Our Vice-President, Chris Howard, is also the Chairman of Visit Surrey. Wearing that hat, she has been one of the driving forces to create Surrey Day and to make it such a success. In the following article, she explains a little more about this year’s special day.
Surrey Day, a national celebration of everything that makes the county so special, returned for a second year on Saturday 2 May. This time, the concept had to be re-thought to make it viable during lockdown. The result? A virtual Surrey Day. Jointly hosted by the county’s tourist board, Visit Surrey, along with BBC Radio Surrey and Surrey Life magazine it was recreated for an online audience that tuned in to BBC Radio Surrey from all around the world.
Following last year’s inaugural celebration, which saw several hundred special events taking place across the county, everything had to happen ‘virtually’ this time. However, if anything, the day proved to be even more successful, as it meant people could get involved from wherever they were based – making it a truly global event. It even included two of our Swedish SHS members, Gunnar and Katarina Nyman, who phoned in from Sweden to talk about why they love visiting the Surrey Hills. Closer to home, our Chairman, Gordon Jackson and Rob Fairbanks, Director of the Surrey Hills AONB, were both interviewed as part of the day.
BBC Radio Surrey made Surrey Day the focus of their entire programming from 6am to 6pm and managed to include a whole host of different topics. There was everything from online tours of the county’s museums, galleries and attractions to special interviews. They pre-recorded potted histories of many of Surrey’s towns – read by local experts such as museum curators – and included numerous clips produced by their own staff explaining what they liked about where they live and what they could see from those places.
People also took to social media to share their favourite local views – and, for the grand finale, Guildford Cathedral was lit up green, thanks to Peachy Productions, in homage to England’s most densely-wooded county. No wonder then that #SurreyDay was also trending on Twitter.
The Society’s congratulations go to all the people involved in making this such a wonderful day. There was clearly a vast amount of work involved but it resulted in a really successful celebration and promotion of what makes Surrey special. Now we are looking forward to Surrey Day 2021!
Editor’s Note: Until the end of May 2020, the Surrey Day broadcasts can be heard on the BBC Sounds app by clicking here.