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Appeal over Sunny Sands beach sex attack

Contributed by editor on Jun 16, 2007 - 12:21 AM

Police have appealed for witnesses one week after a sex assault on a woman who had been swimming in the sea following an evening at a nightclub.

The 20-year-old woman was attacked in the early hours of 9 June on Sunny Sands beach in Folkestone after she had been swimming with a group of friends.

The victim had spent the evening in Piper's nightclub in Tontine Street.

Kent police are particularly keen to speak to a white man with long blonde hair who was wearing a brown shirt.


Councillors endorse proposal to remove Hawkinge East West road signs

Contributed by editor on Jun 15, 2007 - 09:31 AM

Hawkinge Parish Councillors have endorsed a written question from the editor of the Hawkinge Gazette put before them at Wednesday's monthly meeting (13 June).

The question: "In view of conversations I have had with PC Trevor Moody concerning the signage on Spitfire Way which identifies East and West Hawkinge, can the Parish Council put pressure upon Kent County Council to have these signs replaced in the interests of a united village.

PC Moody, who has considerable experience in policing, feels that the youth factions in the newly identified East and West of the village could cause problems in the future. Already, PC Moody has told me of the formation of a gang calling itself the Hawkinge West Boys.

I would ask that this matter be given your prompt attention as any delay could make the task more difficult to stop once the village has been split when the link road is finally opened.

I have been told that Spitfire Way has been signed in this way to ensure drivers passing through the village do not use Canterbury Road.

I feel the village should have had a say in this matter and that the County Council did not appear to understand the ramifications of the East/West signs.

Surely they need only have said " Through traffic" with other signs at Aerodrome Road and Swann Way roundabouts indicating for example Village Shops, Community Centre, Terlingham Village etc." "

The Parish Council Chairman David Callahan said the councillors endorsed the views and the clerk will be writing to Kent County Council Highways department, Shepway District Council and our local district and county council representatives about the points raised.

The Gazette has also spoken to our district councillor David Godfrey and county councillor Susan Carey.

Cllr Godfrey has emailed the Gazette confirming that both he and Cllr Carey have written to Gary Peak at Highways to express the concerns over use of "compass point " signage and asked him to consider alternatives.


NHS trust to put Royal Victoria Hospital buildings up for sale

Contributed by editor on Jun 14, 2007 - 06:51 PM

East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust has confirmed the sale of 19th Century Royal Victoria Hospital buildings in Folkestone but insists service levels will not change.

The decision comes despite protests from a campaign group set up to protect the future of hospital, which it said was wasting £1.2m a year on heating, lighting and cleaning the "almost entirely empty" buildings.

The trust promised savings would go into NHS services in Shepway and Folkestone.

The Save Our Royal Victoria Hospital campaign feared that outpatient services still operating in the Victorian buildings could not be accommodated in the hospital's other premises, but the trust's director of facilities, Howard Jones, insisted: "No services are being removed from the Folkestone hospital, absolutely everything is staying.

"We're going to spend at least £2.5m there... we need to enhance its role as a local hospital offering a wide range of outpatient services.

"Our plans are to create a new Derry Unit on site in the new wing of the hospital."

He added that the proposal for the Victorian premises was to sell them off to a residential developer.

Open days explaining the plans are due to be held at the hospital at the end of June.


More power to our elbows during Proud of Pubs week

Contributed by editor on Jun 14, 2007 - 06:38 PM

The former Tory leader Michael Howard is to visit his local during Proud of Pubs week.

The MP for Folkestone and Hythe can enjoy a pint at the Britannia Inn in Shorncliffe on Friday July 13 when he meets licensees Gary and Christine Hooper to raise the profile of local pubs.

Proud of Pubs Week, runs from July 8 to 15, and will see pubs across the country celebrating British pubs.

Michael Howard told The Publican newspaper: “The pub has long played a vital part in British life. I am sure that it will continue to do so long into the future. More power to our elbows!”


Nursery for school as Gardening club teams up with pupils

Contributed by editor on Jun 13, 2007 - 08:23 AM

Pupils at The Churchill School could soon be in business if plans to install a poly-tunnel reach fruition.

The Hawkinge and District Gardeners together with the school are applying to the Hawkinge Community Chest for funding.

In this week's edition of the school newsletter, the Churchill Times, headteacher Jennie Carter writes; "Pupils can work with skilled adults to grow bedding plants for sale."

She continues; "This will give them real skills and economic awareness and, hopefully, parents will benefit from the sale of plants and hanging baskets."


Grammar school's outstanding Ofsted report

Contributed by editor on Jun 12, 2007 - 10:01 PM

Teachers, staff, pupils and governors at Dover Grammar School for Girls are celebrating an exceptional report from Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools, which rated it as outstanding - one of a handful of schools in the county to be judged so highly.

The report is a glowing tribute to everyone at the school. Ofsted inspector Helen Hutchings comments: "This is an outstanding school. One parent summed up the views conveyed by many others when stating, 'I am very pleased that my daughter has the opportunity to attend such an excellent, high-achieving school.'

"Standards are very high. Students join the school with standards already above national averages. In each year group, the gap between the school and national levels of performance increases significantly, indicating outstanding progress and achievement. The school has improved the already high levels of performance found in the last inspection and is rightly proud that performance at A level was the highest in the local authority for three of the last five years.

"Another parent commented, 'DGGS is not only teaching my girls what they need to know academically but how to achieve their full potential and aim high with confidence and ability.'

"Undoubtedly the school's success is as a result of the excellence of teaching overall and a rich curriculum which provides students with an outstanding range and quality of learning activities within lessons and beyond.

"Leadership and management are outstanding. The headteacher and senior managers provide excellent leadership and are dedicated to 'academic excellence and personal fulfilment'. One parent commented on the 'welcoming atmosphere which is down to the strong influence of a caring and dynamic headteacher'. The effectiveness of this approach is evident in the recent success in achieving specialist humanities status."

In a letter to students at the school, she adds: "I want to thank you for your warm welcome and the contribution you made to the inspection by talking to us about your perceptions of the school. Most of your parents commented very positively in response to our questionnaire. Since the last inspection when the school was judged to be good there have been more improvements. We agree with you that DGGS is an outstanding school."

Headteacher Judith Carlisle said: "This was a robust and thorough inspection of every aspect of school life. I feel so proud of our students and staff, whose efforts have been recognised in every Grade 1 judgement. This is a truly unique school, where every visitor recognises the happy atmosphere and the confidence of the students. To be the headteacher of such a school is a joy."

Chair of Governors John Philpott added: "Governors are delighted with Ofsted's judgement that our school community is 'outstanding' in every area inspected. It's a great team result achieved through exceptional leadership, inspired teaching, excellent support staff and enthusiastic students and parents. A rare accolade indeed, but thoroughly well-deserved."

Cabinet Member for Education John Simmonds said: "At a time when grammar schools are in the spotlight it is so pleasing to hear this news. My sincere congratulations to everyone at the school on this achievement."

A copy of the report is available online at (link opens in a new window)