Thanet community news: Thanet Lions, Weight Watchers, jazz and St Anthony’s School

In the t Anthony's Garden Reading Room – (Left to right) Wayne Hodgson, Deborah Salsbury, Julie Wassmer, Headteacher Robert Page with pupils Crystal and Connor

St Anthony’s School

St Anthony’s School, a member of Kent Special Educational Needs Trust, in Cliftonville, nurtures children with a range of barriers to learning, principally; social, emotional and mental health challenges and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The school recently carried out reading assessments on all pupils at the school and found that two thirds of the pupils have a delay of more than two years, when comparing their chronological age to their reading age. This is mainly due to a lack of engagement in their education and/or specific learning difficulties. Many of the pupils, understandably, have a very negative view of reading when they arrive.

St Anthony’s were keen to improve the children’s reading skills and so secured funding from the Red Eagle Foundation to create a bespoke Indoor Reading Garden – a place where children are encouraged and feel comfortable to develop their reading skills. Over 100 pupils, age 6-16 will now benefit from this space. Many pupils receive one to one, weekly teaching by Reading Recovery trained teacher, Deborah Salsbury- AKA ‘The Reading Doctor’.

Deborah said; “We will close the gap between pupil’s chronological age and reading age, which in turn will give them better opportunities and increase their employability. Pupils at the school will be able to develop a more positive attitude towards reading through specialist intervention and by choosing to ‘hang out’ in ‘The Reading Garden’ -a place to be calm and relax with a book. We didn’t want it to look like a traditional library. Since the conception of the idea, I have been on a quest to hunt down anything garden related that would enhance this exciting space. We are particularly delighted with the grass effect lino flooring.”

The Reading Garden was officially opened this month (December) by Whitstable- based author and former East Enders scriptwriter, Julie Wassmer and Red Eagle’s Wayne Hodgson, in a special whole school assembly to mark the occasion.

Wayne Hodgson, Chairman of Red Eagle Foundation, the charity that contributed £2,000 to fund the initial phase of this long term project, said; “This project is close to my heart, it is an area where I grew up and I am pleased to be putting something back into my local community.”

Julie Wassmer added:”I felt very privileged to have been invited to St Anthony’s on the official opening of the Reading Garden and to have met dedicated members of the school’s staff, as well as many of the children who will benefit from having this precious new space in which to develop their reading skills. If one child’s journey in life can be improved by this, it will be a great achievement, but I’m certain the Reading Garden will do so for many. It’s as special as the children it serves.”

Thanet Lions

With Christmas now behind us, and the baubles packed away, Thanet Lions Club members look forward to a New Year.

2018 had been a special year for the club. Having formed in 1968 Thanet Lions Club celebrated its 50th anniversary. Times have changed but our motto ‘We Serve’ remains. In the early days we would hold jumble sales and Donkey Derby’s, these have been replaced by quiz nights and boot fairs, but the need for help is still as great.

Thanet Lions would like to thank everyone who has supported the club throughout last year – from attending our quizzes, boot fairs, race night, to placing money in our tins and donating clothes, toys and furniture. Thank you.

Monies raised by our fundraising events are spent is so many different ways. Last year we supported 1st Westgate Scout Group with new flooring in their hut, Inspirations Drama Group with a camera and video camera, defibrillators to The Shed and Pharmacy at Palm Bay and 260 Christmas hampers were distributed to those who deserved that ‘little extra’- to name but a few. Every month we receive requests for help for the basics in life – clothing, furniture, white goods and ‘top ups’ for electricity and gas. All requests are considered carefully and help will be supplied wherever we can.

Thanet Lions, being part of an International Service organisation, is always ready to help provide relief in times of disaster. Sadly during the last few months we saw severe flooding and mudslides in Japan and Kerala in India and recently Indonesia has been struck by an earthquake and tsunami. Immediate donations are sent from our Lions Clubs International Foundation in America to the Lions Clubs in the affected areas. These funds go directly to those in need, providing the help required rebuilding their lives.

Now 2019 is set to be as busy. Our first quiz night will take place on Saturday, February 9 at St Peters Church Hall, tickets £6; bring your own food and drink. Our boot fairs will, weather permitting, resume at the end of April at Drapers Mills School and our annual Summer fete has been booked for Sunday, August 25 (Bank Holiday weekend) at Victoria Gardens Broadstairs.

The club meets on the second Monday of every month at the Sir Stanley Gray Pub, Pegwell Bay. For more information or you think we can help you, please telephone us on 0845 8339532 or you can find us at or on Facebook.

Seaside Shuffle Jazz Club

It was ‘House Full’ for the Seaside Shuffle Jazz Club’s Christmas special get-together. More than 20 guests paid at the door and they were joined from the members who already knew they were in for a treat with the Doolally Tap Jazz Band; Leader, trombone and vocals David Lalljee, trumpet and vocals Titch Walker, clarinet and soprano sax, John O’Neill, banjo and vocals Nick Singer and sousaphone Tom Briers.

After the first set a buffet lunch during which the large number of raffle prizes were drawn.The second set ended with a traditional ‘Brollie Parade’ where people produced their decorated brollies to ‘Jazz round’ the room following the band.

Membership of the club is £10 per annum giving members a discount for the monthly gigs, plus a monthly newsletter which includes a crossword puzzle.  The first correct entry of it, opened on the day, gives the winner free entry to the next month’s concert.

The venue is at the fully licensed Ramsgate Small Boat Owners Club, Guildford Lawn, Ramsgate.

The Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle has a website and is on facebook. The band for the Saturday, January 26 is yet to be announced.

Weight Watchers

A Ramsgate mum was so upset when she saw a photo of herself at her brother’s wedding, she made a promise that she wouldn’t be 23 stone at her own wedding in 2019.

Ria Wylie was determined to shift the weight and, during the following 6 years she shed 8 stone.

This is Ria’s story in her own words:

“As a child I loved sports and dancing, but I also loved food. Being as active as I was at that time, it didn’t really matter. But when I was 19, I started working at a casino as a croupier and had no time for sports and dancing.

“I spent long hours standing on the spot dealing cards often till the early hours of the morning. I began eating lots of rubbish and convenience foods. Without the activity, the weight started to pile on.

“If I am honest with myself, I had become a food addict. I always loved my food, but now food gave me a buzz. I would secretly eat loads and loads. Instead of a couple of biscuits, I would eat a whole packet, always in secret. I didn’t want people to see me eat and judge me, but I couldn’t stop eating. I was eating for the sake of it.

“At one point in 2013, I tried Weight Watchers with a few friends and although I lost a few stone, as soon as I had some emotional upheaval in my life, I went back to secret eating, only this time the food addiction came with emotional eating too. I regained the three stone I had lost and another 3 stone on top, tipping the scales at my heaviest at 23 stone.

“In March 2017, I attended my (soon to be) brother in laws wedding, I was horrified when the pictures came back and there was 1 photo that I particularly hated. At that moment, I found my why, that reason you find to want to make the change.

“I knew Weight Watchers worked, but when I went in 2013, I wasn’t in that mindset. Now I was ready. I put the photo on the fridge and went back to see wellness coach Cilla Muxlow at Harris and Hoole Broadstairs.

By October 30th, 2017 I had lost 6 stone and my boyfriend proposed to me on the beach. I said yes, but in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to be smaller, so this became my new why.

Ria with boyfriend Wayne

“I had gone from a size 26 to a size 18, which was a massive achievement, when I went for my first dress fitting. But the dress I had picked included a 10% surcharge for being a plus size. I told the fitters that there was no way I would pay the extra 10% and instructed them to my dress a size 14.

“In May this year we went to Mexico and I felt fabulous. I wore a tankini on the beach for the first time ever, I did things I had never done and bought clothes that I would never previously have worn. I felt the best I ever could.

“In November when I went for another fitting for my dress, I had lost another 3 inches.  That’s 8 stone since my journey began. I have no doubt that by April, when I go for the final fitting, that my dress will fit me perfectly, maybe even have to take it in a bit. Who knows?”