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December 2016 - Issue 126

Happy Christmas from Dartford Living Photo by Steve Young

WHAT’S INSIDE... Christmas Gift Guide


Pages 22-26

Pages 27

Plus - All your regular

Helen O’Grady features, events, Drama information and much, Academy more in your Page 50

56 page issue. - -


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ACCOUNTANCY & TAX SERVICE Conradi Morrison & Co specialises in small clients and provides a top class personal service for a fixed low fee. Phone for a free meeting to discuss your needs. PAYLINE Let us undertake your payroll and take the strain from you for as little as £18 per month + VAT.

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Please mention Dartford Living when contacting advertisers Please mention Dartford Living when contacting ourour advertisers

Welcome to your


Dear Readers,

Firstly, I’d like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas. As usual this month’s edition is jam packed with lots of local information and local businesses. Please support as many as you can - “use them or lose them!” Don’t forget that we run Dartford Living alongside volunteer members of the local community FOR the local community. Dartford Living is YOUR magazine, the only independently run magazine serving the local area with information, fun, good news and positive local stories! Feel free to get in touch if you would like to write an article for the magazine. If writing is not for you then perhaps you could volunteer to deliver 100 or so magazines to your local roads - you will guarantee your copy of the magazine and get a little exercise as well! We deliver to thousands of homes and businesses in the local area, however if you don’t always receive a copy directly through your door, you can pick up a copy from various drop off points. These include Dartford Football Club, numerous local libraries, Fairfield Leisure Centre, The Priory Shopping Centre, Stephen Oliver Art Gallery, numerous health centres and local Barclays branches. The ‘Previous Editions’ section of the Dartford Living website also includes electronic versions of Dartford Living magazine. Additionally, if you email we will add you to our newsletter email mailing list and contact you just once a month with an electronic copy of Dartford Living! Nearly 5000 local people already do this!

Until next time, Vijay - Editor, Dartford Living (and Annie, Barbara, Bhavesh, Christine, David, Dawn, Derek, Debbie, Dhiren, Elaine, Eleanor, Emma, Holly, Jackie, Jane, Jenny, Joanne, John, Ken, Kelly, Mark, Nickki, Nicola, Pat, Richey, Steph, Steven, Teresa and the rest of the fantastic Dartford Living volunteer team)

check out our new website for even more local news and articles Interested in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817

Contents 6-14....................... .................... What’s on 15...................................... Useful numbers 19........................Dartford Property Report 22-26..........................Christmas Gift Guide 27..............................................Sleighbells 32......................Dartford Toy Appeal 2016 34...................Natures Liquid Gold in a Jar 36...............................Life Under the Stairs 42............................................Debt advice 44..............................................Auto News 45...............................................Gardening 46.....................................................Fitness 47...............................Small Business News 48..................................Sporting Comment 49..........................News from Princes Park 50..................................Sporting Comment 53....................................Theatre Roundup 54.................Orchard Theatre Competition



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Advertisers Index

Directory of Local Businesses advertising in Dartford Living

ACCOUNTANTS, FINANCE & LEGAL Conradi Morrison & Co ...............................................2 Buss Murton .............................................................. 39 Downton Ali Associates..............................................41 GF + Co........................................................................14 Lynton & Co ................................................................5 Smith Kiew Partners......................................................16 BUILDERS, DECORATORS ROOFING, KITCHENS & WINDOWS A Baines & Son Roofing................................................32 Claremont Decorative Services..................................54 Humphrey Belle...........................................................16 McIntyre Clarke Limited..............................................37 Steve Cook - Double Glazing.......................................35 CHURCHES Crossways Community Church....................................56 COSMETIC, BEAUTY & HEALTH Dia Wipes................................................................17 CLEANING JJ Renovations..............................................................20 COUNCIL Dartford Borough Council ...........................................29 EDUCATION Kip McGrath.. ...................................................20 ELECTRICIANS AES Electricians.. ....................................................4 ESTATE/ LETTING AGENTS GPS Lettings............................................................17 Fox Estates ..................................................................35 Virotti................................................................19 Wisdom Estates...........................................................37 GARAGES & VEHICLE SERVICES Dynes Auto Services...................................................51 Orchard Garage...........................................................28 Shenley Road Garage...................................................40 GARDENING SERVICES Barge Group................................................................18 HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE The Barge Group.................................................18 HOTELS Campanile...................................................................4 JEWELLERY Bradleys..................................................................32 LOGISTICS/ REMOVALS FD TRANSPORT ...................................................41 MUSIC/DANCE & FITNESS Worried about your childs weight?.............................32 Dartford Bootcamps.......................................................4 Monkey Music............................................................7 Why Weight?...............................................................22

Vibe...............................................................33 OPTICIANS Linklater Opticians.. ...............................................39 PICTURE FRAMING Craft Frames.............................................................40 SANDWICH BAR Sally Sues....................................................................24 SPORTS Fairfield Leisure Centre................................................16 TREE SURGERY The BARGE Group................................................18 THEATRE Orchard Theatre ....................................................55 WILL WRITING SMN Will Writing .....................................................54 WEBSITE DESIGN/ DESIGNERS/ GRAPHICS AK Creative ............................................................14

Interested in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817 5 Interested in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817 Dartford Living 5


Where to go locally...

...local events, clubs & groups

Parent & Toddler Groups (Term Time)

Mondays 01322 291092. 9:15am - 11:00am. St Anselms Church Community Centre, Dartford Contact Julie on Tuesdays

Contact Catherine on 01322 220036. Session 1: 9.15-10.45am, and Session 2: 11-12.30pm. Christchurch, Crossroad, Dartford. 288434 for further information. (01322) on us call Please Dartford. Street, Hythe 66 Army, 9.30am -11.30am. The Salvation the children For pre school for Sticky Fingers, 9.30-11.30 am £1.50 per adult includes tea ,biscuits and healthy snack time children up to 4 years www.stmar St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall London Road Greenhithe Contact 01322 382031 or see Wednesdays 288434 for further information. 9.30am -11.30am. The Salvation Army, 66 Hythe Street, Dartford. Please call us on (01322) snacksanddrinks.John01322272649. LittleAngels:10-12pm,NetChurch,,(FormerlyGalaBingoHall)Dartford,£3perfamilyincludingall for 6-weekly term, £5 weekly £30 t 1pm-2pm - Fleetdown Community Centre, Swaledale Road, Dartford, DA2 6JZ us on Facebook “Happi-Mess dependent on availability, paid in advance - or find Kent Thursdays details. The Vineyard Centre, 24 Market St, Dartford. Contact Jane on 07956 430244 for further 9:30 - 11:30am. St Paulinus Church Hall, Manor Road, Crayford. - £1 Non Walkers - 9.30-11am Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child ToeRags - £1 Non Walkers - 1-2.30pm Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child ToeRags Fridays £1 per adult 9.30-11am Baby and me for expectant mothers and mothers / carers of chidren up to 2. www.stmar see or 382031 01322 Contact . Greenhithe Road London Hall, St Mary Greenhithe Church £1 Non Walkers - Child per 9.30-11am Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 ToeRags 01322 380322 jeannehoad9.30-11.30 Carer & Toddler Group, St Mary’s Church Hall, Stone Place Rd, Greenhithe. Jeanne 1-3pm Gigglekidz, Tree Estate Community Centre on Cedar Road - £2 Per Child Saturdays healthysnacktimeforthechildren. DaddyandMe9.30.-11.30amAgroupfordadsandmalecarersofchildrenupto5years.£1.50includes www.stmar St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall, London Road Greenhithe. Contact 01322 382031 or see

Toddler Music & Rhyme Sessions

TUESDAY S Two sessions, from 9.30-10.30am and 10:45 - 11:45am in Fleetdown FC Hall; Heath Lane, Dartford. Contact Kate on 07770 860450.. ALSO RUN SAME PLACE/TI ME ON THURSDAYS TUESDAY S 10.30m - 11.00am (term time only) at Fleetdown Library - Baby Bounce and Rhyme session. Tel: 08458 247 247. THURSDAYS (term time only) we will be holding 2 sessions - 10.15am & 11am Crayford Rd, Crayford, DA1 4ER. Tel: 020 8303 7777. Also: Coffee and Chat sessions at Temple Hill Library on the First Tues of the month 10am - 12noon. THURSDAYS 10.30am - 11.00am (term time only) at Fleetdown Library - Baby Bounce and Rhyme session. Tel: 08458 247 247. THURSDAYS 2.15 - 2.45pm (term time only) at Greenhithe Library - Baby Bounce and Rhyme session. Tel: 08458 247 247. THURSDAYS 10.45am - 11.15am (term time only) at Longfield Library - Baby Bounce and Rhyme session. Tel: 08458 247 247.


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Tennis Tots is the UK’s leading tennis play and coaching programme for boys and girls aged 2-6 years


07891 545965

To book a free taster contact Tennis Tots North West Kent Call 07796 943798 email northwestkent@ northwestkent

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Dartford Living


Where to go locally... The North West Kent Branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association meets at 8pm on the

4th Wednesday evening of each month in the Pop-In Parlour, Mill Road, Northumberland Heath, Erith. The meetings last about 2 hours and the group often have a speaker on a variety of subjects, followed by tea and biscuits and general chat. For more information contact Eileen on 01322 228169.

Dartford Ostomy Group Support (DOGS) meet

every third Wednesday in the month at St Anselm’s Parish Centre, West Hill, Dartford DA1 2HJ from 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm. It is for anyone who has an Ileostomy, Colostomy, Urostomy, IBS and pouch, their carers, family and friends.


is a community learning organisation for adults and young people aged 16+ with physical, learning and mental health difficulties. For more information, attend a taster session or visit our community lunch club, contact Caroline on 01322 440482 or 07570 347612 YOGA & MEDITATION CLASSES Every Tuesday from 6-7pm &Thursday from 10.30am to 12.00pm at Peppercorns, 3 Orchard Street, Dartford, Kent, DA1 2DF. For more information please call The Hope Group on 07580 615206.


Our Club presents a programme of workshops and demonstrations in a very informal and friendly atmosphere. We meet on the last Thursday of each month except December. Shorne Village Hall, The Street, Shorne. DA12 3EA. Visitors are always made very welcome, entry £3. We have 30 members and look forward to welcoming anyone who loves flowers. The Club provides an opportunity for people to be creative, make friends. For further information please phone 01474 353405 or email


Swanley History Group Meets 1st Tuesday of every month. Presentations on local social history. Venue Swanley Indoor Bowls Centre Garrolds Close Swanley BR8 7BF. Doors open 7.15 for 7.30 p.m. Members £1 Visitors £2. Everyone welcome. Email swanleyhistorygroup@ for more details or visit our website https://swanleyhistorygroup.weebly. com or Facebook page. Annual membership £5 includes a monthly newsletter. NORTH KENT EMBROIDERERS’ GROUP Meets on the third Saturday of every month (except August) from 2pm - 4pm in the Community Room of Gravesend Library, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1BE. The programme of activities is varied with workshops, talks and sit and stitch sessions. Visitors are very welcome. More information can be found on our website or phone 01474324734. The Dartford Stroke Group is starting chair-based excise classes on Monday afternoons at the YMCA Roundhouse at 2.30pm on 19th September, 3rd October, 17th October, 7th November, 21st November, 5th December and 19th December. This is as well as the regular meetings of the Stroke Group at the Meeting Place on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.  Please contact Theo at or phone/text Theo on 078 755 68 296 to get the current dates for our events and for more information

Age UK, Crayford library Pop in Parlour coffee morning every Friday morning 10.30 - 12.30 Tea, Coffee, Biscuits and a chat - Just £1


For people with Parkinsons and their carers. We have 2 meetings per month. Bexley: 4th Thursday of each month, at Pincott Hall, 2-4pm. Dartford: 2nd Thursday of each month, Mick Jagger Centre, 7.30-9.30pm. Information support workers available, guest speakers and quizzes. Contact Wendy Leach.  Tel:  02083065973


at Dance Union, Greenhithe. Wednesdays 1pm - 2pm. Fun, social class learning routines from differing genres to popular music providing exercise for body and brain. No dance experience or partners necessary. Contact 01322 387630.

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Would you like to promote a local activity on the “Where to go locally...” page? If so, email your suggestions to Dartford & District Stamp Club Hold regular meetings in The Meeting Place, The Orchard Shopping Centre, Dartford. Details from Steve Alpe 01322 284491 or email

Dartford Books and Culture Club meets once a month on Saturday mornings at Dartford Library. For more information, find us at www.meetup. com/West-Kent-BookClub/

20s 30s Dartford Bexleyheath surrounding areas social group more information visit:


meets on the first Tuesday of every month (except August) at St Anselm’s Church Hall, West Hill, Dartford at 2pm, For information about meetings and interest groups call 01474-709068 or visit our website.

Dartford Stroke Group is aimed at Stroke Survivors, their families and carers. It meets at the Meeting Place in the Orchard Shopping Centre, Dartford for a chat, support, excise classes, outings and speakers. Please contact Theo at Theo.Hodges@ or phone/text Theo on 078 755 68 296 to get the current dates for our events and for more information. Dartford Floral Club

The club meet on the 3rd Friday of the month at Hawley Pavilion, Hawley Rd.(opp Papermakers Arms) at 7.30 Come along for an evening of beautiful flowers, fun and friendship. Entrance £6.00, refreshments and a raffle with the chance to take home a beautiful floral arrangement. Contact Chris 01322 836026

Dartford Quilters meet on the 2nd Saturday of each

month at the Mick Jagger Centre, Shepherds Lane, Dartford. We run a varied programme of activities suitable for the beginner through to the more experienced quilter. More details can be obtained from the club secretary on 01474 834872

erested in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817

The Dartford Chess Club

The club meets every Thursday evening from 7.30pm at St Anselms Parish Hall, West Hill and was founded 100 years ago in 1914. All queries to Mike Wiltshire at 01322 272152 or visit

GUITARS IN THE SHADOWS – JOIN IN MUSIC BY THE SHADOWS TO 60S TO ROCK N ROLL Meet at Dartford Working Mens Club (Essex Road) at 7.30pm on the fourth Thursday of the month. Membership is free but we do ask for a small contribution to costs on the night. Call Ray on 07813 540131 or email


meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday each month at Sutton at Hone Village Hall. 1.30pm until 4.30pm. £3.00 per afternoon (to include a raffle ticket and tea/ coffee) £10.00 yearly fee. We are a small, friendly club, not expensive. Tuition given. All supplies can be bought in situe. Come and see if you like it, You will be very welcome. Contact - Maureen Beckham 01322 287214. Marie Blake 01474 704581. Doreen Goddard 01474 707357.


RSPCA Come andKENT, join your local Morris side, dancing NORTH and performing Gravesend and WEST BRANCinHDartford, Bexley areas and throughout FREE MICRO CHIPP ING Kent in the Summer. We are a mixed and very sociable RSPCA North West side, andKent, can always find room foroffers newfree dancers Branch, and chipping musicians. great way of keeping micro s forIt’s alladomestic animalsaatgreat its fit and you’ll be helping to conserve clinic attradition. 37 Gordon Road, Dartford English We practice alternate , Kent,Tuesday evenings at Bexley, from September to April, DA1 2LX on the 1st Saturday in each month, then dancing out at pubs, clubs and fetes, 10am to 12.30pm is free but Private throughout Kent,. The fromservice May to August. Bookings Contact Alison on 01322 donation s aretaken. appreciat ed. For more informat ion 862298, e-mail please visit

Dartford Living


Where to go locally... TONI MOUNT HISTORY CLASSES

The group meet every week at Towncentric in Gravesend and this year we are looking at Everyday Life in Medieval London. We meet every Thursday from 10.30-12.30 at £6.00 per week customers can phone me on 01474 355676 for more information or look at my website

Hi all, if you went to DSTC, DTC, Dartford West Girls or any other name that the school has been known as we would love to hear from you! The school is looking to make links with former students to help raise the profile of the school but also as a way of getting back in touch with people. There will be an event later on in the academic year and we are planning some exciting things for the group so get joining and let’s get reminiscing!!

The Manor Hall Variety Group We meet every Tuesday at 8.00 in the Community hall (opp St Paulinus church) Crayford. We are looking for anyone who could help us with sound, lights, scenery or singing/ acting on the stage - everyone welcome. Email me (Carolyn) for more details at

Everybody welcome, join us for a friendly chat and light refreshments. SCRAPPY DAYS! A SCRAPBOOKING GROUP

is being held at Hawley Pavilion, Hawley Road, Dartford, DA2 7RB on the 2nd Sunday of the month between 2pm and 6:30pm. It costs £6 which includes refreshments, nibbles and the use of a cricut (cutting machine for those that don’t know). Beginners are very welcome. Contact Michelle on 07910 488428 or email


Is an amateur dramatics group based at the Joydens Wood Community Centre, Wilmington, Kent. We meet every Tuesday from 8-10pm. For more information please visit www.facebook. com/pavilionplayers or call us on 07505 006539. Alternatively just pop down on a Tuesday night! Everyone welcome!

CRAYFORD TOWN ARCHIVE incorporating Barnehurst and Slade Green. Meet every Monday (except the third Monday) of the month at Crayford Library hall - 2pm-4pm. Call in for a chat about old Crayford and to view the large collection of local images, or bring your own for us to copy. Haven (LGBT) Social Group. London / Kent area. Every Friday a safe Place to Meet. For more information please contact 01322 287356 or 07503 306467 or email -



TUESDAY 2.00 - 3.00PM (TERM TIME ONLY) Fleetdown Library

Dartford Bellringers Holy Trinity Church, High Street, Wednesdays 8.009.30p.m. Free tuition with a very friendly, sociable group. The ideal way to make new friends. Phone Ester 01322 220458 or email: esther.correia1@btinternet. com

North West Kent Family History Society

The Dartford Branch meet the 1st Saturday of each month from 10am-12:30pm at the Dartford Science and Technology College, Heath Lane, For more information see or ring Janet 01322384836

Creative sessions at the what if...? Gallery in Dartford. Every Wednesday evening between 6-9pm. The cost is just £3.50 and you will be able to mix with other artistic people and paint and draw - in fact do anything creative that you like to do. Just turn up - no need to book and bring your own materials. See you there!

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Mummy On The Mend

A support group for parents affected by pre and post natal depression Fridays 12:30 til 14:00 at St Marys Church Greenhithe Email for more details. The Rotary Club of the North Downs

They meet at the Holiday Inn, Black Prince, Thursday evenings 7:30pm for 7:45pm for Dinner and fellowship. For details phone 07759 863836.

The National Women’s Register

The National Women’s Register (NWR) is a national organisation that meets in the Dartford area. The NWR is a discussion group for ‘lively minded women’. Contact can be made via or call 08454 500 287 and ask about the Dartford group.


The Rendezvous Club (50+) Every Monday Time: 8pm - 10pm

Location: The Pop in Parlour, Graham Road, Bexleyheath DA6 7EG Description: We are a friendly social group open to anyone over fifty. As a social group we enjoy a number of activities including bingo, a Beatle drive, quizzes, to name but a few. We also take part in outside activities including going for a meal or a trip to the theatre. On occasions we welcome a guest speaker. Admission: £2.50 per week. Annual membership £6 (payable in January) Tel: 01322 287356 or 020 8304 6414


MALE? AGED 18 - 44?

A group of retired ladies meet locally for lunch on the 4th Wednesday of each month,. They raise funds for charity and usually invite a speaker. Join them and enjoy meeting and making new friends. If you would like more information please contact Iris (Secretary) on 01474 703448

Dartford & Gravesham Branch Meets the first Wednesday of every month at the Masonic Hall, West Hill, Dartford from 10-12pm.Activities include guest speakers, outings, lunches, holidays and quizzes. For more information contact Marion on 01322 402967

WANT TO HAVE FUN AND DO SOMETHING WORTHWHILE WITH YOUR SPARE TIME? We’ve arrived in Dartford and we are a NEW Round Table Get involved, you WILL enjoy it!

Fairfield (Dartford) WI 2nd Tuesday of every month, Dartford Girls’ Grammar School, 7.30pm. Contact Judith on 01322 278703 or Evelyn on 07891 061609. Crayford Women’s Institute 1st Thursday of every month at 1.45pm. Baker Trust Hall. Maxim Road, Crayford (near Sainsburys). Contact Secretary, Jean Monk 01322 557142

Over 55’s Club - We meet every Wednesday 2pm to 4.30pm at Tree Community Centre, Cedar Road. We play bingo, tea and biscuits, and socialise. We also run regular coach trips to the coast throughout the year. Our club is open to anyone over 55 wherever you live and costs just 60p to come along and join in. So why not come and join our friendly welcoming social club? For further information please call either John Letchford on 01322 270732 or Pam Carr on 01322 222195. Joydens Wood Women’s Institute meet on the third Tuesday of every month, with meetings beginning at 7.45pm. We meet at the Community Centre, Birchwood Drive, Wilmington, DA2 7NE. More information can be found at joydenswoodresidents. (under Local Clubs and Societies).

Crayford and District Probus Club

meet on 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at the Falcon Wood Club, 1 Falcon Wood Avenue, Welling at 10am. Contact Tony Maun 0208 306 1075 or email

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Dartford Living


Where to go locally... WHEELCHAIR EPEE FENCING

Wheelchair epee fencing in Dartford and Gravesham, we are delighted to announce that New Ash Green Epee club, can now introduce wheelchair fencing. If interested in taking up this para sport please contact us on 01474 871484 or alternatively look at our website

Erith Youth Rugby

Sunday 10:45-12:00, Sussex Road Erith. Ages 4-16 welcome 07903 590515

Kent Exiles American Football Club Coach Martin - 07944 730634. All ages from 7 years to adult welcome

Hartley Swimclub at White Oak Pool, Swanley

We are a friendly group of adults who meet for a social swim every Thursday at 9pm. We’re looking for new members. Why not give us a try? Contact Diane on 01689 871846 or join us one Thursday.


Come and join one of North Kent’s fastest and most successful Martial Arts clubs. For more information, call Saj on 07903 513104 or just come along to one of our sessions and join in the fun! With the most reasonable fees around, you’ll find that training can be affordable too! For all details please visit our website

LITTLE TIGERS - KARATE FOR 3, 4 & 5 YEAR OLDS Sundays 10:15-10:45 at Swanscombe Leisure Centre. Call Saj on 07903 513104

Dartford Gymnastics

is the only British Gymnastics Club in Dartford to hold the”GymMark” Award for 6 years. Based in Heath Lane, we are a friendly club with super equipment, great coaches and high standards. We do lots of competitions and we do not close through the holidays! Visit our website http://www. for full details or contact Linda on 01322 409312 or email

Learn Karate

Learn karate with Yamato Damashii Every Saturday morning at Becket Sport Centre. Kids start at 9am, adults at 11am. Just turn up, first lesson free or visit [1] for more info.


Wednesdays & Fridays 9:30am-10:30am At Europa Gymnastics Centre Fridays 7.00pm – 8.00pm at Becket Sports Centre For more information please contact Emma: TEL: 07932 621415


Dartford & Crayford Sea Cadets based at Brooklands Lake Dartford, next to Homebase on Princes Road. We parade every Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7pm- 9.15pm and is open to new recruits, junior cadets aged 10-12 and Sea Cadets aged 12-18. email for more details.

Dartford Orienteering Club

For more details see

JUNIOR TABLE TENNIS The Sutton at Hone Table Tennis club run a junior practice session on friday evenings during school terms at the village hall. The session runs from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm. The session is run by an Table Tennis England qualified coach. Further details please telephone: John Jones 01322 272953

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Useful Numbers


Classes for under-fives teaching the basic elements of music through whole body movement, using the Dalcroze and Kodaly methods. With action songs and games, using percussion instruments and props like hoops, balls and soft toys, the children develop musical, physical and social awareness, concentration, co-ordination and confidence - and have lots of fun! Becket Sports Centre, Thursdays during term time: babies and toddlers: 9.15 till 9.55; 3 and 4 year-olds: 10.00 till 10.40 Contact Myrtle : 07763 378451 Email :

a b c +=

Little Bright Sparks Fun phonics, literacy and numeracy classes for 2-4 year olds. Classes held on Weds in East Malling and Thurs in West Kingsdown ÂŁ5.50 per class 07768 447657 for more info

Slade Green and Howbury Community Library Baby and Toddler Action Rhyme time group Every Wednesday (Term Time only) at 11.15am LEGO Club Every Saturday 2-3pm for ages 5 and over Chrome Road Slade Green DA8 2EL Tel: 01322 333602

Contact Sarah 07891 545 965

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Dartford Living


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Call 999 in an Emergency Fire, Police, Ambulance and Coastguard 101 Non Emergency Number for Kent Police Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 111 NHS Non Emergency Number

Useful Numbers KEY NUMBERS Police 01622 690690 NON EMERGENCY ONLY Fire Safety Advice & FREE Home Fire Safety Check 0800 169 1125 Dartford Borough Council 01322 343434 Gas Leaks (24 hour) 0800 111 999 EDF Energy Networks Emergencies/Powercuts Helpline 105 Flooding 03459881180 Highways Kent 03000 41 41 41 Social Services 03000 41 41 41 Water Burst 0800 820 999 (Southern) 0800 714614 (Thames) HEALTH Darenth Valley Hospital 01322 428100 Dartfordf East Health Centre 01322 421480 Dartford West Health Centre 01322 222998 Boots Chemist Bluewater 01322 624780 (Late Night) ASDA Greenhithe Chemist 01322 374100 (Late Night) The National Pandemic Flu Service 0800 1513 100 West Kent NHS helpline 0800 0 850850 TRAVEL Heathrow Airport Enquires 08700 000123 Gatwick Airport Enquires 08700 002468 National Rail Enquires 08456 484950 Highways England Info Line 0300 123 5000

HELPLINES 24 Hour Kent Dementia Helpline: 0800 500 3014 Alcoholics Anonymous: 08457 697 555 Citizens Advice Bureau: 01322 472 979 Debt Councilling (CAP) 0800 328 0006 Information About Drugs - FRANK: 0800 776600 Kent Homophobic Incident Reporting Line: 0800 328 9162 Kent Racial Incident Reporting Line: 0800 138 1624 Local Breastfeeding Counsellors Judianne/Paula 01322 224072 National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hour) 0808 2000 247 NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000 RSPCA Kent, North West Branch Helpline 01322 286720 Samaritans: 0208 301 1010 LOCAL MP Gareth Johnson 020 7219 7047 LOCAL SPORTS CLUBS Bexley Rugby Club 01322 550142 or bexleyrfc/ Dartford Ladies Hockey Club Dawn Hall (Secretary) 07793 777250

Dartford Ju Jitsu Club Mondays, Dartford Girls Grammar School, Shepherds Lane. 6.30-8.00 Juniors, 8.00-10.00 Seniors www. Dartford Sharks Basketball Club Tim Dickson - 07855 692527. Dartford Volleyball Club Graham - 01322 275290 or 07984 106134. Stone Lodge Indoor Bowling Club 01322 274111. VCD Table Tennis Club Eric Jenkins - 0208 3038312. ‘Play & pay’, 9 hole, par 3 golf course on Dartford Football Club’s Princes Park- PRINCES PARK GOLF CLUB. Contact: Mr. Pat Coleman, Secretary 01322 863730. email: The Ashes Badminton Club Mondays, Dartford Technology College, Heath Lane. 7.30-9.30. Jacqui 07764 182854. Dartford Valley RFC darenthvalleyrfc/ USEFUL FACEBOOK GROUPS Search Facebook for: Dartford Living Dartford Today and Tomorrow Dartford Remembered Dartford Gossip Dartford Hour Love Dartford

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Dartford Property Report - December 2016 Private Renting set to grow by 2,000 Dartford households by 2025

Back to the matter in hand.. if the RICS and PwC are indeed correct, what does this mean for Dartford? The fact is, as a country, we are facing a precarious rental shortage and need to get Dartford building in a way that benefits a cross-section of Dartford society, not just the fortunate few. I call on the Prime Minister to drop the higher stamp duty tax on buy to let purchases to ease the pressure on the rental market. Of the 37,700 households in Dartford, currently 11,200 tenants live in 4,700 private rented properties. If we apportion those 1.8m households equally around the Country, that means in nine years’ time, the number of rental properties in Dartford needs to rise by 2,000 (i.e. 42.8%) .. taking the total number of rented properties in the city to 6,700.

I was having a most interesting chat the other day with a Dartford landlord when we were looking at a property. As I am sure you are aware, I am always happy to cast my eye over any potential buy to let purchase in Dartford, be that you emailing me a Rightmove link, a brochure in the post or even treading the carpet and seeing it together. I don’t charge for that, and you don’t even need to be a client of mine. We got talking about the Dartford Property Market and this landlord brought up the subject of a report he had read from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that stated almost 1.8m new rental homes are needed by 2025 to keep up with current demand from tenants. He wanted to know what this meant for Dartford. Well my blog reading friends, some commentators said last Winter that buy to let was about to die, what with the new stamp duty changes and how mortgage tax relief will be calculated. Others even said 500,000 rental properties would flood the market nationally in the 12 months after the new Stamp Duty rules came into force on the 1st April 2016 as landlords left the rental market. Well, all I can say is, I wish all the landlords of those half a million properties would hurry up and put them on the market – because I have plenty of other potential landlords wanting to buy them!

That means Dartford landlords need to buy around 200 properties a year between now and 2025 to meet that demand – because according to my calculations, an additional 4,800 people will want to live in all those ‘additional’ Dartford rental properties – so why is the government penalising landlords? Thankfully the new housing minister Gavin Barwell detached Teresa May’s new administration from the Cameron/ Osborne laser-like focus of just home ownership to solve our housing issues, saying “we need to build more homes for every single type of person needing a home and not focus on one single tenure”. The private rented sector became a stooge under David Cameron’s watch and still, with increasingly unaffordable Dartford house prices, the majority of new Dartford households will be relying on the rental sector in the future to house them. I can only say Westminster must put in place the measures that will allow the rental sector to flourish. Any restrictions on the supply of rental property will push up rents (bad news for tenants), thus side-lining those members of Dartford society who are already struggling. Let’s hope this new Government continues to see the contribution landlords give to the country as a whole. Mark Salter - Virotti Property Services

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DARTFORD LIVING MEETS....... MATTHEW KYNASTON BY KELLY GOLDSWORTHY Matthew works for Mind in North Kent, whose office is on West Hill in Dartford. Matthew told Dartford Living about his role at the charity ‘Mind provides mental health support to the people of Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, offering services like talking therapies, well-being groups and housing support. I am running a men’s support group, which provides a safe space for men, young and old, to come together once a week and check in. There are also physical activities which we arrange with Dartford Football Club and cooking lessons provided by the Dartford Healthy Living Centre, so that participants always leave taking away something from the sessions. Dartford Borough Council are funding this project. Dartford FC (also provide the sessional space) and the Healthy Living Centre are also involved.’ ‘I love being part of an effort which is encouraging men to break away from the unwritten rules which tell us we aren’t supposed to talk about our feelings or our problems. I know that once people start learning to express themselves, it opens up a wealth of happiness, and opportunities of expression. I also love meeting people and hearing their stories.  Being involved in mental health brings me a lot of purpose and a sense of achievement. At the moment, the government aren’t taking mental health seriously, with millions of pounds cut back from improving services as well as austerity on the poorest and most vulnerable, it feels as though someone has to step in where our leaders are failing us. I am happy and proud to be part of that effort.’

Some important statistics on men’s mental health;

Matt explained his plans for the future ‘I will hopefully start training in April 2017 to become a therapist. I plan on learning and discovering more about pychological therapies and helping others unlock their potential.’ Speaking about the town Matthew says  ‘I like that despite being quite close to London, Dartford still has a feeling of being an intimate town. I feel like I have already gotten to know a lot of people there. It’s diverse.’There could always be more art and interesting things to look at. It would be great to see and hear about exciting things happening that would encourage Dartford people to get out and discover their own creativity. For more information on North Kent Mind t: 01322 291380  or em: Interested in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817

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Reproductions of a selection my artwork as fridge magnets available at Stephen Oliver: Studio & Gallery in The Orchards Shopping Centre. Only £2.50 each - small enough for anyone’s stocking

The ECOYA Mini Madison Gift Set is a stunning gift of three natural candles. In ECOYA’s most popular scents, the set contains Lotus Flower, French Pear and Sweet Pea & Jasmine candles. £39 from John Lewis stores and 

Who doesn't love chocolate? Everyone you know will be eating chocolate for breakfast from 1st December onwards. This Christmas, join in with Hotel Chocolat's Advent calendars in solid white, dark, milk and NEW caramel chocolate – or share baby truffles with someone special courtesy of their Advent calendar for couples. You can visit Hotel Chocolat upstairs at Bluewater or their full range of Advent Calendars can be found online www.HOTELCHOCOLAT.COM/UK/SHOP/CHRISTMAS/ADVENT-CALENDARS

Dartford Living Christmas Gift Guide This Christmas it’s all about sharing at The Little Lavinia Bakery! My edible Christmas wreaths are a perfect centre piece for your Christmas buffet! Choose from a cookie wreath (delicious selection of gingerbread, vanilla and chocolate cookies) or a mini cupcake wreath (available in Ice blue, Frosty pink or Traditional green). Also available - boxes of decorated Christmas cookies and cupcakes Please pop over and ‘Like’ my Facebook page to keep up to date with my Christmas offers and for all your celebration cakes/cookie needs! Merry Christmas!! Debbie at The Little Lavinia Bakery 07803 581063

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Bippity Boppity Shopity is a new startup business selling new baby and children’s gifts suitable for birthdays, christenings, baby showers & Christmas. Everything is under £20! We’re also a recent Homepreneur of the Year 2016 Finalist! Please visit our Facebook page to see all of the items we offer and support a local new mum! Also follow us on Twitter & Instagram @bbshopity Silver Plated Family Tree Photo Frame £9.99 Silver Plated Noah’s Ark First Year Photo Frame £19.99 Silver Plated Cinderella Carriage Trinket Box £19.99 Prince & Princess Photobox £12 Paint Your Own Mugs Assorted Designs £6

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If you thought it was impossible to make a cup holder cool, then think again, because a London-based designer has done just that - and his CouchCoaster design is now set to take the UK and America by storm. Billed as ‘The ultimate drink holder for your sofa’, CouchCoaster was developed to help you relax on a sofa by providing a convenient resting place for a drink – its aim to offer an end to tirelessly reaching for your drink on the coffee table, balancing it on the sofa arm or knocking it over on the floor. It is an incredibly simple, yet handy product. Made of durable and wipe clean silicone, its sleek, weighted body wraps securely over different shapes and sizes of sofa arm to support mugs, tumblers, bottles and cans. Despite a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor, Barry Freeder left the property industry last year and knew that it was ‘now or never’ to develop the cup holder which he had first dreamt up six years ago - despite his older brother telling him to ‘get a proper job’! Barry explained, “CouchCoaster was created out of my own frustration of relaxing with a beer on the sofa. I knew there had to be a better solution. There wasn’t, and so CouchCoaster was born!” CouchCoaster is available for purchase at couchcoaster. com for £19.99 in five fantastic colours.


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SLEIGHBELLS by Jane Stevenson ‘Sarge?’ The radio crackled in the office. Sergeant Anderson put down his mug of tea and depressed the button. ‘What is it Watkins?’ ‘I’m in Oakfield Avenue sir. I’ve found a sleigh sitting in the middle of the road.’ Sergeant Anderson sighed heavily. ‘It’s been a long night lad! Next, you’ll be telling me there are reindeer wandering around too.’ There was a pause. ‘Er, yes sir. Six of them.’ Sergeant Anderson had been on duty for nearly eight hours. It had been a busy Christmas Eve. His staff had worked the streets, dispensing advice and good cheer, ensuring everyone was safe, and that even the most worse for wear got home in time for Christmas Day. He didn’t appreciate PC Watkins poor attempt at humour. ‘Watkins. The shift ends in an hour and I want to go home, put me feet up, enjoy a small whisky and what’s left of Christmas Eve. Just deal with it,’ he said tiredly. PC Watkins stared at the sleigh in the road. The reindeer grazed peacefully on the lawn at No 16, enjoying their rest. ‘Honestly, Sarge. Reindeer and a sleigh.’ The young policeman sounded awestruck. Anderson sighed heavily. He called across to the rest room. ‘Jackson. Watch the desk please. Young Watkins claims to have found a sleigh in Oakfield Avenue. It’s only a couple of minutes away, so I’ll check it out and put an end to his nonsense.’ The sergeant set off into the cold crisp night. ‘Don’t get many like this’, he mused. December was almost springlike nowadays. He remembered winter nights when everything was coated with a cold, sparkling frost. When the world resembled something alien and beautiful, as if dusted with tiny diamonds. Sometimes, there was a light blanket of snow. blurring the outline of hedges and cars, giving them a strange, softened appearance. He continued walking along the road, past darkened houses, their occupants asleep. He approached Oakfield Avenue; noting that some of the street lamps weren’t working. The area seemed shadowy and secretive. Turning the corner, Sergeant Anderson stopped in his tracks. PC Watkins was standing next to a large sleigh, piled high with brightly coloured packages, some of which had fallen in the road. On the lawn were the reindeer, waiting. ‘I told you sir,’ said Watkins. ‘One sleigh and six reindeer. I got here about half an hour ago and they were just there!’ He waved his arm in the direction of the beasts.

‘Must be some sort of charity thing,’ muttered Anderson. ‘The Lions or the local Rotary club. There must be paperwork back at the station. They’d need a licence to collect. Mind you,’ he continued, ‘they are out late. Most people have settled for the night.’ The two officers approached the sleigh, only to be met by a large man dressed as Father Christmas. ‘Officers,’ beamed the older man. ‘Sorry for the inconvenience. I’ll move the lads on now.’ He began to back the reindeer into the sleigh, their harness bells jingling softly. Sergeant Anderson stood his ground. Not so fast sir.’ he said, taking out a notebook. PC Watkins fumbled in his pocket for a breathalyser kit. ‘Would you mind explaining what you’re doing here?’ The older man laughed - a deep rumbling sound, full of merriment. ‘Don’t you recognise me?’ he asked. Anderson shifted his feet. ‘Of course sir, you’re supposed to be Father Christmas. It’s just that we don’t often see you and the sleigh parked in a road in Dartford . . .’ Father Christmas stroked his beard. ‘I see your point. However, my cloaking device has broken. I have to be careful I’m not seen by those who still believe in me.’ PC Watkins attempted to stifle a giggle ‘Cloaking device! I think you’ve seen too many episodes of ‘Star Trek’ sir.’ The bearded man stared at the young man. ‘Not a believer then PC Watkins,’ he said. Father Christmas picked up the parcels which had fallen out of the sleigh, and climbed into the seat. He reached for the reins, which jingled softly and musically in the light breeze.‘Well, I’ll be on my way. Home for tea and a toasted cheese sandwich.’ The policemen watched as the sleigh and its occupant trotted off down the road to its own musical accompaniment. ‘Oh well.’ said Anderson. ‘Probably a bloke out for a bit of fun. No harm done, and the reindeer made a good job of trimming the lawn.’ The two officers started to walk along the road. They chatted amicably, both looking forward to the end of their shift. Behind them, Father Christmas softly called out a command to the reindeer. The sleigh began to lift into the air, gathering speed as it climbed. It left a glittery trail of small stars as it sped silently over the houses. Faintly, almost ethereally, a ‘Ho Ho Ho’ could be heard in the wind.

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NATURE’S LIQUID GOLD IN A JAR! Early in man’s history attempts have been made to trap things of delight in jar or pot.. Perfumes extracted from plants have been added to alcohol or sometimes to water in order to provide the fragrance of summer on a dull winter’s day. Incense sticks are burned to scent a room or Church buildings. Numerous creams and lotions are available for those seeking to add to their appearance. All now involve costly manufacturing processes and are marketed at a high price Nature has provided a substance with has many exceptional uses, produced without any input by mankind. Although thousands of workers are involved in its manufacture, it is relatively inexpensive. Honey - the result of the labours of the inhabitants of a beehive. How is honey produced? During the flowering season of trees and other plants, thousands of bees visit the blossoms to collect pollen, in doing so they fertilize the plants. They also collect nectar, a sweet liquid, from the nectarines of the blossoms. This sweet liquid is sucked from the nectarines into a storage chamber separated from the bees’ digestive system by a valve. On the journey back to the hive the bee adds enzymes to the nectar commencing the process of changing it into honey. On arrival at the Hive the liquid is transferred to young bees who insert it into storage cells in built in the wax honeycombs. Whilst they do this, further enzymes are added and by the process of evaporation the liquid is gradually thickened and changed to what we know as honey. When this stage is reached the bees covered the full cells with a thin sheet of beeswax to seal in their precious stores and prevent any contamination. The beekeeper will remove some of the wax-capped honeycombs but will ensure the bees have enough left to eat themselves. They cut away the wax, extract the honey from the cells and fill their jars. From the moment the honey is removed from the hive until it is run into the jars, it is untouched by a human hand, so that the honey in the jar is just as the bees produce it. A marvellous process! This golden liquid not only provides a pleasing and nutritional taste to the palette, but it has many other uses, for example, medicinal applications. Honey in hot lemon has been a standard treatment for coughs and sour throats for decades and honey and lemon pastilles are sold for this purpose. A dressing coated with honey placed on a scold or burn quickly relieves the pain and smarting sensation, and aids speedy healing. Similarly a dressing coated with honey covering a wound or ulcer, achieves healing in a shorter period that some other treatments. Why is this? Honey is hydroscopic, that is it,


absorbs moisture. Never leave a jar of honey open, as it will take up moisture from the atmosphere, become thin and eventually it will ferment.. When placed on a wound it draws excessive fluid from the wound, and in so doing, it enables hydrogen in the fluid to combine with acids in the honey to form hydrogen peroxide, which destroys the remaining bacteria. Space does not permit dealing with the many medical uses for honey, so I will leave that aspect and mention its use together with beeswax in cosmetic preparations. There are several uses of honey and milk, or with egg white and glycerine, or finely ground almonds and oats, all of which provide an effective countenance mask, resulting in improved complexion. Cucumber and honey blended together provide a nourishing treatment for the area around the eyes. Sweet almond oil with beeswax and honey mixed together are an excellent lip balm. Olive Oil mixed with honey provides a good Hair conditioner and a teaspoonful of honey in a litre of warm water gives a shine to the hair. Some of these treatments are available from health stores, but a wider selection is available by visiting web site. Dr Sarah Robb, the proprietor, has visited the Dartford Branch of the Kent Beekeepers Apiary on several occasions and has a wide experience of producing soaps and cosmetic preparations using honey, beeswax and natural oils. Honey can also be used for cooking, use less honey than sugar, for sweetening. Many soft fruit drinks are improved by using honey rather than sugar and of course the old English beverage of Mead is made by mixing Honey and Water and fermenting with a good quality yeast. Whilst Honey is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, rapidly countering fatigue and exhaustion, it should never be given to a child below the age of 12 months, as the young digestive system is not able to cope with it. Because it contains very small pollen grains it helps suffers from Hay Fever. Finally I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a successful New Year. William Mundy - Dartford Beekeepers

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Life Under The Stairs by Jane Stevenson

BAH HUMBUG? Is it me, or has Christmas been put on hold this year? I don’t mean from a retail point of view – the shops in Dartford and Bluewater are their usual sparkly, festive selves, with decorations, lights, special offers and gift ideas everywhere. I mean from a community point of view. I’ve recently spent some time in both places, far more than usual for a grumpy old woman such as myself, and there is a definite lack of festive spirit. I was thinking about it while sitting in Costa, mulling over a coffee and a small scone, prior to meeting the Youngest Offspring for lunch. Is it the weather? Apart from the past few days it has been unseasonably warm. I’ve seen people swimming in the sea in late October, had the air conditioner on in the car and until very recently, could be seen wearing summer clothes and flipflops. To be honest, I’d rather be digging out scarves and gloves, enjoying crisp, frosty mornings than sitting outside a cafe, sunglasses on against the glare. Is it Brexit? Are we so concerned about the future of the UK that we’ve pulled up the drawbridge from the rest of the world and are getting ready to fight our corner? Do we honestly believe life is greyer and more challenging now we are planning to cut ourselves off from the rest of Europe?

It was the Eldest offspring who kicked me into life, so to speak. She threw out all the old tree decorations – those which had lost their glitter, tatty tinsel, cracked or broken baubles, even my prize plastic snowflakes circa 1982! We had an exhausting afternoon at Ruxley Manor, spent far more on new decorations than was probably sensible where quietly, and without warning I began to look forward to Christmas. So, here at The Towers, the season of goodwill is alive and kicking in November. We have gold reindeer in the cupboard, new tree baubles waiting for a new tree, and I’ve checked the cards and wrapping paper stocks. Lists have been drawn up for meals (both offspring are working over the holidays), and my paypal account is on life support. So, to all of you, have a wonderful Christmas, and if you make one wish for the New Year, let it be this: ‘Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.’ (Dalai Lama)

Surely we can’t pin the blame on the USA election result? I know from talking to friends that 2016 has been one very strange year. We have lost so many singers, actors, poets and writers – our artistic heritage has suffered badly. Then there are the fundamental problems we all face; getting on the property ladder, keeping a job, juggling funds for the bills, food or a well earned holiday. Everyone knows someone who has found it hard going this year. Perhaps life in general is the reason for our apparent lack of Christmas spirit.


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Refurb your finances ahead of the New Year With a new year just around the corner, now is the ideal time to get your finances in order. Making and sticking to a budget could be the perfect New Year’s Resolution for you, ensuring 2017 is your thriftiest year yet. See where your money is going Collect up your bank statements from the last twelve months. Go through month by month and make a record of your income and things you spent on, categorised into groups such as rent/mortgage payments, food, clothing, transport, leisure/holidays etc. This will give you an idea of where the majority of your money is going. It may seem like a big task to go through all twelve, but it helps to be able to see how your expenditure differs between months. For example, you might spend more on clothing when you’re buying coats and boots in the colder months. Transport costs might go up in the winter too as you opt to take the car or public transport rather than walk or cycle. Perhaps you’ll see a big chunk of money coming out in May or June when you pay for your summer holiday. It’s good to have a clear picture of each month so you can start deciding where you can potentially lower your spending next year. The Money Advice Service’s Budget Planner is a quick and easy way to get that clear picture. You’ll find it at Save more, spend less Now you know where your money is going each month, you can start to balance it out. Check out moneysavingexpert. com/family/money-help for loads of invaluable advice on how to overhaul your finances.

Running a car and public transport costs are always going to be a significant drain on your budget, so could you car share with a colleague? Alternate school runs with another parent? Get off the bus or train a stop earlier and walk part of the way? It may not be feasible, but it’s worth considering these things as you enter the new year. If you find you’re spending a lot on food and drink, have a think about why that might be. Do you often opt for ready meals? These can seriously bump up a food bill. Check out Skint Dad’s series of ‘fakeaway’ recipes at skintdad. for cheap but delicious alternatives. Another website to bookmark is where you can compare prices across loads of supermarkets and save up to 30% on your food shop – nice! Sort out any debts Budgeting and saving naturally become more difficult when you already have debts hanging over you. So, if you’re in debt, make it another New Year’s Resolution to get them sorted out. CAP helps more than 20,000 people in all manner of situations every year and can help you with a budget plan while you pay off your debts. Just think, this time next year you could be completely debt free! But only you can take the first steps. The way to get started is by calling CAP for free on 0800 328 0006 or visiting to find out about all the different services available and how we can help you. Alternatively pop in to the CAP Drop In at Dartford Community Church Meeting Hall, 171 Dartford Road, DA1 3EW on the last Wednesday of the month between 12 noon and 2pm to have an informal chat over a cuppa with Karen, our Debt Centre manager (no appointment necessary), to find out the way forward. From everyone at CAP, we wish you a financially savvy New Year and a fantastically frugal 2017!

Remember that chunk of money that came out all in one go for your holiday? Start saving a little each month now and by summer you’ll be able to pay it off with far less strain on your pocket. As for your winter wardrobe, it’s inevitably going to be cold towards the end of the year and sizes can easily be worked out in advance, so why not plan ahead and buy one or two bits every month, rather than getting the whole lot in one go? Clothes tend to be less expensive when they’re out of season, especially online. And don’t forget to raid the charity shops too!



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Orange Ball raises record amount for hospice charity ellenor Hospice charity ellenor’s Orange Ball, which took place in London on Friday night (4 November) raised a record £77,000 – funds which will help it in its work with families facing terminal illness across Kent and South East London and could fund one of the charity’s Specialist Children’s Nurses for 18 months. ellenor’s Children’s Hospice Care team is the only service in Kent to provide care to seriously ill children in the comfort of their own home. ellenor gives round the clock care, 365 days a year and, as a charity, needs to raise over £6.7 million each year to care for families facing terminal illness. Held at The Grange, St Paul’s and attended by more than 200 people – the Orange Ball was compered by ellenor Patrons, Charlotte Hawkins from Good Morning Britain and Phil Spencer from Location Location Location. “How fortunate Kent is to have a charity such as ellenor, which takes end-of-life care into children’s homes,” said Phil Spencer. “It’s a service we all hope we’ll never need – but the fact that ellenor provides it, is incredible.”

ellenor’s young patients, Finley Jones. His parents, Sarah and Mike – who were special guests at the Ball - explained how, as a tiny baby, doctors said Finley was unlikely to survive, having contracted Group B streptococcal Meningitis. His ventilator was turned off and his parents said their goodbyes. Finley, however, had different ideas. ellenor nurses supported the family to bring him home and, at nearly three years old, they continue to provide medical care and respite in the family’s own home. Moved by what Sarah and Mike had to say, a number of guests very generously pledged to pay for hours and days of care with £24 paying for an hour of care provided by one of the Specialist Children’s Nurses at ellenor. “We currently face a huge challenge, as there are many more families out there like Finley’s who urgently need our help,” said Claire Cardy, Chief Executive at ellenor. “The only way we can continue to expand our services is through the generous support of our community. A huge thank you to everyone who made our second Orange Ball so successful – including our wonderful celebrity supporters.”

Added Charlotte Hawkins: “I am very honoured to be a Patron of this really special charity. I was inspired to get involved when I met the Read family – who ellenor supported when both of their young sons were ill and very sadly died. ellenor helped to keep the family together at this really difficult time; everyone involved does an absolutely fantastic job.” Also supporting the event were the charity’s Patrons Tom Parker from The Wanted and his fiancée Kelsey Hardwick and the actress Cheryl Fergison – who auctioned off a rare Eastenders script in the auction. They were joined by Kent cricketer, Darren Stevens and SAS Who Dares Wins star Jason Fox. The star-studded evening included a fact or fiction game, with the chance to win a luxury break to Cornwall, and a live auction – hosted by ex-England cricketer, Chris Cowdrey. Lots included a morning with Charlotte Hawkins on the set of Good Morning Britain and lunch with Phil Spencer on the set of Location Location Location. A surprise auction lot was the opportunity to go on stage with Tom Parker on the night, ahead of a set from the Buble Brothers. Tom got the room to its feet with a spectacular rendition of ‘Handbags and Gladrags’. Following dinner, guests watched a film about one of Interested advertising? 01322 507817 Interested in advertising? Tel: in 01322 507817 Tel: Dartford Living 43



Dhiren’s Automotive News

In this month’s article we’ll bring you new vehicles to the SUV market to be launched in 2017 and a new cabriolet model.

New Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda’s first large SUV takes aim at the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Nissan X-Trail. The Skoda Kodiaq will launch in April 2017 with a choice of five engines and four trim levels: S, SE, SE-L and Edition. From the entry-level S trim Kodiaq with 17inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, air-con and base 1.4-litre petrol engine to the range-topping Edition. These get metallic paint and chromed roof rails as well as an upgraded technology package, which includes lane and high beam assistance, wireless smartphone charging and blind spot detection. Kodiaq buyers will be able to chose from two diesel engines and three petrols initially, although further engines may be added to the range at a later date. There are two 2.0-litre diesel engines; the base unit produces 148bhp and more powerful unit makes 187bhp. here are also two 1.4-litre petrol engines (123bhp and 148bhp) and one 2.0-litre petrol engine (178bhp). Skoda says buyers will choose it over its rivals because it has better interior space, more technology and offers better value for money. It will have the seven-seater option available. The Kodiaq will cost from £21,495 - which makes the car look very attractive next to its rivals. New Toyota C-HR

The Toyota C-HR will reach UK showrooms at the beginning of next year to take on rivals including the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar, as well as cars from the class above


such as the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca. The Toyota C-HR is a mid-sized SUV with a coupé-like aesthetic that sits on the same platform as the hybrid Toyota Prius. Its exterior design features large, angular lines and big wheel arches. Two engine options are available in the UK. The first is a 1.8-litre engine which works in conjunction with an electric motor, which emits 86g/km of CO2, meaning it will be exempt from road tax. The second option is a new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine first seen in the Auris hatchback. The 1.2-litre CVT option can be specified with either front- or four-wheel drive. Three different trim levels are being offered, dubbed Icon, Excel and Dynamic. Entry-level Icon cars get dual-zone climate control, 17in alloy wheels, a touchscreen infotainment system, reversing camera and automatic lights and wipers. Top-end Dynamic cars get bespoke alloy wheels, privacy glass and LED headlights. It will go on sale in January and prices for the C-HR start from £20,995 and rise to £27,995 for a high-end model. Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolets

The car, which replaces the Audi A4 Cabriolet, uses a traditional fabric hood rather than a metal hard-top. The roof opens in 15 seconds and closes in 17. The cloth roof helps save boot space, with just 60 of the 380 litres being sacrificed when the roof is open. With the rear seats down there is a total of 750 litres of space. Five engines will be available at launch: three petrols and two diesels. The petrols are 178bhp and 208bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre units and a 261bhp 3.2-litre V6. The diesels come as a 187bhp 2.7-litre and a 237bhp 3.0-litre. Standard equipment includes 17in alloy wheels, air-con, and audio system with a CD player. Options include leather seats with a special coating to keep them cool in the sun, sports seats, electric seat adjustment, xenon headlights, and optional neck-level heating.It will go on sale next spring, but prices have yet to be announced. A high-performance S5 model will also go on sale with a supercharged 328bhp V6 engine.

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Gardening Hints and Tips December Plants of the month

Ensure your garden remains colourful throughout the winter with our plants of the month. There’s plenty to choose from including: winter-flowering heathers, winter jasmine, Viburnum Bodnantense, Viburnum farreri, Viburnum tinus and Mahonias And don’t forget plants grown for their berries or colourful stems, and the huge range of evergreens that are available – including conifers. Poinsettias Poinsettias are the perfect way to bring festive colour to any home over Christmas. They’re available in a wide range of colours – such as red, salmon and cream and even bi-colours. Or what about planted bowls of beautifully scented hyacinths? Both make great presents.

Structure for the garden Is your garden looking a bit dull now? Then brighten it up with evergreen shrubs. We have a fantastic range to choose from – many of which also have attractive flowers and berries – to provide colour all year round. Get them off to the best possible start by planting with tree & shrub planting compost, or other planting medium, and adding a slow release fertiliser. Plan next year’s garden This time of year is perfect for erecting fences, trellis, pergolas, arches and other garden structures Discover how easy it is to add a new feature and explore the wide range of types and styles we have available. Feed feathered friends for winter Garden birds need our help throughout winter – so make sure you put out food and water every day. We have a wide range of feeders, tables and food available, so take a look at what’s on offer and help our feathered friends.

Hedges & other bare-rooted shrubs/trees Now’s a great time to buy and plant bare-rooted plants including hedging, fruit, roses and other shrubs. If you’re planning for next year, include a new rose bed. Or you could opt for stocking a fruit garden or plant a new hedge for privacy and as a windbreak. Camellias With their glossy, evergreen foliage and large flowers in spring, camellias are the perfect way of brightening up the garden. Buy yourself some now or give them as presents. They need a lime-free soil, so if yours isn’t suitable grow them in large pots filled with ericaceous compost. Interested in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817


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Holiday Survival Guide It’s that time of year again where everything gets more difficult. Tempting food is everywhere you look – at the office, out and about, Christmas parties and get-togethers, social drinks with friends and family. Not to mention the stress and lack of time to get to the gym thanks to all the shopping you need to get done. Sticking to your diet and training plan really is difficult at this time of year. Yes, it may be an excuse, and your trainer may tell you you just need to be stronger and more determined, but none-the-less, it’s difficult. But with a little effort, you really can make it through the holidays without gaining weight. The key here is to focus on maintaining weight, not losing it. Trying to lose weight at this time is going to stress you out even more and more than likely end up with a blow-out and the “I’ll start in January” attitude – not that it isn’t possible for those with an iron mind and will, but for us mere mortals, now is the time to focus on maintenance. And if you’re someone who struggles to lose weight the rest of the year, chances are losing it in December will be too big an ask. The small amount of effort it will require to maintain your weight (compared to trying to lose weight amidst all the temptation) will be worth it on January 1st when you have no regrets and a head start on your new-year’s weight loss regime. So your main goal is just to not gain weight. A much easier task than depriving yourself of the treats surrounding you. So how do you do this? Since your goal is now maintenance, for the most part you’re going to focus on just getting your normal routine done. Don’t skip workouts. Plan things around your training. I know things get busy, but if you plan your diary well, there’s no need to skip any workouts, especially when you will be indulging in the festive treats. Keep a food diary. By writing down every morsel of food you eat (and everything you drink) you can better track your eating. People who keep food diaries tend to get better results than those who don’t as seeing what you eat written down is sometimes an eye-opener. You’ll tend to eat less because you know you have to write it down! Plan ahead. Never turn up to a Christmas gathering hungry! It’s like going shopping hungry – you’ll make all the wrong choices. Eat before you go, and then you’ll be less likely to run for the indulgent food the moment you get there. Weigh yourself regularly. Normally I tell people NOT to focus on weight, but for the holidays, weighing yourself twice a week is a great way to monitor how you’re doing. Keep track and if you see the scales going up, pay more attention to what you’re eating and drinking, and maybe try to fit in a little extra exercise. We don’t need weight loss; we’re just


avoiding weight gain. Watch your portion sizes. The classic problem at this time of year is overflowing plates and “seconds”. Don’t starve yourself and do enjoy the food, just don’t over-do it. Keep your goals in mind and remember, you’re not missing out by not having extra portions! Enjoy the food you do eat and don’t obsess over missing out. Remember drinks have calories too. Many people forget that it’s not just their food that provides calories. Cutting back on Doritos only to drink a bottle of wine and double cappuccino is a sure-fire way to overdo it and lose your way. Deal with leftovers quickly. Unhealthy leftovers are too big a temptation for most people. Any food that’s left, either throw away, give away, or freeze for another time. DON’T leave them in the kitchen/fridge where you can snack on them just because it’s there! Check in every day. Every day, first thing in the morning, remind yourself what your goals are. Focus on today (not yesterday or tomorrow) and what you’re going to do to avoid tricky food situations, and keep your eye on the prize (i.e. jumping on the scales in January and NOT seeing a huge weight gain). Plan ahead and keep your priorities at the front of your mind (or a cheeky drink and mince pie will temporarily take priority!). Go public. Accountability is a great way to keep yourself in check. Tell people what you’re doing. Let them know your weigh-in results. Get someone (preferably a nutrition coach, but anyone will do) to look through your food diary and pull you up on anything that’s way over the top. Sounds scary, but it works. This is the basis behind many weight loss clubs; not that fear and shame are the best way to go about it, but they are good motivators! It IS possible to make it through the holidays without gaining weight. Just keep these tips in mind and don’t get too ‘wrapped up’ in the details. Focus on how you want to feel after Christmas and don’t get caught up in short-term pleasures. Have the odd indulgence and enjoy yourself, but avoid the blow-outs. If you need help with your training and/or nutrition, visit for more information on Nutrition Coaching, Personal Training, Bootcamp, and other classes. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter (do it now……) for extra tips, advice and motivation. By Mark Broadbent, Master Personal Trainer & Instructor at Dartford Bootcamps. Visit for information on Personal Training, Nutrition coaching or Bootcamp Fitness classes. - MarkOneFitness.blogspot. com. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter (do it now……) for extra tips, advice and motivation.

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Small Business

Disclosure Facilities Happy Christmas! Paul Conradi, Chartered Accountant from Conradi Morrison & Co gives us his professional advice for small businesses. Over a number of years, HMRC have been running various campaigns to encourage those persons who have not declared all their income or have under-declared their tax liabilities to contact them and bring their affairs up-to-date. As I stated, there have been various drives, all of which have had different terms but have always been aimed at particular business activities or groups of tax payers. They have now launched a new Digital Disclosure Services (DDS) that can be used by any person who wants to come clean about not declaring their tax. HMRC has also started Worldwide Disclosure Facility (WDF) aimed specifically at those with offshore tax irregularities. The Inspector of Taxes also currently has three campaigns running which are:1. Second Income Campaign aimed at employees who have additional unreported income from self-employed activities.

They are aware that certain persons are employed and not declaring other income from self-employment on the weekends or in the evenings. 2. Credit Card Sales Campaign aimed at businesses which accept payment by debit or by credit card which they have not reported. 3. Let Property Campaign aimed at landlords who owe tax through letting out residential property in the UK or abroad. They are aware that a number of people own properties abroad, rent them out and do not declare the income on the tax return. These are the three Christmas presents from HMRC. Happy Christmas! As your local Accountant, I would be very glad to meet you and discuss the possibility of tax planning in your business. For more information, please see page two of this month’s Dartford Living and feel free to call me on 01322 278188 to arrange a meeting without charge.

ASK DAISY Hi Everyone,

My name is Daisy Page and I am a Councillor on Temple Hill. Welcome to my new page where I shall be reporting on issues effecting Dartford. I will also be using this page to answer any questions you might have about issues relating to Dartford or how your council works etc. You can contact me at and I will do my best to answer your questions every month. So, drop me a line and ask away. Autumn Statement This week will see the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, stand up in the House of Commons on Wednesday and update the country and MPs on the government’s taxation and spending plans. The Autumn Statement outlines economic projections and government departmental spending allocations, while the Budget largely outlines the Government’s taxation plans. This year, the Chancellor is expected to announce the expenditure of £1.3 billion to improve Britain’s roads. This is an investment urgently needed across the South East - especially in Dartford. I really hope that Dartford is allocated funding to assist with the road layout on the approach to the Dartford Tunnels. I also hope that the Chancellor is going to announce the location and beginning of the Lower Thames Crossing Project. Without a doubt, Dartford urgently needs some help with the terrible traffic and congestion we have been experiencing since the tolls were removed and the new layout was unveiled. I hope that Dartford will be a beneficiary of this announcement.

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Local Sports News

Bav’s Sporting Comment England’s recent drawn first Test with India may be one that in some years to come, be known as the first time we saw Haseeb Hameed. The 19-year-old, only the second teenager to make his debut for England since 1949, played beautifully for his 82 in the second innings. The teenager has a really good technique. He remains side on, he leaves studiously, has very good footwork and looks to have excellent judgement. Put simply, he looks like an opening batsman. It looks like he is going be good enough to score a lot of runs for England   We should not build him up too soon, or put too much pressure on his shoulders, but you cannot ignore the fact he can bat. He has enormous potential, and whether he succeeds or fails is now entirely up to him.  

Upcoming events in December include:

3: Rugby Union - England v Australia 6-7: Football - Champions League group stage ends   8-12: Cricket - England's tour of India: 4th Test, Mumbai   10: Boxing - Anthony Joshua defends his IBF heavyweight title against Eric Molina in Manchester   16-20: Cricket - England's tour of India: 5th Test, Chennai   26: Horse racing - King George VI Chase, Kempton

2017 Is Just Around The Corner...

New Year... New You

Discover how to defend yourself, improve your fitness, and increase your mental focus.

Register for dJanuary now Train free for the rest of 2016

Bexley Wing Tsun 07720 783664 176 Town Hall Square, Crayford, DA1 4FN


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NEWS FROM PRINCES PARK Dartford carried on their good form at the end of October/ beginning of November by stretching their unbeaten record in the league and cup to 11 matches. A thumping 5-0 defeat of Truro City in Cornwall and victories over Bath City and Oxford City enabled Dartford to move up the league with victories over Slough Town and Tonbridge Angels in the FA Cup qualifying rounds set up a home tie against Sutton United in the first round proper. The game against Sutton was a typical cup tie with a very open game finishing in a 6-3 defeat for Dartford. While the score line seems quite high Dartford were able to come from behind 3 times against higher league opposition before Sutton were able to put the game out of reach near the end of the game. A midweek game against St Albans City also saw Dartfords league run come to an end with a 2-0 defeat even though the Darts were on top for most of the game. Dartford were able to get back to winning ways in the very next game with a 2-0 victory over Hemel Hempstead. This has seen Dartford climb up the league to 6th position with a game in hand over most of the teams above them.

his second game for Gibralter on the 8th November, against Cyprus, in Larnika. The match ended in a 3-1 defeat for Gibraltar. Two Dartford fans tracked down Deren at the Gibraltar team hotel in Larnika for a photo! Elliot Bradbrook reaches 100 goals for Dartford. Elliot Bradbrook recently reach the 100 goal landmark for Dartford. He was presented with a momento of the occasion by club co-chairman Steve Irving at the Hemel game on the 12th November.

The Hemel game also saw the 10th Anniversary of the opening of Princes Park. Dartford Goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim, called up for Gibraltar Dartford’s first choice keeper’ Deren Ibrahim played

Photo courtesy of Carol White-Griffiths LRPS



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THE STAGE IS SET IN DARTFORD In a dramatic move, the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy, one the largest Drama schools of its kind in the world, is opening a new studio at St Anselm’s Parish Centre, West Hill, Dartford, DA1 2HJ in January 2017. Young people between the ages of 5 – 11 years can enrol for these affordable classes which develop confidence and communication skills. The Academy’s specialist drama teachers, who are all DBS checked, undergo extensive training in the Helen O’Grady teaching methods. They ensure each student is encouraged in a warm, positive learning environment, where mutual respect is a high priority. The unique programme aims to develop confidence, selfesteem, verbal communication skills and creativity, through a highly developed and extensive drama curriculum. All students attend a one-hour lesson each week during the school year. In the summer term all the students begin rehearsing a scripted play, devised for their particular age-group, which is performed to an invited audience. The curriculum, which has been developed over 30 years internationally, is constantly revised and updated. Classes include warm up activities, speech work, mimes


to music, short scripted pieces and creative improvisations. Each age group has speciallywritten targeted material, so every child is challenged. The lessons are great fun! Francesca White, Principal of the Academy, said, “It is wonderful our drama classes are now in easy reach of everyone! We have a fantastic curriculum for this year and I know that each and every student will be nurtured in our child-centred, friendly school.” The Academy locally currently operates in the following locations: Bexleyheath, Falconwood, Plumstead and Welling. To find out more about this unique programme, telephone our office on: 01322 221251 or email

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Our unique drama programme will help children develop excellent social skills. Over time, we guarantee children’s confidence and communication skills will increase in many ways.

OPENING IN DARTFORD -JANUARY 2017 Contact us NOW to arrange a FREE trial lesson.

Classes also available in: Bexleyheath, Falconwood, Plumstead and Welling

01322 221251

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Local Entertainment News

November/ December Theatre Roundup by Liz Dyer

Well, we all knew it was coming. Panto season is now officially here, ready to carry us into 2017 whether we like it or not. Joe Pasquale will soon be back in Dartford for Snow White, Blue’s Antony Costa’s on his way to Gravesend with Jack and the Beanstalk, and everyone’s favourite mean judge Craig Revel Horwood will be in Bromley appearing in Peter Pan. But before we get into all that festive stuff, let’s take a few moments to look back on a pretty spectacular year of theatre here in Dartford. I’ve chosen a few personal highlights - what are yours? (These are in no particular order, by the way; it was hard enough narrowing it down to five…) Bugsy Malone A great show, with some really catchy tunes and plenty of laughs, this year’s Summer Youth Project showed, as always, how much brilliant young talent there is right here in Dartford. I can’t wait to see what they do next year. The Sound of Music This was a gorgeous revival of the much-loved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, featuring a pitch perfect performance from The Voice finalist Lucy O’Byrne and one of the most impressive sets I’ve seen at the Orchard. Into The Hoods: Remixed A fairy tale revamped for a new generation by the irresistible

ZooNation. Even if you think you don’t like hip hop, give this company a try next time they’re in town; they’re a lot of fun and might just change your mind. Blood Brothers One of my all-time favourite shows, so it was always going to make the list. This award-winning musical from Willy Russell might be nearly as old as me, but it shows no sign of being past its best, and will no doubt have us all sobbing our hearts out for many years to come. Dirty Dancing A must-see for any fan of the movie, this was a faithful tribute - it had all the songs, the dance moves, that lift and of course all the famous lines for us to join in with. We even got a brief glimpse of Johnny’s bare bum. Need I say more? And let’s not forget Sunny Afternoon, Priscilla, Let It Be, Annie, Chicago, Rocky Horror, Annie Get Your Gun… okay fine, it was all great. Merry Christmas, enjoy the panto, and let’s do it all again in 2017! For reviews of all the above shows and lots more, visit

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Dartford Living

53 Ticket Office 01322 220000


Sleeping Beauty - Moscow City Ballet Tue 10 - Wed 11 January | 2:30pm, 7:30pm

Moscow City Ballet is currently at its outstanding artistic best – winning new invitations to perform internationally. The orchestra, choreography, interpretation, beauty and outstanding virtuoso performances win repeatedly rave reviews.  The Sleeping Beauty, the evergreen tale of the love of a handsome prince and beautiful princess, is the glamorous jewel in its repertoire.  Tchaikovsky ‘big story ballets’ are the essence of Russian culture - composed, choreographed and premiered in Russia.  Seeing performances by the Moscow City dancers never fails to add that magical ingredient of Russian soul.  We have teamed up with The Orchard Theatre to offer 2 tickets to the opening night of the show (10th January 7.30pm) To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize just answer the following question...

What country is Moscow in? Is it: a) Russia b) Ukraine c) USSR d) Belarus Please email your entries to by the 15th December RUES: 1. The winner(s) will be the first correct entry/entries drawn. 2. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 3. Prizes are as stated and no cash in lieu or an alternative prize will be offered. 4. Proof of posting will not be regarded as proof of delivery. 5. Winners will be notified by telephone by the Orchard, within 5 working days of the competition being drawn. 6. Employees and the immediate families of participating companies are ineligible to enter. 7. Closing date for the competition is stated above.


CAN WE HELP YOU? Please call Mike or John on: Tel 01322 406439 / 01322 525708 Mobile: 07742 085333 Email: Partners: Mike Perry and John Petherick

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We warmly invite you to our

Christmas Carol Service On Sunday 18th December 6:30pm As we celebrate the birth of Jesus with traditional carols, live performances, refreshments, mince pies and mulled wine

Arrive early to ensure a seat (Doors open 6:00pm)

Location: Stone Pavilion, Hayes Road, Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9DS Email us: or Tel: 01322 305420

Dartford Living December 16  

The December issue of Dartford Living. Including our Christmas Gift Guide, Helen O'Grady Dance Academy, Sleighbells and Much more

Dartford Living December 16  

The December issue of Dartford Living. Including our Christmas Gift Guide, Helen O'Grady Dance Academy, Sleighbells and Much more