Surrey-based international storyteller, Danyah Miller, creates four new stories inspired by her childhood

Surrey-based, International Storyteller and writer, Danyah Miller has created four new tales inspired by her own childhood for the Yorkshire Festival of Story running online throughout August. 

Miller, artistic director of award-winning theatre company Wizard Presents, has created and filmed four stories for international storytelling festival, Yorkshire Festival of Story.

This year, being held entirely online, the Festival features over 80 events involving over 60 artists, including household names such as Joanne Harris, Dame Jenni Murrayand Ben Okri. Danyahs bedtime stories can be seen every Friday throughout August.

Settle Stories, producers of Yorkshire Festival of Story, invited Wizard Presents to bring their adaptation of The Secret Garden to the festival however due to C-19 this show isn’t yet fully rehearsed, so Danyah offered to write and film stories to be included in this unique event.

She has spent the past few months reflecting on her Yorkshire childhood, re-imagining stories in her own unique way. Filmed at her own home in Cranleigh, Surrey, the stories range in theme from an effervescent York monk, a young farmer lad from Swaledale, to a cheeky wasp living in Baildon in West Yorkshire.

The stories will be featured as part of the Yorkshire Festival of Story every Friday evening at 6.30pm as a bedtime story’ series, as an extension of the Danyahs Bedtime Stories, launched and shared by Danyah on You Tube since the start of lockdown.

•        Friday 7th August – The Golden Thread

•        Friday 14th August – Wilfred Wasp

•        Friday 21st August – Brother Haynad

•        Friday 28th August – Gormless Nesbitt

Danyah said I’m absolutely thrilled to participate in this Festival. I have huge admiration for the work of ‘Settle Stories’ and love that the events are all free to audiences who will be able to enjoy the programme wherever they live, in this country and internationally. Both my parents were born and raised in Yorkshire, as was I, so I have a strong connection with the land, I know it in my bones! I believe firmly that were all storytelling beings, sharing stories all the time. Stories are beneficial in so many ways not least that they teach us to value ourselves, respect others and care for the world. Stories can inspire us to achieve more than we believed was possible. In education stories bring facts to life, underpinning literacy skills including fluency, vocabulary, writing and recall.”

Settles Stories said, "We are thrilled to have Danyah and Wizard Presents involved in Yorkshire Festival of Story! Danyah's love of Yorkshire and passion for stories make her an asset to our programme. We're all excited to see what her bedtime tales have in store, I think they'll be great for the whole family not just the little ones!" 

Danyah is a solo performer, storyteller trainer and writer. Recently she was commissioned by Oxford University Press to write and perform Meet Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of the books this year. She has written or adapted and starred in five Wizard Presents solo shows: Meet Astrid Lindgrens Pippi Longstocking, Kikas Birthday, Perfectly Imperfect Women, Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo and I Believe in Unicorns also by Michael Morpurgo. She is also a writer and storytelling trainer, including over 10 years as a course leader at The International School of Storytelling. She trained in drama, dance and English and later studied at Lecoq in Paris. She is currently working on an adaptation of The Secret Garden by Hodgson-Burnett

Danyahs one of the great storytellers in this country... she brings stories to life in the most enchanting way. Michael Morpurgo.

You can enjoy Danyahs stories every Friday at the Yorkshire Festival of Story at 6.30 pm between 7th and 28th August.

Squire's Garden Centres joins Eat Out to Help Out with all day dining options

Squire’s Garden Centre Café Bars are the perfect setting to relax and enjoy the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme, running every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until Monday 31 August 2020*.  With free parking and plenty of retail inspiration for home and garden, gifts, toys, hobbies and crafts, your local Squire’s is a perfect summer destination for all the family. 

The launch of delicious new summer menus in the family-friendly Café Bars, offers a wide choice of tempting dining options throughout the day, whether you’re looking for breakfast or brunch, summery lunch dishes, sweet treats or a decadent afternoon tea – and all for less on ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ days. Customers will receive a 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in, up to a maximum £10 discount per person. Menus vary by centre and there are options for children available for all meals. Gluten free, vegetarian and vegan choices are available on all menus.  

Many of the Squire’s Café Bars have al fresco seating, so you can relax and enjoy your meal in the beautiful surroundings of summer plants and flowers.

New measures are in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff.
·       All tables must be booked online 12 hours in advance on the Squire’s website
·       You can book up to a maximum of 6 people from 2 households.
·       Order and pay for your food and drinks via your phone.  A member of staff will assist anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone. 
·       Food orders are brought to your table by our friendly team.
·       Card payments only.  Squire’s gift cards are accepted.

All Squire’s Café Bars are operating on reduced capacity with tables spaced 2 metres apart to enable guests to enjoy their meal at their leisure with a new level of privacy and personal space. 
The Café Bars are open 9-5pm Monday to Saturday and 10-4.30pm* on Sunday.

Guildford refreshed town centre museum opens soon


Guildford Museum is looking forward to welcoming visitors back after being closed for the past twelve months for essential repairs providing another free attraction to visit in our historic town centre.

The museum opens with a temporary exhibition ‘Commemoration and Celebration’ to commemorate Guildford’s experience of Victory in Europe Day marking the 75th anniversary since the end of the Second World War throughout Europe. The display celebrates both military and civilian heroes. It will remain on display to also mark Victory in Japan Day in August, the day that Imperial Japan surrendered during World War II and effectively bringing the war to an end.

A number of Second World War objects and photographs with local relevance will be on display including an impressive portrait on loan from our Guildhall of the Queen’s Regiment Parade before the Mayor of Guildford. It was painted from a photograph taken of this event in 1945. Part of the exhibition is available online. 

The museum will initially open with the Commemoration and Celebration exhibition and the Pre history and Roman sections only. Further displays will be reinstalled and open in the autumn.  

The works have included structural repairs, damp proofing, roof repairs, redecoration, a new fire alarm, an upgraded visitor point and toilet and an improved back of house space for preparing exhibitions.

During the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak when we stayed at home to protect the NHS and save lives, the Heritage Team kept audiences of all ages engaged and amused with creative and inspiring dedicated social media campaigns including ‘Museum from Home’ campaign and ‘Guess the Object’ videos.  They also began the ‘Collecting for Covid’ initiative where residents were asked to capture and send in their lock down memories, either digital or objects for archiving and to use as a record for future generations of those living in the borough to understand the experiences during this unique time. 

Lead Councillor for the Environment, Cllr James Steel says “The work has completely improved the space giving it a fresh modern feel and we can’t wait to welcome residents and visitors again. We’ve missed you all. With so many of us effectively holidaying at home this year, why not come and visit and continue to share over 1000 years of local history.  Afterwards don’t miss a stroll in our beautiful Castle grounds and maybe a bite to eat, many of restaurants, pubs and bars are open. The safety of our visitors and staff remains a priority and please rest assured all the necessary government Coronavirus (Covid 19) measures are in place throughout the museum. This means your experience will be a little different, just as it is for shopping and eating and drinking out now.’  

He added: ‘Our digital programme and social media campaigns are ongoing and still available to see on our Heritage social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram). We are keen to collect our communities’ experience of Covid to go in to our archive; I urge everyone in the borough to please send us in your memories however commonplace including photos, pictures or objects as history isn’t just about the past, it is important we also capture our borough’s present and remember this unprecedented year and the incredible community spirit we all have seen and felt.’

He continued: ‘Many of you will be aware of the Council’s museum redevelopment project where we were considering building a new museum for the town. This was heavily reliant on National Heritage Lottery Funding which was withdrawn for hundreds of ventures across the UK including ours as due to the pandemic they needed to divert money to the Heritage sector. We are reviewing this ambitious project and by the autumn hope to have some exciting news on how we will continue to tell the story of Guildford.

The museum has ambitious plans over the next 5 years including the addition of new collections and the story they tell. You are a part of Guildford’s history and we want you to have the opportunity to have your say on the future of the museum. 

Entry is free, for more on opening times and exhibitions see here:

Celebrating 75th anniversary of VJ Day in Guildford

VJ (Victory over Japan) Day, 15 August 1945 marked the day on which Japan surrendered bringing an end to nearly six years of war in the far east  - a triumphant day following a war that cost millions of lives and saw unimaginable suffering with thousands held as prisoners of war.

The Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Richard Billington explains: “This is likely to be the last time that we can say our collective, special ‘thank you’ to the surviving brave veterans of this terrible conflict, many of whom have felt they are the ‘forgotten army’ during important anniversary commemorations over the last 75 years. That is why it is more important than ever that we show they will NEVER be forgotten by joining together in the national commemorations planned.

At 11am, I will be pausing with the rest of the nation to observe the two-minute silence. As I do, I will reflect on the sacrifices that were made by the many thousands of brave souls that were still engaged in the Asia-Pacific region 75 years ago, and of course will be giving thanks to the surviving veterans, who will never forget the friends they left behind.”

He adds: “We must never underestimate the impact that leaving, missing and returning home had on service men and women and their loved ones.  Our national remembrance of the 75th anniversaries of VE (Victory in Europe) and VJ Day this year brings home the scale of the service and sacrifice made by the entire Second World War generation for our freedom. Let us never forget their bravery and determination; we shall be forever in their debt.”

Our beautiful Castle Grounds will host a special memorial service during the morning of Saturday 15 August. Rvd Canon Robert Cotton will say a few words to commemorate those that lost their lives. The Union Flag on the bowling green will be lowered to half-mast next to the stunning flower bed dedicated to celebrating the 75th anniversary. The Last Post and Reveille will be played by a lone bugler as part of the nationwide two-minute silence at 11am, after which the flag will be raised on Guildford Castle. This will be followed by a performance of ‘Cry For Peace around the World’ by David Peters, the Guildford Town Crier. The event is not open to the public in order to keep to government guidance but we are filming it and it will be shared on the Council’s Facebook page later in the day. The lone bugler will return to the Castle Grounds on Saturday evening to play at sunset to mark the end of the commemorations which will also be available to view on Facebook.  Residents are all encouraged to raise a glass with the words “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”

To mark the occasion, the Union Flag will fly over Guildford Castle, the Guildhall and Council offices at Millmead. The Castle and Guildhall will also be lit up in red, white and blue. Other events taking place in Guildford include an online service to commemorate VJ Day from Guildford Cathedral at 9.45am on Sunday, 16 August which will be broadcast live via the Cathedral’s social media channels.

The recently refurbished Guildford Museum is currently showing the "Commemoration and Celebration - memories and legacies of the Second World War". The small exhibition is a celebration of both military and civilian heroes which includes a variety of Second World War memorabilia with local relevance. 

The Council’s Armed Forces Champion Cllr Tom Hunt says: “It is important that we all recognise the sacrifices and lives lost to bring the war to an end. Residents and visitors can pop down to our museum to see the fascinating display dedicated to the lives of local people from 75 years ago or alternatively view some of the collection online on the Council’s website. Did you know that East Surrey’s entire 2nd Battalion was captured in Singapore in early 1942?”

Elsewhere in the borough, Action for Carers in Surrey want to hear your stories about World War Two so if you had a father, grandfather or uncle that came back from war either in the pacific or the UK, get in touch. The charity will be hosting a zoom chat on Saturday 15 August from 2-3pm. For more details visit:

Nationally, the Royal British Legion is at the heart of a number of activities throughout the day with commemorations centred around a memorial service at 11am on 15 August which will be live streamed on BBC One from the National Memorial Arboretum. The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will lead the UK in a national two minute silence at 11am. After this, army veterans including 93-year-old Albert Wills who served in the Royal Navy will talk about their military memories. The Royal Air Force Regiment band will play and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take part in a flypast after the two minute silence. Wreaths will also be laid at various memorial sites in the Far East. If you wish to attend the event, social distancing measures will be in place and there are a limited number of tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis.  If you would like a ticket, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Guildford Lido 2020 update

Lead Councillor for the Environment, Cllr James Steel provides an update on Guildford Lido: 

‘We are sorry to confirm that although the government now allows outdoor pools to open, we are unable to open Guildford Lido this summer. Please rest assured we haven’t taken this decision lightly. We completely understand how disappointing this news will be and have taken this decision jointly with Freedom Leisure. Working with Freedom Leisure, we have reviewed the possible programme within the government restrictions and Swim England’s safety guidelines and we all felt a programme of pre-bookable one hour lane swimming was not going to meet customer’s expectations for their Lido experience or be sufficient to make the set up and operation of the venue cost effective for the remaining six week season. However lane swimming will be on offer at Guildford Spectrum in the competition pool during August and September. 

Swim England’s guidelines indicate that only lane swimming would be practical with visitors being granted a designated time slot. We know that the Lido is a much loved local attraction where families and groups of friends come to relax and socialise for the whole day using the pool whenever you wanted. Under the new Coronavirus (Covid 19) guidelines, Freedom Leisure would be unable to offer visitors that experience. 

The anticipated additional cost to operate the Lido is estimated to be £38,000 for August and a similar amount for September. This is on top of the annual operating costs. 

Again, I am incredibly sorry to bring you this news and thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.