Laines Theatre Arts to Star as West End Celebrates Sondheim

On 19 March 2023, a host of West End performers will be joined by the 35-strong Choir of Laine Theatre Arts to celebrate the work of the late Broadway genius, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Covering favourite shows like Into the Woods, Company, Follies and Sweeney Todd, as well as some lesser-known numbers, the concert will be presented by Olivier Award winner Sara Kestelman, known for her distinguished career in the classical theatre alongside appearances in Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret and Nine.

Television’s Bart Edwards (Lykkeland, The Witcher) and Classical Brit Nominee Carly Paoli will be joined by a host of leading West End performers including Jalisa Andrews (Nativity Rocks), Luke Bayer (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), Stephen John Davis (Phantom of the Opera), Will Haswell (Back to the Future), Rebecca Jardine (Gigi), Will Luckett (Saturday Night Fever), and Monique Young (Mary Poppins).

A professional six-piece band will accompany the concert, which will mark what would have been the week of Sondheim’s 93rd birthday.

The programme will include such favourites as ‘Being Alive’ (Company), ‘Send in the Clowns’ (A Little Night Music), ‘Tonight’ (West Side Story), ‘Putting it Together’ (Sunday in the Park with George) and ‘Comedy Tonight’ (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum).

Proceeds from the concert will go to the Actors’ Church Benevolent Fund.

Lawrence Broomfield, Head of Singing and Choral Director at Laine Theatre Arts, is producing the concert and commented: ‘It’s a joy for the Choir of Laine’s to join forces with our friends at the Actors’ Church for this special celebration of the most influential writer in Broadway history. We’re honoured to be joined by leading figures from stage and screen to raise funds for an incredibly important cause.’

Tickets are on sale now at

Neighbourhood Fund Money Allocated to Bidders to Support Communities

Having considered the respective recommendations of the North and South Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Working Groups at its meeting on 7 February 2023, the Cabinet awarded Neighbourhood Fund money to five of the seven applicants, amounting to a little over £164,000.

Mole Valley District Council’s (MVDC) Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy – now known as the Neighbourhood Fund – consists of money collected from developers when new homes or retail premises are built in the district. A little over £1 million in the Neighbourhood Fund is available for communities to bid for money in order to deliver new infrastructure or maintain what is already there.

Bids can be made directly to MVDC at any time by individuals and community groups in ‘non-parished’* areas. Parish Councils need to be approached first in ‘parished areas’**. MVDC Members assigned to the North and South of the district Working Groups consider bids at meetings held three times a year (spring, summer and winter rounds) before recommending funding awards for Cabinet to decide upon.

The Cabinet awarded the following money to bidders as part of the winter round of applications:

North of the district

      • Bookham Station information display – £12,024
      • Leatherhead Institute window replacement – £47,000
      • Therfield School toilets refurbishment – £75,000 (part fund)

South of the district

      • St Martin’s Church interior lighting – £10,000
      • Meadowbank Park bandstand – £20,000 (subject to bidder sourcing other funding)

The deadline for bids to be submitted for consideration as part of the summer tranche of applications is 5 June 2023. Visit for more information and to submit an application for funding. The spring deadline for applications closed on 6 February 2023.

Councillor Bridget Kendrick, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The money approved under the Neighbourhood Fund for this period will certainly make a difference to these bidders and the communities they are located in. I am delighted that the new process we’ve put in place has already helped decision-making and how money is allocated to the greatest priority community infrastructure projects. This most recent round of allocating funding has already been a marked improvement on previous years, and I look forward to seeing even greater progress as the new way of working becomes further established.

“There are two more opportunities this year alone for bids to be submitted for improvements to existing or new infrastructure in Mole Valley. More information and eligibility criteria is available on our website so, if there is something you are aware of that needs improving in your local community, the Neighbourhood Fund could help provide the solution.”

Meadowbank Stadium Update

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council (MVDC), said: “Having listened and acted on the feedback we have received since the offer by Dorking Wanderers FC to purchase the freehold of Meadowbank Stadium, café and soft play facilities from us was known, I am now in a position to provide a further update.

“The comments we have heard time and again from grass roots clubs, residents and other stakeholders revolved around the need to ensure the continued provision of the football facilities for community use. This was in addition to making sure that the stadium could not be redeveloped for any other purpose in the future, should an agreement of sale be reached between ourselves and Dorking Wanderers.

“When this proposal originally came to us from Dorking Wanderers, we took steps in those early stages to include ‘restrictive covenants’ in any proposed transfer of the freehold that would safeguard the future community use of the facilities. These safeguards involved MVDC owning the adjacent land at the site, so we would ultimately control what could and could not be done at the site, in addition to MVDC being given first right of refusal should the disposal of the freehold be considered in the future.

“Our intention has always been offering sufficient safeguarding measures to protect the future community use of the site. Considering the feedback received from our key stakeholders and local community, it was clear that more reassurance would be welcome. This had a considerable bearing on why we paused the decision-making process in late-January this year and assessed what additional safeguarding mechanisms might be available.

As well as measures to further strengthen the ‘restrictive covenants’ originally proposed, MVDC would limit the rights of access in/out of the site from the highway to those required for the current permitted use of the site. This prevents any change of use from the current permitted use of the site in a way that MVDC retains control as landowner.

“We believe that these additional steps taken offer permanent protection for future community use of the site were a transfer of the freehold to be agreed. In addition, given the significance of this matter, it is proposed that at this stage the Cabinet would only agree the sale in principle. Once officers have drafted all the necessary legal documentation and carried out due diligence, it would once again be brought before Cabinet for a final time to ensure all permanent protections are in place before approving MVDC’s entry in to any legally binding agreement.

Given the position we have advanced to, the intention was that an amended report containing this extra level of detail would be considered by Scrutiny and Cabinet in the March meeting cycle. However, a number of councillors have formally requested that, given the depth of feeling and considerable capital value regarding the potential sale, a special meeting of Full Council be called so that all councillors have the opportunity to comment, ahead of the matter ultimately being decided by Cabinet.

I welcome this opportunity and look forward to this important matter being discussed by all Members at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 7th March, starting at 8.15pm, which can be watched as usual on our online webcast service.”

Epsom Residents Slam Green Belt Local Plan Inclusion

In one of the biggest residents’ protests ever held in Epsom, over 200 demonstrators waved banners, wore green or green belts, and chanted “Green not Greed” in the town centre on Saturday (February 25).

Fury was directed at not only the EEBC planners’ Draft Local Plan containing proposals to build 2,175 homes on Green Belt sites, but also the controlling Residents Association councillors group, which, it is claimed, “were asleep at the wheel” in voting Green Belt inclusion through. Over 40% of the total 5,400 Local Plan homes are destined for the Green Belt, the majority of which will be market-priced and unaffordable to those starting out on the property ladder.

Of nine “preferred options” for housing sites earmarked by the Council in the Local Plan, five are on Green Belt sites, which include Horton Farm (1,500 homes proposed) and Ewell East playing fields (350 homes, up to six storeys high). Despite a “brownfield first” brief, planning officers have not proactively engaged with developers on central urban rejuvenation possibilities, near facilities, preferring instead to accept opportunistic bids from selected Green Belt landowners and developers.

In a welcome display of cross party support, the protestors were joined by representatives from all political parties standing in forthcoming local elections in Epsom & Ewell, including two RA councillors who had voted against their colleagues on Green Belt inclusion.

Demonstration organiser, Kathy Mingo, from the Epsom & Ewell Green Belt Group, said “It was heartening to see everyone uniting beyond party political lines against these unjustified Green Belt destruction plans, given new emerging Government guidelines that puts the focus squarely on brownfield development to meet only advisory, not mandatory, housing targets”

Alex Duval, vice-chairman of Clarendon Park Residents Association, which adjoins the Horton Farm Green Belt site said “ The data does not add up. The Council’s own reports show that the site contains a critical drainage area with high flood risk; their transport analysis recommends not taking the site forward; and reliance on outdated ONS 2014 population figures – rather than the lower  2018 and official 2021 Census figures – means Epsom’s housing needs are significantly overstated. The real housing need can be accommodated on brownfield alone, without any Green Belt destruction.Their own evidence is clear – the Council should save our Green Belt”

Tim Murphy, a vice president of CPRE Surrey and chair of Epsom’s CPRE group, said “CPRE’s experience is that, once sites are listed in a Council’s Local Plan as a “preferred option” for development, then, in 99% of cases, they eventually get developed. So EEBC has already put a number of Green Belt sites at real, permanent risk by identifying them for housing in its Draft Local Plan, which may not be justified as current Government policy on Green Belt evolves”

“Many RA councillors’ seats may now be at risk in May if they do not join the minority of their colleagues in clearly stating their policy objection to unjustified Green Belt destruction” said Jenny Coleman, chair, Ewell Downs Residents Association. “It is clear, not least from a residents petition signed by over 7,000, but also from this impactful, united residents protest, that many think the RA councillors have been rather asleep at the wheel. They must listen to the voice of the people”

The EEBC Draft Local Plan is out to public consultation until March 19. It can be viewed at –  emailed comments can be sent to [email protected]

To sign the petition, visit

Minute Silence For Ukraine

Over 80 people gathered in Epsom Marketplace today, Friday 24th Feb, to show their solidarity with the people of Ukraine. As a minute silence was held across the nation to mark a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. The event was organised by Surrey Stands With Ukraine

Among those gathering were a large group of Ukraine refugees who have been helped and supported by SSWU and Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network. They were joined by the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, local councillors, Chris Grayling MP and members of the public

minute silence in Epsom Marketplace

As the clock struck 11am the marketplace fell silent all be it for the traffic going past or a small child crying. As the minute ended the group of refugees joined together and sung the Ukraine national anthem. Followed by prayers. I have covered may events but this had to be one of the most moving I have had to film.

Our thoughts and prayers are will all the Ukraine people near and far. 

Watch our video below

If you like to donate to Surrey Stands With Ukraine please CLICK HERE

Aldi bringing forward a planning application for Epsom

Award-winning discount food retailer Aldi is bringing forward a planning application for a new Aldi food store at the former Dairy Crest site, Alexandra Road, Epsom, after successfully operating a store in Ewell.

Following their previous application made in 2015, they have now refined their proposals to better complement the surrounding area and meet current needs. If approved, a new store in Epsom would provide local customers with an affordable, high quality food retailer.

Aldi’s plans to bring Everyday Amazing to Epsom

Aldi has long wanted to expand the offer of its amazing value and choice to the residents of Epsom, and the former Dairy Crest site, Alexandra Road, Epsom is the ideal location.

The scheme would provide an attractive, modern Aldi food store in a convenient and accessible location, alongside new car parking facilities, improving customer choice and reducing travel times.

The proposed store would employ up to 50 local people, with further job opportunities supported via construction and through the supply chain.

The proposals would also see the former office building on site refurbished and regenerated to create a new shop and apartment above.

As part of its commitment to community consultation, Aldi has arranged a virtual public exhibition to provide you with an opportunity to view the proposals and give your feedback, prior to the submission of a full planning application to Epsom & Ewell Borough Council. 

Please provide feedback by 11.59pm 7th March 2023.

To view the Virtual Public Exhibition, click here.

For a short overview of our Proposals, click here.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch by emailing them at [email protected] or calling the freephone information line on 0800 298 7040.

Councils challenge ULEZ expansion decision in the courts

A coalition of five councils has today (Thursday 16 February) launched a Judicial Review to challenge Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London’s decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to outer London boroughs.

The London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon and Surrey County Council have brought legal action following TfL’s announcement in November 2022 that it would push on with proposals to expand the scheme in August 2023 despite strong opposition from across outer London and beyond including concerns over how it is being delivered.

The coalition will challenge the expansion in the High Court on five grounds:

1. Failure to comply with relevant statutory requirements 

2. Unlawful failure to consider expected compliance rates in outer London 

3. The proposed scrappage scheme was not consulted upon 

4. Failure to carry out any cost benefit analysis 

5. Inadequate consultation and/or apparent predetermination arising from the conduct of the consultation

Tim OliverCllr Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: “We are committed to delivering a greener future, but it must be done in a practical and sustainable way. We are dismayed at the lack of discussion or consideration given to these proposals by the Mayor of London. The impact on many Surrey residents and businesses will be significant and we will not stand by and watch that happen with no mitigations offered from the Mayor.

“To date, our requests for due consideration to be given to these mitigations have not been acknowledged, let alone acted upon. It’s disappointing that we, along with other local authorities, have to resort to legal proceedings to try and bring the Mayor of London to the table, but we have no choice but to do so.”

Ian EdwardsCllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “Our position has remained unchanged from when TfL’s plans were first mooted – ULEZ is the wrong solution in outer London as it will have negligible or nil impact on air quality but will cause significant social and economic harm to our residents. We shared this view in our response to the TfL consultation last summer and we’ve said it since when the plans were confirmed in November. Now, we’ll say it in the courts.

“We believe Sadiq Khan’s decision to impose this scheme on outer London boroughs is unlawful – his spending nearly £260 million of public money without any cost benefit analysis. Hillingdon, and the other coalition local authorities wouldn’t dream of making decisions in this fashion.

“The predominant effect of ULEZ expansion will be to financially cripple already struggling households, further isolate the elderly and harm our local economy with negligible or no improvement to air quality. Investment in improved transport links – on a par with those in areas within the existing ULEZ – is the better way to reduce car use in Hillingdon.”

Baroness Teresa O'Neill OBECllr Baroness O’Neill of Bexley OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, said: “We have been clear from the start that we believe air quality is important but that ULEZ is the wrong solution. By wanting to expand ULEZ to outer London boroughs it appears that the Mayor’s message is you can pollute as long as you can afford the £12.50.

“We believe he should give the monies that he has allocated to ULEZ to the boroughs who actually understand outer London and the transport connectivity problems our residents face to come up with innovative solutions that will deliver better, more practical results.

“We are also very concerned about the mental wellbeing of our residents who we know are already anxious about the installation of ULEZ and the very real prospect that they won’t be able to use their cars to get to work, visit relatives and friends, shop or attend health appointments.

“We are standing up for our residents who have given us a clear message of what they think of his plan.”

Cllr Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley CouncilCllr Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council, said: “We have been sounding the alarm about Mayor Khan’s attempted tax raid on the outer ‘London’ suburbs for many months now. The fundamental truth as to his true intention is now increasingly plain for all to see.

“In Bromley, this socially regressive tax directly threatens jobs, the viability and availability of small businesses, and causing significant damage to vital care networks, as well as creating a completely avoidable spike in the cost of living locally, at a time when some households are already struggling to make ends meet.

“To attempt to do all of this under cover of a false health scare over air quality, when the Mayor’s own research confirms that Bromley has the second cleanest air in London, also, that extending ULEZ to the boundaries of the M25 will make no discernible difference to air quality locally, is frankly unforgivable.

“The upset, pain and anxiety this has caused locally is immense, which is why, even at this late stage, I once again call on the Mayor to withdraw this spiteful proposal.”


The five grounds and a summary of each:

1.Failure to comply with relevant statutory requirements
Schedule 23 to the Greater London Authority Act 1999 governs the making of “charging schemes.” The Mayor decided to extend ULEZ by varying the existing scheme (which applies to inner London). Although Schedule 23 does permit a charging scheme to be varied, the proposed changes are so wide ranging that they amount to a whole new charging scheme which cannot be introduced by way of a variation. In addition, Schedule 23 contains procedural safeguards in the making of a charging scheme which have not been followed by the Mayor.

2. Unlawful failure to consider expected compliance rates in outer London
The Mayor’s failure to provide any meaningful information as to how he expects an instant 91 per cent compliance rate was unfair, and specifically, the Mayor did not respond to Hillingdon’s consultation response that the compliance assumptions “were not fit for purpose.” In addition, the consultation documents were unclear and confusing and prevented consultees from making proper responses.

3. The proposed scrappage scheme was not consulted upon
In making his decision to extend ULEZ the Mayor committed to a scrappage scheme costing £110 million. Details of the scrappage scheme only become available following his decision and were not subject to prior consultation. In particular, the Mayor’s decision to only offer the scrappage scheme to those residing in London was not consulted upon, although this was highlighted in the consultation response from Surrey County Council. Given the importance of the scrappage scheme to the Mayor’s decision, a consultation on the scrappage scheme should have taken place.

4. Failure to carry out any cost benefit analysis
Treasury Guidance recommends a cost benefit analysis where a policy decision requires the use of “significant new” public money. No such analysis was undertaken by the Mayor and no explanation given as to why one was inappropriate. Given that the implementation cost is estimated at £160 million and that the Mayor has introduced a separate £110 million scrappage scheme, and that the expansion is expected to generate a net operating surplus of £200 million in the first full year of operation, his decision clearly involves “significant new” public money.

5. Inadequate consultation and/or apparent predetermination arising from the conduct of the consultation
The consultation exercise contained 15 questions with drop-down answers, only one of which sought to address the question of whether the expansion should go ahead. In addition, following disclosure by the Greater London Authority (GLA) of background consultation information to the GLA Conservatives, it appears that a number of “organised responses” were excluded by TfL particularly those which opposed the expansion. This took place during the consultation and the way in which this happened suggests that the Mayor had predetermination.

Harlequins set to host the world’s biggest club rugby event

Harlequins are hosting the UK’s biggest club rugby event on March 4 as the Club’s Men and Women’s teams take on Exeter Chiefs

Harlequins have announced that Big Game 14 is back! This year is set to be bigger than ever with both Harlequins Men and Women playing a massive double header against Exeter Chiefs.

This will be the first time ever that the Club will hold a double header of this type at the Big Game and with both teams renowned for their physical, attacking style of play, it promises to be a mouth-watering day of rugby and spectacular entertainment for all the family.

Harlequins can also confirm that headline music act Faithless will perform a DJ set starring Sister Bliss at the home of English rugby. Faithless, the creators of the iconic international hit ‘Insomnia’ will headline the event with a performance from star DJ Sister Bliss between the Women’s Allianz Premier 15s match and the Men’s Gallagher Premiership matches at Twickenham Stadium.

Founded in 1994, Faithless are best known for their huge international hits Insomnia, God is a DJ, We Come 1, Take the Long Way Home and Salva Mea. They have released seven studio albums, selling over 15 million records worldwide. Faithless’ debut album Reverence has now been certified gold in 22 countries, and they have multiple awards including a European Grammy for Best International Dance Band and UK’s Muzik magazine’s award for the Best Live Act. Faithless are in short icons of the dance music scene for three decades.

Harlequins women's Head Coach Amy Turner Commenting on Harlequins Women’s top of the table clash with Exeter at the event, Head Coach Amy Turner said: “It’s great to confirm the new date for our double header against Exeter. Big Game is synonymous with the Harlequins name and I know the team are excited for the Women’s third consecutive year in such a huge moment for the Club.

“We couldn’t ask for better opposition for this double header. We are a team that values the Harlequins Way of playing and bringing a brand of rugby that both represent our DNA and entertains our supporters. Exeter are playoff contenders and will offer us a stern test in what will be a pivitol clash in the build up to the Premier 15s playoffs, which will help make this Big Game a spectacle for all to enjoy.”

Harlequins Men’s winger Josh Bassett said: “Big Game has always been one of those events in the Gallagher Premiership that you want to be involved in, including as an opposition player when I was at Wasps.

“Playing in front of 80,000 fans for your club at the home of English rugby is something that usually only happens if you reach a Premiership final. To be able to take that and add all the amazing party vibes and an incredible atmosphere around the ground is special and I am very excited to play in my first Big Game in March.

“As a family man myself, I am a little jealous that I won’t be able take my little family around the fairground for free before enjoying a great bit of rugby at the home of English rugby. But I’m excited to step onto the pitch and soak up the atmosphere on the day and fight for the win.

“Most importantly Exeter Chiefs are tough opposition, but the games between Quins and the Chiefs over the last few years have all been hugely entertaining, high-scoring affairs. From the 20/21 final, last year’s end-of-season fanfare of a game and a nail-biting finish earlier this season have all been incredible examples of entertaining rugby to keep you on the edge of your seat.

“Add into the mix a music act as big as Faithless and a double header with Harlequins Women in a top of the table Allianz Premier 15s clash, and it’s a recipe for an event day you wouldn’t want to miss as a rugby fan.”

General sale tickets are available to buy today, priced from just £35 for Adults and £25 for Under 18’s. You can buy them here!

A jam packed day of family fun and entertainment is planned for what is the highlight of the regular season across the Gallagher Premiership. Please see below for the notable key times below:

      • Saturday, March 4
      • 12:30 Twickenham Stadium open with free funfair ride, food and beverage open all day
      • 14:30 Harlequins Women vs Exeter Chiefs Women
      • 16:45 Major music act Faithless perform live on the pitch!
      • 17:15 Harlequins Men vs Exeter Chiefs Men
      • Post-match The Stoop will be open for supporters in the Chris Robshaw Bar

Today, the theme of the event also been revealed – ‘Light it Up’. Building on the hugely popular ‘Fire & Ice’ themed Big Game 13 event, supporters can again expect a spectacular array of glowing and sparkling activities to entertain them across the day, including:

        • A stadium light show spectacular 
        • Free fairground rides for all the family
        • A series of light based art installations to dazzle

The special edition Big Game 14 kit is already on sale and is proving popular with supporters with very strong initial sales. The Harlequins Foundation receive £5 for every Adult shirt sold to support local community initiatives. You can buy the kit here

The event is expected to be extremely popular and the Club are excited to share further news about the event in the coming weeks, notably announcing the major entertainment act next month.

Electric Vehicle Charging Points Coming to Mole Valley

Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) is working with EB Charging to install 90 Electric Vehicle Charging Points in 10 of the district’s car parks. The project is planned to be delivered by the end of May 2023.

Following an open market procurement for the installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCPs) within Mole Valley, EB Charging has now been appointed as MVDC’s supplier. The preparation work is in its final stages, with the installation expected to commence before the end of February and last for approximately three months.

The delivery of this EVCPs rollout has been supported by a £115,000 from the Getting Building Fund (GBF) being made available to MVDC by Coast to Capital and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). EVCPs will be installed in car parks across the district in Dorking, Leatherhead, Ashtead and Bookham:

          • Woodfield Lane, (Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall), Ashtead – 12
          • Pippbrook, Dorking – 6
          • Swan Centre, Leatherhead – 8
          • Wathen Road, Dorking – 8
          • Southside, Dorking – 10
          • Reigate Rd, Dorking – 10
          • Randalls Rd, Leatherhead – 10
          • Station Road, Leatherhead – 8
          • Lower Shott, Bookham – 10
          • St Martin’s Walk, Dorking – 8

Clayton WellmanCouncillor Clayton Wellman, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Economy and Security said: “I’m really pleased to see these installations happening after so much hard work from our team to get to this point. I look forward to working with our supplier EB Charging on successful delivery.

“It’s a huge milestone setting up accessible charging infrastructure across our district for our residents and visitors, as we move towards 2030 and the ban on sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles.

“The EVCPs installed in our car parks will offer the option of convenient and reliable charging. Some residents might have been a bit hesitant to make the switch to electric vehicles because of a lack of public charge points or because they have no off-street parking to charge at home. I very much hope that our publicly available charging points will encourage residents, visitors and workers in our towns to have the confidence that they can make the change and, as a result, support our environment and air quality.

“There will be some minor disruption during the works and the number of available parking spaces will be slightly reduced as the EV bays need to be larger. I would like to thank our car park users in advance for their patience and understanding during this period.”

Family of Emma and Lettie Pattison pay tribute

The family of Emma and Lettie Pattison have paid tribute following their deaths at a property within Epsom College on 5 February.

We, the family of Emma and Lettie, would like to express our deepest, heartfelt thanks for the overwhelming support we have received over the past 11 days. Thank you to the immeasurable number of people and institutions who have written messages, sent flowers, paid tributes, held vigils or otherwise taken time to remember Emma and Lettie.

We would like to thank Surrey Police for their sensitive and thorough handling of the on-going investigation into this horrendous tragedy and to the Epsom College Community, Croydon High and Danes Hill schools for their invaluable support. Thank you also to the media who have, largely, respected our privacy at this difficult time: we ask that they continue to do so. 

To see the esteem in which Emma is held by all who knew her is an enormous comfort. She was everything one could hope for in a daughter, sister, mother, wife, friend, teacher and so much more. We are an extremely close family and family was at the centre of Emma and Lettie’s universe. The Epsom College Community had become part of that universe for them both.

Seven year old Lettie was Emma’s pride and joy: an adorable, vibrant little girl with a compelling curiosity, a heart-melting smile and an intellect beyond her years. The two of them were inseparable and we take comfort in that they will remain so.

Emma had a warm, welcoming smile and sparkling, blue eyes, full of optimism. Over the last eleven days we’ve noticed the sky has been bright blue, with at times a warm glow of pink…