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alice

The Easter holiday Pantomime, Alice in Wonderland, is at The Woodville starring the legendary Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee as well as Steve Hewlett, the ventriloquist who shot to fame with his puppet versions of Sinita and Simon Cowell on ITV1′s Britain’s Got Talent.

Alice in wonderland is a great Easter treat with a live band, comedy, mind blowing magic and a west end calibre cast, including Ant Payne and Robert Pearce.

The pantomime show dates are Friday 4 April, Saturday 5 April and Sunday 6 April.

There is also more family fun at The Woodville with the Old MacDonald Had A Farm show. This fun filled farmyard tale with action, puppetry and animation brings to life all the best loved characters from the original nursery rhyme along with a medley of games, giggles and singalong songs. Show dates are Friday 28 March and Saturday 29 March.

For more information and to book tickets go to http://www.woodville.co.uk or cdll box offices on 01464 337774

WALKS 1ST HALF YEAR 2014137 - Copy

MBEA Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor today (Friday) received his MBE from Her Majesty the Queen, for services to emergency medicine.

Dr Malcolm Russell was formally invested as a Member of the Order of the British Empire at Windsor Castle after being named in the New Year’s Honours List.

The father-of-two was presented with his award by Her Majesty the Queen at the castle’s Waterloo Chamber, watched by his proud wife and children.

He said: “It has been an amazing day and I felt honoured to have my MBE presented by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle.

“I felt humbled to be amongst some incredible people and very thoughtful of the work our charity does and the many people we strive to help.”

Dr Russell joined the Air Ambulance as Clinical Lead in 2007, when the Surrey and Sussex helicopter was first launched.

Last year, he was appointed as the life-saving charity’s Medical Director responsible for assuring the quality of care provided by its doctors and paramedics.

Dr Russell served in the British Army for 15 years and has been involved in pre-hospital emergency medicine since 1996.

In 2011, he was part of a 50-strong UK International Search and Rescue Team who helped victims of the New Zealand earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, has launched a new grants scheme to help local people.

The ‘Commissioner’s Fund’ will give away £100,000 over the next financial year. It aims to support the hundreds of unique, community-led projects that can make a real difference to safety and crime prevention in our towns and villages.

Voluntary organisations and not for profit groups will be able to apply for grants up to £2,000 that demonstrate a positive impact on a community.

Applications, which open today, must meet one or more of the following criteria:

• Prevent and reduce re-offending

• Support victims of crime

• Empower local communities to work together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour

All grants will initially be reviewed by the Kent People’s Trust – a local charity that aims to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour – with the final decision being made by the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, and where appropriate with input from the new Youth Commissioner.

Discussing the launch of the new scheme, Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be able to launch this grant scheme for local people. Local communities know their patch and they understand what needs to be done to make it a better place.

‘I firmly believe that even a small investment will rally local people into playing their part in finding community solutions for local issues. I want people to be innovative and creative with their ideas and I’m really looking forward to giving local communities a cash injection.’

Bryn Price, Director of Kent People’s Trust said: ‘The charity has over 12 years of experience in community grants and we are really delighted to have been asked to provide our expertise as part of this new exciting project. Both the charity and the Commissioner have one common aim and that’s to make Kent a safer place.’

Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Full terms and conditions and information on how to apply can be found at www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/commissionersfund

• Spring Stroll guided walk around estate followed by roast lunch
• Great Armarda invasion – Tudor living history experience
• ‘Mum’s the word’ secret Morse code Messages for Mother’s Day

There’s plenty happening at Penshurst Place & Gardens at weekends during March with a new event just for adults taking place on 16th March. Take a two hour Spring Stroll with the estate’s General Manager as he guides a group on an escorted walk around the beautiful parkland and grounds at Penshurst Place, and then enjoy a two-course roast lunch afterwards in the Garden Restaurant.

For families there’s the chance to experience Tudor life with the Great Armada invasion on 22nd and 23rd March when a cast of skilled, costumed actors will be at Penshurst Place to give a living history presentation on the preparations by the household ahead of imminent attack by the Spanish fleet.

‘Mum’s the word’ for young visitors with free war-themed family activities available in the Education Room for Mother’s Day on 30th March. As part of the ‘Sir and Soldier’ season, there will plenty of things to occupy children on Mother’s Day including the option to make a Morse-code necklace with hidden secret message for their Mum or to hand-make their own Mother’s Day poetry card in the Education Room. There’s an opportunity to further spoil mothers (and grandmothers, aunts or anyone who deserves a special thank you) to a lovely Mother’s Day lunch in the Garden Restaurant with a special menu. No booking necessary, visitors seated on a first come, first served basis.

MARCH EVENTS – MORE DETAILS

SPRING STROLL & LUNCH – ADULT EVENT: 16TH MARCH

Dust off your walking shoes for a leisurely two hour walk and then reap a tasty reward for your physical exertion.

A brand new walking event for adults to enjoy at Penshurst Place & Gardens on 16th March between 11am and 2pm. Journey across the beautiful estate and learn about its Tudor history on the way. This special Sunday walk is led by Penshurst Place’s General Manager and is followed by a delicious two-course roast lunch in the Garden Restaurant.

Tickets £22 (to include private parking, guided walk, two-course roast lunch and access to the Gardens) www.penshurstplace.com/etickets

THE GREAT ARMADA ADVENTURE: 22ND & 23RD MARCH (12 NOON TO 4PM)

Experience life at Penshurst Place as the militia prepares to ward off the Spanish Armada. Skilled costumed characters bring history alive as they invite visitors to join them in the Staterooms as the Penshurst Place household prepares for invasion.

Normal garden admission prices apply. For more information visit www.penshurstplace.com/whatson

CELEBRATION OF MOTHER’S DAY: 30TH MARCH

With fun craft activities to suit all ages and a special menu in the Garden Restaurant, Penshurst Place will be ‘the place’ for families to celebrate Mother’s Day this year.

Children will be able to treat their Mums to a handmade Mother’s Day poetry card or present her with a hidden Morse code message on a necklace in the Education Room.

Normal garden admission prices apply. For more information visit www.penshurstplace.com/whatson

APRIL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

EASTER HOLIDAY FUN: 5TH – 21ST APRIL

Penshurst Place will have lots of fun craft and trail activities as part of its ‘Sir and Soldier’ themed season of WW1 commemoration events running in April.

Every day during the Easter school holidays, families can join an egg hunt with a twist! Rather than seeking Easter eggs, visitors to Penshurst Place are invited to help hunt down the carrier pigeons with their hidden secret messages, in a fun trail around the playground.

Pigeons played an important communication role during WWW1, and proved an extremely reliable way of sending messages across enemy lines. Using the story of carrier pigeons, children will learn more about the communication methods during the Great War and enjoy a fun trail that will take them on an inspiring educational journey of discovery.

The education room will continue the war-theme with craft activities available from 12 noon each day. Youngsters will be invited to create their very own carrier pigeon or soldier bonnet and enjoy Easter colouring activities.

Normal garden admission prices apply. For more information visit www.penshurstplace.com/whatson

EASTER STORYTELLING: 20TH – 21ST APRIL

The story of Cher Ami, a WW1 carrier pigeon and her friends will be unveiled as part of Penshurst Place’s ‘Sir and Soldier’ themed season of WW1 commemoration events. Families are invited to gather in the medieval buttery at 2pm, 2.45pm and 3.30pm to hear skilled story tellers from Aardvark Productions bring the account of a Great War carrier pigeon to life and explain through tale, the critical communication role these homing birds had throughout World War 1.

Normal garden admission prices apply.
For more information visit www.penshurstplace.com/whatson

Other things to see and do while visiting Penshurst Place and Gardens during March and April:-

• Toy Museum
• House (Sats & Suns only in March, daily from April)
• Woodland Trail
• Adventure Playground
• Garden Restaurant
• Porcupine Pantry
• Gift Shop
• The Gardens: spring flowering bulbs in the Orchard, Nut Garden, Lime Walk and Horse Pond and spring blossom in the Orchard, Nut Garden and Flag Garden

Most events are included in standard admission price unless otherwise stated. Full details of the event calendar for 2014 can be found at www.penshurstplace.com/whatson.

Burlesque63Red
Flushed with success, now entering its fourth fabulous year, the world’s original touring burlesque spectacular is about to hit town.

Officially Britain’s biggest burlesque extravaganza – a quarter of a million people have now seen this show – An Evening of Burlesque is responsible for exposing the cream of the West End of London’s thriving burlesque scene to the world. Not only has the ever-so-cheeky production revealed the secrets of the art of burlesque to delighted audiences across the UK, it has also thrilled theatregoers at the swishest venues throughout Europe as well.
From Milan to Zurich, St Petersburg to Minsk, Leipzig to Verona, Dresden to Riga, Padova to Dessau the reaction has been the same – absolutely incredible, says show producer Michael Taylor.

“Nothing is lost in translation,” says Michael. “An Evening of Burlesque’s content – sparkling glamour, physical humour and a dynamic score – are appreciated in any language.”
An Evening of Burlesque features corsets, killer heels and stockings aplenty – and that’s just the theatregoers who come to see the show!

“For a spectacle that sparkles from its elaborately-decorated headdresses to its immaculately varnished toes,” says Michael, “it might not come as a complete surprise that audiences are predominantly female. Also, we’re pleased to report that, with a prize for the best-dressed member of the audience, theatregoers revel in dressing up for the occasion.”
The show itself sparkles with couture costumes recalling the golden eras of burlesque. An Evening of Burlesque claims to be the most glamorous show on tour.

For over-18s only, it boasts that its success is built on a combination of sultry vocals, breathtaking choreography, mischief, magic, frivolity and fun.

“It’s all tease, no sleaze,” says Michael. “The show combines musical and theatrical parody, cutting-edge variety, magic, comedy and dance with the art of striptease.”

Michael says he is proud to be bringing variety back to the theatre, claiming An Evening of Burlesque is the slickest, wickedly wittiest, most delightfully choreographed cabaret spectacular of the year.

“Dress up and come to the cabaret,” he says.

DRESS TO IMPRESS – PRIZE FOR THE MOST GLAMOROUS MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE

Sparkling with couture costumes, featuring killer heels and stockings aplenty. . . no, we’re not talking about the burlesque all-star performers appearing in Britain’s hottest new theatre show sensation An Evening of Burlesque.

That’s a description of audiences for the glamorous production. Its combination of song, dance, mischief, magic, music, frivolity and fun has proved an unqualified hit with the ladies.

“Throughout the UK,” says show producer Michael Taylor, “at every venue, the fairer sex make up the majority of our audiences. “And the ladies just love dressing for the occasion.”

So much so, the production now offers a “burlesque-tastic” surprise prize for the best-dressed member of the audience on the night. The prize will be awarded by the show’s production manager, their decision being final.

“The show is an opportunity,” says Mike, “to forget about all your troubles for an evening and enjoy the thrills and spills of modern-day burlesque.

“Theatregoers completely immerse themselves in the evening’s entertainment.”
Michael says, as performers look out from the stage the auditorium is aglitter with the most dazzling outfits.

“As a consequence, the atmosphere at theatres is absolutely electric,” he says.

“We would like to reward the most glamorously-dressed person with a prize they’ll treasure forever.”

ENTERTAINERS, 200 LONDON ROAD, HADLEIGH, BENFLEET, ESSEX, SS7 2PD
Tel: 01702 427100 switchboard, 01702 427102 direct easytheatres.com

pancakes article On Tuesday 4 March the second Annual Pancake Races will be held on New Road, Gravesend. Local businesses will be racing against each other whilst flipping their pancakes. Races start at 12.15pm.

Last year’s winner was Lizzie from the Kent messenger. A council spokesperson said: “Last year was flipping crazy, there was a great buzz in the town with shrieks of laughter as the businesses raced against each other. We are looking forward to crowning a new champion this year.”

Gruffalo-press imageThemed activity trails, giant wooden Gruffalo sculptures and a big birthday forest picnic are coming to Bedgebury.

Families in Kent and Sussex are invited into a deep dark wood near their home this year to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with characters from the world-famous picture books.

From April, visitors can join Mouse on his adventure and explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale through activity trails in the Pinetum.

The fun-packed partnership kicks off with The Gruffalo activity trails in Bedgebury and 27 other forests across England, which run through to the end of September. In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay in Bedgebury right through the winter until February 2015. Characters from the stories will lead children through the trees with adventure and intrigue, learning about woods and forests as they go.

From June, a giant wooden sculpture of one of the world’s best-loved monsters himself will be hidden in Bedgebury Pinetum. Another 14 of the 7ft tall sculptures will be hidden in forests across England, for families to track down. The 15 Gruffalos will all be different and are currently being individually-carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites.

Visitors are also invited to gather in Bedgebury with family and friends on Saturday 7 June to celebrate The Gruffalo’s anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic – inspired by an exciting party pack of forest-inspired picnic ideas, activities and bunting, free to download this Spring from the Forestry Commission’s website http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo.
Daryl Shute from Magic Light Pictures, the brand building and production company responsible for the award-winning animated Gruffalo films commented:

“The Gruffalo encourages followers to explore the real world with imagination, creativity and a true sense of adventure. With emphasis on learning and the great outdoors, Forestry Commission England is the perfect partner, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them in this anniversary year to launch these exciting new series of trails across the country.”
“The Gruffalo lives in the natural world so a local forest is the perfect place to set out with Mouse on his journey in search of these magnificent new wooden carvings of one of the nation’s favourite children’s picture book characters.”

Sandra Styles from Bedgebury commented:

“There is no better way to celebrate The Gruffalo than within the deep dark wood and forest that he calls home.

“The Gruffalo is a national treasure and so are our forests and this partnership will really help to bring the story to life and celebrate the anniversary in true Gruffalo style.

“All the activities have been carefully positioned at Forestry Commission sites across the country so you are never more than an hour away from a Gruffalo adventure, and we are very excited to be a part of the celebrations with The Gruffalo activity trails and a sculpture at Bedgebury.”

Details of trails and sculpture locations and the forest birthday picnic party pack are available from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo. Sign up online to find out more about the exciting year of forest celebrations.

Blood transfusionDoctors and paramedics at Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance have performed nearly 70 emergency blood transfusions since the service was first launched a year ago today (February 4th).

Figures show that during the last 12 months the advanced medical procedure – usually performed after a patient arrives at hospital – was carried out 69 times at the scene of an accident or medical emergency.

The charity’s research shows that a total of 160 units of blood were administered to patients who had life-threatening injuries with 20-29 year-olds being the largest group of recipients.

Air Ambulance Clinical Manager Gary Wareham, who pioneered the launch of the blood transfusion service, said: “The project has gone very much as we expected and we are now seeing patients delivered to hospital who may not have survived the journey before.

“We are now considering using other blood products that may further improve patient outcomes.”

The figures also show that August was the peak period for blood transfusions, the youngest patient being aged under 10 and the oldest over 90.

In one case, a patient suffered chest, pelvis and spinal injuries following a collision with a car. His airway was partially obstructed and he was agitated.

The doctor and paramedic anaesthetised him at the road-side and performed emergency chest surgery to reinflate his collapsed lungs.
They then administered four units of blood at scene and en route to the Royal London Hospital major trauma centre.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance last year became one of the first in the country to start carrying blood.

Every day, bikers at the Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV) deliver eight fresh units to each of the helicopter bases from the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford and East Surrey Hospital at Redhill.

SERV secretary Mel Johnson said: “The air ambulance has been a pleasure to work with over the last year. The daily replenishment and emergency re-supply services provided by the SERV groups in Kent and Surrey have helped ensure that both helicopters are always fully stocked and ready to respond.

“We are proud to have played our part using equipment funded by The Henry Surtees Foundation to ensure that the people of the three counties have been able to receive the highest standards of critical care available, provided by a triumvirate of charities working together with a common goal.”

The Henry Surtees Foundation also supplied cars for the blood runs in addition to equipment used to store blood at the correct temperature and warm it to give to patients.

John Surtees, OBE, founder of the Foundation, said: “I spent a lifetime in motorsport where every second counts. The same factor plays a vital part in saving life and injury.

“The Henry Surtees Foundation was very happy to work with all the team at the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance in assisting with the introduction of the blood transfusion service.”

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk

ann barnesHave you been a victim of crime? Are you able to spare a small amount of time to take part in a focus group or telephone survey?

Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, is looking for volunteers to share their experiences as a victim of crime to help shape support for victims in the future.

If you are a resident of Kent, then the Commissioner is asking for victims of burglary, vehicle crime, theft, and criminal damage in the last year to come forward.

It is not anticipated you will be asked to give up more than two hours of your time, and expenses will be paid. The focus groups/surveys will not at this time be suitable for victims of crime such as assault, rape or abuse or any incident involving violence.

Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘Funding for victims will be transferred later in the year from the Ministry of Justice to Police and Crime Commissioners and I will not waste a penny of it – I am determined that victims will have the support and help they need. One of my main manifesto promises was to improve services for victims and to put them at the heart of the Criminal Justice System. I remain committed to doing exactly that. I urge victims to come forward as their experiences and views will help identify priority areas for funding. The outcomes of these focus groups will also inform my future victim-based projects, including a ‘Track My Crime’ initiative to help keep victims updated on their investigation, as well as a Victims’ Centre which I will open in the county next year.’

If you could spare a couple of hours to take part in a focus group or a phone interview, then please contact the Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner on 01622 677055 or via contactyourpcc@pcc.kent.pnn.police.uk to register your willingness to participate, with a short description of the crime you recently experienced, your age and your gender. Please also provide a contact telephone number.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Friday 21st February 2014.

Police all over Kent are increasing the number of Public Surgeries and Community engagement events they run. Please find below a list of these events around Medwaylink_Kent_Police_logo_-_Two_line_colour (1)

Surgeries being held by PCSO CORNWALL

Luton Library, Nelson Terrace, Chatham Thursday 6th February 1000 – 1130 hours

Luton Library, Nelson Terrace, Chatham. Thursday 6th March 1000 – 1130 hours

Surgeries being held by PCSO DAVISON

Medway Maritime Hospital, Windmill Road, Gillingham. February 19th 1000 – 1100 hours.

Community Engagement/Surgery held by PCSO KING

Morrison’s Car Park, Princes Avenue, Chatham. February 3rd 1000 – 1100 hours

March 3rd 1000 – 1100
April 7th 1000 – 1100
May 5th 1000 – 1100
June 2nd 1000 – 1100
July 7th 1000 – 1100
Aug 4th 1000 – 1100
Sept 1st 1000 – 1100
Oct 6th 1000 – 1100
Nov 3rd 1000 – 1100
Dec 1st 1000 – 1100

Community Engagement/Surgery held by PCSO KING

Walderslade Village Library, Walderslade Chatham

Feb 4th 0900 – 1000
March 4th 0900 – 1000
April 1st 0900 – 1000
May 6th 0900 – 1000
June 3rd 0900 – 1000
July 1st 0900 – 1000
Aug 5th 0900 – 1000
Sept 2nd 0900 – 1000
Oct 7th 0900 – 1000
Nov 4th 0900 – 1000
Dec 2nd 0900 – 1000

Surgeries being held by PCSO BROOKS

Wigmore Library, Fairview Avenue, Wigmore.

Thursday 27th February 1100 – 1200
Thursday 27th March 1100 – 1200
Thursday 24th April 1100 – 1200

Surgeries being held by PCSO McCANN

ABC Project, Mercury Close, Rochester.

Thursday 13th Feb 1000 – 1100
Thursday 13th March 1000 – 1100
Thursday 10th April 1000 – 1100
Thursday 15th May 1000 – 1100
Thursday 5th June 1000 – 1100
Thursday 10th July 1000 – 1100

Surgeries held by PCSO COLTHORPE

The Rochester Hub, Rochester High Street.

Thursday 13th Feb 1000 – 1100
Thursday 13th March 1000 – 1100
Thursday 10th April 1000 – 1100
Thursday 8th May 1000 – 1100
Thursday 5th June 1000 – 1100
Thursday 3rd July 1000 – 1100

Surgeries being held by PCSO McCANN and PCSO COLTHORPE

St Peters Church, Delce Road, Rochester

Tuesday 4th February 1000 – 1100
Tuesday 11th March 1000 – 1100
Tuesday 8th April 1000 – 1100
Tuesday 13th May 1000 – 1100
Tuesday 3rd June 1000 – 1100
Tueday 8th July 1000 – 1100

Surgeries being held by PCSO McCANN

St Justus Church, The Fairway, Rochester.

Wednesday 19th Feb 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 12th March 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 9th April 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 14th May 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 11th June 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 30th July 1000 – 1100

Surgeries being held by PCSO McCANN

The Holiday Inn, Maidstone Road, Chatham

Thurs 13th Feb 1200 – 1300
Thurs 13th March 1200 – 1300
Thurs 17th April 1100 – 1200
Thurs 22nd May 1100 – 1200
Thurs 19th June 1100 – 1200
Thurs 31st July 1100 – 1200

Surgeries being held by PCSO CLARE

Memorial Hall Car Park, Holly Road, Wainscott
Feb 14th 1600 – 1700

Outside Parkside Car Park, Cliffe Woods.
14th Feb 1730 – 1830

St Helens Church Car Park, Cliffe
14th Feb 1900 – 2000

TO COMMEMORATE THIS YEAR’S WW1 CENTENARY PENSHURST PLACE AND GARDENS IS KICKING OFF A ‘SIR AND SOLDIER’ THEME FOR 2014 WHEN THE HOUSE AND GROUNDS OPENS FOR THE SEASON ON 15TH FEBRUARY.

The historic Kent venue will be running war-themed activities for visitors throughout the year, starting this month during half-term with a couple of fun children events designed to help young visitors experience life as a soldier.

SECRET SPY HUNT: 15TH – 23RD FEBRUARY (10.30 AM TO DUSK)

Reconnaissance soldiers are needed in Penshurst. Their mission: to transform into a WWI spy to help save Penshurst Place from enemy invasion. The soldier spies will need cunning skills to hunt down and solve war-themed secret clues to find ten missing objects that are hidden around the gardens and adventure playground.

This fun children’s trail is included within the admission fee and will be running throughout the half-term school holiday from 15th – 23rd February 2014 from 10.30am – dusk. Normal garden admission prices apply

For more information http://www.penshurstplace.com/whatson

WAR WOUNDS MAKE-UP WORKSHOP: 19TH FEBRUARY (4PM TO 6PM)

penshurst

war wounds make upworld war oneThe Porcupine Pantry at Penshurst Place will be transformed into a WWI wounds clinic on Wednesday 19th February between 4pm and 6pm when award-winning special effect artist Kate Griffiths runs a ‘War Wounds’ make-up workshop.

Designed by Kate especially for Penshurst Place, the event will show older children (age 7+) how to create fake wounds using everyday household materials and how to bandage their injuries in the same way as they would have been during WW1.

Tickets £10 (For children aged 7+)
www.penshurstplace.com/etickets

Selected upcoming March highlights at Penshurst Place & Gardens include Mothering Sunday family activities with special lunch menu on 30th March; an adult Spring Stroll and Lunch on 16th March and spring bulbs and blossom displays in the gardens.

SPRING STROLL & LUNCH – ADULT EVENT: 16TH MARCH

Dust off your walking boots for a leisurely two hour stroll and reap a tasty reward for your physical exertion. A brand new walking event for adults to enjoy at Penshurst Place & Gardens on 16th March between 11am and 2pm. Journey across the beautiful estate and learn about its Tudor history on the way. This special Sunday walk is led by Penshurst Place’s General Manager and is followed by a delicious two-course roast lunch in the Garden Restaurant. Tickets £22 (to include private parking, guided walk, lunch and garden admission) www.penshurstplace.com/etickets

THE GREAT ARMADA ADVENTURE: 22ND & 23RD MARCH (12 NOON TO 4PM)

Experience life at Penshurst Place as the militia prepares to ward off the Spanish Armada. Skilled costumed characters bring history alive as they invite visitors to join them in the Staterooms as the Penshurst Place household prepares for invasion. Normal garden admission prices apply. For more information visit www.penshurstplace.com/whatson

CELEBRATION OF MOTHER’S DAY: 30TH MARCH

Families can celebrate Mother’s Day at Penshurst Place with fun craft activities to suit all ages and a special menu in the Garden Restaurant. Children will be able to treat their Mums to a handmade Mother’s Day poetry card or present her with a hidden Morse code message on a necklace made in the Education Room. Normal garden admission prices apply. For more information visit www.penshurstplace.com/whatson

Other things to see and do while visiting Penshurst Place and Gardens during February and March:-

• Toy Museum
• House (Sats & Suns only)
• Woodland Trail
• Adventure Playground
• Garden Restaurant
• Porcupine Pantry
• Gift Shop
• The Gardens:

February – early spring flowering bulbs in the Orchard, Nut Garden, Lime Walk and Horse Pond

March – spring blossom in the Orchard, Nut Garden and Flag Garden

Most events are included in standard admission price unless otherwise stated. Full details of the event calendar for 2014 can be found at www.penshurstplace.com/whatson.

Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, has given Kent Police a ‘clean bill of health’ following the latest inspection, released today, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) into the force’s crime recording practices.ann-barnes-3.jpgdeserve. Now the second inspection – carried out in November 2013 and published today – has seen an improvement in Kent Police’s accuracy level from 90 per cent to 96 per cent.

The latest inspection report found that Kent Police had:

• ‘Responded positively’ to the concerns raised by the first report by significantly improving accuracy in crime recording, including no-crime decisions
• Put in place a comprehensive action plan to address the recommendations from the first inspection
• Moved away from a target-based approach to focus on quality of service
• Ensured officers and staff had a clear understanding of their priorities without any pressure to chase targets
• Had surveyed victims identified in the first report as well introducing an appeals process for victims in cases where a crime is either not recorded, or where a crime is initially recorded but subsequently ‘no crimed’

Commenting on the latest report, Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘I am delighted with the latest independent inspection as it clearly highlights the hard work that the Force has undertaken to overhaul crime recording procedures. I am now confident that the people of Kent can have trust in their crime figures. Kent Police didn’t bury their heads in the sand but tackled head-on the difficult findings from the first inspection. Kent is the first force to be independently inspected and it’s now time for all police forces in the country to take an independent look at their own crime figures. All local communities must have trust in their forces crime recording figures.

‘Kent Police must now sustain this high level of accuracy and I expect the new Chief Constable to make this his constant focus now and in the future. It is imperative that the force’s culture on crime recording does not slip back to the bad old days. As the Kent newchief Police and Crime Commissioner I will be holding the Chief Constable to account to deliver this. One of the reasons why I chose Alan Pughsley to be our new Chief Constable is because I have confidence that he can, and will, deliver on this.’

The HMIC’s Rape Monitoring Group also released its latest report today, summarising the national picture of rape offences against adults and children.

The report, showed during 1st April 2012 – 31st March 2013 Kent Police had, for adult rape offences:

• A recorded crime rate below the national average (231 cases)
• A sanction detection rate in line with the national average (18 per cent)
• A ‘no crime’ rate that is in line with the national average (13 per cent)

For child rape offences the report found:
• A recorded crime rate below the national average (177 cases)
• A sanction detection rate above the national average (40 per cent)
• A ‘no crime’ rate that is in line with the national average (5 per cent)

Commenting on the rape report, Mrs Barnes said: ‘These are horrendous crimes and whilst the report shows that Kent is at the national average I am not complacent. I expect better and I want to see the numbers improved. However, the figures are historic and do not take into account the vast strides Kent Police has made since June 2013 in overhauling crime recording procedures, particularly when it comes to recording ‘no crime’.

‘This report is timely and completely vindicates my decision to call in HMIC to forensically and independently examine our crime recording practices.

‘It is only with clear and transparent statistics – which at this stage do not always make happy reading – that we can move forward to really examine Kent Police’s performance.’

HMIC is due to return to inspect Kent Police in 2014 as part of a national inspection into ‘crime data integrity’ which will compare all 43 police forces across England and Wales.

2014 069Another evening, more rain and more puddles, more mud and no chance of getting outside and really enjoying yourself.

Then it’s a good job the Upnor Pier is here to brighten up our evenings and whisk us off to the Caribbean for the evening with entertainment, three course meal and fun competitions combined to provide a great evening again and not forgetting the genuine Steel band.

Our chivalrous host enabling all to take part Our chivalrous host enabling all to take part

Our congratulations to the Limbo Competition winner who beat off some stiff competition, not that it was a close run thing as I meant stiff in a…. finding it awkward to bend sort of way.

And the winner is........feeling a little unwell. And the winner is……..feeling a little unwell.

As for the winner of the Chilli eating contest, well Julia, you are fearless, we are checking, but don’t think anyone, ever, in the History of the Upnor Pier chilli eating contest (It’s a tradition now you know) has eaten all six, the last one being named a Ghost Chilli. Congratulations and sympathy go to you this morning.

If you would like to know more about events at The Pier, find them on face book, or see them on page three of our printed edition for regular updates. You can find all the pictures from last nights event HERE.

Archeological remains of the NAMUR, the ship beneath the floorChatham Historic Dockyard Trust has received funding of £150,000 from DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement fund, in support of “Building the Future” – an element of its Command of the Oceans project, shortly due for commencement.

Within the Command of the Oceans project, The Trust faces the challenge of retelling the dockyard’s age of sail story and ensuring that the Namur, the highly significant archaeological ship’s timbers find, becomes a central element of that story. Thanks to this funding, “Building the Future” will allow the Trust to renew interpretation of the ship’s timbers as the centre piece of new age of sail galleries and improving the environmental conditions within the Wheelwrights’ Shop – benefiting visitors, the archaeological find itself and improving energy efficiency. The project will also see the creation of a new, more visible visitor entrance to The Historic Dockyard which will act as an arrival point to the wider Chatham Dockyard & its Defences site incorporating a free to enter initial interpretation and orientation ‘Discovery Zone’ in the Wheelwrights’ Shop with easy access and modern visitor facilities.

Bill Ferris OBE, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said; “The announcement of this award effectively completes the major element of our fundraising campaign for what is arguably the most significant single project undertaken by The Trust in pursuit of its own educational charitable purposes since the ‘Wooden Walls’ gallery opened in the late 1980s. Funding from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund 2011-15 will allow work to commence on the wider Command of the Oceans project later in 2014 and we are extremely grateful to the DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund for their continued support of The Historic Dockyard Chatham.”

PaulWeller14hrPaul Weller has confirmed five forest gigs, appearing as part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert programme in spectacular woodland locations across the country.
It’s been thirty years since Paul Weller first exploded onto the music scene, suited and booted, and armed with statement tunes in The Jam. Blending the best of British with his love of Motown, Weller crafted a new landscape in the UK music scene thanks to an impressive portfolio of work including amongst others, Stanley Road, Illumination, 22 Dreams and 2013’s Sonik Kicks all hitting Number One. A significant figure in popular music for the past three generations, he remains a cultural icon.
Forest Live is an independent programme organised by the Forestry Commission bringing music to new audiences without commercial branding or sponsorship. Income from the concerts is spent on improving the woodland for both people and wildlife.

Following on from two sold out Forest Live dates last summer, Paul said of the 2014 shows, “It’s a favourite summer jaunt for me so I look forward to performing in a few of the forests that I haven’t played in a good while”.

Paul Weller plus special guests will be performing:

Saturday 14 June: Sherwood Pines Forest, Edwinstowe, Nr Mansfield, Notts.

Saturday 21 June: Bedgebury Pinetum & Forest, Nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Friday 27 June: Dalby Forest, Nr Pickering, N Yorks.

Saturday 28 June: Cannock Chase Forest, Nr Rugeley, Staffs.

Friday 4 July: Delamere Forest, Nr Northwich, Cheshire.

Tickets £46.20 (including booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Friday 17 January from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at www.forestry.gov.uk/music.

Info
www.paulweller.com

main copy.qxdHouse prices in the South East will see an increase of seven percent over the course of next year while the cost of renting a home should rise by a further two percent. This growth is being driven by the acute imbalance between burgeoning buyer demand and sluggish supply with new instructions to estate agents close to stagnating.

Although significant challenges remain to achieving a sustainable economic recovery, 2014 may well see the nascent pick-up in activity gather pace and this will be reflected in the housing market. In addition to rising prices, the number of transactions should also see a further increase, moving up to 1.2m (from 1.05m in 2013). Although this represents an improvement, to put this in context, total sales in 2006 were well above this at 1.67m.

With the shortage of homes coming onto the market a key factor behind the price rises, some comfort may be drawn from a likely twenty percent jump in new starts in England over the next year. That would push the total towards the 155,000 mark compared to 125,000 this year and only around 100,000 in 2012. While this is an encouraging trend, it is still insufficient to address the more rapid growth in population and will leave significant shortfalls in all tenures.

Across the UK, all parts of the country should see prices rise next year. Predictably, the biggest increases are to be seen in the capital, where the cost of a home will jump by around eleven percent. It remains to be seen what impact the recently announced increase in capital gains tax for overseas vendors will have on the prime central London market.

Meanwhile, the North East and Northern Ireland will experience the lowest rises with prices increasing by five percent and four percent respectively.

2014 UK housing market at a glance

UK REGION GROWTH

East of England ——————10
East Midlands———————10
London—————————-11
North East————————-5
Northern Ireland——————-4
North West————————-7
Scotland—————————7
South East————————-7
South West————————-7
Wales——————————7
West Midlands———————-7
Yorkshire and Humberside———–7
UK———————————8

• Cost of renting to grow by two percent
• Transactions to increase to 1.2 million
• Housing starts to edge up to 150,000 in England

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, commented:
“The cost of a house is now picking-up right across the country and next year should see more of the same. We expect all areas of the country to see prices increase with London, predictably, recording the biggest rises. The improving economic picture aside, this is largely down to the fact that buyer numbers considerably outweigh the amount of homes on the market. While the number of new homes being built is now on the rise, it still won’t be anywhere near enough to meet demand and we expect the problem of insufficient housing stock to be the main driver behind price increases over the next twelve months.”

Irene Ropery CobblestonesAs darkness descends, The Historic Dockyard takes on an eerie atmosphere, providing the perfect backdrop for tales of history, mystery, murder and intrigue – mixed with a little adventure and romance. This year’s ghost walks and spooky tales take visitors around the darkened cobbled streets of the Ropery buildings and into the dimly lit Ropery itself – an eerie experience in the darkened ¼ mile rope walk.

Commencing at 8pm and lasting approximately 1½ hours these eerie evenings cost £12 per person and run on the following dates:
Friday 25th October
Friday 1st & 15th November
Friday 13th December

Places are limited! To avoid disappointment, pre-booking is essential. Call 01634 823845 / 823852 or email ghostwalks@chdt.org.uk

Minimum age is 16 years if accompanied by a full paying adult over the age of 21.

tuba Saturday 19th October the Kent Police Brass Band will be playing at Hoo St. Werburgh Parish Church and there are still a few tickets available if you would like to go you can get tickets from Stuart Coombs on 01634 251705

kwthighcowWith the increasing amount and variety of livestock that the Trust owns or loans conservation grazing is becoming an increasingly important management tool. Thanks to recent project funding, many of the chalk downland reserves in the Darenth Valley are being grazed by sheep and cattle this winter, and this year for the first time we will be using goats to control invasive buddleia and silver birch at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. Read More

golden ploverLate summer and early autumn at Oare Marshes have seen huge numbers of wading birds passing through on their annual migration to over-wintering locations.

During August and September counts in excess of 2,000 black-tailed godwit, 750 redshank, 150 dunlin,100 ringed plover, 200 golden plover and 50 curlew sandpipers have been recorded – the highest count of the latter for many years. Read More

batsbroomsThings get spooky this Autumn Half Term at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, as visitors explore the eerie and ethereal through a range of exciting activities.

Running from 25 October through to 3 November, visitors can join in the Bats and Broomsticks activities, suitable for all the family. These include a brand new and very informative Bat Trail, the return of Megan the Witch with spell binding stories to enchant and – back by popular demand – families can challenge their creative skills by trying their hand at Pumpkin Carving or take the spooky mini Ghost Tours through the eerie Hearts of Oak gallery in the dark! Read More

Milton Chantry (Julieanne Savage) / CC BY-SA 2.0

There will be open days at the Milton Chantry, Gravesham’s oldest building, on Friday 13 September and Saturday 14 September. Entry is free and all visitors will be offered a complimentary audio guide which brings the building alive through its informative commentary.
On Saturday there will be a display supplied by Medieval Days Living History. There will be opportunity to try on some medieval fashion items, have a go at casting an iron coin and try your hand at spinning wool.

Melanie Norris said “Taking part in national events such as this enforces the importance of preserving and promoting local heritage. Milton Chantry is such a wonderful building and offers visitors a real sense of the past”. The Chantry was founded in 1322 by Aymer de Valence the Earl of Pembroke although its origins date back to around 1189. During the Middle Ages, many wealthy people built Chantry Chapels and gave them land to generate income in order to maintain a priest to pray for the owner and his family. The Chantry was occupied by a number of priests appointed by the Bishop of Rochester until around 1524. Like many other chapels, Milton Chantry was dissolved into Crown hands as part of Henry VIII’s reformation

Milton Chantry is located within the Fort Gardens close to Gordon Promenade and easily walkable from the town centre. The nearest car park is Milton Place. Public toilet facilities are located on the Promenade next to the Café.

Open times
Friday 13 September 10.30am – 3.30pm
Saturday 14 September 12noon – 5pm
Please note that due to the age of the building, at present it is not accessible to wheelchair users.

ORIGINAL 244a Fiona

For the first time ever at any event, Salute to the ‘40s has three of the leading 1940’s female performers together on one stage. With two Main Stages, two dancehalls, dance workshops, street performers and music across the site the weekend at The Historic Dockyard is going to be full of entertaining vintage delight! Keep Calm and Carry On to Salute to the ‘40s on 21st and 22nd September at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Read More

ann-barnes-3Following a pledge to help improve Neighbourhood Watch across the county, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, has launched a survey to canvas public opinion about the scheme.

Neighbourhood Watch is one of the biggest and most successful voluntary crime-prevention movements, based on the idea of an active community working together and in partnership with the Police to help reduce crime and make their community safe.

The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner is very keen to increase Neighbourhood Watch awareness across Kent and the survey is your chance to give your views about how this can be best achieved.

To take part in the survey, visit http://www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/annbarneskpccpoll.html

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Jubilee walk at Penshurst Place summer 2011c Maryann Webster

Jubilee walk at Penshurst Place summer 2011c Maryann Webster

Penshurst Place and Gardens today launches a newly published guide book. Written in part by Lord and Lady De L’Isle, whose family home is Penshurst Place, the guide gives visitors a unique and personal insight into the magnificent house dating back to 1341, and contains details of the architecture, contents, toy museum and glorious historic gardens. More

Image credit Eleanor Sopwith

Image credit Eleanor Sopwith

Arundel Castle in West Sussex will be hosting an interactive Multi-Period Event across the Bank Holiday Weekend from 24-26 August. Set on the Lower Lawns at Arundel Castle, the three day event will provide Castle visitors with a unique journey through the history of the Castle. More

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has launched a new lottery draw to help fund the cost of night flying.

It currently costs £5million per year to keep the service airborne but this figure will soon rise to £6million. More

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