Surrey Launch Period Dignity

It’s time for period dignity as Surrey County Council make period products available to those that need them.

Surrey County Council is proud to be launches a ground-breaking initiative with charity Binti International, to provide free period products in selected locations across Surrey and be the first county council in the UK to start eradicating period stigma.

Katie Stewart, Strategic Lead for Equality Diversity and Inclusion at Surrey County Council, said: “Surrey County Council is proud to be involved in this initiative in partnership with Binti International to provide equal access to pads so no one need suffer the indignity of managing their period without period products. We hope that Surrey residents will support this great initiative by donating products, and that businesses across the county will do so by providing products for their employees, so that more and more collection and donation points across Surrey can be provided. It’s time for period dignity across Surrey”.

There will be collection boxes where residents can help themselves to pads if needed, in the following selected libraries across Surrey.


Caterham Hill
Caterham Valley
Frimley Green

West Byfleet

There will also be collection boxes available in Surrey County Council buildings at:

  • Quadrant Court – Woking
  • Consort House – Redhill
  • Fairmount House – Leatherhead
  • Woodhatch Place – Reigate
  • Ashley Park House – Walton-on-Thames

Look out for the Binti stickers in libraries that show that free pads are provided in that location. There is no need to ask – simply go to the collection box and help yourself.

A Binti app is also available to download so residents can find the nearest location where free period products are available to collect and where you can donate. The app is available to download on the Apple app store for IOS users or the Google Play store for Android users.

Surrey County Councillor for Epsom West Bernie Muir , on the left, and Emma Ware donate at Epsom Library

Anyone can donate tampons and pads to the Binti bins – the more donations the better! Look out for the Binti stickers which show participating venues.

If your organisation or business would like to get involved, email the [email protected] or visit the Binti website. You will be sent an information pack that explains more about the initiative and will outline how you can get started.

For more information, visit the Binti website.

Cazoo Derby Festival Open Letter Regarding The Derby

An open letter from Simon Durrant, General Manager at Epsom Downs Racecourse.

We are greatly looking forward to the Cazoo Derby Festival and to the 242nd running of the world’s greatest Flat race. It will be a pleasure to welcome owners back to Epsom Downs racecourse as well as a limited number of spectators, who will return for the first time since September 2019.

Whilst the racecourse has not been idle since then, playing its part in the extraordinary national rollout of the vaccination programme in the early part of the year, to have the public back on course to cheer home top-class horses will be a welcome sight.

However, the return of spectators does not mean that things are back to normal; far from it. I am writing this letter to ask for your help across the two days of the Cazoo Derby Festival on 4th and 5th June.

In line with current restrictions we are unable to welcome members of the public onto the Downs, otherwise known as “The Hill” to enjoy the event as they might in normal times.

Minimising the public presence around the racecourse will allow us to operate a secure site for racing. It will help to ensure we can continue to progress towards the easing of restrictions, which will in time allow the phased return of spectators in greater numbers and mean other aspects of everyday life can begin to return to a more recognisable state.

The event will be broadcast live on ITV and Racing TV and The Jockey Club’s website will feature an interactive ‘Raceday Live’ feed across both days. If you are not fortunate enough to have secured a ticket for the Cazoo Derby Festival, then we hope that you will enjoy the event from home. Please be aware that there will be no tickets available for purchase on the gates.

We understand that Derby day is a special one for so many people, whether they be from around Epsom itself or from further afield and we are greatly looking forward to welcoming back spectators in greater numbers when appropriate to do so, but until then I would ask for your help, patience and understanding.

Simon Durrant
General Manager, Epsom Downs Racecourse

Cazoo Derby Festival Gallops Morning at Epsom Downs

On Monday 24th May Epsom Downs Racecourse hosted candidates for next month’s Classics – The Cazoo Derby, Saturday 5th June and Cazoo Oaks, Friday 4th June.

One Ruler (Charlie Appleby) and John Leeper (Ed Dunlop) both had a first taste of Epsom Downs ahead of The Cazoo Derb,y while Saffron Beach (Jane Chapple-Hyam), Mystery Angel (George Boughey) and Ocean Road (Hugo Palmer) each had a pre-Cazoo Oaks workout. Reaction from all connections are below.

The Cazoo Derby

One Ruler

One Ruler

Owner: Godolphin
Leading prospect as a two year old, finishing second in a strong renewal of Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. Respectable sixth on return in QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and now stepped up in trip.

 Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “I was very pleased with what I saw there. He is a naturally balanced horse but he hasn’t encountered anything like that before. The whole object of the exercise was to let him have a look at the track but more importantly he was fresh in the Guineas as you saw there.

“The first couple or three furlongs he was taking James (Doyle) on a bit. We already had it in our mindset that we were going to come straight from the Guineas to The Derby. We felt that bringing him would ensure we wouldn’t be going into The Derby too fresh – that was the main objective of the exercise and I was delighted with what I saw there.

“He is a horse that has form on soft ground so these conditions weren’t going to worry us. From what we have seen so far you couldn’t be happier. He has moved well on the track and picked up well up the straight there. Visually, I don’t think you could be any happier with what we saw really.

“He is a different horse when he comes to the track – he just lights up more. At home he is a nice worker but he gets into a nice routine at home that he gets comfortable in so it is nice to bring them away and just see what really is under the bonnet there a little bit and from what I’ve seen today I’m happy so far.

“If the race was 10 furlongs you would be delighted. It is going to be a big question mark the mile and a half, there is no doubt about it. On his pedigree there is a question mark but he is an Autumn Stakes winner and he was doing his best work towards the end there, likewise in the Vertem Futurity Trophy (over a mile). It was his last couple of hundred yards that put him back into second when he stayed at it dourly.

“James (Doyle) said although it was quick in the Guineas he rode like a horse that would appreciate stepping up in trip. The trip is a big question mark and though it is a mile and a half and though you have a bit of a climb you freewheel downhill for two furlongs or so there and though I’m not saying it is an easy mile and a half, if he is going to get it he has got as good a chance of getting it around here.

“He was a horse in the Guineas that was doing it the wrong way round being as keen as he was. At the five pole you thought he could quietly fade away there what he done early doors but he didn’t and I have to be honest I was keeping my eye firmly on Master Of The Seas, I lost sight of One Ruler. It wasn’t until I watched the replay that I was pleasantly surprised how he finished his race off. Hopefully that will put us in good stead over a mile and a half here.

“William (Buick) had the choice of them and we spoke about it. Without putting too much pressure on William I said it would be helpful from the team’s point of view to make a call as it gives James the chance to ride him here if he is going to be riding him in the Derby.

“William said it is not very often that you get the chance to ride a Dante winner in the Derby so his mind was firmly set on staying with Hurricane Lane and therefore James is first man to be jumping up on One Ruler.

“I’m delighted with Hurricane Lane. As you saw at York he is one of those characters that is very laid back. He just goes about his business but he has come out of the race very well and I’m looking forward to getting him here.

“One Ruler and Hurricane Lane are two different horses. One Ruler has solid Group One two year old form and is a Group Three winner at two as well as winning the Autumn Stakes, which is a great race to have coming into a three year old career.

“Hurricane Lane on the other hand had one run on bottomless ground at the back end of last year at Newmarket. He then came out and did what he did at Newbury before going to York. He comes here as an unexposed horse. He wouldn’t have the natural pace of One Ruler.

“Hurricane Lane you wouldn’t have been dropping into Group One company as a three year old over a mile as he is very much a staying type. As we saw in the Dante his best work was in the last couple of hundred yards. Everything bodes well to step him up to a mile and a half as it might seek further improvement.

“The day of Masar (winning the 2018 Derby) was one we will never forget from myself, my family and the team’s point of view. He was the first horse to win in the Goldolphin blue and for His Highness and the Royal family to be here it was a very special occasion. We all know winning the Derby is something everyone would love to have on their CV.”


John Leeper

John Leeper
Owner: Anamoine Limited
Out of 2010 Oaks heroine Snow Fairy and named after the late John Dunlop, the dual Derby-winning trainer father of Ed Dunlop. Built on promising debut to win a novice contest in striking fashion on return at Newcastle in April and impressed again when a decisive winner of Listed Betway Fairway Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month.

Trainer Ed Dunlop said: “We were never going to do too much whether the ground was nice or not as he only the weekend before last. This was about bringing him to get a bit more experience with Adam (Kirby) on him. The ground was very soft, almost heavy but he looked to enjoy himself.

“Hopefully everything will be okay and we will be back here on the first Saturday in June. He is an inexperienced horse but what I was pleased to see today was that he has been very relaxed doing the whole thing. He is not a baby but everything was new to him today. I was thrilled with the way he behaved and he wasn’t keen going down the hill which was good as they were only going slowly.

“There was a bit of a concern with Newmarket as it was such a farcical race that he just latched a bit earlier than we would have liked to and it was something we had never really seen. I think he did well to win at Newmarket. William (Buick) was very good. He kicked on and got on with it. That was all part of his learning curve. He hasn’t done much wrong so far but there is still a long way to go as they say.

“We always liked him last year. He had a tiny hiccup after Doncaster last year which meant we weren’t able to run him again. He was a very big, immature horse so he was never going to do much as a two year old. We like him and he was bred to be liked but as we have said before many of the well bred horses don’t turn out to be much cop, but hopefully this horse will. You hoped he could get to this stage.

“We would have been disappointed if he hadn’t won his maiden and he has now won his Listed race but he has now got to step up markedly to be competitive in The Derby, which at the moment the Irish look like they have a stranglehold on. We will just keep him fit, healthy and sound leading up to the race and the rest will be up to the Gods. The trip should be up his street as his mum won The Oaks, although she was better as time went on at a mile and a quarter, but I’d be surprised if there was any problem with the trip.

“It is probably one of the more interesting stories of the race. Having a horse named after my father is very exciting, and it creates a little bit of pressure for everyone but at the moment the horse has no idea there is any pressure on him so hopefully we can enjoy it. Of course it is quite emotional as well and it would be a great day if he could go on and win The Derby.”

The Cazoo Oaks

Saffron Beach

Saffron Beach
Owner: Lucy Sangster, James Wigan & Ollie Sangster
Unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile, winning Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket. Arrives here on the back of fine effort to finish staying-on second in QIPCO 1000 Guineas at the same venue earlier this month.

Trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam said: “She was nice and relaxed. She was on the right lead and you would have to be happy with that. Getting her relaxed was the main thing. She gets her neck down low and stretches out and I was pleased to see that. It was very important she was on the correct lead leg as when they turn into the straight there is a camber and it takes them down to the far rail and you have to be aware of that.

“She did it on soft ground in the Oh So Sharp but I’d imagine we have got a couple of more days of bad rain, then it should start drying out. I think she will get the trip, as does Adam (Kirby). Her exercise rider thinks she will get it and her owners thinks she will get it. We are all in the same boat.

“We are confident she will get the mile and a quarter it is just that extra two furlongs is unknown but we believe she will settle and race through it. Her breeding suggests she has to do to get the trip but all animals are different and she is strong and powerful and relaxed and well balanced. We are just here to give it a go.

“I think the owners were right to look at all the trials and not rush a decision, then they made their decision on Friday so I’m pleased that we sat and waited. Like anything you sleep on it and wake up the morning and think different. Well they had a good week’s sleep on it and I think they have made the right decision.

“She has put on six kilograms and I’m thrilled with that as coming here today would tighten her up a little bit so that has got to be good. Her character when she gets on a racetrack she is just bold and strong and she just runs to the line. She was well worth the wait as she wasn’t rushed as a two year old to run. She has only had four runs under her belt so she is lightly raced coming into this. She has got a good mind and good legs.

“The race and the other horses won’t bother her – it will be the crowds as she has never seen a crowd. That is what we have got to contend with. I will probably put a red hood on her until the start just because she hasn’t seen a crowd. The way to dot the I’s and cross the T’s is to keep the lid on her as she is strong to lead up.

“We will put the hood on her. She has practised with the hood at home but I didn’t put it on her today as I wanted her to suck in all the atmosphere of what we have got today as you have got the odd dog walker and jogger. I think she has taken it well.

“It was important to come here today to see how she took the travelling as she has only ever travelled three miles up the road for each of her races so far which have all been at the Rowley Mile.

“It is a big thrill to be part of this so let’s hope we can go there and do the best.”

Mystery Angel

Mystery Angel
Owner: Nick Bradley Racing 27 & Partner
Built on busy start to year when winning Listed Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month, before finishing solid fourth in Group Three Musidora Stakes at York last time out. Not currently entered in Cazoo Oaks and needs to be supplemented on May 29th.

Trainer George Boughey said: “I think the main thing we will be looking at is the opposition is and see how many go there. It looks open enough at the moment. The question mark is whether she gets the mile and a half. I think if the ground is like it is today we wouldn’t be running, but the forecast looks good and if it comes quicker her best performance was on quick ground and in an open year we would probably like to give it a go. It is certainly not decision made yet. I will speak to Nick later and we will see how she comes out of it. We would like to give it a go if she is well and the ground comes a bit quicker.

“She is a very well balanced filly. I didn’t really ask Ben (Curtis) to do a huge amount. It was more just to come and see the track and see how she came down the hill. She is a specialist at Newmarket where you have to handle going up and down. I’d hope she would handle it (Epsom Downs). She is a very straight forward filly.

“I don’t think you can beat experience is races like this and I would rather come into a race like this with the amount of experience she does rather than winning a Pretty Polly on her second start or something like that. She has got experience on her side and we will see how she goes over the next week or so.

“I was very pleased with her at York. I think it was a bit of a masterclass from Ryan (Moore) at the front end and maybe we should have chased it a bit harder but she got beat just over four lengths and she is not a million miles away from them. In a race that was run at a true gallop maybe we would have been closer.

“She has been amazing. She was picked up for 22,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up sale last year. To have a chance to run in a Group One with a filly like her would be very special.

“We are not there yet but she is in great form and we would like to give it a go if she tells us it’s the right thing to do.”

Ocean Road

Ocean Road
Owner: Qatar Racing Limited
Clear cut winner of an all-weather fillies’ novice contest at Lingfield Park in December and made a pleasing return when third in Listed Oaks Trial on turf at same venue earlier this month.

Trainer Hugo Palmer said: “She ran at Lingfield and she was balanced there. She has handled the hill well here. She just took a little look at the road crossing and Oisin (Murphy) just had to give her a squeeze into Tattenham Corner but she has run to the line and every yard she has gone the better she has gone which is great.

“It is very soft ground here today and I think she would be better on better ground but she has relished that. She seems to me to be doing what three year old fillies can do at this time of year which is improve very rapidly. She seems to be getting better and better with every week and you don’t know where their limits are going to be. She needs to find 20lbs on what she did at Lingfield to win an average Oaks but sometimes that is the sort of thing can happen and that is what we are dreaming might happen.

“She is an utterly beautiful filly to look at. She is exceptionally balanced and has beautiful depth. She really is a gorgeous filly. She is a half-sister to a dual Group One winner over a mile and a half in Wigmore Hall and she is by a Derby winner. When you have got all those things there this is the dream you are dreaming of right from the start. I’m always a glass half full kind of person and I try and dream what is the best a horse can be, then we go to Plan B to Z after Plan A hasn’t worked.

“She was slowly away from an inside draw which was less than ideal at Lingfield and it meant that Oisin had to sit last off a very slow pace. Oisin made his move early in the hope he would give the filly time to get there. She got there in four strides which caught him by surprise. She rather used her winning kick on ground softer than ideal, then just didn’t quite get home that day. It’s not that I don’t think she will stay as I think she will stay very well. It is always annoying when you pass the whole field and don’t win. She is a very green filly and that was only her third run in her life jumping straight into stakes company.

“She has got a lot to learn but I hope that she has learned and I hope that she has improved. Her work last week was very pleasing and I was pleased with what I saw there.”


Thanks to Graham Clark for the above report and to The Jockey Club for the images.

It was great to be back at Epsom Downs photographing these beautiful animals, despite the rain, We were set up at Tattenham Corner and here are our images from the morning.

Grand Re-Opening of Dorking Halls

In line with the latest government guidance, Dorking Halls opened its doors again on Monday 17th May. It celebrated with a family friendly grand reopening event in front of the venue on Saturday 22nd May

The grand reopening was Three Little Pigs-themed to celebrate The Unusual Theatre Company bringing their musical theatre production of the fairy tale to Dorking Halls during October half term.

Throughout the event children meet the pigs from the play, along with their friend Mole Valley District Council’s Merlin the Mole. There was also live music, free popcorn, children’s goody bags, a competition to win panto tickets and free tea and coffee for the grown-ups. Saturday Morning Kids Cinema returned with screenings of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Tom and Jerry The Movie

The first films to be shown when the venue reopened on Monday 17 May were Oscar-winner Nomadland,Peter Rabbit 2, Ammonite, Tom and Jerry: The Movie and Godzilla vs. Kong. On Mondays all cinema tickets are just £7.50. Cinemagoers can buy tickets on the door but advance booking is recommended to get their preferred seats. Book now.

Dorking Halls has lined up an array of socially distanced shows this spring and summer. Inspired by the much-loved Julia Donaldson picture book, heart-warming show The Snail & the Whale arrives on 9 and 10 June. This will be followed by Curated by Dapper and Suave’s summer market on Sunday 13 June showcasing stylish handmade items by local businesses.

Popular open air theatre weekend Plays in the Park is back at Meadowbank on 16-18 July with shows for all ages, including children’s productions, comedy and drama. Cult hit event Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote also returns on Friday 23 July with an interactive screening of classic episode of the hit TV show, “Broadway Malady”.

For comedy fans there’s Screaming Blue Murder Comedy Club on Friday 21 May and top comic Carl Hutchinson on Saturday 14 August.

From 10 May, the venue also opened an outdoor cafe outside the building serving drinks and cakes. The box office has also reopened. Both are open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm and follow the latest coronavirus safety guidelines.

Dorking Halls’ indoor cafe and bar will open when the venue reopens on Monday 17 May.

Cabinet Member for Leisure, Councillor David Draper said: “After nearly five months of being closed we are delighted to welcome customers back. I know I’ve been missing live theatre and the big screen – it’s definitely not the same watching films at home. Please do come along on Saturday 22 May and join us – and the three little pigs – in celebrating our return and a packed spring and summer programme of exciting events for all tastes and ages.” 

See the venue’s safety measures at

To book tickets to films and shows, visit or call 01306 881717.

Closure of Epsom Downs Vaccine Center

After 6 months and over 191,000 vaccines Epsom Downs Vaccination centre closes. Here is the story of the centre and images from its last hour.

On Wednesday 2nd December 2020 the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for public use. The first vaccine in the world to help fight against the deadly Coronavirus. Within hours of the news of the vaccine the government  announced that there would 7 vaccine centres around the UK with Epsom Downs being on the list. 

One of the first people to have the vaccine was 89 year old Alfreda Taylor, from Epsom

On Wednesday 16th December , just 2 weeks after the announcement Epsom Downs Vaccination Centre opened its doors to the public. Its aim to vaccinate the elderly and those most vulnerable to the virus. One of the first through the door was 85 year old local resident Geoff Lewis, winning jockey on Mill Reef’s in the 1971 Derby. With no fuss the team at Epsom worked over December up till Christmas vaccinating the elderly with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. 

On Wednesday 30th December the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use in the UK. Unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech, which had to be stored at temperatures of  -70c, The Oxford vaccine could be stored at regular fridge temperature which now allowed for GP surgeries and pharmacies to store and give the vaccine. But this wasn’t the end for Epsom, far from it, With cases rising, more then the first wave of Covid-19,the Prime Minister announced on Monday 4th January, after a 4 week lockdown in November, a new lockdown starting on Tuesday 5th January. Things were about to change at Epsom.

On Monday 11th January, in front of the Duchess Stand and the world media, Health Secretary Matt Hancock Mass Vaccination will start with Epsom Downs being capable of delivering thousands of the life-saving jabs each week.

Whatever the weather the centre remained open with thousands of people passing through its doors to get the life saving jab.

As snow falls across Epsom Downs in Surrey extra pressure is put on Epsom Downs Mass Vaccination Centre.

The centre was split in half. One side of Oaks Hall was the NHS section. The other was the GP led section. Both side of the hall working together to deliver the vaccine. The process for the public was smooth and seemed effortless from the time you drove through the door to the time you left as our video we produced for Surrey Heartland shows.

With the vaccine working across the UK and restrictions being lifted as number of cases dropped plans were put in place to move the Vaccine Centre away from Epsom Downs Racecourse to Sandown Park in Esher. 

Sarah Owens the last person to be vaccinated at Epsom Downs

On Saturday 15th May just after 7:30pm Sarah Owens became the last person to be vaccinated at the centre. As the vaccine was administered by Vaccinator Marianne around of applause and cheer was heard around the centre. 

But the work wasn’t over just yet. With members of the public waiting to get their jabs the team of NHS staff, St Johns Ambulance, CSP who manned the flow of traffic and parking in the centre, Jockey Club and Volunteers went into action to clear down the site. One by one the vaccination pods were cleared down. Everyone got involved including the chief executive of the centre. Like the vaccination programme the clear down went just a smoothly with the majority of the site cleared within 20mins of the last jab.


Message Board

Once the hard work was done there was a time to say thank you to the staff from the leads at the centre and a time to reflect on the work they have done and their time spent at Epsom Downs. A board was set up with staff posting their messages of thanks and support. Here is just a few of those messages.

So after 6 months and over 191,000 vaccinations that’s it. Another part of Epsom Downs Racecourse story over with and in the history books for future generations to read about. The vaccination centre is now relocated at Sandown Park, Esher and opens on Monday 17th May.

As for Epsom Downs the race now starts to make the venue ready for the Cazoo Derby Festival starting on the 4th & 5th June. With limited numbers of spectators, due to the current Covid restrictions. It will be first time horse racing fans have been allowed back to the course since Sunday 29th September 2019. What is special about this years Derby it marks the 50th Anniversary of local resident Geoff Lewis winning the Derby on Mill Reef, the same Geoff Lewis who was one of the first to get their jab at Epsom Downs Vaccination Centre….

A empty Oaks Hall at Epsom Downs Racecourse
All images and video are copyrighted to Paul.K.Taylor. If you wish to use any of this article including images and video please ask permission by emailing [email protected]
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