Coronavirus Support

Burpham Church with Burpham Community Association (BCA) are setting up a support network to assist those who will find themselves isolated and in difficulties during the coronavirus epidemic.

To offer help and support:

If you would like to be part of the team committed to making daily phone calls and/or providing practical support with shopping and urgent needs, or if you are able to be on ‘stand-by’ could you contact:

Grace Luke (Pastoral Care team leader) on: grace@burphamchurch.org.uk
or phone the Care Team phone number: 07880 586455

Should you need support yourself:

If you suspect you may be one of those people who need some additional support, PLEASE also contact the support team now. We are completely committed to caring for all our community and we would be very distraught to find that someone was missed and did not say. This could include anyone elderly or with health needs (those more vulnerable to this virus), or any age living alone and self-isolating, families self-isolating, people who are worried or alone because their usually social networks have stopped or family lives elsewhere.

Please make yourself known to the team if you have any concerns or would like any support. See contact details above.

 

 

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The ‘Local Plan’

Has adequate traffic infrastructure been planned for Burpham to support the 1,800 house development?

Written by Sue Hackman on behalf of the ‘Orchard Road Area Road Group’

Guildford Borough Council is back on the case of the ‘Local Plan’, including the development of at least 1,800 houses at Gosden Hill. This estate will
see the conversion of London Road into a two-way link road which will reach into the fields to our east, now owned by developer Martin Grant Homes.

…ask yourself where estate traffic will go to get into town, to visit supermarkets and to access the A3. Answer: past our doors in Burpham.

Are Clandon residents worried? Not much. It has been agreed that no roads will travel northwards to disturb their peace. You might well ask yourself where estate traffic will go to get into town, to visit supermarkets and to access the A3. Answer: past our doors in Burpham.

The current plan is for a limited inter-change to take traffic on and off the A3 on the south side of the A3 only, so left in and left out. Traffic travelling northwards from the estate will loop southwards past us to join the A3 at Burpham.

That’s a lot of new traffic on London Road, nominated as a ‘sustainable movement corridor’ by GBC. Sustainable movement? Have they ever been in the jam outside Aldi?

And it’s not just the traffic jams that we’re worrying about. Cars cause air pollution. Particulates released by tyres under braking infect the roadside air with tiny cancer-causing fragments and CO2 emissions. We need the broad-leaved hedges advocated by inter-national expert Prof P. Kumar when he came to Burpham. These hedges can absorb some of the threatening particles.

Many of us will think it reasonable to build new homes. Too many young people have to leave Guildford to seek homes they can afford. But homes without adequate infrastructure? No. Without protection from noise, air and traffic overload? No. Without the support of Burpham residents? Definitely not.

What can you do?

  • Guildford Borough Council has produced a Draft Strategic Development Framework (SDF) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and consultation on the document was undertaken in January & February 2020.
  • Look at the details at https://guildford.inconsult.uk/consult.ti/SDFSPD/consultationHome and use the online comments form to make your views count. The section outlining proposals for Gosden Hill is pp96-119.
  • Join the local residents’ association (Burpham Community Association) at www.burphamca.org.uk as the main residents’ association for the area.
  • If you live near Orchard Road and the roundabouts, and will be closely affected by the traffic, join our road group at sue.hackman@ntlworld.com to be kept in the loop.

More in the next issue of Burpham Pages…

 

Growing Local

Written by Ali Fisher

We loved the idea of being able to walk to Sainsbury’s, have a kid’s party at the village hall, grab a takeaway from the parade of shops (spoilt with options of a Chinese meal from Shangri-La, fish and chips from Seafare, a hand-made meal from Cook or a curry from Rajdoot!), get a dress dry-cleaned at Coronet’s or a half-term haircut at M&R Barbers or perhaps an indulgent blow-dry at Beyond the Mirror.

Then on top there’s everything that our historic town of Guildford has to offer us: 2 train stations, a castle, a cathedral, an abundance of shops and services and so much more. Burpham, and its surrounding area, is blessed with its abundance.

Yet with abundance comes the risk of value destruction. When things are harder to reach, when we have to work harder to get them, that tends to be when we value them most. We must be mindful to nurture what is on our doorstep, not to take it for granted. Next time you’re passing the Kingpost Parade, make a quick mental list of what’s there and whether you might have an opportunity to support them in 2020. Likewise, could we do more to support the events happening in our area to help keep them running?

Next time you’re passing the Kingpost Parade, make a quick mental list of what’s there and whether you might have an opportunity to support them in 2020.

Burpham and Guildford have felt the pangs of regret before when we have lost local services and amenities. During our Burpham residency, we have seen the fishmonger’s go, as well as HSBC bank. Before our time, the Green Man Pub closed in 2006, after 400 years on the London Road site i. In Guildford, rumours run fast of Debenhams and House of Fraser on the brink of bankruptcy. The top of the High Street is half ghost town with empty shells where Maplins, Giraffe and The Chilli Pickle once resided. Does anyone remember the wonderful travelling library that visited Sutherland Memorial Park once upon a time? Sadly that service was cut many moons ago – a significant loss for the Burpham community. Our area is not unusual in seeing so many closures and losses. In 2018, Britain saw an average of 16 store closures every day (compared to only 9 openings). ii

Spending locally might also make you happy. Helping others releases the hormone oxytocin which boosts mood and can help counteract the dreaded stress hormone cortisol.

What benefits can supporting local bring? Well, research has proven that buying local grows local. Research in the US has shown that independent retailers can return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the community in which they operate versus national retailers. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national rivals iii. Closer to home, Preston in Lancashire worked on a concept of locally in-sourcing, not out-sourcing, having discovered that only 5% of investment remained in Preston and only 31% stayed within Lancashire. The result of the refocus was that an additional £200 million worth of investment remained within Preston. iv

Many Burpham businesses are long-term supporters and investors in our community. With children at both Burpham Primary and George Abbot, I have seen our local businesses supporting our schools year after year, with sponsorships, donations or in-kind contributions, helping the schools and children to flourish. This support means so much when 4 out of 5 state schools in England are predicted to be worse off in 2020 in real terms than they were in 2015. v

For many of us, shopping local is another way to lower our carbon footprint, get a bit of fresh air and stretch the legs. Did anyone set a New Year’s resolution to buy less on-line and shop more locally? If not, now’s your chance! If you’ve got any suggestions for locally based gift buying, please add ideas in the comments section of this article on http://www.burpham-pages.co.uk. Perhaps you know of a cake-making business or a party company, a local electrician or plumber? Not all our local businesses reside in Kingpost Parade so give them a shout out here and help us to grow local.

Spending locally might also make you happy. Helping others releases the hormone oxytocin which boosts mood and can help counteract the dreaded stress hormone cortisol.

Some stay-local oxytocin boosting ideas to try:

  • Visit Guildford library next time you are in town or email libraries@surreycc.gov.uk in advance to borrow something from their ‘Library of Things’.
  • Any free Fridays? Buy fresh from the artisan bakeries, fruit and veg & flower stalls on North Street every Friday (cuts down on your plastic footprint too!).
  • Support Guildford’s iconic Cathedral with a Cathedral tour by emailing visit@guildford-cathedral.org. The ‘Tower Tour’ includes a climb of the 249 Cathedral steps to the top of the Tower to bask in stunning views across Surrey.
  • Check out the latest Burpham Community Association events to join at www.burphamca.org.uk
  • Looking for a treat night out? When did you last seek some local theatre, musical, dance or comedy from one of our local arts houses? Yvonne Arnaud, G Live, Woking New Victoria or the Electric Theatre to name a few. Check out their latest What’s On lists.
  • Looking to support or learn more about the local environment, check out Guildford Green Drinks regularly updated calendar of events at www.greendrinks.org/Surrey/Guildford

With the time-old adage of ‘use them or lose them’, there’s never been a better time for our environment, health and community to support local.

Local shops on Kingpost Parade:

Coronet Cleaning Centre
01483 563670
Shangri-La
www.shangrilacityguildford.co.uk
M & R Barbers
www.mrbarbershop.co.uk
Seymours Estate Agents
www.seymours-estates.co.uk/branches/burpham
COOK Guildford
www.cookfood.net
The Bakery
www.thebakeryshop.co.uk
The Beach
www.thebeach-tanning.com/tanning-salon-guildford/
White Barnes Carpets & Flooring
www.whitebarnes.co.uk
Rajdoot Tandoori
www.rajdootguildford.co.uk
Ace Bicycles
www.acebicycles.co.uk
Wine Rack
www.winerack.co.uk/stores/guildford/
McColl’s
www.mccolls.co.uk
Beyond the Mirror
www.beyondthemirror.business.site
Stevensons
www.stevensons.co.uk
Seafare
www.seafare-burpham.co.uk
Lodge Brothers
www.lodgebros.co.uk/funeral-directors/burpham/

Sources:
i Surrey Live (2009) Aldi attacked as old pub is bulldozed. Available at: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/aldi-attacked-old-pub-bulldozed-4825469 (Accessed: 29.01.20)
ii Emily Mee / Sky News (April 2019) High street crisis. Available at: https://news.sky.com/story/high-street-crisis-record-number-of-shops-disappeared-in-2018-11688874 (Accessed: 29.01.20)
iii Mass.Gov (Aug 2013) Think Local! Available at: https://blog.mass.gov/blog/consumer-advice/think-local-7-reasons-why-supporting-local-business-is-good-for-your-community/ (Accessed: 29.01.20)
iv Rob Hopkins (October 2019) From What Is To What If.
v Sally Weale/The Guardian (September 2019) Funding for 80% of schools in England ‘worse next year than 2015’. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/sep/30/funding-80-percent-schools-england-worse-next-year (Accessed: 29 Jan 2020)

 

Compassion

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – Dalai Lama

I’m not sure if you watched the South African ‘Love Island’ or have even ever heard of it, but you may have caught the very tragic news of the Love Island host, Caroline Flacks’ suicide. Perhaps some people who passed judgement on her changed their tune after her death.

A different perspective can open our eyes to a different truth with the same circumstances. Others however, had real compassion from the beginning, no matter what she may have done or not done.

If you have every been through difficult times or even done something very wrong and needed the compassion of others, you will understand the importance of giving compassion. The trouble is, that if we have not received compassion, we may not understand the importance of giving it. Those who extend compassion are blessed just as those who receive it.

“In a world where we are invited to judge everyone we must hold onto the antidote, ‘compassion’.”

So next time we hear about someone in the press, at work, home or somewhere else, whom we are tempted to judge, let me invite us to stop and think twice. Maybe what this person needs instead is some compassion, and who knows, one day we might need it. Would you rather be known as someone who is always judging others or someone who is compassionate? I know which one I would rather work towards and which I prefer for myself.

You perhaps, do not share my faith, but there is a great quote from the Bible which I think is great advice for those with or without a faith:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:37-38

Rev James Levasier

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Church office: 01483 825533
www.burphamchurch.org.uk

Burpham Gardening Club News

Written by John Boon

March & April 2020

Dates for your diary, The Trading Hut re-opens on Sunday 1st March at 10.30am. Tuesday 24th March is the AGM after which John Negus will be talking on the ‘Plants and Flowers of Disneyland Florida’. At the AGM we will need to elect a new Committee, we urgently need a Secretary, if you think that you can assist in filling that post or by being a Committee Member then please come along and support us and your Club. 28th April Geoff Peach will be talking on a Gardeners Life.

Things to do in the garden in March.

  • Shallots and Onion Sets should be planted this month and if the weather continues to be mild Early Potatoes can be planted towards the end of the month.
  • Most vegetable crops can be sown this month, Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Aubergines can sown in a frost free greenhouse or heated propagator.
  • Fruit trees and bushes should be fed with Sulphate of Potash – 15g per sq.metre.
  • Pruning of Blueberries, Gooseberries and Autumn fruiting Raspberries should be completed this month.
  • This is the last chance to prune established Bush and Standard Roses.
  • Sow hardy-annuals where they are to flower and to attract insects.
  • Take basal stem cuttings of Dahlias this month.

This month is a good time to move shrubs as they will re-establish themselves quickly in their new positions.

  • Continue to prune summer flowering shrubs such as Buddleia and Dogwoods which have been grown for their winter colour.
  • This month is a good time to move shrubs as they will re-establish themselves quickly in their new positions.
  • Apply ‘Weed & Feed’ with Mosskiller to the lawn then rake and scarify to remove the dead thatch, in mild conditions start to mow the grass with the mower blades on a high setting.

Things to do in the garden in April.

  • Second Early and Main crop potatoes should be planted.
  • Beetroot, Carrots, Lettuce, Leeks, Radish, Spring Onions and Turnip can all now be safely sown outdoors.
  • Plant out Broad Beans which have been sown indoors.
  • Tomato seedlings which have developed their first true leaves should be potted up.
  • Brassicas should be sown in small pots to be transplanted into their growing positions in the Summer.
  • Continue to make sowings of Annual Bedding Plants most of which can now be sown outdoors.
  • Regularly tie in Climbers such as HoneySuckle and Clematis.
  • Feed Roses with a Rose Fertiliser to encourage growth.
  • Prune evergreen shrubs such as Choisya and Ceanothus but leave the pruning of spring flowering shrubs until after
  • they have flowered.
  • Summer flowering Bulbs should be planted now.
  • Apply a general fertiliser such as Growmore or Fish, Blood and Bone to borders and beds.
  • Clear weeds before they become established.

To join the club or our meetings Call John Boon on 01483 874123

Living with Dementia

It was with sadness I heard the news of the death of Monty Python legend Terry Jones in January. I was struck with the dignity and respect his cause of death was given.

When the headlines made it known that dementia was the cause of death, I was expecting to see he had been ‘suffering with dementia’ but when the family made the announcement, we were told that Terry had been ‘living with dementia’.

I am aware that he had a rare form of dementia, but it was dementia that caused his decline from the man many Monty Python fans knew, admired and respected. I noted the other Pythons, clearly upset by the loss off their wonderful friend and colleague, added humour to their touching tributes to Terry, what a wonderful way to respect the man he was before he had to start living with dementia and not dwelling on the last period of his life.

I have to admit that Terry Jones and his antics with the other Pythons was a little before my time but working in this field makes me pay attention to certain news about those in the public eye diagnosed with dementia. During the time I have been working with those diagnosed with dementia I have seen significant change to how much the condition is talked about. Recently we have seen the condition portrayed as early on-set dementia in a well-loved character in Casualty and in the older person by the wonderful Glenda Jackson in Elizabeth is Missing which was heart breaking but not to be missed.

What is clear is that a diagnosis of dementia does not mean this is the end and mental capacity has been lost. Look at Prunella Scales who, with the support of her loving husband, has been entertaining many with their canal journeys up until this year despite her being diagnosed with dementia some 15 years ago. Celebrities such as Barbara Windsor making their condition known helps not only to raise awareness of the condition but also helps families understand they are not going through this alone. It can be a lonely and frightening time, but a diagnosis is the time for affairs to be put in order including powers of attorney and making your wishes known regarding the future possible care you may need. It is also time to make memories and seek advice for what the future will bring, not only for the diagnosed but also their families who will likely take on an additional roles as carers as time moves on. We all need support and guidance from time to time and help really is out there now.

This condition will touch most of us during our lifetimes but hopefully, with awareness and the help available improving, we will all be able to continue to live with dementia rather than suffer until that much desired cure or preventative cure is found.

Burpham Village Hall

Moira McQuaide Hall’s history of Burpham

The Village Hall is an important part of any community, a place to meet people, to organise events, or to raise funds through lettings.

Norman Hamilton wrote that it was “built in 1922 from surplus war materials auctioned at Thursley Camp”. The Burpham vicar at the time heard about the sale of a building that would be suitable for use as a village hall. It had been a wooden hospital ward, with a dispensary attached, imported to take Canadian casualties, but had never been used. The vicar, and local farmer George Gatley, arranged for it to be brought over to Burpham to be erected next to the Church Room on Burpham Lane. Unfortunately, due to heavy rain, the transport lorry got stuck in the muddy grass and for several months the pieces of the building lay on the grass before it could be put together.

The land was leased from the Duke of Sutherland for one shilling a year and Mrs Marshman was employed as a caretaker, earning nine shillings a week. Minor maintenance was carried out by members of the committee. Heating was provided by two tortoise stoves, but electricity was not installed until 1935, after the Women’s Institute held a jumble sale to help pay for the new facilities. The Trustees for the Village Hall in 1923 included two Mr Binsteds, Mr Kerr, Revd Storr and Mr Gatley. Mr Bidwell was Honorary Secretary.

The Burpham vicar at the time heard about the sale of a building that would be suitable for use as a village hall. It had been a wooden hospital ward, with a dispensary attached, imported to take Canadian casualties.

Circa 1947: Children of Burpham Primary School (including evacuees) outside the Village Hall.

In 1940 the lease was extended for a further 99 years, but the rent stayed at one shilling per annum. Over the years there have been further developments to the hall, which now includes a large room and a small room, modern fitted kitchen, toilets and parking.

In the early days there were Friday Whist Drives, which were very popular before the advent of television. The Women’s Institute and Mothers’ Union held their meetings there and it was a venue for weddings and parties – though they had to overcome the convention that strong drink should not be consumed in the hall. During World War Two it was used for Mrs Stock’s mother and baby clinic, and pupils from Burpham Primary School had their lunches there. These days it provides a very popular venue, with users including the Gardening Club, WI, and a number of other organisations. U3A holds many of its group meetings in the two halls, across a wide range of subjects, including languages, engineering, arts & crafts and history.

For hire of Burpham Village Hall contact Dave Jepson on 07752 549313.

If you are willing to share your memories and/or photos to tell us more about Burpham then please contact Moira MacQuaide, either by e-mail (moira.macquaide@gmail.com) or by phone or text (07963 756543). My two books (‘The History of Burpham Primary School’ and ‘Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford’) are still available from me for £10 (free delivery locally) or on Amazon.

Community Spotlight:

Unearth Burpham’s past with local historian Moira MacQuaide-Hall

Interview by Paul Nicholls

Continuing with our series of interviews talking to our local community, learning about the many interesting and inspiring people in Burpham and Jacobs Well, we talk to our local historian Moira MacQuaide-Hall.

Moira writes the local history features in Burpham Pages and is the author of two local history books: Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford and A History of Burpham Primary School 1908-2014. Some of our readers have asked if they could find out a little more about the person behind the research so we caught up with Moira recently and turned the spotlight on her, rather than the village.

We asked how long Moira has lived in and around Burpham?
I have never lived in Burpham! I live just the other side of the old AA roundabout, so it’s not far.

What motivated you to move to the area originally?
I moved from Cranleigh in the early 1990s because I was working in Guildford and my husband moved to a job in Guildford, so it seemed sensible to move into the town. I wanted Burpham or Merrow in order to get my little daughter into a good school.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you were brought up, your family and your professional career to date?
I was born and brought up in Northampton, but have moved south gradually over the years. I lived in Oxford for 17 years, then we moved to Surrey. I spent 17 years as a Management Trainer in the NHS, then after redundancy I became the Bursar at Burpham Primary School, which my daughter was attending. I retired in 2012 and now spend a lot of my time doing things with U3A locally. (U3A is a UK-wide movement which brings together people in their ‘third age’ to develop their interests and continue their learning in a friendly and informal environment).

Are you interested in local history generally or was it Burpham that inspired you to start researching your local and surrounding areas?
I was never good at history at school – being thrown out of the O-level class for failing my mock exams! I became interested in the history of Burpham Primary School when I was a parent governor, then Bursar, and that involved finding out quite a lot about the village as well. While selling my book about the school I found that lots of people said “I remember…” or “that reminds me…” and I decided that if someone didn’t gather up the memories then they would be lost.

Do you have any history, writing or journalism qualifications or previous experience?
No, my professional qualifications were all in personnel management, training and then school business management. I had never written any articles or books before, but had to write lots of reports and speak on courses over the years in my various jobs.

What changes have you seen in the village since you’ve lived locally?
When I first moved to Surrey the M25 hadn’t been finished and it seemed to be more rural around the village. I just missed the Green Man being a proper pub rather than a Harvester, but I did enjoy using the pub for many years until it was closed. I was very sad that the village lost such a community facility. It seems daft that the village has grown so much over the last 50 years, but it now has only one pub instead of two – and has inherited traffic problems in place of the pub! I remember Penny’s Hardware, the flower shop and the video shop that also sold lovely hand made cards in the parade. Also St Mary of Pity Catholic Church in New Inn Lane. So much has changed and so much history is lost.

Tell us about the process of writing your books, ‘Burpham: A gateway to Guildford’ and ‘A History of Burpham Primary School’?
I started writing A History of Burpham Primary School shortly after I retired. I was lucky that we had celebrated the Centenary of the school in 2008 and, as I knew I wanted to write a history book, I had contacted lots of ex-pupils, staff and parents, many of whom shared memories and photos with me. So I had a good start. The school had the old School Log Books, dating from 1908 to 1992, which I was able to borrow and use. There were also other old records held in the school, such as the original Admission Book. Then there are records held at the Surrey History Centre in Woking – some of which make fascinating reading. But the most interesting part of researching both books was from talking to people, hearing their memories and stories, or seeing their photos. I do a lot of family history and was able to find out about many of the families living in the area in the 19th/20th centuries through census records. I am very grateful to others who have done research about the area in the past, including Norman Hamilton, Roger Marjoribanks, Karen Robinson and Frank Phillipson.

How easy has it been to unearth the history of the local area?
One of the challenges of researching both family and local history is the amount of information that has been lost – thrown away as deemed to be not useful any more. I always think that writing a history raises as many questions about the past as it does provide answers! There is so much that I would love to know about, but there just don’t seem to be records in existence.

What have you learned about this area and the local community that has had the most impact on you as a local resident?
As a relative newcomer to Burpham I was fascinated to find out that it had been mainly a farming community until World War 2. My mother’s family were farmers and it’s sad that so much farmland has now been developed into housing and we have to import food from abroad. Looking at records going back to the 1500s at St Mary’s Church in Worplesdon, and others records right up to the 20th century, it’s interesting to see that some family names are still in the area – maybe not actually in Burpham, but still fairly local.

I decided that if someone didn’t gather up the memories then they would be lost.

What is the single most interesting fact that you have unearthed about Burpham or Jacobs Well?
I have loved finding out about the oldest buildings – those that were around in the original Manor of Burpham in Tudor times. It’s amazing that houses built in the 1500s and 1600s are still standing and they look so beautiful. In modern Burpham there is only New Inn Farmhouse left that is older than 17th century, but Jacob’s Well has several including Willow Grange and Burpham Court House at the end of Clay Lane. I wish that Burpham Court Farm could be opened up again – the farmhouse is Victorian but parts of the cottages were 17th century and parts of the barns were very old as well.

How have you found the experience of distributing your books online through Amazon?
It’s a good way of getting books to a wider audience. I offer free delivery to anyone buying locally, but if a purchase is through Amazon then they have to pay postage even if I put it through the letterbox!

Do have any plans for further local history books or even books based on a wider area?
I had thought about researching the history of some of the houses in Burpham, but when I floated the idea there was no response. It would need people being willing to share information from their house deeds as well as looking back at census and electoral roll data. At present I am too busy with
U3A, where I give a lot of talks – some about Burpham, some about other local history subjects and some about family history. I get asked to give talks to other groups as well, such as the Burpham Winter Lectures and local history groups. I also write my local history column for Burpham Pages.

What has been the reaction to your books, and your local historical knowledge from the local community?
I have had very positive comments from people who have read my books or heard my talks about Burpham. They are always fascinated by what I have found. Occasionally someone will pick me up on a mistake, and I am more than happy for that to happen. Not everything that is written down is accurate and if that is the source of my information then I will pass on that mistake. I hope that people will still get in touch with me with more memories about the village and the people who have lived here. Burpham is a small community but has a very long and interesting history.

If you are interested in Moira’s two books (‘A History of Burpham Primary School’ and ‘Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford’) they are available from her directly for £10 (free delivery locally), please contact by e-mail (moira.macquaide@gmail.com) or by phone or text (07963 756543) or alternatively you can buy them via Amazon.

Also, if you are willing to share your memories and/or photos of Burpham then please also contact her via the above methods.

Decisions, decisions. decisions

by Alain Michelotti

It has been said that ‘life is just one decision after another’*. Some of these decisions or choices are ready-made for us because of changing circumstances; others involve a lot of soul-searching. The stakes can’t be much higher than when our health is concerned.

It used to be simple; decisions were made solely by the expert professional. They would ask questions, perform an examination and we would be told what we had to do to get better. Patient and practitioner, knew their places and the responsibility was clearly established. As a result of improvements in education and increases in awareness through the media, this model has gradually changed and we are now able, even actively encouraged, to take a more active part in decisions involving our health.

This change of dynamic between patients and practitioner has not been an easy one. Patient’s must actively participate in an often difficult decision making process. The practitioner is required to impart technical information and guidance to the patient which can be time-consuming. Part of this procedure includes detailing a range of alternative treatment options available. This culminates with what is called the ‘informed consent process’ which should take place before the start of any treatment. The main objective throughout is to enable the patient to make an informed decision about whether the benefits of the treatment offered outweigh the risks.

As chiropractors we must not assume that because the patient has made the decision to consult us, we can avoid talking about the range of alternative options available. For the majority of ordinary acute episodes of neck or low back pain, I will usually tell my patients that these conditions are invariably self-healing, that our intervention will simply speed up their recovery and that the alternative to manipulative treatment usually involves pain killers or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have side-effects and can irritate the lining of the stomach. Having made my diagnosis and before starting treatment, I explain the benefits and risks of the techniques I plan to use. I make sure the patient has taken on board my explanations, ask the patient to sign the consent form and let them know that the consent may be withdrawn at any stage during the treatment.

Chronic neck or back pain is more difficult to treat and we regularly explain the principle of the ‘ladder response’. The rungs of the ladder start with medical drug based treatments, stepping up to physiotherapists and osteopaths whose objective is to create a virtuous circle by restoring joint mobility and diminishing pain, allowing the return of normal function. If this fails, the next step is a referral to the GP and possibly a referral from the GP to a consultant. At the top of the ladder the response is surgery, fortunately only necessary in extremely few cases.

It is important for us all to ensure that we understand our options on every rung of the ladder and be prepared to participate in decisions about our health and wellbeing. And you must never be afraid don’t be afraid to ask questions until you’re sure you’ve fully understood everything.

* Jonah Lehrer 2010

Everyone is welcome at the race for life Guildford

This year, everyone is invited to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Guildford.

The charity’s much-loved events are returning to the town but are no longer restricted to female participants.

This means everybody can be part of the empowering Race for Life movement – and show support for the 51,400 people diagnosed with cancer every year in the South East.

“This year, our Race for Life events are open to everyone.”

The Race for Life and Pretty Muddy events take place at Stoke Park on Sunday, July 26 and are open to people of all ages and abilities.

Georgina Horne, Cancer Research UK’s Event Manager for Guildford, said: “This year, our Race for Life events are open to everyone.

“We’re sending a heart-felt message to anybody who’s thought about signing up in the past but for one reason or another hasn’t got round to it. This is your year – please seize the opportunity to register and become part of the Race for Life community.

She added: “Our events are fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting. Participants take part at their own pace – taking as much time as they like to complete the course. For some people, the Race for Life is literally a walk in the park. For others, it’s a jog or a run.

Cancer Research UK receives no Government funding for its ground-breaking research.

“Although ‘Race’ features in the name, our events are not competitive. Instead, ‘the Race for Life’ is about our doctors, nurses and scientists working as hard and fast as possible to help more people survive.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

Georgina continued: “This year, we’re urging mums, dads, nans, grandpas, brothers, sisters, friends and workmates to show their support by joining the Race for Life. It’s a perfect example of everyday people doing an extraordinary thing – uniting in a common cause to beat cancer.”

Cancer Research UK receives no Government funding for its ground-breaking research.

That’s why money raised through the Race for Life events is vital. It funds world-class research to help beat 200 types of cancer – including bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, brain
cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia.

Georgina said: “The Race for Life is a powerful, inspirational movement which unites participants in Guildford with people across the South East and the whole of the UK.

“People get together and remember loved ones lost or celebrate the lives of those who have survived. At the same time, they are helping to make a difference to people with the disease, right now.

“Please go to the Race for Life website, choose an event, and sign up today.”

To enter, visit raceforlife.org