Thanet community news: Cheerful art, Morse code, wartime school tales and more

Drapers Mills pupils with their fantastic art

Drapers Mills school and Cheerful Sparrows

Just before Christmas, Drapers Mills Primary School received an exciting letter, inviting children in years 3-6 to enter the Cheerful Sparrows Charity Art competition. Elena from the charity came in to visit us and gave an assembly, teaching us interesting facts about house sparrows, as well as sharing information about the Cheerful Sparrows charity and the art competition. Elena challenged us to each create a cheerful piece of artwork, which, if chosen, would be displayed in the Cheerful Sparrows wards at the QEQM hospital.

During January and February, children in years 3-6 set about creating their artwork. We drew inspiration from the artist Henri Matisse, who himself, spent much of his adult life bedbound, making his ‘paper cut out’ collages, from his wheelchair or bed. That got us thinking, that maybe his bright, energetic collages were a way of cheering himself up when he couldn’t go outside, much like the patients in the hospital, that we would be making artwork for.

Once we had completed our artwork, school council presented the collages to Elena (all 300 pieces!). Elena then very carefully selected 3 pictures from each class, to be taken to be judged by members of Broadstairs Sailing Club.

Winners were announced in a special assembly and presented with certificates from the Cheerful Sparrows Charity. The selected few were also invited to present their artwork to the Cheerful Sparrows wards at QEQM hospital.

On Tuesday, February 12, ten of the lucky winners set off by foot from Drapers Mills on our short journey to the QEQM Hospital to see the Cheerful Sparrows wards. Upon arrival, we sat down to wait for Jan, Chair of the Cheerful Sparrows Charity, to come and meet us. We then went through the hospital and up to the wards.  We were invited to arrange the artwork at the entrance of the wards, for all of the patients, staff and visitors to see. The doctors and nurses came to personally thank us and even found the time to pose for a quick photo!

After looking around the wards, Jan very kindly treated us to chocolate cookies and tropical juice! We would all like to thank Elena and Jan from the Cheerful Sparrows Charity, for all of their hard work, helping those in our community who are less fortunate than us and for giving us the opportunity to be a part of something so special. Many thanks also to the nurses, doctors, patients and visitors for making us feel so welcome in the hospital and on the Cheerful Sparrows wards. We hope our artwork helps to brighten your day!

Written by: Ernestas, Adriana, Isobel and Mrs Comber

Margate Civic Society

Continuing this year’s diverse programme of talks: Our next meeting will be held in the Ballroom at the Walpole Bay Hotel, Fifth Avenue, Cliftonville on Thursday, March 7 at 7.30pm – attendees are requested to be seated by 7.15pm.   The meeting will start with Members’ Notices, after which our guest speaker:  Mary Smith, (ex-headmistress and author of the book) will be giving a talk entitled “A Schoolgirl’s War – The Story of a Kent School during World War Two,” followed by an opportunity for any questions.

During the evening, there will also be an opportunity to purchase copies of her book, which is an evocative record of school life in wartime bringing together an exquisite and unparalleled set of paintings of girls at school during WW2, and first-hand recollections of pupils who experienced the disrupted schooling, the air-raids, the doodlebugs and the lessons in underground shelters.

As always during the evening, raffle tickets will be on sale (£1 per strip or 6 for £5) with the draw taking place at the end of the evening.

All are welcome – nominal entrance fee is £3 for non-members.

If you are interested in joining Margate Civic Society, or wish to find out more, please see our website for further details.

Isle of Thanet Photographic Society

Thanet’s camera club started the year with our second quarterly print competition. Raymond Bridges had the pleasure of judging 45 prints covering a wide range of subjects.  He provided a useful critique of each entry to help members improve their technique and composition.  Carywn Mills won the intermediate group and Cherry Lacombe came first in the advanced group.

Programme Secretary Laura Drury had set members a challenge to alter a number of images she had previously supplied.  It was great fun seeing how members had used their imagination to create some quite different and stunning pictures.

The third quarterly PDI competition was judged by Darren Woolway, who awarded marks for presentation, technical merit, post-production processing and overall impact.  Again, his remarks were extremely helpful to members.  Winner of the intermediate group was Steve Lee, whilst Cherry Larcombe was first in the advanced group.

In February, Club Secretary Ken Butcher gave a fascinating talk about his visit to China in 2017, showing us some wonderful photos of this country of contrasts.

In March members will take part in print competitions and the set subject of Patterns in Nature, so there is much to look forward to in the coming weeks.

For full details of our programme, membership and other news please visit our website: www.isleofthanetphotographicsociety,

Hilderstone Radio Society

Three Girl Guide groups celebrated Thinking Day on the Air with the help of the Hilderstone Radio Society. Girl Guides all around the world think about the international nature of Guiding and make friends with other groups using Amateur Radio as the means of communication.

The Hilderstone Radio Society organised five activities based around communication with the help of the STEMettes, a group of girls from the School Amateur Radio Club Network. The girls were from  3rd Margate St Johns, 2nd Cliftonville Holy Trinity and 7th Margate All Saints.

The radio station had the special call sign GB1TGG, Thanet Girl Guides, so that the children could speak to other amateur radio users. 12 year old Izzy has her own call sign M6TZI and she was able to encourage the girls to be confident and ask questions.

They practised having conversations using PMR radios, using the phonetic alphabet to spell their name. Eight year old Gracie showed the girls how to send and receive Morse code, most importantly SOS! 12 year old Freya explained how to send secret communications as they did in the Second World War. She had a model of the Enigma machine to show how to decipher a message.

The girls enjoyed looking at the cards which amateur radio enthusiasts send to each other to confirm a contact. These cards were from all around the world and the girls had to find the country on a map. The International Space Station passed overhead during the morning and the children tracked it with an antenna and received an image sent on the amateur radio waves.

Guides Leader Gill Goodwin said the girls enjoyed themselves immensely and are looking forward to receiving their commemorative badges. She was pleasantly surprised by the young helpers. The Hilderstone Radio Society would like to thank the 1st St John’s Margate Scout group for allowing them to host the event at their Scout Hut.

Community Lifesavers

Community Life Savers is a voluntary community project, not a business and we have no affiliation with any supplier of Defibrillators or associated equipment.

We are qualified emergency first responders and first aid Instructors, and have experience volunteering in the community with Secamb, our ambulance service.  We believe that we need to teach as many people throughout the whole of the Thanet how to feel confident in using a defibrillator (AED) in every pocket of the community.

Some 30,000 people in the UK each year suffer cardiac arrest in their home or a public place. Early defib will increase the chance of survival by up to 74%.

To supply 1 x Defibrillator (AED) in an external case with public access costs around £1000,00 per defibrillator and case.

We are fully trained to teach the skills needed and will supply training and awareness free of charge.  Our wish is to place as many defibrillator’s as possible in the local community, and to empower members of the public to pass on the basic requirements if they feel comfortable and confident.

Please support and help us all make a difference.  It could be you, your family, friend or colleague who needs this life saving support.

[email protected]

League of Friends of the QEQM Hospital

At a recent trustees committee meeting forthcoming fundraising events were discussed – including the Greek Evening on Friday, March 1, for which a few tickets are still available although they will need to be booked fast! Such fundraising enables our charity to consider funding requests such as these, which were approved at the meeting:

  • 300 personal comfort care packs for relatives needing to spend the night at patients’ bedsides – £984.
  • video conferencing facilities for the cardiology department in the Heart Centre to enable staff to rapidly discuss the best options for individual patients with similar staff in other hospitals – £2,566.
  • 2 play activity modules to keep children occupied in the family waiting room in the A & E Department – £528
  • a lifting device for the Renal Unit to enable patients to be transferred safely & comfortably from a wheelchair or the toilet to a chair or bed for their dialysis – £747
  • a tonometer for the Eye Clinic to measure patients’ eye pressure accurately & accurately – £2,495.

Margate Inner Wheel Club

New and nearly new clothes sale taking place on Friday, March 8 at Christchurch United Reform Church in Westgate Bay Avenue Westgate from 10am-12.30pm with free entry.

We will have some super new and nearly new clothes on offer, a bric a brac stall,  a raffle and tea coffee and biscuits on offer.

We are hoping to raise lots of money for our designated charities for this year – The Dogs Trust and Hi Kent Hearing Charity who provide free clinics to NHS patients and lip reading classes which are also free.


Orbit has achieved a coveted place within the prestigious Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list. It has attained this status following an independent survey of its employees carried out by Best Companies. The listings, which are now into their 19th year of existence, appear as part of the Sunday Times pull-out and provide businesses with a measurement of success from their own employees.

With a growing property portfolio of over 42,000 homes spanning the midlands, east and south Orbit employs over 1,000 people across these regions. Last year Orbit developed over 2,000 homes.

The profit for a purpose approach enables it to invest £4 million each year back into the communities it serves. This includes the delivery of its Better Days programme, which helps customers improve their skills across the areas of employment, wellbeing, managing their money and digital.

Commenting on the achievement, Craig Wilcockson, Group People Director at Orbit, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have made the Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work For list on our first attempt.

“It demonstrates how our own employees recognise that Orbit is a truly great place to work. We place people at the heart of everything we do and we will continue to create a culture that celebrates diversity and an environment where everyone feels able to contribute towards achieving together.

“We introduced our vision to lead in building thriving communities 12 months ago and we recognise that to be successful in achieving this we firstly need to create a thriving community for our employees.”

Cheryl Flavell, Placemaking and Partnerships Manager at Orbit, added: “Orbit has supported me to develop my career and offered me opportunities to follow my interests. I have been supported to grow and trusted to make decisions and be innovative in my work.”

Orbit prides itself on being a values led business with a clear social purpose and the results from the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For survey demonstrate how its own employees recognise Orbit as a great place to work.

Over the past year, one of Orbit’s areas of continued focus has been upon its employee wellbeing programme, which has four key areas: myMind, myMoney, myHealth and myChoice. There have been a number of activities throughout the year including workshops, training and wellbeing events that have contributed to a raised awareness of employee wellbeing. Orbit is also extremely proud to have provided training for employees to become Mental Health First Aiders.

Alongside its wellbeing programme Orbit offers all employees their own Personal Development Plans, training and a comprehensive employee benefits package.

To find out more about Orbit and discover available opportunities as well as its graduate and apprentice programme visit its new dedicated careers website here: