Thanet community news: Camera club, QEQM Friends, Thanet Festival Gala, Business Award finalists, Radford House, RNLI concert, Pilgrims Hospices, Money Hub, Plastic bag project and Daffodil appeal

Thanet Camera Club: Steam Express by Rod Giddins

Isle of Thanet Photographic Society

The club continues to attract speakers on a wide range of topics. In January we were delighted to welcome Philip Hinton, Chair of Ashford CC, who talked about his journey into photography and what had influenced him. Award-winning photographer David Jenner, who has a studio near Maidstone, showed some excellent landscape images and explained how to get the best during different weather conditions.

Club secretary Rod Giddins rounded off the month with a talk about the South Atlantic islands, with particular emphasis on South Georgia and the wildlife there, as well as the scars left from the whaling industry.

The start of February and our 3rd Quarterly PDI competition was judged by Sue Green from London. She commented on each of the 57 images submitted. Winner of the advanced group was Paul Norris with “Woodland Waterfall” (above) whilst Rod Giddins came first in the intermediate group with “Steam Express”*

More talks and competitions are planned for the rest of the season. We are particularly looking forward to the set subject competition called “Food and Drink” on 2 March, which will be judged by our former Chair Laura Drury LRPS.

Meetings are on Thursdays at 7.30pm at the Portland Centre, St. Peter’s, Broadstairs. Annual adult membership for the remainder of this season costs £17.50 and the weekly fee is £4 (£5 for non-members). New members are welcome.

For further information about the club, including membership and the programme, please visit our website: or find us on Facebook.

QEQM Hospital League of Friends

We are delighted to recently fund 18 replacement TVs for Rainbow Children’s Ward at a cost of almost £4k. They provide a welcome distraction for patients (and their parents & carers!) especially during clinical procedures.

The TV shown is one of the larger ones installed in a bay with 4 beds.

More information about our charity can be found at and if you’d like to help us finance items like this you can donate or fundraise online at

Thanet Music, Dance and Drama Festival Gala

At last, after four long years following restrictions, the Thanet Music, Dance and Drama Festival Gala is to take place at the Sarah Thorne Memorial Theatre in Broadstairs.

The event will follow a timetable of events organised by the committee of the Thanet Music, Dance and Drama Festival all of whom will have their own responsibilities. These will commence with Speech and Drama on Thursday 23rd and 24th of February at Queens Road Baptist Church Broadstairs and 25th and 26th February at the Sarah Thorne Memorial Theatre, also in Broadstairs.

On 2nd, 3rd and 4th of March, the Vocal and Choral Music event will be held at St Phillips Church at Palm Bay.

The 11th March events will comprise of Pianoforte and Instrumental music, to be held at the Salvation Army Citadel High St Ramsgate

Finally, on 12th March, Signing choirs will perform at Queens Road Baptist Church in Broadstairs.

The Dance section takes place over three weekends in March at Birchington Village Centre.

All the various winning performers will appear at a Gala Convert and Prize Giving on Friday 24th March at 7pm at the Sarah Thorne Memorial Theatre Broadstairs (entry by programme). Prizes will be presented by special guest Dr David Flood.

All performances will be open with free entry (and hopefully a donation) to those interested to come and watch. There will be an entry fee for the dance performances. Programmes will be available for all events at a cost of £4.

All enquires please, to Chairman Janice Regan Tel: 01843 224027.

Kent Women in Business Awards

Thanet is well represented in this year’s Kent Women in Business Awards.

There are six nominations that are listed as coming from this isle. These include Karen Brinkman, the founder of Thanet Virtual High Street which was first set up during the pandemic.

Also listed is Charlotte Silver, businessowner of Silvers bar/entertainment spave and dance school and Ronnies bar in Ramsgate.

Cemanthe McKenzie, of Lemon Feather Photography, is also nominated.

Other contenders include Gemma Adams of Women in Law Kent; Karen Dawkins of Wraithmaille and Vicky Martin of Vicky Martin Method Ltd.

The awards ceremony takes place on March 10.

Radford House

Following a Ramsgate Town Council Meeting on 21st December, it was agreed and confirmed that Suzy Humphries was the successful contractor for the position of Community Engagement and Events Organiser for Radford House.

Suzy will be organising community and private events and activities at Radford House prior to the refurbishment of the building. These meantime uses are intended to provide information about how the facility can be used in the future (to inform the business plan for the building) and provide an income for the Council.

RNLI fundraising concert

A concert will be performed by members of Piano by the Sea, plus guest artists Mary Kemp, violinist, singers Eliot Mead and Jennifer Brisk, and poets Derek and Mary Anne Sellen, on March 4 at the Salvation Army hall in Ramsgate.

The RNLI is our adopted charity and we have already raised over £450 but this concert is an opportunity for everyone to develop their performance skills one step further as well as to raise funds for the local lifeboat stations in Ramsgate and Margate.

The concert will run from 3pm and will finish by 4.30 pm.  There is a mix of music including Debussy, Ravel and Chopin.  The mayors of Ramsgate and Margate will be present as well as Councillor Lesley Game, Chair of Kent County Council.  The RNLI will be represented in the hall by Sarah Hewes, who is in charge of fundraising in Thanet, and her team.

Tickets cost £10 and are on sale at the RNLI shop in the Customs House Ramsgate, or at the door, or in advance through Eventbrite – Charity Concert in aid of the RNLI.

Pilgrims Hospices

In October 2019, The Good Grief Trust launched National Grief Awareness Week at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the impact  of grief, normalise conversations about it, and create a unified voice for all bereavement support services in the UK. Pilgrims Hospices was delighted to attend and help to spread the word about its Stepping Stones bereavement support programme, which is available to any adult in east Kent.

Three years on, in December 2022, Pilgrims hosted its own awareness event at the Ann Robertson Centre in Canterbury. It provided an opportunity for bereavement services from across east Kent to come together, network and share ideas about how they can support local people who are grieving.

Annie Hogben, Expert Volunteer Project Lead, pioneered Stepping Stones and organised the event. She said: “The past two and a half years have been incredibly challenging for so many; moving forward, understanding what support is available in our local communities is imperative so that people can gain the right support, at the right time, for them.

“We were really keen to create an opportunity for fellow bereavement support providers to come together during National Grief Awareness Week, to explore and understand how the services we all offer can best support anyone in east Kent who is grieving. The event proved both enlightening and positive. It allowed us all to gather new information, network with others providing specialist support and, importantly, signpost bereaved people effectively in a timely manner.

“We hope to build on this event to engage with local stakeholders and the community, to ensure supporting bereaved people effectively is everyone’s business.”

The event was attended by seven local bereavement support organisations, plus an independent celebrant and an independent funeral director:

The Compassionate Friends

Crossroads Care Kent in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support

Cruse Bereavement Care

East Kent Baby Memorial Gardens

East Kent Medical Examiner Service

Holding On Letting Go

Stepping Stones, Pilgrims Hospices

For more information about Stepping Stones and the support it offers, please visit:

Money Advice Hub

Support is being offered to people across Kent struggling with debt through a free and confidential service.

The Kent Money Advice Hub has one of its current five interactive kiosks based in Cliftonville Community Centre.

Help is also available online at with messaging and chat functions or by calling the free helpline number on 0800 808 5622 between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

The service is available for anyone struggling financially or who needs help managing their money due to a change in their circumstances. Overall, it is aimed at encouraging people to get free and confidential money advice and support early on to avoid going into crisis.

Kent County Council Chair Cllr Lesley Game visited the Cliftonville centre to hear the difference it is making and see the video kiosk in action, which connects to a trained advisor where any money-related worries can be discussed and a way forward found.

Cllr Game said: “This is particularly important at a time when the cost of living has increased, following the economic impact of the pandemic. For residents experiencing money worries, maybe for the first time ever, don’t suffer alone.”

Elaine McCarthy, Cliftonville Community Centre manager, said: “We’re really pleased to offer this service to residents, particularly due to the financial hardships people are experiencing as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. We know that many do not have their own digital devices nor access to the internet. By having this kiosk located at our community centre, residents do not need to worry about this when accessing this service. Clients are also welcome to visit the centre and phone the Kent Money Advice Hub using our phone lines.”

The funding for this pilot project has been secured through KCC’s Helping Hands Scheme which was set up to support families and businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. It is being lead by Citizens Advice North & West Kent in conjunction with Citizens Advice teams across the county and Debt Free Advice.

Angela Newey, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice in North & West Kent, said they are testing a range of different ways to reach seldom heard groups and communities to provide money advice. She added: “We chose Cliftonville Community Centre because it is a strong local community hub so people would be comfortable taking that first step forward to getting help, should they need it.”

Thanet hubs can be found at:

Cliftonville Community Centre, St. Paul’s Rd, Margate. Open Mon, Wed, Fri 9.30am-3.30pm and Tue 9.30-1pm

Ramsgate Salvation Army Centre, 167A High St. Open Mon, Wed, Fri 9am to 12 noon and Tue and Fri 8am to 12 noon

East Kent Hospitals

Pharmacy teams at East Kent Hospitals have cut their use of plastic bags from a quarter of a million a year to zero.

It is part of the Trust’s work to become more environmentally sustainable, and meet the NHS’s target of being net zero for carbon emissions by 2040.

The plastic bag project was led by staff who are passionate about reducing their impact on the environment and improving care for patients. The team identified the three areas where plastic bags were most used and found sustainable alternatives, meaning the department no longer uses any plastic bags at all.

Sam Coombes, lead medicines information pharmacy technician, who spearheaded this project said: “As a Trust we recognised that the amount of plastic used in this way previously just wasn’t sustainable and the team worked hard to find solutions that not only satisfied our sustainability aspirations but were also workable for staff too.

“We switched our plastic fridge bags to reusable bags with an antimicrobial coating, our bags used for patients to take their medication home have been switched to paper bags, and the previous clear bags have been done away with all together.

“Instead, medicine delivery bags are used by porters and other staff to take medicines back to wards.”

Will Willson, director of pharmacy, added: “This was another fantastic project led by staff to source the right alternatives as well as working with our colleagues both across the Trust and 2gether Support Solutions to make sure these changes are integrated into working practices.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work and vision – together we have made a real impact.”

Library teams are also championing environmental issues, and East Kent Hospitals is one of six NHS Trusts to have signed up to the Green Libraries manifesto; a seven-point pledge covering everything from making environmental thinking central to their work to providing up-to-date and accurate information on climate change.

And teams across the Trust are making small changes in their own wards and departments to save energy and reduce waste, from pledging to recycle more to making sure lights and computers are switched off in offices at the end of each day.

Great Daffodil Appeal

Volunteers collecting for the Great Daffodil Appeal 2018 in Winchester. The person donating is Miriam Strong
This picture was taken in April 2018.

The Great Daffodil Appeal is back and end of life charity Marie Curie is urgently calling for volunteers in Kent  to give just two hours of their time to hand out the charity’s iconic daffodil pins in return for donations.

All across the country supporters will be donning the infamous giant yellow top hats in supermarkets, train stations and on high streets for the Great Daffodil Appeal – Marie Curie’s flagship fundraiser, which has now been running for 37 years.

Public collections returned in 2022 following a two-year suspension during the pandemic so it is more important than ever that people support the charity’s work.

Marie Curie is dependent on public donations and last year the money raised helped the charity provide direct care to more than 46,000 people across the UK via its nine hospices and through overnight nursing care in people’s own homes. Donations also support its Information and Support line, which provides a listening ear to anyone dealing with any aspect of death, dying and bereavement.

During the Great Daffodil Appeal on March 23, the annual National Day of Reflection will take place. This is a unique day to remember loved ones who’ve died and to support people who are grieving. Marie Curie will be leading a minute’s silence at noon on the day.

To sign-up to volunteer to collect for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal in Kent, visit

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