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.



More than 19 million people across East Africa are facing terrifying food shortages. Drought has caused crops to fail and cattle to die in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya - leaving millions facing starvation and desperately seeking a safe source of water. Brutal war in South Sudan has driven more than three million people from their homes and left millions more in need of emergency food.

  In Ethiopia an estimated 300,000 children will become severely acutely malnourished and 9.2m people are expected not to have a regular supply of safe drinking water.

  In Kenya 2.7m people are considered severely at risk due to drought.

  In Somalia, the number needing emergency food aid has risen to 6.2m, over 360,000 of these are children in urgent need of support.

  In South Sudan, ongoing conflict means that 7.5m people are in need of assistance. Half the country’s population are expected to be affected by extreme hunger by July - and famine has already been declared in parts of the country.

  Without immediate action, this crisis will get worse. We need to act now to save lives.

  £35 can ensure families have access to emergency food supplies.

  £60 can help provide families with clean, safe water to drink.

  £100 can buy life-saving hygiene kits to stop the spread of disease.

  Ways to donate:
 · Online by going to:
 · By credit or debit card on 0300 200 1300
 · Send a cheque payable to Oxfam to Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, OX4 2JY
 · Over the counter in any Oxfam shop


I was very kindly invited by The Grange charity in Bookham to attend the opening of their newly-refurbished building by Miss Joanna Lumley which took place on 8th March. Miss Lumley has been a patron of The Grange for over ten years, and the aim of the charity is to give support to people with disabilities to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives.

  Miss Lumley was utterly charming and beguiled us all with her warmth and compassion, and she showed great interest in the people she met and in the skills which were being taught. The tour included a brand new IT suite (complete with a 3D printer no less!); the catering department (the charity runs an on-site café and tea room); the horticultural department; the woodworking department; a new room for its fudge mini-business; the book order fulfilment room; the multimedia room and the Heritage room where textiles are made to sell in their own gift shop (they also sell cushions, bunting, rugs and personalised items for babies, children and sportspeople). ‘The Grange at No 5’ gift shop can be found at 5 Church Rd, Bookham, KT23 3PN and is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-12.15pm and 1.15-4pm. I for one will be placing my order for bunting for our summer ‘chez-nous’...!

Miss Lumley commented, “I love what they do at The Grange, its friendliness and supportiveness – it’s a flourishing community and helps not just people with disabilities but their families too. It’s sometimes hard to get recognition for people who need support so that they can live independent lives. I feel very passionate about preserving funding for adult social care.”

  Miss Lumley unveiled plaques to thank the charitable trusts, foundations and individuals who all helped to raise the £440,000 needed to make the Victorian building accessible to people with restricted mobility. This work includes widening the corridors, automatic doors and a brand new lift - no mean feat in an old building.

  PS: Miss Lumley mentioned how much she loved my checked jacket and red pashmina combo - ooh get me!

Zen George


Landlocked Ashtead may not be a natural place for an active and thriving sailing club, but the Surrey village was chosen more than 40 years ago as the location of the Channel Sailing Club by a group of sailors who lived in or nearby the area. Of course, most members' yachts are located on the south coast, principally in the Solent, where water-borne activities such as exciting racing and friendly cruises take place.

  The Channel Sailing Club is aimed at sailors of all abilities, from novices to salty sea dogs(!) and you don't have to own a boat to be a member. It aims to provide experience at sea and be a vital meeting point for people who either love sailing or want to learn. Many of the 170 members - who live far and wide - have gained RYA qualifications at the club, taught by its own accredited instructors.

  Low cost membership of just £30 a year is open to all those interested in sailing and navigation and newcomers are offered friendly guidance from an experienced member who can explain what goes on, answer any queries and help make introductions to other members.

  While there are about 50 members with boats, many people are happy to sign up as crew for lively racing and relaxed cruising events along the south coast. Sailing activities include:
• Social rallies, typically in 'home waters' that include a BBQ or dinner in a yacht club.
• Experience weekends which involve structured activities such as helming, mooring and safety awareness.
• A thrilling yacht racing programme run under a handicap system. We also help members join in non-club events such as the world famous Round the Island race.

  We also run at least one week-long cruise to France or the Channel Islands, allowing members to enjoy foreign ports.

  Learning is a key part of our activities and novice sailors are encouraged to sign up for shore-based and practical RYA qualifications to expand their nautical know-how. Courses include Dayskipper, Yachtmaster, First Aid, Radar, VHF Radio and Diesel Engine. 

  Social activities take place in our clubhouse on Wednesdays from 8pm and we also run a number of evening events including informal dinners, talks and a summer BBQ. We've just moved to beautiful new premises at Ashtead Cricket Club in Woodfield Lane, Ashtead KT21 2BJ.

  Come along to see why we are so successful!

  For more details visit our website


Established in 1919, Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) is a national charity aiming to provide employment, training and support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependents; as well as those with a disability or health condition and those who have been long term unemployed.

  RBLI’s social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC) directly employs more than 120 people, 60% of whom have a disability, or health condition. BBMC offers a range of products and services for both the public and private sector. All revenue is reinvested back into the company meaning that even more employment opportunities are available to those we aim to help.

  Our Leatherhead Factory employs 25 supported staff and specialises in Print design, digital and litho printing, envelope printing, direct Mail and fulfilment services as well as assembly services, not for just the print and the print finishing industry but also point of sale and all manner of manufacturing assembly production lines.

  We operate from a well-equipped modern factory and investment in our staff and the latest technology ensures that we maintain consistent high quality across all of our products. It is by doing this that we are able to compete in a commercial environment while supporting our staff in maintaining their independence.

  Our service comes highly recommended by both our commercial and charity customers. We take pride in our work along with the added bonus of providing support for our beneficiaries with each and every order we complete.

Why not give us a try, the factory is managed by Mark Leggatt, please give him a call (contact details below) to discuss any requirements or even better come and visit us to see the great services we offer.

  We provide a full comprehensive range of stationery and personalised print from business cards, brochures, magazines, order of service, wedding stationery, party invitations and much, much more. We also offer cost-effective, short print runs with the option for variable data to customise and personalise your documents. Ideal for bespoke marketing campaigns or personalised greeting cards. We can cover a wide range of print from posters, banners and backdrops, to menus, invites and leaflets. We have a strong client base, working with companies such as Kent County Council, Mole Valley District Council, Stihl, Vines BMW, Wates Homes and Denbies to name but a few.

  Mark Leggatt, Manager. Sharon Elliott, PR and Sales Marketing. Tel: 01372 389940. E:

  Royal British Legion Industries. Bradmere House, Brookway, Kingston Road , Leatherhead KT22 7NA


Many people love this time of year, with the snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils showing us the first signs of spring, their colour providing welcome relief from the bare stems and brown earth of winter.

  You may not know it, but by noticing these signs you are participating in the science of phenology, the study of natural events to mark the changing seasons. One resident of Ashtead has made a particularly important contribution to understanding the arrival of spring through her dedication to a magnificent oak tree on Bramley Way (pic right). Since 1947, Jean Combes has recorded the date of the oak coming into leaf to mark the arrival of spring each year. The oak leafing dates collected by Jean have provided a long and extremely valuable data series, enabling scientific studies on the changing of the seasons and data on this specific tree is used by the UK government as one indicator of climate change. In 2009, Jean was awarded an OBE for her services to phenology. To acknowledge the significance of the oak tree, Ashtead Tree Wardens have registered it on the Ancient Tree Inventory ( We have given it a name to make it feel loved - the Calendar Oak – and it has been nominated for our Tree of the Year competition. If there are other trees in Ashtead that you love, please let the Ashtead Tree Wardens know ( We would like to use our competition to find Ashtead’s “Favourite Tree”.

  You can find out more about Jean and her work and on phenology more generally on the Nature’s Calendar website ( managed by the Woodland Trust and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. More importantly, you can also make your own contribution to phenology by recording on the website the natural events that you yourself observe. The Nature’s Calendar survey relies on members of the public recording natural events, but in spring 2016 the network received the lowest number of records in the past ten years. It would be great if Local readers could help to turn this around and contribute to scientific understanding at the same time.

  In March this year the Woodland Trust marked Jean Combes’ 90th birthday and her 70-year contribution to phenology by planting a young oak in Ashtead cricket ground in her honour. It is called the Combes Oak and will be monitored from now on to record the date of bud burst every spring.

  Hilary Livesey, Ashtead Tree Warden  


Swimathon, the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim is back for 2017 and swimmers across the UK are being encouraged to jump in one of over 600 participating pools and raise vital funds for Marie Curie, the UK’s leading charity for people living with a terminal illness and their families.

  The event will take place across the weekend of 7th-9th April and is extra special this year as Swimathon will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.

  Swimmers can challenge themselves to the 5k, 2.5k or 1.5k Individual or Team 5k or 1.5k distances and raise funds for Marie Curie.

  Marie Curie Community Fundraiser, Emily Akeroyd, is encouraging people in Surrey to put on their swim suits and head down to their local pool to take in a Swimathon Challenge: “If you are unable to take part across the April weekend you can still join in by signing up for Simply Swim and completing a distance of your choice in your own time. All sponsorship raised will help our 13 nurses in Surrey continue supporting families who need us.”

  Local pools signed up for Swimathon this year are the Rainbow Leisure Centre (Epsom), Dorking Sports Centre and Leatherhead Leisure Centre.

  Marie Curie helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance. Last year, Marie Curie cared for and supported over 50,000 people affected by terminal illness across the UK.

  If you have questions about terminal illness, need support or just want to talk, call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 090 2309. It’s for anyone affected by terminal illness, including family and friends.

  For further information about Swimathon including how to sign up visit: