Fire Assembly for Ukraine

Fire engine in Epsom's market square

Saturday 10th March a Bronto Fire Engine came to Epsom’s Market Square outside the Assembly Rooms. A crowd gathered to admire the magnificent machine and wish it well on its journey to a city near the front-line of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Roy Deadman of the charity Surrey Stands With Ukraine explained: “Some population centres in Ukraine are so close to the Russian artillery that the missiles can strike before the sirens sound. This fire engine with its long-ladder can rescue lives trapped in apartment blocks.”

Another volunteer with the charity Nick Budd said “There has been a tremendous effort to raise the money to purchase this vehicle and the public have been very generous. Our partners in Ukraine are very grateful to be receiving this vital equipment.”

The Mayor of Epsom and Ewell Robert Geleit (Labour, Court Ward) was in attendance, confirming a moment of pride for Epsom and Ewell as the headquarters for the humanitarian efforts of SSWU.

Charity director Lionel Blackman said: “Post Brexit there remain various bureaucratic obstacles to the engine’s transportation across Europe to the Polish border, where our Ukrainian partners will collect and take through their country to where it is most needed; but we will overcome and we expect it to be in place in a few weeks from now.”

Civic awards at civic reception

Chris Frost, Eber Kington and late Clive Smitheram

The Epsom and Ewell Mayor’s civic reception took place at Bourne Hall, Ewell on Friday 8th March. The “great and the good” of the Borough, including Member of Parliament Chris Grayling, gathered at this special annual event that witnessed the conferment of the title of Alderman of Epsom and Ewell to three long-serving local councillors.

The ceremonies began with the Mayor’s Active Citizen Award. The Mayor, Cllr Rob Geleit (Labour Court Ward), presented this year’s award to Barbara Lewis, praising her selfless dedication to the community: “Barbara, born in Kingston, was instilled with a strong sense of altruism by her late mother. After attending Tiffin Girls Grammar School and serving in the civil service, Barbara settled in Ewell with her husband Martin, celebrating their upcoming Golden Wedding Anniversary. Barbara’s commitment to her local area, Station Avenue, has been unwavering. Notably, she spearheaded efforts to provide scrubs, masks, and other essentials to frontline workers during the pandemic, and organized a heartwarming visit from Santa for children in her neighborhood. Barbara’s involvement extends to various charitable endeavors, including Epsom Twinning Society and Epsom Rotary Club, and she even finds time to teach a Spanish class for the University of Third Age (U3A). Additionally, Barbara has dedicated herself to fundraising, notably supporting the Mayor’s Charity Committee. Her generosity knows no bounds, always willing to help and support her community.”

Cllr Hannah Dalton (RA Stoneleigh), spoke up for Chris Frost, and welcomed him as an Honorary Alderman of Epsom and Ewell, recognizing his positive impact on local politics: “Chris’s journey in politics began in his youth, and his dedication led to his election to the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council and later the Surrey County Council. Known for his community spirit, Chris spearheaded initiatives like the Interfaith Forum and the Epsom and Ewell Community Fund.”

Ms Dalton commended Chris’s wife, Cllr Liz Frost (RA Woodcote and Langley), for her unwavering support and thanked his family for their presence. She expressed gratitude to all who supported Chris over the years, including council officers.

Eber Kington signs the book with Mayor and EEBC CEO Jackie King looking on.

Cllr Peter O’Donovan (RA Ewell Court) reflected on Eber Kington‘s remarkable career, celebrating his induction as an Honorary Alderman: “Born in Battersea, Eber’s journey into local politics began in the 80s when he joined the Woodcote Residents’ Association, eventually becoming a respected councillor. Eber’s tenure was marked by his commitment to his constituents, often being the first point of contact for residents’ concerns. Despite his aversion to planning matters, Eber’s dedication to his community was unwavering. His tenure as Mayor in 1999 was memorable, highlighted by his unconventional but effective leadership style. Eber’s dedication to community service extends beyond politics, evident in his charity work and love for Chelsea Football Club.” Mr O’Donovan praised Eber’s integrity, noting his willingness to listen and support fellow councillors.

Finally, Cllr Jan Mason (RA Ruxley) spoke emotionally in praise of the late Mr Clive Smitheram who was awarded the Honour of Alderman of the Borough of Epsom and Ewell posthumously. Clive was a central figure in West Ewell having lived there for over 30 years with his wife Gill and family and although a proud Cornishman, Clive was someone who knew everyone locally and if he didn’t know someone, he knew someone who did! Clive was a former police officer, having served 31 years in the service and was a retired community safety officer. As an active resident, it led to Clive being elected as a Resident Association Councillor for West Ewell serving for over 20 years, Clive was a former Mayor of Epsom and Ewell in 2010- 2011.

Mrs Smitheram receives the honour on behalf of the late Clive Smitheram.

All photos below heading courtesy Steven McCormick Photography

Related reports:

Long serving Councillor Clive Smitheram dies at 76

Alderman awards for Epsom and Ewell trio

Local Council stalwarts up for local honour

Two years on – Epsom stilled by Ukrainian voices

Ukrainian Renaissance Choir gather with Epsom and Ewell Community and Mayor

Saturday morning the Epsom community gathered at the Epsom Market Place to mark the solemn occasion of the second anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine. Organized by the Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (EERN) and Surrey Stands with Ukraine (SSWU), the event aimed to show solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine during these challenging times.

The atmosphere was one of unity and reflection as locals joined together to honour the resilience of the Ukrainian people. The local Ukrainian choir, Renaissance, delivered a moving rendition of the Ukrainian National Anthem, followed by a heartfelt prayer for Ukraine, touching the hearts of all those in attendance.

Jo Sherring, founder of the Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network, welcomed the crowd, emphasizing the importance of standing in solidarity with Ukraine during this difficult period. “We are privileged to have met and worked with such wonderful people and we will continue to support them as long as they need our help” she stated.

Roy Deadman, Chair of Surrey Stands With Ukraine thanked all the volunteers who have devoted countless unpaid hours to raising funds, collecting donations and sorting and packing aid for Ukraine.

A member of the choir, Konstantyn, a Ukrainian resident of Epsom, stepped forward and gave a poignant speech expressing his gratitude for Britain for its unwavering support to the Ukrainian community. “It is with a profound sense of appreciation that we extend our gratitude to everyone who  has supported our country, whether in word or deed,” he remarked.

The presence of The Worshipful the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, Councillor Rob Geleit, and the Lady Mayor, added a sense of official recognition to the event, further underscoring the community’s commitment to standing with Ukraine.

Although unable to attend in person, Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom & Ewell, conveyed his heartfelt message of solidarity to the Ukrainian community. “I am sorry not to be with you this year, but wanted to take this opportunity to extend my hand of friendship to all of our friends in Ukraine, both those of you who are here, and to your families who are back there.

I am very grateful to all of those locally who rose to the occasion, providing homes and other support for those escaping the War, to the teams of volunteers who continue to work with the Ukrainians who are here, and also the team in Surrey Stands For Ukraine who continue to provide direct aid to those back in Ukraine.

I know that this is a sombre occasion, but it is one which is really important as a signal of our determination to stand with Ukraine. That determination will not waver here in Epsom and Ewell.”

The event served as a reminder of the ongoing struggle faced by the people of Ukraine and reaffirmed the commitment of the Epsom community to support them in their quest for peace and stability.

This week SSWU sent its 100th van packed with aid to Ukraine and the day’s event raised over £1000. The charity is sending a long-laddered fire engine to Zaporizhzhia. Being near the front line the city’s tower blocks can be struck by Russian missiles before the siren warns.

Alan Avis (SSWU), Cllr Neil Dallen (Residents Association), Mhairi Fraser (Conservative PPC), Cllr Bernie Muir (Conservative Borough and County), Lady Mayoress, Cllr Robert Geleit (Mayor and Labour Councillor), Helen Maguire (Liberal Democrat PPC), Roy Deadman (SSWU), joined together at the offices of SSWU and EERN in Global House. Offices generously donated by the Ashley Centre and generously exempted from business rates by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council.

Politicians from all parties suspended differences in supporting the event.

Lionel Blackman director of the charity for SSWU observed: “After the disunity and chaos in Parliament this week over the war in Gaza it was heartening to see local politicians from all sides demonstrate their united support for the humanitarian work being done in the Borough and Surrey for Ukrainians here and at home.”

If you wish to hear the Ukrainian Choir Renaissance and other professional Ukrainian musicians come to the social and music evening free of charge (leaving collection at discretion) on Saturday 30th March at the Epsom Methodist Church Ashley Road. Bring and share nibbles appreciated from 6pm and music starts at 7pm. No booking necessary.

Top Image- Ukraine Choir Renaissance with supporters from EERN and SSWU

2 years on Epsom to gather in solidarity with Ukraine 

Epsom and Ewell Town Hall Building

The Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (EERN) and Surrey Stands with Ukraine (SSWU) are calling upon the community to join them in a special gathering on Saturday February 24th at 11 am in the Market Place in Epsom. This gathering marks the solemn second anniversary of the commencement of the war in Ukraine.

The local Ukrainian choir, Renaissance, will render the Ukrainian National Anthem. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with Ukrainian residents regarding the ongoing situation in Ukraine and to learn how they can extend support to the Ukrainian community within Epsom & Ewell.

The Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, Cllr. Rob Geleit (Labour Court), will attend. The event will foster a sense of unity and solidarity with the Ukrainian population residing in and around Epsom.

“We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support from the Epsom community for Ukrainian refugees,” said Jo Sherring, Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network Lead. “This gathering is an opportunity for us to stand together in solidarity with our Ukrainian friends and reaffirm our commitment to supporting them as they rebuild their lives.”

“It is important for us to get together on this sad date to commemorate those who lost their lives in the war, to thank our supporters, defenders, volunteers, and the British people who gave shelter to us at these hard times for Ukraine.” said Nataliia Zadorizhna, pianist and director of the Renaissance choir who has been living in Ashtead with her 11 year old daughter since May 2022. “It is an enormous privilege to stay in the UK and to be surrounded by such noble, caring and generous people.”

Epsom has exhibited remarkable solidarity with Ukraine since the outbreak of the war, with numerous families opening their doors to Ukrainian refugees and contributing substantial amounts towards humanitarian aid. The community has banded together, with volunteers actively aiding refugees in assimilating into the local fabric.

All members of the Epsom community are warmly encouraged to attend this event, which promises to be a meaningful demonstration of support for the Ukrainian populace.

For further inquiries, please contact:

Nina Kaye: nina@goodcompany.org.uk | 07778 406834

English classes for Ukrainians and other refugees in Epsom.

Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (EERN)

Established in 2015, operates as a community-driven organization in close collaboration with the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council. It operates under the auspices of the charity Good Company (Surrey), with a mission rooted in compassion, solidarity, and inclusivity. EERN extends support to refugees and asylum seekers within Epsom and its environs, facilitating their integration into the community through various initiatives including employment guidance, educational support, cultural orientation, and free English language lessons.

Epsom and Ewell residents welcome Ukrainians fleeing war.

Surrey Stands with Ukraine (SSWU)

At the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, a collective of British and Ukrainian residents from Epsom joined forces to establish Surrey Stands with Ukraine (SSWU), a humanitarian relief project dedicated to aiding Ukraine. SSWU provides support to both the Ukrainian populace within Ukraine and those residing in the UK by gathering and distributing medical supplies and other essential aid. Operating under the registered charity Harrop HR Missions Ltd., SSWU ensures that 100% of all donations are directed towards supporting the people of Ukraine, with no fees or wages deducted for volunteers or trustees.

EERN and SSWU are very grateful for the magnificent support provided for their efforts by The Ashley Centre Epsom, through its donation of the use of a suite of offices used for processing donations, English classes and an advice centre. Also to Epsom and Ewell Borough Council that has waived the imposition of business rates.

Related reports:

Epsom and Ewell Borough of Sanctuary

Hosts of Ukrainian refugees appreciated

Flight of refugees: history repeating?

Breaking the mould for Ukrainian refugees

Local refugee cash appeal

Longmead gets a Godly clean-up

Mayor of Epsom with Church of Go Longmead clean-up volunteers

On Sunday, January 21, joined by the Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Councillor Rob Geleit (Labour Court Ward), 40 volunteers from ASEZ (Save the Earth from A to Z), the young adult volunteer group from the World Mission Society Church of God in Epsom, gathered to clean Longmead Road and adjacent streets in Epsom.

In a matter of 2 hours, the volunteers collected a total of 75 bags of litter; allowing the greenery to flourish and preventing plastics and litter from entering the waterways. The residents of Longmead Road were pleased and cheered the volunteers expressing their gratitude. As they walked along the areas of the clean-up and honked when they drove through, as a way to show their gratitude and the glory of God spread.

Out of 35 participants, more than half were young adults aged from 18 to 29. The clean-up event was a great opportunity not only for the environment but also for promoting positive activities and reducing antisocial behaviour among young adults.Ahn Sahng-hongOut of 35 participants, more than half were young adults aged from 18 to 29. The clean-up event was a great opportunity not only for the environment but also for promoting positive activities and reducing antisocial behaviour among young adults.

A passer-by, Howard Gregory from the Epsom and Ewell Tree Advisory Board and Elms Over Epsom explained “I saw this amazing crowd and amazing pile of rubbish, and this is fantastic.”

The World Mission Society Church of God is in East Street Epsom. The Church was founded in South Korea, inspired by the writings of Ahn Sahng-hong, considered by followers to embody the second coming of Christ.

Regardless of beliefs ASEZ did a great job.

Local Co-Vid volunteers rewarded with Council support

Old folk exercising

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council’s financial support for five key local voluntary organisations came up for review 16th January at the meeting of the Environment and Well-Being Committee.

Age Concern Epsom & Ewell:

  • Focus: Providing support and services for older people in the community.
  • Activities: Offering a range of services such as social activities, information, and advice to enhance the well-being of older individuals.

Citizens Advice Bureau Epsom & Ewell:

  • Focus: Providing free, confidential advice and support to the local community.
  • Activities: Offering assistance on a wide range of issues, including legal, financial, and personal matters, to help individuals navigate challenges they may face.

Central Surrey Voluntary Action:

  • Focus: Supporting and promoting voluntary and community work in the area.
  • Activities: Facilitating connections between volunteers and local organizations, offering resources and training, and fostering collaboration within the voluntary sector.

RELATE Mid Surrey:

  • Focus: Providing relationship support and counseling services.
  • Activities: Offering counseling for individuals, couples, and families to improve and strengthen relationships. Addressing a variety of relationship issues through professional guidance.

The Sunnybank Trust:

  • Focus: Supporting individuals with learning disabilities.
  • Activities: Offering a range of services and activities to enhance the quality of life for people with learning disabilities. This may include social events, skill-building programs, and support for independent living.

Introducing a report to the Councillors the Community Development Officer said: “I have to say that during the COVID crisis, we would not have been able to cope unless we had the support of our voluntary organizations who stepped up and were absolutely amazing in getting volunteers to come forward and help the Council give the service and help the residents in what was a particularly difficult time. This report, I think, reflects the fact that we appreciate that support and that we wish to continue supporting those organizations in what they do on behalf of our residents.”

The support, approved by the committee, is summarised in the table below.

Image Licence details Creator: NCVO London 

Dancing for the Wells

Cllr Bernie Muir and Chris Grayling MP and others at The Wells Centre

A sponsored “dancathon” took place on Saturday 6 January to help raise the funds needed to re-open
the community centre.

Cllr Bernie Muir (Conservative – Horton Ward) danced for 5 hours, and Neva Novaky and James Baird danced for 10 hours on Saturday 6 January to help raise funds for the centre. It is still possible to make donations online – CLICK HERE

Speaking at the event, Chris Grayling MP said “I would like to congratulate the team who organised
this successful event and on the valuable contribution they are making to this community hub. This
community centre was rightly saved from being knocked down and it is great to see events like this
that raise its profile.”

Cllr Bernie Muir said “Community centres play a crucial role as hubs for opportunities to socialise,
learn and access key services. They nurture the community spirit, help tackle loneliness and give the
youth a positive outlet. Let’s get The Wells community centre up and running again!”

Initially closed down by the Borough Council, the community centre was saved after local residents
and Cllr Bernie Muir fought to save it. The Epsom Wells Community Association now have a long-
term lease and are trying to raise the funds needed to help re-furnish it and have it fully functioning

A day of dance classes followed by a dance party in the evening, Dancing for the Wells saw classes of
ballroom Latin, morris dancing, Jive and salsa. James who was previously a competitive ballroom and
Latin dancer and danced with celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, taught ballroom and Latin with

Morris dancing was taught by Thames Valley Morris, Jive by Surrey Jive and salsa was taught by
Somos Caribe Academy.

“When I saw the two-floor community centre building with its own parking, I could understand why
the community had fought so hard to save it and wanted to help re-open it. I would like to thank all
those who have generously sponsored us and all those who supported the event on the day.” said

The fundraiser was led by Neva Novaky and Cllr Bernie Muir and the team organising it included
James Baird, Stuart Carroll, Ben White, Tanya Solomon and Richard Robinson in collaboration with
the Epsom Wells Community Association led by Vanessa Merchant. Sponsor’s included Lucy Demery,
Tina Mountain, Ask Italia and Pari’s Beauty Salon.

Related reports:

Epsom’s Wells Plan has a hole in it

Wells Centre’s Appeal

All’s well that ends well for the Wells Centre

Conquering disability through art

Caterpillar draft excluder made by partially sighted and blind members at Epsom from coloured wool pom-poms.

Conquest Art CIO was founded in Cheam in 1978 by artist Ursula Hulme MBE and now has 15 groups throughout England The members have a wide range of health problems and disabilities and they are encouraged to work using their imaginations creatively at their own pace. This helps build self- confidence and enables people to relax and make friends with similar interests within the group. No previous artistic experience is needed to join.

‘Coronation Celebration’ – a picture made as a joint project by the members of the the Stoneleigh Conquest Art Group

In the past an annual exhibition of members’ work has been held at Bourne Hall in Ewell. This year the exhibition was held online and in 2024 there are plans to hold it at the Horton Chapel in Epsom.

Each year an annual meeting (accompanied by an exhibition) is held at St. Paul’s Church, Northey Avenue, Cheam, and the Charity Coordinator is in the process of setting up a series of meetings on Zoom where the leaders of the various groups can discuss common issues together and share ideas.

Three of the groups are in Epsom and Ewell as follows:-

Epsom Methodist Church, Ashley Road, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5HU ‘phone number 01372 723966.
The leader is Christine Loizou. Held on Tuesdays from 2pm – 4pm.

Stoneleigh Methodist Church, Stoneleigh Crescent, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 ORT. ‘phone number 020 8393 4116. The leader is Lesley Lee. Held on Mondays 2pm – 4pm.

Christ Church Ewell, Cheam Road, Ewell, Surrey, KT17 1AD ‘phone number 07500 339 168 The
leader is Steve Deal. Held on Mondays from 1pm – 4pm. Currently this group has no vacancies.

Conquest Art is run by volunteers with the exception of the co-ordinator. Anyone who would like to
find out about volunteering or who feels inspired to learn more about Conquest is very welcome to
come along to one of the groups to see what happens there.

For further information please see the charity website at www.conquestart.org

Top image: Caterpillar draft excluder made by partially sighted and blind members at Epsom from coloured wool pom-poms.

Epsom and Ewell Borough of Sanctuary

Refugees on the move

Epsom and Ewell is now poised to be a Borough of Sanctuary. Largely due to the extraordinary efforts of Nina Kaye and Jo Sherring of the Epsom and Ewell Refugee Network our Town’s welcome to and support for refugees of all nationalities is recognised by this new status. Tuesday 12th December the Council approved a motion to establish the title of “Borough of Sanctuary.”

Janice Baker leads English classes in central Epsom for refugees of all nationalities.

Proposing the motion Cllr Neil Dallen (RA Town Ward) said: “The Epsom and Ewelll Refugee Network has been now going for over 10 years. 700-plus people have signed up to receive information on a regular basis from the Refugee Network. There are over 200 refugees registered, there’s approximately 40 hours a week given for people whose first language is not English, and there are 85 refugees that take advantage of that. They are part of The Good Company, which is the Food Bank, Epsom Pantry and East Surrey Poverty Truth Commission. These are organizations that are good in their own right. They’re saving the borough money, doing an enormous amount of good work, and providing a humane service to refugees that happen to end up here.”

Cllr Kate Chinn (Labour Court) seconded the motion and said “Everyone deserves a safe place to live where they can thrive, build the life they want, and get the support when they need it. This government is creating a hostile environment for many people living in our communities by pursuing policies that divide and exclude people with migrant and refugee backgrounds.”

“Shouldn’t Epsom be offering a positive vision of a culture of welcome and hospitality to all? Create opportunities for relationships of friendship and solidarity between local people and those seeking sanctuary. Recognize and encourage partnership working and network development across the borough. This government’s policy is to send people who are fleeing persecution and conflict to Rwanda. It says it gave £140 million to Rwanda last year, and on December 7th, the Home Office civil servant said that a further £100 million had been given, with a payment of £50 million anticipated for next year. Today, I hear it’s actually £400 million. Now we hear the Home Office has earmarked at least £700 million to manage the arrival of migrants in small boats.”

“So, they’ve just allocated £700 million to supporting these policies that are hostile, muddled, and expensive, with no benefit for people seeking sanctuary in this country. The Borough can contribute to changing the narrative of this government. The sanctuary movement not only offers a chance for individuals and groups to challenge the way the asylum debate is framed in the UK, but is also concerned with creating a culture in which the virtues of welcome and hospitality are valued and through which asylum seekers and refugees are free to make a full contribution to their cities and to engage with local communities.”

Cllr Clive Woodbridge (RA Ewell Village) said “Last year as mayor, I got some insights into the work of the Epsom and Ewell Refugee Network and our own team, the Community Development Team, in their work with refugees, and I think it was quite inspiring, but also to actually meet some of those refugees and see what we do for them, we the community, and how much it’s appreciated. I think over the last year or so, working together, Epsom and Ewell Council and the Refugee Network have done some exceptional work delivering extremely positive outcomes, helping refugee households settle within our borough.”

The Homes for Ukraine scheme launched in March 2022, and since then, we’ve supported over 160 Ukrainian families. Working together, Epsom Council and the Refugee Network have provided extensive support to those families, some of whom have had very complex needs and have been through some traumatic experiences. There’s no doubt that the consequences of the war in Ukraine triggered a step change in the borough’s requirements to support refugees, which was fairly small-scale when it was limited to Syrian and Afghan families. But collaborative working has been crucial to our ability to scale up our responses and to do some proactive work in sustaining the relationships between hosts and guests, which has had an enormous impact. I think only two or three families are presented as homeless, so that’s a remarkable achievement when you think that Ukrainian families have been living with host families since the onset of the war and it saved us, as well as giving them security, it saved this Council a lot of money.”

Responding to the decision Nina Kaye told the Epsom and Ewell Times: “We support over 200 families with over 400 refugees and EERN provides over 40 hours of English lessons each week.

“We are delighted that Epsom & Ewell Borough Council have overwhelmingly passed a motion pledging to work with us to make Epsom & Ewell a Borough of Sanctuary as part of the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network (https://la.cityofsanctuary.org/). We work closely with EEBC to support refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution. We are very pleased that the Council want Epsom & Ewell to be recognised as a Borough of Sanctuary.  We feel this reflects the huge support we receive in this area to help those who have been forced to flee their countries and find themselves in our community.”

Related reports:

Hosts of Ukrainian refugees appreciated

Flight of refugees: history repeating?

Breaking the mould for Ukrainian refugees

Local refugee cash appeal

Image: Raimond Spekking 

Community Football hero retires

Christychurn community football team plaing

Christ Church United Football Club is a community club that has been coaching the children
of Epsom since the early ’90’s. 

 The club that’s always welcomed both boys and girls was set up by the Rvd. Clive Potter
over 30 years ago.
 Now Reverend Potter is due to retire and the club want to thank him for leaving a lasting legacy
of real community football in the area.

A popular community football club founder is hanging up his cassock after over 30 years at the St John’s Evangelist Church in the Surrey village of Milford. Local Vicar, the Rvd. Clive Potter, also founded the Christ Church United Football Club which has been coaching the children of Epsom since the early ’90’s

Having arrived at the parish, Rvd Clive was looking for somewhere for children to play, but the problem was that youth football traditionally takes place on a Sunday morning and this prompted him to start thinking about starting a club.  

Having been involved with football all his life he got the idea during a church service one morning to
set up a team. He approached the vicar at Christ Church who initially suggested a cricket club
instead.  However, being an Eastender by birth, with a working-class background, he felt much more
comfortable starting a football team.

Current coach, Paul Wilson, takes up the story: “They started in September 1992 with just 12 kids in
the first week.  At the end of the first session, he asked all the children to bring a friend the following
week, saying that if they did and then they all also brought a friend they would get to about 50
children and that would be enough for a club.  And that’s how it began.”

The membership grew to over 100 children, but it wasn’t easy. Getting a pitch was the first task. 
They played at a local primary school, Stamford Green, before growing out of that and moving to
Blenheim High School, where the club remains to this day.  Like now, the coaching staff was made up of volunteers and he began convincing people to do coaching courses to take the club to the next level.

Rvd Clive then began the missionary work to take the ideas to others in the community.  He became
a sports advisor for the diocese and encouraged the setting up of many more clubs.  Other clubs
bought into the opportunity for competition with a Bishop’s League, a Bishop’s Cup and a Bishop’s

The Christ Church United Football Club was then affiliated with the Football Association with an aim
to become professional in style if not attitude.  The club still holds its affiliation to the FA and
coaches benefit from training on many of its Coaching and Safeguarding courses. 

Rvd Clive met Ted Powell, the then England U18 Coach, who came to a presentation evening, and
they formed a long-lasting friendship.  Rvd Clive got involved with organisations like Christians inSport and the British Sports Trust until, in late 1996, he moved to Guildford and repeated the process.
Speaking about his role, Rvd Clive said: “The vision was always to relate the church to the
community, to build a good ethos and to develop friendships.  I’m delighted to see the club still
running after all this time, it’s brilliant for the community.”

Paul added: “He was delighted to hear that today’s Christ Church United Football Club embraces
much of that first ethos.  The fees are still affordable and the club is open to girls and boys regardless
of ability.  Some of our current coaches are kids who were once players at the club and the club is
also providing support to the Refugee Network with players being drawn from the Ukrainian
community in Epsom. We want to thank Rvd Clive for having the foresight and drive to create the
club, and we are hoping for another 30 years and beyond of kids (and their families) enjoying the
beautiful game. We’re always looking to welcome new members so please get in touch if you are

The club trains at Blenheim High School every Saturday morning during term time, from 9:00-10:30

Paul Wilson