Don’t forget, you can pick up a copy of The Ashtead & Leatherhead Local magazine from Ashtead and Leatherhead libraries, as well as the customer service desk of Sainsbury’s Leatherhead.



Fund Raising Friends raise money for local children’s charities and with the help of family, many friends and local business 2015 proved to be a very rewarding one.

  Back in January 2015 we held a very successful first Quiz Night with Supper and Raffle for the Charity Reach supporting children with upper limb deformities.

  In June our Annual Summer lunch supported the Charity Momentum who look after terminally ill children and their families.

  November saw Bocketts Gift Fair kindly sponsored by the Gowing family in the Old Barn at Bocketts Farm . There were several interesting stalls, a Grand Raffle and Bric a Brac stall producing a wonderful result and some much deserved funds for the Dorking Charity MY TIME for young carers.

  In December in partnership and with the kind permission of the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music and the exceptional talents of their pupils we organised a Gala Concert in aid of Cherry Trees, the charity who provide outstanding respite care for severely disabled children and young people. The evening was a magical one, the individual performances were outstanding and the school choir sang some beautiful carols including the Cherry Tree Carol. The Raffle with some outstanding prizes produced a record breaking result.

  Last year we raised over £10,000 for these four Charities but this would not have been possible without the support and sponsorship from many local businesses, our huge network of friends and family. We would like to thank everyone that has been involved, this support has ‘made a difference’ to many children’s lives.

  May we take this opportunity of wishing you all a very Happy Fund Raising New Year.   Linda Giles Secretary    


Every March, thousands of people take to the streets to collect donations for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal. Marie Curie is calling for more volunteers to help them in 2016 by signing up to collect at one of the 100 collections across Surrey. Most shifts are for two hours and it’s a great thing to do with a friend or family member as most places allow two people to collect at a time, dogs are also welcome!

  The money raised will go to Marie Curie’s Nursing Service, providing hands on care and emotional support to people with any terminal illness in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. Marie Curie provides this care free of charge, allowing people to spend their final days at home surrounded by the people and things they love the most. It comes at a cost of £20 per hour to the charity.

  If you can help with collections please get in touch with Emily Akeroyd on 01883 832642, email or visit      


Refurbishment of Mole Valley District Council offices at Pippbrook got underway during week commencing 11th January.

  It is anticipated that the refurbishment will take just under a year to complete and will be carried out in four phases. The first phase has entailed the provision of temporary toilets in the grounds of the Pippbrook offices whilst the current facilities are refurbished. The pathway to the side of the offices will be used to provide storage for the contractors and a temporary pathway is being created for pedestrians.

  Disabled parking for Council business is provided in the visitor car park.

  Councillor Charles Yarwood, Executive Member for Property and Parking said: “The programme of works will enable MVDC to reduce the running costs of the Pippbrook offices and increase the energy efficiency of the building. Various elements such as the roof and plant are long overdue for replacement, and the internal space will be re-organised to allow greater opportunities for partnership working. All of this will help to ensure that MVDC has offices that are fit for purpose in the longer term which will enable us to deliver cost-effective services for the benefit of our residents.

  It is expected that the Pippbrook offices will remain open throughout the refurbishment. Whilst there may be some noise at certain times of the day, this will be kept to a minimum and we do not anticipate any major disruption to services during this time.”    


The district saw a record number of people from across the South East flock to see over 100 exceptionally creative arts events as part of the 21st Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival in September and October. Attendance has grown annually, with this year’s festival attracting an astounding 21,000 visitors; 8,000 more than the previous year.   The festival is organised in partnership with Mole Valley District Council and a committee team of volunteers who have interests across the arts. This year’s packed diary of performances and events proved to be as fresh and varied as ever, ensuring there was something for everyone to participate in the full range of activities on offer including dance, music, comedy, literature, poetry and much, much more.   An accurate measure of the festival’s success is highlighted by the comments and ratings included in numerous evaluation forms returned by attendees of events. A fantastic 97% of respondents rated the event they attended as either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ and the evaluation forms were filled with a varied array of positive comments from people expressing their appreciation.   Examples of comments received on the evaluations forms included “Great festival. The arts are alive in Mole Valley”, “Well done Mole Valley”, “An excellent event. I’m really impressed by the commitment to Arts Alive in Mole Valley” and “Arts Alive & Mole Valley Heritage Open Days are events Mole Valley can be proud of.”   Councillor Lucy Botting, Executive Member for Wellbeing, said, “Arts Alive gets bigger and better every year, and 2015 was no exception. We are absolutely delighted with the increased attendance and enthusiastic feedback this year’s event created. Fantastic festivals and events held in Mole Valley helps improve the health and wellbeing of anyone attending, experiencing that special ‘feel-good’ factor when learning a new skill or taking part in group singing or a demonstration. The added interest and number of people the festival brings into our towns and villages also provides a boost to our local economy when they use our car parks and come to local pubs, shops and restaurants.”   The Arts Alive committee are already looking forward to next year. If you have been inspired by this year’s festival and would be interested to help build on its success, you can join the committee. To register your interest, please email For more information, please visit either or  


After what has been a very wet Winter (at time of writing) we all look forward to dryer, warmer days of Spring and summer. Many thanks to Zen George for the opportunity to tell you a little about ourselves.

  We think that many of you are saying “who are they?” Others may have met us in 2015 when we carried out a Patient Survey on behalf of the Practice during our Meet and Greet sessions in the Linden House Leatherhead and Gilbert House Ashtead, surgeries. To answer the first question – who are we? the PPG is a Committee of ten made up of patients from both surgeries with the aim to form a link between patients and the Practice to see if we can suggest improvements to enable the Practice to be more efficient and “user friendly”.

  The results of our Patient Survey showed that the vast majority of patients were very satisfied with every aspect of the Practice and naturally, those concerned were delighted to hear that. A few topics were raised, including the appointments system and the PPG, along with the Practice, are looking at all of your comments and we will report back on this during 2016.

  If you would like to see a copy of the results, you can look at the PPG section on the Practice Website (, see it posted on the PPG notice boards in each surgery (didn't know we had one I hear you say!) or email the PPG Secretary on and a copy will be emailed to you.

  During 2015, we held two Open Meetings to which all AshLea Medical patients were invited. This enabled us to go into greater depth to let patients know not only what is involved in running the Practice from the Doctors' point of view but also what the PPG achieved during the year and the plans we have for the future.

  Our next Open Meeting is on Thursday, 14th April 2016 at the Old Chapel, St John's School, Leatherhead at 7.30pm. We will be updating you on the latest PPG and Practice news followed by a talk by a speaker from the Princess Alice Hospice.

  Thank you for your support and interest.

  If you would like to receive regular updates or would like to become involved with the PPG, do please email us on: and your details will be added to our system. NB: All emailed information is sent by “undisclosed recipient”.  


So, Christmas and New Year has come and gone. I hope that you all managed to enjoy the occasion and that 2016 will be a happy and positive year for you all. Some of you may have made some resolutions for the New Year? Also, many resolutions may have already been abandoned – or is that just me??!!

  One resolution I intend to keep in my work life, however, is to try to communicate appropriate, realistic and cost-effective crime reduction advice to as many people as possible.

  This column enables me to communicate with quite a lot of people - which is great, as I am always aware that internet access is not used by everyone across our communities. Yes – we do speak with the local press and Surrey Police has also embraced the use of modern technology via Facebook and Twitter but there is still a need for written communication, face-to-face and telephone contact.

  I am always happy to visit anyone who has any concerns about the security of their home, property and/or their personal safety. My direct telephone number is 01483 630809 and, if I am not around to answer, please leave me a message with your contact details and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you do use email, I can also be contacted at

  During 2015, I was able to carry out over 180 home security surveys, only a few of which were for people who had actually been victims of a burglary. I often feel that, when I am asked to review security at a home that has actually been burgled, I am arriving “after the horse has bolted.” It is so much more positive to give advice and suggest things that can help deter criminals from targeting a home in the first place.

  I have also been able to give presentations and informal talks to several groups; including residents’ associations, victim support volunteers, local businesses and sheltered accommodation homes. Although it is impossible to measure if a crime has actually been prevented, I hope that this work has contributed in some measure to making Mole Valley the “safest” district within Surrey? It would be nice to think so!

  None of the advice I give is intended to increase the fear of crime. Rather, it is intended to help people to feel even safer in their own homes and communities.

   Neil Clarke, 13363 Crime Reduction Advisor - Eastern Division PO Box 101, Guildford, Surrey GU1 9PE

  To contact Neil Clarke direct, please call: Tel:  101 Extension 30809 or 01483 630809 / 07467 3367783 or email:

  Call 101 for all non-emergency policing matters.

  Call 999 if you have a genuine emergency requiring the attendance of the police (e.g. a crime is in progress or someone is in immediate danger). Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have information about crime and don't want to leave your name. For more crime prevention advice visit  


Link Group meets at St. George’s Church in Ashtead and welcomes women to its meetings on the second Thursday of each month at 8pm and has been very pleased to have had several new members recently.

  2015 was another successful year of fun and fellowship, listening to interesting speakers and enjoying a particularly memorable outing to celebrate the anniversary of Magna Carta. This involved a boat trip from Runnymede and a Flower Festival at Royal Holloway College.

  Alongside these activities we have undertaken our regular fund-raising, through raffles at our meetings, produce stalls and an Alice in Wonderland summer Tea Party. Our chosen charity was the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.

  In December we welcomed their representative, Dennis Champion, to our meeting to receive a cheque from us for £1500. When an Air Ambulance arrives at an incident it has been described as the arrival of a mobile life-saving A&E unit. A very worthwhile service which any of us might need at some time.

  Ann Goulder  


Polesden Lacey’s ‘Long Walk’ is due for major pruning work.

  The yew hedge that runs the length of the Long Walk at Polesden Lacey is due for major pruning work. Plans will reduce the size of the hedge and set it back from the path by several meters.

The Long Walk is a grassy promenade that runs the length of the hillside with stunning views looking out across a gentle valley to the rolling Surrey Hills beyond. Over 400m in length, the promenade is framed by a carefully sculpted box hedge on one side and by the much taller yew hedge on the other.

  As the yew has flourished over the past decade, it has slowly begun to encroach upon the promenade. This has meant greater wear and tear on the turf area of the path itself and a restricted view down to the stone colonnade, losing the sense of drama offered by this majestic landscape feature. “We plan to cut right back to encourage dormant buds to leaf,” says Tony Gregory, Polesden Lacey’s Gardens and Countryside Manager. “Luckily, yew is one of the few evergreen conifers that regenerates through old wood. So, while it may look drastic at first, we anticipate that the hedge will show strong signs of regeneration by the end of the season in 2016. Meanwhile, we’re allowing the turf a chance to recover and opening up that view once more.”

  The hedge, which runs for almost a third of a mile, will be trimmed by a tractor-mounted cutting blade. A core of garden volunteers will then lead a large-scale clearance operation to gather up the trimmings, which will then be chipped into compost and used across the gardens.

  The Long Walk will be re-opened to visitors again when the turf path has had sufficient time for recovery, which the garden team hope will be as soon as Easter.

  Pruning the hedge is part of Polesden Lacey’s wider conservation management plan, which encompasses major work in the gardens as well as out on the estate and in the house itself. The conservation management plan also includes the coppicing of over 10,000 m² of hazel and the clearance of 30,000 m² of holly on Ranmore Common.

  The Long Walk was originally designed in the early 19th century after the estate was bought by poet Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1804.

  For more information about conservation at Polesden Lacey visit or call 01372 452048.