Push the button, not your luck

Contributed by editor on Aug 28, 2004 - 07:18 PM


<FONT color=black>Nearly 20 percent of people who were injured in fires in Kent and Medway over a 12-month period had smoke alarms in their homes but had forgotten to check they were working.

<FONT color=black>Encouragingly, however, figures reveal that smoke-alarm ownership in homes where there have been fires has increased from 54 per cent to nearly 57 percent in the space of a year.

<FONT color=black>The news comes as the government launches its ‘Push the button, not your luck’ campaign to encourage smoke-alarm maintenance.  And although the majority of the population now own smoke alarms, fire statistics show that many of these alarms are not functioning due to flat or missing batteries.

<FONT color=black>Worryingly, the statistics o­n smoke alarm failures are rising. In 2003/2004, where a smoke alarm was present in a domestic fire, it failed to operate in nearly 15 percent of cases. Almost two-thirds of all failures in battery-powered alarms are caused by missing or flat batteries.

<FONT color=black>Head of Community Fire Safety Steve Demetriou said: “Statistics such as those above highlight the paramount importance of fitting, maintaining and regularly checking smoke detectors. Nuisance alarms needn’t keep going off if they are situated correctly.  And never, ever remove batteries for use in another electrical appliance.â€?

<FONT color=black>Here are some essential tips to ensure your smoke alarm can save your life:

<FONT color=black>• Fit smoke alarms o­n each level of your home
• Do not put smoke alarms in the kitchen
• Check the battery o­nce a week
• Replace the battery every twelve months
• Battery smoke alarm units should be changed every ten years
• Consider installing ten-year smoke alarms or hard wired alarms
 To help remind you to check your batteries, why not link it to a regular weekly task, such as putting out the bins?
 Further information o­n smoke alarms and fire safety can be found at:

De Haan buys Folkestone Port

Contributed by editor on Aug 26, 2004 - 08:39 PM


<FONT color=black>Saga boss Roger De Haan has paid £11m for the Port of Folkestone.

<FONT color=black>It was announced today by Sea Containers Ltd  who formerly owned the port  that it had sold its subsidiary Folkestone Properties Ltd, owners of Folkestone Harbour to Mr De Haan.

<FONT color=black>Contracts were signed o­n July 2, 2004 and the purchase was completed on Tuesday (August 24, 2004). 

<FONT color=black>Roger De Haan is selling his Saga Company after he announced in November 2003, his intention to retire after 37 years.

<FONT color=black>It has been reported that the financial services and holiday group has received at least 10 bids exceeding £1bn to buy the company.

Wristbands keep lost kids in touch

Contributed by editor on Aug 26, 2004 - 07:00 PM


Children lost o­n the beaches of Dymchurch could be reunited with their parents sooner - thanks to a brainwave by o­ne of Kent County Council's community wardens.

Dave Hunt has distributed 2,000 bright green and pink wristbands to tourist spots o­n his Dymchurch patch, including caravan parks, amusement arcades and fish and chip shops.

Produced by the Coastguard the wristbands, which are free of charge, leave a space for parents or guardians to write their mobile phone number o­n them. They are then attached to children's wrists so that adults can easily track down their youngsters if they get lost.

Mr Hunt said: "Between 15 and 20 children get lost here each year. It's easy to become separated from parents o­n a crowded beach and youngsters can easily get sunburned and become distressed.

"I can't thank the Coastguard enough for letting me have these wristbands and I hope they will save lives and prevent parents from having to go through an agonising wait until their children are found."

Lead member for community safety Michael Hill said: "I am delighted with this initiative of the local community warden, Dave Hunt, which will make the beaches of Dymchurch safer for families."

Double delights

Contributed by editor on Aug 26, 2004 - 06:52 PM

<P class=pressheading><FONT color=black size=4>DOUBLE DELIGHTS

<FONT color=black>Folkestone’s amphitheatre at the Lower Leas Coastal Park has another two-day helping of music and dance this weekend (28 and 29 August).

<FONT color=black>On Saturday Shiva Nova, o­ne of Europe’s most acclaimed East/West fusion bands make a return visit. As well as music and dance, there will be workshops for young people, aged between 10 and 18, starting at noon.

<FONT color=black>On Sunday the Agape Choir brings evangelical music to the amphitheatre when between 35 and 40 local voices will be soaring to the skies with light gospel music and some instrumental performances. The concert starts at 1.00pm

<FONT color=black>All performances are free.

Entente cordiale celebrations

Contributed by editor on Aug 26, 2004 - 06:50 PM


<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%"><IMG height=275 alt="Cllr George Bunting (left) with Boulogne Mayor, Frederick Cuvillier in front of the statue" hspace=10 src="" width=183><TD vAlign=top rowSpan=2>

One hundred years of entente cordiale was marked in Boulogne on Saturday (14 August) with the unveiling of a 15 feet high statue on the harbourside.

The white statue, called Shake Hands, incorporates outlines of Great Britain and France joined by interlocking hands and the cut outs of two suns that help create a smiling face.

Among those who attended the ceremony were Cllr George Bunting, District Secretary for the Environment; Chief Executive, Brian McAndrew; Regeneration and Economic Development Manager, John Foster and Isabelle Watier, Manager of BOSCO, the Boulogne and Shepway Co-operation.

After the unveiling by Boulogne Mayor, Frederick Cuvillier, Cllr Bunting paid tribute to the French military and the sacrifices made during the Second World War.

He also said he looked forward to inviting guests from Boulogne to 50th twinning anniversary celebrations in Folkestone in 2006.

As well as twinning links, Shepway and Boulogne work together through BOSCO to regenerate both towns and to secure European funding for joint projects. BOSCO’s latest success secured £563,000 of funding to extend new paving, lighting and other enhancements in Guildhall Street and the Sandgate Road precinct in Folkestone.

<TD class=italics align=middle>Cllr George Bunting (left)
with Boulogne Mayor,
Frederick Cuvillier
in front of the statue


Cashing in on awards

Contributed by editor on Aug 26, 2004 - 06:44 PM

<P class=pressheading>CASHING IN ON AWARDS

Local voluntary groups in Shepway have tapped into more than £70,000 worth of grants in three months from the Lottery-based Awards for All schemes.

The £76,268 awarded between March and June was the highest in Kent and Shepway Council’s Regeneration Officer, Dave Illsley, says he hopes even more groups will now come forward with community projects that need a cash boost.

“The latest take-up for Awards for All grants from groups in Shepway was the best in Kent with 18 local groups being awarded between £500 and £5,000 for their projects. This is particularly rewarding because the award scheme got off to a slow start when it was introduced and the council has worked hard with Awards for All to let people know about the opportunities this scheme brings.�

Awards for All aims to support activities that:

  • Encourage local people to get involved in groups and projects
  • Increase skill and creativity, encourage talent and raise standards
  • Enhance quality of life.

Among local groups to benefit from the latest awards was the Folkestone and Hythe District Scout Council which was given a maximum £5,000 grant to help pay for roof repairs and re-fitting the kitchen at its headquarters in Ash Tree Road.

Any groups which would like to find out more about applying for Awards for All and the Big Lottery Fund (Community Fund) programmes are invited to a Before you apply day o­n 2 September.

The event, at New Etchinghill Village Hall, is open to any voluntary or community groups that need a grant for community projects.

Sue Arnold from the Big Lottery Fund and Malcolm Higgins, Awards Officer from Awards for All, will explain who can apply, what can – and cannot be – funded and how decisions o­n grants are made.

Any groups interested in attending should contact the Big Lottery Fund o­n 01483 462900 or see

For an Awards for All application pack please call 0845 600 2040 or see

"Enough is enough"

Contributed by editor on Aug 26, 2004 - 06:37 PM

<DIV class=subheading>"ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"

<TABLE width=150 align=left border=0><TABLE class=lightbg cellPadding=4 width=145><TD class=mcblack align=middle>
Michael Howard
<TD width=5><IMG height=1 alt="" src="" width=5>In a speech in Stafford, Conservative leader and MP for Folkestone and Hythe Michael Howard has set out how the next Conservative Government will "change the culture" of Government in order to turn back the tide of political correctness.

Mr Howard acknowledged that "not all the answers to the problems posed by political correctness lie in the hands of politicians" but added that "there are specific measures that we can and will take to challenge it." He said that these include:

- A review of the Human Rights Act which is being "roundly abused".

- A consultation o­n how the Children Act is working in practice to "restore the balance of power between parents and bureaucrats".

- A freeze o­n civil service recruitment meaning that there will be "fewer bureaucrats to push out regulations".

- The implementation of "sunset clauses" for many regulations to ensure that o­nly those "that are clearly necessary will survive"; and

- Measures to protect teaches and "return to them control of the classroom."

Mr Howard went o­n to say that what is also needed is a "change of culture". The next Conservative Government "will say, loudly and clearly, to the people of this country, we are o­n your side. We will support doctors, teachers, nurses, policemen and the ordinary man and woman o­n the street. We will say to them, we agree with you.

"Enough is enough. You should be free to lead your lives as you see fit. We will o­nly intervene when the need to do so is clear and necessary. We will end the culture of regulation, interference and centralisation which is destroying our sense of community. o­nce again, government will serve the people. It will no longer be its master."

Wishing for an attractive village centre

Contributed by admin on Aug 26, 2004 - 01:03 PM


Dear Ed

<FONT color=black>Thanks to John Heasman for answering my point about the village hall. 

<FONT color=black>Will £15,000 to £20,000 be anywhere enough to bring the building up to scratch? I very much doubt it!  The windows all need replacing, the rendering is coming off in lots of places (have a look down the alleyway)and I reckon a building surveyor would have a field day if asked to prepare a report o­n it. 

<FONT color=black>And I haven't even mentioned the so-called car park, which is covered in pot holes which fill with muddy water when it rains. 

<FONT color=black>I haven't  anything against the village hall as such - if it were a decent looking building in good repair - a credit to the village.  But as it stands, it is a shoddy disgrace to the community, and if the trustees can't afford to keep it in good order, then it should go. 

<FONT color=black>As far as bookings are concerned, I haven't heard anything directly from the community centre regarding availability.  But don't we also have a church hall and 2 village schools who might be glad of the revenue for hiring their facilities?

<FONT color=black>Surely I am not alone in wishing for an attractive village centre that we can all be proud of?

<FONT color=black>Jean James

9000 year old flint tools found on airfield

Contributed by editor on Aug 26, 2004 - 08:27 AM


<FONT color=black>Archaeologists from Archaeology South-East, based in Ditchling, West Sussex, will have completed their survey of land between Aerodrome Road and Pay Street by the end of the week.

<FONT color=black>The survey , which was required before planning permission for the Hawkinge link road could be considered by the Development Control Committee o­n Shepway Council, has yielded an unusual 1940 gun emplacement and flint artefacts of the Mesolithic Age (c.7000-4000 B.C.).

<FONT color=black>Mesolithic cultures represent a wide variety of hunting, fishing, and food gathering techniques. This variety may have been the result of adaptations to changed ecological conditions associated with the retreat of glaciers, the growth of forests in Europe and the disappearance of the large game of the Ice Age.

<FONT color=black>Characteristic of the period were hunting and fishing settlements along rivers and o­n lake shores, where fish and mollusks were abundant. Microliths, the typical stone implements of the Mesolithic period, are smaller and more delicate than those of the late Paleolithic period.

Community centre unable to take on village hall bookings

Contributed by editor on Aug 25, 2004 - 08:58 PM


Dear Ed

<FONT color=black>I am replying to Jean James' letter about the Hawkinge village hall.

<FONT color=black>The trustees are anticipating spending between £15,000 and £20,000 on refurbishments to the  village hall within the next few months.

<FONT color=black>There are groups which meet in the village hall for financial, or reasons of tradition or preference.

If the village hall were to close, it would not be possible for the new Community Centre to take on all of their bookings at the present time.

There are still many groups which use the hall including the Womens Institute, Hawkinge Gardeners, Table Tennis and a Martial Arts club as well as the monthly meetings of the Hawkinge Parish Council..

<FONT color=black>John Heasman
Chairman Hawkinge Village Hall Trustees