Letter from the Editor August 2021

Welcome to the August edition of the Caterham and District Independent!

So, are you a fan of the hot weather, or not? Temperatures in July leapt to over 30 degrees on several days and, when that happens, the country generally divides into two types of people: those who can’t wait to soak up the rays, and those who spend their days standing by an open freezer door. I love spending time in the sunshine, but I’m equally at home with my feet up, in the cool shade of the trees in my garden (with a gin and tonic in my hand, naturally!). 

Not that there’s much chance of me relaxing right now: we’re well into the summer holidays, and I’m juggling running the paper with looking after my three children. It’s not an easy feat at the best of times but it is particularly challenging at the moment as my husband isn’t here to help me out. He’s currently filming at the Olympics in Tokyo, where he might bump into ex-Caterham School pupil Zach Wallace, who is part of Team GB’s men’s hockey squad. Their first game took place on Saturday 24 July, and the CI team were cheering them on.

Last month saw the Caterham Independent take on its first work experience student. Aaron, 17, attends Warlingham Sixth Form and came to us for two days to find out how the paper works. We were so impressed with his enthusiasm that, as well as giving him some insight into our processes, we also asked him to research and write some articles for us. You’ll find his pieces on the Pride in Surrey roadshow, which came to Caterham recently, and about his time with the paper, inside. 

August sees more students visit us for work experience: we’re really looking forward to meeting them all. I hope that we’ll be able to find them tasks that they enjoy carrying out, and hopefully we’ll inspire a few of them to take up a journalistic career, too.

Our panel of judges picked the winner of our History Writing Competition, which we ran in partnership with The Festival Theatre at Hever Castle. We’d asked for a short piece, either prose, poetry, an interview or a report, about any aspect of history they liked and, from a pile of great entries, they chose Ellie, 9, from Audley Primary School, with her brilliant first person account of the night the Great Fire of London began. I love how her careful choice of words draws the reader in, leaving you feeling quite tense by the end! We met with her to present her with a certificate and prize (a family ticket to see Horrible Histories Live on Stage at The Festival Theatre): you can read her winning entry inside the paper, and read her review of the show in September’s edition. 

Reporter Rosalind Brookman spoke to a remarkable Caterham man who has used his experiences as an ambulance technician to develop a potentially life-saving product. Ross Bundy is fundraising so he can start the production of his portable Smart Shelta: an innovation which provides a secure sleeping place for homeless people.

Farleigh Golf Club, in Warlingham, saw one of its members achieve an extraordinary feat recently. Paul Bennett was taking part in the first round of the annual Club Championships, when he birdied all the par three holes on the course: believed to be a first for the club and potentially, Paul thinks, a first for amateur golf in general! We chatted to Paul to get his perspective on his accomplishment and, don’t worry, if you’re a non-golfer we’ll also explain what a birdie is, too!

I was lucky enough to visit Hillcroft School in July, where I met Jasmine, a year 6 pupil with a great future in the art world ahead of her. There’s an example of her work in this edition, and keep an eye on our socials over the coming weeks, as we’ll be featuring more of her portfolio there.

Our recipe from award-winning chef Tim Fisher this month is for hobnob biscuits. We have to warn you, however: they are really simple and quick to make, and taste amazing: once they came out of the oven we found it incredibly difficult to not eat them all at once!

The Girl Who Gardens has been to visit the Hampton Court Flower Show, and her column this month discusses the latest horticulture trends that she discovered there. We’ve also got advice from Champs Consulting on the expenses that landlords can claim, a self-esteem boost from Blue Turtle Coaching and Mentoring Services, and a reminder of the day the railway came to Caterham, from East Surrey Museum. And Christelle, from Keep Calm Nutrition, helps to protect us from daily stress, with five useful self-care tips.

And, with the importance of looking after ourselves in mind, I’ll leave you with a lovely quote from John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, an English banker, politician, philanthropist, scientist and polymath:

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

See you in September!

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