Monday, 28 July 2014

Convicted Robber On The Run

A Convicted Robber used a hospital visit to run from the police yesterday.

Jamie Halifax who was arrested for burglary while hiding in his parents' loft in Thames Avenue in the Hamptons on the 2nd October last year was taken from Lewes Prison to Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton late on Saturday night/Sunday morning when he ran from officers and fled the hospital at 12.40am Sunday.

Mr Halifax is still waiting to be sentenced following his conviction at Brighton Crown Court on 5th June for a burglary at a hairdresser’s in Central Road and possession of an offensive weapon on the 5th September last year. He was also wanted for failing to appear at Croydon Magistrates Court on 12 September 2013 on a charge of having an offensive weapon in Kimpton Road, Sutton, on 31st July last year.

All in all it would seem Mr Halifix is a very naughty boy. He is white, 5ft 8in tall, slim, has cropped brown hair and is heavily tattooed.

Police have advised members of the public not to approach Mr Halifax if they see him but to call 999 immediately. If you have any other information about his whereabouts, you can call police on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Good Luck To Our Cricketers


Guess who's in today's finals of the the Surrey Champioinship Twenty20 knock out cup? Only our own Worcester Park Division 2 side!

As Ben Davies of the club told the blog:
"The competition included all the clubs from the premier division and the other five divisions of the championship, and for us to get to the final is a little bit like a club the size of Brentford or Leyton Orient getting to the FA Cup final."
The finals are being played today at Banstead Cricket Club and Worcester Park are playing in the first semi final vs Ashtead at 10.30am. The winner of that game will play in the final later this afternoon at 4.15pm.

So if your morning or afternoon could be pepped up by a little cricket, head on over to Banstead and cheer the side on - to victory!

Update (Later in the day)

Sad news. Unfortunately Worcester Park were all out for 74 chasing Ashtead's total of 145. Ashtead then went on to win the Surrey T20 cup beating Sunbury - so congratulations to them.

It was a terrific effort by Worcester Park in reaching the semi final. Well done to the team for reaching this milestone. May it point the way to greater things to come.


Friday, 25 July 2014

25 Years Of Karate














Senseis Marcus Papadopoulos
and Nigel Bullard
Back on the 12th of February, Worcester Park Karate Club, which meets on Wednesday nights at the hall in Cheam Common Junior School, celebrated their 25th anniversary. They asked me to come along to help mark the occasion with a few photos and a write up on the blog which I was happy to do. However instead of taking a few shots I started taking a bit of video and before long realised I was going to have to make a short video for the occasion instead.

This was all very well but editing video takes rather a long time and soon after this occasion (some of you may have noticed) I became rather involved in a local council election (as indeed was chief instructor, Sensei Dr Marcus Papadopoulos). Since then I have had to return to full time work (some may have noticed a slight drop in blog activity) in order to pay the bills. All this has meant that I have taken a few months longer than I would have liked to fulfil my promise to get this up and posted. However, I have finally managed to finish it off (in between numerous other things) and here it is. Apologies for the delay.

In addition to the 25th anniversary, three white belts (Della, Rachel and Zoe) were having their first grading. I have included this as part of the story of the night...



The Worcester Park Karate Club is the oldest karate club in South London. The youngest student at the club is 4 years old while the oldest is 64. Both Sensei Dr Marcus Papadopoulos and Sensei Nigel Bullard are volunteers. When the club was set up in 1989, the attendance fee was £1 per student, pay-as-you-go. Today, in 2014, that fee is £4. The attendance fee goes towards paying for the rent of the hall at Cheam Common Junior School. You can find more information on their website here.

If you would like to find out even more, or better still get involved, contact Sensei Marcus Papadopoulos on 07972 374 529 or email him on editor@firstpublishing.org.

The photos here were taken by Ian Bullard.

All Change At Waitrose


A few nights ago I popped into Waitrose and got a bit of a surprise! It had been a couple of weeks since I'd been in and the whole front area was different. For those who haven't already seen this it's now become more like a reception area with a hotel style desk. All the magazines have been moved away (down to where the cards are - near the wine.) Alterations were implemented during the night over the course of a week and were finished around two weeks ago now.

"Whoopy Doo" I hear you say, "Is that the standard of WP Blog news these days...?..." Well there's a bit more to the story...

As of September, Waitrose will become one of the John Lewis 'Click and Collect' collection points and this renovation was partially to have convenient place for people to collect their John Lewis orders from. There still doesn't seem to be a great wealth of information about this newish concept on the interweb but Waitrose has a bit about it here and John Lewis has a bit here. The whole idea is that you will be able to place an order with John Lewis and instead of either having to trek down to Kingston or pay for delivery to your home at a time most inconvenient for you, they will deliver it to Waitrose in Worcester Park for free for you to pick up from there the next day.

"Now hang on", I now hear you say, "That's going to undermine all the local traders"...

That was my first thought too. (Isn't it great when we all have the same first thought together.) But after some contemplation I thought no, actually it's the opposite. How many more people would stay in Worcester Park to do all their shopping if there was a John Lewis in Central Road? Well in the same way what it means is that the people who would ordinarily go and spend a few hours and a bundle of cash in Kingston shops, attracted in part by the John Lewis, may instead stick around in Central Road, use our local shops (especially with their new Worcester Park Key card) and get their John Lewis fix from our local Waitrose instead. As well as being good for the local economy it also means less cars on the road as many people who would drive to Kingston can walk to Waitrose. It seems to me that everyone's a bit of a winner! Okay it might not transform the area just like that - but I do see it as a positive thing for Worcester Park. Feel free to disagree dear reader... what do you think...?


Monday, 21 July 2014

Spate Of Car Crime

There has been a spate of car crime in Worcester Park over the last few days.

It apparently all started on Friday night when one blog reader's company car was broken into in Buckland Way some time during night. The thieving ******s stolen all the contents. I have all sympathy with the victim when she says:
"Unfortunately this person was not hit by lightening but I hope they are soon."
Then on Saturday night an even worse incident occurred: Paul the security guard on the Hamptons was doing his normal patrol when he saw a man crouching behind a car near Portland Close. When he approached him the man went for Paul and swung at his face with a sharp object before running away. Paul sustained a deep slash to his nose, immediately called police and had to be taken to Kingston A&E. Fortunately, Paul is doing well with no major damage, though he was lucky.

Police believe the description matches a well known car criminal from the other side of Worcester Park who breaks into cars to feed his drug habit. He also apparently carries a knife with him to escape from tricky situations and from people challenging him.

Luckily police have a description of the man. He is black, in his late teens to early 20s, approximately 5'8" tall, medium build and with facial stubble. Apparently he has a 'trademark outfit' of red American-style baseball cap with a light coloured insignia or letter on the front. (What - has the horizontal stripes and eye-mask gone out of fashion?) At the time he was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

The message being sent out is if you see a man matching the description above acting suspiciously, please call 999 immediately - DO NOT ATTEMPT TO APPROACH HIM...

And then last night sometime between 2 and 3 in the morning, four cars in Green Lane were vandalised with their side windows smashed. These were all parked close to the entrance to the Hamptons. So far it is thought that nothing was stolen

It is hoped that whoever is carrying out these crimes, be it the same person or several different people, that they are arrested, charged and imprisoned as soon as possible. They obviously don't care about the suffering they cause other people through their actions, and we don't need them in Worcester Park.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Lib Dems Late To The Party

Our campaign from last year
A couple of weeks ago some Lib Dems were spotted at Worcester Park station, apparently gathering signatures on a petition to bring Crossrail 2 to Worcester Park.

Perhaps someone ought to point out to them that I ran a campaign for the exact same thing nearly a year ago which resulted in a petition with over 1200 signatures being submitted to Boris Johnson on Wednesday 15th January earlier this year.

Now I'm all for everyone pitching in to help, but where were they last year when we ran our campaign to bring Crossrail 2 to Worcester Park? I don't even recall seeing a single signature belonging to a Lib Dem representative on any of our petitions. If any Lib Dems wish to dispute this I will double check the list for their names. If there is no dispute from them we can rest assured they went out of their way not to help. (For those of you of a cynical disposition -  yes as it was a Conservative party run campaign it was also a good way of promoting local Conservatives. However this was by demonstrating that we can be trusted to work hard for the local area and get results that mater for people.)

But perhaps the biggest difference was the nature of the petition itself. Ours was a normal petition asking for name, signature and contact details in order to verify signatures if necessary. We spoke to numerous local shopkeepers who kept copies of the petition in their shops. It's primary purpose was to convince the Mayor of London to bring Crossrail 2 to Worcester Park, for the sake of Worcester Park.

The Lib Dem petition was a little different, being a sheet of text with a box to fill in (see below). It seems more interested in voting intentions, finding people to deliver Lib Dem leaflets and raising money for the Lib Dems.

In fact you could be forgiven for thinking it's primary purpose was to promote the Lib Dems and it was just using Crossrail 2 as a convenient excuse. The heading (paraphrased) says 'Help the Lib Dems bring Crossrail 2 to Worcester Park'.

Call me cynical but what's the chance that if our campaign is successful and Crossrail 2 does come to Worcester Park, the Lib Dems will be saying it's 'all thanks to the Lib Dems' and thanking local people for 'helping the Lib Dems bring Crossrail to Worcester Park'?

Well just in case, I want to get in first. I would like to thank everyone who signed our Conservative petition to bring Crossrail 2 to Worcester Park (the petition that didn't ask about voting intentions or giving money to any politcal party etc.) and if we are successful, then thank you for helping the Conservatives bring Crossrail 2 to Worcester Park.

Perhaps instead of trying to take credit for other people's hard work, the Lib Dems should consider following through with their promise to get the railway bridge cleaned up and painted. Or did they think we'd forgotten?

I will mention at this point that there is currently another consultation going on for Crossrail 2 but it is primarily concerned with three small sections of the proposal that do not affect anything south of Clapham Junction. However there is a box on their consultation survey where you can add your own comments - such as to reiterate that you want Worcester Park to be included as a stop. This can all be found at: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/crossrail/june-2014/consultation/intro/view The consultation is due to close on Friday 25th July, so get on it soon if you wish to do that.


Fancy Some Squash?

Click to enlarge
If you're partial to a little squash then keep next Friday (25th July) free as there is a special exhibition match on at New Malden Squash Club.

Robbie Temple and Jonny Harford, both ranked in the world top 50 players will be playing competitive squash at the club which is more or less right on our doorstep. The New Malden club is just off the A3 roundabout on the Worcester Park side.

The evening will be to raise money for the renovations of Courts at the club which are badly in need of repair. Tickets are just £10 each and you can contact Steve to reserve yours: steve@acornps.com or on 07796 058 954.

This will be a fantastic evening watching two world class players doing what the do best and helping raise money for the club at the same time.


Mosque Inquiry Postponed

The public inquiry launched by Mr Aziz to try to overturn the council's decision to disallow 2-4 Green Lane from becoming a Mosque has been postponed until Wednesday 19th November. The hearing was going to resume on Tuesday the 14th October but has now been pushed back to the November date.

Many interested people will have received a copy of the letter below explaining this.

As everyone familiar with the area knows, having a place of public assembly at this spot near the corner of Central Road and Green Lane where there are already insurmountable traffic and parking problems just makes no sense. As the chair of the Worcester Park Residents' Association, Hughie Byrne put it at last weeks local area committee meeting, "The only worse position for a place of public assembly would be in the centre of a roundabout."

Now we wait for the saga to continue come November...




Saturday, 19 July 2014

Expensive Way To Save Money


Sutton Council looks to have invested heavily in a poster campaign to tell us all that they are running out of money. This poster appeared at the end of Caldbeck Avenue a few days ago and looks to be one of many around the borough.

One reader who contacted the blog said:
"I was staggered to see this poster appear at the end of Caldbeck Avenue this week asking to 'join the conversation' about how Sutton Council can save money. 
My suggestion - not wasting thousands of pounds on a poster advertising campaign. Working in advertising I know that a billboard poster such as this might have cost around £500 when you factor in printing etc. If this has been posted across the borough then I dread to think what the overall cost will have been in total."
Couldn't have put it better myself. I guess Sutton Council hasn't learned a thing about prudently spending other people's money.

I guess it's much easier to get people to accept poorer service if they feel they've contributed to how it's done. Even though I wonder if, given past experience, the decisions have already all been made and any such 'consultation' is entirely for this purpose and will have no actual baring on what happens to Sutton's council services.


Oval Prize

What do you do when your mower break down? For most of us it's probably let the grass grow a bit while we save up for a new one. However this option is not available for Worcester Park Cricket club. The ground at Green Lane needs regular maintenance so the cricket can continue.

Click to enlarge
Cricket clubs apparently need two special mowers. One extremely expensive one to do the actual pitches and another just regularly expensive one to do the wide stripes in the rest of the grass. It is this second one that gave up the ghost recently and has to be replaced.

Luckily Worcester Park Cricket Club managed to find a second hand one which Wimbledon Golf Club were selling (so it's the same one used for gold fairways as well) for £2000. The club doesn't have that sort of dosh lying around so fortunately a member stumped up the cash as a short term loan so they could keep the cricket going. However it rather leaves the club in a hole to the tune of £2000 which needs to be paid back forthwith.

So with such an urgent financial need the club has decided to give away their one day annual entitlement to a hospitality box at the Oval as a prize in order to try to raise the money for the mower.

The club are now selling raffle tickets for this prize.

The lucky winner will be able to spend a major chunk of Wednesday 20th August entertaining family, friends, clients, a collection of cacti, whatever you want in a hospitality box at the Oval with a stunning view of Surrey’s Royal London 50 over cup game vs Somerset.

If that isn't a fantastic prize for any true cricket lover I don't know what is... Tickets are £25 each with all proceeds going to cover the £2000 cost of the replacement mower.

To get your ticket for this amazing raffle, contact Ben Davies on daviesben@ymail.com or you can telephone him on 07768 997 324. For more information have a look at their facebook page here.

Please help your local cricket club and maybe win a great prize too!