Thanet community news: Rededication, charity fund, schools art festival, Dickens Fellowship, St Augustine’s and wildlife trust

Volunteers involved in the restoration, together with the Kent Police Clergy a former Police Officer and the current commander of Thanet Police.

Rededication service

A rededication service has been held in honour of a  Margate policeman who lost his life in 1905.

PC John Richard Rolfe of Margate Borough Police perished in a fire in the hardware shop premises of George Mence Smith, 17/18 Market Street, Margate.

The fire had started at 1.20 am that morning and John was attempting to save the occupants of the accommodation above the shop.

Retired Ramsgate PC Eddie McManus laying the wreath sponsored by Karen Harvey of York Street Flowers.

Three former Kent officers have recently refurbished his grave. A rededication service was held on May 25, conducted by Kent Police Chaplain Rev. Barry Knott. Representatives from Kent Police HQ, Thanet Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service and Kent Police and Thanet Male Voice Choir were present.

A floral wreath was donated by Karen Harvey of York Street Flowers.

Margate Rotary Thanet Schools Young Artists Festival

Judging has taken place to announce the winners of this year’s Thanet Schools Young Artists Festival.

Judges were Willow Winston, Ruth Geldard, and Sandra Hampton.

More than 600 paintings by children and staff from 35 isle schools and colleges are on display  for the festival at The Margate School in the High Street.

The exhibition can be viewed from now until Sunday, June 5. The prize presentation will be on Saturday, June 4 from 10am.

Viewing times 10am to 4pm.


3/5 years Jane M Chilton Primary.

6 years Ewan Chilton Primary.

7 years Madelyn S Callis Grange Nursery & Infant.

8 years Amelia M Minster CofE Primary.

9 years Clara M Wellesley House School. Joint winner Mark B Kent Talents Art Studio.

10 years Maicey C St Peter-in-Thanet.

11 years Toby W Minster CofE Primary.

12 years Sophie B Charles Dickens.

13 years Sophie D St Anthony’s.

14 years Callum R Stone Bay.

15 years Theo B Small Haven School.

16 years Daniel G Stone Bay.

Broadstairs Dickens Fellowship

The Broadstairs branch of the Dickens Fellowship had its Annual Dinner recently celebrating its 85th birthday. Guest of Honour was Gerald Dickens (pictured), actor, performer, author and great, great grandson of Broadstairs’ most well known holidaymaker, Charles Dickens.

Gerald Dickens was accommodated at The Royal Albion Hotel in a room which was once part of Charles Dickens’s holiday home. It was then the first floor sitting room of 40 Albion Street, where he penned the last lines of Nicholas Nickleby on Friday September 20th ,1839. The house wasn’t part of the Albion Hotel in those days and wasn’t incorporated until 1847. So it’s not difficult to imagine Charles Dickens looking out of the same window for inspiration, at the same view of the sea where now we see his great, great grandson.

The dinner was a great success with members enjoying a delicious meal provided by the Pavilion in Broadstairs. This was followed by Gerald Dickens reading from the book, “A Child’s Journey with Dickens” by Kate Douglas Wiggin – a true story of a little girl, the author, who once met Charles Dickens on a train when he was touring America in March 1868. A delightful, memorable story, which brought to a close a very enjoyable evening.

The Broadstairs branch of the Dickens Fellowship meets at the Pavilion on the first Wednesday in each month. Details can be obtained from the Hon Secretary, [email protected] or go to our website at

Kent Community Foundation

The new Kent Community Foundation Learning Journey Fund will support up to ten applications from staff or volunteers from charities based in Kent and Medway to discover new insights and inspiration to improve their organisation’s performance. The funding of up to £1,500 will allow the recipients to visit organisations and from national and international best practice, to plan their own next steps and to share learning across the county.

Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact, Kent Community Foundation, said, “The Learning Journey is a new fund about ambition, sharing ideas, and having space to think and plan. We want applicants to consider which organisations are already doing a brilliant job of areas you want to improve? Who is leading on this nationally or internationally? What can you learn from them and how can you put your learning into practice? If you have the ambition to be bold to drive your charity or community group forward, we want to hear from you.”

Applications might be to visit a charity that is an exemplar for local engagement, environmental sustainability, or work with refugees. It could ask to learn from a care home that is pioneering client-led services, a museum that is bringing their collection to life, a resident’s group that runs an amazing community garden, or a sports club that is truly inclusive.

Following the initial visit or visits, The Leaning Journey Fund will pay to help the successful applicants to think through their learning, and to bring in a coach, advisor, consultant, or facilitator to help develop their plans and next steps. The leaning will be shared via a blog or presentation posted on the Learning Journey pages of the Kent Community Foundation website so that others can learn and develop too.

Applications should include a description of what you hope to learn and why this will make a difference to your charity, detail of who you would like to visit, why you have chosen them and how you will use the knowledge you gain, a timeline and a budget. In addition to this written information a video of the applicant talking about themselves, and their application is also required.

To find out more or to apply visit

St Augustine’s Week events, Ramsgate

Open each day except Tuesday and Sunday, from 12.30-3.30pm with extended hours on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th June for the Jubilee.

Wednesday 1st June 7.30pm – Choir Concert with reading about the mission of St Augustine to convert the English

Thursday 2nd June 7pm – Talk by Dr Mike Bintley “Legacies of Rome in Anglo Saxon England”

Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th June – Extended opening and tours for the Queen’s Jubilee

Free entry (donations gratefully received)

Kent Wildlife Trust

Photo Mark Hamblin

Over six months have passed since the landmark Environment Act was enacted – the first dedicated environmental legislation for nearly 30 years and the first time England has set legally binding targets for nature’s recovery.

It is only now that the details of these targets are being discussed and a consultation is due to close on 27th June to assess how ambitious these targets will be. It’s crunch time for nature.

Unfortunately, the long-term target currently being proposed for nature’s recovery aims to have just 10% more nature in 2042 than 2030 levels – by which time the state of our natural world is expected to have declined even further.

This could mean that wildlife is less abundant by 2042 than it is now, after another decade of decline, and clearly falls short of the UK Government’s promise to pass on nature in better condition.

UK nature is already in dire straits. This country is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world: 41% of species are in decline and 15% at risk of extinction. It’s hardly surprising when you consider that 97% of lowland meadows – home to wildflowers, mammals and birds – have disappeared, as have 80% of heathlands – and rivers are in deep trouble too.

Kent is no exception. Kent Wildlife Trust’s latest Bugs Matter survey revealed a worrying decline of over 70% in flying insect abundance in Kent between 2004 and 2021. Further, many of Kent’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) – protected conservation sites – are in non-favourable conditions. For years, Kent Wildlife Trust has implemented species and habitat recovery plans across the county, from introducing ecosystem engineers like European bison to restore nature woodland management to campaigning against a theme park development that would destroy over 70 hectares of protected habitat on the Thames Estuary. Now, at a time more crucial than ever, we need the government’s policies to align with the ambition needed.

The new target that the UK Government has proposed is too weak and unambitious – England would have even less wildlife in 20 years’ time than the much-depleted state that we have now.

Read The Wildlife Trusts’ briefing on the Nature Recovery Green Paper and Environment Act target consultations here.

The Wildlife Trusts have begun a campaign to rally public support for stronger targets to help nature recover here: Join over 670 people who have already signed the petition in Kent.