Thanet community news: Meteor watch, Braving the Shave and club and volunteer latest

The Perseid meteor Image by Paul Sutherland

Monkton Stargazers

Despite the awful rain in the morning the Perseid meteor watch at Monkton Nature Reserve went ahead in the clear skies of Monday evening (August 12). We did manage to see some meteors even though the Moon was shining brightly. Our second observatory, named TAO after Tim Long’s company Tigra Astronomy, was officially opened by Ramsgate Mayor Raushan Ara. She was delighted to learn that her family name Ara is a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere. She told me her name Raushan very appropriately means ‘light’ in Arabic. Thanks to astronomical artist Melanie King, the Mayor was able to take home a souvenir of her visit – a polaroid picture of the Moon.

TAO will be a tremendous asset as we can study the Cosmos from the comfort of our homes. TAO is a high-tech completely automatic, robotic, internet-enabled observatory that can work on its own without an operator being present. We can put in observing requests weeks or months in advance and the observatory waits for clear weather, opens the shutters and begins taking photos of whatever happens to be the best observation at the time. We are notified by email when the observations are complete and images are uploaded to a cloud service where we can retrieve them. We can do experiments such as variable stars, the moons around Jupiter, the proper motion of stars and different types of galaxies by taking images on successive nights.

We are already taking part in a study for the University of Kent’s ‘Hunting for Outbursting Young Stars’. We hope one day to discover a new asteroid and earn the right to name it. Straight after the opening Tim took some photos of the Whirlpool galaxy, which was the source of inspiration for Van Gogh’s painting ‘Starry Night,’ simply by pressing buttons on his phone!

Mayor Raushan Ara said the observatory is ‘another jewel in the crown for Ramsgate’. She thanked Melanie King,  as well as Tim Long and John Hislop for inviting her to the event.

Brave the Shave

Westgate resident Laura Jones has taken on the Brave the Shave challenge for Macmillan.

The mum of one runs activities at Eaton Lodge nursing home.

She said:  “I decided to do this as I have a lot of people very close to me that have or had cancer so thought why not do a good thing and raise some money for a good cause.”

Laura also donated hair to the Little Princess Trust which provides wigs for children with cancer and other conditions that cause hair loss.

The event had a fundraising target of £100 but Laura smashed that to bring in £381. She said: “I’m so happy and thank everyone for their support.”

Sponsor her here

Isle of Thanet Photographic Society

Seals by Russ Miles

There is plenty to look forward to as Thanet’s Camera Club starts its new season on 2 September.

Club members will have the opportunity to show images taken during the summer break during visits to Pegwell Bay, Minster and Margate.  On 9 September we are looking forward to Russ Miles’ talk on “Seals, Seascapes and Coastal Wildlife”.

Members will be learning how to improve their skills during a “critique” evening on 16 September and there is a friendly “mini-competition” just for fun on 23 September. The Chairman, Laura Drury, will be viewing images taken in response to her challenge to photograph ten subjects ranging from “bench” to “seascape” that must have been taken during the summer break.

Members will also be preparing for our annual print exhibition at York Street Gallery, Ramsgate from October 16-23.

Full details about membership and the programme are on our re-designed website at and now you can also find us on Facebook.

Hilderstone Radio Society

The Hilderstone Radio Society joined with radio clubs around the world to celebrate Lighthouses on the Air by setting up a special radio station near to the North Foreland Lighthouse with the call sign GB0NFL. 12 year old Club member Izzy put out a friendly call to radio amateurs in Europe and Hans in Germany responded. The Sun affects radio communications and at the moment it is doing so badly!

Therefore we switched to a different modern digital communication system which enabled us to contact Russia, Switzerland and Japan. Later Nigel used his Morse key to communicate with a group on Robben Island which is near Cape Town 10 000 km away using just 50 watts of power. The club is looking forward to working with the scouts at the 1st John’s Margate group for their Scout Jamboree next month. If you would like to learn about radio communications and electronics contact the secretary Ian at [email protected]

East Kent Hospitals

Volunteer gardeners have helped plants grow and friendships blossom at East Kent’s hospitals.

Staff at the hospital Trust are now branching out to create even more gardening groups and hope additional volunteers will put down roots and join them.

Teams have cleared 12 gardens across the Trust’s five hospitals, and started creating welcoming outdoor spaces for patients to enjoy, but have plans for even more.

Mandy Carliell, the Trust’s Public and Patient Involvement Manager, said new volunteers could be assured of a warm welcome.

She said: “Our gardening teams have worked out brilliantly and there are some lovely friendship groups developing.

“It seems to be particularly popular for widowers, and it is wonderful to see them growing in confidence and meeting others in the same situation.

“But everyone is welcome and they make a real difference for our patients by creating somewhere they can sit outside with a bit of privacy and enjoy the fresh air and the calm environment.”

Volunteers are hard at work inside the hospitals too, helping on the wards, in the Friends’ shops, behind the scenes with admin teams or in reception areas, helping to direct people to wards and clinics.

About 700 people help across the five sites, and if they were lined up on top of each other they would reach almost four times the height of The Shard – the tallest building in London.

The oldest volunteer is 92, and some have been volunteering for more than 30 years.

Mandy said: Our volunteers are brilliant – there are a million different things they could do in the community but they choose to come and help us.

“We give them all the support we can and we organise a strawberry tea and a Christmas dinner at each of the main sites to say thank you. But they always say they enjoy their time with us, whether because of the friendships they make or just knowing they are making a difference.”

As well as more gardeners, the Trust is looking for people to help visitors use the check-in machines at the entrance to the hospitals, which helps to reduce queues in outpatients.

Helpers are always needed on the wards, to run errands and to keep patients’ company and help out at meal times.

And next year, a new scheme is being rolled out for people to meet and greet patients and visitors and direct them to where they need to go.

Volunteers are asked to complete an application form and provide details of two referees, and must also undergo an enhanced security check. They will be given a uniform, training and a review a month after starting to check they are happy.

People are asked to commit to at least six months, and can give anything from four hours a week.

For more information see or call 07917 790322.

Rotary Club of Westgate & Birchington

Our speaker at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Westgate & Birchington was Alan Ayres, representing the Thanet branches of the Macular Society. Alan gave a fascinating talk about the causes, effects and treatments of Macular Degeneration and encouraged members to be aware of any unexpected changes in their sight and to seek medical advice urgently if they suspect that they may be experiencing the onset of Macular Degeneration. President Richard handed over a cheque for £100 to be used by the local support groups based in Ramsgate, Cliftonville and Birchington.

This is typical of the very many donations we make to local charities and support groups and our members enjoy lots of fun, fellowship and fund-raising activities. If you would like to find out more about our activities, please visit our website: and you would be welcome to come and enjoy a “taster-session” at one of our weekly meetings at St Augustine’s Westgate-on-Sea. Telephone Dave Alker for further information on 01843 845783.

East Kent Hospitals AGM

Everyone is welcome to attend the annual meeting of East Kent Hospitals Trust, which takes place on Tuesday, 3 September.

The meeting gives people a chance to meet our governors and the Board of Directors, hear about some of the services provided in our hospitals and ask questions.

Professor Stephen Smith, Chairman of the Trust, said he was hoping for a good attendance.

He said: “The annual meeting is a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the work of the Trust and the services we provide to patients.

“As ever, it’s been a busy and challenging year but there have been some real highlights and some fantastic examples of the ways our staff go above and beyond to make patients feel cared for, safe and respected.

“I would love to see a good turn out from our community to show their support and gratitude to our staff.”

The meeting takes place on Tuesday, 3 September at Canterbury Cricket Club’s St Lawrence Ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury.

There will be refreshments and a chance to browse information stands from 5.30pm, and the meeting starts at 6.30pm.

The meeting will include presentations on how we are preventing falls; the I Can campaign to get patients up, dressed and mobile; our past performance and future aims and we will hear from our lead governor Sarah Andrews. There will be a question and answer session on the issues covered, and the meeting will finish by 8pm.

People are asked to book their place so organisers know how many to expect – please call 01233 651954 or email [email protected]

Margate Rotary Club

Boot fair

Giant boot fair being held at Palm Bay Recreation Ground on Sunday 25th August in your Community section please? Cars £7 – Vans, Mpv’s and Trailers £10. Commercial by prior arrangement only

Contact 01843 221315

President elect

At the recent Margate Rotary club meeting Past District Governor and President Elect Jeremy Voizey gave a fascinating insight into his roots, career and long service in Rotary entitled “Who do you think I am”.

Jeremy whose family has been mentioned in the Doomsday book, was born in Worthing. His maternal grandfather was a Swiss National who emigrated to the UK before WW1 and was naturalised in 1936. He is married to Amanda, a long serving member of Inner Wheel.

After joining Barclays Bank he worked in various branches starting in Ramsgate and then Ashford where one of his weekly tasks was to carry excess cash of £100,000 (equivalent to £1 million in today’s money) walking from Barclays to Lloyds Bank in a very heavy bag dragged along the  road, chaperoned by a colleague with a whistle! Not something that you could do today! After moving to various branches in Kent and being promoted in the process, he eventually finished working in Margate & Ramsgate with responsibility for some 400 small businesses in Thanet.

He joined Round Table in 1968 and Rotary in 1980. The bank approved these memberships as part of being involved with the community. With 5 house moves in 16 years, membership of the various Round Tables provided an instant circle of friends in a new town. He learnt many leadership skills like running meetings and public speaking. After beginning his membership of Rotary at the Sandwich Club he became a member of the Rotary Club of Margate in 1982 becoming President in 1987. Margate is a very friendly club with strong overseas links. Jeremy was appointed District Governor (Kent & East Sussex) in 1997 attending many events including the Rotary International Assembly in Los Angeles with 530 Governors from all over the world. A similar Assembly took place with the then 29 Districts in Britain and Ireland. As Governor of Kent & East Sussex he was able raise £11,000 for the RNLI for a new lifeboat – this was then allocated to Filey!! plus £10,000 for Hope & Homes for Children.

In his year of office he attended many functions of the 76 Clubs in the District, nearly always accompanied by a Margate Rotarian, including a visit to the Rotary Club of Gibraltar which eventually became part of our district. Jeremy has the honour of being a Paul Harris Fellow which is presented to those Rotarians who have given unstinting service to their club and he has now also been given the Paul Harris Sapphire an honour for which only very few Rotarians qualify.  Jeremy certainly has dedicated his life to the club and certainly qualifies for the Rotary motto of “Service above self”

Please contact [email protected] if you would like to know more about Rotary.

Probus Club of Ramsgate & District

Sir Charles Warren, Metropolitan Police Commissioner at the time of the  Jack the Ripper murders, was the subject of the talk by Johanna Edgington at our August meeting.  A highly respected ex military man, Sir Charles’ time in charge of the police, from 1886 to late 1888, was controversial and resulted in clashes with his superior, Home Secretary Henry Matthews.  They had disagreed over police handling of dog smuggling and the fear of rabies, the riots of Bloody Sunday in 1887, culminating in the Whitechapel murders and police failure to apprehend the killer.

Sir Charles was subjected to criticism from many newspapers who had wild theories and suggestions as to who might be the culprit.  Finally he resigned his high profile position following constant undermining of his authority by the Home Secretary.  He subsequently returned to his military career and later became involved in the formation of the scout movement with Baden Powell.

Johanne, who admits to a fascination with the macabre, also does guided walks under the title Rotten Ramsgate, where she unveils some of the local murder mysteries of years gone by.
Our Social Events Secretary, Dave Webber, has since his youth had an interest in The Brick Lane Music Hall, recalling much of its history at our coffee morning recently.   It was the inspiration of Vincent Hayes who opened it originally at its East London location, but moved to its current premises after its success demanded that it required larger premises. It now occupies what had been the derelict St Mark’s Church in Silvertown. Presenting shows in traditional Victorian music hall bawdy style, it attracts vast bussed in audiences to the cockney themed events.  Vincent Hayes was awarded an M.B.E. in 2013 for services to the theatre.
For further information about Probus contact our secretary Brent Rimmington on 01843 589192 or email [email protected]

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex

Wear Red Instead this September and raise money and awareness for Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex.

The charity, which relies almost entirely on donations from the public to operate its life-saving service, is urging individuals, businesses, groups and schools to support it during National Air Ambulance Week – which runs from September 9-15 – by wearing red instead of their normal everyday clothes.

“The choice of red is an acknowledgement of the work of our crews and medics who wear red flight suits,” said Nick Turrell, Head of Community Fundraising at AAKSS.

“We hope as many people as possible will Wear Red Instead for at least one day of National Air Ambulance Week, tell friends and colleagues why they are doing so and ask for donations.”

Last year the charity attended more than 2,500 emergencies and is able to reach any part of the region within 25 minutes of being called out.

“We couldn’t operate without the generous donations from the public, for which we are truly grateful,” said Nick. “We hope supporters old and new will Wear Red Instead during National Air Ambulance Week to raise funds and awareness for the vital work we do.”

Those wanting to take part can register at or email [email protected].

All those registering will receive a fundraising pack including information about the work of the charity, and Wear Red Instead poster, bunting and balloons.

Thanet Over Fifties Forum

Open discussion and questions dates:

Wednesday 25 September 

10.30am to 12.30pm

“A Crisis in Social Care”

Keynote Speakers:

Dot Gibson, Deputy General Secretary for National Pensioners Convention (NPC)

John Lean, South East Regional Secretary of the NPC

Venue: Margate Baptist Church, 4 Cecil Square, Margate CT9 1BD

Tuesday 1 October at 1.30pm

Celebrating Older People’s Day

Come and join us for Tea and Cake

Queens Rd Baptist Church, Broadstairs

6 November Houses of Parliament Day Trip

The day trip includes entry into the Houses of Parliament with a tour guide

Cost £25 (limited spaces available)

Travel by Carol Peters Coaches For more information contact the telephone number or email below.

Friday 15 November 

10.30am to 12.30pm

“Question & Answer Session” with your MPs

Keynote Speakers:

Sir Roger Gale MP, Member of Parliament for North Thanet and

Craig Mackinlay MP, Member of Parliament for South Thanet.

Venue: Queens Rd Baptist Church, Queens Road CT10 1NU Broadstairs

For more information Contact Pauline on 01843 609337 or Email [email protected]