Stoke d’Abernon News No. 20

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Sign of our times

Not to be outdone by the rash of village signs that have been appearing in recent years, Stoke d’Abernon now has its own village sign.

The sign actually has been several years in coming to fruition not only with the making but with various legal formalities. A small committee was formed including your editor who was tasked with finding a suitable sign maker. Daring to be different to others around us, we decided upon a two-sided colourful sign made in 3-dimensional cast resin, and it is surprising how difficult it was to come up with a design that everyone agrees upon, even the text underneath caused some consternation! Our sign maker Neil Horne from rural Suffolk produced the preferred design which depicts the crest/shield of the D’Abernon family, a cricketer (see the article on Bob Willis overleaf), the knight Sir John D’Abernon and St Mary’s Church each being within a window and an overall frame all subtly shaped like the East window of St Mary’s.

The sign was delivered whereupon it reposed in Ian Nelson’s back garden for some months until everything was agreed. The sign was paid for by the Residents’ Association, the council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) fund, the cricket club chairman, Cobham Heritage Trust and other local donations. Now all that remains to be done is for someone to wipe it down with a sponge and soapy water once a year!

A Marathon Effort

Local resident Mary Quinn has bravely entered the London Marathon (26.2 miles) with her friend Susie Wyld from nearby Effingham. The two of them can often be seen pounding the local streets.

Although the Marathon has currently been postponed until October, Mary says they are determined to run the 26 miles, even if it is before October – they will choose a nice day!

Whilst not really runners, they are doing it for a worthwhile cause – Parkinson’s UK, especially as a close relative, has lived with the condition for over 20 years. Mary and Susie have been friends for many years and in their words:

“We need your help. We have a huge task ahead and we need all the motivation possible and need your support and, importantly your cash!” Thank you.

The Residents’ Association chairman, Ian Nelson, also has Parkinson’s so is keen to find a cure! Please give generously to help fund research, either before or after the event.

Please help them and to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease by donating at:

Green Belt

We love living in Stoke D’Abernon because of its proximity to green fields and open countryside. Elmbridge Borough Council is preparing its local plan which will include its proposals on how to meet central government’s housing targets. Stoke D’Abernon is particularly vulnerable to the ambitious gaze of planners and developers.

A recent report by Savills has proposed the building of up to 180 houses on farmland to the right of Blundel Lane as you drive towards Oxshott, just before Waverley Road. In response, an impressive residents’ group called BluWav has been set up by nearby resident Richard Marshall with the intention of influencing council and other decision-makers by diplomatic means.

If you can offer help or suggestions, please contact:

Ingrid Reddick

We are sorry to report the recent death of Ingrid who was a well known and much-loved character. In her time Ingrid worked behind the counter at the newsagents, served drinks at the cricket club and managed the village hall bookings. Never afraid to speak her
mind, she once turned down a hall booking because she did not like the caller’s attitude!

Our sympathies go to her daughters Gaby and Gisela.

May Bank Holiday

Do not forget that the early May Bank Holiday has been moved this year and is on a Friday to correspond with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. The holiday is on Friday 8th May but many diaries and calendars which were printed early show the incorrect date.

Life Departed

We were sorry to learn of the death on 4th December of R.G.D. Willis MBE (Bob Willis) at the age of 70 after a battle with cancer.

Bob was born in Sunderland and as a young boy moved south with his parents and brother David to Bray Road where cricket was played in the back garden, not only there but also out in Bray Road – causing consternation to commuters going to and from the railway station!

Image courtesy of The Cricketer

Bob honed his skills as a bowler and outgrowing the garden, he moved on to Stoke d’Abernon Cricket Club where at the recreation ground he developed a reputation for being a fearsome very quick bowler with a long curving run-up that started at the sight screen. With his trademark ‘big hair’, 6′ 6″ height, speed and slightly unorthodox bowling action he was too much for many club batsmen.

His talent was quickly spotted and he played for Surrey, Warwickshire and very successfully for England taking 325 wickets; he was made captain for a couple of years at the end of his playing career. Although hostile on the pitch he was a charming person off of it and retained links to, and affection for, Stoke d’Abernon. This year is the 150th anniversary of the Cricket Club and, Covid-19 restrictions permitting, on Sunday 26th July Bob’s brother David, will be unveiling a plaque at the Club and some of Bob’s ashes will be scattered on the outfield. The clubhouse will also be re-named ‘The Bob Willis Pavilion’.

Life Saved

Earlier in the year, our village defibrillator was used to save a local resident and needless to say the recipient of the treatment and his wife are extremely grateful. If a cardiac arrest is suspected then always call 999 first and then dial 01932 300380 (service suspended during current ‘lockdown’ ). Our defibrillator is located outside of the Post Office/ convenience store.

It should be noted that the almost adjacent dental surgery in the same parade of shops also has a defibrillator available when the surgery is open. However, during the current Covid-19 restrictions, all dentistry is very limited. See ‘Cobham Dental’ in the ‘Snippets’ column on the right.


During the past year the Residents’ Association has planted 9 new trees and had removed 6 tree stumps. Over the years some 2500 daffodil bulbs and 25 trees have been planted.

Who shrunk our Christmas tree?

Most of you seemed unconcerned that the village Christmas tree was much smaller than usual. We normally have a 20ft tree that is lifted into place by a friendly soul with a JCB type machine. Last Christmas we were unable to have this assistance and the ground was very soft and wet, so we opted for a 12ft tree which we could lift by hand.

Past experience has shown that even with 6 people, getting a 20ft tree upright and into position is very difficult, this year we intend to compromise and have a 16ft tree. We are grateful to Squire’s Garden Centre for donating the tree.

Otherwise, the Christmas event took place as usual at the Old Plough, with the Reed’s School Brass Band, Shetland Ponies, mulled wine and nibbles from the pub and of course Father Christmas who arrived courtesy of Squire’s Garden Centre. Some £400 was raised for the local Cobham Chatterbus.

Traffic Calming in Stoke Road.

Surrey Highways department is proposing a set of traffic calming
measures which along with other measures such as vehicle activated speed signs will encourage drivers to adhere to the 30mph limit. There will be a traffic ‘divergence’ scheme at two new pedestrian islands making for safer places for those on foot to cross.

A consultation by SCC Highways received responses that were 87% in support of the scheme. A decision will be made at a committee meeting planned for June. If they go ahead, the proposed works will be paid for out of the community infrastructure levy (a fund imposed on developers) and work could take place over the school summer holidays. The nearest projected works for our immediate area being in the vicinity of Knowle Park.


Enthusiastic resident and master carpenter Nick Price has recently restored a broken handrail on the bridge over the River Mole and a bench on the recreation ground, all crafted in Welsh oak.

Cobham Dental

Cobham Dental is available for telephone consultations weekday
mornings until 1pm. Dentists in the UK are not currently allowed to treat patients face to face and local urgent care centres with extra personal protective equipment are in the process of being set up.

Image courtesy of Cobham Dental

Claire at Cobham Dental is able to give advice on managing dental
problems and can be contacted on 01932 866966.


Even before the Covid-19 pandemic South Western Railway had not been performing too well and had made a loss of £137 million since winning the franchise.

With Covid-19 all rail franchises have been taken over by the government and the future is uncertain.

From Your Editor

In these difficult and unusual times it is important to look out for, and indeed look after each other, particularly those who may be elderly, alone or anxious.

So I finish this Newsletter with some information on general help and assistance, and also from St Mary’s – Stoke d’Abernon’s own church, plus a final few words of comfort from Godfrey Hilliard the rector of St Mary’s.

My apologies if this is now starting to sound akin to a public information leaflet from the last war but maybe times are not really so very different. If nothing else enjoy the quietness, lack of cars and listen to, and take pleasure in, the birdsong! Whatever your faith or none, be safe, heed advice, take care and do not forget to keep washing the hands!


Local Help & Support

Several local groups have leafleted and telephoned those who may need help with everyday tasks such as food shopping and fetching prescriptions. It is important that no-one slips through the net so please be thoughtful and vigilant.

We are fortunate to be well served by the Good Elf, the Post Office and shop, the pet shop and the Patisserie. The nearby Cobham Dental practice is available for emergency dental advice by telephone in the current pandemic.

From St. Mary’s

St Mary’s Church along with all other Churches has sadly had to close its doors for the time being. However, we are finding other ways of doing “church” and feel so grateful for the love and fellowship of our parishioners.

We have set up phone support groups where individuals regularly speak to each other and also offered help to the elderly or vulnerable with any shopping or errands needed. We are posting regular “thoughts for the day” and prayers from Godfrey on our website

We are also using this unusual period as an opportunity to improve our social media usage.  Do follow us on:

  • Twitter (@stmarysstokedab)
  • Instagram (stmarystokedab)
  • Facebook

We have also set up a Whatsapp group – St Mary’sChat – for people to connect and communicate with each other.

The church office number, mornings only, is 01932 866005.

A thought from Reverend Godfrey Hilliard

I appreciate that we are living through challenging times. However there will be light at the end of the tunnel….. it’s just that we don’t yet know how long the tunnel is. In the meantime I wish you all a Happy Easter.

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