Hoisting the Green Flag in Epsom & Ewell

Epsom Common, Alexandra Recreation Ground, Ewell Court Park and Rosebery Park are four of the very best green spaces in the UK and that's official!

All four green spaces have been awarded green flag status once again. The award is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces.

Councillor Alex Coley, Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Committee said: “We have some fantastic parks and green spaces in the borough. 

“After 18 months that have seen the borough parks and nature reserves play a vital role as places to relax, exercise and meet friends and family, the news that all four areas that we put forward have achieved the Green Flag Award is testament to the hard work and dedication of the council staff and the volunteer groups that make these green places, the great spaces that everyone can enjoy”.

Commenting on the news that the four green spaces have achieved the Green Flag Award standard, Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making Alex Rec, Ewell Court Park, Rosebery Park and Epsom Common worthy of the Green Flag Award.

“To meet the requirements demanded by the scheme is testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers who do so much to ensure that the three areas have high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and is a place that supports people to live healthy lives”.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

In a record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award, as the scheme marks its Silver Jubilee, the three Epsom & Ewell Green spaces join 2,127 across the UK celebrating this success.

Sutton Soup raised £1214.50 for local charity

Well, after an unexpectedly long break Soup#17 finally arrived and proved to be every bit as successful as all our other Soups.

It was a wonderful evening and lovely to renew acquaintance with our ‘regulars’ and welcome so many new faces. Together we raised £1,214.50, so a huge thank you to everyone who came and to the generosity of our sponsors: Ace Accountancy Services(http://ace-accountancy.com) and IT Partnership (https://www.it-partnership.com)

We heard from:

Downsyndromeok who are an inclusive parent led charity who help people with Down’s syndrome fulfil their potential and lead happy and productive lives. They provide social and networking opportunities, information and training and developmental groups and need funds to increase the amount of support using professional therapists they can offer. (downsyndromeok.org.uk)

Max the Brave Fund who raise funds to help Great Ormond Street Hospital and other organisations, provide treats for children fighting cancer and help individual cases that need essential treatment abroad. They wanted funds to put together special packages for children and their parents in Sutton’s Royal Marsden Hospital at Christmas. (https://www.maxthebravefund.org

St Raphael’s Hospice care for people in Merton and Sutton living with a life-limiting illness, and their families, offering home-based and in-patient care, wellbeing services and bereavement support. Their hard-working staff are seeking funds to update their very worn and outdated tea-room to give them somewhere welcoming and comfortable to enjoy a break from their demanding duties. (https://www.straphaels.org.uk)

Sutton Community Food Shop which helps people struggling on low incomes make ends meet with donated non-perishable, chilled, and frozen food. They also provide access to additional support from other agencies such as Citizens Advice, Sutton Housing Partnership, the Welfare Reform team and also help people feel supported emotionally. (https://www.suttoncommunityworks.org/community-foodshop)

Whilst the votes were being counted we heard from Get On Downs who won Soup#16 and who, along with some of the people they have helped, movingly told us about how helpful were the information packs ‘Soup’ helped fund which they put together for new parents at St Helier and Epsom hospitals. These make a huge difference, giving them positive and practical advice.( https://www.facebook.com/GetOnDowns)

All the pitchers were very persuasive and lots of people could be heard saying how difficult it was to decide who most deserved their token, but eventually, the winner of a very close vote was announced as the Max the Brave Fund.

Finally, thank you once again to Sainsbury’s Sutton store for providing all the ingredients for the Leek and Potato soup we enjoyed, to the team at Shinner & Sudtone for cooking it (https://www.shinnerandsudtone.co.uk) and to Surrey Hills Sourdough bakery who provided us for the first (but not last!) time with the very popular bread.

It was such a joy to feel the wonderfully warm and friendly ‘Soup’ atmosphere once again. Thanks to everyone who came together to help us raise all that money – we couldn’t do it without you. If you don’t want to miss out next time then reserve your tickets and make a note in your diary for Sutton Soup#18 on 20th January 2022. Sutton Soup #18 (Eventbrite link).

9 years in jail after being found guilty of multiple rape offences

A 20-year-old man has been sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment with a further five years on extended licence following an investigation by Surrey Police’s Safeguarding Investigation Team.

Jay Louis Benjamin Connor, 20, of Kingswood Road, Tadworth, was sentenced on Friday 22nd October after being found guilty of multiple sexual offences, including six counts of rape, following a six-week trial at Guildford Crown Court. 

He was arrested on 30 October 2019 in Epsom Downs car park after officers found him in his car with a young girl and noticed that he was behaving suspiciously. The girl, who was under the age of 16, subsequently disclosed to officers that she had been raped by Connor and he was arrested and taken into custody.

Further enquiries revealed that Connor was already known to Surrey Police and was currently under investigation in relation to other allegations of sexual offences, the earliest of which dated back to 2018. A complex investigation was carried out by Surrey Police’s Safeguarding Investigation Team with a total of seven complainants coming forward to make allegations against Connor over a three-year period.

Even after being arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault, Connor continued to meet further victims. With almost all the victims, Connor would make up lies about his past and his health in order to manipulate them into engaging in sexual activity with him.

Throughout the trial, Connor claimed that all victims were lying.

Connor was found guilty of the following offences:

–             6 counts of rape of a woman 16 years of age or over

–             2 counts of sexual activity with a child

–             1 count of sexual assault by penetration

Connor was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment, with a further five years on extended licence. He has also been given a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Following the trial, Connor’s victims have bravely spoken out about how his crimes have affected their lives.

One victim, who was just 15 at the time, describes how the assault has affected her body confidence and ability to form relationships: “I can’t trust boys/men and I can’t see how I will be able to have a normal relationship as I can’t bear to be physically touched and I don’t know when it is okay to believe nice things that someone may say to me.

“I don’t want to be attractive or to even look the same or similar as I did at that time. I don’t ever want any man to look at me in the same way that he felt he could use me, without any respect for me as a human being.”

“I can’t cope if I get catcalled. I crumble and have a panic attack. I just can’t lead a normal life like every other teenager.

“I am not sure how to make you fully understand the devastating effect he has had on my life. I did survive the ordeal but the scars that remain are very deep and I need to feel safe again.”

Another victim, who was 14 when Connor raped her in Priory Park in Reigate, wants to use her experience to help others, saying: “I did not expect anything like this to ever happen to me.

“I have never felt so small and lonely, not knowing what to think or feel. The whole range of emotions I have gone through have been confusing, upsetting, unnerving and very difficult to cope with. I can now see that Jay had a plan and knew exactly what he was doing.

“Everyone should know that saying no, means NO. I will always have this experience with me, however I refuse to be a forever victim. I want to speak up and do what’s right for myself and others.”

Detective Constable Leah Best, who led this investigation, said: “I commend the bravery of the victims in this case for coming forward and ensuring that Connor was brought to justice for his heinous crimes.

“The victims in this case were young and vulnerable and all believed they had formed a relationship with Connor whether that was as a friend or boyfriend. Connor is a sexual predator, targeting his victims and then subjecting them to traumatic sexual assaults and making them feel as though this was expected of them.

“Connor was between 15 and 18 during the time of his offences but as he got older, the girls he engaged in sexual activity with became younger, and he began meeting many of his victims on social media channels, including Snapchat and Instagram.

“The impact on these victims is far-reaching but I hope that the guilty verdict/sentence reached today will go some way towards helping them and their families to move forward with their lives.

“Surrey Police take all allegations of rape and sexual assault seriously and will always carry out a full and thorough investigation and bring those responsible to justice.”

If you suspect anyone of committing similar offences, please call Surrey Police immediately on 101 (or always 999 in an emergency).

For further support and advice, please contact the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre http://www.rasasc.org/

Neighbourhood Watch Launches ‘SAY NO TO ASB’ Campaign

Antisocial behaviour (ASB) incidents have increased over the last three years. Police forces, councils and housing associations are reporting significant spikes in ASB cases – and these are not minor incidents. They are complex and serious cases causing real harm to many people. 

To help tackle the issue, Neighbourhood Watch are running a campaign encouraging people to ‘SAY NO TO ASB’.  
The campaign will run from the 25th October through to the 21st November on their social channels with key information on recognising, recording, and reporting ASB on our website: ourwatch.org.uk/asb.

45% of people say ASB is a problem where they live, and 56% of those who had either been a victim of or a witness to ASB did not report it to anyone. *

They are running a free online ‘SAY NO TO ASB’ webinar on 15th November at 5pm with the charity ASB Help as part of the campaign. Places are limited. To book your place, visit ourwatch.org.uk/webinars.


  • Follow us them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and share their posts to your social channels, including WhatsApp community groups, to encourage more people to SAY NO TO ASB
  • Download their ‘Recognising, Recording and Reporting ASB Guide’ from ourwatch.org.uk/asb to share with your community
  • Download their 14-day ‘ASB Diary’ from ourwatch.org.uk/asb to support you in recognising, recording, and reporting ASB incidents in your area.
  • To find out more and SAY NO TO ASB, visit  ourwatch.org.uk/asb.

If you would like a digital campaign pack, please email [email protected].

* Data source: Taking Back our Communities – working together to make communities safer report, commissioned in 2021 by RESOLVE, a Centre of Excellence solely focused upon community safety and antisocial behaviour

Ignite At Polesden Lacey

Ignite at Polesden Lacey is a new after-dark experience in the Edwardian gardens at the National Trust’s Polesden Lacey this autumn.

From 22 October – 7 November, visitors will have the chance to see Polesden Lacey like you have seen never before .

Deep in the Surrey Hills, only four miles from Dorking, but best accessed via Bookham, Polesden Lacey was once home to the famous Edwardian hostess Margaret Greville, who entertained royalty and the celebrities of her time. The gardens offer something for every season and autumn is no exception. Once the vibrant and rich greens of summer disappear the whole estate is encompassed in gold as the leaves turn.

As twilight falls, the IGNITE magic begins. We arrived just before our start time, our trail started at 6:45pm so we parked up in the car park ,which as it gets dark is well illuminated, just 10min before and made our way to the entrance. we would advise buying your tickets online to save time CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

You start your walk down an avenue of  trees lit up leading you deep into the garden where you come across a small hut handing out lanterns for you to carry around to light your path through the gardens, this makes the experience more magical, around every corner you come across woodland wildlife sculpted in willow.

We were unsure what footwear to wear but majority of the walk is on pathways and normal walking shoes were fine. If it had rain before hand we would imaging some areas would be very wet underfoot. 

As you progress around the garden the light displays just get better and better. After stunning view towards the main house all lit up with field of lights in front of it you come across a fire breathing dragon with music playing around you the dragon comes to life with a burst of flames out of its mouth. 

You then enter the light tunnel visible from the start of the walk this area is the place for selfies. There was a small queue to walk through as people stopped for photos but for your instagram photos it was worth the wait.

As you leave the tunnel and head towards the house it’s time to hand back the lanterns. The lanterns are no longer required as, in front of the house, the lawn is a light with hundreds of tiny lanterns. As you walk down the side you notice in front of the house several refreshment stalls.

You can by food and drinks hot or cold at the refreshment stalls but the biggest queue was for the marshmallows. This is a lovely touch in the courtyard in front of the house there are two fire pits so you can toast your marshmallows. These are well protected and are high up so for smaller children they will have to be lifted up. We didn’t have a go as it was now getting crowded around the fires. 

The trail now heads down the side of the house past an orchard of pink trees and into the main garden of the house again there are more woodland wildlife sculpted in willow and smaller but brilliant light displays such as flower beds of lights, shoal of fiery fish and tea pots.

Following the path you are now at the end of the trail back at where you started by the gift shop and cafe. Which is perfect for as nice hot chocolate to warm you up.  The trail has been specially designed for visitors of all ages to enjoy. It took us just over the hour, that’s allowing us to take notes and photos, If you have young children I would say allow hour as there is plenty for them to look at. 

The trail is open from 5pm – 9pm I would recommend 6:45pm as a great time crowds weren’t to busy, it was nice and dark and plenty of space in the car park. 

For More Details On Ignite At Polesden Lacey CLICK HERE

Disclaimer: We were offered Press Tickets for this event by the organisers and have not received any payment for this review.

Independent Monitoring Board – HMP Downview

A fabulous volunteering opportunity which guarantees you will end up in jail!

HMP Downview Prison are currently recruiting new members to monitor conditions at HMP Downview, a prison for women in Sutton, Surrey. As an IMB member, you are given the opportunity to raise matters that make a difference through monitoring and reporting concerns. IMB members come from all walks of life and ages and don’t need any special qualifications or experience.

IMB members monitor the treatment received by those detained in custody and to confirm it is fair, just and humane. It’s a position of trust and responsibility and a prestigious ministerial appointment.

IMB members have unrestricted access to their local prison and can talk to any prisoner. A typical visit might include time spent in kitchens, workshops, accommodation blocks, recreation areas, wings and healthcare centres.

The volunteer role is hugely interesting, challenging and absorbing. You need to be enthusiastic, open minded, have good communication skills and have the ability to exercise sound, objective judgement. You will need to live within 20 miles of HMP Downview and be able to offer time every month to monitor, attend various departmental meetings and attend monthly Board Meetings.

For further information, please contact



Closing date for applications is 24th October 2021

Join the People’s Panel for Epsom and St Helier

Epsom and St Helier hospitals are asking patients and members of the public to join its first ever People’s Panel – an initiative that will ensure future projects and programmes are co-designed with patients and local people.

The Trust and its community partnerships, Sutton Health and Care and Surrey Downs Health and Care, are looking for people to represent the views of their local communities and to give feedback on a range of health and care issues. This could cover anything from your views on the directional signs and information shown around the hospitals to the latest developments in the Building Your Future Hospitals programme (that’s the programme to build a Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Sutton and significantly improve Epsom and St Helier hospitals). 

  Members of the People’s Panel will be able to get involved in a range of projects and programmes, from improving how the Trust communicates with patients, to having your say on building design and layout. 

Chief Executive, Jacqueline Totterdell, said: “This is an exciting time for us as we plan to build a Specialist Emergency Care Hospital to look after our sickest patients and transform the existing buildings at Epsom and St Helier, and we need the involvement of our local people. The views of our local communities are crucially important to us, and we want to hear from you. 

 “By joining our People’s Panel, you will have the opportunity to tell us what you want from your local hospitals and community services. In return we promise to listen to your feedback, tell you how it is being used to change or improve our plans and the services we provide, and continue to work with you on future projects. 

“You can be involved in as much or as little as you like – members of our People’s Panel will receive regular updates, be invited to attend panel meetings and more.” 

 Trevor Fitzgerald, Programme Director for Building Your Future Hospitals and Director of Estates, Facilities and Capital Projects, added: “Building Your Future Hospitals represents the biggest investment in healthcare in our region for a generation, and we want you, our local communities, to be part of it. Join our People’s Panel – it takes less than five minutes – and help us to make the Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and Epsom and St Helier hospitals great now and for generations to come.” 

 Joining the People’s Panel couldn’t be simpler, just fill in the online form at www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/peoples-panel, or for more information or a hard copy membership form, email [email protected]  

The Cyril Frazer Memorial Prize Awarded To Epsom Choral Society

Councillor Clive Woodbridge, Chairman of Epsom and Ewell Town Twinning Association, is delighted to announce that Epsom Choral Society is the inaugural recipient of the Cyril Frazer Memorial Prize. The prize is in recognition of the contribution which Epsom Choral Society has made over the years to both twinning and music in the Borough.

The Cyril Frazer Award is a legacy set up as a memorial to Cyril Frazer who died in 2016. Cyril was a keen member of the Epsom Male Voice Choir and his great passions were singing and twinning with Chantilly. This year, on the 25thanniversary of the twinning of Epsom and Chantilly, the committee of the Epsom and Ewell Town Twinning Association has chosen Epsom Choral Society as the first recipient of this award in recognition of their efforts over the past 99 years to bring live music to the borough of Epsom and Ewell, and over the past 25 years to further the musical links with Chantilly through touring, and singing with other choirs from Europe.

Cyril Frazer was Mayor of Epsom & Ewell when it was twinned with Chantilly in 1996. Chantilly was chosen because, like Epsom, they have a famous racecourse and a choral tradition. Epsom Choral Society was the first choir from Epsom & Ewell to visit Chantilly in 1996.

In conferring this prize Councillor Woodbridge said “Cyril Frazer was a distinguished local politician and a great supporter of choirs and twinning. The memorial award was established to recognise those who similarly support these endeavours. This award is thoroughly deserved by Epsom Choral Society and I congratulate them on being the inaugural recipients.

Now in its 100th year, Epsom Choral Society has successfully demonstrated a significant contribution to the cultural and musical pursuits of the Borough, to twinning and to Epsom and Ewell’s twin town of Chantilly in France.”

In response the Chairman of the Epsom Choral Society, Helen Phillips, said: “What an unexpected pleasure for ECS to be receiving an award! The friends the choir has made, and the events in which it has participated, through the help of the Twinning Association, have added richly to the life of ECS and we will certainly try to honour Cyril’s wishes in the spending of the award money.” 

Further information about this and the Epsom and Ewell Town Twinning Association is available on the Association’s website at EpsomTwinning.com . Information about Epsom Choral Society can be found at EpsomChoral.org.uk.


Ewell Emergency Road Closure

Surrey Highways currently have an emergency 24/7 road closure in place on Kingston Road, Ewell, between the junctions of London Road and  Chessington Road. Following a void in the pavement at this location. Due to the safety concerns the entire road has had to be closed. Click Link for map of the area   https://one.network/?GB123542322 

Surrey Highways have arranged a specialist team to be on site Monday 11th October. They expect the road to be closed until Friday 15th October due to the severity of the void, and the proximity of the pond to the void. The pond and void will be investigated by their specialist team.


The designated diversion route is as follows:
            •  Head south on Kingston Rd towards Chessington Rd/B2200
            • Turn left at the 1st cross street onto Kingston Rd/B2200
            • Turn left onto London Rd
            • Turn left onto Ewell By-Pass/A240
            • At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Kingston Rd
            • Turn left onto Kingston Rd/B2200

Reverse route applies.

All information is from Surrey Highways Social Media and One.Network
It goes without saying but please use alternative routes while the road is closed. Businesses in the area are still open.

Free Activities In Mole Valley For 5-12’s During October!

Mole Valley District Council is once again offering a wide range of free outdoor activities for school-aged children this holiday time. For three days in October, spread across Ashtead, Dorking and Leatherhead, children can try a new sport, or practice a well-loved one.

The free holiday activities are available on the 25th, 27th and 29th October from 10am – 2pm 2021.  More details are at www.molevalley.gov.uk/holidayactivities .  The sessions are all mixed and whilst many of the activities are available to all (5-12yrs), some will be age-specific.

The activities begin in Leatherhead on Monday 25th October, where the Kingston Road Rec will be hosting Orienteering, Tag Rugby, Dodgeball, Football and Cricket.  Meadowbank, Dorking will also host all those sports as well as angling on the Wednesday 27th.  Friday 29th will see all the sports excluding angling taking place at Ashtead Rec.

Councillor David Draper, MVDC’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said: “After the success of the summer holiday activities, which attracted over 1800 visits to our fun and active sessions, we are delighted to host a programme of activities again this October half term.  Young people’s physical and mental health is so important, especially as we head into the winter months.  We hope these sessions might inspire young people to keep going with a new sport and they will be a great way to make new friends too. Visit our website for more information.”