US deal for Folkestone ferry firm

Contributed by editor on Mar 18, 2006 - 04:41 PM


The Spirit of Ontario in New York


Navmed Limited, the Channel ferry operators who are hoping to run a service from Folkestone are reportedly negotiating to buy an American high-speed ferry currently working the Great Lakes between Rochester NY and Ontario in Canada.

The company also called Navmed-Highspeedferries is based in Folkestone. Its financial backers plan to invest more than £30m in a plan that includes two other high-speed ferries crossing the channel from Dover and Folkestone. 

Should the Australian built ship be sold to Navmed, it would be taken out through the St. Lawrence Seaway, which opens for the season on Thursday (23 March). 

The Spirit of Ontario is one of the fastest and most powerful diesel-powered vehicle ferries in the world. The 5 deck vessel is 284 feet long and in sea trials, it reached speeds of 55 mph.

The two passenger decks have a duty-free shop, restaurants, bars, two cinemas, and a children’s play area. Passengers will also have access to satellite TV and Internet access.

The Spirit can carry 774 passengers and up to 238 cars or 10 lorries.

Michael Howard to stand down

Contributed by editor on Mar 17, 2006 - 11:06 PM



At a packed Annual General Meeting of Folkestone and Hythe Conservative Association last night (17 March), local MP Michael Howard announced that he will not be standing as the Conservative Candidate at the next General Election.

He said that after more than 20 years it was now time to move on.

"By the time of the next election I will have been an MP for 26 years, he said.

"I have been very privileged to serve as a Government minister for 12 years and in the shadow cabinets for six years but the time has now come to move on."

Michael thanked local members for their support over the years and said, “I cannot tell you how deep my gratitude is.�

Michael was born in Llanelli, Wales, where his Romanian Jewish shopkeeper father Bernard Hecht had moved as an immigrant . His mother, Hilda Kershion, was Welsh-born and of Eastern European Jewish ancestry. 

When he was six, the family name of Hecht was anglicised. He attended a state school and Peterhouse, Cambridge and was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1962. 

He was called to the Bar in 1964. However, unlike his many Cambridge contemporaries, Howard found difficulty being selected for a winnable seat and so continued his career at the Bar where he became a Queen's Counsel in 1982. 

Michael was finally selected for the constituency of Folkestone and Hythe in succession to Sir Albert Costain, who was retiring and easily won his seat in the general election of 1983.

After the 1997 election, he stood for the leadership of the Conservative Party. This bid was sabotaged by his own former Home Office deputy, Ann Widdecombe, who described him as having "something of the night" about him. 

In 2001, however, he made a dramatic comeback as Shadow Chancellor, a role in which he attracted higher ratings than his many predecessors. 

He was a right-wing Home Secretary, who introduced private prisons and tough mandatory sentences, although he does not support the reintroduction of the death penalty. 

Michael Howard's appointment as Leader of the Conservative Party in November 2003 marked the culmination of an outstanding political rebirth.

Ferry service plans for Folkestone

Contributed by editor on Mar 16, 2006 - 09:09 PM


A fast ferry firm is which is planning to bring new cross Channel services to Dover is also aiming to re-establish a ferry service from Folkestone.

Navmed Limited hopes to create 700 jobs and wants to offer a first class, high quality service for passengers.

The company has been formed by former Hoverspeed employees, and aims to be in operation by May 2006.

It will initially offer services to Calais and Boulogne, and then to Ostend. It plans to use three ships.

Navmed is in negotiations to buy the two former Hoverspeed Seacat fast ferries taken out of service last November when Hoverspeed pulled out of Dover.

Howard's Way 16 March 2006

Contributed by editor on Mar 16, 2006 - 12:15 AM


HOWARD'S WAY.... a weekly column from Michael Howard MP

March 2006<IMG height=195 hspace=10 src="images/michaelhoward3.jpg" width=130 align=right vspace=10 border=0>

First stop last Friday was St Peter’s Church of England Primary School in The Durlocks.

The school is planning a stage performance of ‘Oliver’ in June and has secured a grant from the National Lottery of £2000 to pay for it. I handed over the cheque and stayed for assembly.

There I learned a fascinating piece of information which was entirely new to me. Miss Blunt, the head teacher, was basing a homily around jelly babies, during the course of which she informed me that they started off as peace babies in 1918 at the end of the First World War. They were later discontinued and revived as jelly babies in 1953 after sweet rationing was ended. You and live and learn.

Next stop was the Burstin Hotel for the launch of CASE, Immunity Action South East Kent. The event was a celebration of voluntary work in the area. Another fascinating fact emerged. 1 in 11 of the region’s residents do some voluntary work.

That means a total of 726,000 people volunteer. What if we managed to increase that to 2 in 11? That would mean nearly 1 ½ million people taking part in voluntary work. I am convinced that there are many people who would volunteer if only they were asked.

If you want to do some voluntary work and don’t know what to do or how to go about it, phone the Shepway Volunteer centre on 01303-253339.

My last call was on the Shepway Primary Care Trust. This was one of my regular meetings with the Trust.

High on my list of concerns was the state of NHS dentistry in our area. The Government has given dentists a new contract but has failed to provide Primary Care Trusts with the money to pay for it.

That has caused real difficulties for the Trust. Chief Executive Ann Sutton assured me that she was doing all she can to square the circle. I hope our efforts succeed.

Hawkinge Farmers' Market to open soon

Contributed by editor on Mar 15, 2006 - 08:49 PM


A weekly farmers' market in Hawkinge Community Centre is to open o­n 22 March.

Operating every Wednesday between 2pm and 5pm, it will be selling  locally produced vegetables and fruit, free range eggs, bread, cakes and local meat.

Although advertised as a farmers' market, it will also be selling handmade cards, paintings, cushions and scarves.

Spring into action with green waste scheme

Contributed by editor on Mar 15, 2006 - 07:09 AM


The next phase of Dover District Council's major Green Waste Recycling Scheme is being launched next week and will bring collections to around another 9,500 properties - making a total of almost 20,000 homes o­n the scheme across the area.

New areas covered by the scheme will include homes in Alkham, Guston, Shepherdswell, Coldred, East Studdal, West Hougham, Capel, Lydden, Temple Ewell, Ash and various parts of Dover. Existing rounds already cover homes in St Margaret's, Kingsdown, Aylesham, Sandwich, Whitfield, Eastry, Worth, River, Elvington, Eythorne, Tilmanstone and various parts of Deal.

Residents o­n the scheme can put out up to 15 bags or containers of weeds, dead flowers and plants, hedge trimmings and grass cuttings for recycling.

The Green Waste Recycling Scheme was launched to 10,000 properties last August and so far the scheme has collected more than 650 tonnes of green waste. Garden waste that can be composted is collected fortnightly by a dedicated vehicle and crew and recycled locally.

To check if you are o­n the new or existing rounds please contact our dedicated Customer Services Representatives o­n 01304 872428 or you can log o­n to

Illegal fishing costs boat owners £21,000

Contributed by editor on Mar 14, 2006 - 05:48 PM


Owners of a Dutch beam trawler that was found to be operating illegal netting in UK waters have been fined more than £7000 and forced to forfeit gear worth over £14,000, following a successful prosecution at Dover Magistrates Court.

The vessel, Joris Senior, was using fishing nets known as ‘blinders’, which are designed to trap undersized fish. Investigation of the trawler uncovered a large haul of undersized fish and more illegal netting.

The prosecution came as a result of collaboration between the Royal Navy and Dutch Enforcement Authorities.

"Boats using this type of illegal netting are cheating other fishermen and the penalties reflect the seriousness of the offences committed,� said Paul Johnson, senior fisheries officer from Defra's Marine Fisheries Agency. "Fisheries enforcement is a difficult and demanding job, designed to protect the interests of the fishing industry as a whole. Today's successful prosecution is a good example of how by working together the UK along with our Dutch colleagues can reduce illegal fishing and help conserve valuable fish stocks."

Folkestone Camera Club 13 March 2006

Contributed by editor on Mar 13, 2006 - 04:27 PM


Mr Adrian Harrison was our judge on 6th March for three separate competitions, each with a final winner of the special trophies. These being the Reg Walker Cup which is for the best overall slide of last season, the Peter Heritage Cup slide/digital image competition which is a different set subject every season and each photograph must depict the set subject title, this years being ‘Entertainment’. The final trophy was the St. Aubyn Cup whitch is a special competition for Landscape prints.

The winners of each Trophy were:-

REG WALKER CUP A selection of members best last seasons slides 

TROPHY WINNER:- Bill Grudgings ‘Elterwater’

Highly Commended David Hughes ‘Grand Court’
“ “ Brian Collins CPAGB ‘The Choir Rochester Cathedral’
“ “ Brian Collins CPAGB ‘Five Trees’
“ “ Michael Chalk ‘Tall Reflections’
Commended Melanie Chalk ‘ Rabbits at Play’
“ Bob Brisley LRPS ‘ Oiler’
“ Bill Grudgings ‘ Watergate’

PETER HERITAGE CUP Set Subject; ‘Entertainment’ 

TROPHY WINNER:- Pam Wraight ‘Folk Band Takes Five’ 

ST. AUBYN CUP - Landscape Prints

TROPHY WINNER;- Frank Baraclough ‘Canyon View’
2nd Nick Blundell ‘Alkham Valley’
3rd Thelma Bridges ‘Bavarian Grandeur (2)’

On Monday 20th March,.it will be the SLIDE/PROJECTED IMAGE COMPETITION No.5 Judged by: Dr. Peter Lewis LRPS., and the following week (27th) the LEN CHARLES CUP,which is a 12 minute presentations by Members in competition, this evening our fellow members have the opportunity to become judge

On Tuesday 21st March we shall hold our monthly Practical evening, where members can practice with the clubs studio lighting either in portraiture or table top. This evening can be a chance just to have an informal evening chatting about photography.

At a recent Battle where 11 Clubs were involved, abd each submitted 6 prints from their club members, these being Dartford (winning with 104 points), Sevenoaks (2nd 102 points), Sittingbourne (2nd 102 points), Folkestone (4th 96 points), Invicta (4th 96 points), Reflex (6th 95 points), Staplehurst (7th 94 points), Malling (7th 93 points), Gravesend (9th 90 points), Parkwood (10th 86 points), Tovil (11th 82 points). As the marks show, it was quite close and we didn’t disgrace ourselves by coming 4th!

Visit our web site at where you can see many images, including the winners from the above competitions.

Our meetings are held at the United Reform Community Hall, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone on Mondays from September to May at 7.45pm. New members are always welcome, if interested please phone Mrs Jenny Barraclough (Press Officer)) 
01303 245399. E mail:

Coleman wins record-breaking half marathon

Contributed by editor on Mar 13, 2006 - 03:25 PM


Dover-based runner Michael Coleman was the surprise winner of the annual Hastings Half Marathon on Sunday (12 March).

Considered to be the UK's leading race of its kind,  a record 4,500 starters runners braved the bitterly cold weather.

The race, which was held for the 22nd time gave Coleman the first British victory since Ian Cornford in 1997.

The presentation will take place at The Hastings Centre on Friday April 28 and the prizes will be handed out by Meridian television sports presenter Iain McBride.

Free bus travel at 60 welcomed

Contributed by editor on Mar 13, 2006 - 11:44 AM


Dover residents are welcoming the introduction of free bus travel for all 60 and overs in the district.

A Concessionary Bus Pass Scheme which already operates in Dover is being upgraded from 1st April to provide free travel, at off peak times o­n local bus services throughout Kent, for every resident aged 60 or over, and residents with some types of disability.

Existing bus passes will be accepted for free travel from 1st April until the expiry date.

For full details, please call the Concessionary Fares helpline o­n (01304) 872122 or call (01304) 821199, or call into the Council offices or local offices.

Details of the scheme and an application form are available o­n Dover District Council's website at