Surrey news and views - your letters - July 2014

Surrey Life magazine July 2014

Surrey Life magazine July 2014 - Credit: Archant

Win a meal for two at one of Surrey’s top pubs by sharing your news and views with Surrey Life magazine

Transcendence, Esher or Walking the dog by John A Walker, a painter living in Esher

Transcendence, Esher or Walking the dog by John A Walker, a painter living in Esher - Credit: Picasa

IF you’d like to see your letter printed in Surrey Life, write to us at the usual address or e-mail Every month, the writer of our star letter wins a three-course dinner for two at The William Bray in Shere (available Monday to Thursday, subject to availability, and booking is required). For more on The William Bray, call 01483 202044 or see

One young reader enjoying June's Surrey Life magazine

One young reader enjoying June's Surrey Life magazine - Credit: NA



Derby days gone by

Dear Editor,

Your article in the May edition of Surrey Life about the Epsom Derby transported me back to the good old days of Derby Day.

I was born and bred in Epsom and, as a child, the Epsom Derby was a time of excitement. It was always run on the first Wednesday of June. This meant a half-day from school or work.

The race was preceded by the fabulous Show Out Sunday. And the downs would be alive with stalls, side shows, fortune tellers, gypsies selling lucky heather and pre-celebration festivals. A smell of candy floss, hot dogs, fried onions and peanuts pervaded the air. This heralded the arrival of the fair and as kids in the 1970’s this really was a treat.

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The street where I lived was also the route to and from the race for the Queen and every year we would stand waiting for her to drive past and wave to us all – the colour of her dress the main topic of conversation for our mothers! We would then wait for the open-top buses to drive past and lucky winners of the race would throw their spare change out to us.

The whole week was also an opportunity for my London cab driver father to earn some much-needed extra cash. A line of black cabs would trail up and down Ashley Road all day ferrying the revellers to and from the Downs.

The Derby really was a people’s race, a far cry from the one we see today. Those days have long gone and for me the new Epsom Derby really is a shadow of its former glorious past. But I still get a feeling of nostalgia when the race comes into town.

Kind regards,

Lena Walton,

Box Hill

Editor’s note: Thank you so much for taking the time to write, Lena – what a wonderfully vivid picture you paint of the Epsom Derby! To say thank you, we would like to make you this month’s star letter, which means you win a delicious dinner for two at the lovely William Bray in Shere. Thank you again, and we hope that you enjoy your meal!


An affront to all eyebrows...

Dear Editor,

I have just learned to my horror that you edited Andy Newbold’s recent piece on Leatherhead to remove all reference to my eyebrows (and I quote, “some say he has the longest eyebrows in Surrey”).

It is not merely the integrity of Andy’s writing that has suffered but the whole new career my hirsute appendages had worked out for themselves has now been put on hold.

Irate eyebrows are not something to trifle with and I fear I have many months of confidence rebuilding ahead of me. The plans for a facebook page and world tour have been put on hold. I believe Andy is as distraught as the eyebrows at your cavalier treatment of all three of them.

Seriously though, many thanks for printing Andy’s article and supporting Leatherhead and Surrey as well as

you do.

I wish you well with future editions.

Peter Snell,

Barton’s Bookshop,


Editor’s note: Dear Peter, thank you for your letter. Indeed, irate eyebrows are not something to be trifled with, so please pass on our sincere apologies to them for any offence caused. Thank you to you and your eyebrows for being so understanding about such a delicate matter. Seriously though, thank you for your letter and your bookshop sounds wonderful – I intend to pop in very soon!


In the frame

Dear Editor,

I thought fellow readers might like to see my painting (above right) of St George’s Church and its graveyard in Esher, as seen from the Old Church Path near the public library and the high street.

The path is used by many dog walkers so is known to many.

I was greatly attracted by the quality of the sunlight filtering through the fence and foliage.

I am a retired art history lecturer and art critic, and retirement has enabled me to concentrate on oil painting. More of my paintings can be seen at

Best wishes,

John A Walker,



Time well spent

Dear Editor,

I just wanted to write and say how much I enjoyed I Stopped Time, which was the featured book in this month’s Book Corner. It was a fascinating read, especially as it was partly set locally in Shere.

There was also several mentions of Brooklands racetrack. I live in Byfleet and the old racetrack is visible from my house. Lots of the names associated with the heyday of car racing at Brooklands were mentioned and are familiar locally.

I also love the setting of Brighton, which has to be one of my favourite places to visit.

I would thoroughly recommend this book.

It kept me riveted and I couldn’t put it down. The different stories were very cleverly interlinked and the unfolding of Lottie’s story was very good.

Best wishes,

Jane Lawson,


Editor’s Note: Thanks so much, Jane, for taking the time to write – we’re really glad to hear you enjoyed the book.


Enjoy a wild day out at Gatton Manor

Dear Surrey Life,

I write to let readers know that the locally based international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation, is calling for teams of golfers to take part in this year’s Go Wild Golf Day, which will this year be attended by the foundation’s founder and much-loved actress, Virginia McKenna OBE.

The event will be held on Thursday September 4 at the beautiful Gatton Manor hotel and golf club in Ockley near Dorking – one of the south-east’s most picturesque and challenging courses.

Now in its second year, the charity challenge is a great opportunity for teams of four to tee off against rivals from all over Surrey and beyond, including a team from the Born Free Foundation itself. The day includes refreshments on arrival, 18 holes, a three-course presentation dinner and the prize-giving.

Last year’s event raised over £2,000 for the Born Free Foundation, supporting its work to ‘Keep Wildlife in the Wild’ by protecting threatened species in their natural habitats, stopping suffering and rescuing animals in need around the world.

Places for the Go Wild Golf Day are £58 per person, which includes the 18 holes and a presentation dinner. There is also the opportunity for businesses and individuals to sponsor a hole or goody bag item.

For more details and to register, please contact Joanne Bartholomew on, call 01403 240170 or visit

Victoria Lockwood,

Born Free Foundation,



A rocking article

Dear Editor,

We thought you might like to see this photo of our daughter, Tabitha, reading last month’s Surrey Life after you kindly featured our rocking horses.

Needless to say, she was very excited to see them in print!

All the best,

Debbie Hinton,

Jolly Rockers,