Minister launches sea firefighting unit

Contributed by editor on Apr 20, 2006 - 08:42 PM


Visiting the Dover Coastguard Station today (20 April), Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling has welcomed the launch of the UK's Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG), the first specialised fire and rescue service for dealing with incidents at sea. 

Today's launch of MIRG will form an integral part of the United Kingdom's search and rescue response. It will also have the air-borne capacity to react to incidents anywhere in the country, not just at sea. 

Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling arrives in Dover

MIRG has 15 Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) teams located around the country, including Kent, with about 50 fire fighters in each team. Each has been specially trained in fire fighting at sea. The teams will not only fight fires but also deal with chemical hazards and free trapped people. 

In addition, the teams' specialised training, allied to a helicopter capability, will provide a valuable, additional resource for the emergency services across the UK. Each team will be reinforced with paramedics who will also be trained in the unique conditions that they will face. 

This new service is one of the first of its kind in the world and is supported by almost £3m of funding from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Department for Transport. 

Mr Darling said: "The professionalism, skill and bravery of the UK's Emergency Services are second to none. We need to continue to do all we can to help them deal with the difficult and often unpredictable situations they face day after day. 

"The New Maritime Incident Response Group will strengthen our capability to respond to fires and other emergencies that occur at sea, with highly-trained teams able to be deployed by helicopter at short notice. 

"But this new arrangement also has the potential to benefit the whole of the UK by transporting Fire and Rescue teams quickly to emergencies anywhere in the country, not just to those at sea. It will further improve the UK's standing as one of the best co-ordinated response systems anywhere in the world".

Relief for Hawkinge villagers

Contributed by editor on Apr 20, 2006 - 08:03 PM


Work has begun this week o­n a £2.5million northern relief road at Hawkinge to reduce traffic through the village.

Kent Highway Services are co-ordinating the building of the new road funded by developers George Wimpey and Pentland Homes who are building new homes in the area. The single carriageway will run from the existing roundabout at Haven Drive and connect with new roundabout junctions at Aerodrome Road and the A260 Canterbury Road. It is expected to be completed by November.

Cyclists and pedestrians will benefit as a toucan crossing south of Aerodrome Road will be provided. Earth mounds and fencing will also be added either side of the new road to reduce noise for residents living nearby.

The Hawkinge Northern Relief Road will make the village safer for residents and create easier access to the A20, Folkestone and Canterbury.

Most of the work during construction will be away from existing roads although there will be some traffic management at the new junctions which may at times disrupt the flow of traffic.

KCC Cabinet Member for Highways Keith Ferrin said: "This building development will provide housing in the area therefore it is important to accommodate the increase in traffic. We hope Hawkinge residents value the northern relief road and their improved access to surrounding towns."

Shop Watch to fight crime in Hawkinge

Contributed by editor on Apr 20, 2006 - 07:28 PM


A scheme to keep violent troublemakers out of Hawkinge shops is to be introduced in the village.

Folkestone's Shop Watch initiative is being extended to cover the village and will help shopkeepers and publicans to exclude known shoplifters and criminals from their premises.

The Shop Watch scheme is run under the Folkestone Area Partnership Against Crime. Any business which joins the scheme is given files and photographs of known troublemakers. They also have Shop Watch radios to talk to other traders or the police.

If you would like to know more, telephone 01303 850522

Hawkinge support for the Village Hall

Contributed by editor on Apr 19, 2006 - 10:03 AM


The question posed in the recent  Gazette poll: 'Would you like the Village Hall demolished to make way for a new Health Centre?' appears to show that the villagers are divided in their views.

Following the withrawal of plans to build a new surgery in the woods off Mill Lane, the building of a new medical centre now appears to be o­n the back burner as a  recent planning application to continue using the portable buildings at the Hawkinge Health Centre for another year has been made to Shepway planners.

It was thought that when the new £2m community centre was built, that many of  village social activities at the village hall would be moving to the Community Centre.

This has failed to happen; partly because many groups like the village hall and others find the price of hire is too expensive at the new centre. Others find the size of the accomodation available does not suit their requirements.

The Hawkinge Gazette recently asked if the Parish Council would consider moving their meetings to the Community Centre, but were told that the committee rooms available were not big enough and would not be suitable should there ever be large numbers of the public attending o­ne of their meetings

The poll result
Yes  50.67 % (265)
No  49.33 % (258)

Local rail strike threat following ballot

Contributed by editor on Apr 18, 2006 - 07:55 PM


350 guards have voted to strike over manning levels at Dover Priory, Ramsgate and Hastings stations.

In another ballot by more than 400 platform workers in the RMT rail workers’ union they voted by six to o­ne for action over cuts in the number of station staff o­n duty o­n South Eastern Trains.

South Eastern Trains, which is owned by Govia, took over running trains in Kent, East Sussex and south east London o­n 1 April.

The services had previously been run by a government subsidiary after private company Connex lost its franchise in 2003.

Schoolboy breaks Channel windsurf record

Contributed by editor on Apr 18, 2006 - 06:50 PM


A 15-year-old grammar school boy has become the fastest and youngest person to ever windsurf across the English Channel.

Richard Jones from Derby crossed the 22-mile stretch of water between Dover and the French coast in o­ne hour and 14 minutes last Saturday – thrashing the previous record by ten minutes.

He also raised £2,000 for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

In his final year at Derby Grammar School, Richard will be taking his GCSEs soon and when he finally finishes his education he plans o­n taking up the sport professionally and has high hopes of competing in the Olympics.

Hawkinge Museum is just the ticket

Contributed by editor on Apr 17, 2006 - 10:07 AM



The Battle of Britain Museum in Hawkinge will be greeting bus enthusiasts from across the country in an event to mark the 90th anniversary of the Folkestone Bus Company.

Vintage bus fans are expected to join Shepway residents for nostalgic rides around the town in a fleet of historic vehicles. 

Seven buses built from the 1950s to the 1970s will leave from Folkestone Bus Station today (17 April) on routes to Cheriton and Hythe, and Hawkinge. 

They will be taking passengers to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and the Battle of Britain Museum. 

East Kent Road Car Company, formed in 1916, was taken over in 1993 by Stagecoach and the company still runs daily services based on the original routes.

Strolling to victory

Contributed by editor on Apr 17, 2006 - 08:33 AM


By Cyril Trice

The Hawkinge Sunday morning team had the game they needed before their important cup final clash on Wednesday.

Playing Swingfield the game turned out to be a stroll as they were up against a team that had yet to win this season.

Within minutes Hawkinge scored setting the pattern for the rest of the match, and depositing another eight goals into the Swingfield net.

Apart from the visitors hitting the crossbar from a free kick the villagers easily banked another three points in this one sided match.

Hawkinge 9, Swingfield 0

Hawkinge scorers Tom Welham 3, James Cross, Adam Lemar, Johny Walker 2
Matt Wratton, David Chilvers.

For all supporters

The E. BURVILL Cup Final between Hawkinge and Rendezvous takes place at the Folkestone Invicta Stadium next Wednesday 19th April kickoff 7.30pm.

To visit the Hawkinge Football Club website click here

Hoax callers face disconnection

Contributed by editor on Apr 16, 2006 - 10:08 AM


Your phone will be disconnected if you make hoax calls is the warning from Kent Fire and Rescue (KFRS).

The message follows the disconnection of a mobile phone after a series of hoax calls were made to the emergency services in East Kent.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s Group Fire Control Officer Beverley Luque said: “Our Control Operators challenge callers who they believe are making hoax calls".

The message from firefighters is simple - those who make hoax calls from a mobile phone for the first time will be sent a text message warning of disconnection. If that mobile is used again to make a hoax call, Control staff will request disconnection by the service provider. In some instances, Control can request for the phone to be cut-off immediately.

Hoax calls waste firefighters’ time and represent a huge drain o­n resources. Those who make hoax calls to the emergency services may be committing more than o­ne offence. If caught they can get a £5,000 fine, six months in prison, or both.

Head of Community Fire Safety Stuart Skilton said: “People may think it is harmless fun but it is certainly not. Hoax callers waste valuable resources and prevent attendance at genuine incidents where people's lives may be at risk. The 999 number should o­nly be used in an emergency, where there is an immediate threat to life or property.â€?

Hawkinge Annual Parish Meeting

Contributed by editor on Apr 14, 2006 - 05:04 PM

All Electors of Hawkinge are invited to take part in the Parish Meeting to be held o­n Wednesday, 26th April 2006 in the Village Hall at 7.30 p.m.
The Chairman of the Parish Council will chair the meeting.
The following matters have been placed o­n the agenda

Hawkinge Parish Council

Shepway District Council

Kent County Council

Hawkinge Neighbourhood Management Partnership

The Churchill School 
Hawkinge Primary School

The Village Hall

Hawkinge Community Centre

Hawkinge Community Safety Forum

Hawkinge Sports Association
Reports from other organisations in the village and contributions from representatives at the meeting will be welcome.
The Parish Meeting may by law discuss all parish affairs and pass resolutions about them.  

Cllr. David Callahan 
Chairman, Hawkinge Parish Council