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Surrey news and views - your letters - November 2015

PUBLISHED: 10:08 01 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:14 01 December 2015

The beautiful Pat's Glade - created in memory of a very special Surrey lady (Photo Ron Herridge)

The beautiful Pat's Glade - created in memory of a very special Surrey lady (Photo Ron Herridge)

Ron Herridge

Win a meal for two at one of five top Surrey pubs by sharing your thoughts with us at

Win a meal for two at one of Surrey’s top pubs!

If you’d like to see your letter printed in Surrey Life, write to us at the usual address or send an e-mail to Every month, the writer of our Star Letter will win a dinner for two, up to the value of £50, at one of the five Surrey pubs run by Red Mist Leisure, who are passionate about fresh food, local produce and the perfect pint. The latest addition to the family is The Cock Inn at Headley, which reopened in March after some much-needed TLC to return this lovely country pub to its former glory. The prize is available from Monday to Thursday and booking is required. For more on Red Mist Leisure, see



Star letter
A perfect tribute

Dear Editor,

When Patricia, my dear wife for 55 years, died in November 2013 from a rare (one in 3,000,000), virtually untreatable condition, I wanted something special in her memory.

So I decided to contact the National Trust with a view to having a seat installed at Abinger Roughs, close to our home, where we did some of our courting in the 1950s. Patricia was born in the village in 1938 in a cottage a few steps from where we have been for over 50 years. A suitable site was agreed and the engraved seat positioned in March 2014 replacing a bench long since decayed that we used to call the Sunset Seat. The lead ranger suggested the area be called Pat’s Glade.

I also agreed to maintain the area, about two acres, and spent around 300 hours removing bracken, brambles, nettles and many hundreds of sycamore saplings over the next year.

In November 2014, my son Marc opened a Facebook page named Pat’s Glade where some of the many photos of the work in progress are posted. The glade is at its best in spring and summer, with snowdrops, bluebells and many foxgloves. A lot of time is spent there just sitting and watching. From the seat have been seen red kites, buzzards, raven, goldcrest, wrens, weasels and of course rabbits and squirrels.

The work continues as it takes a lot of maintenance, but when I stand at the entrance to the glade I am overwhelmed by it all, and it brings a special peace to me.

The glade is accessible from the National Trust car park on the Whitedown Lane, one mile East of Abinger Hammer. The main map and leaflets show the position of Pat’s Glade.

Best wishes,

Ron Herridge,

Via e-mail

Editor’s note: Dear Ron, thank you so much for sharing your story with us – what a wonderful tribute to your wife. We were all very moved by your letter and we are now looking forward to visiting this magical place for ourselves. To say thank you for sharing it with us, and for sending us your beautiful photographs, we are making you this month’s Star Letter, meaning you win a delicious dinner for two at one of the lovely Surrey pubs owned by Red Mist Leisure. Thank you again and all best wishes, Caroline



Why the fight must go on

Dear Editor,

Further to your recent article, ‘Our countryside at risk’ (Surrey Life, October), please count us in with any backing needed to support the objections to the use of Green Belt land for development.

Since the Second World War, a succession of governments have walked blindly into the situation that pertains today wherein the population of the nation has grown exponentially – as forecast – and is as unsustainable as forecast.

It is one of the downsides of democracy and of the welfare state.

For, if the government admits the reality of the situation and attempts to dismantle personal freedoms relating to family size, childbirth without responsibility and migrant children arriving or being born here, they will never be voted into power.

For these reasons, we will be fighting a rearguard action and will always be in a state of retreat. But fight we must – we owe it to future generations.

Yours faithfully,

Ian & Hilary Whittle,




A mine of information

Dear Editor

Further to your recent article on Croydon (Surrey Life, September), did you know that there are about 200 coal tax posts still standing? Now Grade II listed, the posts were also erected on railways where they were about 15-feet high and were black granite obelisks.

Finding the coal tax post near King Henry’s Drive needed a walk as I could not see it while driving past. I used an in-camera filter that only shows one colour – in this case red. Fill flash allowed the post to stand out from the dense undergrowth.

If any of your readers want further information about where to find these coal tax posts, it can be found at this web address:

Best wishes,

Martin Burke,




All the world’s a stage

Dear Editor,

What a memory jog your story, ‘Take a bow’, has given me (Surrey Life, September). Your main photograph of Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre looked so familiar, I had to check the cuttings book my mother insisted that I made of my first year in work.

There was the photograph, reproduced in The Guardian, which I took while working for Thomas A Wilkie, the photographer based in Drummond Road, Guildford. A further couple of pictures appeared in the local press of the queue that formed around Millbrook, when the ticket office first opened on Monday morning, 3rd May 1965.

I was not expecting to go to the opening party, but when I returned to the studio after spending the day with pigs at the Quaker Oats farm in Westcott, near Dorking, I was told I would be covering the event. No time to go home and change, and swearing I smelt of pigs, I did my best, wrapped in a bright lime-green mac while everyone else was in evening dress or black tie.

After photographing Sir Donald and Lady Wolfit with other senior dignitaries, I had to do the caption. I recognised Sir Donald, but in asking who the lady was to his left, he laughed and said, “Yes, it is my wife.” One does have to check!

This was my first ‘black tie’ assignment, never forgotten – and I no longer have the bright lime-green mac.

Yours faithfully,

Christine Quick,




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