Community news: Monty’s, Sunken Garden, camera club, coffee mornings, TAG appeal, Holocaust service, Puddle Ducks, peace vigil, Barclays protest and Kent NHS

Danny and Theresa Ireton of Monty's with their award

Business of the year award

Monty’s greengrocers in Birchington has been named as Thanet Academy FM’s Business of 2023.

Owners Theresa and Danny Ireton were handed their trophy and certificate by presenter Chris West.

Monty’s has been running for some 48 years, with 38 of those being based in Birchington.

Now run by Danny and Theresa, the business was initially founded by Theresa’s parents Patrick and Gwen, at first trading in Herne Bay.

Theresa, who also runs Birchington Guides, said: “We were completely surprised and didn’t know anything about it until we got the email saying ‘congratulations, you are the Thanet business of the year.’

“We were presented with an engraved trophy and a certificated, it was really lovely.”

Monty’s had already been a business of the week and business of the month before nominations for business of the year were put to the vote.

Sunken Garden Society

In 2019, The Sunken Garden Society and the children of St. Saviour’s Primary School in Westgate planted sunflowers together.

A splendid variety of sunflowers—tall, short, red, and yellow—grew beautifully and brightened up the Sunken Garden for many months.

In autumn, the gardeners left some seed heads for the garden birds to enjoy.

It wasn’t until the following year that we realized many of the seeds had dispersed and self-sown, rewarding us with more sunflowers, which led to the gardeners collecting the seeds to sow the following year.

Since 2019, the gardeners have continued this tradition, collecting seeds for five years to the delight of the garden visitors.

This year, we are planning something special and giving away thousands of special Sunken Garden Society sunflower seed packets for free.

This local initiative aims to disperse seeds throughout the community during Community Garden Week 2024, from April 1st to April 7th, at locations in Westgate and Garlinge: St. Saviour’s Parish Church seed library, Westgate Galleria, COOP, Costcutter Garlinge, Barbara’s Baps, Dadds Butchers, and other nearby shops where you’ll find the packets free to take home and plant.

We’ll also be planting lots more sunflowers at the Sunken Garden this year and hope we can all brighten up Thanet in a blaze of sunflower yellow. Just follow the planting instructions and let’s all see how we can do.

In addition to sunflowers, our sunken gardeners have actively collected various seeds from the garden, establishing a Sunken Garden seed bank to share within community seed libraries. Seed libraries are a fantastic way to encourage biodiversity while decreasing our reliance on large seed companies. If you know of a seed library near you, please get in touch and let us know where the Sunken Garden Society can drop them off.

Email; – [email protected]

Facebook; – Sunken Garden Society

Crowd funder;-

Isle of Thanet Photographic Society

Coffee in the garden – Clare Pickett LRPS

Thanet’s Camera Club started 2024 with a packed programme to look forward to. Kicking off the year members shared their favourite 5 photos from 2023.

Next members enjoyed an evening of talks by Laura Drury and Rod Giddins. Laura demonstrated a range of techniques showing how to create stunning images from “snapshots”.

In part two, club secretary Rod took us on a photographic journey along the Silk Roads from China to Venice, explaining the impact silk had on this ancient trade route and how this luxury fabric is still in demand today.

Our 3rd open digital competition attracted over 60 entries. These ranged from landscapes to nature, abstracts to buildings. Our judge, George Pearson ARPS, provided an excellent critique for each. Judge’s comments are always welcome as they help members to improve techniques and skills. Clare Pickett LRPS was awarded a “Highly Commended” for her lovely still life “Coffee in the Garden.”

Members will be taking part in “skills” evenings on 1st and 15th February as well as preparing for the 2nd print competition on the 8th February.

New members always welcome to join. The subscription is £17.50 for the period 1st February until the AGM in June.

More information about the club is at and on our
Facebook page.

Broadstairs coffee mornings

A retirement housebuilder is hosting a coffee fundraising event to raise money for a vital community resource – Pilgrims Hospice.

Broadstairs retirees are invited to McCarthy Stone’s Pearson House Retirement Living development on Trotwood Close on Friday, 2nd February, between 11 am and 3 pm to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake and raise money for the local Pilgrims Hospice, which provides much needed support to those facing incurable illness.

The fundraising doesn’t stop there, as guests can also take part in a raffle, to be in with a chance of winning a selection of goodies, from a McCarthy Stone teddy bear to a selection of wines and beers, with all proceeds being donated to the hospice.

The event will be held in the warm and welcoming communal lounge at the Pearson House development, which is located just over a mile away from Viking Bay.

Pearson House opened in September 2023 and consists of 51 one and two-bedroom apartments designed to enable the over 60s to enjoy maximum independence during retirement.

Invicta Lodge retirement home at Westwood Cross will hold a Winter Warmer coffee and cake events to raise money for local charities

People are being invited to join Churchill Retirement Living at its developments for a series of special Winter Warmer events to raise funds for a range of local charities.

Everyone is welcome to step out of the cold and into the warmth of the developments’ friendly Owners’ Lounges, where they can enjoy coffee, cake and a chat in return for a small donation. The event will take place from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday 7th February.

All of the money raised will go to Pilgrim’s Hospices.

TAG Pet Rescue appeal

An appeal is being made to help fund surgery for a Scottish Fold cat who is suffering conditions related to her breed.

Poppy is in lots of pain. The same gene that causes her folded ears also causes severe and painful abnormalities of all connective tissue. This is so damaging that the breed has been banned in some countries but this sadly isn’t the case in England.

Three-year-old Poppy has significant osteoarthritis which is progressing fast. Like in humans this causes her pain in her joints, which worsen when she moves around too much or gets too cold.

She also has grade 3 luxating patellas in both knees which require surgical intervention as soon as possible. We urgently need to stop the damage to the joint becoming too severe or she will be unable to walk in just a couple of years’ time.

Her surgery is set to cost us £4500 and is scheduled for February 2nd at Briar House Veterinary Practice to try and reduce the amount of time she suffers to as few days as possible. However this gives us a very short turnaround time to try and raise the money we desperately need!

We would be so grateful if you could donate anything you can spare for poor Poppy. Boycott the screenings of Argyle – a spy thriller which features a Scottish Fold cat –  and instead consider donating the £9.99 ticket fee to help a Scottish Fold finally experience a pain free life instead.

Please donate and share to help Poppy! Every donation and share makes a difference and helps her towards a pain free future.…/poppy-is-in-lots-of-pain…

Holocaust Memorial Day

A service marking Holocaust Memorial Day was held on Saturday (January 27) at the Thanet & District Reform Synagogue in Ramsgate.

The service for the victims of genocide, past and present was attended by Mayor of Ramsgate, Councillor Pat Moore. This year’s HMD theme was “Fragility of Freedom.”

On Holocaust Memorial Day every January 27th thousands of people from across the country come together to remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Puddle Ducks

Children from local baby and child swim school, Puddle Ducks East Kent, North Kent & South East London, went for a swim in their pyjamas recently in support of The Oliver Steeper Foundation.

The foundation was set up by Puddle Ducks’ swim teacher Zoe Steeper, in memory of her eldest son Oliver who sadly passed away following a choking accident at nursery. The swim school were keen to get involved and help raise vital funds to be used to provide LifeVac anti-choking devices in all early years Ofsted registered childcare settings.

Puddle Ducks’ Pyjama Week is an exciting week where all the children (and grown ups!) turn up to their lesson in pyjamas, giving them the opportunity to experience what it feels like to be in the water with clothes on, therefore learning water safety skills whilst having lots of fun.

Throughout the week, Puddle Ducks East Kent, North Kent & South East London raised an amazing £1,555.37 with one swimmer, Orla, travelling to a different pool to swim every day during PJ week!

To find out more about Puddle Ducks East Kent, North Kent & South East London and the baby and child swimming lessons they provide across the local area, please call 01622 236111 or visit

Peace vigil

A peace vigil was held in Ramsgate town on Friday.

Representatives from faith groups in Ramsgate joined together for the event, including Carl Whitewood of Ramsgate Salvation Army, Rabbi Cliff Cohen from Thanet Synagogue and Councillor Raushan Ara.

Gaza protest

On Saturday 27 January Palestine campaigners protested at Barclays in Ramsgate calling for a boycott of the bank.  At one point protesters went inside the bank and held up a banner saying “Stop Arming Israel”.

Over 50 people protested at the bank chanting: “Boycott Barclays!” The protest was part of a national day of action called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. It’s the latest of a series of protest events held in Thanet, including a march through Margate.

Protester Christine Tongue said: “The last time I supported a boycott of Barclays was decades ago when they were the biggest lenders to Apartheid South Africa, but we protested and protested against them until in 1986 they pulled out.

“Barclays is now investing more than a billion pounds in companies arming Israeli apartheid. Just like we did in 1986, we must force them to pull out.”

Kent and Medway NHS

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) has appointed ISS UK as its catering provider for the next 5 years.

The new contract, which begins on Thursday 8 February 2024, responds to feedback from patients and staff and will also create 50 new jobs in the county as well as providing an improved catering service to staff and inpatients.

ISS will recruit 50 food hosts, for the first time at KMPT, to serve food and help patients place orders and plan meals on the trust’s wards in Margate, Canterbury, Maidstone and Dartford.

In addition, an investment will be made to revitalise the trust’s two restaurants at St Martin’s Hospital, Canterbury, and Littlebrook Hospital in Dartford. Work to create a new-look, modern and inviting eating space for patients, staff and visitors is due to be completed in February 2024.


  1. How insensitive, protest in support of Palestine on Holocaust Memorial Day! As for boycotting Barclays band, everyone in Thanet will be doing that soon as they’re all closing.

    • How insensitive that the Holocaust Memorial Day doesn’t recognise the barbaric genocide that’s happening in Gaza right now. And how clumsy of Barclays not to have learned any lessons from the past about propping up apartheid.

      • Is that the same “barbaric genocide” triggered by a horrific terrorist attack where babies were beheaded and grandmothers raped?

          • Ms Pink, are you referring to the 12 workers who were sacked by the UNRWA? Fewer than 0.04% of the workforce. Or are you just regurgitating whatever information the government and the gutter press throws at you?

  2. Noone ever protested against rocket attacks towards civilian targets in and around Tel Aviv. Noone protested against the mass murder of young festival goers. Noone protests against the Houties for attacking sailors at sea. Noone ever protested against Syria when they exterminated Palestinians. Noone protests against Putin. Israel must be the worst country in the world or the left is somewhat biased? Not really fair? Misinformed? Or just plain stupid?

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