Thanet community news: Songs and raffle for Aurora, woodland group’s delight, fundraisers and more

Raising money for Aurora Pile-Gray (Photo Keisha Pile-Gray)

Marrow for Aurora

A Christmas raffle and a facebook live singing performance are two of the latest events that have been raising funds to help nine-year-old Aurora Pile-Gray and her family.

Aurora was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitts Lymphoma after becoming poorly towards the end of April.

The rare cancer affects blood and bone marrow. Aurora has been undergoing chemotherapy and her family were looking at CAR-T cell therapy and an allogeneic transplant.

Earlier this year, after 4 gruelling cycles of intensive chemo, Aurora had been given the news that she was in remission, however this was short lived.

In October the family were told the cancer had in fact spread to Aurora’s bones and that the youngster was in need of a bone marrow transplant. The situation was also complicated by Aurora’s mixed ethnicity, making it that much more difficult to find a match.

Aurora is currently being treated by Royal Marsden Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

At the end of last month Aurora’s mum Keisha revealed her daughter is now in remission. But the youngster still needs treatment, including radiotherapy and body irradiation, before undergoing a bone marrow transplant. There are risks attached to all these procedures.

Fundraising to help the family, initially in case there was a need to seek private treatment abroad, has been undertaken by groups including the ambulance service and Ramsgate Football Club.

Now a raffle has been arranged by friend Tara Pilcher which is supported by donations from more than 40 local businesses.

To get involved donate any amount you can (over £5) via paypal to [email protected] and choose friends & family option.

Or go to and quote ‘big Christmas draw. Take a screenshot and post on raffle facebook group or send private message.

Find the facebook page here

Every donation (no matter how big or small) will be allocated a number. The draw will be held on Christmas Eve. If necessary this will be pushed back to encourage more donations.

Prizes and numbers will be drawn at random.

Use reference #marrowforaurora when making donations via paypal.

Funds are also being raised by 12-year-old Brandon Baker from Margate.

The St George’s student, who is planning to set up his own YouTube channel, has posted a facebook live of his performance of songs with a plea to people to donate to Aurora’s justgiving page and also to sign up as bone marrow donors.

Find the Justgiving page here

Keep up to date with the family via the blog by Aurora’s mum Keisha here

Park Avenue Woodland Group

PETITION: Councillor Rosalind Binks, KCC & Broadstairs, Karen McKenzie, Voluntary Tree Warden B&STP and Rev David Tate, from Park Avenue Action Group.

The Park Avenue Woodland Group says it is delighted that Thanet council has taken action by serving a Tree Replacement Notice on Parkstairs Ltd over the removal of trees from land in Broadstairs.

Thanet council carried out an investigation following complaints that landowner Parkstairs had felled more than 40 trees and closed off a public footpath at woodland off Park Avenue in February.

Parkstairs Ltd said a survey had “identified a number of dead and dying trees which are in a dangerous condition, some of this is due to heavy ivy growth strangling the trees.

But members of Park Avenue Woodland Group were outraged when more than 40 trees were removed and delivered a petition to Thanet council in July requesting the trees be replanted.

The group was formed to fight for justice for the felled trees and on behalf of all the residents of Thanet who benefitted from this woodland area.  Now, more than ever, being outdoors and appreciating nature is vital for physical and mental health.

We are delighted that TDC has finally served the replanting notice. Bernard Benn of Parkstairs Ltd has until the end of December to appeal, which is a ridiculous state of affairs.

“ If you were caught breaking the law you would not be given a month to try and negotiate your way out of it” said Paula Benedict from the group.

“We hope that TDC will stand firm on this, one of the first, if not the first enforcements of this kind in Thanet” said David Tate. “We are sure that the constant pressure from us residents, the Broadstairs Councillors, Mike Garner and Ruth Bailey and the support from our Tree Warden, Karen McKenzie and the Tree Officer, Kevin Pressland has made a difference and are hopeful that this marks a change in the attitude of TDC towards the importance trees in this tree-deprived area.”

On Thursday, November 10 Full Council received the report to Cabinet from the Planning Department, which outlined options including having the area as listed Open Space in the Local and Neighbourhood Plans.

RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat Fundraising

The Thanet Community Safety Team organised a run in aid of the RNLI from RNLI Ramsgate to RNLI Margate today. Members of RNLI Ramsgate and our local PCSO came to see them off. Many thanks to everybody who has kindly supported them.

Cheerful Sparrows Charity

Chester the dog has taken owner Moira Banks for a long walk to raise funds for charity.

Moira was very grateful to the Cheerful Sparrows Ward at the QEQM Hospital for the care her late husband received and she wanted to ‘give something back’ by raising much-needed funds for The Cheerful Sparrows Thanet Charity.

This small local charity has been supporting people in Thanet for nearly one hundred years and their help is needed now more than ever with the effects of the Covid pandemic taking their toll, especially this Christmas.

Moira is doing the sponsored walk today (December 13) from Hampton Pier, near her home in Herne Bay to Whitstable. She was careful to point out that she was taking along a pushchair in case her much-loved, eleven-year-old Chester began to get tired!

If you would like to sponsor her and support the charity in making a difference for local people this Christmas, please go to

QEQM Hospital League of Friends

Our local hospital will benefit from several items we’ve recently agreed to fund:

£905 to equip a much-needed staff/wellbeing room in Fordwich Ward, which is currently being used for Covid / respiratory patients. This will enable the purchase of a sofa, fridge/freezer, TV, etc. the staff on this Ward can use during their hard-earned rest & meal breaks.

2 specialist chairs costing £3,186 each for recovering Covid patients in the Intensive Care Unit. These provide additional support for high dependency patients significantly enhancing their recovery and wellbeing.

A regional anaesthesia pump costing £1,613. This targets specific areas of pain administering controlled doses and will benefit patients undergoing amputations & for example rib fractures aiding their recovery.

6 reclining chairs costing £1,106 each for use by birthing partners in Kingsgate (Maternity) Ward during mums’ labour & delivery.

More information about our charity is available on our Facebook page or our website

Pilgrims Hospices

Pilgrims Hospices’ Trees of Love, east Kent’s largest remembrance services, were transformed this year into a remembrance to enjoy from the comfort and safety of home. Those remembering lost loved ones this Christmas dedicated doves to hang up at home, and watched a special filmed Remembrance Service on Saturday 5 December.

The service, which included a lights switch on at all nine venues across east Kent, festive readings and carols sung by local choirs, was produced by Sara Scriven, Individual Giving Manager at the Hospice, with help from BBC filmmaker, Kerry King – the second remembrance film to be released by the charity this year.

“We’re so excited to have had Kerry onboard once again to deliver our festive remembrance, Trees of Love. It’s so important to us that we give everyone in east Kent the opportunity to remember their loved ones during the festive season, and this year was no exception.” Sara Scriven, Individual Giving Manager at Pilgrims Hospices

Over 1,000 people tuned in to watch the Service on the charity’s YouTube Channel last weekend, and with donations still coming in they are on track to raise over £50,000 to fund hospice care. Sara added,

“The response we’ve had has been overwhelming, and we want to say a huge thank you to everyone that has dedicated a dove so far this year, your support means we are still here, still caring even during difficult times. If you’ve not had a chance yet, it’s not too late to remember your loved one with a dove in time for Christmas.”

Contact the Pilgrims Supporter Relations Team on 01227 782062 or visit to donate and dedicate a dove.

Ss Austin & Gregory

Ss Austin & Gregory Food Parcels have been serving the community since 1994 out of the church vestry at 38 Charlotte Place, Margate and, over the years, we have relied on donations from local schools and churches, parishioners and many generous individuals.

Since the introduction of Covid19 restrictions in March we have given out at least 60 bags of food a week on Mondays and Thursdays. We are grateful for the Covid19 Emergency Assistance Grant awarded by Thanet District Council, which has enabled us to continue to support those who need our service.

We would also like to thank, in no particular order:

The parishioners of Ss Austin & Gregory with St Anne

St John’s Church, Margate

Birchington Baptist Church

The Salvation Army, Margate

Holy Family Parish, Birchington & Westgate

St Thomas More RC Church, West Malling

Ursuline College & St Gregory’s Primary School

Woodlands Poultry Farm, Chartham Hatch

Lorraine, Community Champion at Morrisons Supermarket, Margate

Jenny Hughes at Homefleet House, Ramsgate

The Kitchen, Margate

Bake & Alehouse, Westgate

Sharon Goodyer

Margate Independent Food Bank

Plus the many individuals who have given time, money, food and clothing to help us serve those in the community who continue to need our support.

Our grateful thanks and a blessed Christmas to you all.

Our Shop

Our Shop food club has opened its third base, this time in Westgate.

The ‘shop’ offers goods at drastically reduced prices, meal kits, chances to learn new recipes, useful information sessions on nutrition and opportunities to taste new products.

Food is provided by organisations and groups including FareShare – which takes  good quality surplus from right across the food industry and redistributes to charities- Kent Gleaners and Windmill Community Gardens allotments. The scheme is backed by county councillor Barry Lewis. Public donations are also welcome.

The first ‘Our Shop; opened in Margate High Street at the end of August and now has more than 200 families signed up. Last month Our Shop opened at St George’s Church Hall in Broad Street, running from 10am to 3pm, Tuesday to Saturday

It has now opened in Westgate at The Lodge, St Mildred’s Bay Avenue, in partnership with Changing Minds Kent.. The site is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 3pm.

Longcroft Cat Hotel

At Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel Margate,owner Judith Andrews is sure to make the holidays purrrfect for each and every one of her feline guests. Four-legged guests who stay at Longcroft over Christmas can look forward to a day packed with expert care, seasonal cheer, plentiful treats and pampering as part of its complimentary upgrade package, designed to spread a little festive cheer this year!

Awaiting every furry guest at Longcroft this Christmas morning, will be a personalised hamper of toys and treats selected individually for each cat. This will be followed by a hand-prepared breakfast from the hotel’s ‘A La Cat’ Menu and mini bar. Every four legged guest will have the chance to while away ‘the most magical day of the year’ with plenty of play time and cuddles, to a backdrop of Christmas carols and fairy lights.

Because the Longcroft Margate cat hotel is in the garden of Judith’s home, she can take a welcome break from the kitchen chores and enjoy cuddles and play sessions with her four-legged guests on the big day.

Longcroft is the UK’s only luxury hotel group for cats, with 24 locations. Founded in 2010, the company has grown rapidly.

Longcroft Margate is a five-star, purpose-built hotel with 6 climate-controlled suites and provides one on one care for every guest. Call 01843 636033 or email [email protected]