The Grange

Peggy Brooks, former pupil at the School of Stitchery and Lace, Eloise Appleby, Chief Exec of The Grange Charity and Abbi Williams, current resident at The Grange charity


A new state of the art heritage room, designed to showcase The Grange charity’s historic collection of needlework and its fascinating connection with the royal family has been opened to the public for the first time today.

The new facility, located in The Grange’s Victorian main house in Bookham, has been funded by a £97,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and tells the story of the charity’s beginnings as The School of Stitchery and Lace, which was first founded in 1938, to its current role as a charity supporting people with learning disabilities to lead independent lives.

The project has involved carefully preserving the charity’s historic collection of needlework, which includes embroidered items made for the Royal family, photographs, letters and books. There are numerous letters between The School and royal households which give a rare insight into palace life at the time. One of the letters is from Queen Elizabeth’s nurse ordering a copy of a dress and there are also hand-drawn designs for Queen Mary’s nightgowns.

Eloise Appleby, CEO of The Grange charity said: ‘This is a fantastic addition to Surrey’s historical past and a definite high point of our 80th anniversary year. We are delighted that we have been able to use Heritage Lottery funding to create an interactive learning and heritage space open to all visitors. We will use this to build stronger links between the charity and the local community and it will become part of the Bookham Heritage Trail. People we support at The Grange will be involved in running the Heritage Room and we hope that local schools and community groups will make full use of it going forward.’

The Heritage Room will include:
• Exhibits of needlework made for Queen Mary
• Oral histories of former School pupils and staff
• Letters from ladies in waiting commissioning embroidered items
• Vintage photos for the School if Stitchery and Lace
• History of The Grange building
• A collection of books and vintage magazines on needlework

It will receive an official opening from royal patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, on 25 September 2018.

For more information visit >>>

The Clock House, Ripley



Serina Drake, owner of The Clock House in Ripley, Surrey, has announced the appointment of Iain McArthur as the Michelin-starred restaurant's new Restaurant Manager. McArthur, whose career includes stints in South Africa at a luxury country lodge hotel, and South Lodge Hotel, is widely experienced in the hospitality business and his appointment follows the departure of Joseph Pocceschi. After four years heading up The Clock House front of house team, Joseph has returned to France to run his family-owned hotel and restaurant.

Commenting on the appointment, Serina Drake said: "I am delighted that Iain is joining our team. Having previously worked together a few years ago re-launching The Anchor, I know that the restaurant is in safe hands. Iain is a consummate foodie and has great breadth of knowledge. Also, being a trained chef gives him a real understanding of the overall guest experience. He is a great asset to our team and already has some very exciting plans for the future."

"I feel privileged to work in such a renowned establishment," says McArthur, "The Clock House building has held a Michelin star, in one form or another, under Serina's proprietorship for over 12 years, and together with other recent awards, is widely recognised to be one of the best dining experiences in the area. I am very much looking forward to working with head chef Fred Clapperton, and the rest of the brigade."

To book please visit >>>

Royal Opera House

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 17.10.15

Royal Opera House launches a series of festivals, events and activities for people of all ages

The Royal Opera House today opens the doors to its transformed new home, following an extensive three-year construction project. From today’s launch onwards, visitors to the Royal Opera House are invited to enjoy a new immersive events programme, featuring festivals, Family Sundays, Tea Dances, workshops and informal recitals. The exciting programme of new daytime events, festivals and activities for people of all ages will begin on 21 September 2018 and run throughout the Season.

Following on from the completion of the Royal Opera House’s three-year, £50.7m renovation project, the building is now open every day from 10am, transformed into a must-see visitor destination in London’s world-famous Covent Garden.
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A Learning and Participation event ©ROH/Sim Canetty-Clarke, 2012

The Month of Sundays programme will enable visitors to experience something new for only £5 every Sunday in November. Events will include dance and singing workshops, chances to learn how to make props and accessories with expert craftspeople, pop-up performances, exhibitions and guided tours. There will also be delicious food and drink offer, and each Sunday will be completely unique.

On Sunday 11 November during ROH Remembers, visitors will have an exclusive glimpse of a rehearsal for Alastair Marriott’s The Unknown Soldier, which commemorates World War I.

On Sunday 25 November, Young ROH fans will be led deep into the worlds of opera and ballet with activities including a pub quiz with choreographer and performer Hakeem Onibudo, and an immersive reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, Alice after Dark.

On 16 December the Royal Opera House transforms into The Nutcracker’s Kingdom of Sweets. This first Family Sunday will be a jam-packed programme of fun activities inspired by the adventures of Clara and Hans Peter, including family dance classes, an opportunity to conduct Tchaikovsky’s magical score, behind-the-scenes exclusives and the chance to create your very own prop inspired by The Nutcracker.

The Royal Opera House’s popular Tea Dances return this autumn from Monday 5 November, when visitors can tango, waltz and quick-step across the famous Paul Hamlyn Hall to live music.

Jillian Barker, Director of Learning and Participation at the Royal Opera House, said:
‘These new events allow audiences to share in the creative journey involved in a Royal Opera House performance. The events programme provides a taste of the many different aspects of the Royal Opera House, from the mastery of backstage theatre crafts to the excitement of guest performances. We’re throwing the Royal Opera House doors open and inviting everyone to feel something new, immerse themselves in our art forms and create their own Royal Opera House story.’

The Royal Opera House will also launch its first under-fives programme, allowing children to discover ballet and opera through interactive dance, singing, music and stories in Ballet Dots and Opera Dots, beginning on 1 October.

Also new will be Books at Brunch, featuring talks from authors, broadcasters, publishers and artists from across the worlds of opera and ballet. Crafternoons invite visitors to try their hand at some of the techniques used to bring the sets and props of our ballet and opera performances to life.

Budding singers of all ages and ability will be able to sing with an opera chorus during the Sing at the Royal Opera House sessions and keen dancers can participate in Dance with The Royal Ballet in workshops led by a member of The Royal Ballet.

The new recitals programme will feature the free, drop-in Live at Lunch sessions, with performances inspired by the heritage and repertories of The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet. Recitals at Lunch in the Crush Room will showcase artists from The Royal Opera, Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and our Jette Parker Young Artists, alongside a diverse range of guest performers.

Tickets on sale here >>>

Italian Tourist Board Festival of Food & Wine Racing Weekend

Festival of Food & Wine Racing Weekend (5)


• Two-day culinary celebration alongside premier Flat racing – tickets from just £18 per person
• The Italian Tourist Board to bring a taste of Italia to the event as headline sponsor for 2018
• Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc OBE and legendary Italian chef Aldo Zilli headlining the Gastronome Theatre
• 40 luxury food and wine stalls, live chef demonstrations and interactive tasting sessions

Friday 7th & Saturday 8th September 2018

Foodies and racegoers alike are invited to a glorious weekend of feasting, drinking and racing on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September 2018 as the Italian Tourist Board Festival of Food & Wine Racing Weekend brings flavour and Flat racing to Ascot Racecourse.

Well-known Italian chef and TV personality Aldo Zilli will bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Friday’s demonstration line-up while two-Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc OBE is headlining the Gastronome Theatre on Saturday with wine tipster Neil Phillips talking visitors through his pick of wines and winners of the day.

Racegoers can also look forward to a four-course menu designed by renowned chefs Raymond Blanc OBE, Head Chef of Pennyhill Park Matt Worswick, TV chef James Tanner and celebrated pastry chef Claire Clark alongside Ascot’s award-winning Executive Chef Gemma Amor and Head Chef Ben Dutson. To be served in the Parade Ring Restaurant, dishes will be perfectly complemented by a selection of fine wines with guests enjoying their own table for the day and a private trackside viewing terrace.

As well as live chef demonstrations, more than 40 stallholders will be showcasing scrumptious produce from across Britain and beyond. Exhibitor highlights include Riverford – the organic farm and UK-wide veg box delivery company, Silent Pool Distillers – boutique distillery nestled in the heart of the Surrey Hills producing gin made from 24 of the finest botanicals and water from the spring-fed Silent Pool, Casa Das Bolitas – freshly baked dough balls filled with flavours including garlic, feta, halloumi, mozzarella, Cheddar and chicken, and Love a Taste – an exciting start-up online wine business based in Suffolk that offers monthly subscription boxes that contain six different wines selected by a Master of Wine and delivered through your letter box.

Admission starts from £18 per person for advanced group bookings, including access to both the festival and racing. Children under 18 years of age gain free entry when accompanied by a paying adult.

For further information and to book visit or call 0344 346 3000.

Leith Hill

Surprise announcement

The long running and high profile campaign against oil drilling at Leith Hill in Surrey is celebrating success after Europa Oil and Gas announced it was pulling out of the site.

The decision by the company followed a decision by the Forestry Commission not to renew the lease which expires on September 12th. Campaigners including the Green MEP Keith Taylor had been keeping up the pressure on the Forestry organisation not to renew in line with its environmental commitments.

“This is fantastic news”, said Lucy Barford on behalf of A Voice for Leith Hill. “Leith Hill has always been a completely inappropriate location for oil drilling, in addition to the overall issue that we should be leaving all fossil fuels in the ground. Local campaigners have been fighting Europa’s plans for a decade and we are overjoyed that the Forestry Commission and the Government minister have finally seen sense and put a stop to the horrendous prospect of oil being drilled in such a beautiful and vulnerable environment. There will be other battles ahead, oil drilling is still planned for other sites across the Weald, but for now we will be celebrating the fantastic news that there will be no oil drilling at Leith Hill. It has cost thousands of pounds to fight this and many hours of effort. Thanks to all who saw sense in the end and stopped this highly damaging plan going ahead.”

The Leith Hill Action Group had fought a campaign for nearly 10 years through the planning system and in the courts against the proposals. A Voice for Leith Hill had recently harnessed people power to lobby the Forestry Commission about the lease. The Environment Agency granted a permit to drill even though over 100,000 people signed a petition against it.

A Protection Camp was set up on the site in 2016 and moved across the road after being evicted in 2017. It has provided an information and campaign base since then.

“It’s been a combined effort of so many people – both local and from further away - over such a long time. It really is an extraordinary success”, said Lucy Barford.

Read the statement released by Europa Oil and Gas here LINK
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