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


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

Self help? how to set up your street/local WhatsApp group to support each other

In addition to the village initiative co-ordinated by ChilworthCare Committee, some locals are forming small, very local self help groups, where neighbours look out for each other.

Old Manor Lane has set up a WhatsApp group, and it would be great if other Roads, Streets and Lanes in Chilworth might do the same – here’s how to do it.  You need a mobile phone to be part of this.

1. Get the app WhatsApp.  This is free to download to your mobile phone
2. Start a group called [the street name] Community

3. Email everyone (you could drop a note through the door if you don’t have email addresses) to ask if they wanted to be in the group, and ask them to download the app using the above link if they don’t already have it.
4. then get their mobile phone numbers and added them to the group.
Old Manor Lane group gave four people in the group Admin rights so multiple people can make changes to the settings etc.