Thanet community news: Ramsgate illumination awards, Gemini fundraising, Line Rangers and more

Chrstmas donation from Gemini Fundraising staff

Gemini Fundraising

A fabulous donation of funds and goods has been made to The Thanet Winter Shelter, a project run by The Salvation Army from November through to March, by staff at Gemini Fundraising.

Gemini Fundraising, based on the Eurokent Business Park, work on behalf of some of the UK’s leading charities, raising funds through weekly lotteries and monthly donations to ensure they can continue to carry out their fantastic work.

We do also like to support as many local causes as we can and have this Christmas chosen to donate to The Thanet Winter Shelter, which relies mainly on donations in order to operate. We have raised £640, which has all been through the generosity of our own staff in both the office and on field. We are buying rucksacks and filling them with the clothes, food, bedding and toiletries they require and took them down to the shelter on Friday (December 20).

The Line Rangers

The Line Rangers

Thanet line dancing club The Line Rangers has raised £82 for Hearing Dogs For The Deaf with their communal Christmas card.

This is the fourth year that they have created the festive card and they have now raised over £200 by this method.   The simple idea was suggested by dancer Lesley Lloyd of Ramsgate and a giant card was purchased from Card Factory at Westwood Cross.

Instead of writing and exchanging dozens of card with fellow dancers a donation is put in the box and members put a message on the big card.

Instructor Theo Loyla, of Birchington, said: “Its a great idea which saves people time and also raises money for this great charity which we have supported for many years.”

Hearing dogs can make a real difference to people with hearing loss. In their latest appeal they highlight a young boy who was frightened of the dark and withdrawn at school because he couldn’t hear but then Nutmeg the specially trained Cockapoo changed his life.

Weekly classes in Birchington, Westgate and Monkton are now closed till January 6.

Ramsgate Illuminations

Awards have been presented to the winners of the most festive displays at Ramsgate harbour.

Boat owners and businesses at the Arches have created their annual fantastic light displays which will stay lit until the new year.

The winners were announced on Friday evening at the Royal Temple Yacht Club.

Best illuminated Arch

3rd place Something Fishy
2nd place Ship Shape
1st place the Greek Arch

Best illuminated barge

3rd place Dragon
2nd place Knight
1st place Cory.

Best power boat

3rd place Dolce Tarniente
2nd place Amber
1st place Gloriana

Best yacht

3rd place Magnum
2nd place Blown Away
1st place Oyster.

Congratulations to everyone that took part and many thanks to Mayor Raushan Ara for
her support and for handing out the prizes.

Isle of Thanet Photographic Society

Stage Fright by Laura Drury

The Chairman of Thanet’s Camera Club, Laura Drury, has gained a distinction to become a Licentiate Member of the Royal Photographic Society.

After deciding to apply for a distinction, Laura spent many months preparing her images, trying to decide which ones to use and which would work well in a balanced panel of ten. Laura wanted to stay true to her style so included composite work and “post-processing” images. An expert panel of judges assessed her entries against five criteria: camera work, technical quality, communication, visual awareness and overall impression.

Laura says “Travelling to the RPS headquarters in Bristol to be assessed by a panel of five judges for my LRPS was the most nerve-wracking thing I have done in many years. But hearing the judges’ comments and being told I was being recommended for the distinction was also the most exhilarating feeling!”

Laura has now set the standard for other club members to aspire to.

Anyone interested in photography, whether a beginner or more experienced will be most welcome to join the club. We meet Mondays at 19.30 hours, Ramsgate Football Club, Kent CT11 0AN. Full details about membership and the programme can be found at and on Facebook.

East Kent Hospitals

Pregnant mums can get advice and treatment at a new 24/7 maternity triage unit at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital.

The new service officially opened on Thursday and will be staffed by midwives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It is open to women who are at least 16 weeks pregnant and staff hope it will improve care and support for pregnant women.

Hannah Horne, East Kent Hospitals’ deputy head of midwifery, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our women a dedicated assessment area where they can get checked if they have any concerns.

“It means there is somewhere they can go whatever time of the day or night, and know they will be looked after and given expert advice and support.”

The maternity triage unit is for women who experience any bleeding, are concerned that their waters may have broken, have any itching on the palms of their hands or soles of their feet, have a headache or visual disturbances or have any abdominal pains.

For advice or more information, contact the unit on 01843 234483.

Kent Police

Officers and staff in Kent’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team who work to protect young people from sexual predators have come up with a novel way to give back this Christmas.

When the annual conversation of secret Santa came about the team were keen to make it a more meaningful affair. They decided instead of buying for each other, they would buy a gift for a vulnerable child.

The team linked in with the Diagrama, a fostering and adoption agency, who were able to provide the ages and gender of a child in their care for a member of the team to buy for. Rather than pull a co-worker’s name out the hat, the team members used this information to buy an age appropriate gift.

On Wednesday, December 18 the gifts were passed on to Diagrama for distribution to their young recipients.

Detective Inspector Heather Thompson of POLIT said: ‘The team have found a way to make this year’s office festivities meaningful.

‘The dedication and enthusiasm of the officers and staff in POLIT is apparent all year round, they deal with distressing content in order to protect young people and I feel this is a very fitting way to celebrate the festive season.’

Pilgrims Hospices

Pilgrims Hospices welcomed 2000 people to their Trees of Love remembrance services on Saturday, December 7, to raise funds to support people living with incurable illnesses in east Kent.

The events took place in the grounds of the charity’s three hospices at Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, where huge festive trees were lit up in memory of lost loved ones. Adorned with beautiful doves bearing personal messages, thousands from across east Kent shared their special memories at these remembrance services with carols. Trees of Love services were also held in other venues across east Kent in Barham, Charing, Cheriton, Dover and New Romney, to allow more people to attend.

Ellie Cane, Pilgrims Hospices Individual Giving Officer, said: “Our thanks go to everyone who donated to the Trees of Love appeal and dedicated a dove in memory of their loved ones.

“At what can be a difficult time of the year, sharing thoughts with others who have similar experiences keeps our loved ones firmly in our hearts. That’s why this year we wanted to encourage all those across east Kent who have lost loved ones to join us, regardless of a previous connection with Pilgrims.”

She added: “So far we have raised £60,000 for local hospice care from the Trees of Love appeal. This is such an amazing amount, which could pay for many hours of nursing care both on our wards and in people’s own homes, or provides support in our therapy centres. It really will make a difference to our patients and their families who need support and care in such difficult times.

“We cannot thank all those who have supported us enough for helping us achieve such an incredible sum. Their contribution will mean so much to all those within the community who need help to live well in every moment.”

This year, visitors were welcomed by Pilgrims Hospices’ Spiritual Care Leads at each site, followed by readings from staff and volunteers, and carols led by local choirs. Mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine were also available to keep guests warm.

“Our thanks must extend also to our local communities and the many volunteers who give their time and skills every year to make the events run smoothly. It really couldn’t be done without them.” Ellie added.

The Trees of Love and their doves will remain in the three hospice grounds for all to visit throughout the festive season.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a life limiting illness, visit to find out more about Pilgrims’ full range of services.

A thank you to Quex

Thank you to Quex Park for making incredible Christmas memories for our foster families at Heath Farm and for showing such community spirit and generosity.

We were invited for an evening on the “Elf Express” which was a tractor trailer ride all lit up like the Coca Cola van.  It took us through an enchanted forest with different elf actors teaching us to fly and to find Santa’s lost sacks of letters.  It was like Willy Wonka how the forest was lit up with giant candy canes. 

We danced with “Dominic the Donkey”, ate mince pies and sweets until we reached Elf Towers to see Father Christmas. On the return journey the tractor elf had us singing party songs to the top of our lungs which was just so fun.  The carers, children and staff at Heath Farm absolutely loved it!

Quex Activity Centre in Birchington gave us this magical experience free of charge and gave our fostering families Christmas memories that they will remember. Thank you so much Graham and Julie at Quex Park for inviting us.

Lymphoma Action

For most people facing cancer, sport is the furthest thing from their mind.

But when Leisa Foad was diagnosed with aggressive non-Hodkins lymphoma, affecting her spleen, stomach, pancreas and left lung, she decided to take up cycling.

And just nine months after completing treatment, the midwife and ward manager at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, tackled the 100-mile Ride London event, raising more than £1,000 for charity Lymphoma Action.

Leisa, who will turn 50 in January, said: “I used to run, and I’d completed the London Marathon previously for Cancer Research UK. But I found it hard during the cancer, so instead I took up cycling, as well as walking.

“I would walk the dog as much as I could and I loved being able to get out on the bike.”

Leisa was diagnosed last summer, after visiting the doctor with stomach pains she initially suspected was Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS.

Blood tests suggested it could be an infection or bowel disease so she was referred to a specialist by her GP, but a scan revealed a possible lesion on her spleen.

She was booked in for an operation to remove it but, during the procedure, surgeons discovered cancer which had spread to her other organs.

Leisa said: “I hadn’t had a day off work ill since having flu more than 20 years ago, so it was quite a shock. But I am quite an optimistic person and I always try to look at the positives.

“Lymphoma responds well to treatment and I had amazing care from the surgeon and the whole team of nurses, doctors and domestic staff on Brabourne ward and the Cathedral unit at Kent and Canterbury. They couldn’t have been more caring and supportive.”

Leisa was treated with chemotherapy and immunotherapy and finished treatment last November, returning to work in December last year.

A scan in January was positive and it was repeated in July, when doctors told her she was now in remission.

She said: “I have a number for the Macmillan nurse specialist and I can ring if I’m worried but other than that I’m free to get on with my life.

“I think it is always in the back of my mind, and every twinge or niggle I have a moment where I wonder if it’s coming back.

“But I don’t think about dying. My goal is to outlive the five-year free prescription card they give you.”

Leisa has other goals too – including completing her third London challenge, the Serpentine swim.

But she also cherishes the little things, such as walking the dog in the woods or family days out.

She said: “We used to put things off until another day, but that day is never guaranteed so now I try to grab things while I can.

“I treasure the time I spend with family and friends, and I’m doing a job I love.

“My girls still need their mum so I have no intention of going anywhere.

“The figures they use vary, and at one point I was told my prognosis might be anything between 50 and 90% of surviving the next five years. But I’m determined to outlive that card!”

Margate Rotary Club

On Wednesday, December 11, the Rotary Club of Margate were invited to join the young people at the Quarterdeck to share a buffet meal and get to know each other.

We had a great time chatting to the youngsters and getting to know more about them. They told us about what they enjoy at the Youth Club and we told them what Rotary does and how it helps the community and the Quarterdeck in particular. We had some team quizzes and generally had fun. Some Rotary members stayed behind afterwards to play pool with the youngsters.

We would also like to thank the support workers and volunteers for putting on the event and preparing the food.

If you would like to learn more about Margate Rotary Club and how we get involved with the local community please contact us by email on [email protected]

Our Kitchen on the Isle of Thanet and Gadds Food and Drink

Sharon Goodyer and volunteers at Our Kitchen on the Isle of Thanet have teamed up with Christopher Gadd of Gadd;s Food and Drink to make a double delivery of fresh fruit and veg;

Eighty-eight families who paid £2 for a bag of local produce have been given two bags to help them out over the Christmas period.

Thanet Lions

It certainly has been a busy few weeks for Thanet Lions Club.

Our annual ‘hamper pack’ has taken place. £3000.00 was spent to produce 260 bags of groceries and goodies which have now been distributed within the Community to those who deserve that ‘little ‘extra’ at this time of year. We are very grateful to Kelvin, Faye and the staff of Tesco Manston for all their help and support with the purchasing, storing and packing of all the food items. This project has grown year on year and without the support of Tesco we would not have been able to fulfil our request list. Thank you.

Well done to the children of Minster School, who took part in the Lions ROAR competition. The children were asked to invent something that would benefit others. The winning team then presented their project at Wakehurst Place, competing against other schools from the South East. The team gave an excellent presentation on their recycling of plastic project. Even though they did not win, an enjoyable time was had by all.

Many thanks to all who attended our stall at the Birchington Christmas Fair. Despite a cold and windy start we had sold out of our mugs and jewellery by 2.00pm.

Congratulations to ’Got the T-shirt’, our winning team at our recent Christmas quiz. Funds raised from this evening will ‘top up’ the Lions ‘pot’ in readiness for requests for help in 2020.

Gifts for the fifteen children and toiletries for the eighteen Mums, who will spend Christmas at Oasis, have been donated. Many thanks to the Birchington ‘dog walkers’ for supporting this project.

Congratulations to Anne Mewitt of King Ethelbert’s School and Joey Slack of Sandwich Technology School both worthy winners of Thanet Lions Social Awareness Prize.

As we approach the end of 2019 Thanet Lions would like to thank everyone who has supported the Club throughout the year – from attending our quizzes, boot fairs, murder mystery evenings, to placing money in our tins and donating clothes and toys. Thank you.

We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.

Next year Thanet Lions Club will have a new meeting date and venue. From January 2020 Thanet Lions Club will be meeting on the fourth Monday of every month at the Tesco Community Hall, Tesco Extra. We would like to thank the Manager and Staff of the Sir Stanley Gray Pub, for all their help and support over the years. For further information about any of our events or you think we can help you please telephone us on 0345 8339532. You can also find us at or on Facebook