Thanet community news: Tiles, fundraisers, a virtual challenge and Wanderers’ community programme

Tiles at the Kent Steps Photo Brian Whitehead

Pugin Inspired Tiles in Ramsgate

Ramsgate Town Team has a bit of history when it comes to steps in the town, starting back in 2014 when they commissioned local artist, Emily Tull to paint ‘Ramsgate inspired’ designs on the panels up Abbot’s Hill steps.  Other artists including Gill Cleaver, Janie Grout, Emma Lynch, Jacqui Wanstall and Anthony Thorpe have since been commissioned and have added their designs to the opposite panels, brightening up this passage to the East Cliff.

Following the Abbot’s Hill project, that same year, town team members along with 30+ volunteers from across the Isle of Thanet, transformed Augusta Steps into the ‘Rainbow Steps’ receiving international coverage for their efforts! (  They even appeared in a meme last year commenting on President Trump’s ‘Mexican wall’!  The Town Team also worked with all the local junior schools to create montages of ‘Colours in Ramsgate’ to complement the rainbow-coloured risers. The steps were repainted again a couple of years ago with help from East Kent College and Friends of Ramsgate Seafront and the montages have been updated with new work from children from all the infant and junior schools in Ramsgate.

The Town Team’s latest year-long project In Step With Pugin involved working with students from Royal Harbour Academy and Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School to design Pugin inspired tiles to install on Kent Steps in Kent Place.

Funded by Historic England Heritage Schools Programme as part of the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone, the project was led by Rebekah Smith, Ramsgate Town Team chair and Town Promoter who worked with teachers Katie Green (RHA) and Mark Ashdown (CCGS) who supported the project from the outset.  They chose year 8 and 9 students respectively with an average age of thirteen – the same age as Pugin when he started work as an apprentice draftsman alongside his father.

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812 -1852) became a much admired and prolific designer.  In his short life – he died aged just 40, he designed the interior of the Houses of Parliament, The Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben), churches and cathedrals, tiles, textiles and furniture. His influence on design continues to this day, and many fine examples of his work can be found in Ramsgate, including his family home, The Grange, and neighbouring St Augustine’s church.

Photo Brian Whitehead

The students learned about Pugin at school and had access to an excellent teaching package created by Royal Harbour Academy teacher, Katie Green before they visited The Grange and St Augustine’s Church for further inspiration for their designs.  The visit was hosted by the dedicated volunteers who conduct regular tours at both attractions, giving the students, who took lots of photos and sketches, more ideas for their designs.

Over the early part of summer 2019, students began to submit their designs to a panel of three local judges who had a difficult task whittling down over 90 creations but eventually chose 23 designs to go forward.

Once the designs were agreed upon, they were sent to specialist Liverpool-based tile company Tile Fire Ltd who use a firing process whereby designs are ‘melted’ onto the tiles.  At the same time, the tile designs featured in an exhibition at McGillan & Woodell in Queen Street, Ramsgate in January 2020, which proved extremely popular, and designs that had been made into coasters especially for the show sold out, along with all the exhibited framed work.

Finally, a window for installing the tiles appeared in mid-March when local tiling company, SVK Stone and Ceramics Specialists, installed over 770 porcelain tiles in 5 days – a seriously tricky job which required cutting 650 of the tiles to fit the random sizes of the risers on each step.  It turned out that the week that the project finally came to life, also coincided with the week that the country was preparing to lockdown in the fight against the spread of Covid -19.  Thankfully, the project was completed just 2 days before the country went into official lockdown.

Ramsgate Town Team and everyone else that has been involved in this project hope that the Pugin- inspired tile designs will be there for many years for residents and visitors to enjoy and be inspired by in their turn.

The Ramsgate Town Council team has now installed the signs explaining the project at the top and bottom of Kent Steps.  The sign was designed by local resident Guy Sawtell and made by Expression Signs.

Historic England and Ramsgate Town Team look forward to presenting the proud students with a certificate and framed tile as soon as circumstances allow.

Kent Steps will also feature in the revised ‘Pugin Town Trail’ leaflet which is currently being reprinted to include both the steps and the Visitor Centre at St. Augustine’s Church.

Tile Fire Ltd is now selling the tiles, which will be available in ceramic or porcelain and in various sizes.  A percentage of all sales will be donated to both schools to support future art projects.  If you are interested, click on the link to find out more;

For more information on this project, you can contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Ramsgate Town Team would like to thank Historic England • The Pugin Society • The Grange and Shrine of St Augustine’s Church tour guides • Ramsgate Town Council • McGillan & Woodell • Guy Sawtell • Orbit Housing • SVK Stone & Ceramic Specialists • Tile Fire Ltd • Orchard Melamine Products Ltd • Royal Harbour Academy • Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School • And most importantly  all of the students  who worked so hard  to create their  Pugin-inspired designs

Bounce Beyond

Bounce Beyond boss Ray Mitchell is raising funds for charity.

Broadstairs husband and wife team Ray and Karen own Bounce Beyond and provide fitness classes on high quality mini-trampolines.

They have held several fundraisers for Guardian Angel Dog Rescue after rehoming a dog from the group.

This time Ray is taking on a tough challenge at the end of August, in the meantime he is training at home on his turbo trainer.

“On August 27 I will be taking on a hell of a challenge to raise money for our local dog rescue “Guardian Angels”.

“We have done a few fitness fiestas and raised over £1200 for the charity in the past but this challenge is like no other.

“500 miles in 5 days cycling around Scotland’s North Coast 500, not only is the route littered with 22% gradient hills, we hit the Bealach ‘na Ba 80 miles in on day one. One of the world’s biggest and highest mountain passes, the route climbs over 32k feet (yup thirty two thousand feet)

“I’ve been cycling on and off for the past 10 years, I was told by the doctor in 2015 to stop cycling due to degenerative back issues but that hasn’t stopped me.

“I know everyone is skint and I hate to harp on in these difficult times but if everyone on my facebook could donate even £1 it would be 75% close to my target.

“Please help me help the rescue to do best by these doggies and get them the help and support they need, ongoing food, vet and kennel fees mount up every month, the organisation is run by volunteers, takes no profit and is purely done out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Find the fundraising page here

TAG fundraiser

A nine-year-old boy from Westgate is raising funds for Thanet Animal Group (TAG).

Toby is a Cub with 1st Garlinge Wolves and has been set a challenge to raise money for charity. He chose TAG Pet Rescue as he loves animals and the charity work so hard taking care of cats, dogs and other small animals that people can’t care for.

TAG receives no government funding and Covid19 has had a huge impact on their finances with no let up in demand.
To help with this Toby’s challenge is to ride his bike 50 miles over 7 days rain or shine, starting onJuly 20-July 26.
Toby has donated £10 of his own money to get the fundraising started.

Find Toby’s fundraiser page here

QEQM Hospital League of Friends

At a recent online Committee meeting requests from ward matrons/lead nurses to fund equipment totalling well over £30,000 were approved for:

– Rainbow Children’s ward for an ultrasound machine to locate blood vessels when babies or children are having blood sampled or a cannula inserted, making it a quicker and less traumatic procedure (£14,502)

– The care of newly born babies in A & E a resuscitaire that combines use in resuscitation with efficiently keeping the baby warm (£11,484)

– 3 phlebotomy chairs for patients having blood sampled (£6,256)

We can only carry supporting our local Hospital thanks to the public’s generosity especially as we continue to have postpone many of our usual fundraising activities because of the pandemic. Please help us by posting a cheque (made payable to League of Friends to League of Friends, QEQM Hospital, St. Peters Road, Margate, CT9 4AN) or donating online at

Slimmers World fundraiser

Thirty Eight Slimmer’s from the Slimming World Groups Deal, Garlinge and Broadstairs took on the challenge of walking, cycling and running the equivalent of Lands’ End to John O Groats which is 874 miles and ended up covering an extra 74 miles at the end of the 9 day challenge, whilst raising £200 in the process.

They chose to support local charity Martha Trust as they have supported it over the years in their weekly groups.

Group Consultant Nick Luckhurst said: “After hearing about all the wonderful work that Martha Trust do and having members with loved ones being directly helped and supported by this wonderful charity, my groups have always been willing  to support.

“Each week, most members donated their 5ps to the charity pot so whilst in lockdown and being unable to meet in person weekly, we wanted to do more for the charity.

“Each member that signed up to the challenge, sent me his or her mileage covered each day through exercise, which we combined. This was not only raising money, it was keeping fit. It took us just 9 days with one member even running a marathon on one day!”

Fundraising and Events Officer Kerry Banks BEM said: “This was a fabulous challenge to undertake and really gave the group a sense of togetherness. We are truly grateful for the ongoing support that Nick and his members give to Martha. They have over the years, raised over £1200 which makes a huge difference to our very special guys and girls at Martha”

Pilgrims Hospices

Throughout June, more than 130 hospice supporters have been logging their miles using a special app to complete an 88-mile walking challenge along the Hadrian’s Wall Path.

Pilgrims Hospices launched the virtual event last month and saw a surge of interest from local people seeking to support the charity and stay motivated to be active during the lockdown. Not only has the event seen more than 10,000 miles being walked near to people’s homes, but has raised in excess of £12,000 to support the specialist end-of-life care the charity provides.

Now, Pilgrims has launched its July virtual hiking challenge for anyone to get involved with: The Isle of Wight Coastal Path. The challenge asks people to walk the equivalent distance to the entire length of the island’s stunning coastline (70 miles) from, or near to, their own homes before July 31.

An island of royal estates, golden sandy beaches, towering coastal cliffs and the sites of historic battles. Hiking from East Cowes ‘around the clock’ to Cowes is a truly memorable experience.

Pilgrims Hospices are inviting everyone to take on a virtual version of the challenge to help raise vital funds for end-of-life care in east Kent, without the travel expenses!

Participants earn digital badges for completing key milestones along the way and can track their progress using the charity’s free app. An interactive map hosted on the charity’s website shows everyone’s progress along the virtual route so that walkers can watch their and their friend’s, miles rack up over the month.

Pilgrims Hospices Events Manager, Robert Grew, said: “We’re delighted the event has proven so popular with the public. We’ve quickly seen a vibrant walking community spring up around the first virtual hike and have been astounded breath taking photos our supporters share with us of their local areas. We can’t wait to welcome even more walkers onto July’s virtual hike: The Isle of Wight Coastal Path. It’s a great reason to get out in the sunshine and explore the beautiful places near our homes, wherever we live. This is the Garden of England after all, and even though we can’t travel to faraway places at the moment, from the photos I’ve seen people sharing so far, there’s plenty of stunning scenery right on our doorsteps.”

It’s nothing new that spending time in the great outdoors, walking and being active, does wonders for our physical health, but it doesn’t stop there.  Research shows that being outside; particularly in nature has many benefits for our mental wellbeing as well.

From a long hike, to a simple lunchtime stroll, walking has been proven effective in reducing anxiety, stress and fatigue, and there is evidence to show that walking in nature improves those results even further. That’s because different parts of our brain activate while in a natural environment. Our mind calms, leading to physiological changes including reductions in heart rate and blood pressure.

Hospice supporter Margaret Haste has just finished her 88-mile virtual hike along Hadrian’s Wall. She told us, “the hospice is a cause that touches many people, and we’ve certainly been supported by some wonderful people over the past few years”.

Her advice to anyone thinking of getting involved but worried about walking 70 miles over the month is, “Some days after work it would have been easier to have sat in the garden, but once we’d got our walking shoes on and we were out in the fresh outdoors, we felt so much better for it”.

You too can take part in the Isle of Wight Path virtual hike by visiting and registering for just £5 today. All proceeds go directly to help Pilgrims nurses who are #StillHereStillCaring for patients and families living with a life-limiting illness during the current health crisis.

You can learn more about Pilgrims Hospices charity and their work at

Thanet Wanderers

Bill Sweeney (CEO of the RFU), Rachael Burford (England World Cup Winner), Steve Thompson MBE (England World Cup Winner), Bob Smith (General Manager of London Array) and Mark Finnis (RFU Development Officer) all agreed to support our community efforts by judging the results of our Rugby Activity Website.

Cary Wright, Head of the Schools and Community programme at Thanet Wanderers said: “The aim of the Schools and Community Programme, delivered by Thanet Wanderers, is to engage, involve and provide opportunities for the children from our local schools and for members of our community. This objective was always going to be difficult to fulfil when schools and sports facilities were put on lock-down, due to Covid-19, but we were determined to find a way to keep our people engaged”

“We run a programme, based around our sport, which is structured to provide opportunity through our teaching models and is built around certain core values. We always encourage effort, always try to work on character and always try to help people raise their aspirations. Our programme is funded by London Array, Miles and Barr and the Paul Keohane Sports Fund and supported by the England RFU, Kent RFU and Thanet Wanderers. We have done so much hard work over the past two years that we couldn’t let this be put on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“As soon as the Rugby Football Union announced the government restrictions we started planning and within one week, Broadbiz Web Services, had secured a web domain, and designed and built an activity website for us called!

“The website included many links for activities, it included weekly video challenges and competitions and ran 5 prize winning quizzes. Competitions concluded on June 30 with prizes for the best three competition responses and prizes for the top Primary School and top Senior School.

“The website was a tremendous success and helped many people remain involved during isolation. We had such a great response to our website, with over 600 entries, we knew we had to enrol a distiguished judging panel and I was absolutely delighted when five out of five requests were answered positively. This shows  the calibre of people involved in our sport and community!”

The many responses from the Quiz Competitions were shortlisted to the best 26 answers and the judging panel were each provided with an opportunity to select their favourite for each question. After further shortlisting, selection processes and much deliberation, the best answers were judged to come from:

Kloe Parker, who when asked what does Rugby’s Core Values mean to you, said:“Teamwork means to me that the whole team needs to work together because if they don’t then we won’t succeed. Respect means to me that we should all show gratitude to each other so we have a good relationship on and off the field. Enjoyment means to always have fun whilst playing and make friends, but always have respect for each other to have a good relationship.

“Discipline means that there are certain rules without these rules cheating would take place and there would be no enjoyment in playing. Sportsmanship means that we should always be respectful to the other team and always shake hands at the end of the game whether you win or lose and that you always congratulate the other team no matter what the result”.

In judging this question, Bill Sweeney said “It is a very succinct answer and encapsulates the definitions of the 5 values well, the tone came from somebody clearly knowledgeable about the game and its unique character”.

Kloe was also selected for her answer to a question regarding our supporters and role models.  Kloe was asked to select her favourite comment from our supporters and role models and explain why. She selected International Rugby Coach Mike Friday’s comments, as her favourite, “because he believes in giving everyone from every walk of life a chance to succeed. He also believes that having a diverse team makes a strong team with good ethics”. When picking this answer as her winner, Rachael Burford, said that this answer is true for her too as a female in the game, and for her friends that she grew up playing with and met across all her times playing the game.

Bob Smith from Club main sponsor London Array was delighted to be involved in our judging panel and selected Archie Hussey’s answer as his favourite. Archie was asked to explain what our core values mean to him:

Attitude: being respectful to your teammates and coaches and how you approach all learning

Effort: always give your best and try as hard as you can, all the time

Inspiration: helping others who aren’t as developed as you and to learn from others that are better Opportunity: taking the opportunities given to you and using them to the best of your ability

Up-growth: helping yourself and others to develop and to keep doing it

Steve Thompson MBE, selected a video from Giotto Welsh, throwing a rugby ball, as his favourite video and even sent Giotto a video message back! He commented on Giotto’s technique and gave him some pointers: Steve said “You absolutely nailed that throw and are already better than I was! Good Luck, keep going!”

Mark Finnis, the RFU Rugby Development Officer for Rural Kent, selected Reece Merrifield’s answer about England’s Principles of Play, where Reece answered “If you go forward you are more likely to gain ground than if you go backwards you are losing ground. When you go forward you are more likely to score tries and keep continuity of attack along with forward momentum. When you are going backwards you are not gaining any momentum.” Mark thought that this answer perfectly demonstrated Reece’s understanding of ‘Go Forward’ in Rugby.

The Senior School with the most correct responses was Dane Court Grammar School who win a set of 20 pairs of rugby shorts and socks, provided by Akuma Sports. The Primary School with the most correct responses was St. Georges C of E Primary School who win a set of training balls, provided by Roe Timber Frame.

In summarising, Cary Wright said that he was so pleased with the support that this part of the programme has received, both from participants and judges. He was most pleased with the answers that came in showing how worthwhile the whole programme is. “We know we are doing a good thing when our school children are writing answers of this calibre, answers that clearly show that they understand and are embracing values that will help them throughout their journeys. It’s all very rewarding for everyone involved in running this programme.”