King Edward's Witley pupil produces hand sanitiser for over 100 people in local community

King Edward’s Witley pupil Christopher Hooper making hand sanitiser at his home

A Year 9 pupil from King Edward’s Witley is helping to ease the shortage of hand sanitiser in his local community by producing the essential antibacterial cleanser in his back garden.

Christopher Hooper, (aged 13) is from Chichester and usually boards at King Edward’s Witley. He has been making isopropanol (also known as isopropyl alcohol) hand sanitiser to a formula released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) using ingredients kindly funded by his parents. 

To date he has produced and supplied hand sanitiser to protect more than 100 people during lockdown, while still continuing his education via King Edward’s dedicated distance learning programme. The sought-after sanitiser has been given to friends, family, key workers and others in need, including 25 litres to a local care home and further quantities to a local doctor, an orthodontist and even the Chaplain of the University of Chichester. So far Christopher has made and bottled a total of 80 litres of hand sanitiser!

Christopher wanted to help in any way he could with the challenges the local community is facing in terms of the shortage of hand sanitiser. He said, “It is not always possible to wash our hands when we are out of the house buying food or for people who have to go to work like our postman. This sanitiser just evaporates off your hands so can be used anywhere. I wanted to help keep people safe and this was a practical way I could contribute. I enjoyed measuring and mixing the chemicals and giving the bottles away. People seemed very grateful for it and I have had a number of requests for additional supplies.”

Mr Dan Tobias, Housemaster of Edward House (the house to which Christopher belongs) at King Edward’s Witley said, “We are extremely proud of Christopher and full of admiration for his decision to use his spare time so productively, taking such care to deliver a quality end product. His actions will go some way to providing much needed personal protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Christopher’s efforts have attracted media attention including BBC Radio Surrey, who picked up the news on social media before interviewing him live this week. Christopher’s commendable forward thinking will also be recognised by the School, earning him points towards his #KESWCertificate for his contribution to the community.

Guildford Town Centre car parks remain free in June

All Council-owned car parks in Guildford town centre will remain free of charge throughout June as some shops and businesses start to re-open in line with new government guidance.

We are working in collaboration with our Business Improvement District, Experience Guildford, and town centre partners to reassure residents once businesses begin to re-open from Monday 15 June. We appreciate everybody’s patience and adherence to social distancing guidelines.

Parking charges are expected to return from Wednesday 1 July, but Farnham Road Car Park will remain free to allow us to continue to prioritise parking for key workers. These spaces will be available on a first come first served basis.

The Artington Park and Ride service will continue to operate, with the Merrow service due to recommence from 15 June. Capacity will be increased to meet rises in demand.

Lead Councillor for Parking, Cllr James Steel says:

“We will work with Experience Guildford and our local businesses to ensure that safety is paramount and all government guidelines are followed to give people the confidence to return to our town centre. We have been extremely proud to do everything we can to help our residents and businesses get through the coronavirus pandemic, and as we begin to take the first steps back towards normality we want to maintain that level of commitment. It is essential that we support our key workers in doing their vital work, and I am delighted that we can continue to provide free parking for them.

“Economic recovery is one of the key factors in how the UK emerges from this pandemic and with Guildford being one of the top shopping destinations in the South-East I look forward to the town being at the forefront of that recovery.”

Amanda Masters, Chief Executive of Experience Guildford says:

“We are here to help shoppers as much as possible, whilst at the same time supporting our wonderful local businesses. We are excited to be able to welcome people back to Guildford town centre but recognise that recovery will be a gradual process, and hope that free parking throughout June will encourage more people back. I am, though, confident that we will all soon be able to enjoy everything which makes Guildford so special again.”

For more information about shopping in Guildford visit the Visit Surrey shopping webpage.

We’re winners! Oh, yes we are!

This year’s Epsom Playhouse pantomime, Peter Pan, has beaten stiff competition to be awarded ‘best show’ in the national Great British Pantomime Awards.

Produced by Spillers Pantomimes, Peter Pan played to packed audiences and was the most popular panto ever staged at the Epsom Playhouse.

Councillor Barry Nash, Chair of the council’s Community and Wellbeing Committee, said “We are absolutely thrilled that the Epsom Playhouse has been recognised with one of the industry’s highest accolades. This has been a real boost for the backstage and front of house teams at this difficult time as well as for our wonderful volunteers.

“The success of our commercial shows enables the council to support community activities at the Playhouse. The large audiences attending good quality shows like Peter Pan also generate valuable business for local restaurants bars and shops.

“Our loyal audiences and community are what make the Epsom Playhouse special and we're looking forward to welcoming you back just as soon as we can”.

The judging team visited over 200 pantomimes across the country during December and January, visiting in excess of 750 performances. The judging panel included current and retired industry professionals; theatre academics as well as media and communications professionals. The performances were marked against a number of criteria and quality benchmarks.

More FREE family fun and fundraising at Guildford Live II – 28 May 6.30pm – Live on Facebook

We are proud to support the borough’s second free family friendly variety performance, dedicated to our NHS staff and keyworkers, by Guildford Fringe Theatre which takes place on Thursday 28 May at 6.30pm live on Facebook. 

Following the incredible success of Guildford Live I on 30 April, which provided one and a half hours of non-stop entertainment with a range of stars From The Jam’s Bruce Foxton to Strictly’s Flavia to Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley, raising money for The Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity and the Wysch Foundation, Managing Director of Guildford Fringe Theatre, Nick Wyschna decided we would do it all again and we can’t wait. 

The second show gives our local communities another chance to experience fantastic live performances and celebrate the incredible work of NHS staff and key workers. The event is open for anyone to watch and this time we are asking for everyone to bring a ‘virtual’ friend. As previously there are no tickets but the audience has the opportunity to donate to two good causes again, this time its Guildford Philanthropy and The Wysch Foundation. 

Guildford Philanthropy was set up in 2014 by the Council with support from the Community Foundation to raise money for the borough’s more vulnerable residents and those who find themselves homeless. Since the start of the coronavirus, they have raised a fantastic £100,000 to help support local charities.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves said:

“The first Guildford Live was absolutely brilliant, so many residents have told me how their whole family enjoyed it and we helped raise nearly £3000 for our local NHS workers at the Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity and The Wysch Foundation. We're asking all residents to watch again and this time virtually 'bring' a friend!'. 

Guildford Philanthropy is a truly great cause helping the most vulnerable in our communities. They have done an outstanding job raising £100,000 since the start of the coronavirus but they still need more help and your support will go a very long way. It’s great that Guildford Live have chosen to support them for their second show. Helping those in need has been at the forefront of this epidemic and I am so proud of all our residents for showing tremendous community spirit, making huge sacrifices and following the government guidelines.”

Guildford Live II will be hosted by Nick Wyschna and boasts a star-studded line-up with confirmed guests including Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon, Shane Richie, Jeremy Vine, Debbie McGee, actor Alex Ferns (best-known as EastEnders’ super-villain Trevor Morgan), award-winning magician, juggler and stunt artist Mark Watson and vintage vocal group The Bluebirds. It also includes returning guests Charley Farley Sunday Four and Guildford’s Rock Choir plus messages of tribute to our NHS and key workers.

Nick Wyschna, Managing Director of Guildford Fringe commented: “As soon as the last Guildford LIVE finished I sat down with my wife Charlotte and a glass of bubbly and said, ‘I want to do that again!’. The comments and live reactions from the public gave me the biggest buzz. Pairing the performing buzz with the buzz of being able to publicly thank our key workers was more than I could have imagined and I am over the moon to be doing it again. I have a few goals this time, one being raising even more money than we did last time for our charities and the other being spreading the word even further so more people can enjoy the show!” 

Cllr Caroline Reeves added:

“The challenges our NHS staff and key workers have overcome have been remarkable and we want to demonstrate our thanks and appreciation whenever we can. The first show was a huge success, raising a great deal of money and we are hoping that we can do the same for Guildford Philanthropy. They are doing an amazing job raising money to help our local charities and vulnerable residents.

The Coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19) has already had a huge impact on all of our lives and will continue to in the months and years to come, and it is these community spirited events which help to bring us all together.”

Council calls for everyone to play their part

We know many of our residents and businesses are taking necessary precautions and making all the necessary sacrifices to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – thank you. We are also aware that there are a few people who are choosing to not follow the guidance on staying at home and social distancing and we strongly urge everyone to play their part.

Government guidance states we should all – unless we are keyworkers – be staying at home. Unless we are self-isolating or a vulnerable group we can still leave the house for essential groceries and to get important exercise. When we leave the house we must maintain a distance of at least two metres (approximately six feet) from others who are not from your household. Public Health England and the NHS explain coronavirus as a respiratory virus which is thought to be transferred by the inhalation or ingestion of particles from an infected person, including those spread by coughing or sneezing.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves says:

“The safety and health of our residents and businesses are our top priority. These are uncertain times, becoming more challenging by the day, but I want to reassure people that we are doing all we can to ensure we continue to deliver essential services, and support our communities as best we can. We are here as your local authority, and I am confident we will get through this by working together.

“We need you all to play your part too. Keep handwashing for at least 20 seconds and do so regularly. Please make sure you follow the guidance and don’t meet in groups to socialise with people outside your household. We understand how difficult this is, especially for children and teenagers who from today are no longer at school, College and University. But if we do not stick to the guidance the virus will spread more quickly, putting our vulnerable groups at further risk and greater pressure on the NHS. We have today taken the sad but necessary decision to close all playgrounds in the borough, but our parks and countryside sites remain open for use. Please use them and stay two metres from others."

She said: “The community spirit that we have seen is overwhelming and heart-warming. I’ve been overjoyed to see how people are already pulling together and offering help, and I give heart-felt thanks to everybody for the assistance they are offering. Please do this in a safe and coordinated way without putting yourself or others at risk – Voluntary Action South West Surrey are coordinating, so please contact them. Also continue to think of those less able and more vulnerable than ourselves first, particularly when buying food.

“I urge everybody to follow only trusted sources for the latest information, such as the NHS website. Our own website and social media pages will also be regularly updated with essential information and details of any changes to our services.”

Carol Dunnett, Chief Officer for Voluntary Action South West Surrey, says: "We are incredibly pleased to see the compassion shown already in Guildford with people rallying offers of help for groups that due to the outbreak might now be isolated and at risk. If you or anyone you know would like help or need help or know someone who would benefit from help - please get in touch. We also have the skills and experience to advise groups on how to offer safe and coordinated help for example getting Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record checks."

She added: "Please do be aware that every offer of help is valuable. We currently have more offers of help than we have those to help but this changing every day. Please bear with us if we aren’t able to connect you with others who need help immediately. This is a marathon rather than a sprint, please rest assured we will coordinate as soon as those in need are all identified and will be in touch."