Community news: WUSC fundraiser, Veterans’ Hub, Rotary, choirs, Inner Wheel, SEK, Palestine event, Southern Water and Forget the Stigma

WUSC’s Glenn Nattrass, vowed to raise money for critical care at QEQM Hospital after staff saved his life

Westgate United Services Club

WUSC’s Glenn Nattrass, vowed to raise money for critical care at QEQM Hospital after staff saved his life – and has now handed over a whopping £3838.75,

Glenn spent seven days in critical care at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate after developing a blood clot in the artery that leads to his bowel.

He had to have major surgery over two days to remove the 15cm clot and at one point was told he had less than a 20 per cent chance of surviving.

The dad of one, who works for a design agency, also developed sepsis and spent several days in an induced coma.

He said: “It was pretty scary, although I didn’t really find out how bad it was until afterwards.

“I remember the surgeon saying my chances were very slim and I really thought my time was up and my daughter would grow up without a dad.

“But I got lucky – and if it wasn’t for the wonderful staff in the critical care unit I wouldn’t have made it from there to a ward, let alone to survive and lead a normal life.”

Glenn was elected chairman of the Westgate United Services Club and decided to use his year in office to raise money for East Kent Hospitals Charity, supporting the critical care unit at the QEQM.

Money was raised by a psychic night, quiz night, raffle, race night and collection tins on the bar, smashing through the original £2000 target.

It will go towards refurbishment of the relatives and staff room at the critical care unit at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

Graham Morris, from the club, said: “As usual we had fantastic support from our members and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated.

“The hospital means a lot to many of our members so we were glad to be able to support them in a small way through our fundraising.”

You can find out more about the club on their Facebook page:

Thanet Armed Forces Veterans’ Hub

Left to Right. Kevin Hobbs Armed Forces & veterans breakfast club. Ken Scott of Kent arts and wellbeing. Polly Billington and Luke Pollard and Richard Morgan QVRM, HUB Manager

Labour’s Rt Hon Luke Pollard and East Kent parliamentary candidate Polly Billington, visited the hub on Thursday [December 14]

They were updated on the Veterans HUB and VPPP. They met with veterans and discussed many issues.

Labour says it has launched a  listening campaign after Government promised to provide every veteran in the UK with a card in 2019, designed to provide speedy access to health, housing, and charity services but just 1.2% of veterans in Thanet have received their cards  – equalling 72 veterans ID cards rolled out despite there being 5765 total veterans.

Polly Billington accused the Government of failing veterans as they held an event with former personnel as part of Labour’s Veterans’ Voice campaign.

Veterans’ Voice is Labour’s nationwide listening campaign to link up with veterans and their families and shape the party’s plans for the next general election.

Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Luke Pollard MP, said: “Labour is deeply proud of our Armed Forces and our veterans.

“I am so grateful to the veterans who spoke with us about the challenges they and others have faced after leaving service.

“Most people transition from the armed forces to civilian life successfully, but the government must ensure everyone who needs help can access it. That’s why Labour has launched its Veterans’ Voice campaign to hear directly from former personnel and to put their experiences at the heart of our plan for government”

Polly Billington added: “It is crystal clear that this Government is letting down veterans in East Thanet. Ministers make sweeping promises about support they will deliver but it’s all talk.

“Labour’s Veterans’ Voice campaign will listen to veterans in our area carefully. We will step up where this Government has failed.”

Westgate & Birchington Rotary Club

As we do every year, the Westgate & Birchington Rotary club have been out and about, with Santa, visiting streets in Westgate and Birchington over a period of 2 weeks in the run-up to Christmas. Santa has a plentiful supply of sweets for the children who look with awe at the cheery Santa sitting on his sleigh, and Santa’s ‘elves’ (also known as Rotarians) collect donations for local charities. This year our main charity efforts will be for ‘Louie’s Helping Hands’ and the Llewellyn School at Quex.

We also have a ‘static’ sleigh parked in both Westgate and in Birchington on different Saturdays before Christmas, and our elves will be busy collecting donations and giving out sweets. We are always pleased when families stop to say ‘Hello’ or even ‘Ho, Ho, Ho!’

It doesn’t matter if it is cold or damp, Santa is still smiling and pleased to see the children. Many families come out year after year to greet us and to take photos of the wonderful sleigh pulled by ‘reindeers’ (heavily disguised as a car).

We should like to take this opportunity to thank all the people living in the houses on our routes, and those who follow us and pass the news on to others. We should also like to thank ‘Wales Butchers’ in Birchington and ‘The Galleria’ in Westgate for allowing us to park and play our music, whilst collecting on Saturdays.

If you are interested to learn more about what we do in Rotary, please contact Dave Alker 07962 929700.

School choirs at East Kent hospitals

Youngsters from St Gregory’s Primary School performed at QEQM

There may not have choirs of angels but there was certainly joyful music in the corridors of East Kent Hospitals for Christmas.

Young singers and musicians from local schools gave up their time to sing and play for patients and staff at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate and Canterbury Hospital, and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

A choir and musicians from Ursuline College in Westgate visited QEQM, taking requests from patients on the wards and singing in the corridors, leaving a trail of smiles in their wake.

Patients and staff at QEQM were also entertained by pupils from St Gregory’s Primary School, while youngsters from Simon Langton Girls School sang at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. They were joined by an elderly patient who enjoyed singing in her youth, and became an honorary member of the choir while they visited her ward.

And at the William Harvey Hospital, pupils from Repton Manor Primary School helped spread some festive cheer to patients and staff.

Ursuline College students performed in corridors and on wards

Mandy Carliell, head of volunteering and public services, who organised the visits, said: “We are so grateful to all the students and staff who gave up their time to bring some of the magic of Christmas to our hospitals.

“Their performances have been a real delight, particularly for patients who may be spending the festive season on a ward, or who do not have family nearby to visit.

“But they also gave a real boost to our staff, and it was a wonderful way to bring our communities together.”

Westgate & Birchington Inner Wheel

Once again, this year the Inner Wheel clubs of Thanet, (Margate, Westgate & Birchington and Broadstairs) joined forces with the Rotary clubs of Thanet, (Thanet, Margate, Broadstairs, Thanet Sunrise and Westgate & Birchington), to celebrate Christmas with a Carol Service, in St Thomas Church, Minnis Bay, Birchington.

The event was organised as usual by Chris Hedges, Westgate & Birchington Rotary Club and the Christmas Tree Festival was organised by Margaret Hawkins, President of Westgate & Birchington Inner Wheel.

Chris trains a choir every year to perform some special carols, and the traditional readings are all read by representatives of all the Thanet clubs. It takes place in the beautiful setting of the ‘Christmas Tree Festival’, which is held yearly.

The choir rehearses every Wednesday evening from October. The congregation always join in with gusto to sing the traditional congregational carols. Local retired vicar, Peter Russell, played the organ and Rev Mark Ham gave a bidding prayer and a final blessing.

Two Rotary clubs, Westgate and Birchington and Thanet Sunrise, and W & B Inner Wheel club decorated trees for the festival, mostly showing their charity work throughout the year, and the Thanet Sunrise club generously provided mince pies and drinks. The Tree Festival was supported by many local organisations including the Coastal Community, Birchington in Bloom, who provided a ‘living tree’, Junior Church, Still Waters, Birchington Primary School, who decorated 2 trees, one from the spirituality group and one from ‘Messy Church’, the All Saints choir and bell ringers, the 3 Bays WI, The Royal British Legion, All Saints Church, and the Pastoral Friends Team based at All Saints, the 20th Century B&B, St Vincent de Paul, Beavers and the Birchington Art Club.

Pentax Digital Camera

Donations for the Tree Festival amounted to just under £200, which will be given with the church’s collection to Christian Aid to help in Israel and Gaza.

It is a wonderful occasion which draws in people from all over Thanet. This year the church was packed with 108 people. £250 was raised for local charities, and a donation of £75 was made to the church to help defray heating and lighting costs for the service and the tree festival.

Advance notice

As a celebration of 100 years of Inner Wheel on January 10 th 2024, Westgate & Birchington Inner Wheel will be hosting a coffee and cakes afternoon in Kearns Hall, Minnis Bay, at 2.30pm. All welcome. There will be a splendid raffle, with all money raised being donated to Storehouse, and we are also aiming to collect at least 100 items for Storehouse, in celebration of our national theme ‘100 for 100 years’. Please come and help us to celebrate 100 years!

If you would like to know more about Inner Wheel, please contact Hazel on 01843 833565 or 07889655497.

Social Enterprise Kent

The Thanet Social Enterprise Boost programme is a free support programme dedicated to fostering the growth of social enterprises and supporting social entrepreneurs in Thanet.

Thanks to funding from the Government, Social Enterprise Kent can help you scale up your existing enterprise or kickstart your social entrepreneur idea (*eligibility criteria applies).

Our support programme is tailored to meet the diverse needs of social enterprises and social entrepreneurs and includes one-to-one mentoring and business support; networking opportunities; access to workshops; events and grants.

*Eligibility criteria:

For the purpose of this programme, social enterprise is defined as either:

  • an entrepreneur or unregistered organisation who is driven by a social or

environmental purpose and can demonstrate a plan to work towards registration

within the government definition below or;

  • a registered social enterprise organisation within the government definition below;

“a social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”.

A start-up is considered to be an organisation that is less than 5 years old with a turnover of less than £250,000 in their last financial year.

Support will be available to social enterprises:

  • That deliver 75% of their activities or services providing social or environmental benefit within Thanet; however, it is acceptable for projects to also deliver to a wider geographical area of beneficiaries;
  • That are less than 5 years old;
  • Have a turnover of less than £250,000 in their last financial year.

For further information, please visit the Social Enterprise Kent website at or email us at [email protected]

Kites for Palestine

A special mass kite flying event will be held in Broadstairs, on December 23, to mark the deaths of people who have been killed and injured in Gaza, Palestine.

The idea for the event, which is being organised by Ramsgate-based activist Gordon Peden, was triggered by the death of Gazan poet Refaat Alareer who was killed by an Israeli air strike earlier this month.

Shortly before he was killed Alareer wrote a poem called “If I die” in which he asks people to remember him by making and flying a white kite.

The organiser Gordon Peden is encouraging local people to make their own kites to take part in the event.

The event will take place at 12 noon on Saturday 23 December, on Viking Bay, Broadstairs CT10 1EU. The organiser will meet participants at the top of the steps down to the beach.

Southern Water

Food banks across Kent are set to receive their share of  a £30,000 cash boost as part of an ongoing partnership between V2 Radio and Southern Water.

The extra funding comes following the Chichester-based radio station’s ‘Tonnes of Tins’ appeal this year. A total of 12.7 tonnes of canned food were donated to local beneficiaries and distributed to families battling rising food costs.

Following the summer campaign’s success, Southern Water pledged a further £30,000 in donations to thirty different community food banks across the region.

The beneficiaries of the £1,000 awards include Thanet Food Link and Ramsgate Salvation Army.

V2 Radio’s Programme Controller Ian Crouch said: “The Tonnes of Tins appeal has already helped hundreds of families in our community who are struggling to pay for food. The £30,000 extra will allow local food banks to help those families even more, something that remains extremely important as the cost-of-living crisis continues.”

Alex Willumsen, Community Partnerships and Programme Manager at Southern Water said: “We wanted to double our efforts and donate an additional £30,000 for us to support food banks even further. We are proud to be able to help local communities and give families a boost at Christmas time.”

Forget the Stigma

Forget the Stigma is a mental health awareness service that has a podcast series dedicated to promoting mental health awareness and fostering supportive conversations within our local community.

Our podcast focuses on providing a platform for candid discussions around various mental health topics. For example we have had a single mother of 2 who has been diagnosed with breast cancer come on and talk about her heroics and struggles during this time.

We aim to offer valuable insights, share personal experiences, and provide resources for individuals navigating mental health challenges. Additionally, we strive to create a supportive environment through our podcast episodes that cater to diverse mental health needs.

Our short-term goal is to increase awareness about mental health issues and the resources available within our community. We also aim to engage and connect with our audience on social media platforms, creating a safe space for open dialogue and support.

We also have mental health clothing which is due to start being released alongside the podcasts

In the long term, our vision is to become a trusted source for mental health discussions, support, and resources within our local community. We aim to expand our reach, collaborate with mental health professionals, and continue fostering conversations that reduce stigma and encourage seeking help.

Please see link to our introduction video explaining and introducing the idea of what’s to come at  



  1. I have been a monthly donor to Medical Aid for Palestinians for many years, and have been making extra donations over the phone on: 020 7226 4114, they have been able to get some meds etc into Gaza, despite Israel’s blocking it and other vital life support supplies. Over 20,000 innocent people have been killed, mainly women and children so far by Israel’s armed forces, and destroying thousands of homes! What they hope to achieve by this is beyond me, because the suffering being inflicted on children and babies must be a war crime, and will make anti antisemitism worse world wide!

  2. Westgate United Services Club had a great time fundraising for QEQM ITU and we look forward to seeing the room refurbishment when completed.

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