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Readers choice for best ferry

Contributed by editor on Oct 31, 2007 - 11:35 PM

SpeedFerries which runs between Dover and Boulogne has been voted Best Ferry Company’ by the readers of The Guardian, The Observer and Guardian Unlimited in their 21st Travel Awards.

A spokesman for SpeedFerries said: 'The scoring of these awards is designed to reward quality, rather than quantity, so it is not surprising that SpeedFerries, a small family run company, has outstripped the stiffest competition from long-established rivals in the industry throughout the UK.'

Since its launch in 2004, the company has won this award twice and also picked up the Best European Crossing Operator award at the Telegraph Travel Awards in 2005.

The company has pledged to continue its commitment to offer cross-Channel prices at an acceptable level and provide a high quality, low cost ferry service for its customers as well as push the limits for traditional ferry operation.

For ferry information:


Stolen metal found in Hawkinge

Contributed by editor on Oct 31, 2007 - 11:19 PM

Hawkinge neighbourhood police constable, Trevor Moody is investigating the discovery of some metal objects in undergrowth off Aerodrome Road.

The items include metal sheets 5ft x 4ft, copper piping and 4 gas cylinders.

It is thought the items were stolen and had been left at the location for later collection by the offender.

PC Moody has released a photo of the items and is appealing for anyone who has had the items stolen recently to get in touch with him.

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Trevor Moody or PCSO Sarah Wallace on 07980 770583 or KCC Warden Tanya Clark on 07811 271303

Make our roads safer for young people

Contributed by editor on Oct 31, 2007 - 11:01 PM

The Prosser Perspective.... a weekly column from Dover and Deal MP Gwyn Prosser

1 November 2007


Next Monday is Guy Fawkes Night and the next day we will hear the usual unhappy stories about the number of youngsters hurt by fireworks but Monday is also the first day of National Road Safety Week and it’s a sad reality that more young people are injured or killed on our roads every day than ever occur around the bonfire .

Our general road safety record is one of the best in the world and great efforts are being made to improve it further but to our shame we still have one of the worst child pedestrian death rates in Western Europe and that’s one of the reasons I’m working with the road safety campaigners, BRAKE to make our highways safer for young people.

One young driver or passenger is killed or severely injured every hour of every day on our roads and that can’t be allowed to continue. The figures are quite staggering. Last year there were over 800 fatalities amongst 15 to 25 year-olds and in that same age group there were some 70,000 injuries of which over 700 were classed as serious.

If you didn’t know better you could let all those cold statistics mask the terrible individual tragedies that each injury and fatality represents. Most of us will have some experience of a friend or family member whose been involved in a road accident but even if we didn’t – in this part of the world we’ve had more than our fair share of tragic losses and some of them have sparked important local campaigns for better law and safer roads.

When young Jessica Leigh was run over and killed by a car at the Tower Hamlets cross roads in 2002, her family put huge efforts into highlighting weaknesses in the Road Traffic Act and I was able to take their ‘Justice for Jessica’ petition to the Prime Minister and give them access to Ministers and to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Our representations helped bring about the introduction of the Road Safety Bill which includes a new a new offence of ‘causing death by careless driving’ and it now forms part of the 2006 Road Safety Act.

We’ve witnessed a rash of serious accidents on the A20 and the A2 in recent months which I’ve raised with the Transport Minister but the A258 has also claimed its victims and the sad and tragic loss of young Samantha Horne has prompted a vigorous campaign by her family and friends who I am supporting in their fight for safety improvements to the Dover to Deal road.

The Government is committed to reducing deaths and serious injuries by 40% over the next three years but more effort needs to be put into protecting our young people and that’s why I will be meeting with my friends at BRAKE next week to help promote National Road Safety Week, to brief them on the Samantha campaign and to share with them some of the specific safety problems associated with the approach roads to Dover.


Help for victims of domestic violence

Contributed by editor on Oct 31, 2007 - 10:53 PM

Howard's Way.... a weekly column from the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC. MP. 

1 November 2007


Last Friday morning I attended the AGM of Home-Start Shepway. Regular readers will know if my admiration and enthusiasm for the excellent work they do to help families with young children who face difficulties of one kind or another. They achieve this by training volunteers to take some of the burdens off the shoulders of the mothers in these families and giving them support in meeting their challenges. They are also giving increasing help to victims of domestic violence.

I have recently been honoured by being made Patron of Home-Start Shepway and last Friday I made two presentations. One was to Lynda Burchett to celebrate her ten years of service to the organisation. As the Treasurer pointed out “without Lynda there would be no Shepway Home-Start.” The second presentation was a League of mercy award for voluntary service to John Midgley, the first Chairman of Home-Start Shepway, who has rendered such sterling service to the voluntary sector in our community over many years.

From there I went to the Grand for the AGM of the Channel Chamber of Commerce where I was heartened by the general air of optimism which pervaded the meeting and the lunch which followed it.

Next stop was Folkestone Fire Station where I listened to the arguments put forward by the fire fighters, to whom we owe so much, for protecting the existing facilities at Folkestone. These are to be the subject of a forthcoming consultation exercise by the Fire Authority and this very useful meeting helped me to make the most vigorous defence I can of the facilities we have.

On Saturday, after my advice centres, I attended the opening of new purpose built units of social housing in Sellindge, paid for in part by charitable trusts which date back 400 years – a remarkable story.

Later, to return to the theme of volunteering, I spent some time behind the counter at Barnardos in Sandgate Road to celebrate Make-a-Difference Day – the national day which celebrates the contribution voluntary activity makes to our society.


Sculpture honouring The Battle of Britain

Contributed by editor on Oct 30, 2007 - 07:50 PM

Hawkinge, Acrise and Paddlesworth trip to Westminster Abbey – 17 October 2007

It was with great anticipation that we set out to visit Westminster Abbey; having already enjoyed trips to The Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, and St Paul’s Cathedral – would this trip compare favourably?

Well yes it certainly did. Such a shame that we had to wait in the pouring rain for the coach after some fine days of sunshine and warmth but fortunately the clouds cleared just as we approached London and the sun reappeared.

I had no prior knowledge of Westminster Abbey but after a fact filled “Verger’s Tour” this was certainly rectified.

I had not, for instance, realised it is one huge graveyard with some very famous bodies buried there (some in very strange positions – and I don’t mean locations!); it seemed rather cluttered inside as over the centuries bits have been added on and is now full up so that present royalty have to be buried at Windsor! We started in the Jerusalem Chamber, not normally open to the public but as no meetings were being held that day we were invited to see it – it really has the WOW factor!

There is an original medieval ceiling which was quite wonderful and we were regaled by several stories of historic events that had occurred in this special room.

After such a great start it was a whistle stop tour – an amazing building and even if you are not in the least bit pious it is fascinating.

We were also privileged to visit the Shrine of Edward the Confessor, which again is an area not usually open to the public (was that an American tourist I spotted latching on to our group?!) The crowning glory was to see the coronation throne that has been used for many centuries – you would never believe it has had such an important role as it looks very battered and bruised – but it has great significance in our country’s history.

I’m not sure if we had preferential treatment on our tour but fortunately the lady in charge of bookings is a WI member and I’m sure made certain that we had a truly enjoyable time. For those wishing to we then took Holy Communion at the altar in the nave which rounded off a truly wonderful morning.

Off to lunch next with roast beef and apple pie – delicious; before going on to see Paul Day’s sculpture honouring The Battle of Britain. This is situated on the embankment. Paul’s mother was a member of our WI for several years and so it was marvellous to be able to see his brilliant work. (It was reported in the newspapers recently that he has just finished another sculpture to be erected at the refurbished St Pancras; so if you are ever in that station look out for it – I’m sure it will not disappoint).

Just time then to find the coach and wend our weary way home after another truly enjoyable WI outing.

Linda Barnes

Committee Member


Tit Bits - 30 October 2007

Contributed by editor on Oct 30, 2007 - 06:25 PM

His stare radiated malice.....

I was interested to read an article about a motoring journalist testing a BMW's K1200 GT motorcycle visiting  the Battle of Britain Museum in Hawkinge. (

It brought back memories when the Hawkinge Gazette was but a mere fledgling.

I had the idea that the new villagers would like to know about the local amenities and somewhat foolishly, it turns out, visited the Battle of Britain museum in Aerodrome Road to take a photograph for an article extolling the virtues of the museum.

Unfortunately, my presence was unwelcome and I was told to leave in a less than polite manner. I was subsequently told by a number of people that others had also suffered a similar fate.

Which now brings me back to the article on the BMW.

Explaining that RAF Hawkinge was the British airfield closest to German-occupied France during the Second World War's Battle of Britain, it tells of many young men who died and the wreckage of their Messerschmitts, Hurricanes and Spitfires are still sometimes unearthed in fields.

"Many mechanical relics are on display at a museum that occupies part of this old airfield that is popular with men fascinated by the technology with which Winston Churchill's "few" fought.

"Perhaps I should have considered this before riding into the car park on a shiny German motorcycle but the duty not to visit the sins of the fathers on subsequent generations was inculcated in me during childhood.

"Apparently that was not the case for one visitor. His stare radiated malice. To this nerd, who imagined the defence of democracy owed more to horsepower than willpower, arriving on a BMW K1200GT exhibited atrocious taste."

I though back to my own encounter at the museum and concluded that the rider had got off lightly.

6 years ago things could have turned out far worse and 66 years ago worse still.

Would you like to contribute to my page of tit bits?


Fairy tale

Contributed by editor on Oct 30, 2007 - 12:16 AM

Finkle sent this in to the Gazette; we think Finkle could possibly be a man.....

Fairy Tale:  

One day, long, long ago, there lived a woman who,

surprisingly, did not whine, nag, or bitch........


But this was a long time ago.....

and it was just ONE day.

The End


KCC TV - an abuse of power claims MP

Contributed by editor on Oct 28, 2007 - 04:32 PM

Thanet South MP Dr. Stephen Ladyman has attacked the Tory controlled Kent County Council (KCC) over their TV channel launched in September.

He described the £600,000 television channel as "a vanity project paid for at the expense of our older people".

Speaking from Westminster after calling for a debate "about the way KCC abuses its powers", Dr Ladyman, said: "Kent has demonstrated crass insensitivity."

In response, the Leader of the Commons, Harriet Harman, is reported as saying that, in the olden days it used to be known as propaganda on the rates. She said that she will be bringing it to the attention of colleagues in government.

KCC chief executive Peter Gilroy justified the expenditure saying it would benefit tourism, inward investment and education in the county.

The county council hopes that advertising will eventually support the venture.


Darker nights are an opportunity to thieves warn police

Contributed by editor on Oct 28, 2007 - 09:46 AM

Police are advising residents to review their home security as the clocks go back and the nights draw in.

Research shows that opportunist burglaries committed whilst people are out at work rise at this time of year, but many could be avoided.

Det Insp Kenny Ingram said: “The darker nights do provide extra opportunities for criminals to burgle houses. Our research shows many of these sorts of crimes can be prevented if people take some extra precautions:”

· Always lock all your doors and windows. Remember - any space big enough for a human head is big enough for someone to climb through.

· Never leave keys in hiding places such as under flower pots or on top of door frames. Burglars know where to look. You could always leave a spare set of keys with a trusted neighbour or friend.

· Where possible fit an alarm.

· Whilst it gets dark early on in the evening, or equally, if you are going away on holiday, use timers on your lights (they are inexpensive and easy to set up) and consider leaving the radio on to make it look as if people are at home.

· Never leave property in a porch you tend to leave unlocked, even if the door is usually shut.

· Don’t leave expensive items on window sills where they could be seen from the street.

· Lock all garden tools securely in the shed, as they could be stolen or used to break into your house.

· Property mark your valuables. You can use a UV pen or etching tool to mark property with your house number and postcode. This will make it easy to identify and will act as a huge deterrent to thieves.*

*Hawkinge PC, Trevor Moody is holding a free security marking event at the Lidl supermarket in Hawkinge on Sat 3 Nov from 3pm to 6pm as part of the Kent Police Safer Autumn campaign.

Eurotunnel cuts prices by half

Contributed by editor on Oct 28, 2007 - 09:37 AM

The cross channel war is hotting up, after Eurotunnel announced it is slashing priced by half.

In its effort to win more business from the ferry operators, Eurotunnel is cutting the cost of rail freight through the Channel Tunnel from the current £6,000 to around £3,000 at the start of next year.

The company had blamed the reduction in freight traffic over the past decade to a growing lack of competitiveness in relation to the ferry companies, which it says had been partly caused by its increased security costs.

With its new reduced prices Eurotunnel hopes to reverse its downward trend of rail freight.

The tunnel has the capacity to carry 10 million tonnes of rail freight every year, but the business has dwindled to just over one million tonnes this year amid competition from road transport firms and high security costs to prevent illegal immigration.

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