Community news: From lifeboats and churchyard friends to fundraisers, drama and a book launch

Hand-over of the Esme Anderson lifeboat Photo Karen Cox

Ramsgate RNLI

Thank you to everyone who came along to support Ramsgate RNLI crew as they said goodbye to Trent class lifeboat Esme Anderson after nearly thirty years.

Eastbourne crew Dave Needham, Coxswain and Trainer Assessor for the RNLI, James Wishman the Mechanic, Sam Whittaker volunteer crew, Guy Emery, trainee coxswain, mechanic and navigator and Carl Pocock Eastbourne retired crew and LOM arrived early to enjoy a breakfast provided by the Ramsgate crew and families.

Photo John Smiddy Smith

Then as 11am approached Ramsgate Coxswain Ian Cannon and Eastbourne Coxswain Dave Needham shook hands and the symbolic hand over took place.

Father John Chater, Station Chaplain, said a prayer for the safety of both crews and then the boats set off on a tour of the harbour before Ramsgate Tamar Diamond Jubilee and relief lifeboat Tamar Peter and Lesley-Jane Nicholson set off their water hoses and Esme Anderson passed under the arch of spray and out of the harbour.

Photo John Smiddy Smith

She was followed by local fishing boats blowing their horns whilst the crowds on both arms of the pier cheered and waved flags.

Ramsgate RNLI would like to thank everyone for their support on this emotional day for the crew and their families.

St Peter’s Churchyard Friends

At St Peter’s churchyard a group of like-minded people 11 years ago joined together to originally take care of the graves. Finding the graves was still difficult with the long grass on the paths. As we were not allowed to re-establish broken or lost stone we decide to concentrate on the paths alone, to make them safer to walk.

Identifying any hazards, metal edges or stone work, helped to establish a natural habitat in each plot themselves.
At a click counting done by Lorraine, the secretary for the group, it was revealed there were some 5500 plus plots spread out over 9 acres. There were lots of habitats for the ecosystem in the churchyard and it is considered a good balance.

We raised a tree canopy  so visitors would feel safer, being able to see all across the churchyard in the closer sections.
Brian Sleightholm BEM is the leader of our group and is the founder of the Historic Village Tours,WW1,WW11 and Churchyard tours, the latter when visitors appreciate the work being done.

It is also about managing the overgrowth and helping the tours to safely go ahead. We do have plots that need to be cared for which are included in the tours.

We meet on a Saturday once a month (not when its unduly wet or raining) to work together from 10 am -12 noon – or what ever time you can give, it’s like a big scale gardening effort.

It’s a lovely place to be , peaceful, full of bird song, butterflies lizards, dogs and a beautiful display of naturalised flowers, tree fruits and herbs right from March through to October.

We would love you to be part of our dedicated friendly team, we have all the tools that are needed even though you can bring your own favourites and bring any knowledge you have with you

Please contact Lorraine on 01843 869965 -075552 96134 feel free to leave message [email protected]  or Brian on 01843-864746

Tree planting

Volunteers have helped to plant 1200 trees at the edge of Manston Business Park over the last fortnight. Residents, together with staff from Cummins, Guildcrest Commercial and  Kent County Council, all took part.

Volunteers worked through wind, rain and plenty of mud, finally getting the planting finished on Thursday (February 8).

The planting days were organised by the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership , working with the Kent Plan Tree team at Kent County Council. The work was paid for by the Local Authority Treescapes Fund from the Forestry Commission.

If you would like to get involved, more planting days are coming up soon at Reculver Country Park. 21-24 February and 29th February to 2nd March. Email [email protected] or call 0300 41900 for more information.

Thanet Schools Young Artists Festival

The Thanet Schools Young Artists Festival will return for its 15th year this May.

The event, organised by Margate Rotary Club, showcases the work of youngsters at schools across the isle.

Works will be shown at Sainsbury’s at Westwood from May 13-19 with a prizegiving ceremony on May 18 at noon.

Winners will then have their work exhibited at The Margate School from May 21-27 and a selection of paintings with wildlife and environmental themes will also be displayed at Monkton Nature Reserve from May 27 onwards.

MND fundraiser

Two Ramsgate friends have money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association by completing 15,000 steps a day in January and finishing with a walk from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace (Africa Gate) on January 31 to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Sinfield.

Last year rugby league star Kevin completed an ultra-marathon every day for seven days in seven cities in aid of MND.

His last event was in London, finishing near Buckingham Palace.

The star has raised millions for MND since his former teammate Rob Burrow was diagnosed with the disease in 2019.

Vikki Foat and pal Deb Castle were so inspired by Sinfield’s achievement that they decided to finish their month’s fundraiser by following the last part of his final ultra marathon route.

Vikki said: “Between the two of us we raised almost £400 and between the 6,630 people who took part in the challenge they walked over 2 billion steps and raised over half a million pounds.

“On arriving at West Africa gate three of us that walked the last leg together, were full of emotion. For myself and Deb, it was probably the first time it dawned on us what we had actually achieved and that we wasn’t going to give up now.

“Through walking together and encouraging each other, it enhanced a 40-year friendship that started at Woolworths. We are considering the Mind Mental Health craft month in March and the Rob Burrows marathon in the summer.

“One of the highlights wearing our vests, was when Deb was stopped by a gentleman who donated £10 to the cause.

“A huge thank you from the both of us to family, friends, colleagues and businesses who supported us. In addition to this my employer supports Macmillan Cancer Care and myself and my team will also continue to fundraise for MNDA from the Tollgate Kiosk.”

Holy Trinity Margate

The congregation of Holy Trinity Margate has reacted with joy to the news of a new priest who will be leading the congregation later this year. The Reverend Mark Nelson has been appointed as Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity, Margate by the Bishop of Dover. Mark is currently Associate Vicar at SAINT, a group of Churches in East London.

The appointment was announced to the congregation of Holy Trinity Margate on Sunday 4 February via a video message where Mark and his wife Jenna introduced themselves to the church. He said: “Our family are delighted to have been invited by the Bishop of Dover to partner with the Diocese of Canterbury and the church in an exciting new chapter in the story of God for the area. We are really looking forward to moving to Margate in the summer, and to join in with all that God is doing in the years ahead.”

The introductory video included BSL interpretation to ensure all members of the church could find out about news of the Mark in a way that is accessible to them. Holy Trinity Margate has an active deaf community which is served by a BSL interpreter during Sunday services, a Deaf Café twice a month, and a member of the deaf community providing BSL lessons.

Mark’s appointment has been made possible through the Diocese of Canterbury making an application to the Church of England’s Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Fund. This significant grant is designed to enable the revitalisation and growth of the church in Margate.

Subject to a successful outcome to this funding request Holy Trinity Margate will become a Resourcing Church, promoting and supporting not only its own ministry but the mission and ministry of other churches in Margate. Further plans will unfold over the coming months in partnership with the PCCs (parochial church councils) of the local churches and in the light of the outcome of the funding request.

Sally Posnett, Church Community Services Manager reflected on the atmosphere of the Holy Trinity family having ‘met’ Mark via video: “I can’t begin to say how excited we all are to welcome Mark, Jenna and the family later this year.”

The Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Dr Will Adam said: “Mark is not just good news for the Holy Trinity family but for the whole of Margate. He has the vision and enthusiasm to see the churches in the area reach their full potential and be of benefit to the whole community in which they serve. It’s heartening to know that the congregation matches his enthusiasm for any new opportunities he will bring.”

Rotary Club of Margate

The club is holding a quiz night on Wednesday 21 February, 7pm for 7.30pm at Grosvenor Casino, Westwood Cross. In aid of charities supported by The Rotary Club of Margate.

Only £15 per person including a hot buffet and lucky roulette voucher.

Prizes for 1st , 2nd and 3rd plus raffle.

Teams of 4 – Booking is essential.

Call: Peter Arnold 07785 304783 or email: [email protected] or direct to casino on 01843 57999

Margate Yacht Club

Margate Yacht Club has been nominated as a finalist for Community Club of the year by the RYA (Royal Yachting Association).

The RYA Club of the Year Awards supported by Gallagher celebrate the achievements and dedication of RYA Affiliated Clubs across the United Kingdom, shining a light on the hard work put in over the last 12-24 months.

The club recently commemorated its 90th anniversary and is hugely proud of its diverse and inclusive community and continues to work hard to ensure everyone feels sailing is accessible them.

The club has a huge number of active female sailors, a strong LBGTQ+ presence, a varied age group membership, along with those who have a socio-economic background and members who have a range of disabilities.

The club introduced a youth sailing squad and, in a few years has grown to having 10-15% of the membership being active youth members.

The award categories are Community Club of the Year, Green Club of the Year, Active Club of the Year and Young Person’s Club of the Year. The overall Club of the Year will be selected from one of these category winners and announced at the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show being held at Farnborough International on 24 – 25 February.

Inspiration Writers Group

Inspirations Writers Group (IWG) continues moving from strength to strength, publishing not five, but six anthologies since their first publication Red, in 2017.

Founder and facilitator Carol M. Salter, a published author in her own right, is immensely proud of what the group has achieved.

“It has been a hard-fought battle to maintain the group’s cohesion, but thanks to our current members we have not only survived recent changes but continued, accepting new members into our group in 2024.

The Indigo Launch is on March 23 at Westgate Galleria from 11 am to 12.30 pm and later at Taddy’s Barn eatery from 1 pm to 3 pm.

We would love folk to welcome our newest edition to the Rainbow Series, which has become a limited edition, first print run series. Earlier anthologies will be on sale, including the last few copies of the Kent Creative finalist Red, and the Denise Robertson National Anthology award-winning anthology Green.

We are happy to welcome new writers to our successful group, which meets on the 4th Saturday morning of every month at Westgate Library – except of course March.

The Crispe Charity

Calling children’s and youth group leaders, and school students currently in year 13 in Birchington or Acol!

This local charity may be able to help you with the finances of your group with small cash grants.

This local charity may be able to help you settle into higher education or apprenticeships with small cash grants.

Completed applications need to be received by 15th October.

For an application form please write or telephone Ann Story, 8 Nursery Fields, Acol, Birchington, CT7 0JF

01843 846651

Or email [email protected]

Thanet Music Drama and Dance

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 22nd and Friday 23rd of February at Queens Road Baptist Church Broadstairs and Saturday 24th and Sunday25th February at the Sarah Thorne Memorial Theatre, also in Broadstairs.

On Wednesday 28th February, Thursday 29th February, Friday 1st March and Saturday 2nd March the Vocal and Choral Music event will be held at St Philips Church at Palm Bay Cliftonville.

During Saturday 9th March events will comprise of Pianoforte and Instrumental music, to be held at the Salvation Army Citadel High St Ramsgate

Finally, on Sunday 10th March, Signing choirs will perform at Queens Road Baptist Church in Broadstairs.

The Dance section takes place over three weekends in March commencing Sunday 3rd March and continues on Saturday 9th March, Sunday 10th March, Saturday 16th March and Sunday 17th March at Birchington Village Centre.

Some of the winning performers will appear at a Gala Concert And Prize Giving on Friday 22nd March at 7pm at the Sarah Thorne Memorial Theatre Broadstairs (entry by programme only £3 or a £3 donation per person if only one programme is wanted).

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 enquiries please, to Chairman Janice Regan Tel: 01843 224027.

East Kent Hospitals

Do you have a car, and some time to help support NHS staff and patients?

East Kent Hospitals is looking for people to sign up as volunteer drivers, to take small items of equipment, sealed packages, or pathology samples between our sites in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Margate.

Occasionally you may be asked to take equipment to patients’ homes or to other NHS locations.

Mandy Carliell, head of volunteering and public services, said: “This is a new role for the Trust and one that has the potential to make a real difference to our patients and staff.

“The hope is that the volunteer drivers will be able to minimise delays for our patients by transporting urgent samples, and save the Trust money by avoiding the need to use taxis.

“They could help people go home sooner, by arranging to deliver medication rather than a patient having to wait in hospital for it to be ready.

“Our existing volunteers already make a huge contribution to the running of our hospitals and I am looking forward to welcoming more to the team as volunteer drivers.”

Drivers will be able to specify the days they are available, and their preferences for journey distance and time of day, and requests will be co-ordinated by a central transport booking team.

Volunteers need a clean current driving licence, and their own vehicle which should be less than five years old. They should also have good knowledge of east Kent. Mileage will be reimbursed at 45p per mile.

For more information, contact Mandy at [email protected] or complete the application form online at

Chartwell House

Chartwell House by Boutique Care Homes is delighted to commemorate its first anniversary. Since warmly welcoming its first residents on January 30, 2023, Chartwell House has been dedicated to providing care that goes beyond the ordinary, leaving residents feeling truly valued and empowered, and their loved ones at ease and content.

Over the past 12 months, Chartwell House has achieved remarkable milestones, including

welcoming over 70 residents to the home and employing over 65 exceptionally talented team members. Leanne General, Head of Housekeeping, said: “I love the feel that it is a home away from home, and seeing everyone’s smiling faces every day.”

Echoing this sentiment, Helen Orry, receptionist at Chartwell House, said: “I am totally fulfilled in my role at Chartwell House; it is like being with family every day. It is such a lovely environment to work in, and I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful job! I am looking forward to many more happy years at the home.“

Chartwell House Care Home has been a finalist at both the National Care Awards and Leaders in Care Awards for its exceptional design. The home also clinched Care Home Group (Small) of the Year as part of the Boutique Care Homes Group at the 25th National Care Awards 2023.

One of the pillars behind Chartwell House’s success is their Life Enrichment Programme, which encompasses the six principles of well-being. Involving their team, residents, family, friends, and the community.

The success of this program is illustrated by achieving the accolade of scoring 10 out of 10 on an independent customer review website.

Barbara Wallace, niece of Chartwell House resident Teresa, writes: “My aunt is since she moved into this wonderful care home. She is engaging with all the fun activities and has a new lease of life. Everything is done with love and laughter. She is and energized in a way we haven’t seen for a long time.”

Home Manager, Diane Collins, said: “Reflecting on the success of the past year fills me with immense pride. Chartwell House has become a place where quality care and genuine connections thrive. Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly, and I couldn’t be prouder of their commitment to making every resident feel valued and at home.”

To celebrate the success of the last 12 months and to mark this special anniversary, Chartwell House hosted a Black-Tie Gala celebration on Friday, February 2nd. The day commenced with a performance for residents and their families from Harry Kersley, a highly sought-after classical singer across the UK, who has had the opportunity to perform at arena venues and to VIP guests, including members of the British, Saudi, and Bahraini royal family.

Residents then enjoyed a silver service lunch, hosted by the hospitality students of Broadstairs College, followed by a relaxing afternoon of cocktails and great company.

The celebrations finished with a special black-tie gala featuring live music, dancing, canapes, and prosecco. In true Chartwell House style, the event was not without its charitable focus, and a special fundraiser took place during the evening in the form of the Chartwell Casino, raising money for a community defibrillator.

Boycott walk

Thanet campaigners have held a “Boycott Walk” between MacDonalds and Tesco, calling on people to use consumer power to halt the killing in Palestine.

The event, on Saturday 10 February, was called by Thanet 4 Palestine, as part of a nationwide campaign to put pressure on multinational companies to boycott Israel on account of military action in Gaza.

The campaigners say they targeted both Tesco and MacDonalds because of their alleged support of Israel.

Donal Lennon of Thanet 4 Palestine said: “Grass roots community activism was alive and well in Margate. All sections of our community came out in solidarity with Palestine on the Boycott Walk.”

East Kent Apprenticeship Awards 2024

Nominations have opened for the 2024 East Kent Apprenticeship Awards. Now in its sixth year, this prestigious annual event will once again champion the achievements of those completing apprenticeships across the area as well as the public and private sector employers who support them.

Organised by Kent marketing agency, Pillory Barn, the Awards are open to all apprentices, businesses and public sector organisations throughout East Kent.

Visit to nominate for categories including Apprenticeship of the Year awards in Business Management & Administration, Construction, Hospitality & Retail, Health and Social Care, Engineering, Education & Early Years, Creative & Digital, and Hair & Beauty.

There are also awards for Private Sector Business or Organisation of the Year, Public Sector Organisation of the Year and an overall East Kent Apprenticeship Award Champion in recognition of the person who has done the most for apprenticeships over the previous 12 months.

Judging for EKAA 2024 will take place in early Summer with finalists invited to The Yarrow in Broadstairs for a gala dinner and awards presentation evening that will champion the difference vocational based training can make.

The Awards depends on the generosity of sponsors, which currently includes Pillory Barn, Morgan Sindall Group and East Kent Colleges Group with more to be added over the coming weeks. Businesses interested in being part of the awards should contact: [email protected] in the first instance.

For full details on how to enter EKAA 2024 as well as more information on this year’s categories, visit:

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