Community news:SpeakUpCIC, Inner Wheel, Rotary, Blaze charity match, Legends rematch for Ella, camera club, charity plant sale, Defib, St Augustine’s, D Day and KFRS

SpeakUpCIC event


Thanet-based, independent mental health support organisation SpeakUpCIC held an event on Tuesday 14th May to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

The event was attended by over 50 people with lived experience of mental health illness and providers within the local community. It was held at the Margate Media Centre where SpeakUpCIC hold peer support groups and activities to help improve people’s health and wellbeing.

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year was ‘Movement’ so the event included activities to promote the benefits of incorporating movement into your life to help improve and better manage wellbeing.

Katya Blackledge explained the benefits of Yoga and gave a demonstration of Chair Yoga and Vanessa Culliford gave a belly dancing demonstration and explained how dance can help to lift low mood. Attendees were invited to participate in both activities and there was much positive feedback.

The event also included an art and craft exhibition of some of the projects that SpeakUpCIC members have been working on and poetry readings from members of the creative writing group, who are currently working on their second book which has been funded by a donation from the Margate Mayor charity fund.

Participants also enjoyed the opportunity to engage with each other to share experiences  and personal coping methods. Peer support plays a highly effective role in respect of improving people’s mental health by connecting people with others to reduce social isolation and the feeling of being alone while enabling people to give as well as receive advice and support from those who understand.

Margate Mayor and ward councillor Rob Yates opened the event and participated in the poetry reading.

Rob said: “Another brilliant event from SpeakUpCIC for mental health awareness week, who do such excellent work supporting those of us who struggle with our mental health. This year’s theme was movement, and the group did an excellent job with poetry readings, chair yoga, and design-a-postcard competition, that reminded all of us, that sometimes the smallest of positive movements can have the biggest of effects.”

Faisal Kazi, Operational Team Manager of Thanet Mental Health Together added: “I thoroughly enjoyed the SpeakupCIC Mental Health Awareness Event. It was very well attended and packed with lots of fun and stimulating activities. There was a great atmosphere and a huge amount of respect and support for each other demonstrated by all. Thank you SpeakupCIC.”

Managing Director and SpeakUpCIC Founder Maggie Gallant said: “We are delighted with the number of people who joined us to commemorate this important week and it was really positive seeing so many people enjoying the activities and taking part. I would like to sincerely thank our volunteers and helpers for their hard work in helping us to put this event together and Vanessa and Katya for providing the activities promoting the benefits of movement”.

As well as providing a wellbeing support service, SpeakUpCIC also represent the service user voice by collecting and taking forward feedback based on experiences about mental health services to help improve and shape service provision.

For further information about SpeakUpCIC please contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

Tel: 01843 448384 or 07543 977670 or go to

Westgate & Birchington Inner Wheel

At our recent fundraiser 70’s/80’s DNA Band night in April we are pleased to report that we raised almost £1,000.

We recently attended the Birchington Active Leisure Showcase (pictured above), in the Village Centre, Birchington, where we were delighted to make the acquaintance of several possible new members. Members took it in turns to talk to people and hand out leaflets with information on, and we twice had to reprint leaflets, so it was very encouraging. Inner Wheel is celebrating 100 years this year since the first meeting, and we have had many events to commemorate that.

In April there was a special 100 years celebratory lunch, in London, with some members dressing up as ‘Flapper girls’ to signify the 100 years! Hazel attended this lunch, and two weeks later was delighted to represent us at the International Convention, which was held in Manchester, where Inner Wheel began.

Once again, the social events were centred on 100 years, with the gala dinner being no exception. Guests danced the night away to the ’Charleston’ and other music of the era. Of course there was a great deal of business done as well, and it was a great pleasure to meet some of the 200,000 members from any of the 49 countries represented, from the 100 plus countries which belong to International Inner Wheel.

At our meeting on 16th May, we were delighted to have Bonnie Hauxwell (pictured) to talk to us about living in the Tower of London. Her late husband, Keith, was a ‘Yeoman Warder’, (more commonly known as a ‘Beefeater’). She lived in the tower in one of the many flats and houses often in the walls of the Tower itself.

All the warders and their families live at the Tower and she brought up her children there. Warders are all ex-military personnel selected for their outstanding service to the Crown. Bonnie told us amusingly of the many privileges of living in such a wonderful historical building, telling us she lived close to where Anne Boleyn was executed. Her husband had to learn the history of the Tower so he could guide parties round, so as he learnt the history, so did she. His formal and ceremonial duties were mostly centred around the late Queen, and she had the privilege of attending Buckingham Palace Garden parties and other functions on several occasions. (She is shown with a picture of her late husband in his ceremonial uniform)

This year, our Joint Presidents Lily and Margaret, have chosen to support two charities, the local branch of Parkinson’s UK, and EKIDS (East Kent Independent Dementia Support). We look forward to welcoming representatives of the 2 charities at our final meeting of the year.

If you are interested to know more, please contact Margaret on 01843 840878. We would love to meet you.

Rotary Club of Westgate & Birchington

The Rotary Club of Westgate & Birchington was delighted to host the annual “Contact Club” reunion with the Rotary Clubs of Darmstadt Kranichstein and Poitiers Futuroscope.

Fourteen delegates from Germany and France arrived on the Thursday afternoon and were welcomed at Rose & Charlie Brightling’s house for afternoon tea and cakes. Members who were hosting then whisked their guests away so they could freshen up and change ready to go for dinner at our meeting venue, The Bell Inn at St Nicholas-at-Wade. The most excellent Fish & Chips and Steak & Ale Pie were served and everyone enjoyed renewing old friendships and forging new ones.

On Friday morning we all drove down to Dover Castle and walked our socks off visiting the wartime tunnels and the Great Tower, sustained by lunch in the NAFFI Café.

On Friday evening, suited and booted, we made our way to the Pegwell Bay Hotel for a formal banquet in the Clifton Suite, enjoying a welcome Pimms on the balcony overlooking the sea and sunset. We were delighted to welcome our Honorary Members guests and representatives of Inner Wheel and the Rotary Clubs of Margate and Isle of Thanet Sunrise. We made an impromptu collection to support the purchase of the helicopter for the KSS Air Ambulance and raised in excess of £1200.

On Saturday we took the double decker bus to Canterbury and enjoyed excellent French and German guided tours of the Cathedral before a splendid lunch in the Cote Brasserie. Fully refreshed we then had a restful punt along the River Stour in glorious sunshine.

In the evening we were treated to a farewell cocktail party in Rose & Charlie’s garden and special thanks are due to Kath Porteous for donating endless bottles of booze in memory of her late husband, Rotarian Chris.

On Sunday morning, after a hearty breakfast, our guests scattered and either made their way back to Darmstadt or Poitiers or proceeded to extend their trip to the UK to visit friends and relations.

A first rate “Contact Club” reunion thanks to the efforts of all members of the Club.

Next year, we look forward to the reunion which will be held in Darmstadt.

To find out more about Rotary please contact Dave Alker on 07962 929700 and visit

Thanet businesses organise charity match

Blaze Signs and Cygnia Maintenance are putting together their first ever charity football match, raising money for Pilgrims Hospices in East Kent.

Taking place on a full sized football field at Ramsgate FCs stadium and with players from both businesses and their employees family, the anticipated game is set to be an entertaining one!

Date: May 31st

Time: 6:30pm kick-off

Venue: Ramsgate Football Club

We need as many people in the region to join us at the end of the month for the game, the more spectators we have, the more money we can raise.

There is a GoFundMe link below which allows people to donate at any time before the event, or if they want to give more than the standard entry ticket for the game.

If you plan on coming to the game as a spectator but would prefer to use card rather than cash on the door, you can show proof of donation to the GoFundMe for entry!

Link to donate:

Ella Bella charity match

Teams fought it out for the Ella Cup last year

Date for your diaries. Saturday 1st of June.

The Ella Bella charity match at Ramsgate FC returns for a second year and Jim Ward will be trying to win the cup back after histeams  2023 defeat.

Last year Jim and Danny Ward organised a legends tournament that raised £3,000 for six -year-old Ella Gonzalez-Bello who has White-Sutton syndrome.

Ella is non-verbal, non-mobile and has issues with sight, hearing, eating and development. Ella also has epilepsy.

This has a huge impact on her loving family, parents Samantha and Christopher and big sister Mia. They require specialist home improvements and equipment and while some of the cost is covered by grants, there is a £40,000 shortfall which family are seeking to fundraise.

This year’s match on June 1st kicks off at 3pm. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

Players will include Sean Welford, TJ Jadama, Warren Schultz, Alfie Paxman and Rams manager Ben Smith.

Players are wanted and there is a request for those operating a children’s bouncy castle to get in touch with Danny Ward (find him on facebook at

Find Ella’s fundraiser here

Isle of Thanet Photographic Society

Members of Thanet’s camera club (IOTPS) are enjoying a busy time and this will continue right up to the end of the current season in June.

Our most recent competition was for the Mick Talbot Trophy. The theme was “Portraits” and club member Laura Drury LRPS had the challenge of judging 54 entries. These were wide-ranging from outdoor shots to studio sessions.

The winner was Clare Pickett LRPS with her image “Weegee with a difference”, whilst Russ Pullen was runner-up with his photo of “The Make-up Artist” (below)

Ten club members recently took part in a photo-workshop, run by renowned Kent photographer David Jenner, during a four hour walk around Bedgebury Pinetum. The weather forecast wasn’t great but the day turned out dry and warm. Members were encouraged to try different approaches to photography amongst the trees and shrubs, with vibrant colours provided by the spectacular rhododendrons and azaleas in the pinetum. Beautiful reflections were captured in the lakes too. (A photo of the group with David Jenner -front, 2nd from right- below)

Next highlight of the season is our annual exhibition. This opens on the afternoon of 12 June and closes at the end of the day on 18 June (not open on Mondays). It is held at the York Street Gallery in Ramsgate. Everyone is welcome to visit us. Some photographs will be on sale.

Finally, club members John Draper, Clare Pickett and Maria Gilbert will be entering the third Birdwise East Kent and Thanet Coast Project photographic exhibition which will be at three venues from July. More on this next time.

More information about the club and our programme can be found at and on our Facebook page.

Plant sales for charity causes

For the past four years Margate resident Shirley has been selling plants outside her home in St Andrew’s Close, opposite QEQM Hospital, and donating the money to charities such as Dementia UK, RNLI and Cancer Research.

All are welcome to come and purchase plans for these deserving charities. The plants are out for sale every day at Shirley’s home.

Defib installation in Cliftonville

In a display of community spirit and collaboration, Eks Security and Faith in Strangers, a music venue in Cliftonville, have jointly funded and installed a life-saving Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The AED is now available 24 hours a day to provide critical assistance in emergencies.

Jeremy, from Faith in Strangers, said: “It’s great to be able to make a potentially life-saving piece of equipment accessible 24 hours a day in an emergency. We wouldn’t have been able to complete the installation without the services provided free by local companies, East Kent Electrical Ltd, who did the electrical work, and Dumpton Park Projects Ltd, who carried out the required carpentry works.”

This initiative underscores the importance of community partnerships in enhancing public safety. The AED is strategically located at Faith in Strangers, ensuring easy access for both residents and visitors in the area.

Eks Security and Faith in Strangers are committed to fostering a safer community, and this project is a testament to their dedication. They extend their heartfelt thanks to East Kent Electrical Ltd and Dumpton Park Projects Ltd for their generous contributions and professional services, which made this installation possible.

St Augustine Week

Blessing of the Sea – Friday 24th May, 4.30pm by the Royal Harbour Obelisk – Bishop Paul Hendricks and the Mayor

Organ Recital – Saturday 25th, 7pm-8pm at St Augustine’s -David Newsholme, Director of Music at Canterbury Cathedral -including Bach Prelude in E Flat, Elgar Vesper Voluntaries and Langlais Te Deum

Talk on St Augustine – Monday 27th May 7pm at St Augustine’s – Fr Marcus Holden

D Day events Cliffsend

Beryl at one of her events Photo Michael Grantham

On the 6th June 2024, the Parish Council will be commemorating the 80th anniversary of the 1944 D Day landings, with a number of events within the village.

One of these will be a fish and chip lunch in the village hall, which will be served in wrapping paper with tea or coffee. This event will be free for those residents who are 80 or over by 6th June 2024.

Any spare places will be offered to residents of the village and for those younger than 80 there will be a nominal charge.

Beryl Harrison is currently taking names for those who would like to partake of the event, whether over 80 or not, for planning purposes. Your names need to be on the list to be included in the fish and chip lunch. Please contact Beryl by phone or email: [email protected]

Fish and chips will be the only dish on the menu, as the whole significance of this is that fish and chips was the one food that was not rationed throughout the war years.

It is intended to play wartime music at the event, and memories of this momentous time in history will be shared.

If you have neighbours who are in the older age group and who may want to take part in this event, but with no access to the internet, please could you let them know. Beryl’s number is 01843 594094. If unable to answer please leave a message on the answerphone.

Later on that day, the beacon will lit on Hugin’s Green, at 9.15pm, with wartime music being played, and the proclamation relating the occasion being read as has been done in the past. It is intended that we put out a board with photographs and information about the event. If you have any stories relating to that period in time either personally or from loved ones, and you would like them included on this board, please contact Beryl.

The Viking café will be staying open until 10pm for drinks and food, and parking will be available on the green.

Churchill Retirement event

Churchill Retirement Living is calling for local people, especially armed services veterans and their friends and family, to join in with a special event in the lead-up to the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. The event will take place on Friday 24th May from 2pm-4pm at Invicta Lodge on Nash Road, Westwood.

Everyone is welcome to join Churchill apartment owners to raise a glass and commemorate the 80th anniversary of this historic and decisive moment in the Second World War. Visitors will enjoy a warm welcome, free refreshments, and an opportunity to share memories with like-minded people in the comfort of the development’s comfortable Owners’ Lounge.

Invicta Lodge is proving very popular with local over 60s looking to make the most of independent retirement living, with the security, peace of mind, community and support it offers.

Churchill’s Senior Marketing Manager Anne Scherrer said: “Our D-Day commemoration event is the perfect opportunity for local people to come and mark the anniversary of this huge moment in our history. We’d love to welcome anyone with interesting memories to share about the war, whether they experienced it first-hand or have a family member who played a part, it’s a time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy today.

“It’s also a chance to meet our Owners and our friendly team and learn about the freedom, security and independence that can be enjoyed in a new Churchill apartment. I’d encourage people to come and see for themselves the wonderful community atmosphere on offer here.”

To find out more and register to attend, please call 01843 498204 or visit

Kent Fire and Rescue Service

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is urging the public to help save lives and valuable time, by making the right call if they see someone struggling in a lake or river.

For inland water rescues in Kent or Medway, people should call 999 and ask for the fire service. For rescues at sea, it’s the Coastguard.

The important message is the driving force behind KFRS’ new campaign, Make the Right Call, which aims to educate the public and ultimately reduce the number of drownings in the county.

Based on most recent figures, Kent is the joint third county in the UK for the highest number of deaths caused by accidental drownings*.

And runners and walkers, who don’t plan to enter the water, are among the highest risk group.

That’s why, as part of the campaign, KFRS is also sharing vital survival guidance – advising people to float on their back and shout for help, if they end up in the water and cannot swim to safety.

Crew Manager Amy Owen, a water safety expert within KFRS’ control room, said: “When someone is struggling in water, every second counts. By knowing which emergency service to ask for when calling 999, you can help us to get crews on their way quickly.

“We need you to give as much detail as you can about where you are, what the person is wearing, and keep them in sight until crews get there.

“Remember, if it’s an inland water rescue in Kent and Medway, call 999 and ask for the fire service. If it’s coastal, ask for the coastguard.

“Make the right call, and you could help save valuable time, and someone’s life.”