Category: Events

The Big Cranleigh EU Referendum Debate

It was a full house at Cranleigh Arts Centre on Friday lunchtime for The Big Cranleigh EU Referendum Debate, chaired by The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP.

Business owners and members of the public packed the Jack Wagg auditorium to pose their questions to the expert panel, representing the Leave and Remain views.

On the Leave side was Harry Aldridge, an export business owner and former UKIP parliamentary candidate for Guildford.

The Remain view was represented by Cllr Paul Spooner, the Conservative Leader of Guildford Borough Council.

Following introductions by event sponsor Nick Bamford of Informed Choice, and from Anne Milton, both sides had an opportunity to present their opening statements before questions were taken from the floor.

A lively debate followed, with questions asked by individuals who favoured the Leave and Remain camps, and a number of people who were clearly undecided and looking for more information on which to base their decisions.

An entry poll taken before the debate found 50.4% of the audience were planned to vote Remain at the Referendum next month.

Only 18.2% expressed Leave as their voting intention, with a significant 31.4% of the guests at the debate undecided.

These voting intentions changed during the course of the debate, with a big shift in undecided voters, rising from 31.4% to 37%.

The Remain camp declined to 45.4% and the Leave camp fell slightly to 17.6%.

Our thanks to Anne Milton for doing an excellent job chairing the debate and exercising a firm hand during some passionate questioning from the audience!

We would also like to thank the event sponsors Informed Choice, Cranleigh Arts Centre for providing the venue, Harry Alridge and Paul Spooner for sharing their expert views, and of course all of our guests for joining us on a Friday afternoon to debate the future of the UK in the European Union.

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Big EU Referendum Debate

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Big EU Referendum Debate

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Big EU Referendum Debate

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Big EU Referendum Debate

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Only 40 seats left for our EU Referendum Debate with Anne Milton

Demand for free tickets to the Big Cranleigh EU Referendum Debate, hosted by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce and chaired by Anne Milton MP, has been exceptionally high.

90 business owners and local residents have already reserved their free seats at this event next Friday, 13th May, at Cranleigh Arts Centre.

We only have 40 seats left which we expect to go quickly, so please reserve your free ticket ASAP at

Panelists representing both sides of the debate will answer questions from the audience and debate the facts, figures and speculation, with a particular focus on the consequences for the local economy.

If you need help making up your mind ahead of the big vote in June, or simply want to better understand each side of the argument, this panel debate will educate, inform and entertain.

We will be conducting confidential polls before and after the panel debate, to understand how Cranleigh might be voting in the referendum.

Reserve your free ticket now at to avoid disappointment.

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In or Out? Anne Milton will lead EU debate with Cranleigh businesses!

With the EU referendum campaigns in full swing, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Anne Milton MP and Informed Choice, brings the debate to the village on Friday 13th May at Cranleigh Arts Centre at 12.30pm. 

The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, and Government Whip, will chair a robust panel discussion with representatives from both sides of the debate, providing an excellent opportunity for people to be better informed ahead of the vote on June 23rd. 

The panellists will also answer questions from the audience and debate the facts, figures and speculation, with a particular focus on the consequences for the local economy.

Anne Milton MP said: 

“It’s great to have had so much enthusiasm in Cranleigh for debate on the EU referendum.

“This will be a really good opportunity for local businesses to get a chance to hear the arguments for remaining and for leaving the EU.

“I am really looking forward to hearing the views of businesses at what I know will be a chance for some lively debate!”

Anne will be joined on the panel by Cllr Paul Spooner, the Conservative Leader of Guildford Borough Council and Harry Aldridge, an export business owner and former UKIP parliamentary candidate for Guildford.

A confidential poll will be held before and after the panel debate, to understand how Cranleigh might be voting in the referendum.

Richard Graham, President of the Cranleigh Chamber, said:

“This debate will ensure that Cranleigh businesses get an opportunity to hear the EU arguments and will provide a platform for local businesses own views on this topical and important subject.”

The event is open to non-members of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce and to the public. 

Bookings for the free event can be made online here.

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Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner 2016

50 members and invited guests attended the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, held at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club.

Guests were treated to a delicious two course dinner, followed by an inspirational after-dinner speech by world record breaking ultra-runner Susie Chan.

Susie entertained the room with her tales of ultra endurance madness and left several members feeling suitably inspired to take on their own fitness challenges.


Before dinner, the AGM of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce was held, with two resolutions voted for approval by members; to officially change the name of the organisation to Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce and to convert the Chamber to a new not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

Existing officers and committee members were reelected and thanked by Chamber president Richard Graham for their hard work over the past year.


There was time for networking before dinner was served, consisting of slow cooked belly of pork and tenderloin with a fondant potato, crackling, apple sauce and a Madeira & mushroom sauce, or the vegetarian option of roasted Mediterranean vegetable & mozzarella parcel in filo pastry, served on a bed of roasted new potatoes topped with rocket and green pesto dressing.


Membership secretary Roger Coupe invited members to join the 100 Club. This raises money each year to pay for the Cranleigh Christmas Lights, which cost a minimum of £10,000 a year to maintain and display.

This year, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce has a more ambitious financial target of £20,000 which will allow the addition of further lamppost lighting as well as newly lit tree along the Common.

An apple & berry crumble tartlet with vanilla ice cream & toffee sauce was served for dessert, after which committee member Martin Bamford previewed upcoming Chamber events, including The Big Cranleigh EU Referendum Debate which takes place on Friday 13th May.

Once coffees were served, our guest speaker Susie Chan took to the stage and shared her remarkable story of a five year journey from lazy, wine drinking smoker to world record breaking endurance runner.


Guests had a variety of questions for Susie about her achievements and motivations.

Networking continued late into the evening with members sharing valuable connections and planning future meetings.

Thank you to everyone who attended our annual dinner this year and continues to support the work done by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the local business community.


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‘Ask the Expert’ – free advice for business start-ups

Are you thinking of starting a business?

Waverley Borough Council are offering free business advice for start-ups at an event in Haslemere next week.

The event is an opportunity for you to chat informally to local experts about starting or expanding your business.

It is also a great chance to network and share ideas with other local entrepreneurs.

The event takes place at the Georgian House Hotel in Haslemere from 6-7.30pm on Tuesday, 12 April 2016.

A buffet, with drinks, will be available on arrival from 5.45pm.

There will be a brief welcome by the Mayor of Waverley, followed by plenty of time to browse the stands and get answers to your business questions.

Register you free place at this event at

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Keeping your business safe from cybercrime

Keeping your business safe from cybercrimeCranleigh Chamber of Commerce members were treated to an informative and eye-opening presentation over breakfast at The Richard Onslow this morning, all about the dangers of cybercrime.

DC Dave Hull of the Surrey & Sussex Police Cyber Crime Unit described the threat of cybercrime as one of the top five risks facing the UK – right up there with terrorism and civil unrest!

He talked about various examples of cybercrime, with hackers increasingly using social engineering to access systems.

In one case, a quick search of LinkedIn and Facebook gave Dave and his team enough personal information to fabricate an email purporting to be from a school headmaster, encouraging the parent to click on a video link which took control of their computers.

There has also been cases of USB flash drives dropped by vehicles in car parks, with around one in ten of these picked up and inserted into computers, giving criminals access to valuable data.

Dave shared some useful tips, including the use of two-factor authentication on email accounts, so a text message code is required each time a new device is used to access an email account.

He also suggested consider using Cyber Essentials, a government-backed, industry supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber attacks.

Before the presentation, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce members enjoyed a full English or continental breakfast, along with opportunities for networking.

Chairing the meeting, Roger Coupe told those present about upcoming events from Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, including our annual dinner and AGM with guest speaker Susie Chan.

He also encouraged Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce members to write letters of support to Bob Bayley, as evidence of the demand for the new pay-on-exit car parking proposals, as this will help secure funding from Surrey County Council.

There was news about the forthcoming launch of Up Your Game, Cranleigh! This village-wide mystery shopping initiative from Shopper Anonymous Surrey is being organised by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, and funded by Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council, with an awards ceremony in June sponsored by One Forty.

Up to 40 businesses and retailers in Cranleigh can participate in the scheme, which costs a nominal £10 per business to enter. Details of this scheme will be available soon.

Our next breakfast meeting takes place at Cranfold Physical Therapy Centre on Thursday 7th April. Space at this breakfast is limited, so please reserve your seat now to avoid disappointment.

DSC_5893 DSC_5896 DSC_5900

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Celebrating women in business in Cranleigh

Celebrating women in business in CranleighBusiness women joined together on Monday morning for the first Inspiring Women in Business Event by Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Hosted by Rosemary French OBE, the sell-out event at Cranleigh Arts Centre was timed to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8th March.

Speakers shared their experiences in business before joining an expert panel discussion answering questions from the audience.

Delegates heard from Just Jhoom! founder Shalini Bhalla, vice principal of Chichester College Julie Kapsalis, international events organiser Christine Martin of Travel Retail Training and newly started business founders Klara Akerstrom and Mel Booth.

‘Do what you love! Don’t be afraid of change! Look after yourself!’ were the three messages from Shalini Bhalla of Just Jhoom! to an audience of more than 40 aspiring, early stage and established business women who met to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The speakers talked about their achievements and their challenges but most of all they celebrated the dynamic female led business community in Cranleigh, which is often hidden because many women run very successful businesses from their homes.

The event was hosted by Rosemary French, who received an OBE for services to women in business in 2014.

Rosemary introduced the second speaker, a senior business woman living in Cranleigh, Julie Kapsalis, Vice Principal of Chichester College, responsible for 15,000 students.

Julie talked about the challenges of moving up the corporate ladder while bringing up young children, a sentiment echoed by both the speakers and most of the audience.

She said: “The UK economy would be transformed if only the same number of women as men started and led businesses.”

Julie lamented the significant cost of child care when Scandinavian countries have a much higher percentage of women led businesses and women in senior corporate positions because their child care was subsidised.

Julie finished by saying “What glass ceiling? Just break through it!”

The most recently formed business owners to speak were Klara Akerstrom and Mel Booth from Admin Lab which started to trade only four months ago.

Mel and Klara talked about the difficulties in receiving advice on setting up in business and how helpful their accountant had been.

Klara said “We realised, early on, how important networking would be to growing our business and we have picked up clients from the regular Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce breakfasts, more so than we expected.”

Mel agreed and reminded the audience, “Do not underestimate the power of good planning.”

Last to speak was Christine Martin, founder and MD of 20-year-old business Travel Trade Training, a truly international company trading from her home in Cranleigh.

Christine has worked with hundreds of airlines throughout the world training their duty free staff and organising the International Sales Person of the Year (ISPY) Awards.

She has expanded into Russia already and Singapore is on the cards for 2017 followed by China.

Christine said “I am passionate about my business as are my colleagues.  We enjoy our roles, we have fun and most of all our customers are happy. Cranleigh is a great place to run my business being ideally located between Gatwick and Heathrow.”

A question panel session with all speakers completed the morning.

One aspiring start-up founder in the audience was looking for help and several other women immediately offered up their skills and knowledge.

Another question which provoked some discussion was what success looked like? There was general agreement that ‘enjoying what you do’ is the best ingredient for a successful business.

The event was so well liked by the business women in attendance that it was agreed that a networking sub group of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce would be established.

With that decision made, over lunch the 40 business women networked and developed valuable new business partnerships.

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Speaker confirmed for Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce annual dinner

Speaker confirmed for Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce annual dinnerWe are pleased to announce our headline speaker for the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce annual dinner will be world record breaking ultra runner Susie Chan.

Susie will be sharing the story of her remarkable five year journey from lazy, wine drinking, smoker to world recording breaking endurance runner.

She has twice completed the epic Marathon des Sables, is an Ironman triathlete and has run 100 miles non-stop.

Susie’s most recent feat of endurance was setting a new 12-hour world record, running a total distance of 68.54 miles (110.3km) on a treadmill in the human performance laboratory at Kingston University London.

Surrey resident Susie Chan will inspire and entertain our guests following the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce annual dinner on Tuesday 19th April 2016 at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club.

The annual dinner is open to non-members and tickets are only £15 each.

Space at this event is limited and we encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment.

The dinner will be preceded by our Annual General Meeting which is open to members only.

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Register now for these upcoming events

Register now for these upcoming eventsThere are plenty of events coming up on the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce calendar over the next few months.

These represent excellent opportunities for networking and learning.

Next Monday evening, we are inviting Chamber members to join us at Dunsfold Park for a presentation of their latest plans for housing. Members of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce can register to attend this meeting here.

On Monday 7th March, Cranleigh Chamber committee member Rosemary French OBE is hosting an event at Cranleigh Arts Centre which is designed to inspire women in business. Members and non-members are welcome at this event which has a fantastic line-up of speakers. A handful of spaces are left at this event, so please register quickly if you would like to attend.

Our March networking breakfast takes place at the Richard Onslow on 16th March, featuring a presentation by Surrey Police on keeping your business safe from online threats. Our breakfast meeting earlier this month was a sell-out, so reserve your place today while some seats remain.

On 7th April, Chamber members Gaynor Wilson of Splashback Therapy and Wendyanne Harrison of Cranfold Physical Therapy are hosting a healthy breakfast networking meeting at Cranfold Physical Therapy. Due to the small room size for this meeting, early booking is recommended.

Last year, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce was proud to be involved in the organisation and running of the inaugural Cranleigh Food & Music Festival, along with Cranleigh Arts Centre and a team of local volunteers. We are delighted that the Food & Music Festival is returning to Cranleigh in 2016. Join us at the official event launch on 11th April to find out more, meet the organisers and discover how your business can get involved.

A highlight of the Cranleigh business year is the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce annual dinner. This takes place on 19th April at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club and will incorporate our AGM, where members get to vote on various resolutions including the appointment of committee members. We will be announcing our speaker details very soon and aim to attract 100 business members for this special evening. Book your seat now here.

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The Great Cranleigh Fairtrade Bakeoff

The Great Cranleigh Fairtrade BakeoffYou may know that Cranleigh is a Fairtrade village, one of a few in Surrey.

You may not know however that Surrey has become a Fairtrade County– one of only a few in the country.

To celebrate this on 12th March 2016 (the end of Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from 29th February to 13th March) there is to be a Fairtrade Tour in celebration.

It reaches Cranleigh at 3.15-3.45pm on Saturday 12 March 2016.

As Cranleigh’s contribution to the event, the village is holding a cake competition – consisting of cakes made using Fairtrade ingredients.

It is being called “the Great Cranleigh Fairtrade Bakeoff”

There are four categories of entrants, one of which is “Professional Caterer”.

The Band Room will be the reception centre and people can drop off their cakes from 11am.

There will be coffee and tea available during the day for people to buy. And of course cake too!

One of the criteria for judging is how many Fairtrade ingredients people have used in their cakes and there’s a tiebreaker question about Fairtrade .

There are prizes available to the winning bakers, with a total prize fund of £100 donated by the Co-op.

After the judging, entrants can reclaim their cakes, or they will be sold or donated to local good causes.

We hope that our Chamber members who are involved in the food business will all get behind the Great Cranleigh Fairtrade Bakeoff and we look forward to seeing your creations on 12th March.

FT Bakeoff leaflet


Poster Bake Off

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