Epsom Rotarians win Citizen Award.

Anne and Clive Richardson with the Mayor and Mayoress of Epsom and Ewell

Each year the Council formally recognises a member of the Epsom and Ewell community who goes above and beyond in a voluntary and/or campaigning capacity. The Active Citizen award is within the incumbent Mayor’s gift. The individuals are permanently recorded on a special citation within the Town Hall and receives a medal at the evening reception honouring volunteers from across the borough.

Photo: Anne and Clive Richardson (left) with the Mayor and Mayoress of Epsom and Ewell

So it is with great pleasure we congratulate Epsom Rotarians Anne and Clive Richardson being awarded the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council Active Citizens Award by the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell Cllr Clive Woodbridge. The award was made during the evening of 10 March 2023 at the Mayor’s Civic reception. Anne and Clive  have given much of their time to help with many local charities through Epsom Rotary Club and are active within the Epsom & Ewell Twinning Association.

Photograph Competition Open to Scouting and Guiding Groups

Each year Epsom Rotary hold a club photography Competition open to Scouting and Guiding Groups. This year the theme is the built environment and entries are welcome by the end of March 2023.  For details of how to enter, visit the website :


“Imagine this house is in Epsom” says our man in Ukraine.

Deestroyed house in Moschun Ukraine

Epsom based Surrey Stands With Ukraine’s charity director returned from Ukraine recently. Interviewed yesterday by Epsom and Ewell Times (E&ET).

E&ET: Why did you go?
Lionel Blackman: The fantastic Epsom and Ewell team of volunteers of Surrey Stands With Ukraine has raised over £380,000 from the generous public and sent over £1 million worth of donated supplies to Ukraine over this first year of the War. A charity should know those who distribute aid on its behalf and after one year it was time to meet some of our Ukraine partners in person.

Photo is of a destroyed house in the Ukrainian village of Moschun just north of Kyiv.

E&ET: Who did you meet?
LB: We have supported a variety of groups relieving the civilian victims of the war. I met a team of English women who help refugees at the Polish border railway station of Przemsyl. Groups based in Kyiv who send our supplies to Ukrainians who continue to live near the front-line, who evacuate elderly and children from such areas and who are helping rebuild communities whose homes have been destroyed.

E&ET: Was your visit worthwhile?
LB: In Ukraine I just spent one and a half nights in hotels, half a night in an air raid shelter and one night on a train. It was deliberately a short visit so not to distract our partners from their vital volunteer work and their ordinary paid employment. But still, getting to know them better and being fully satisfied as to their commitment to honest and selfless voluntary charitable service is important for our own charity, our wonderful volunteers and our donors. We can continue with ever more confidence that we are doing the right thing and spending the funds appropriately.

E&ET: What did you see of the war?
LB: There were drone attacks on Kyiv the night I stayed hence half of it spent underground. Hosts told me that the air raid sirens sound every other night. Is Putin trying to wear you all down? I asked. “Never, he will never do that”. This is the thing. Putin is uniting a nation he thought he could divide.

I visited Moschun. The defenders of this village held the line and stopped the Russian army getting to nearby Kyiv last year. Most of the homes are destroyed. The Negotiator’s Annual Estate Agents Awards organised by our charity’s trustee and Epsom resident Grant Leonard, raised funds for 20 generators that we sent to Moschun with the assistance of local Epsom, district, national and Kyiv Rotary.

E&ET: When will the war end?
LB: A charity can’t get involved in the politics but personally I am of the opinion that Putin needs to be defeated militarily and the people of Russia have to turn against this war before it will end.

It is the UK Government’s role to aid foreign military. A charity can only support civilians whose lives should not be attacked in any war. In this war civilians are being killed and maimed and made homeless in their thousands.

Surrey Stands With Ukraine and the great public of Epsom and Ewell and beyond have to help the civilian victims for the long haul and keep giving.

Just imagine that once beautiful house in the photo was in Epsom?

Flight of refugees: history repeating?

Lore Segal and Nina Kaye

Epsom and Ewell Times marks Holocaust Memorial Day (Friday 27th January) with an article about Surrey characters who saved Jews from persecution and we report on the work of a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, now living in Epsom, who is saving today’s refugees.

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January) Surrey History Centre highlights local characters who saved Jews from persecution. Across Britain many so-called ordinary people made extraordinary and often brave attempts to help rescue and settle people escaping Nazi oppression. Surrey was no exception: individuals and committees alike demonstrated remarkable compassion and team spirit in helping refugees during the 1930s and 1940s.

Some of these extraordinary people were themselves Jewish refugees from Europe: people like childcare specialist, Alice Goldberger (1897-1986) from Berlin, who set up a hostel for child Holocaust survivors at Weir Courtney in Lingfield in 1945; Dr Hilde Lion (1893-1970), an academic from Berlin, who established Stoatley Rough School in Haslemere in 1934; and Julius Warschauer (1907-1982) from Berlin who chaired the Mayor of Guildford’s Refugee Committee, and was helped in the pastoral care of Guildford’s Jewish refugees by his father Rabbi Malwin Warschauer (1871-1955).

Read the full story from the Surrey History Centre HERE

History repeating?

Nina Kaye, who lives in Epsom and is one of the founders of the Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network, is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Her mother, Marianne, was born in Vienna in 1925 and had to flee when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. Marianne’s mother was granted a visa for Great Britain but she was not permitted to bring any dependents with her, so Marianne had to apply for a visa for the kindertransport and, at the age of 13, travelled alone from Vienna to Stockholm. Later, in 1943, she was able to rejoin her mother in London.

In 2015, Nina wanted to offer Syrian refugees a room in her house but there was no organisation that matched refugees with private families offering to host them. So she helped set up Refugees At Home (www.refugeesathome.org) , a charity that has since become one of the leading organisations to match people with a spare room to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. Since then she has hosted more than 30 refugees in her home.

At the same time she was involved in setting up Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (EERN), a local organisation whose aim is to help support refugees and asylum seekers in and around Epsom. EERN is a volunteer led local organisation with an enthusiastic support network. Before the Ukrainian crisis, EERN was helping around a dozen families and some individuals settle in to the area and make a new life for themselves, providing English lessons, offering support to find jobs, helping children settle into schools, organising events and addressing many of the issues that arise. Since the war in Ukraine started, EERN now support around 180 families, helping them integrate into the community. Host families in this area have been very kind and generous and EERN offers support to both the families and their guests.

EERN’s most pressing need is for more sponsor families and potential landlords for Ukrainian families. If anyone can help, please contact epsomrefugeenetwork@gmail.com

10 mile Epsom Downs run and photos for charity

Tadworth run on Epsom Downs

The race known as The Tadworth 10 was held on Sunday 8th January 2023 at 11.30am, started and finished at Epsom Racecourse. The race is a scenic and challenging 10 miles, 2-lap course comprising 50% road and 50% tracks & grass and was supported by around 700+ runners of all abilities. Much of the proceeds from the race go towards assisting two local charities. The Sunnybank Trust that supports adults with learning disabilities in North East Surrey to live without prejudice and have confidence, opportunities and control over their own lives. And the Woodland Trust that plants trees and preserves woodland and created the 650 Centenary Wood in Langley vale, Epsom.

William Caruana a senior runner of Epsom and Ewell Harriers came 12th in a time of 1 hour 6 minutes 47 seconds, with Jeremy Garner of Epsom Oddballs Running Club close on his heels 4 seconds behind.

Local photographer Steven McCormick followed the event with thousands of images covering every bib number. The photographs are for sale with proceeds going to the same charities.

See his website HERE

The seasonal goodwill of Epsom and Ewell

Rotarians with Tilly the train in Epsom

In the middle three weeks of December local rotarians escorted Father Christmas around the streets of Epsom accompanied by Tilly the train and a band of helpers from local youth associations.  Joining the effort were Wilsons of Epsom on two of the nights, when they provided a driver and a Santa Claus.

It was a truly wonderful experience with young children and adults saying how delighted they were to see Santa Claus; and they gave generously to help local charities.  This year knocks on people’s doors returned and they were pleased to see the Train and Santa after the COVID lay-off.

With today’s Social Media such as WhatsApp, children were ready and waiting.  It was a wonderful sight when the train started down a street to see little groups in the darkness waiting.  Tilly was also happy to have so many photos taken of her.

Around £6000 was raised for local charities, which included the youth organisations who helped.

Epsom Rotary, over the festive season, supported a group of young carers to a pantomime trip, a Christmas Card Appeal raised £250, the Christmas Hamper and Balloon Race Competitions, Carol singing and collections in the Ashley Centre raised even more cash for local charities. They supported the Meeting Room by collecting and donating presents and collecting donated foods from Waitrose.

Rotary and the local charities they support thank the marvellous generosity and spirit of Epsom and Ewell’s wonderful local community.

Local poverty moves 12 year old to give up pocket money

Girl shopping

Merland Rise church caretaker told LDRS* reporter: “Last week a young girl, about 12 years old, came and knocked the door. She’d gone to Asda with her pocket money and spent it on food for the food bank. I was nearly in tears.”

Decision makers need to listen to the “lived experience” of people using food banks to tackle the root causes of poverty, according to one organiser. Tadworth’s Merland Rise church is home to a weekly food bank, as well as being one of Surrey County Council’s warm hubs, where people can go if they are struggling to heat their own homes.

Image: Staff, volunteers and councillors at Merland Rise church, which holds a weekly food bank and warm hub. Emily Coady-Stemp

While uptake on the warm bank had been slow, the modern church was still a hive of activity when the LDRS* visited in late November to talk to some of those involved. The food bank has seen a rise in its users, and has moved downstairs to a bigger room in the church, while organisers are sure that as people use the church for other activities, the news will start to spread about the warm hub.

The building, where warm hub visitors can get a tea or coffee and a hot meal, is large and modern, and used for many community activities. Its administrator Christina Lane said she probably takes the building for granted given she goes to church there every week. She recognised that many people were struggling at the moment, and didn’t want anyone to feel embarrassed about coming down. “There’s no shame, we just have to club together,” she said.

Jen Barnard is strategy lead at Good Company, which was established this year and is an umbrella organisation working with several food banks, the Epsom and Ewell Refugee Network and the Epsom Pantry among others.
She said there had been a rise in numbers of people using the food bank, compared to pre-pandemic levels, and that 10,000 food parcels have been given out this year across the five food banks in Banstead, Leatherhead, Tadworth, Epsom and Ewell.

Offering advice to those who visit on all aspects of their life, Ms Barnard said people may be referred on for mental health support, help with applying for disability benefits or advice on reducing energy consumption.
A key part of the work, she believes, is in listening to users and looking at what changes might help them.
“It seems like a small thing,” she said, “but listening to people and understanding that everyone is an individual, everyone is unique. And a willingness [is needed] to try to think in new ways, and trying to really hear what people are saying and respond to it.”

She said the organisation’s aim was to work towards a poverty-free future, but in the meantime to support those who needed it. “Very much a part of our strategy is participation and trying to bring together people with lived experience with decision makers, trying to say: ‘We can make changes locally that are going to improve people’s lives,’” she added.

Andrea Lewis is the Merland Rise church caretaker, who helps run the building including the many events that go on there, from the food bank to birthday parties, exercise classes and more. Speaking before December’s cold snap hit Surrey, she said the warm hub hadn’t really “kicked off” but she thought the word would spread as more people visited the church, including for a Surrey County Council bingo event taking place that afternoon.

Word spreading throughout the community also means people are being brought together at a time when many are struggling. Surrey County Councillor Rebecca Paul (Conservative, Tadworth, Walton & Kingswood) and Reigate and Banstead Borough Councillor Rod Ashford (Lower Kingswood, Tadworth and Walton) both recognise that people get a lot out of volunteering for projects such as the food clubs that run in the borough.

The borough council scheme offers people discounted food for an annual subscription of £1 and £2 payment to attend each week, giving people more ownership of the situation. Cllr Paul said: “In an ideal world we would hope that we wouldn’t have to do this.It does strengthen communities, it’s building the social fabric that these things are going on.”

The warm hub is open on Tuesdays from 10am-6pm, though it won’t be open on December 27.

*Epsom and Ewell Times BBC partner – Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Cover image – for illustration only.

Recycling for food

Catherine Banks tetra Cycle

A group of environmental volunteers in Surrey is helping support its local community by recycling items that the council cannot accept through their kerbside recycling bin collections. 

Catherine Banks, Founder of Tadworth TerraCycle, has signed up to a number of free recycling programmes offered by TerraCycle, collecting items including cheese packaging, Baylis & Harding products and packaging, and biscuit and snack wrappers that would ordinarily be destined for landfill or incineration. For each item of waste the group sends to TerraCycle, they are awarded with a monetary donation to the charities of their choice.

Pictured: Catherine Banks from Tadworth TerraCycle with two young volunteers and some of the items they have collected so far

The group has been raising money for charity since 2019 but recently its members have been prompted to donate funds to Epsom and Ewell Foodbank where they will be used for purchasing and sorting food and distributing it to those who need it most. More than £300 has been raised for the foodbank so far by collecting waste from the community via a public drop-off location in Tadworth. 

The Trussel Trust reported that deliveries of aid parcels were up 14 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels, amounting to more than 2.1m parcels in the year to April 2022, and with the growing cost of living crisis facing the UK, this number is likely to increase in the coming months.

Catherine explained: “We initially signed up to the TerraCycle programmes as a way to inspire the children at the local primary schools. By teaching them the importance of recycling and taking care of the environment at a young age we can ensure that the Earth will be in safe hands with future generations.

“One of the schools we work with decided they would like to support the food bank and unsurprisingly all the other schools agreed it was a good idea. The cost of living crisis is affecting so many people and giving to the foodbank is the best way to help those most in need.”

As well as the foodbank, the group also donates to other good causes including funding books for local schools and donating litter picking equipment to the local community group, and in the last 6 months more than £1,000 has been donated to the Dementia Society. 

Catherine continued “This really is a worthy cause so we encourage the entire community to get involved and drop these items at Tadworth Terracycle, 36 Bidhams Crescent, Tadworth. The more we recycle together, the more money we can raise for those who need it.”

The free recycling programmes which the group has signed up to include the Cathedral City Cheese Packaging Free Recycling Programme, the Baylis & Harding Free Recycling Programme and the Pladis (McVitie’s and Jacob’s) Biscuits and Snacks Free Recycling Programme.

The items the group sends to TerraCycle are recycled by shredding, cleaning and turning into plastic pellets which can then be used by manufacturers to create new plastic products such as outdoor equipment – reducing the need to extract new resources from the planet. 

Related reports:

Reaching recyclables others cannot reach …..

Xmas balloon race and a hamper for charity

Balloon race in snowy conditions

Epsom Rotary are raising funds for many local good causes this Christmas. Take part in a virtual balloon race or guess the value of a hamper donated by Honey and Bamboo of Ewell.

Ballooning venture:

At a loss as to what to buy someone for Christmas?  Buy them a balloon in our Christmas Day Balloon race.  These are just like helium balloons and the aim is to see which balloon travels furthest in the week following Christmas.  There is a prize for the winner!!

You can choose how much helium is put in the balloon and how thick the rubber of the balloon should be.  You can choose the shape of your balloon and you can decorate it appropriately.  You can also name the balloon eg Grandad Ron.

The difference is that the balloons do not exist in the real world.  A computer simulates the flight of all the balloons, updating where they would have got to every 15 mins. 

No ruining the environment and causing mayhem with birds and fish.  You can log in at any time to see where you have ended up.  Real weather data is collected for the simulation so, at Christmas, you may have strong winds and cold to contend with.  You are racing against the other balloons in the Rotary Christmas race and a fun thing for your family is to phone round every day to see where the balloons have got to, plot the positions on a map and share it with the family members.

Its great fun and so cheap.  Each balloon costs £3 and £2 of that goes to our charity account.  Fun and doing good at the same time!!! 

You can buy a set of codes to give to others and they can log in using the code – your gift to them.


Click HERE to buy your balloons

Hamper Competition

Honey and Bamboo Ltd, in Ewell offers a Christmas Hamper as a fundraiser. Entries are charged £5.00  per entry to guess the total value of the hamper. The winner would be the nearest guess below the actual value of the Hamper.

Details of what the hamper contains are:

Bottle of Surrey Honey, Christmas pudding. Bottle of Red wine, Bottle of White wine, Roast potato spice mix, Ferrer Roche Chocolate, Bottle of Honey and Ginger, Mature cheddar Cheese, Spice mix for turkey stuffing, Gravy mix, Box of Ceylon tea, Box of mince pies x 2, Caramelised Onion Chutney, Two packets of Afiya wax melts, Bottle of dried tomato, Olive and Garlic in Virgin Olive Oil, Wax wrap, Box of Christmas Crackers, 250 grams of mix fruit and nuts, Christmas stocking filled with sweets.

Send your £5 (or more!) to Epsom Rotary Trust Fund and mark it Hamper

Account Number 17256844  Sort Code 60-08-01

Click here to Entry Form 

Examples of local good causes supported in recent years by The Epsom Rotary Charity Trust Fund include:

Kids Out & Carers/Activity Holiday, Surrey Youth Games, Nescot Award , Young Musician, Rosebery School, Blenheim School, Youth Speaks, Young Photographer, French Speaking Competition, Young Champion, Employment Fair etc.  

Are you listening?

Epsom and Ewell Talking newspaper volunteers with Epsom Mayor

Epsom & Ewell Talking Newspaper, established in 1974, give three cheers for long-serving Volunteers! ‘In recognition of long service and invaluable contribution to volunteering for the Epsom & Ewell Talking Newspaper and the visually impaired community within the Borough of Epsom & Ewell.’

Time flies when you are enjoying what you do in life and it has certainly flown, say many of the wonderful people who have volunteered their services to help produce the Epsom & Ewell Talking Newspaper for a decade or more –some of them for up to an incredible 25 years!

On Thursday 1st December EETN’s Chairman Judy was delighted to welcome the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, Councillor Clive Woodbridge and the Mayoress, Mrs. Mary Woodbridge, to Bradbury Lodge in the grounds of Swail House, for a very special Long Service Award Presentation, organised by Volunteers including News Editors Tricia and Julie and EETN Office Manager Heather. “We are giving long overdue recognition to the fifteen volunteers who have been committed to this special charity for ten years or more,” Judy began. “Two of those wonderful people, Gabrielle and Heather, have been with us for over 21 years and Penny has given 25 years of service.”

Judy raised much laughter when she explained that in the early days of EETN, which started in 1974, cassette recordings were made in a corridor outside a kitchen in Epsom’s Swail House. One of the long- serving Volunteers, she said, still remembered the smell of cabbage as she was recording. “ The recording ‘venues’ changed several times over the years, but in 1997 our current bespoke studio here at Swail House was opened –and here we are 2341 issues of EETN later,” she said.

In a brief resume of how the Talking Newspaper operates, Judy explained that many skill sets were required to deliver a quality service to the Listeners. These, she said, included Sound Recordists, News, Magazine and Supplement Editors, Readers with clear voices, the all-important Backroom Team- and our essential Social Media Manager who spreads the word so effectively about our fantastic service. “Without the whole team of Volunteers, EETN would not exist. Everyone plays an integral role in delivering this Free service to visually impaired people.”

Among the invited guests and volunteers were Robert Lahai, Swail House Manager, who organised the room for the presentation, Eamonn McNamee, Manager for Central Surrey Voluntary Action, who kindly read the citations and Serena Powis, from EEBC Community and Voluntary Sector Liaison Officer.

The Mayor, Councillor Clive Woodbridge welcomed hearing the background history of EETN, saying “The fact that the 15 volunteers we have honoured today have amassed a staggering total of over 200 years of volunteering is truly humbling. I am tremendously honoured to be the President of the organisation, continuing a tradition going back to 1991.”

After listening to the citations, which gave a brief insight into the role each volunteer had played over the years, the Mayor expressed his thanks, saying ‘We are truly blessed to have so many selfless, good people who give up their time freely in the community.’

Photos with the Mayor marked the occasion as certificates were presented, but the wonderful group shot perfectly captured the warmth and sincerity of the team with their Chairman Judy, herself visually impaired, and husband Amer. Amer’s vital contribution to EETN was also warmly recognised for the invaluable support he has given Judy in her role as Chairman for the last 11 years.

With formalities successfully completed, Judy then invited all the guests and Volunteers to enjoy some light refreshments while having a catch-up with each other and a jolly get-together.

The Epsom & Ewell Talking Newspaper is a free, regular audio service presenting local news, magazine articles and general features which are recorded and distributed on a memory stick to local residents who are blind, visually impaired or have difficulty reading smaller text.

For more information about this free service visit: https://eetn.org.uk

To contact EETN about becoming a Listener or a Volunteer email admin@eetn.org.uk

Or call: 01372 721519 and leave a message with your name and phone number.

Jan Collier

Ed: In accordance with “For the community, by the community”, Epsom and Ewell Times shares its content for free with EETN.

Will Epsom’s Foodbank ever end?

Jonathan Lees at Foodbank gala

A Gala fundraising dinner was held recently to recognise 10 years of Epsom & Ewell Foodbank, with guests encouraged to sign up to the new ‘End Poverty Pledge’. Nearly 200 people attended the Gala dinner to mark a decade since the doors first opened in October 2012, offering emergency food parcels to those in need.

Image: Jonathan Lees speaks at the 10 year Gala in the Queen Elizabeth II Stand Epsom Downs

Now ten years on, the food bank has five centres in Surrey and is incorporated into Good Company (Surrey) charity, which includes Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network, support services as well as Epsom Pantry which opened this year.

Good Company’s mission is to create a community free from poverty and the newly launched End Poverty Pledge aims to build a movement of people and organisations committed to doing what they can locally to reduce poverty.

One of the food bank founders – Jonathan Lees, said Epsom & Ewell Foodbank was started after he was told of a similar initiative in Kingston and heard of a family struggling to feed themselves in Epsom. It opened with one centre in Epsom and one in Ewell, adding Leatherhead and Tadworth in 2013 and Banstead in 2014.

Jonathan Lees said: “I remember putting the first tins on our first bit of racking in one of our little rooms in the office with founding volunteer Jackie McKee. I think we counted 10 tins of baked beans. Now we have more than 10 crates of baked beans in the store. Never did we think that 10 years down the line we would still be here. We still have the mission to close the food bank and end poverty in our community, but that is not going to happen this year.

“So, while we are still here, we will challenge what is happening and support local people to rebuild their lives and have hope for the future. To recognise the impact of what we have done we held the fundraising event and this saw the launch of the End Poverty Pledge, as we believe everyone in our community can do something to improve the lives of those experiencing financial hardship.

“It is definitely not a celebration but a mark of appreciation of all that has happened, all we do and the invaluable support of so many people in or community who donate food, resources and funds, especially our group of amazing volunteers who are our lifeline and keep it all going.”

Good Company (Surrey) is a Registered Charity no. 1197494
Good Company Hub Ruxley Lane Epsom KT18 0JG

Since they opened, the Epsom & Ewell Foodbank have helped feed more than 50,000 people. As the foodbank grew, so came the realisation that emergency food aid was not a long-term answer to poverty so in 2019, the East Surrey Poverty Truth Commission was launched to raise awareness of the drivers of poverty and ensure that those affected by poverty are central to decisions about how to tackle it. Phase 2 of the ESPTC will start in 2023.

Jonathan Lees said: “As we look ahead after 10 years, our vision is now focused on tackling the root causes of poverty and the hope of a future without the need for food banks.”

For more information and to take the End Poverty Pledge please visit

Courtesy Epsom and Ewell Foodbank.