Surrey's top 50 celebs 2014
PUBLISHED: 12:10 24 September 2014 | UPDATED: 09:21 23 March 2015
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With its leafy and secluded country lanes and easy access to London, it's no surprise that Surrey has become known as a haven to some of the country's best-loved celebrities. Here, we take a look at who they are and where you might spot them...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2014
Surrey Life’s property expert, Lucy Alexander, 43, has spent over ten years presenting the BBC’s Homes Under the Hammer. A Thames Ditton resident, she is a fan of such local attractions as the beautiful 13th century Ye Olde Swan Inn, The Lime Tree coffee shop and The Stitchery and Bradley & Brown gift shops in her home village – as well as cycling about checking out potential property acquisitions! She also enjoys taking her kids to nearby Bushy Park.
Sir David Attenborough
The latest species to be named after the world-famous naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, was a 20 million-year-old grasshopper trapped in amber – but it’s by no means the first! Such is the esteem in which the Richmond resident is held that it’s no surprise his annual wildlife talks in his home town draw hugely enthusiastic crowds. Locally, the 88-year-old is a keen supporter of the Museum of Richmond, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the London Wetland Centre in Barnes, the Environment Trust of Richmond-upon-Thames (with whom he does the annual lectures) and he was also on hand to open the WWF-UK’s multi-million pound headquarters, The Living Planet Centre, in Woking last November.
It was something of a blast from the past in March, as Weybridge resident Michael Aspel took out his big red book to present a special version of This Is Your Life on Saturday Night Takeaway, as Ant and Dec celebrated 25 years in show business. Freeman of Elmbridge and patron of Weybridge Society, the 81-year-old television presenter is a regular supporter of local charities including Esher’s Princess Alice Hospice, Tadworth’s Children’s Trust and the Surrey Dolphins.
Eighties pop singer Rick Astley, 48, provided the soundtrack for a generation, before taking time out to enjoy a proper family life. This summer, he was back performing on his home turf at Hampton Court Palace. You might spot him shopping in the antique shops on Bridge Road in East Molesey (he collects portrait paintings) or looking out over the winding River Thames from the Ornamental Gardens in Richmond. Having owned several boats, his favourite stretch of the Thames is the approach to Hampton Court Bridge.
One of Britain’s most successful ever athletes, these days you’re more likely to spot Roger Black cycling down the disused railway line at Bramley or enjoying a walk in Chantry Woods. When he’s not relaxing in the Surrey countryside, the 48-year-old’s main focus is running the business he set up with fellow Olympian Steve Backley specialising in transferring Olympic performance into the workplace. The Shalford resident remains our best ever 400m runner with a hoard of 15 major championship medals to prove it. His wife is a theatre director at the Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford and when they both manage to get a weekend off at the same time, you may bump into them enjoying Sunday lunch at The Three Horseshoes pub in Thursley.
Windlesham Arboretum is such a peaceful place, so it may come as a surprise that one of its nearby residents is best-known for his booming voice. The actor and adventurer Brian Blessed has long lived in the area with his wife Hildegard where their home doubles as an animal sanctuary. The oldest man in the world to get to 28,500ft without oxygen and reach the magnetic North Pole on foot, the 77-year-old is also an honorary president of the Council for National Parks and a supporter of the WWF, Born Free and David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
It may be the 50th anniversary of Zulu this year, but Leatherhead’s most famous resident is showing no signs of letting up yet. In fact, he was recently spotted shooting scenes for his upcoming movie Youth, alongside Romanian model Madalina Ghenea, in Venice. With a busy social life too, Sir Michael and his wife Shakira also attended Annabel Goldsmith’s annual summer party at her home in Richmond this July. The much-loved actor caused a stir in Surrey with Colin Firth towards the end of last year, as the pair filmed scenes for the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service at the Garrison Church of St Barbara, Deepcut (more Surrey Film Locations). The 81-year-old is patron of both Leatherhead Theatre and the Leatherhead Drama Awards.
As young boys, Reigate-based brothers Tom and Max Chilton both dreamt of racing fast cars. Owing their ensuing success to childhood days spent tearing round muddy fields in Leigh, they have each made their mark on their respective fields: Tom in the World Touring Car Championships and Max in Formula 1. 29-year-old Tom is easily recognisable from his Top Gear appearances, while younger brother Max, 23, took the wheel at Marussia in 2013. Occasionally, you might spot the pair doing laps at the only full-motion F1 racing car simulator venue in the UK, Let’s Race in Horley.
Based in the county for many years, guitar legend Eric Clapton, who lives in the Ewhurst area, originally studied art in Kingston before going on to become a world-famous musician. Surrey locals who have been lucky enough to see his low-key performances in the county in recent years will no doubt be hoping for more of the same; he has been known to appear at Paul Jones’ Christmas concerts at Cranleigh Art Centre. The 69-year-old is a long-standing member of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Surrey Branch.
When ministers threw open the Foreign Office courtyard this summer to promote Britain’s entertainment industry, the esteemed comedian Ronnie Corbett was one of those in attendance with his wife Anne. Usually such an affable chap, never make the mistake of claiming this 83-year-old is close to retirement. One newspaper recently found this out the hard way, and the proceeds went to the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund; Brinsworth House, a retirement home for entertainers in Twickenham; and Denville Hall, a care home for elderly actors in Middlesex. Corbett, who lives on the edge of the fairways of Croydon’s The Addington Golf Club, where he holds an annual charity event, has also been immortalised in statue form in the town alongside fellow famous Croydonians Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
Dame Judi Dench
Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi was recently named a patron of Surrey Wildlife Trust. The 79-year-old Outwood resident, who is also the most nominated actress in BAFTA history, is backing the charity’s campaign to secure the future of Nower Wood nature reserve near Leatherhead. A keen supporter of Lingfield’s British Wildlife Centre, she is also a racehorse owner and is a patron of Lingfield’s East Park Riding for the Disabled, where her ex-racehorse Smokey Oakey now resides. Despite her seven-film James Bond tenure as M coming to a close in a blaze of gunfire in 2012’s Skyfall, there’s no sign of Dame Judi leaving our screens just yet as her success with the Steve Coogan co-written Philomena proves.
While the Woking-based McLaren Formula 1 team may be struggling at the moment, their supercar production arm goes from strength to strength. At the heart of this success, since he took the reins of a floundering team in 1980 and transformed it into a world champion in four years, has been McLaren Group chief executive Ron Dennis. A resident of the Wentworth Estate at Virginia Water, where motor racing millionaire Eddie Jordan is also a neighbour, the 67-year-old was brought up in Woking and left school at 16 to become an apprentice mechanic.
Brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence, 20 and 23 respectively, have come a long way from their days as music students at Reigate College. Today, they are more likely to be found hanging out with Madonna or performing at the biggest festivals, shows and clubs around the world as dance music duo Disclosure. Having hit the big time in 2013, the brothers’ debut No.1 album Settle was among 12 albums in the running for the Mercury Prize (alongside offerings from David Bowie and the Arctic Monkeys!). Both former pupils of Reigate School, the pair worked on their craft in a studio above their dad’s auction house, Lawrences Auctioneers in Bletchingley. They aren’t the first dance stars to come from the historic market town either: Fatboy Slim aka Norman Cook (or Quentin as he was then) went to Reigate Grammar School.
TV and radio presenter Chris Evans raced into the Children’s Trust’s Supercar Event at Dunsfold Park, the home of Top Gear, in his new LaFerrari this summer – and promptly auctioned off rides to excited visitors. Despite living in our county for many years, the 48-year-old TV and radio personality lives elsewhere these days but still owns The Mulberry Inn in Chiddingfold and makes regular appearances in the area. This summer, The Stereophonics, Eliza Doolittle, James Blunt and Gary Barlow played in a tipi at the pub, all in aid of Children in Need. An animal lover, Evans attended DogFest recently at Loseley Park.
Much-loved television presenter Sir Bruce Forsyth may have given up hosting Strictly Come Dancing, but that will just give him more time to enjoy a round of golf at his local course, the world-famous Wentworth – as well as the view from his balcony, which looks out over the fairways! When not enjoying a winter break in Puerto Rico, you might also find the 86-year-old enjoying a little ‘world’ food with his wife Wilnelia at one of the area’s restaurants, such as Lux II in Virginia Water. He’s been known to enjoy a walk along the River Wey or at Runnymede.
On a High Street that is a haven for the rich and famous, the exotic attractions of Lebanese restaurant and bar, Layla, hold quite a pull.
Owned by Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, the pub hosted The Stereophonics, Eliza Doolittle, James Blunt and Gary Barlow for a performance in their tipi this summer.
One of England’s most successful batsmen of all time, Kevin Pietersen has opened the RUBI cocktail bar in Surbiton. It has a ‘speakeasy’ serving molecular cocktails.
So Bar, Richmond
An intimate bar hidden away in the cosmopolitan town of Richmond, it’s not unusual to spot a famous face here.
With a former racing driver at its helm, they regularly host the Top Gear team and the stars of Formula 1.
Starring in BBC One’s three-part drama From There to Here this summer, Philip Glenister has been nominated for best actor in the 2014 TV Choice Awards. Away from our screens, the 51-year-old is a keen golfer and hosts the annual celebrity golf day for Kingston charity Momentum at Richmond Golf Club, in conjunction with the Stage Golfing Society. Having made his name as something of a TV hard man in Mad Dogs, Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, he lives a far more relaxed life at home near Richmond Park, with his actress wife Beth Goddard and their two daughters.
Hollywood actor, distinguished director and now… purveyor of perfumes? Earlier this year, Richmond resident Richard E Grant released his own unisex fragrance, Jack. Away from all that though, if you’re ever looking to bump into the 57-year-old actor then a good place to start is Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, which is one of his favourite places to visit and conveniently close to his home. Perhaps still best-known for his acclaimed role in Withnail And I, the actor has most recently joined the cast of a new Universal series called The Dig, which has been created by Homeland writer Gideon Raff.
Life remains as hectic as ever for the actor and singer turned intrepid adventurer Robson Green, who returned to our screens this summer with a new series of Extreme Fishing. When he’s not swimming in the freezing waters of the Tyne, catching tiger fish under the treacherous rapids of Victoria Falls or eating the potentially fatal delicacy anori fugu in Japan, you’ll find the 49-year-old enjoying the peace and quiet of his home near West Clandon. During his time off, he enjoys visiting the National Trust’s stunning Palladian mansion, Clandon Park, and also fishing in the local lakes.
A patron of Richmond Theatre, Jerry Hall is also set to star in their panto this year as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The 58-year-old American actress and model, who has lived in Richmond since her days strutting out with Mick Jagger, is also a keen supporter of Kingston’s Rose Theatre. Still good friends with the Stone, when talking about her forthcoming panto role, she commented: “Mick and I have always had a family tradition of taking our children to the Richmond Theatre pantomime every Christmas.” This year, she is apparently looking forward to being on the end of the hisses and boos.
Just a few weeks ago, Surrey Life was left in the slipstream of motor racing legend Damon Hill during his annual karting challenge at Sandown Park for Guildford children’s charity, the halow project (find out more about that on page 52). Since retiring from Formula 1, the 53-year-old generally enjoys a more peaceful life, living in the idyllic countryside surrounding Farnham with his wife Georgie and four children. He is also a patron of the Downs Syndrome Association and the Guildford and Farnham-based Disability Challengers. This summer, he played guitar on stage with Mick Hucknall at the Rock & Horsepower charity event at Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst.
Seemingly ever-present on our screens these days with the success of Britain’s Got Talent, Amanda Holden managed to find time in her schedule to present a Dispatches report and cover for Holly Willoughby on ITV’s This Morning. Away from our screens, the 43-year-old is firmly settled in Richmond with record producer husband Chris Hughes and she is a well-known face at Richmond’s boutiques and The Bingham hotel. Since 2002, Amanda has worked with Virginia McKenna’s Born Free Foundation animal charity. She is also a celebrity ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
This summer, popular presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford added another string to their bow hosting Gift Wrapped, an ITV game show where betrothed couples are put to the test for the chance to win big prizes. However, the husband-and-wife team, both 54, remain best-known as hosts of This Morning (for which they won a TRIC Award for best daytime programme earlier this year). Having long lived in the Weybridge area, as Surrey Life went to press, the couple had just sold their home, but had not yet revealed where they were moving. In April, Eamonn swapped the sofa for the stage as he made a guest appearance at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, in the Happy Days UK tour. A big Manchester United fan, he also teamed up with none other than Sir Alex Ferguson to tackle the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Christmas Special at the end of 2013. Ruth has been a regular anchor on Loose Women since January 2014. The pair have previously told Surrey Life that away from the screens they enjoy escaping for some fresh air at Box Hill.
Having recently lent his voice to an all-star line-up at Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst, Mick Hucknall remains best-known as the singer of the multi-million selling Simply Red. The 54-year-old does, however, also have his own Sicilian wine called Il Cantante (The Singer), which is grown at his vineyard in the volcanic soils near Sicily’s Mount Etna. Living in Walton-on-Thames, close to Burhill Golf Club, earlier this year he took part in John Virgo’s charity golf tournament at Hersham Golf Club, to raise money for Esher’s Princess Alice Hospice. Many a famous musician has passed through the family home, which also houses a recording studio.
Like Eric Clapton, Richmond resident Jeremy Irons is another high profile supporter of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE). He is also a vice-president of the English Music Festival, which used to be based in his hometown, and performed at their very first festival in 2006, narrating Vaughan Williams’ Oxford Elegy. Towards the end of 2013, he visited Tiffin Boys’ School in Kingston for a special showing of his documentary Trashed, which looks at the environmental impact of non-biodegradable waste disposal. Most recently, the 65-year-old Oscar-winning actor has been busy filming The Man Who Knew Infinity with Dev Patel at Loseley Park, near Guildford (more Surrey Film Locations).
There aren’t many contact books that can compete with that of former The Who and Small Faces drummer, Kenney Jones! So when he decided to organise a charity bash at his Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst earlier this year, he even managed to persuade Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey to hook up for a few Who classics for the first time in over 25 years. The event also had a serious side, however, raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. In the summer of 2013, Kenney visited his GP for a check-up and was unexpectedly diagnosed with prostate cancer, though he is now recovering well from his treatment. The 65-year-old, who lives next door to his polo club, moved there from the village of Leigh – where he enjoyed the Seven Stars pub so much that he created a reproduction of its bar by his pool.
As a former High Sheriff of Surrey and one of the county’s most tireless charity supporters, Dame Penelope Keith is no stranger to good causes. But her latest campaign – to preserve Guildford Cathedral for future generations – is particularly close to her heart. In July’s Surrey Life magazine, the 74-year-old told us how we can help, as well as chatting about her home life in Milford, and why our countryside has never been under greater threat. A strong believer in buying local, you’re likely to bump into her catching up with the Milford shopkeepers.
British supermodel Jodie Kidd has wowed catwalk crowds around the world and, with her Surrey roots, it was perhaps no surprise that she was chosen as the face of the 2014 Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs racecourse this summer. Guildford-born, the 35-year-old has previously told Surrey Life about her ongoing love for the county – from trips to The Parrot Inn at Forest Green and the old cinema in Cranleigh to her thoughts about the development of Cherkley Court, her family’s ancestral home in Leatherhead. Earlier this year, she teamed up with golfer Ian Poulter, Keane singer Tom Chaplin and Genesis’s Mike Rutherford at Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship Celebrity Pro-Am.
In 1978, Bonnie Langford starred as Cinderella in her very first panto at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, aged just 14. She has since returned several times and was there last Christmas to play Fairy Snow. The 50-year-old has lived in Guildford, Burpham, Pyrford and West Byfleet over the years and likes nothing more than a family picnic at Painshill Park near Cobham or the views from Newlands Corner. If you’re ever on the hunt for mouth-watering Belgian chocolates, she recommends Coco’s Chocolaterie in West Byfleet.
Fresh from their 20th anniversary tour, Boyzone gave a concert at Epsom Downs racecourse in July. Band member and Reigate resident Shane Lynch was certainly pleased to be performing just down the road. So where might you bump into a member of one of Ireland’s biggest ever boybands? Jai Ho, an Indian restaurant at the Coppingham Arms in Horley, which he says is the place to eat locally. Alternatively, you might find the 38-year-old enjoying the simple life at Reigate’s Priory Park, where he takes his girls to roam in the woods and feed the ducks on the lake.
Having started TONI&GUY with his brother back in 1963, Toni Mascolo celebrated the hairdressing chain’s 50th anniversary last year. During that time, the Effingham resident has taken the company from just a couple of salons to the globally recognised brand that it is today. Another milestone came in 2004 when, with the help of his daughter and global creative director Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, he created the professional haircare range label.m, which can now be seen creating the looks backstage at London Fashion Week and has won numerous awards. The 72-year-old has been known to open his home for glamorous balls in aid of the company’s charitable foundation.
He may be best-known as the guitarist with rock band Queen, but away from the stage Brian May is also a passionate wildlife campaigner. As well as setting up the non-profit organisation Save Me to champion British wildlife, which has seen him perform at Guildford Cathedral for his Wildlife Rocks events, the 67-year-old Windlesham resident has been a leading inspiration in the fight against fox hunting and the badger cull. In fact, he was recently named ‘Campaigner of the Year’ by the International fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). In addition to all that, he has also managed to complete a PhD in astrophysics, and now Queen are said to be working on a new album featuring previously unreleased vocals by the late Freddie Mercury.
As well as heading up the Born Free Foundation, Coldharbour resident Virginia McKenna is also a patron of the Wildlife Aid Foundation in Leatherhead and a high profile supporter of the Save Surrey’s Countryside campaign being run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The effervescent 83-year-old has also been campaigning against oil exploration at Leith Hill. A keen gardener, when she does manage to find a moment to relax, you might also spot her enjoying a visit to RHS Garden Wisley. In an interesting historical aside, back in the 1970s, having been rescued from a shop in Chelsea, her lion ‘Christian’ actually lived in her Surrey back garden for four months before continuing his journey to Africa.
When 1,000 walkers dressed in pink strolled by Hampton Court Palace in May, as part of a 10 or 20-mile walk raising money for Breast Cancer Care, Loose Women star Andrea McLean was among their number. A regular on the daytime television show since 2007, the 44-year-old Ashtead resident has made a name for herself with her bubbly personality. One of her favourite places to visit locally with her two children, Amy and Finlay, is the popular Bocketts Farm near Leatherhead. This summer, she has been busy taking part in BBC One’s new Saturday night entertainment show, Tumble.
Following an incredible year or two, 2014 hasn’t quite lived up to expectations for Oxshott resident Andy Murray who has struggled with injuries. Still, with Olympic gold in London and victory at Wimbledon fresh in the mind, it’s surely only a matter of time before this Scottish star rises back up through the ranks. While the tennis may not have been quite on top form, one of the stories of this year’s Wimbledon was the tale of the 27-year-old rescuing a lost labradoodle on his way to a practice session from his home. The British number one, who lives with girlfriend Kim Sears, follows in the footsteps of his English predecessor, Tim Henman, who was a pupil at Reeds School in Cobham.
Clay Spa, Oxshott
Nestled in the leafy and celeb-laden village of Oxshott, the exclusive Clay Spa offers the ultimate in pampering with its unique blend of traditional and advanced spa therapies.
Owned by the wife of former England footballer Scott Parker, Club is the go-to boutique for Surrey’s rich and famous, packed with the latest must-have labels.
Harley Street, Reigate
Many television personalities have made use of Harley Street Skin Clinic’s “life-enhancing treatments to make you feel and look your best.”
Leo Bancroft, Weybridge
Recommended by Vogue magazine, the Leo Bancroft hair salon is popular with everyone from Jose Mourinho and the Chelsea players to TV personalities such as Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford and Charlotte Hawkins.
Pennyhill Park, Bagshot
If you fancy bumping into the England rugby team or just want to relax in one of the best spas in the country, it might be time to visit Pennyhill Park in Bagshot.
Even people half the age of Nicholas Owen’s 67 years are in awe of just how much this fixture of our BBC News screens and Classic FM radiowaves manages to fit in. From hosting the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards to numerous local charity events, this Reigate resident’s infectious energy makes him the go-to man for events that need a little extra pizzazz. Away from the limelight, you might spot him enjoying a meal with his wife Brenda at his favourite local restaurant, La Barbe. Or, come Christmas time, marshalling his horde of grandchildren to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud for the panto.
Best-known for his time as a star on Dragons’ Den, you’re most likely to bump into Weybridge resident Theo Paphitis playing bows and arrows in the local woods with celebrity chef Tony Tobin, actors James Cosmo and Shane Richie, broadcaster James Whale and friends. Seriously, they regularly head out there for archery days! Having begun his career as a tea boy at a Lloyd’s insurer, the 54-year-old made his mark turning around ailing companies, including the stationer Ryman, the La Senza lingerie chain and Robert Dyas. Earlier this year, he helped to judge an official Chertsey Sausage (named after the aqua dam used to stem the winter floods and launched to raise funds for flood relief) for the butcher’s James of Shepperton.
Jamie & Louise Redknapp
A TV presenter, charity fund-raiser and Surrey mum, Louise Redknapp’s Wild about Beauty make-up range appears to be going from strength to strength too. In June, the 39-year-old Oxshott resident also tried her hand at DJing (well, tweeted a pic at least!) at the summer party night of designer boutique Club in Esher. Meanwhile, her husband, former England and Liverpool footballer Jamie Redknapp, 41, continues to pundit on Sky Sport’s football coverage. You might spot the pair enjoying a meal at The Victoria pub in Oxshott or taking the kids to Bocketts Farm near Leatherhead.
Very much the face about Reigate along with celebrity chef Tony Tobin, the pair have been responsible for a number of the more interesting initiatives to spring up in the town in recent years – such as ice skating in the local Priory Park to name but one example. In addition, the 50-year-old EastEnders actor can often be spotted playing the local pubs with his band The Prelude, formed in 2010, and this year they hit the main stage at GuilFest. Off stage and screen, you might spot him enjoying a meal or glass of bubbly at Tony’s restaurant The Dining Room on Reigate High Street or having a family get-together at the Tea House in Church Street.
They’ve been rockin’ all over the world for more years than they care to remember and Status Quo’s Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt both have links to the county too. While Parfitt went to school in Sheerwater, Rossi still lives at the Webb Estate in Purley and, despite having considerably less hair nowadays, the 65-year-old is still as productive as ever. Having played Sandown Live earlier this year, they were forced to cancel some dates on their European tour though after Parfitt was taken ill. Now recovering well, he was due to resume playing with the band as Surrey Life went to press. In other news, the band recently created their first beer, Piledriver, with the Wychwood Brewery.
With her mantlepiece already bulging under the weight of various Olympic and World titles, Cheam cyclist Joanna Rowsell rode to gold in the women’s 3km Individual Pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Having recently told Surrey Life why there’s no better place to train than the leafy lanes of our beautiful county, she enjoys life here off the bike too. You might spot the 25-year-old enjoying a bite at Crostini in her home village (“really good traditional Italian dishes”) or shopping at Banstead fashion boutique, RBYG. Of course, her life is often on her bike and you are just as likely to find her resting at the top of Box Hill or flying through Abinger Hammer.
When he’s not working on projects at the famous Farm recording studio in Chiddingfold, you might find Mike Rutherford relaxing at the village’s Crown Inn (which has been a popular destination during recording sessions since 1978) or at one of the area’s top golf courses. The renowned guitarist was also one of a host of Surrey rock royalty to attend the Rock and Horsepower event at Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst earlier this summer. Born in Guildford, at Mount Alvernia Hospital, the 63-year-old spent his early years in Farnham before later returning to Surrey to attend Charterhouse in Godalming. It was here that Genesis formed and the rest, as they say, is history.
Best-known as a QC in the hit TV series Judge John Deed, away from the limelight, actress Jenny Seagrove, 57, spends all her time running the Mane Chance Sanctuary in Compton, where she cares for horses and ponies that have been abused or abandoned. When she leaves the fields behind, you might spot her relaxing at The Keep in Guildford, at the Watts Gallery in Compton or up in Richmond Park exploring the Isabella Plantation. She is currently starring in a touring production of three Agatha Christie radio thrillers, Murder on Air.
Singer, songwriter and celebrated wit, Sir Richard Stilgoe received a knighthood in 2012 in recognition of his tireless charitable work (more of which in a moment). Having first fallen in love with the comic song when he was taken to see a Gilbert and Sullivan opera as a child, he eventually went on to team up with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, writing the opening number for Cats, and then co-writing Starlight Express, which became a box-office smash. In 1998, the 71-year-old Oxted resident founded the Orpheus Centre, a residential specialist college that helps young, disabled adults learn life skills through the performing arts, at his former home in Godstone. Earlier this year, he completed a 15,000ft skydive for the charity!
Frankie (née Sandford) and Wayne Bridge
Oxshott couple Frankie Sandford and Wayne Bridge were married this summer, in a ceremony attended by The Saturdays singer’s bandmates Una Healy, Mollie King, Rochelle Humes and Vanessa White. Having had time off from the girl group to look after their newborn son, Frankie, 25, returned to the limelight in April with the group’s single Not Giving Up. Former England and Chelsea defender Wayne, 34, retired from football in May after a spate of injuries. The Saturdays’ Mollie King has previously said that that Box Hill is her favourite National Trust place.
Having grown up in Liverpool, as well as spending time in LA and Monaco, Ringo Starr says he loves the space and freedom offered by life in Surrey. The 74-year-old Beatle, who lives in the Cranleigh area, is a big fan of the uninterrupted vistas and immaculate countryside. He first moved to Surrey in 1965 when The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, wanted all of the Fab Four to live close together, and chose the Surrey countryside to help escape the glare of the world’s press. Ringo bought Sunny Heights in Weybridge, while the others moved in nearby.
One of the county’s best-loved presenters, Sandi Toksvig received an OBE in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to broadcasting. Best-known for her work on BBC Radio 4, she has also written many books and has been a columnist for Good Housekeeping magazine for more than 20 years. The 56-year-old also takes a keen interest in the cerebral close to her Guildford home, regularly visiting the Watts Gallery in Compton and acting as patron to the Guildford Book Festival. In 2012, she was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Surrey. She is also a supporter of the Shalford-based charity, the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. To celebrate the legalisation of gay marriage in England and Wales this year, she renewed her vows with her civil partner.
Former England cricketer Phil Tufnell has become quite the media personality in recent years, whether as an author, artist or regular on the likes of The One Show and A Question of Sport. A great supporter of the Children’s Trust in Tadworth, where he is a vice-president, the Kingswood resident recently visited the charity’s Tadworth Court base to help bury a time capsule in celebration of their 30th anniversary. Also president of Cricket for Change in Wallington, when he does gets a moment to himself, the 48-year-old enjoys popping down to the nearby Epsom Downs racecourse or one of the excellent local pubs.
Having conquered the book world, Dame Jacqueline Wilson saw the first stage adaptation of her much-loved children’s novel, Hetty Feather, prove a real hit at Kingston’s Rose Theatre. Long associated with Kingston, the town of her childhood, the 68-year-old is a patron of the Kingston Readers’ Festival and the Momentum children’s charity. Her favourite places to visit in the area include her local pub, The Cocoanut; The Open Book in Richmond; and Home Park in Kingston.
Fresh from his Commonwealth Games gold medal success, 35-year-old paralympian David Weir took time out to chat with Surrey Life in September's Surrey Life magazine. While he prefers to relax at home with his family in Sutton, if the mood takes him, you might find him enjoying a meal at The Grange Bar and Restaurant in Wallington. Training can take him to Box Hill and Richmond Park, but this month he’s heading to Kew Gardens for the Richmond Running Festival.
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