Absolutely quackers

Contributed by editor on Jun 02, 2005 - 09:39 PM


Gazette comment

You could be forgiven for thinking the Hawkinge Community Centre is about to open a watersports centre when you look at the state of the car park.

Shepway Council who own the majority of the centre's car parking area have repeatedly failed to repair the pot holes despite continual badgering by the Parish Council and local residents.

But not everyone is unhappy.

A family of plastic ducks have settled in and are enjoying their new home. With more rain forecast they could well be staying all summer.

Shepway Council are probably  unaware it has become a haven for migrating birds, and if they don't act soon the plastic duck family could shortly be classified as a protected species, and the whole of the car park, could become an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Best get those holes filled in eh! It could save us a lot of hassle.

Police appeal for witnesses to Cheriton sexual assault and burglary

Contributed by editor on Jun 02, 2005 - 08:56 PM


Kent Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses after a burglary and serious sexual assault at the home of a 75-year-old woman in Cheriton.

Officers are appealing for help from anyone who may have noticed someone acting suspiciously or who saw anything unusual in or around Weymouth Road at about 3pm on Friday 27 May. They would particularly like to talk to anyone who may have seen a young man acting suspiciously in the area.

A young man, believed to be between 16 and 18 years old, entered the woman's house from the back garden, demanded money, stole several hundred pounds from her handbag and seriously sexually assaulted her.

The man is believed to be white, 5'8" tall, slim, having a fresh and thin face, pale skin, clean-shaven, thin lips and small eyes. He is further described as having a boyish voice with a local or southern accent. He was wearing a long sleeved plain khaki top with no emblems and dark trousers. He had a black or dark navy woolly hat that was too big for him and had a high crown. The hat had a 4" turn-up and the man had pulled it down to the top of his eyebrows.

Detective Chief Inspector Barnes who is leading the investigation to find the attacker said: "This was a particularly shocking crime on a defenceless elderly woman and an horrendous experience for her.

"We are urging the public to come forward if they know someone who matches the description, if they saw anything unusual or suspicious or if they believe they have any other information that will help us catch this individual.

"While crimes of this nature are rare, we are doing everything we can to catch this man. A team of specialist detectives from our major crime department is working closely with officers from the South East Kent area. Patrols are being stepped up and we've set up a special incident room."

A special incident hotline has been set up and anyone with any information should call Kent Police on 01303 289600.

Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on freephone 0800 555111.

KCC to tackle safety on Hawkinge roads

Contributed by editor on Jun 01, 2005 - 09:31 PM


Following a meeting today (1 June) Kent County Council (KCC) have agreed to tackle safety o­n Hawkinge roads.

The meeting with Neil Campbell from KCC and members of the Hawkinge Community Safety Forum (HCSF) with the Hawkinge Partnership outlined the problems facing the village associated with the rapid increase in population and fragmented planning and infrastructure.

Forum Chairman Chris Ashman presented a video showing areas of the village and explained the problems which need to be urgently addressed.

He explained that during regular Safety Forum meetings many requests from visitors to see consistent planning put into place for areas of the expanded Hawkinge village have been heard. The areas are safety ‘black spots’ which we believe will get worse as the village develops.

Mr Ashman said: "It is not that responsible authorities have not tried to patch-up the problems but their failure to understand and respond to the overall picture has not changed to suit the requirements. The Forum wants the authorities take heed of their observations and use their influence and responsibilities to help our village become a more harmonious and safe place to work and live."

Explaining some of the background to KCC's Neil Campbell, Chris explained: "Hawkinge sits astride the A260 main trunk road between Folkestone and Canterbury, it is also due to be split by a proposed link road making it a 3 zone village. Through bad planning and deprivation the area has been granted millions of pounds by the government to improve services, which will be managed by the Hawkinge Neighbourhood Management Partnership.

"Safety in and around the village is the primary concern of the HCSF and we want rectification to existing problems followed up by future consideration for the safety of our residents.

"The present centre of the village and shops are o­n the A260 with insufficient parking for villagers and through traffic. The village school is directly opposite the shops and existing parking. In between, there are two bus stops opposite to each other, and  pedestrian crossing.

"Within the parking areas are access points which allow delivery vehicles to straddle two public footpaths causing concern and danger to pedestrians. If access is blocked by irresponsible parking, motorists double-park which adds to the congestion.

"Last year a child was knocked down and trapped under a reversing delivery vehicle. Several villagers have reported near misses whilst using the lower footpath, which is often obstructed by the vehicles.

"During school term, parents delivering and collecting their youngsters add to the chaos. They park and double park wherever they can, including bus stops, pavements and a side road which accesses the A260 at the same point, opposite the entrance to the Village Hall in which they also park. The access exit to the village car park is difficult, drivers leaving the village car park have their views of o­ncoming traffic obstructed by parked cars and vans in an official parking are which is opposite a junction to the side of the school.

"Just add to the mix, an arriving bus, a delivery to the Tesco store, envisage the misery of our village and the users of the A260 o­n their journey to and from work.

"The new centre development of the village is to be built o­n the so named 'employment land' o­n the opposite side of the proposed bypass. This has an entrance to a roundabout shared by a Nursery School and adjacent to the Churchill Primary School and semi-blind road crossing point.

"The footpath from the schools to the main village is o­n the wrong side of the road, pedestrians use the grass verge because they feel safer. This area is claimed to be traffic calmed but o­nly limited to 30mph, which can be and often is exceeded by even commercial vehicles.  There have been 5 known accidents that have written off motor vehicles and two other accidents causing damage to people.

"Some of our village school children have to cross a main trunk road and a roundabout at the end of a bypass, to attend school. When the extension of this access road and the next 500 houses takes place the forum wants to see a proper crossing installed at the existing roundabout before the development gets under way or at least the provision of a crossing patrol for school attendance.

"The forum is concerned about the future for this area and the future accidents just waiting to happen. Haven Drive has now become a main thoroughfare, rat-run or shortcut, for residents and outsiders due to congestion in Aerodrome Road and o­n the A260 in the old village centre.

"The single track Gibraltar Lane is also used in the same way, increasing the danger to walkers and horse riders who have a legitimate crossing o­n a double bend which is unmarked and already home to some serious accidents, o­ne requiring Air Ambulance. We would like to see warning signs placed in various positions around the village.

"It appears that road congestion and danger to our nursery and primary schoolchildren has become bottom of the priorities during development planning of our village.

"In an local poll 97% of residents called for a 20mph zone for all residential roads.

"The Forum understand the overall costs of this may need to be in future authority budgets but we call for immediate action now between Aerodrome Road and Spitfire Way by means of road bumps and zig zag lines outside of the school and Nursery crossing area.

"We would also like to see the overall future plans for the development in the existing village centre and the resolving of the traffic and parking problems."

After listening to all the points raised and shown the areas for himself, Neil Campbell has confirmed he will be speaking to the KCC departments involved and has agreed to work with the Safety Forum and The Hawkinge Partnership to help resolve the issues raised.

Ward closure “wrong decision�

Contributed by editor on Jun 01, 2005 - 04:39 PM


Michael Howard has strongly criticised the decision by the Primary Care Trust Board over the closure of two wards at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone saying he was “distressedâ€? at this “wrong decision.â€?  He went o­n to say “I shall keep a close watch to ensure promises are kept.â€?

In April Mr Howard made his position clear in a press statement which said, “I have attended public and private meetings o­n the issue of the future of the two wards in the Royal Victoria Hospital. After careful consideration I do not feel that the time is right to close the two wards.â€?

Local Tory Campaign Manager Bob Davidson said, “I attended all three public meetings to discuss the future of our local hospital.  It was clear at all of these that option 3 was favoured by the board and they tried to sell this course of action to all concerned. 

"From the meetings and from our own surveying it was obvious that people were far from happy for these wards to close.  Michael Howard made his position clear.  This decision by the board has shown scant regard for the opinion of the people of this District.â€?

How did a little girl's dream come true?

Contributed by editor on Jun 01, 2005 - 01:23 AM


by Jacqueline Cachelou

"One day, when I grow up, I want to speak English."

Why did I say that when I was only a little girl of eight years old?

Maybe because I was there on the 25th August 1944 when Evreux in Normandy was liberated by the British soldiers. I was impressed by them who, standing in their lorries, throwing soap, chocolate and sweets by the handful to the jubilant crowd.

Some years later, at secondary school, I was learning English with interest and imagined practicing with English people.

But destiny was different.

I married Henri and had to wait until I retired before this longing to learn English returned. That was six years ago. I now take English lessons for pleasure at the St Michel Association in Evreux.

At the same time, when taking a walk to the village fete in Aviron, I saw a stall where tee shirts with the Franco English logo were for sale. They were for the new Twinning Association created between Swingfield and Aviron, by two dynamic teams wanting to share their culture.

For me this occasion came came just at the right time to speak with English people and I immediately joined the Association.

Some time later my husband and I received, in Binou (Mesnil Fuguet Hamlet), our first English friends, Gill and Colin with whom, we got on well with gestures and a good dictionary. 

It was during this weekend of September 1997 that the French ceremony of the Twinning Oath took place.

For the English people, this ceremony was held in Swingfield the following year, naturally in our presence and with the traditional cricket match.

For this first trip to England, Yvonne welcomed us.She is full of life, fond of dancing and tasting French wines.

After visiting her nice village of Elham (near Swingfield), she took us to a party with "grilled suckling pigs" and dancing in a barn amongst straw bales. What warm surroundings!

Eight years have passed and now we have many faithful English friends with whom we practice our English.

Every year, the English and French committees meet to establish cultural and entertaining programmes so that Aviron and Swingfield schools make very beneficial exchange visits for pupils who learn French or English in their early years.

The members of the French Twinning Association within the framework of the agreed programme receive and are received by the English in their homes.

We are glad that our two villages Aviron and Mesnil Fuguet and our two community schools are linked.

There you are! The little girl's dream has come true.

Who knows if later, in turn, other youngsters from our villages will dream about Franco English friendship without losing sight that we have a common heritage from William the Conqueror to the liberation of Normandy.

A Hardy luck story

Contributed by editor on May 31, 2005 - 08:24 PM


As political correctness continues to take over the world, Finkle asks where we would all be today if we had been so careful not to offend two hundred years ago?

In the last few years, I have read several articles about political correctness in the Media.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar which nicely coincides with SeaBritain or The Year of the Sea 2005

A re-enactment of the Battle is to take place on 28th of June, off Portsmouth, but this time as to not give offence to those Nations, France & Spain, who were defeated; it will be a Battle between the Blue fleet & the Red Fleet!

So whilst our esteemed, Powder Monkey Cllr. Peter Smith, increases his labours, now he has more time on his hands, over his scale model of H.M.S. Victory, that took part in one of the greatest sea battles in our history & contemplates the resounding trashing handed out by the electors to himself & to his scheming, devious & underhanded ship- mate, Midshipman Peter Carroll, to whom the electorate have given a good keel hauling to & then set adrift in a long boat without rations or compass

One of my old colleagues has written a politically correct version of a conversation that may have taken place on board HMS Victory, between Admiral Horatio Nelson and Captain Thomas Masterman Hardy, which may amuse fellow readers:

21st. October 1805 (brought up to date)

Admiral Lord Nelson: "Order the signal Hardy."

Captain Thomas Masterman Hardy: "Aye Aye sir."

Nelson: "Hold on, that's not what I dictated to the officer. What's the meaning of this?"

Hardy: "Sorry sir."

Nelson (reading aloud): "England expects every person to do his duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability. What gobbledygook is this?"

Hardy: "Admiralty policy I'm afraid, Sir. We're an equal opportunity employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist.

Nelson: "Gadzooks! Hardy, hand me my pipe and tobacco."

Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have been designated smoke-free working environments."

Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle."

Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished Admiral. It's part of the Government's policy on binge drinking. "

Nelson: "Good heavens Hardy, I suppose we'd better get on with it...full speed ahead."

Hardy: "I think you'll find there's a four knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

"Damn it man! We're on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please."

"That won't be possible, sir."

Nelson: "What?"

Hardy: "Health and safety have closed the crow's nest Sir. No harness. And they said that the rope ladder doesn't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until proper scaffolding can be erected."

Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy." 

Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo'c'sle Admiral."

Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."

Nelson: "Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of Admiral playing the disability card."

Hardy: "Actually, Sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the area of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons." 

Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, Sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt! Haven't you seen the adverts?"

Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy. "

Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone Admiral." 

Nelson: "What? This is mutiny."

Hardy: "It's not that Sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they kill anyone. There's a couple of legal aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

Hardy: "Actually, Sir, we're not." 

Nelson: "We're not?"

Hardy: "No Sir. The Frenchies and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."

Nelson: "But you must hate the Frenchmen as you hate the devil."

Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be on a disciplinary."

Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy: "Not any more, Sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest - it's in the rules."

Nelson: "Don't tell me, health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"

Hardy: "As I explained, Sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

Nelson: "What about sodomy?"

Hardy: "I believe it's to be encouraged, Sir."

Nelson: "In that case...kiss me Hardy."

Finkle pass on the kissing & sodomy!!


Don’t let your property become as hot as the weather!

Contributed by editor on May 31, 2005 - 01:54 PM

Don’t let your property become as hot as the weather!


Kent Police are reminding people to be vigilant about leaving windows or back doors open in the warm weather, even when they are at home.

Open doors and windows can tempt thieves into your home or car and police are advising householders and motorists to follow a few simple measures to ensure your property remains safe and secure.

General advice

• Always lock all your doors and windows. Don’t leave unattended areas of your home or garden accessible to thieves.

• Never leave keys in hiding places outside your home – burglars know where to look.

• Don’t leave property in a porch, even if the door is usually shut.

• Don’t leave expensive items on windowsills where they could be seen from the street.

• 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.

• Where possible fit an alarm.

• Be extra vigilant when enjoying the good weather outdoors. Areas that you leave unattended and not secure for even the shortest time can attract unwelcome guests.

• Make sure your car is securely locked when leaving it unattended. Make sure you close all windows, doors and the sunroof even when it is tempting to leave them open in the hot weather.

• Keeping your vehicle secure doesn’t just apply in towns and villages but also if you park in remote rural areas or beauty spots to enjoy the countryside or seaside.

• Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle and never leave children or pets unaccompanied in a vehicle.

• If you are going away on holiday or leaving your home for any length of time, use timers on your lights (they are inexpensive and easy to set up).

• Cancel your milk for the duration of your absence and ask a friend or neighbour to collect your post so it doesn’t build up on your doormat.

To report a non-urgent crime contact Kent Police on 01622 690690. If you have information about any crime you can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on Freephone 0800 555 111.

No common sense on bra clips from China

Contributed by editor on May 30, 2005 - 01:53 PM

No common sense on bra clips from China


Dear Editor,

I too miss common sense; I had a great deal of affection for him and I was always comfortable when he was around. Too bad for him that he started to get in the way of so-called "good ideas".

Much of his unattended demise is the responsibility of the European Union; how many have studied the sixty or so pages that define how import duty is to be calculated on garlic from outside the EU, or the forty or so pages on the calculation of import tax on stainless steel brassiere clips from China.

Having suffered intimately at the hand of so-called victims and struggled with those who are paid supposedly to help out with the rehabilitation, I too long for the return of common sense. 

I join Finkle, reluctantly, in mourning the passing of common sense.


Carroll reported over Gurkha election claim

Contributed by editor on May 29, 2005 - 09:33 PM


Peter Carroll the Liberal Democrat candidate for Folkestone and Hythe in the May general election, has been reported to the chair of the Electoral Commission Sam Younger, for claiming that he had saved the Gurkhas. 

Evidence that Mr Carroll was not involved in any of the discussions has been received from the Adjutant General of Gurkha policy Jonathon Sanderson.

He said in correspondence to Maureen Tomison the Labour candidate standing in the Folkestone and Hythe constituency at the May general election, that no correspondence or Parliamentary Questions had been received from Mr Carroll by the Ministers, senior soldiers and civil servants dealing with the Gurkhas future.

Mr Sanderson, Adjutant General of Gurkha policy, wrote  to Ms Tomison saying that he did not understand what Mr Carroll meant in his claims that he had been “instrumentalâ€? in helping the Gurkhas as he had not been involved.

Maureen Tomison, Labour Parliamentary Candidate said: "We have to conclude that it was the proud record of the Gurkhas themselves which was entirely responsible for ensuring their own future

“This ensured that Gurkhas who have served in the British Army will, o­n retirement, now be able to work in the UK and apply for British citizenship

“I was very concerned when I heard that Gurkhas, or former Gurkhas, had been campaigning for Peter Carroll during the election.

“It is illegal for serving soldiers to campaign in elections and the involvement of groups of recently retired soldiers is considered to be totally inappropriate in electioneering. I do hope that the Gurkhas, who are highly respected and much liked here in Folkestone, will not get into trouble for this and that their future will not be threatened because they were persuaded that they had to repay a debt to Peter Carroll.

"It is quite untrue that Mr Carroll helped them, as Mr Sanderson makes clear, since the decisions were simply part of a gradual adoption of successive amendments to the conditions under which they serve and which “recognise their changing role, status, and personal aspirations.� This process, which involved the Governments of Nepal and India, was initiated by the British Government and announced in Parliament long before Mr Carroll started his so called campaign."

Built for the community but closed to most!

Contributed by editor on May 29, 2005 - 06:13 PM


Dear Ed

The Community Centre just had their AGM. This was kept a secret by informing o­nly those who happen to go into the centre.

Is there not an an obligation o­n the part of the Trustees to inform ALL of the village of such a meeting so they can have their say or maybe they do not want to hear?

Pass the place at any time of the day and you will find it empty most of the time.

They have set their own target for attendance how can they possibly fail?


Just wait until the next AGM all will be informed and we can have a real turnout of the community and they will really have their say.



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