It's beginning to look a lot like... Christmas Lights!

Join us on Thursday 15 November when everywhere you go in the High Street will be filled with Christmas entertainment for all the family from 12noon until late at the annual Christmas Lights Switch-on event from Guildford Borough Council and Experience Guildford, supported by 96.4 Eagle Radio. The lights are switched on at 7pm followed by a grand firework finale kindly sponsored by White Lion Walk. 

We have all of your favourites including Santa’s reindeer and unicorns, live music playing all afternoon at the Experience Guildford stage and Guildford Fringe Buskers Corner and don’t miss the mascot parade. The Guildhall balcony show begins at 6pm, hosted by Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon. He will be joined by local sports stars and the cast of the Yvonne Arnaud pantomime including actress and singer Michelle Gayle. 

Cllr Mike Parsons, Mayor of Guildford says: “This wonderful community event marks the start of the town’s countdown to Christmas. Please join us as we illuminate our historic High Street and provide the opportunity for all ages to come together and celebrate the start of the festive season. A huge thank you to all of our partners and visitors that make this occasion so special every year.” 

He explains: “This year we have also provided some dedicated quiet spaces for those who prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of the High Street. You’ll find these at Skipton Building Society and Cosy Club* in Tunsgate Quarter. Staff will be on hand to calm and reassure visitors.” 

Amanda Masters, Chief Executive at Experience Guildford says: “Guildford is excitedly building up to what promises to be the start of another cracking Christmas. As ever, the lights switch-on marks the start of the festive retail calendar and the beginning of late night shopping. We’ve introduced new lights at the top of the high street to extend footfall throughout the town, have an enhanced retail and leisure mix to draw visitors from further afield and increase dwell time plus our work with organisations, such as GEEYOU, has helped make our town more accessible and inviting to all sectors of the local community. Thanks go to all the partners involved with getting this year’s celebrations off the ground, and here’s to a very prosperous festive season for all.” 

She adds: “New for 2018 we have a competition for everyone to get involved with. Simply find our Experience Guildford Christmas Elves (you’ll spot them from their costumes dashing around from 3-8pm), snap a selfie with them and share it on Social Media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) with the tag: #ElfieSelfie and #GuildfordLights to be entered in to a prize draw to win a family ticket to this year’s Yvonne Arnaud pantomime, Cinderella.”** 

Detailed programme for the day: 

12.00 pm - 6.00 pm Say hello to some of Santa’s reindeer on the Rotunda 
3.00 pm - 5.00 pm See real-life Unicorns from My Little Unicorn outside Debenhams or trotting up the High Street 
3 - 8.00 pm Find the EG Elves around town and get your #ElfieSelfie 
4.00 pm Experience Guildford Stage opens outside Holy Trinity Church 
4.00 pm Rock Choir 
4.30 pm Babama House Duo 
5.00 pm Emma Stevens 
5.30 pm Nefarious Picaroons 
4.00 pm Catch even more live music at Guildford Fringe Buskers’ Corner by the Scholar Statue. Including Majella Yorston, Performance Preparation Academy and various local choirs 
4.30 pm onwards Music and entertainment inside Tunsgate Quarter Shopping Centre provided by Guildford Fringe 
5.00 pm Join the Mascot Parade up the High Street, starting from White Lion Walk. Led by Guildford and Godalming Rock Choir 

THE MAIN EVENT: 
6.00 pm Countdown to the switch on with the balcony show from the Guildhall, with Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon and the stars of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre panto, Cinderella 
7.00 pm The Christmas Lights will be switched on, followed by a dazzling fireworks display, sponsored by White Lion Walk Shopping Centre 

The Balcony Show will also be broadcast to two big screens, opposite Marks and Spencer and above the Experience Guildford Stage, so even more people can get a really good view. 

AND TO CLOSE THE EVENING: 
7.15 pm Boogie the evening away with Latitude (ACM House Band) 
at the EG Stage 
7.15 pm There will be choirs performing at Guildford Fringe Buskers Corner, Tunsgate Quarter Shopping Centre, Tunsgate Road, Market Street and on The Rotunda. 

(All information correct at time of issue and is subject to change). 

Network Rail partners with Thomas & FriendsTM to teach children railway safety

Network Rail has teamed up with the world’s most famous blue engine and pre-schooler favourite, Thomas the Tank EngineTM, to help children learn how to be safe when using the railway.

The Stay Safe with Thomas story book sees the mischievous Thomas having fun on the railway over being safe, putting both himself and his friends in harm’s way.  He learns valuable lessons on the dangers of not stopping at a level crossing when the red light shows, leaving gates open to allow animals on to the tracks and when people stand too close to the edge of a platform.

Network Rail, along with British Transport Police, hopes the story book will encourage parents to discuss rail safety with their young children, in the same manner that they teach them about other dangers they may encounter when out and about. 

“The railway is full of both obvious and hidden dangers” said Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail. “By offering parents an engaging and fun way to talk to their children at a young age about safety on the railway, we hope children will grow up knowing the dangers and keep themselves and their friends safe.”

The launch of the story book comes off the back of the ‘You vs Train’1 campaign, ran by the rail industry and the British Transport Police (BTP), which targeted older children and teenagers to warn them of the dangers of the railway and that it isn’t a playground.

In the last five years, the number of young people taking risks on the railway has gone up by almost 80 per cent2.

Superintendent Susan Peters said: “We are delighted to be collaborating on this initiative, our focus is keeping people safe and working with such a well-known children’s television character is exciting. This Thomas the Tank engine story book gives us an engaging and accessible way to ensure essential safety messaging is reaching young children. Although BTP runs activity through the year to educate the public of the seen and unseen dangers in and around the railway tracks, we hope that being able discuss this subject through the use of these books will make our safety messages go further.”

Senior Regional Licensing Manager, Publishing at Mattel Consumer Products, Maribel Le Gelebart, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Network Rail on the launch of the Stay Safe with Thomas storybook.  Thomas & FriendsTM has been teaching life lessons for over 70 years through storybooks as well as its exciting content and product ranges. So, it was a natural fit to collaborate on a rail safety storybook which leverages and reinforces the brands’ key values of friendship, teamwork and safety.”

Network Rail and the British Transport Police (BTP) are distributing copies of the book to local libraries, nurseries and doctors’ surgeries across the country. A free, electronic version of the book will be available to download from 16 October 2018.

To download your free copy of the Thomas & Friends: Stay Safe with Thomas book please visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/thomas

Chessington World of Adventures to bring Room on the Broom to life in Spring 2019

Today, Chessington World of Adventures Resort announced a new and enchanting addition to the Surrey Theme Park and Zoo for spring 2019. ‘Room on the Broom - A Magical Journey’, brings to life yet another of author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s  much-loved children’s stories, following in the footsteps of the Resort’s Gruffalo River Ride Adventure.    

Families will be invited to visit the enchanted library and embark on their own spellbinding adventure. As the stormy wind blows, sending Witch’s hat, bow and wand tumbling to the ground, parents and children alike will have to search high and low in trees, fields and reeds helping Dog, Bird and Frog on their way to find the lost belongings. Guests will have to watch out though for a fearsome foe, Dragon, who fancies ‘Witch and chips’ for his tea! 

Tim Harrison-Jones, Divisional Director at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, said: “Following the success of The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure, we are excited as we hope our guests will be, to unveil our plans for another Julia Donaldson-inspired attraction and we can’t wait to open the doors to the enchanted library next year.”  

Julia Donaldson, added: “It’s lovely that families will be able to enter the Room on the Broom world and enjoy the story in a new way at Chessington World of Adventures Resort”.

Room on the Broom - A Magical Journey’ is set to open at Chessington World of Adventures Resort in spring 2019 and will be accompanied by two themed Room on the Broom bedrooms in the Chessington Safari Hotel.

For more information, visit Chessington.com/2019. Equally visit the Resort during Howl’o’ween (on until Saturday November 4) to receive an exclusive voucher to return in 2019 for just £10.

Room on the Broom - A Magical Journey’ is being created in partnership with the license holders, Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

© 2001 & TM Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. Licensed by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

© Orange Eyes Ltd. 2012.

It’s time to clear the air say Surrey County Council

Walking, cycling or scooting to school is great for you and your child’s health and wellbeing. It reduces their exposure to exhaust fumes and improves air quality.

Road traffic is the main source of air pollution in Surrey. This pollution can affect children’s lung-growth, increase symptoms in those with asthma and contribute to chronic illnesses later in life – nothing we’d want them to be burdened with.

So it’s really worth considering how else you could get to school each day and leave the car at home if you can.

But if driving is the only way you can get the children to school on time, there are a few small changes you could make to help improve the air children breathe. It may be easier than you think.

Park a little further away and walk the rest– areas further away from the school may be quieter so it could be easier and quicker to find a parking space. 

Turn the engine off while you wait– you’ll reduce how much fuel you use so may save money too.

Changing how you travel to school, even if it’s just a few times a week, will help children breathe cleaner air. To find out more about how you can fill your children’s heads with fresh ideas and not exhaust fumes, visit www.healthysurrey.org.uk/airquality

Surrey County Council is working with the Surrey Air Alliance, a partnership with district and boroughs to address local air quality issues. 

Priory Park playground set for refurb – tell us what you want to see

Priory Park’s popular playground is set to be refurbished next year to replace its ageing equipment. The playground, which opened in 2007, is now 11 years old. With over three million visits to the park each year from all over the borough and further afield, it is showing signs of wear and tear. 

The well-loved ‘Grey Lady’ ship will remain in spirit, but will be replaced with something more modern while in keeping with the playground’s nautical theme. The refurbishment will also include other popular pieces, like the climbing tower and zip wire, which are currently out of action.

The popular splash play equipment which was replaced last year is not included in the refurb, and the layout and planting will remain the same.

The project is part of the Council’s rolling programme of investment in its parks and greenspaces around the borough, which has already seen play areas in Chipstead and Kingswood upgraded this year.

To help inform what new equipment goes into the playground, the Council has set up a survey to get users’ views.

Cllr Alex Horwood, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “Children have been having fun climbing, swinging, sliding, hiding and scrambling around Priory’ Park’s playground for 11 years now. All that fun has taken its toll on the equipment and so we need to replace it.   

“Priory Park and its playground is much loved and well-used and we want to make sure it stays that way. The refurbishment is an opportunity for us to refresh and update the play experience for children, as new, more exciting equipment is now available. It is also important that the new equipment is easy to maintain and will last.

“We’re keen to hear users’ views on what they’d like to see so that what we put in meets their needs. Please take part in our survey to tell us what you think.”

To take part in the survey visit: www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/priorypark.

The refurbishment is expected to take place during May and June 2019 following a tender process for the new equipment.

In the meantime, the Council will continue to maintain the existing equipment. Repairs to the zip wire, tower slide and part of the ship will be taking place soonso that can be enjoyed once again.