Surrey's top 50 celebs 2010 | Part two: Dame Judi Dench to Richard E Grant via Tom Felton
Love them or hate them, there's no getting away from them, especially in Surrey! Over the years, the county seems to have become a haven to some of the country's most famous faces
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2010
Love them or hate them, there’s no getting away from them, especially in Surrey! Over the years, the county seems to have become a haven to some of the country’s most famous faces, who are drawn to the area by our historic towns, beautiful countryside and close proximity to London and the airports. Here, in our annual guide, we take a look at who they are, where they live and, away from the paparazzi cameras, what they like to get up to in their home county
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Ronnie CorbettThe diminutive comedian Ronnie Corbett lives in a bungalow in Shirley, just by The Addington golf course, with his wife Anne. A regular on the course, he hosted his Charity Golf Classic there in June. He is also supporting Golf Marathon, a charity event that is raising money to improve the treatment of urological disease, which is being piloted at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals. Corbett, of course, is best known for his part in The Two Ronnies sketch show with Ronnie Barker. More recently, he filled in for a show on the last series of Strictly Come Dancing when Bruce Forsyth was taken ill and is featured in upcoming black comedy Burke and Hare, which will star Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis. Back home, he has been known to visit the Malcolm John restaurants Le Cassoulet and Fish & Grill, both in Croydon.
Lawrence DallaglioOne of the UK’s best known sports stars, former England rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio has helped raise almost �1million for charity this year with his ambitious Cycle Slam, which saw him and some 250 others cycling to all of the 6 Nations stadia, starting in Rome and finishing in Edinburgh. When he’s not raising money for charity, much of the Ham Common resident’s time is spent with his hospitality company, Green Room Sports, which often hosts events at the home of British rugby, Twickenham. Educated at Kings House School in Richmond, Dallaglio was also part of the choir that sang backing vocals on Tina Turner song We Don’t Need Another Hero. Among the other Surrey-born rugby players are fly half stars Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood – both were born in Frimley – and the England rugby team are based out of Pennyhill Park in Bagshot when playing.
Dame Judi DenchIt’s been a packed year for star of the silver screen Dame Judi Dench, who has popped up regularly across the county – presumably not because she needs more tales to tell in her new autobiography that is set for launch in October! Probably best known in her ongoing role of M in the James Bond films, the British film icon recently attended the opening of a new multi-million pound hotel in Lingfield, trod the boards in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Kingston’s Rose Theatre and officially opened a new walk-through red squirrel enclosure at the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield. You may well spot the 75-year-old Outwood resident queuing at Priory Farm shop in South Nutfield, too, where she’s a regular visitor. A rose inspired by her proved to be one of the hits at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2010 – its name: Drama Queen.
Ron Dennis, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson ButtonUnder Ron Dennis’ direction, Woking’s McLaren has big plans. The company is expanding beyond its Formula One franchise and small-volume performance-car production into fully fledged top-end road car manufacturing – the idea being that the motorsport supremo’s hometown could become the equivalent of Maranello, the Italian hometown of Ferrari. One of the wealthiest people in Surrey, the 63-year-old left school at 16 and became an apprentice mechanic at the Thompson and Taylor garage near Brooklands, Weybridge. Today, McLaren is a leading player on the Formula One circuit, and drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both regularly pop in to the McLaren Technology Centre. They recently took a break from their intensive training, however, for a day of paintballing action at Delta Force Paintball in Effingham.
Tom FeltonBest known for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, Leatherhead’s own Tom Felton has got himself a record deal this year after years of ‘moonlighting’ as a musician via his website and on YouTube. Felton, 22, attended the Howard of Effingham School andit has been said by many that he has stepped out of Daniel Radcliffe’s shadow in the most recent films. He has just been added to the cast of new Planet Of The Apes prequel Rise Of The Apes, alongside James Franco, Freida Pinto and Andy Serkis. A fact less well known to the wider world, his mum, Sharon, has run the Swan Lettings estate agents, in North Street, Leatherhead, for the past 13 years.
Shane Filan With 14 No 1 singles and ten chart-topping albums, Westlife – the UK’s most successful boy band – have enjoyed worldwide success. Lead singer Shane Filan got to play a little closer to home recently with their concert at Sandown Park in Esher; he lives just down the road in Cobham with his wife and children. The 31-year-old might be spotted eating out at the Good Earth in Esher, Jamie’s Italian in Kingston or at the Japanese and sushi restaurant Wagamama in Kingston. He also enjoys shopping at The Bentall Centre in the town, strolling down the river there and family visits to Bocketts Farm near Leatherhead.
Bruce ForsythThis year alone, Bruce Forsyth has been guest host on Have I Got News for You; made an appearance aboard a celebrity-stuffed boat during the BBC’s election night coverage; taken part in Living with Brucie on Channel 4; and delved into his roots on Who Do You Think You Are? That’s all before his day job on Strictly Come Dancing, which is set to kick off again this autumn. At 82, his energy levels still put most to shame. Married to former Miss World, Wilnelia Merced, his third wife, she is the mother of the youngest of his six children, Jonathan, a former pupil of Charterhouse near Godalming. Now living in Virginia Water on the prestigious Wentworth Estate, he is a regular on the Wentworth golf course. He also supports the Children with Special Needs Foundation, which has its roots in Surrey Heath.
Kirsty GallacherThe daughter of former Ryder Cup captain Bernard, TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher was born and raised on the Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water – just down the road from ‘Uncle Bruce’. She still lives in the area with her husband Paul Sampson, son Oscar, and the latest addition to the clan, Jude, who was born earlier this year. A former pupil of Coworth-Flexlands School in Chobham, the 34-year-old is a regular in the gym at the Wentworth Club. Currently backing the Love Food Surrey campaign, which aims to encourage the county’s families to reduce the amount of food they throw away, she recently said of the initiative. “I’m a busy mum and it’s easy to buy and cook too much food for the family. This campaign shows you how to plan your shop to make your food last longer and also offers delicious new recipes you can make out of leftovers, which means you save money, too.”
Philip GlenisterLife on Mars and Ashes to Ashes hard man, Philip Glenister lives a radically different life from divorced DCI Hunt. Home is near Richmond Park, with his actress wife Beth Goddard and their two daughters, and he regularly does the school run. A keen golfer, the 47-year-old is a patron of Surrey-based charity Momentum and usually appears at their celebrity golf day at Richmond Golf Club in June – he had to sit out this year due to filming commitments in Majorca with Mad Dogs, a drama serial for Sky1. Earlier this year, he put the wheels in motion for a fundraising auction at Guildford’s Harley-Davidson dealership in support of Hospice Aid UK, of whom he is now a patron.
Richard E GrantIf you’re ever looking to bump into Richard E Grant, then a good place to start is Petersham Nurseries, near Richmond, which is one of his favourite places to visit. The 53-year-old actor came to prominence in 1987 in Withnail and I, has since appeared in a whole host of films and plays and is a theatre-lover himself, popping along to the Rose Theatre in Kingston whenever he can. Often spotted out and about in Richmond, his favourite shop is The Open Book, and you might also find him walking along the towpath from Richmond to Kew, visiting nearby Hampton Court Palace or maybe jogging in Richmond Park. Most recently, he fronted a television special, History of Safari, as part of BBC Four’s Wonderful Africa season.
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