Sunday, 14 December 2014

Kids Find Treasure At Sainsbury's

Readers (particularly those with children) may recall that Friday's Christmas Late Night included a local church themed treasure hunt.

Many young eyes were apparently spotted examining shop windows with a slightly longer attention span that usual - all in the hope of filling their sheets up with the names of shops displaying various local church pictures and winning a selection box from Sainsbury's, Worcester Park.

Treasure hunt organiser Richard Johnson has asked that thanks to be passed on to all those who took on the challenge, all the traders who supported the quiz and the Sainsbury’s Local team, (pictured and from left to right, Kat, Samy, store manager Dennis and Sunkyo), who provided not only the headquarters for the quiz but also supplied all the treasure hunt prizes.

According to Richard, (as is perhaps evident from the photo), the Sainsbury’s team threw themselves into the spirit of the occasion and probably had as much fun as the kids doing the quiz.

For those still scratching their heads and wondering as to the identity of all 76 shops featured, here’s a handy comprehensive, alphabetical list of all our local traders who kindly supported the event and placed one of the treasure hunt pictures in their windows:
  • Amor Beauty 
  • AMS Ophthalmic Opticians 
  • Amy Nails Manicurists 
  • B R Fencing & Son 
  • Barnard Marcus Estate Agents 
  • Beds Sofas and Furniture 
  • Beds To Go 
  • Broadway Bargains Haberdashery 
  • Bronco's Bar-B-Q & Ribshack 
  • Camera Continental Photographic 
  • Central Locksmiths 
  • Central Plumbing Supplies 
  • Chubby’s Kebab 
  • Clarks Shoes 
  • Classic Wok 
  • Computer Surgery 
  • Connor Prince Estate Agents 
  • Coversure Insurance Services 
  • Cromwells Estate Agents 
  • Cut & Blend Barbers 
  • Cycle Power Bike Store 
  • Dawson Aerial Service 
  • Deb N Hair Hair Technicians 
  • Designer Kitchen Studio 
  • Dual Tools Hire & Sales 
  • Fowlers Stationery & Cards 
  • Frederick W Paine Funeral Services 
  • Fulham Timber Merchants 
  • Garner's Funeral Services 
  • Geranium Shop 
  • Golden Images 
  • Graham Lee Carpets 
  • Greggs the Bakers 
  • H & T Pawnbrokers 
  • Haart Estate Agents 
  • Hair by Fiko Barbers 
  • Halifax Worcester Park 
  • Hendy's Jewellers 
  • Household & Toy Warehouse 
  • Jolley's Newsagent 
  • Klass Hair Salon 
  • Launderette of Central Road 
  • London & Surrey Gas Services 
  • Marie Curie Cancer Care 
  • Megabyte Computers 
  • Moonlight Unisex Hair Salon 
  • More Than Lofts 
  • My Travel Expert 
  • Nat West Worcester Park 
  • Nationwide Worcester Park 
  • Pet's Place 
  • Prestige Dry Cleaners 
  • Preview Menswear 
  • Princess Alice Hospice 
  • Quality Dry Cleaners 
  • R. Woodfalls Optometrists 
  • Redgwell's Sewing Machines 
  • Ross Fruiterers 
  • Royal British Legion Worcester Park 
  • Sainsbury's Worcester Park 
  • Santander Worcester Park 
  • Sole II Sole Shoe Repairs 
  • St. Raphael's Hospice 
  • Stitch Express 
  • Stitch Right 
  • Sue Ryder Care 
  • Sularis Tanning Salon 
  • The Classic Hairstylist 
  • The Conservatory Florist 
  • The Tops Salon 
  • Thomas Cook 
  • Toy Shed Toy Shop 
  • Winkworth Estate Agents 
  • Woodward Brothers Meats 
  • Worcester Park Charcoal Grill 
  • Worcester Spark Electricals.
Thanks also to Richard for organising the event!

Help Maddie Reach Vietnam

While wandering around last weekend trying to take in as many of the Christmassy delights on offer in Worcester Park, I happened upon a small stall within the Christchurch with St Philip Christmas Fair where a young girl guide was trying to raise money for a trip to Vietnam. Being of the nosey-parker variety, I asked what this was all about...

Maddie Taylor, the girl in question, was the youngest girl to be chosen to join a group of guides to be part of a Girlguiding LaSER Trip to Vietnam in July 2015. This will not be a holiday. Whilst there she will be helping to paint and decorate an orphange and will be teaching in a local Vietnamese children's centre.

Maddie is with the 2nd Worcester Park Guides which meet at Christ Church with St. Philip on Monday evenings. She was chosen out of thousands of girls and was the only girl to be selected from her unit. She is currently in Year 8 at Cheam High School and will be 14 when she leaves for Vietnam next July.

Maddie needs to raise £2,800 to cover the cost of the 17 day trip trip. To raise the money, Maddie has already organised several fundraising projects including:
  • Selling sweets at Guides
  • Bag packing at her local supermarket. 
  • Designing and making a challenge badge that will be sent to various districts for them to sell. 
  • A cake sale at her school. 
  • A quiz night on 17th January 2015 to be held at the church. 
  • A disco in February 2015 for the local Brownies and Rainbows.
Maddie added:
"I can’t wait for the experience to begin and being able to help others who perhaps do not have the opportunities that I have. I feel that I would be inspirational in speaking to others, particularly on how Girl Guiding has helped me gain confidence and also given me an awareness of others around me and spreading the word that girls matter.

All I am asking is if it would it be possible for you to help me out in any way – would you be able to provide some of the funding costs, provide any suitable kit or donate a raffle prize towards my quiz night? Anything that can help me reach my target, would be gratefully received.

If you would like to support me please send any raffle prizes, kit or donations (which should be made payable to 2nd Worcester Park Guides) to my Guide Unit at: 2nd Worcester Park Guides, Christchurch with St. Phillips, Ruskin Drive, Worcester Park. KT4 8LG or donations onto my just giving page"
I am very keen to see these sorts of trips being undertaken. Having travelled myself, both as a child and a young adult I have seen first hand how such experiences really do help people to grow and mature. To say they 'broaden one's outlook' is a huge understatement. When I arrived back in the UK after three and half months backpacking around Europe, my grandparents thought I looked taller. And on my first trip back to Australia after moving to the UK in 1997, a friend of mine remarked, "You've been gone two years and come back 10 years older".

And of course over and above the benefits to Maddie of such a trip, will be the benefits to the children in Vietnam she is helping to improve the lives of.

So please help if you can in the various ways that Maddie has suggested. And also please help support groups like the Scouts and Guides, all of whom help our kids to be better people not only through programs like this but through the many activities and experiences they give them. They are all run by volunteers and could all use an extra hand.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Festivities Part III - Hamptons Christmas Tree Lights Switch On

At the top of the hill in the Hamptons, visible apparently from parts of Central Road - although I haven't yet checked this, stands a large Christmas tree with lights that were officially switched on this evening.

The crowds started to gather at 5:30 around the darkened tree where they were offered mulled wine and mince pies and entertained by the Grace Church Choir singing carols accompanied by an accordionist.

Around 20 minutes later Sutton's Mayoral car reached the top of the hill and The Mayor (Cllr Arthur Hookway) and Mayoress (Mrs Sue Hookway) got out. The Mayor proceeded to speak to the crowd (making a special effort to keep the children entertained), thanked the many people who had contributed to the occasion, and then after a countdown switched on the lights to great applause.

Um... that's about it really.

Update (14th December)

'Tis true. This picture was taken from Central Road opposite the top of Brinkley Road...

Festivities Part II - Craft Market

Today was once again market day for Central Road with regard to crafts and local produce. There were a good few stalls around and while it didn't appear to be 'heaving' one of the stallholders told me it picked up a bit in the afternoon. It was actually her first time as a stall holder in Worcester Park - in fact she was rather new to the game. The Green Cakery was her business however the slice of cake I had was rather brown and chocolatey - and quite delicious.

Festivities Part I - Christmas Late Night

Christmas Late Night came and went again with a bang (just like a giant balloon we brought home did in the middle of the night.)

This year the majority of the fairground style rides were in the Stone Place car park section behind Iceland. Last year we didn't really do the rides (WP Junior being a bit too young and me being a bit too skint) so didn't really notice the prices. But boy did I notice them this year. £2.50 for some of the rides...

Even so I did rather like the original hand cranked Merry-Go-Round outside KFC (as did my young companion.)

Anyway to cut a long story short - there was lots of stuff to do and like most people, we went around and did lots of it and had a good time. Below are a few pictures to augment this a little...

While once again it was brilliantly organised by the Worcester Park Traders' Association, it's a shame more of the local traders didn't take part. Had every shop been open and participating in some way, it just would have raised it up those few notches more. Still, I think (and hope) those that did benefited from being part of this wonderful community initiative.

Friday, 12 December 2014

All Over Bar The Waiting

Well that's it. The inspector has been and seen, questioned and heard. The fate of 2-4 Green Lane (and the surrounding area) now rests in his hands and in the evidence we have all presented since the beginning of the Mosque appeal in April.

The people of Worcester Park have certainly done themselves proud. Maple Lodge was packed this morning - on a week day. It was standing room only for many at the back. And this is after the inspector had stated on a previous day that the audience at most inquires tend to peter out after the first few days. We certainly showed him our strength of feeling directly through our presence.

The day opened as usual with the normal bits and pieces of procedural double checking. The appellant's advocate was back again but their planning consultant was not. There were many muttered apologies from the appellant's side for their general unprofessionalism and eventually we got onto the summing up.

Our side spoke first - that is the Council's advocate, who put the case across very well and at one point received a spontaneous applause from the audience, who were told by the inspector that this was not appropriate.

Then the other advocate summed up the appellant's case. Several points were challenged by our side, particularly regarding the what some may describe as misleading language being used. For instance, it was claimed that we had conceded several points when the reality was that these were points that we had never disputed.

After all of this came the outline of costs that each side would want to claim - hopefully the council will be awarded the full costs which are being asked for. And then there came the site visit.

A small group of us walked briefly around Maple Lodge and up Green Lane to the school and then down Green Lane. We wandered past the site, having a quick look at the proposed bicycle parking area and down to the station. I suggested we walk over the new footbridge so the inspector could get a better view of the overall area from the top.

I would like to go into more detail about what was discussed and noted, however at this point it may be considered prejudicial to the case so I must keep schtum for the moment.

We walked back up Central Road and into Stone Place car park - packed as usual. Then out into Windsor Road and back down Central Road to the site, while taking a quick look at the side streets on the way down.

We were met at the site by one of the appellants - the gentleman who had spoken for them at the previous hearing day. We had a look through the building and then around the outside including the garage and then at the residence next door.

That really drew it to a close with the inspector choosing to walk by himself up Longfellow Road to get back to Maple Lodge.

Now we must wait for the official decision which will certainly not come before the new year.

I feel we have all, as in the whole community, worked very hard to make our case. No mater what the outcome I don't know what more we could have done. I just hope, as I'm sure most people reading this do, that the inspector makes the right decision that the vast majority of the community clearly want.

Now we wait.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Christmas Late Night Children's Quiz

As well as the conclusion to the Green Lane Mosque appeal, the other big thing happening tomorrow is of course Worcester Park's great big annual Christmas Late Night.

As well as the normal Central Road Christmas extravagansia, brought to you in the wake of April’s 'Easter Egg Hunt' and August’s ‘Commonwealth Games Quiz' the final piece of this years children's quiz trilogy is a Christmas Treasure Hunt, this time supported by Sainsbury’s (at the top of Central Road, Worcester Park) and will be taking place during the Christmas Late Night festivities. Sainsbury’s store manager Dennis Benjamin has kindly agreed to supply 100 Selection Packs to the first 100 local children to finish the quiz.

To give this both a Christmas and local theme, the organiser, local resident Richard Johnson took photos, external and internal, of all five Worcester Park churches: Christ Church with St. Philip, St. Matthias Catholic Church, Worcester Park Baptist Church, Cuddington’s St. Mary the Virgin and Old Malden’s St. John the Baptist.

Sixty pictures (small versions shown here) will be in the windows of the local shops, between Worcester Park Railway Bridge and extending up the hill (including Windsor Road), as far up as Christ Church with St. Philip in Cheam Common Road. You may have already spotted a few during your wanderings in the high street.

All local children are welcome to take part. To enter on the night, they will be able to pick up a form from Sainsbury’s (Worcester Park - top of Central Rd - remember!), to record the names of the local shops where they have found one of the pictures. Once the form is complete, upon returning it to Sainsbury’s, they will each receive a Cadbury’s Selection Pack. All you need to bring along is a pen or pencil.

Richard explained that:
"The intention is to provide another activity for younger residents and give families an added incentive to explore the high street and the activities that will be taking place on the night."
He highlighted that they won’t be expected to find all sixty, but that as weather is a question mark, the number will depend on how dry and mild the evening is. The idea is for the local kids to have a bit of fun, without making the quiz too easy.

The treats will be handed out at Sainsbury’s (Worcester Park) to the first 100 children who complete the quiz or until 9pm (whichever happens sooner)… So to ensure you get a selection box, pick up an entry form at Worcester Park Sainsbury’s soon after the late night begins at 6pm.

End Of An Appeal

As most readers are already aware, tomorrow (Friday 12th December) is the final day for the current Green Lane Mosque appeal hearing. This appeal which began over a year ago is almost certain to finish tomorrow as it is only the final summing up of the case by both sides. No new information may be introduced.

This will begin at 10am and this time is being held in Maple Lodge in the Hamptons (pictured below). This is a public event so please feel free to come along and listen to both sides as they sum up their arguments for and against the proposal. A good turnout will also show the inspector exactly how important this issue is to local people.

This final summing up will be followed by an official site visit so the inspector can see for himself the extent of traffic and parking problems in the area. This will be a walk around the area, probably starting around 11:30 and continuing for 2-3 hours. The reason for the timing of this is so the inspector can see what the area is like during the Friday lunchtime prayers, the time each week when the proposed Mosque would be most likely full to capacity.

There will be a limited group of people walking with the inspector which consists of the officials from both sides plus one representative of the people who spoke at the hearing on each side. Those who have spoken against the proposal have kindly asked me to represent them during this walk around so I shall have an opportunity to point out to the inspector the lack of available parking spaces in Green Lane, Central Road and the other roads off these roads and in the overall area nearby. We will also look at Stone Place car park to asses parking availability there and of course will be making a note of the volume of traffic in the area overall.

The appeal would have concluded at the last day of the hearing on Wednesday 19th November if the appellant's advocate and planning consultant hadn't resigned the previous day, leaving no one to do the summing up. However it does at least mean that the people of Worcester Park don't need to travel far to see how this appeal is concluded.

The final decision of the inspector will come several weeks later and everyone who has played an active role in this overall process should be sent a copy of this once the inspector has weighed up all the evidence and seen the situation for himself.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bronco's Open

It's open! Bronco's, the family restaurant that everyone has been waiting for with mouth watering anticipation has this very morning thrown open it's doors.

The ex Al Jenat site which has been transformed since the summer began trading this morning, welcoming in mothers (and other parents and guardians) with young children to enjoy a coffee, sandwich, pasta, icecream and other lunchy nibbles while the kids go wild in the new soft play area at the back.

One of the owners, Lee, has asked me to remind people that the hot grill, i.e. the burgers, ribs ect. will only be available after 5pm on weekdays and all day at weekends. The aforementioned lunch menu is available during weekdays until 5.

Bronco's is a local independent business that is now employing dozens of people, 90% of whom are local. So don't be shy - go along and support this business because at the end of the day the local community will benefit if it does well.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Popup Shop Taking Shape

A few evenings ago, while enjoying the samples of Vin Bin wines at Maple Lodge in the Hamptons, I got chatting with a couple of fellow tasters. I already knew Dan as vice chair of the Hamptons residents' association but I was also introduced to his wife, Kim who it seemed had just sent me an email.

(Actually I chatted with quite a few very pleasant people but this story begins with this conversation.)

Kim is the assistant manger at the Kingston clothing emporium Taking Shape and it seems she will be hosting a Taking Shape Popup Shop (they're all the rage these days) in the very same Maple Lodge this coming Saturday and Sunday.

Taking Shape was originally an Australian company which now has 160 stores across Australia, New Zealand and the UK and specialise in sizes 14-26.

Having originated in Australia myself it is nice to see an Aussie brand doing well. It turned out that Kim and Dan were also ex-pats from the big old country down under although that didn't have anything to do with Kim working for the company over here.

Either way, if you are looking for some fashion ideas, like the look of Taking Shape and are free this weekend, you only need to pop into Maple Lodge in the Hamptons to have a look at what Kim and the Taking Shape team have to offer.

They'll be open from 10am until 5pm both days.