare Week to give them a brilliant first encounter with our national playwright.”

Details of library events and activities for Shakespeare Week can be found at www.shakespeareweek.org.uk/events/

Libraries taking part in Shakespeare Week 2015 will also have the chance to win a family workshop session with Christopher Lloyd, co-author of ‘Wallbook of Shakespeare’, published in association with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Polesden Lacey hill roll 2After months of suspense, Polesden Lacey are celebrating as Guinness World Records have finally verified their attempt to have as many people as possible roll down a hill in one hour.

Last July, Polesden Lacey buzzed with excitement as visitors, volunteers and staff gathered in the sunshine in readiness to roll down the sloping South Lawn as quickly as possible, in an attempt to set the record. Now after almost 7 months of waiting, Guinness World Records have confirmed that Polesden Lacey do hold the world record for hill rolling.

Over 600 people rolled for the attempt, but over 30 were disqualified for not meeting Guiness World Records’ strict rules and guidelines. Ultimately, 570 people rolled to set the record. Staff at the site worked tirelessly to fulfil the official criteria for the record attempt, as set by Guinness World Records, and the event itself had to be witnessed by two independent witnesses, both qualified legal professionals.

‘We’re delighted!’ says Andrea Selley, General Manager, ‘This was our third attempt, so it feels great to have finally heard that we’ve been successful! We decided to organise this record attempt as a way to encourage local people to get together outdoors and have some fun, and hill rolling seemed like the perfect thing as it’s already something Polesden is well-known for.’

Rollers varied in age from as young as 5 to those in their 60s. Hill rolling is one of the National Trust’s 50 things to do before your 11 ¾ and the activity has always been a popular past time with Polesden Lacey’s younger visitors. Guiness World Records don’t allow children under 5 to take part in record attempts, but nevertheless little ones were still permitted to take part in their own Mini Roll event.

The ‘50 Things’ campaign was originally launched in response to the Natural Childhood report, which highlighted evidence of a long-term and dramatic decline in children’s relationship with the outdoors. The National Trust wants to encourage kids to get mucky, discover their wild side and get closer to nature. The popularity of the Hill Rolling challenge at Polesden Lacey just shows how much this has captured people’s imagination in Surrey.

Polesden programmes a variety of events for visitors of all ages. Apart from award-winning children’s trails, they also host a monthly walk for visitors over the age of 70 led by a volunteer. The popular Silver Strollers group meets on the first Friday of every month at 9.30am and is free to attend.

A film about Polesden Lacey’s record-setting hill roll in 2013

For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesdenlacey or call 01372 452048.

Otter on Ice1-Pip Bk release

The few nights of hard frost experienced at the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield in mid-Winter may have caused many to retreat indoors, but for some of the residents here it signalled fun to be had. Frozen ponds allowed the otter family to play, slip and slide in a riot of icy games of chase. Sometimes one could be seen running along the top of the ice while another swam underneath, the race only finishing when one caught the other or fell through the ice – great fun to watch!

Otters are one of the most popular of the forty of so native species that live at the British Wildlife Centre, and are also one of the animals featured in the Pip the Squirrel DVD, and now also in the brand new book produced to complement the programmes. Pip the Squirrel is a cheeky little chap who introduces younger children to the wonders of British wildlife through adventures and songs across six episodes. The new book contains fantastic photography of Pip’s friends with interesting facts and information designed to engage and inspire young children.

The Centre’s Founder, David Mills, commented; “Our hope is that Pip the Squirrel will delight and inspire young children to care about the amazing wildlife that lives in our own country. We all believe that children learn best while they’re enjoying themselves, and Pip certainly is full of fun!”

Pip Bk Fox page scanBoth the book and the DVD are currently on sale for an introductory offer of just £10.99 if purchased together and can be bought via the online shop at http://www.britishwildlifecentre.co.uk/bwc-onlineshop.html or at Pip’s own website http://pipthesquirrel.co.uk/Pip_the_Squirrel/Welcome.html or why not come along in person and enjoy watching the otters in their games? The Centre is open every weekend and public holiday of the year, and daily during the state school holidays.

expo1The Baby Show (www.thebabyshow.co.uk) with MadeForMums is the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event, and will be returning to ExCeL London from 20th to 22nd February 2015. The Show is a must-attend event for new and expectant parents providing everything needed for bump, baby and you including all the essentials, alongside the latest, innovative products and not-on-the high street brands. This year it will incorporate The Work & Family Show, which is dedicated to providing expert advice, solutions and ideas for managing work and family life, and helping to kick start careers after having a family.

The Baby Show highlights include:
• Over 200 trusted brands offering visitors the chance to thoroughly test and try before buying.
• Exclusive show offers and competitions from top parenting brands.
• The Baby Show stage will feature an array of leading experts, including nutrition specialist Annabel Karmel.
• Catwalk shows with all the latest fashions in maternity, baby and toddler wear.
• A complimentary crèche where parents can drop off their little ones and enjoy the Show knowing they are being cared for.
• The Baby Show Stars’ themed competition where the winning baby will be awarded a high end, exclusive photo shoot and entered into a grand finale to win a year-long modelling contract.
• Dedicated baby facilities ensuring visitors have everything they require, including The tommee tippee feeding area where parents will be able to take advantage of heating and sterilising equipment, complimentary baby food and a comfortable and private space for breast feeding. The Baby Changing Area also includes free nappies and wipes.
• Complimentary entry to The Work & Family Show exhibition.

expo2The Baby Show is taking place on Friday 20th, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd February 2015. For more information go to www.thebabyshow.co.uk. Standard tickets are priced at £20 and we have two pairs to give away…
Opening times:
Friday 20th February: 9.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday 21st February: 9.30am – 5.30pm
Sunday 22nd February: 9.30am – 5.30pm.

Y6 parents science lesson

Pupils at the Hawthorns School in Bletchingley have been getting creative with science during their annual Science Week.

They had the opportunity to take part in a range of activities during break-times and lessons, including ‘Colourful Chemistry’ lessons.  Year 5 pupils made coloured rock candy, Year 7 investigated diff

erent coloured flames and Year 8 tried out various methods of writing secret messages using invisible inks.  Even the parents took part in the lessons, with Year 6 parents and pupils carrying out experiments on thermochromatic paints, which change colour with heat.  Parents were also invited to join their children for an indoor firework show presented by pyrotechnician Matthew Tosh, who entertained with plenty of bangs and flashes. 

As part of Science Week, all the pupils from Year 3 to Year 8 took part in a ‘Science in a Box’ competition.  A huge amount of hard work and creativity went into the boxes, which included ‘How a Washing Machine Works’; ‘A Rainforest Habitat’; and ‘The Science of Poisons’.

No-where was the link between art and science more aptly demonstrated than by four former pupils (Jack Talbot, Paul Randall, George Parrington and Michael Clarke) who scooped first prize earlier this year in a ‘Royal Society of Chemistry Bill Bryson Competition’ in which pupils were asked to answer the tricky question, ‘Where is the art in science?’.  Out of 550 entries, the Hawthorns pupils won one of only four prizes, coming top in the Secondary category with their photographs of chemical reactions captured using a super-fast shutter speed camera.  The boys had the privilege of attending the recent prize-giving ceremony in London and meeting Bill Bryson, the author of ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’.

Jo Rogers, Head of Science, commented, ‘As well as demonstrating real creativity and depth of understanding in their own science projects, the pupils have been given many opportunities to be inspired by science this week, which I hope will foster a life-long fascination with the subject.’

d1New guide launched to help choose children’s books for reluctant readers and readers with dyslexia

A good book can bring a huge amount of joy, but for those children and young people who struggle with words, reading is often avoided.

To prevent them from losing heart and giving up altogether, the charity, Dyslexia Action, has teamed up with Barrington Stoke to create a guide to choosing children’s books, for reluctant readers and those with dyslexia.

The book guide includes books by top children’s authors Roald Dahl, David Walliams and Malorie Blackman and includes funny stories to read aloud and share at an early age, through to spine chilling horror titles to captivate teens.

Guide to encourage children to dive into reading

Drawing on their extensive knowledge of teaching young people who find reading hard, Dyslexia Action has chosen from a range of titles that offer an engaging plot or illustrations that enhance the story. The content of the books are also age and interest appropriate and presented in a clear and easily accessible way.

Helen Donovan Literacy Programme Manager at Dyslexia Action, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Barrington Stoke to give suggestions of books that motivate reluctant and dyslexic readers. Books can be intimidating for those that struggle with reading, we hope that this book guide will encourage them to ‘Dive In’ and explore an inspiring world of books”.

Speaking about the guide, Mairi Kidd, Managing Director at Barrington Stoke said: “We were keen to support Dyslexia Action on ‘Dive In’ because we know that many parents don’t know where to start looking for books when they have a child with dyslexia or a struggling or reluctant reader on their hands. The guide will help enormously, and also is a brilliant signpost to encourage parents to ask booksellers and librarians for advice.”

The guide also includes some useful tips about how to build and maintain a child’s enthusiasm for reading. Speaking about this Mrs Donovan said: “Ultimately, you need to find a book that interests your child, get them involved in choosing books – talk about subjects they like and look at fiction and non-fiction titles. If the subject is of interest then it makes the process much more fun.”

“But the titles listed in the guide are just the tip of the iceberg” added Mrs Donovan, “there are a huge number of suitable books available. So we’re going to be adding to the list on our website and encouraging people to send in suggestions of what has worked well for their children, so that even more children can start to build a love of reading.”

Top authors back the guide

“I’m delighted that one of my books has been chosen as part of Dive In, and also that such a cool book guide has been produced, with loads of great recommendations. Having heard from many fans with reading difficulties over the years, I know that every child CAN be reached and gently guided into the wonderful world of words. It often just takes a good recommendation or two to get them started and steer them to the sort of book that will entice them to overcome all obstacles and give reading a try. I hope Dive In will bring lots of new young readers into the ever-expanding universe of books.” Darren Shan

“I was a very reluctant reader until the age of 17. I wish I’d had something like Dive In back then. I’d have got into reading for pleasure a lot sooner. It’s an excellent guide and book list.” Tom Palmer

Copy available to download

To download a copy of the free book guide visit www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk or www.barringtonstoke.co.uk, printed copies of the guide will also be available from selected bookshops and libraries.

Dyslexia Action is a national charity with over 40 years’ experience in providing services and support to children, young people and adults with literacy and numeracy difficulties, dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties. Contact Dyslexia Action’s Egham Learning Centre for advice and information about the support they provide by calling 0300 303 8358 or emailing [email protected].