Thanet community news: Haircut for Little Princess Trust, Inner Wheel, Totally Locally, Martha Trust, Pilgrims Hospices and hospital volunteers call

Louise will chop 2ft of her hair off for charity

A Broadstairs College lecturer will be having her lengthy locks cut for charity.

Mum-of-two Louise Mitchell has been growing her hair for the last four years so she can cut it for the Little Princess Trust.

The charity provides real hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment and other conditions.

Hairdressing students at the college are going to be cutting a whopping 2ft (24 inches) off Louise’s hair before Christmas. Louise has also set up a gofundme page to help raise money for the charity as the Trust relies solely on the efforts of enthusiastic community fundraisers

If you’d like to donate please click on the link  here

Westgate & Birchington Inner Wheel Club

At our October meeting, President Iris was finally given her chain of office, four months after taking over as president. Iris is seen here being presented with her chain of office by immediate past president Jacquie Agnew. Iris had unfortunately been in hospital when she should have taken over, but had directed things from her hospital bed! She gave thanks to Vice President Christine for taking over for a couple of months until she got back on her feet!

President Iris with IPP Jacquie

Over the last few weeks, members of Westgate & Birchington Inner Wheel have been very busy. In late October an international quiz was held in Kearns Hall, Minnis Bay, to raise funds for ‘Mercy Ships’ our club’s chosen International charity. About 70 people attended the quiz, enjoying ‘fish and chips’ in the interval, and answering questions on a wide range of subjects, all with an international flavour.

Thanks were given to  John and Margaret Hawkins for setting the quiz and asking the questions, whilst the club International Service Organiser, Kath Porteous, was responsible for all the organisation and for the wonderful raffle. Just over £500 was raised, which was match-funded by the charity to make £1000.

Margaret Hawkins asking the questions and showing the huge raffle table

Shortly afterwards, members met up for a ‘Working Day’ to make items for sale at the District 12 International Rally on November 11th. ISO Kath had planned to make many items for Christmas including stockings, gift bags, bottle bags, tree decorations and much more. One member made beautiful Christmas cards, another member made ceramic angels, nativity scenes and Santas, whilst others sewed stockings, bags and tree decorations.

These were then on sale at the Rally on our stall, with the profits going towards the District International charity, ‘Butterfly Tree’. A raffle was also held for a lovely velvet Christmas stocking filled with £100 worth of beauty products, A child’s stocking filled with sweets and an exquisite hand-made ‘Christmas Bag’. Our stall raised over £350 and the final total for the whole event was an amazing £5000.

It is traditional for the club to lay wreaths at both the Westgate War Memorial and the Birchington War Memorial. This year, Lily Doody laid the wreath at Birchington’s Act of Remembrance and Hazel Hedges laid the wreath at Westgate’s Act of Remembrance on behalf of President Iris.

Knitters and crocheters had been out in force all over both Westgate & Birchington, decorating the area with poppies, and at the Westgate Memorial there were models of service personnel, standing ‘sentry’ over the memorial garden, made by local people. There are several memorial benches around the area.

 Totally Locally

Two Birchington firms won national award from TotallyLocally in relation to the recent FiverFest event.

Your World Financial Services won an award for ‘Best Support’ of the event after shutting up at lunchtimes to go and spend their fivers in the village and Monty’s of Birchington won ‘Best Individual Effort’ for their continued participation and displays.

East Kent Hospitals

A hospital Trust has launched an ambitious scheme to recruit enough volunteers for every ward in its hospitals.

East Kent Hospitals Trust also wants people to sign up to greet patients and visitors at the entrances to each of its hospitals and help direct them to where they need to go.

And people are also needed to help out in the League of Friends shops.

Mandy Carliell, the Trust’s head of patient and public involvement, appealed to people to consider helping out at their local hospital.

She said: “Our fantastic staff are working extremely hard looking after patients, and they really need some extra help from their local communities.

“If we can have a volunteer helping to answer the phones on the ward, or making sure supplies of PPE are kept stocked up, or chatting to patients who are lonely or confused, it frees up clinical staff to go where they are most needed.

“We had to pause volunteer recruitment at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and they were hugely missed. Now, after reviewing safety protocols, we are able to welcome volunteers back who are making a real difference to our staff and our patients.”

Roles are available at the Trust’s three acute hospitals: Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

As well as ward helpers and meet and greet, there are opportunities for people to work as gardeners, and volunteers can give as much or as little time as they can spare.

Full training will be given for all the roles.

Mandy added: “Whether you’re recently retired, are looking for something to do while the children are at school, or hoping to add skills and experience to boost your CV, you’ll be made very welcome.

“You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping the NHS during one of the most challenging periods in its history.”

All volunteers will have a personalised risk assessment to help keep them safe and will not be asked to work in any area where there are Covid-positive patients.

The roles are open to anyone who is over 18, and in the first instance people are asked to fill out an online application form.

Questions can be emailed to Mandy at [email protected]

Pilgrims Hospices

Kathleen Steele, Pilgrims Hospices Wellbeing Practitioner with Kyla Szukala, Pilgrims Complementary Therapist, were pleased to display the finished crochet blanket make by patients during lock-down virtual therapy sessions.

Kathleen explained: “We ran a virtual crochet therapy group during COVID lockdown, where our services users could learn crochet as a new skill or take part in something they already enjoyed.

“Patients were invited to crochet squares, they would be combined to make a beautiful blanket at the end of the wellbeing sessions. Now, the squares have been collected and Kyla has crocheted them all together to showcase a very beautiful finished blanket.”

The group met via Zoom calls when the hospice therapy centres were closed.

Kathleen said: “Some of us were more technically minded than others therefore it took a little time to get the whole group online together to enjoy the therapy sessions, we laughed a lot which is great therapy in its self. Crafts can help focus the mind, release stress and ease the burden of health conditions, and help in decision making which are good for wellbeing.”

The blanket has been handed to the Pilgrims fundraising team, who will use to raise funds for continued hospice care.

The Wellbeing team know it’s vitally important to continue services during such difficult times, and while patients were unable to attend the hospice Wellbeing and Therapy Centres due to the COVID restrictions, the care team looked for alternative ways to engage with them. Zoom calls were a brilliant method of keeping in touch.

By holding the group virtually, all participants were able to speak together, share experiences and generally enjoy some additional company and interaction, which is so important during these difficult times.

Crochet Together was just one of many virtual therapy groups provided by the Wellbeing Practitioners. The group was inspired by Kyla, who helped to plan the creative therapy group with Kathleen. Pilgrims Wellbeing Programme is free if you live in east Kent and you have been diagnosed with an incurable illness. It aims to enhance wellbeing, in mind and body.

A whole team of Pilgrims expert nurses, doctors and therapists work together to craft a personalised individual plan for each person. By working alongside GPs and healthcare professionals the team can identify the best options for individuals. All programmes are flexible to allow the right support when its need most.

Services are also available for carers, who can be friend or family, to support them too with self-care.

Find out more here

If you are interested in working with our care team at Pilgrims or volunteering your services to support our patients, you can visit to find out more.

Martha Trust

After it not being able to go ahead last year due to Covid19, the annual Martha Trust Christmas Fayre is being held at the stunning Sandwich Guildhall on Saturday 27th November from 10-4pm.

Father Christmas will be in residence from 10-3pm and will be helped by his trusty elves Martha Trust Finance Assistant Belinda Holness and her daughter Biff.

Stalls sold out in advance of the event with 28 different displays ranging from hand-made Christmas decorations, candles, soaps, cards, jewellery, jams & chutneys, stocking fillers and much more.

The Landmark Show Choir will be entertaining the crowds outside on the square from 2-3pm plus long term supporters Drink Outside the Box will be on the square selling festive drinks with 20% of their sales being donated back to the charity. . Directors Mitch Taylor- Wilson and Megan Boulton have chosen Martha as their Charity to give ongoing support to.

Visit the stalls upstairs, have a brose, see Santa and enjoy tea, coffee, and a range of cakes kindly donated by local businesses and residents. Admission is free and a visit to Santa plus a token gift is £2.50. There will also be a chance to buy nearly new and new books and jigsaws plus toys from Bigjig Toys Ltd at half price. There will be a bottle tombola too.

Martha’s big Christmas raffle tickets will also be on sale however they can also be bought online at

Martha has been running a colouring competition with local schools and there will be a chance to enter and colour on the day too in the refreshment area. The Mayor and Mayoress of Sandwich will be in attendance to judge the entries there will be 3 winners in each category. Winners will have their prizes presented to them at their schools. Postage Supermarket has sponsored the event.

Fundraising & Events Officer Kerry Banks BEM says “ We are really excited to be able to deliver this event this year and want to say thank you in advance to the maintenance men for all their assistance and Town Sargent Kevin at the Guildhall for all his help. Also, thank you to our sponsor Postage Supermarket. We are really looking forward to seeing lots of you at the event. We are still living in unsettling times , so please visit to read our Covid19 welfare info.”