Quelle surprise!


We received a very unusual email recently from our friend, Annie Winch, who lives in France. Annie is the daughter of Maggie, our craft tutor and back in October she had decided to hold a fundraising coffee morning with all her friends. They also decided to collect bras to send to a charity in Africa - which accounts for the attire worn by the ladies in the photograph.

Annie was very pleased to be able to tell us that as a result of a very succcessful morning, they would be sending a donation of £250 to the Skills Centre.

A very big "merci!" to Annie and all her friends, who we have given the honorary title of the European Section of the Bletchingley Skills Centre Supporters Club.


15:12, 08 Jan 2018 by Gillian Lammas

(Click above to view photos)


Centre’s Retirement Tribute to a Special Lady

On Sunday 5th November Bletchingley Skills Centre celebrated the retirement of Wendy Cope, the Centre Co-Ordinator for over 25 years.

Nearly 100 people gathered together at Nutfield Masonic Lodge to celebrate the career of a very special lady.  Ex-colleagues, ex-students, P.H.A.B. members, family, friends and supporters of the Centre enjoyed sharing memories of past times. Wendy, who had only been advised of the date and time of the event but not the guest list, was amazed to see so many people and had a wonderful time reminiscing with them all.

The hall had been decorated with bunting, made by some of the current students, and a personalised post box and vintage travelling case were available for guests to ‘post’ their cards.


A delicious selection of cakes and a continuous supply of tea complemented the spirit of the afternoon.  The tables, decorated with beautiful hand-made flower arrangements, added the final touch.

In a speech given by Peter Drysdale, Chairman of the B. S. C. Management Committee, he recalled his own personal experiences of accompanying Wendy on several overseas trips for physically disabled students, despite the many challenges they presented. The hard work involved was rewarded by seeing the enjoyment they brought to disadvantaged young people.  Peter also highlighted the effort and dedication that Wendy had shown throughout her career to provide help, education and support to so many people.  A former student, Sarah Henley, then gave a brief speech of her own, recounting some of the funnier occasions she had experienced with Wendy. Sarah then presented Wendy with a large bouquet of flowers on behalf of the Skills Centre Management Committee. 

Wendy started her speech by explaining how she first became involved with physically disabled people. In 1986 she worked with P.H.A.B., a social club who met fortnightly at a school in Oxted. A position became available at the Centre in 1991 which is where and when her long career started.   Wendy talked about the fantastic trips she had been on with students, particularly to Hong Kong. She said that over the years she had met and worked with many amazing people and had some wonderful times.  Wendy finished by thanking everyone for coming and joining in her celebration.   




11:21, 15 Nov 2017 by Anthony Cock

                                                            'Under starters orders then they were off!'


Over 90 'Race Goers' attended our latest fundraisng event on Saturday at Bletchingley Village Hall. Guests started their evening with a glass of bubbly and a copy of the programme which made impressive reading. The races and the horses had all been sponsored by either individual supporters or local businesses.

Amongst the 'punters' were a group from the Redhill branch of Santander who, together with their Manager, gave out the arrival drinks and also some promotional pens - very useful for marking out winning choices on the programme!

The proceedings were compared by 'Big Al' a professional Race Night entrepreneur, who soon got everyone into the mood with his rather corny jokes and his enthusiastic banter. Betting was swift and the Tote was busy with £1.00 bets.

Throughout the evening the Santander staff sold raffle tickets. Their Head Office had agreed that whatever amount was raised through the sale of raffle tickets they would match it. Everyone was delighted when it was announced that all of the tickets had been sold and, together with Santander's contribution the amazing amount of £1,000.00 had been raised on the raffle.

After a fish and chip supper, catered for by Fishers Food, the races continued, finishing with an auction race which raised an additional £182.50.

The whole evening was great fun and even those who lost their bets enjoyed themselves.

A big 'Thank You' to everyone for their support and to those who helped behind the scenes, for making the event such a success.

The grand total for the evening was £2,947.51 - a great boost towards the Centre's funds. 





19:45, 18 Oct 2017 by Caroline Eastwood