Don’t be spooked, you can still enjoy Halloween

While some Halloween activities will have to be paused this year, there are ways you and your family can enjoy spooky fun while staying safe from exposure to COVID-19.

Six spooktacular low risk activities:
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them in your window or outside
  • Getting the Bake Off vibe and gather the household around to make ghoulish and tasty Halloween cakes and biscuits
  • Celebrating with a household movie night with the people you live with and dress as your favourite characters
  • Taking part in a ‘spot the pumpkin’ trail, where people display pumpkin or Halloween pictures in their windows and you have to try and find them all with your family (a good walk around the neighbourhood remembering to socially distance)
  • Organising a Halloween scavenger hunt by hiding Halloween treats (and tricks) in and around your home for your children to find
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume competition using a video chat app
Higher risk activities to avoid this Halloween:
  • Traditional trick-or-treating, where sweets are handed to children who go door to door
  • Attending a party where there are more than six people from different households
  • Going to any event where people may be crowded together and screaming

Councillor Barry Nash, Chairman Community & Wellbeing Committee, said: “This year, we need all the fun we can get. Many of the Halloween traditions we have adopted over the last few years, such as trick or treating, carry a risk. The challenge is how to still have fun but to have it safely and consider how to make fun, Covid safe”.

If you are pumpkin carving, be careful to avoid pumpkin carving injuries. Children can draw a face with markers and then an adult can do the cutting. Consider putting a battery-operated light rather than an open-flame candle inside your carved masterpiece.


…and breathe

A week on from Clean Air Day 2020, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is highlighting a free service to residents who may experience health problems due to occasional poor air quality.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is part of the Surrey airAlert consortium.

airAlert is a service that sends free messages direct to people informing them about local air pollution levels in the area the day before air pollution is expected to occur.

Air pollution can cause both short term and long term effects on health and many people are concerned about pollution in the air that they breathe. These people may include those with heart or lung conditions or other breathing problems and those people who look after someone whose health is sensitive to pollution.

airAlert is intended for people with respiratory health problems who may be affected by air pollution.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safer Communities Committee explained “The council is responsible for investigating complaints and responding to pollution incidents in relation to air quality, industrial pollution, bonfires, dust, fumes and odour. This is in addition to routine day to day monitoring of pollution and regulation of industrial processes.

“However, air quality here can be affected by events outside of the borough, the county and even the country.

“airAlert is an incredibly useful for tool that the council has invested in for residents to use free of charge. If it prevents just one person from having a serious issue and an emergency visit to hospital, it is a sound investment, and we know that over 600 people have downloaded it”.

airAlert can be downloaded

Generally if you are young and in a good state of health, moderate air pollution levels are unlikely to have any serious short term effects. However, elevated levels and/or long term exposure to air pollution can lead to more serious symptoms and conditions affecting human health. This mainly affects the respiratory and inflammatory systems, but can also lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer. People with lung or heart conditions may be more susceptible to the effects of air pollution.

Pods provide peace and quiet for Epsom and St Helier staff

Hardworking staff at Epsom and St Helier can now make the most of their breaks or find a moment of relaxation after a busy shift, thanks to a generous loan of two sleep pods.

The two space-age looking pods are designed specifically for twenty-minute power naps, and come complete with a hooded privacy visor and the option to play pre-programmed music or a relaxation guide. This means valued NHS staff are able to rejuvenate their minds and body in the break of a busy shift, or before heading home after clocking off for the day.

Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “Team ESTH always work hard to provide the best care to our patients, but the effort and determination they have shown through COVID-19 has been phenomenal. If anyone deserves to put their feet up for 20 minutes and make the most of a lunch break, it’s our staff!

“Evidence shows that for most people, a short 15 to 20-minute nap can help to reduce the impact of tiredness on people’s ability to function and can improve performance. But more importantly than that, being able to take a moment to relax and recuperate will be a real boost for the health and wellbeing of our staff, which in turn, has a positive effect on patient care and experience”.

Dr Shakil Rahman, Lead Respiratory Consultant at the Trust, has been at the very forefront of the Trust’s response to COVID-19, leading the team who cared for some of the sickest COVID-19 patients. He said: ‘I’ve tried the sleep pod and I can’t believe – even for a poor sleeper like me – how refreshed I feel. I will definitely be using it again and encouraging everyone to try some power naps, especially the junior doctors who work and study incredibly hard. I’ve been so proud of how the respiratory team and all my ESTH colleagues have faced the immense challenges of this pandemic, and I truly think their health and wellbeing has never been so important.”

The sleep pods have kindly been loaned to Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity by the company Restworks for a free two-month trial but – if the feedback from staff continues to be positive the charity could look to purchase them on a long-term basis. The Charity always welcome support from local people and businesses – if you would like to make a donation to this or any other project, please contact the team by email at [email protected] or call 01372 735262.

For more information about Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity (registered charity number 1049197) visit

Advice on offer for licenced premises

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council are offering licenced businesses throughout the borough specialist advice to help them stay on top of rapidly changing coronavirus regulations.

Keeping staff and customers safe from the spread of the coronavirus should be at the top of every business owners’ mind.  As the winter approaches and regulations change on an increasingly frequent basis, it can be difficult to keep pace while running a business at the same time.

Specialist Environmental Health and Licencing teams from the borough council are on hand to help businesses open safely and ensure that all appropriate controls are in place for customers.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chairman of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee, said:

“We are committed to reducing the harm of the coronavirus pandemic, and everyone has a significant role to play.

“As one part of our role, we are proactively helping licenced premises stay on the right side of rapidly written legislation.

“We recognise that this is an exceptionally difficult time for businesses who are doing their best in a difficult situation.  By being proactive, we’re hoping to support our licenced premises to remain open, in line with the law and safety measures, without needing to use our enforcement powers.”

In addition to acting in an advisory capacity, the council are also ready to act on any concerns raised by residents to ensure that all appropriate safety measures are being adhered to. 

The current advice for business owners is available on the Government’s website: .  Epsom & Ewell Borough Council also have a dedicated page on their website summarising the latest information for businesses:  

Everyone should also make sure that they abide by the Government’s latest advice to keep themselves and others safe.  This advice can be found online ( and is currently summarised as:

  • Hands – keep washing your hands regularly
  • Face – wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Space – stay at least 2 metres apart, or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions.

Surrey Police welcomes one of its largest ever intakes of new recruits

Surrey Police has welcomed 75 new recruits this week, including 28 officers as part of its first-ever fast track development programme.

These officers are amongst the first nationally to undertake the intensive two-year Detective Constable Degree-Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) which offers specialist training in investigations.

Alongside this, 24 new officers have commenced the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship and 23 on our Degree Holder Entry Programme.

They come from all walks of life and backgrounds but share an overarching passion for making a difference and helping those in need.

PC Carr tells her story on why she wanted to join us: “I have just finished a three year law degree and knew I wanted to go into some form of law enforcement for a job, but for many years thought I wanted to work as a lawyer. However, I realised I would miss the human element of work going into this field and talking to ordinary people on a daily basis, so I decided to pursue a career in the Police and I am so glad I did. All my previous jobs have been focused on people, and I cannot wait to be in the community, helping people that need it most. I lost my mum in August this year unexpectedly and this has put everything into perspective for me. I cannot wait to start a career which I feel so passionate about, to be able to help those that most need it through dark times in their life and put the skills I will learn into practice.”

Kevin Smith, who is part of our Learning and Professional Development team said: “We are really excited that the Fast Track Detective Programme has commenced in Surrey Police. This route into policing, along with the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, Degree Holder Entry Programme and the PCSO Apprenticeship are designed and delivered by our Learning and Professional Development team and partners. Surrey Police and Sussex Police are proud to be the first forces in the country to go live with these new and innovative learning programmes that are giving our officers and staff the skills they need for policing in the 21st century.”

The DC DHEP is a two-year practice-based programme leading to a Diploma in Professional Policing Practice and accreditation as a detective. 

The recruits are employed as police officers from day one, and will train and gain frontline experience in policing before specialising in investigations, and working towards their accreditation as a detective. They will then join investigation teams or safeguarding units across Surrey.

If you think this could be you, we’re recruiting for Police Officers now. Find out more here:

Please note, closing date for applications is Thursday 15th October.

Teddy the Dachshund

A lot people would have seen the little dachshund being pushed around the town by his owner Nicci. So we decided to check on Teddy and how’s he getting on. We meet Teddy and Nicci in a sunny Rosebery Park and while walking around the park I asked Nicci about Teddy

WOIE: Hi Nicci my first question is what was wrong with Teddy and what happened?

NiccI: He has Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD, which is a common condition in the spine that causes back pain, partial loss of function in the limbs, and in more severe cases like Teddy’s paralysis and loss of feeling.

He got ill in December 2019 last year there are 5 stages of IVDD. Stage 1 to 4 a dog has got an 80 percent chance of walking again but once they get to stage five which means they’ve got no deep pain sensation at all and there’s only a 50 percent chance that they’ll ever walk again and he went from stage 1 to stage five within 24 hours. One evening on the 8th of December. In the morning of the 9th we took him to the local vet and by lunchtime when I took him to the park he wasn’t running. So we crate rest him and then by 9 o’clock that night. My parents had him. I was at work and said that he wasn’t walking at all and was dragging himself around

So, we got an local emergency vet appointment in the middle of the night. He was then referred to Fitzpatrick’s, Supervet from the TV, for the following morning. We took him to Fitzpatrick’s at 8:00am and they then operated that day

Noel didn’t do the operation it was Joanna. She was amazing and she’s a lovely surgeon.

WOIE: Looking at him now. Where was the operation as there are no visible signs?

Nicci: You can see a little bit of his spines through his skin slightly where he had it. If you look carefully. IVDD is effectively as a slipped disc so the inside of that is pushes out into the spine cutting off the spine to brain communication. So they take out the bits that have come out to relieve the pressure on the spine, as far as I understand it, so he has no deep pain sensation. 

WOIE: So you had the operation how long was the operation. How long was he with them for?

Nicci: It was a few hours. When they called me to tell me that it had gone well and he was he was okay and in recovery. He stayed there,I think, for about 10 days.But he was so depressed. We would go and visit him and he used to drag himself around and hide under things.

The operation was successful. He wasn’t in pain anymore but he lost all use halfway down his back he cannot wee on his own. So I have to express his bladder a few times a day for him. He can do poos himself but unsure if he knows if he needs to go.

He’s got a bit of control over it. So if he’s sitting with me on the sofa and he needs to go. He’ll whinge at me. Sometimes it takes me a little bit to work out what it is he is after but  when I put him down on a mat he’ll do it. So he sort of knows when he needs to go.

 WOIE: As we are walking around He’s got this wonderful little frame that he is now using. How did the frame come about?

NIcci: So they don’t like you to have wheels until. seven months after the operation Because they want to make sure they definitely can’t walk so he has hydrotherapy once or twice a week. I couldn’t get the wheels to August. My friend ran a 10K for 10 days to raise the money to pay for it. He raised for Teddy a thousand pounds towards the frame which cost £500 pounds. from company Walking Wheels. 

WOIE: Walking with you around the park he gets a lot of attention does he have his own fan page?

Nicci: He is very popular. He has his own Instagram account  which is @teddys_ivddlife

WOIE: Looking forward what’s the future for Teddy?

Nicci: He’s is six now so five when it all started which is the average age for dachshund for any problems to stat. There’s a Web site called Dachshund Health UK that explains IVDD and it states 5 is the average age they get it and sad to say it’s also the average age they die from it.

As we were walking around like any normal dog Teddy would stop and sniff and just go up to other dogs. Which with his wheel often frightens them and us expected some do react. So if you are out with your dog and see him please make sure you dog is under control. Nicci fully understands why dogs do it but on our walk one dog tried to jump on Teddy’s back.

Nicci would like to thank Fitzpatrick’s, Super Vet, and Pet Plan Insurance because it was them that paid for the operation. 

One bit of advice from Nicci to anyone thinking about getting a Dachshund is get the right insurance. IVDD costs a lot of money if your dog gets it and it’s quite common in Dachshund.

Listen to our interview via our Podcast below.

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Update from Chris Grayling MP

Latest information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Chris Grayling MP

Dear constituent
I am writing to you with a further update about Coronavirus issues.

Winter Economy Plan

Firstly, you will have seen that the Government announced yesterday a package of additional support for employers and employees. I have yet to get all of the detailed information about the package, but you can access initial information here.

If you have specific questions please let me know, and I will try to find the answers for you.

Coronavirus restrictions: what is and is not permitted

You will be aware of the tightening of some of the coronavirus restrictions earlier in the week. All the details about what is and is not permitted can be found here

I appreciate that there are strong views locally about what is happening, particularly as we remain an area where incidence of the virus is relatively low still. As these messages are meant to focus on providing information, I won’t get into the debate here. But the one thing I would say is that I hear strong views on both sides of the argument locally, with some people wanting more measures and some fewer.

I would, though, encourage people to follow social distancing guidelines in particular, whether you are out shopping or a young person walking in a large group coming home from school. If nothing else, we do want to stop the virus spreading back through our local community and risking the safety of more vulnerable people.

Flu Jabs

A number of people have raised with me the issue of flu jabs this winter. As you may know, the Government is recommending that as well as the over-65s, those between 50 and 65 also have the jab this year. However the initial priority is to inoculate the over-65s, who are at most risk from flu, and people with particular health vulnerabilities. The aim is to get this done by November. From November onwards the intention is to extend the programme to the younger age group. I am expecting people to receive a direct invitation from their GP practice when they are due to receive a jab.

There has been some speculation about whether there will be enough vaccinations available. I was on a call with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer this morning and he told us that several tens of millions of doses are due for delivery, and that the stock will be far more than we have ever had before. So whilst I can’t be absolutely sure, it does look as if there will be plenty available for those who need the vaccination. Fingers crossed.

Epsom and Ewell Business Awards

Finally, you may remember that I founded the Epsom and Ewell business awards a few years ago to recognise local businesses that go the extra mile for the local community and for their customers. Because of this year’s special circumstances, the 2020 awards are going to be streamlined and a little different. Instead of the normal range of awards and a presentation ceremony, we are doing the awards with a Coronavirus theme and the prizes will be awarded in an on-line ceremony later in the year. 

The prizes this year will be awarded to businesses that have gone out of their way to do more for local people and the local community during the crisis. That may be a business which has provided extra support for the NHS or which has done extra home delivery for the elderly, for example. Details of the awards are at Please do either enter or nominate an entry.

Best wishes 
Chris Grayling

Epsom & Ewell Special COVID Business Awards

Special COVID Business Awards launched to recognise businesses that have adapted and gone above the call of duty during this pandemic.

Epsom and Ewell has always had an entrepreneurial business community and this year has highlighted this more than ever. The 2020 Special COVID Awards are looking to honour those businesses who have gone beyond the call of duty during this pandemic.  If your business has or still is supporting the local community, or has adapted and innovated to improve customer service or product or you are an employer who has supported your workforce, or you would like to nominate a business who performed to an exceptional level, they would like to hear from you.

Entrants can compete across five different categories.  The closing date for entries or nominations is 31st October; winners will be announced at an online awards ceremony on 19th November.

The Awards cover five categories:

  • Best Business for Support of the Community
  • Best Business Employer
  • Best Business in Ashtead
  • Best Business in Epsom & Epsom Downs
  • Best Business in Ewell & Stoneleigh

Full information regarding award categories is available on the awards website . Entries and nominations are made online.  An independent panel of judges with local business expertise will select the winning entrants who will receive trophies and certificates following the online Awards reception. 

For further information please visit or email [email protected] .

Racing Welfare Return To School Grant

At the end of July 2020, Racing Welfare announced that it would be providing Return to School grants to racing industry families with school-age dependent children. The Return to School grants, which are awarded at £100 per child up to a maximum of 4 children per family, aim to ease the financial burden on families during what can be an expensive time of year. Applications will continue to be accepted for the grants up until Wednesday 30th September and can be made to recover the costs of uniform and equipment already purchased.

The grants, which are kindly being funded by the John Pearce Foundation and The Racing Foundation, are intended to help families with purchasing back to school essentials such as uniform, P.E. kit and educational equipment. Families can also use the grants to recover the costs of such equipment if already purchased. They are available to anyone currently working in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry who has dependent, school-age children (4-18 years) and meets the eligibility criteria. 

To be eligible for support, parents must be working or be self-employed in the industry for a minimum of one year, or have lost their job or work or be on furlough, within the last year.  Furthermore, they must be living on or below the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Minimum Income Standard and be in receipt of Child Benefit. 

The minimum income standard is higher than many people believe and any family working within the racing or breeding industries is urged to check their income using the simple Minimum Income Calculator UK: or contact your local Racing Welfare team for assistance.

Racing Welfare has streamlined its application procedure to allow for grants to be processed as quickly and efficiently as possible, though eligible families are encouraged to apply without delay in order to meet the end of September deadline. The charity’s team can be contacted directly via their regional office numbers.  These lines are manned from 9am – 5pm, Monday-Friday and are as follows:   

For the South and West regions call: 01488 670 034

Alternatively please call Racing’s Support Line which is available 24hrs a day, 7 days per week on 0800 6300 443.  A 24hr live chat service is also available via the charity’s website

Racing Welfare’s Director of Welfare, Simone Sear, commented: Thanks to the Return to School grants, we have been able to support many families within the racing and breeding industries with the additional financial burden that back to school expenses can bring.  We are keen to support as many families as we can before the end of this month, so please get in touch with our team, in confidence, to find out if your family could benefit.”

Racing Welfare

Racing Welfare is the only charity that supports all of racing’s people – including stud, stable and racecourse staff, alongside those working in associated professions – from their recruitment right through into retirement. The charity provides a wide range of advice and guidance services, all of which are completely confidential and non-judgmental.  Support is available for a wide range of life’s challenges, including physical health, mental health, bereavement, careers advice, housing, money advice, illness, addiction, relationships and retirement. Racing Welfare’s services are nationally accessible with offices in all of the main racing centres and roving Welfare Officers covering the whole of the country. 

The charity owns 164 units of accommodation across the UK, with a focus on providing housing for young people working in racing and those who have retired from the industry which are managed by its housing arm, Racing Homes.

Racing’s Support Line, a multi-channel support platform, allows people to contact the charity online as well as through a 24hr telephone line.  


Racing’s Support Line: 0800 6300 443

Online self-help resources:

Racing Welfare’s Covid-19 Emergency Appeal: Due to the cancellation of planned fundraising events, Racing Welfare needs to raise £500k this year to fill the income deficit from this source. 

Donate to the Emergency Appeal here:

Brooklands Remembers 88 killed in 1940 air raid

Brooklands Museum held a memorial service in remembrance of the 88 civilians, killed at Brooklands in a German Air Raid, who were manufacturing Wellington Bombers and Hawker Hurricanes for the Battle of Britain.

Brooklands, famed for introducing Britain to motorsport with its creation of the World’s first racing circuit, also fuelled the global obsession with aviation seeing one of Britain’s first powered flights take off from the track’s Finishing Straight. A magnet for race drivers, pilots, innovators, and pioneers alike, Brooklands became a household name hosting the first British Grand Prix and becoming the most prolific aircraft production factory in Europe.

Following Brooklands’ contribution of aircraft to the war effort in the First World War, the site was again used in 1939 for military aircraft production, in particular the Vickers Wellington, and Hawker Hurricane. The iconic racetrack and aircraft hangars were extensively camouflaged to conceal them from German bombing raids. 

On Wednesday 4th September 1940 at precisely 13:24hrs, the Vickers aircraft factory at Brooklands was bombed by the German Luftwaffe.

The attack which lasted just three minutes was considered at the time the most devastating raid on any aircraft factory in Britain of the Second World War and claimed 88 lives with over 400 injured. 

The unexpected attack came as many workers were enjoying their lunch outside or queuing up to clock-in for their afternoon shift, in a workshop that was directly hit. Workers at the Vickers Factory were accustomed to the sound of aircraft overhead and as such the air-raid siren was tragically not sounded in time. 

The workers began the task of recovering the victims and clearing the wreckage, only to be targeted two days later in a non-fatal attack that destroyed and damaged buildings belonging to the Hawker factory.

The service, was led by The Bishop of Guildford 80 years since the famous Vickers Armstrong and Hawker factories were directly hit by the German Luftwaffe. 

Friends and relatives of those killed in the raid were invited along and at 13:24 a roll call of those that died during the raid was read out by Michael More-Molyneux, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Tim Oliver, leader of Surrey County Council, Cllr Mary Sheldon, Mayor of Elmbridge and Tamalie Newbery CEO of Brooklands Museum Trust. After the reading of names there was a 2 minute silence which was signalled by an air raid siren.

After the silence wreaths were laid by Louise Baverstock-Price, Head of community investment BAE Systems, Anthony Samuels, Chairman of S.C.C, Rob Moran CEO of Elmbridge Council, Jim Allen, Chairman of Byfleet Heritage Society and Kevin Lee Secretary Brookland Members.

Among the friends and families were the grandchildren of William Ernest Hunt, who was 35 when he was killed. William came to work at Brooklands from Crewe. His family were unsure where he was but new the work was important and his location a secret. After the war his daughter, the grandchildrens mum, knew her father had died during World War 2 but not how or where. It wasn’t until 2014 that the grandson, doing some research, found Williams grave and what had happened.

At last after 74 years their mother was able to see her father’s grave, just months before she passed away.

The Museum is commemorating this anniversary with the opening of the new Air Raid Shelter Walkthrough Experience which features the images and voices of the men and women who survived the attack. The new exhibit has been funded by BAE Systems, formally British Aerospace Corporation including Vickers Armstrong.  

The Brooklands Air Raid Shelter along with Brooklands motor racing circuit, the remains of the pre-World War II aerodrome, World War II Bofors tower, and the Brooklands memorial, are Scheduled Monuments with Historic England.

Do you know anyone who was involved in the attack or is a living friend or relative of someone who was? Please contact [email protected] to let them  know. 

For more on the history of the raid CLICK HERE