Help save West Lodge by showing your support!

St Martha Parish Council urgently need you to show your support for their plan to save West Lodge. Their plan is to take it on a lease and refurbish it for a variety of community uses. The alternative is that GBC wants to sell it for redevelopment, meaning it will be lost to the Gunpowder Mills site and the community for ever.

The Council wants to apply for a grant from Surrey County Council to help with the improvements, but needs local support for this to happen.

Please take a minute to click on this link, and give your support for the idea:


Chilworth Manor Gardens open on May 23 – NGS

The beautiful gardens at Chilworth Manor will be open to view under the National Garden scheme on May 23rd this year, but please be aware you will need to book in advance. Visitors will need to book for specific entry times to avoid too many people visiting at the same time. Because of this, the family thought it might be good to let residents in the village know in advance.

The bookings need to be done on the  NGS website, and clicking on this link will take you there:

Chilworth Infant School and St Thomas and St Martha’s Churches will help with tea and cakes  – the family is hoping it will be possible to serve refreshments as usual, if these can be offered safely.

Peonies in the walled garden, Chilworth Manor

Tentative date for re-opening of Chilworth Community Cinema

Crocuses carpeting lawns, daffodils bobbing in the sun, March winds blowing a bit of a gale…spring has sprung and along with it hope of a return to our many much-loved activities that have been denied us for more or less a whole year.

As I write this , it was in fact a year ago to the day that we had our last screening – Road To Perdition- little knowing the irony of that title!

We should have a clearer idea by the Easter whether the June 21st date for lifting all restrictions is a viable date. We should also all have received our Covid19 vaccinations too. With this in mind, I am tentatively pencilling in


as the grand re-opening of Chilworth Community Cinema! We will be screening Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood starring Tom Hanks and Maryann Plunkett.

This of course is dependant on a number of factors:

  • The village Hall being allowed to open its doors
  • GBC issuing entertainment and alcohol licences
  • Music and film licences being made available
  • Sourcing the DVD itself!

We will comply with all restrictions which may apply at the time (possibly wearing face masks?).

So it is with great hope and optimism that I close, expecting the next missive to contain all necessary information for attending an evening at the cinema and hoping that you will all flock back in droves!

In the meantime keep on keeping safe.

Kindest regards,  Diane Kenny

on behalf of Chilworth Community Cinema

Chilworth Care Committee news – and open for business!

Chilworth Care Committee News

At our March Meeting we noted that the Management Committee has met 6 times since August and 9 times since March 2020 to keep adapting the provision of the services we can offer as the circumstances keep changing. Many of these have been via Zoom.

We are so pleased to be able to offer lifts to medical appointments again and continue our good neighbour scheme picking up prescriptions and undertaking basic shopping and are just so grateful to all our willing volunteers who undertake these tasks. To provide a lift you do need to be DBS’d, wear the PPE provided and agree to our Covid-safe policies but if you are currently working from home with the flexibility to take a break for an hour just once a month it would be great to have you on-board. So far we have provided just 9 lifts to Vaccination and other appointments.

We have once again refreshed our posters to reflect this – at no cost thanks to the generosity of Pauleen at Flippinimage Ltd – and remain grateful to St Thomas’s Church who have allowed us the use of their notice board in this respect for so long

Our buddy scheme put in place last March is still in place and we have the capacity to pair up more couples if anyone would like to receive a regular phone call just for a chat.

Our AGM remains on hold but we remain hopeful that we can arrange a summer date safely. We have noted the resignation of our current Chair Tim O’Hanlon with thanks for all his contributions and are grateful to Cathy Browning for stepping up from Vice Chair to Chair so if you can help with the management of our activities it would be great to have someone with organisational / administration skills at the meetings. (We hope to be back to just 4 a year plus the AGM soon!)

As always we can be contacted on 01483 538886 – all calls will be returned – and at chilworthcarecommittee@hotmail.comThere is also information on our page on the Chilworth2gether website.

Chilworth2gether publishes annual report 2020

Chilworth2gether started 2020 with big ambitions.  Our plan was to revive the wonderful Chilworth Duck Race, an event that caught the public imagination, and brought young and old to the Gunpowder Mills to cheer on 500 coloured racing ducks, thrown off the bridge and raced down the River Tillingbourne to the finish line, with prizes for everyone who had chosen the winning colour.

With Covid curtailing events, Chilworth2gether changed tacks, and instead worked behind the scenes in partnership with St Martha Parish Council, to try to stop West Lodge being sold off by Guildford Borough Council.  The Gunpowder Mills is Chilworth’s secret treasure, a historic and scheduled monument with a rich and colourful history.  West Lodge is its gatehouse, at the entrance to the Mills on Blacksmith Lane.  It’s been empty and unloved for many years.

The Parish Council, supported by Chilworth2gether wanted to keep the Lodge as part of the Gunpowder site and in GBC ownership.  We realised that GBC had changed dramatically, with new Councillors elected, many bringing a different approach to representing the views of the village residents they represent.  They didn’t know the Gunpowder story, so the Chilworth campaign started by our resident archaeological historian and surveyor, Andrew Norris, offering tours of the site to Councillors.   Chilworth2gether got involved at the start, meeting and greeting the Councillors, and providing coffees at the Percy Arms prior to the tours of the site.  (We’re in touch with GBC to check providing the coffees is consistent with their protocols.)

When the planning application finally was heard, Councillors at GBC unanimously voted to change the usage status of West Lodge, so it could be used for community and educational purposes.  The plans include provision of dedicated off road parking to the rear of the Lodge, so residents’ concerns about parking on the road were addressed.  Chilworth2gether has pledged a significant proportion of its funds towards the parking and the restoration, which will rely on Grant funding, for example from Heritage Lottery Fund.  This is being applied for. 

Chilworth2gether was delighted to be chosen to be the beneficiary of the Friday night Picnic and Pimm’s at Chilworth Manor in June 2020.  Unfortunately, the event couldn’t happen last year, but the offer has been carried for to 2021. Instead, the family awarded us an interim grant, which has allowed us to support our Chilworth Brownie pack with discretionary funds that will help to keep the Brownies going through a very difficult period.  If the Heritage Lottery Fund bid is successful, then Chilworth2gether will pledge the funds from Picnic and Pimm’s to the West Lodge project, as Chilworth’s community contribution. 

At the end of the year, Kathy and Pete Wells, decided to move to the West Country.  They were founder members of the Massive from which Chilworth2gether was born.  It prompted a conversation about the future of Chilworth2gether, which has been raising funds and taking on big projects for the village for nine years.  Those founder players decided it was time to retire.  Chilworth2gether will remain while current commitments are on-going, but is looking for the next generation of folk to step forward and re-invent Chilworth2gether for the village.  From the Millstones gifted by the Massive, Chilworth2gether has provided many amenities for the village, which certainly make Chilworth a good place to live, work and raise a family.  It is hoped this is the first chapter of an evolving story in which fundraising is fun ,and getting together in the village is an enjoyable, sociable thing to do.

Continue reading

Shere Magazine includes article on Chilworth2gether story

Split between the two civic parishes of Shalford and St Martha, Chilworth struggled with its identity until 2013 when Chilworth2gether quite literally brought the two ends of the linear Tillingbourne village together. Now with key founders retiring, it needs new people to take a lead.

Maggie Scott takes up the story:

“Every village has a few energetic individuals who make things happen. This is the story of an era in Chilworth that put it on the map and brought people together. It started with the Jubilee, when just four couples, in just one year, raised funds to commission the Millstone sculptures at the boundaries of the village.  One fund-raising event every month, for 12 months.  A great success.

“Kathy Wells, though, wasn’t satisfied with that.   A local girl who had lived in the village for over 30 years, she had many local contacts and the gift of inspiring others.  With the support of her friends and the mentorship of a neighbour, Chilworth2gether was created.  This time, it wasn’t about funding, but fun.  It was based on projects that would bring residents together, breaking down barriers and creating community spirit, whilst making the village a better place to live, work, and bring up the next generation.

“It didn’t have a committee structure, but encouraged people to get involved with  specific projects as they arose.  Ideas were generated by holding public meetings, and asking for ideas.  Kathy sounded out her contacts – how can we get people together?  It was organic and free-form – perhaps the secret of its success.  A solid core of people built up. Backroom functions, the accounts and website were taken care of behind the scenes.

“Some were celebrations – a Fete, a Dog Show and a Tug of War.  Others were about fundamentals – installing three defibrillators throughout the village, and working with the local rapid response officer to provide training and maintenance.

Most of the Chilworth2gether projects involved food and drink, with Pete Wells the undisputed Barbeque King.  A Chilworth2gether BBQ trundled round the village, supporting the open air events.  The burgers became both a way to thank participants, and as a way to raise revenue to cover expenses.  For Kathy and Pete, it was a badge of honour that all catering should be good value and affordable.  A community, the team agreed, is built on affordable refreshments.

“Chilworth Gunpowder Mills is one place the BBQ visited regularly.  To encourage families to visit, and walkers to linger and enjoy the atmospheric surroundings of the woods and ancient gunpowder structures, Chilworth2gether worked with GBC Countryside wardens and the Parish Council.  A well-used picnic area has been created with benches donated by Chilworth2gether. With the lure of cake from the wardens, and the odd BBQ provided by Pete and the team, working parties help clear vegetation around the ruins, pull out invasive Himalayan Balsam, and have even created a new footpath.

“As the teams grew in confidence, so events got bigger, and projects more ambitious.  Some projects were not pulled off, but still improved things in the village.  Chilworth2gether even challenged the constitution, trying to achieve a boundary change, so that Chilworth could have one set of Parish Councillors rather than two. Kathy and her team learnt  that a significant field in the village was for sale, and mobilised the village to try to buy the site, save it from development and turn it in to a public space.  Ultimately bought by the village school, it remains a natural green site, with iconic views to St Martha’s church retained.

“The Chilworth Duck Race remains their outstanding achievement of Chilworth2gether, attracting in latter years up to a thousand participants, and funding many major projects.  Chilworth2gether has also been nominated by generous local benefactors the beneficiary of two Picnic and Pimm’s events, which has enabled the team to install a splendid media system in the village hall.  This in turn has inspired another of the original couples to start up a Community Cinema.

“With Kathy and Pete Wells moving to the West Country, the other three founder couples, Diane and Bruce Kenny, Anne and Julian Denmark and Anita and Martin Smithers, have also decided to retire.  If anyone is inspired either to create a Chilworth2gether second generation, or is motivated to start up something similar elsewhere, please contact  The website is

Jane Garrett

Freelance Press Officer/Journalist/Editor

01483 203237  07884 268594


GBC Planning committee unanimously votes yes for West Lodge Plans

The two planning applications for West Lodge, brought by St Martha Parish Council, have been passed unanimously by the whole planning committee of Guildford Borough Council.  The Planning meeting was held on-line tonight – Wednesday Feb 3.

Borough Councillors were fulsome in their praise of the new role for West Lodge, at the entrance to the Gunpowder Mills.  Rather than what one councillor described as an unsuitable designation of the building as a residential unit, the Council agreed that a change of use for West lodge, so that it could be used for a variety of community uses, was far more appropriate.

Despite resistance from previous Councils, the recently elected GBC Councillors fully backed the Parish Council, who have argued that its proposal for the building will retain the link between the Lodge and the historic Gunpowder Mills, and give it a new life.  Further, Councillors in the meeting described the Lodge as providing a strong focal point for a very significant historical site in the Borough.

Councillor Tim Anderson referred to an informative tour he had undertaken of the site (along with other locally elected Councillors).  This tour, ahead of the planning application, was led by Andrew Norris, who also spoke on the night in support of the applications, and who has provided information and background to officers and elected Councillors over the last few months as they considered the proposal.

There is now big decision to be made by the Parish Council, as to whether it can take on the lease on the building that is being offered to them by GBC.  The building will need refurbishing and re-purposing, and a car park will need to be constructed, and for this the Parish Council will be relying on Grants.  Currently, all grant aid is suspended, as funds are diverted to support Covid affected projects.  But it is hoped that it will be possible to make applications in due course so the vision can be realised.

Chilworth Care Committee resumes lifts to the doctor, including for Covid vaccinations

Happy New Year from Chilworth Care Committee!  

Throughout the lockdowns of 2020 Chilworth Care Committee has continued to offer help to our community seven days a week collecting provisions and medication. We are immensely grateful to all our existing and new volunteers for all the help they offered without whom this would not have been possible.

As we enter 2021 there is hope around the corner with the vaccination programme being rolled out. With this in mind and as we go into this new lockdown, we are pleased to resume offering lifts to medical appointments and most vitally COVID vaccinations. All risk assessments and Safeguarding documentation is in place to provide this service as safely as possible to everyone.

If you need a lift, please ring the Chilworth Care Committee on 01483 538886 and leave a message and someone will get back to you. Please give our volunteers as much notice as possible.

 As many of our exiting drivers are self-isolating / shielding we particularly welcome people prepared to offer lifts at the moment. We are also looking for new Committee Members who have a little time to spare to keep us all going. For more information about any of our activitiesplease ring the same number and leave your details and someone will call you backwith further information.

Chilworth2gether plans to retire – public announcement

Public announcement – the future of Chilworth2gether

With one of the founding members of Chilworth2gether retiring and moving away from the village, a consultation of others who’ve been part of the core team has taken place to determine the future of Chilworth2gether.

We have decided that it is now time for the original team to retire, happy to leave a permanent and lasting legacy to remind us of the wonderful years we have had together, making the village of Chilworth a great place to live and work in.

The village now has public benches, an improved picnic area in the Gunpowder Mills, three defibrillator machines, and a thriving Community Cinema, as a direct result of the village’s efforts.  With the support of a local benefactor, we’ve also decorated Christmas trees in the village, and installed a media centre in the village hall.  There have been fetes and dog shows, barbeques and Heritage days, and the famous Chilworth Duck Race.  It’s been fun, and many, many villagers have contributed as volunteers or participants, together with the schools and the wider community, young and older.  Thank you!

Chilworth2gether has one outstanding commitment, which will provide another lasting legacy for the village.  This is to support St Martha Parish Council as it finds a way to retain West Lodge as part of the Gunpowder Mills site, but with a new future as a community resource.  Chilworth2gether will pledge its residual funds, together with any proceeds it receives from next year’s Picnic and Pimm’s celebration, as a community contribution to this project, run by the Parish Council.  This community contribution will be needed as part of the Parish Council’s bid for Heritage Lottery funding, which hopefully will provide sufficient funding to refurbish West Lodge for its future use. Contribution to this bid will be our biggest, final project, if it comes off.  This will be a decision for the Parish Council.

If this project doesn’t come to fruition, then the funds won’t be taken up, or an alternative project will be found, to use this funding, before the Chilworth2gether books are closed.  The books will continue to be inspected until they are finally closed.

We are looking for someone, an individual or a group, to take over the Chilworth2gether website, so it can continue to be a communication channel for the village.  We hope it will remain and be reinvented, to continue to support village life.  Please contact if you are interested or have a suggestion.

From the Chilworth2gether Core Team

New opening hours for GBC Community helpline (helping with food and other support)

New Opening Hours For Council’s Community Helpline

The Community Helpline set-up by Guildford Borough Council to help residents in need of support during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic will change its opening hours from Monday 6 July.

The Helpline (01483 444400) has made over 21,000 calls since its launch on 6 April, to assist vulnerable residents with food parcels, prescriptions and other support, and will now be available six days a week to reflect the Council’s monitoring of demand levels and the government’s changes in guidance for those shielding:

  • Monday to Thursday: 8.30am-5pm
  • Friday: 8.30-4.30pm
  • Saturday: 10am-2pm
  • Sunday: closed

Registrations can still be made seven days a week, 24 hours a day via the Council’s website,

The Helpline (01483 444400) has made over 21,000 calls since its launch on 6 April, to assist vulnerable residents with food parcels, prescriptions and other support, and will now be available six days a week. Registrations can still be made seven days a week, 24 hours a day via the Council’s website,

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves says:

“I am delighted at the impact our Community Helpline has had, as a significant part of our response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and proud of the role played by Council officers. To have made over 21,000 calls is an incredible achievement and will have made a big difference to the lives of so many of our residents.

“The government guidance for our most at-risk and vulnerable residents is changing but we are still doing everything we can to help everybody who needs assistance with food shopping and prescriptions, or just a chance to talk to somebody. We’ve been overwhelmed with the community spirit shown throughout Guildford and the incredible work of so many existing and new voluntary groups, and hope that this sense of altruism can continue as we begin to look toward recovery.

“Many residents want to give something back to our community and have asked us how they can help. Coronavirus (Covid-19) will continue to affect many people in the long-term, and we still have an opportunity for people to directly help others by supporting our food parcel distribution. All money donated goes towards delivering food parcels to those most in need, meaning that you can make a real difference. I thank you in advance for any help you can give, it is greatly appreciated. Donations can be made by visiting”

In addition to the 21,000 phone calls made, 46,000 leaflets were delivered to households by staff and volunteers. Almost 2,500 food parcels and over 18,600 meals on wheels have been delivered to residents, with 454 prescriptions collected and delivered to residents.

Editor’s note:  An alternative way to donate food locally is to drop off provisions at Chilworth’s own Food Bank on the doorstep of 102 New Road Chilworth.  Any surplus produce is taken to the central food hub in Guildford each week.  Our village Food Bank organiser is Ali Oakden on 07770596506