Alarm bells ring at Eurotunnel

Contributed by editor on Feb 19, 2006 - 12:07 AM


Financial pundits are warning that cross channel tunnel operator Eurotunnel is inching towards a collapse as its auditors have now resorted to warn investors that it is no longer a going concern.

The company has received approval from its creditors to continue seeking restructuring its 6.3-billion-pound debts until the end of March, but it is reported to be nowhere near a deal.

Eurotunnel's chairman Jacques Gounon had proposed that all but 2.2 billion pounds of the company's debt should be simply written off. He has later intimated a group of creditors that the company could handle closer to 3 billion pounds.

The auditors' warning has come because the major debt repayments are due in 2007 and the company is in no position to meet these repayments because of insufficient cash flow.

The company said in a statement that all its senior creditors and 91.32 per cent of its co-financiers had voted giving it time till end of March to continue with the talks. The statement said: "It will allow Eurotunnel to present the financial restructuring framework, agreed by the group and the ad hoc committee o­n 31 January, 2006, to the other creditors, provided that they sign a confidentiality agreement to preclude them from any trading in the debt or equity of Eurotunnel." 

Things are looking up for Harry

Contributed by editor on Feb 18, 2006 - 09:47 PM



Pictures by Cyril Trice

Things could be looking up for Hawkinge Harry, the village Giant who stands alone behind a curtain in the Community Centre.  There is now a new Giant on the block in the shape of the first female, Herne Bay Lily, and Harry is set to meet up with her in the summer.

Herne Bay Lily

Village Giant co-ordinator Cyril Trice and Bob Martin from the Sandwich Giant community watched the awakening of the fourth of the East Kent Giants today (18 February) as she was paraded from the centre of Herne Bay to the Bandstand on the seafront. 

The Giants projects is part of the 'Make it Real' cultural programme for Canterbury and East Kent, run by Canterbury City Council.

Strange Cargo create the charactors are now busy planning their final giant which is to be built at Singleton, near Ashford. Once completed it will link to others in the host communities of Littlebourne, Hawkinge, Herne Bay and Sandwich.

Harry is set to meet up with Lily and the other Giants at the Folkestone Charivari 'Giants' Festival' scheduled for the 15th July.

The fish heads

Filmmaker Stephen Connelly will be shooting a film following the Giants' progress through the Kent landscape. He is particularly looking for film showing Hawkinge Airfield when it was in use, and will be visiting Hawkinge to get a feeling for the area.

If you have any old film of the airfield or would just like to help in the project, please contact the Hawkinge Giant co-ordinator Cyril Trice: telephone 01303 893499 or Email

Women truckers celebrate a wee victory

Contributed by editor on Feb 18, 2006 - 04:52 PM


Port of Folkestone victory

Women truck drivers who use the Port of Folkestone are relieved to know that from now on they will have their own toilets. 

Not having their own facilities until now, the women have highlighted their plight in what has become known as the Right to Pee Campaign.

The women were inspired by female bus drivers in Bristol who started their own crusade.

Pension fears for redundant workers

Contributed by editor on Feb 18, 2006 - 04:27 PM


Former workers of a Dover ferry company which went into liquidation,  fear they may not get their full pensions.

Some staff who lost their jobs when Hoverspeed stopped sailings in November received letters saying the pension fund is in deficit although their are no details of the extent of the shortfall.

Local MP Gwyn Prosser said that some employees had worked for the company for many years and this bombshell was adding insult to injury.

Hoverspeed, which was owned by Sea Containers, operated two Seacat fast ferries between Dover and Calais and employed more than 100 staff in Kent and 60 in France.

Oscar - now in Shepway

Contributed by editor on Feb 17, 2006 - 11:07 AM


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Why can't it be done all the time?

Contributed by editor on Feb 17, 2006 - 10:18 AM


Dear Ed and all well-meaning folks and neighbours in Hawkinge,

Re: Village clean up takes off

I applaud the effort being put into the VILLAGE CLEAN UP.

However, I would simply ask, "Why can't it be done all the time?

"Why can't we challenge those whose standards appear to give them the right to scatter litter and doog dirt and cost council tax payers money to clear it up?  'Why should we be ashamed of taking our litter home and putting it in the proper recepticle?  Why should we be ashamed of trying to maintain or even improve standards?"

Yours as ever,


Swimming pool would do the trick

Contributed by editor on Feb 17, 2006 - 09:13 AM


Dear Ed

We're forever getting questionaires about children in Hawkinge having nothing to do and what's been nicked, smashed, set o­n fire etc....

We need to get them off the streets and do something physical to take their minds off vandalism.

We have so much land up here, why not build a swimming pool - not to the size and scale of Dover or Folkestone. You have to admit Folkestone sports centre isn't the nicest.

If it had a few squash courts, 5 a-side football, pool I reckon you would stop 90% of the trouble, and give PC Trevor Moody a break.

I visit the community centre up to 5 times a week - clinic for my baby and the post office.

You never see any kids there, but walk to Tesco's and they're hovering around sitting, standing, o­n bikes, smoking, spitting, swearing, you name it.

My daughter is 11 and is scared to go near Tesco's if they're all there - but get a swimming pool and personally I reckon it will do the trick.

Yes the community centre is nice but it's not enough to get the swines that are around to join in anything.

Everybody loves swimming so this I reckon it is a fab idea.

Hawkinge is a lovely village/town but we need things to occupy people, even parents with younger children would love it. Why go to Folkestone when we can be giving Hawkinge our (life) the money and support, and also it will create more jobs for the couch potatoes.


Howard's Way 16 February 2006

Contributed by editor on Feb 16, 2006 - 12:10 AM

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

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

Last Friday morning I chaired a well attended meeting at Lydd Airport to discuss the plans to decommission Dungeness A nuclear power station. Nick Gore, the Station manager, and Sean Moules, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Site manager, gave a presentation on what will happen after the station ceases to general electricity at the end of the year.

Some of the many questions were directed to the possibility of a new nuclear station being built at Dungeness. I have never showed the doctrinaire opposition to nuclear power which exists in some quarters. When asked “how would like to have a nuclear power station in your backyard?� I have always been able to reply “I can see two of them from my bedroom window!�

There are legitimate questions which still have to be answered, on cost and waste disposal, before I would support a new programme of building nuclear power stations and there are also questions about whether Dungeness would be the best site, given the concerns which exist about rising sea levels. But I believe that we should approach all these questions in a pragmatic way and on the basis of all available evidence.

After the meeting at Lydd Airport I went to St Nicholas Church of England primary School at new Romney to discuss the possibility of connecting the school to the new mains drainage scheme which is, at last, being provided at New Romney. Then it was off to New Romney Town Hall for the quarterly meetings of the Mains Drainage Committee of the Town Council which I have been attending regularly.

In the afternoon I visited the Mosque in Folkestone to meet leaders of our local Muslim community. These are difficult times for the relationship between our Muslim fellow-citizens and the rest of our national community. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Britain are law-abiding citizens who take as much pride in being British as the rest of us. It is important that we all resist the attempts of those who wish to provoke us into attitudes of mutual hostility.

On Friday evening I went to a fund-raising event in aid of the Ghurka Family Welfare Association. A large crowd had gathered at Shorncliffe to take part. What a wonderful way to mark the warm welcome the people of Folkestone have given the Ghurkas. Long may they remain as part of our local community.

Get set for a winning race night

Contributed by editor on Feb 15, 2006 - 07:17 PM

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Ideal location for surgery

Contributed by editor on Feb 14, 2006 - 07:09 PM


Dear David/Ed

Re: Demolition of Village Hall

I fully agree with David that this would be an ideal location for the Doctors Surgery

The car park that supports the community village hall could double as a car park for the doctors, with the pharmacy o­nly a stones throw away  -  and not even needing to cross to road.

I cannot see the benefit of retaining the old village hall  (I know some of you will) but all the activities could be taken up by the new community centre so as to not lose these, and I appreciate that holding a function in the old village hall is probably less expensive than new community centre but this would have to be addressed.

The car park would need to be finished off as this lets down the impressive new community centre at the moment.

Lets hope Hawkinge Partnership will see this as a positive step forward for Hawkinge.