Thanet community news: Civic Pride, charity horse ride, Netball winners, radio society, Photography club, ESTA award, hospital gift list and more

Ramsgate Pilgrims Hospices shop team

Pilgrims Hospices shop

The staff and volunteers at Pilgrims Hospices shop, on the High Street in Ramsgate, have been awarded with a local Civic Pride Award from Thanet District Council.

Not only do they bring an important shopping solution to the local community whilst driving funds for local hospice care, they ensure the store boundaries are as well maintained as their store and its contents.

Alex Hancock, Pilgrims Retail Manager, said: “We are very proud to have been awarded the Civic Pride Award, we like our customers to feel that the Pilgrims store is truly part of the community shopping experience and that means everything from glancing into our windows as they pass by to browsing for a bargain inside.

“The appearance of our shop is really important to my team, we make regular checks around our perimeters to keep the building weed and litter free, we wouldn’t want it any other way.”

The Ramsgate discount shop carries an extensive range of pre-loved ladies, gents and children’s clothing, along with furniture, electrical and household goods, books, games, DVDs and so much more. It’s difficult to leave the shop without a purchase!

Alex has been the shop manager for the past two and a half years, and faced the challenges of lock- down due to the Covid pandemic followed by the staged re-opening for shoppers.

He said: “It was a tough time whilst our Pilgrims stores were closed, however, we took advantage of the time and refurbished a number of our shops and updated many others. It’s been wonderful to see people shopping again; about 20% of our customers are regulars, they know our names and we get to know what purchases they like to make.”

Holly Brankin, shop supervisor, said: “The shop is busy currently with winter stock, we have a fantastic range of jackets and coats all at bargain prices. It’s great to see the college students coming in to purchase their winter woollies, hats, scarfs and accessories. As people become more conscious of climate change and environmental issues, recycling and upcycling clothing is more important than ever. The students are embracing change and getting really creative in our shop with their styling. We are here to help them do just that!

“Our Christmas jumpers, party wear, gifts and decorations are selling fast, if you have items to donate to boost our stock, we would love to receive them.”

When asked what was the strangest donation received Alex said they had been donated a brand new bath tub, which was sold almost immediately!

“We are supported with donations from our wonderful local community, for which we would like to say a huge thank you, you are truly helping to make a difference to those people locally who need our help the most. There’s never a dull moment here, and I don’t need a gym membership, it really keeps me fit!” Alex added.

You can support Pilgrims Hospices this season by purchasing from a range of Christmas cards in store or by purchasing Charity Shop Gift Cards. Pilgrims is the first charity in the country to accept a new multi-retailer gift card that can be used exclusively in charity shops.

The Charity Shop Gift Card is backed by the Charity Retail Association (CRA), and is sold and accepted in Pilgrims Hospices’ 30 shops, helping to raise valuable funds for end of life care for thousands of people in east Kent.

As well as boosting charity funds, money spent by cardholders will have a positive effect on the environment by supporting the growing second-hand revolution.

If you have items that you would like to donate to Pilgrims Hospices shops, there’s a full list of shop details on Pilgrims website:

Thanet Passport cup

St Peter in Thanet junior school’s Year 6 netball team has won the annual Passport cup.

The event was held yesterday (November 6) at St. George’s primary grounds.

St Peter’s had wins over Haddone Dene, St George’s and Chilton before going into the final against Garlinge. St Peter’s celebrated a 1-0 victory.

PE teacher Dan Allen said: “The girls worked really hard and they train weekly at our elite netball club.”

Hilderstone Radio Society

The Hilderstone Radio Society helped two youngsters, Natalie and Caitlin, from the STEAMettes youth club to make an amateur radio contact with three 6th grade school children in Colorado, USA.

They used the latest digital technology to communicate with the amateur radio repeater in Margate which in turn connected to the repeater in Estes Park, Colorado. The children, Caro, Carrie and Carter, along with their teacher Ravi Davis, achieved their amateur radio licence in the summer when they spoke to astronaut Shannon Walker on the International Space Station.

The collaboration with the Estes Park school came about when the STEAMettes gave a presentation about coding and electronics at an online conference in Los Angeles. During the radio contact the children talked about their interests and what life is like in their respective countries.

In Estes Park the children can be late for school if herds of elks are on the roads! Their town was nearly destroyed by wild fires but fortunately they were saved when it snowed. Ravi is keen to establish a pen pal relationship with the STEAMettes. The Estes Park school children will write about their space experiment organised by NASA and the STEAMettes will describe their experiment on the International Space Station arranged by the European Space Agency. If you would like to know more about amateur radio and electronics contact the secretary at [email protected].

Charity horse ride

A fancy dress horse ride event will take place for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign.

The campaign raises funds for Cancer Research UK.

The ride will take place on Saturday, November 13 and start at Nelson Park Riding Centre in St Margarets Road, Birchington,at 1pm. Riders will make their way to Station Road, aiming to arrive for 2pm.

Anyone wishing to take part can contact Marie Norris on  07428121507 for a sponsor form.

Isle of Thanet Photographic Society

Our programme in October included two evenings hosted by members. The first was led by David Silk who provided a detailed and helpful critique of images brought along by members on the evening.

John Draper led the second event, supported by other members of the Nature Group. He showed some stunning images and explained the techniques used to obtain the best wildlife shots.

November began with the season’s second digital image open competition. 81 images were expertly judged by Ian Howard. He had an eclectic mix of subjects to assess and it was a challenge to select the best from each group.

Chris West triumphed in group 2 with his “Untitled” image. This demonstrated how something very ordinary when viewed through the camera lens and from a different angle, can become extraordinary.

Group 1 winner was John Draper with his stunning photograph (titled “Feeeeeeed me!” of a young Robin waiting to be fed by the adult.

Upcoming events include two evenings run by members and a somewhat challenging set subject competition on “Contre Jour”.

We meet at Ramsgate football club on Mondays at 7.30pm. For further information please visit our website: or visit us on Facebook.

East Kent Hospitals

Could you buy an extra present this Christmas?

East Kent Hospitals Charity has launched its festive wishlist, with options for gifts for children or for adults who will be in hospital over the festive season.

From colouring pens and pencils or stickers, to a special device that reads audiobooks to children, and from music CDs and jigsaw puzzles to digital clocks and tablets, there are options for every budget – and each gift will bring a smile to a patient’s face.

Senior charity officer Dee Neligan said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had created more of a need for additional presents.

She said: “Unless something can be easily cleaned, it can’t be shared between patients so we are finding the wards need more items than normal so each patient can have one.

“We know a lot of people want to help their local hospital over the festive season so we worked with the clinical teams to put together these lists.

“Each item has been requested by the ward staff and will really make a difference to a poorly child or vulnerable adult this Christmas.”

Items can be delivered directly to the hospitals for patients to enjoy, and can help distract a child while they receive treatment, or help calm someone living with dementia who may be distressed at the change in their environment.

The gifts can be used in the emergency department and outpatients as well as on wards at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Kent and Canterbury Hospital and William Harvey Hospital.

Dee added: “We are so grateful for the support of our fantastic communities all year round, but if you can afford to purchase one additional gift this year for our patients it will help spread some additional festive cheer.”

Find the list for children here and for adults here.

There are lots of other ways that you can support East Kent Hospitals Charity this festive season. You can find out more here:

Oakwood Homes

Thanet based agency Oakwood homes received 4 awards, the Gold for Best in County award, Gold for Best Letting Agent in the South East, Bronze for Best Letting Agent in the South East and our Lettings Manager, Kate Kenyon-Edwards won the highly creditable national People Award 2021 at the prestigious ESTAS Customer Service Awards 2021 sponsored by Coadjute, the biggest awards in the UK property industry.

The winners were announced at the largest event in the property industry in 2 years held at the Grosvenor House in London and hosted by the country’s favourite TV property presenter Phil Spencer in front of 1,100 guests.

Now in their 18th year the awards, which are powered by ESTAS own customer review platform, recognise the best estate and letting agents for customer service based on ratings from clients who have been through the whole moving experience with an agent. This year’s results were calculated from over 200,000 customer review ratings.

Phil Spencer, who has hosted The ESTAS every year since their inception in 2003 addressed the live audience “You’ve had to work incredibly hard, you’ve had to adapt your businesses, you’ve had to absorb considerable costs to follow the protocols and to enable things to happen safely.

“Quite simply delivering great service has never been more challenging so The ESTAS Awards for 2021 are the most well deserved ever in their entire 18 year history!”

Estate and letting agents were recognised in counties and regions around the UK. National Grand Prix Awards were also announced for the Best Single Agent Office in sales and lettings.

Simon Brown Founder of The ESTAS said “When we started we wanted to create a set of property awards which were completely pure, where winners were selected solely on customer service ratings from actual transactions. Eighteen years on ESTAS is now the customer review platform of choice for property professionals and the most prestigious award an agent, a conveyancer or mortgage broker can win in the property industry.”

Andrew Dickinson, Managing Director of Oakwood homes said “We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised in this year’s ESTAS. It means so much to us as we know it’s our customers who have judged our performance. We take our levels of customer service very seriously because we know clients have a choice. We have always been very proud of the personal service and this proves we are delivering what we promise.”


Aldi is embracing the time for giving by encouraging local charities, community groups and food banks in Kent to register now to receive surplus food donations this Christmas.

As part of Aldi’s pledge to donate 10 million meals this year to families across the UK facing hunger, the supermarket has committed to donate more meals than ever to good causes over the festive period.

Christmas provides an opportunity for even more organisations to benefit from Aldi’s successful partnership with Neighbourly. The community engagement platform links businesses to food banks and charities, enabling all of Aldi’s 930 UK stores to donate surplus food seven days a week, all year round.

With all Aldi stores set to close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and News Year’s Day, the retailer wants to ensure that any products approaching the end of their shelf life reach families who might otherwise miss out this Christmas.

Charities, food banks and community groups in Kent who could benefit from the scheme are encouraged to get in touch and register now for a festive food donation from Britain’s fifth largest supermarket.

Existing charity partnerships will be prioritised for these festive collections, but where there’s availability, additional organisations are being invited to apply to be paired with a local Aldi store to collect fresh and chilled food products – including fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, fish and bread – ahead of stores closing on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Organisations do not need to be a registered charity to apply but must:

Have a level two hygiene certificate gained in the last two years

Be able to transport and store chilled food products after collecting them on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at 5pm

Those interested in working with Aldi this Christmas should contact Neighbourly at [email protected] before 5th December 2021.

Mecca Bingo

Mecca Bingo is calling on customers and bingo lovers across the country to help attempt break an official Guinness World RecordsⓇ title by recording over 5,000 video birthday messages.

To celebrate its 60th birthday this year, Mecca is attempting to break a new record title by creating the largest online video album of happy birthday messages, from customers, staff and bingo lovers.

To get involved, customers are being asked to record a personalised video, wishing Mecca Bingo a very happy birthday. They can either do this from the comfort of their own home, or in front of dedicated backdrops in their local club from 4th November. The video needs to be at least 5 seconds long and must include both audio and video content. Customers will then be asked to upload their video on the official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS website at

On Saturday 13th November, Mecca Bingo will announce the final number of videos recorded at its birthday events across its clubs nationwide, as well as on Mecca’s exclusive channel, Mecca TV. Customers will get a chance to visit their favourite club, play bingo, record any last-minute birthday messages and celebrate the nation’s most loved bingo brand throughout the night.

To upload your birthday wishes video, please visit