Pages Profile – 100 issues of Cranleigh Mag

Main Photo: The very first issue “On Fire for Cranleigh”

As we celebrate our 100th issue, we’re proud to reflect on the highs and lows of the past 8 ½ years of CRANLEIGH MAGAZINE.  From it’s inception in November 2015 to February 2024 it’s been quite a journey.  The first issue couldn’t have started at a more poignant time in the life of the village as we celebrated Cranleigh’s bonfire night.  Always attended by many who enjoy the thrill of the fire, fun fair and fireworks. Organised by Cranleigh Lions who in the true spirit of Cranleigh’s life blood, raise charitable funds at this event to support local needs.

Within this article we couldn’t possibly detail each issue’s theme but we certainly can thank our article writers who’ve contributed so consistently over the years.  In the early days Michelle Baker, Giovanni Fontebasso, Crane Spotter and Joy of Cranleigh to name but a few sent in their interesting articles.  Since then Sharon Duggan, Gill Ford, Penny Lynch, Mikki Marks and Simone Conti have written regularly and of course, other people have contributed articles that reflect the ‘pulse of Cranleigh life’ whether it be the arts centre, swimming club or schools, charities and churches – they all add to the fullness of colour of our pages and we value each and every one.  Our knowledge of wild life, bird life, local history, the environment, health and hygiene, not to mention the upkeep of our gardens or the delicious dishes we prepare for family and friends – where would we be without Cranleigh Magazine?

So what would be the ‘low lights’ of the past 8 ½ years?  There are the months when a ‘typo’ is missed, or wording of an article gives offence or an advert’s design has an error.  We try to avoid these for the future and learn from our mistakes.  Without doubt though, the hardest months were during the pandemic.  Like so many businesses we wondered if we could survive such an unprecedented time when fear of Covid grew and we went into Lockdown.  However, by ingenious ways, we manouvred around the many obstacles in our path, greatly supported by committed writers, walkers (magazine deliverers) and thankfully rode out the storm. For many people their memory of spring 2020 through to late 2021 will never fade as they experienced the loss of loved ones or the effects of ‘Long Covid’ and we extend our condolescences to them.  

The village of Cranleigh is no sleepy Surrey backwater as we all know.  All in our community are valued both young and old without exception.  We are grateful to people who’ve been happy to ‘share their story’ through People Profiles or other aticles.  As we look back, these stories have fathomed many depths of experience from launching businesses, artists’ skills, charities, facing huge challenges or conquering illness. We’re thrilled to contain people’s life journies on our pages and we know our readers thoroughly enjoy reading them from the comments we receive.

To name but a few we’ve cherry picked some of the personal stories over the 100 issues. 

John Sharp (Jeds) operating behind the German lines in June 1944. We owe our freedom to people like him. He was 20 years old in this picture.

Issue no 8 John Sharp told his story of working behind enemy lines in WW2 as a wireless operator, demonstrating such enormous courage and skill. Sadly John has subsequently died and we extend our love to his family and friends.  It makes his story all the more meaningful and precious.

Rhoda Kirk, who started to lose her sight at age 60

Issue no 11 Rhoda Kirk, a familiar face around the village, told us how she faced the devastating effects of losing her sight over the years, yet maintained her sunny countenance and active life.  

Issue  17 an article focused on Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce’s event highlighting ‘Inspiring business women in Cranleigh’.  As part of International Women’s Day, CCC held an event to inspire and meet inspiring women.  Award-winning speakers included Jane Frankland, a consultant who’s also one of the top 25 influencers in the UK cyber security market.  Karina Riddiford, a Human Resource expert and Nici Jupp, from a recuitment agency.  Cranleigh may still be known as a village, but it is no stranger to inspirational figures, both men and women. 

Daniel Tresman, Channel swimmer

Issue 28 we read about Daniel Tresman and the challenges he faced when training towards swimming the English Channel which he accomplished in August 2017.  ‘Home grown’ locally, attending Cranleigh’s schools and sports clubs, Daniel is known to many and we’re pleased to have recorded his achievement on our pages.  Daniel’s was one of several sporting achievements detailed in the magazine, before and since, but unfortunately we’re not able to highlight them all here.

Violette Szabò (SOE) agent trained in Cranleigh. Executed by the SS in 1945

Issue 44 held the story of Violette Szabò who worked as a Special Operations Executive.  Little did we know of the important, secret activities happening within Winterfold House, on the outskirts of Cranleigh before and during WW2.  The house had been requisitioned by the British Government in 1941 and was used by SOE as a Special Training School.  Violetta was a brave woman facing and overcoming many adversities in her role.

Issue 70 launched a different sized magazine.  Due to the pressure of rising costs we decided against reducing the number of pages but reduced to a smaller size page instead.  Some folk noticed the change – many did not!

Issue 78 saw one of the instantly recognisable big green lorries of ‘Cook’s of Cranleigh’ on our cover.  We were indebted to Trevor’s family who kindly shared his story after his death in January 2022.  His father started a local goods delivery company in 1945 and it grew in the 50’s when he branched into household removals.  Over the following years, after his father died and his brother Ced decided to start his own business, Trevor expanded the business to the local familiar removal and storage company we knew and loved for so many years.

Issue 84 we were proud to join with the nation in celebrating the late Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 year reign.  On our front page was one of many stunning portrait photographs of the Queen and since her death in September 2022, this too seems all the more poignant and precious.

Issue 85 highlighted the path Ella Bewsey took after graduating from university to living and working in Ukraine and then finally heading up Ukraine Christian Ministries (a christian charity supporting churches in Ukraine with food, clothing, cooking essentials, medications, heating equipment and other supplies for those who have lost their homes and livelihood).  UCM also continues to run Youth Camps throughout the year which are vital for the children and young people so deeply affected by the war.

Andrii with his family and British relatives after fleeing war-torn Ukraine

Issue 90 hot on the heels of Ella’s story was Luba and Andrii Andreiko’s story of how they fled Ukraine in the early months of the war, finally finding refuge here in Cranleigh.  They brought family with them but little else in their car as they drove towards UK, leaving everything behind.  Cranleigh certainly stepped up that year, to welcome refugees from Ukraine, offering homes and hospitality to ease the pain of their circumstances.

Issue 1 and 91 have one thing in common – a People Profile about Pete Symmonds.  Pete kindly stepped in at short notice for our first issue, to tell us a little about his career as a fine artist.  Living and working from his studio in Ewhurst the 1st issue published copies of some of Pete’s oil paintings – the view from a hill near Shere across to the Church spire, nestled in the valley of the village.  Also a familiar view across the Surrey Hills from Newlands Corner, as well as a Cranleigh landscape and others from further afield.  This article was just the tip of the iceberg of Pete’s journey and we were delighted when he agreed to write another article only last year in issue 91. That month’s issue showed more local landscapes (Hurtwood and Friday Street) but featured scenes from Pete’s beloved Scotland and Lake District.  Pete shared the highs and lows of working as an artist over the years and how much he enjoys getting away from it all and camping out in rugged mountains and hills to capture the atmosphere of the scenes he paints.

No issue of Cranleigh Magazine is complete without Colin the chameleon.  Over the whole 100 issues, he’s only taken one month’s holiday (can anyone tell us when that was?!).  Though not native to Surrey’s wildlife, he fascinates many readers when they spy him hidden within our pages.

Moving onto the wide variety of advertisements Cranleigh Magazine publishes we must draw attention to the fact that without consistent advertising we simply wouldn’t exist.  Together we aim to represent the wealth of Cranleigh’s local businesses, services, charities and organisations.  Cranleigh magazine wouldn’t be the same without the cute animals who warm our hearts each month on the back page or the marvellous centre pages displaying cars some of us can only dream of!  Knowing where to get our hair styled, our houses refurbished or extended, the handyman everyone needs from time to time or our gutters cleared – just turn our pages and you’ll spot what you’re look for. Reflecting on the past 8 years or so, we recognise how the population of the village has grown with each new housing development. Cranleigh Magazine’s advertisements are invaluable to new residents who can easily access activities and support from our pages. However large the population, Cranleigh maintains its friendly ambience and its strength hasn’t been diluted in this regard.  Community spirit thrives and that’s something to be proud of.

And so we complete a brief snapshot of the first 100 issues.  We welcome anyone who would like to contribute to the contents of our pages and look forward to seeing what the next 100 issues will contain – maybe it will be your story or advertisement? To read any of the back issues on our website, follow the link below:

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