Dartford Living January 2023

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Dear Dartford Living Readers, Welcome to the January magazine - we hope you like it!

We continue to live in challenging times, but as usual the magazine is jam-packed with lots of local information and local businesses. Please support as many as you can - use them or lose them! Like never before, your community needs you.

In case you weren’t aware, we run Dartford Living alongside volunteer members of the local community for the local community. It’s the only independently run magazine serving the local area with information, fun, good news and positive local stories!

Please 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 neighbours. You will guarantee your copy of the magazine and get a little exercise as well!

If you email editor@dartfordliving.com we will add you to our e-newsletter mailing list and you will join over 50,000 local people who read the magazine and/or follow us on social media each month.

Take care, Vijay Editor - Dartford Living (and the rest of the fantastic Dartford Living volunteer team)

ONLINE www.dartfordliving.com www.dartfordlivinglive.co.uk www.dartfordbusinessdirectory.co.uk


Award for Wheelchair Rugby World Cup Winner Lewis King Enjoying Winter with Healthy Living Centre Dartford Shipping to Shopping Dimples Day Nursery Achieves 6th Outstanding Rating Travel News- with Harden Holidays Jumping the Shark Life Under the Stairs Community Revival Walking with the Darts Making Your Home Safe in the New Year Automobile news Sport/Painted Rocks Beating the January Blues Interview with Richard O’Brien Competition Where to go Locally Local Clubs and Associations Advertisers Index Useful Numbers
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Three weeks after helping the triumphant England team lift the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup in Manchester, Dartford athlete Lewis King has been presented with a Dartfordian Award by Dartford Borough Council for his services to the community and Wheelchair Rugby.

Lewis received his award from Deputy Leader Chris Shippam at a ceremony attended by his family and friends at the home of Dartford Valley Rugby Club last Friday (9th December).

England beat France 28-24 in front of record crowd of 5,000 to become world champions last month. England trailed 14-12 at the interval but Temple Hill resident Lewis King scored early in the second half to put them 16-14 in front. France never went ahead again and the home side became World Champions.

Lewis began his wheelchair rugby at the

Dartford-based Argonauts club and the Deputy Leader paid tribute to the amazing local club that provides sporting opportunities to so many people.

Cllr Shippam said: “Lewis and his family are such modest and down-to-earth people but it is clear that he has put huge effort into becoming a world class wheelchair athlete and his proud family have supported him all the way.

“Our local Argonauts club played an important part in his early journey to World Cup glory and it was a particular pleasure to present him with the award at the home of another great local club. Lewis was generous with his time to all the young players here who wanted to meet him. He is a true hero and a fantastic role model. He has helped raise the visibility of the sport and introduce it to a generation of new players. The whole community are proud of him.”

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Orchard, within 5 working days of the competition being drawn. 5. Employees and the competition is stated above. 6. We will only use your email address to contact you if www.dartfordflorist.co.uk 82 St Albans Road, Dartford, Da1 1ty info@dartfordflorist.co.uk 01322 224013 Formally known as St Albans Flowers. Same Quality customer service and flowers. Nothings changed just the name All of our designs are available for you to view in the comfort of your own home at www.dartfordflorist.co.uk Order online, by phone on 01322 224013 or call in and see us to discuss your flower options, we will be happy to help you. Same day contactless deliveries are available (If ordered by 12 noon MondayFriday, before 11am Saturdays) Thank you for your continued support


loss and muscle toning - exercise can support your physical and wellbeing in so many ways, including improving your sleep. It can help your joints become more flexible, increased blood circulation refreshes cells throughout your body, including your brain; it helps your digestive system work more efficiently, your lymphatics can do their job more efficiently and you will feel brighter as your liver and kidneys are activated. The best bit: the endorphins (chemicals) that your body produces when you exercise (dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin) affect your brain and will dramatically improve your overall mood.

Are you setting a New Year’s Resolution for 2023? Healthy Living Centre Dartford is here to help you stick with it. Whether you are setting a goal to support your physical, social, or emotional wellbeing, we have something for everyone. Take your pick from our exercise sessions, community social events and lunches, gardening and cooking clubs, arts and crafts, repair café, vocational courses, and IT lessons as well as a variety of volunteer opportunities – we are certain that Healthy Living Centre Dartford is the place for you in 2023!

All our physical exercise activities are open to everyone and cater for all abilities. Delivered by qualified tutors, they each cost just £2.50 per class and take place at either Tree or Temple Hill Community Centres:

• Zumba Gold at Temple Hill on Mondays 7pm8pm

• Yoga with Hazel at Tree on Tuesdays 7pm8pm and Thursdays 7:30pm-8:30pm

• Tai Chi at Tree on Thursdays 10:00am-11:00am followed by tea and biscuits

• Seated Yoga at Tree on Thursdays 1:30pm2:30pm followed by a cuppa

• Circ-Hiits at Tree on Thursdays 6:30pm7:30pm

The benefits of exercise go well beyond weight

The conclusion? Regular exercise really does make you happier!

In 2023, we also plan to offer additional physical activities including group cycling and walking events – to stay up to date with all our current and new activities please email info@ hlcdartford.org.uk to be added to our mailing list.

If your plan for the new year is to get out and about, enjoy more social activities and meet new people, we have plenty of opportunities to do just that. At Temple Hill Community Centre our doors are open to all for our Hygge* on the Hill on Wednesday mornings 10:00-12:00.

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*The Danish concept of “hygge” refers to finding comfort, pleasure, and warmth in simple, soothing things such as a cosy atmosphere or the feeling of friendship.

For a sociable, delicious, and affordable home cooked meal (without the washing up!), join us on the 3rd Friday of every month for our Tree Community Lunch, open to all. On the 1st Friday of every month, the WI Seniors Lunch Club meets at Temple Hill. Booking is essential for both lunches.

If you prefer to grow your own food, why not get involved in our Growing Community Food Network, an exciting Borough-wide project? Or

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if cooking is your thing, why not join our weekly cookery club? = For more information on our food projects email info@hlcdartford.org.uk. Whether you are keen to learn something new or have skills to share, we would love to hear from you!

Parents, carers, and their pre-school children are invited along to our friendly Tea, Toast and Talking supportive social mornings in collaboration with Mummy’s Link Up and HomeStart Northwest Kent. Come along to Tree Community Centre on the 2nd Friday of each month 10:00-12:00 and Temple Hill Community Centre on the 4th Friday of each month 10:0014:00. You can also bring and swap, or shopfor-free, good-quality new and pre-loved items needed when raising a family. For more information contact: mummyslinkup@gmail. com or HomeStart on 01322 225100.

We offer a relaxed and informal meeting place at our Community Hub and Repair Café, where you can grab a free cuppa, an affordable bite to eat and an opportunity to meet and chat with other local people. The repair team can turn their hands to most items that can be repaired, from small electricals to bicycles to sewing and clothes repair. With the mantra “don’t throw it, repair it”, the team do their best to mend anything that comes their way. At our Hub events, we often have advice specialists available to help, including

“One You” Lifestyle Advisors, welfare, debt and benefit advisors, legal and financial services and adult education providers. For the fun element we have games, puzzles and arts and crafts for anyone who wants to have a go. Our Community Hub events take place on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at Tree Community Centre, and on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Temple Hill Community Centre.

Did you hear about the concept to buy “Nothing New in ‘22”? We at Healthy Living Centre Dartford are joining in the movement to challenge consumerism and reduce waste. With the support of our incredibly talented Repair Café, the staff team are aiming for “Waste Free in ‘23”

To find out more or to book any of these activities you can contact us on 01322 311265 / info@hlcdartford.org.uk or follow us on Facebook @healthylivingcentredartford or Instagram @hlcdartford.

We can’t wait to meet you!


Valley Hospital Charity Supporter Evening

Thursday 19th January 2023, 7 – 9pm

Lecture Hall, Phillip Farrant Centre, Level 1 Darent Valley Hospital

Free parking and refreshments provided

Valley Hospital Charity is the official NHS charity that supports the work of Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust.

We invite you to join us to find out more about our work, in particular to celebrate the work of our Paediatric D epartment at Darent Valley Hospital, who will be showcasing some of the great work they have been doing, supported by Valley Hospital Charity’s Lollipop Fund, to enhance the experience of the young patients in their care.

To book a place please call 01322 428256 or email dgn-tr.fundraising@nhs.net

We look forward to welcoming you to Darent Valley Hospital. www.valleyhospitalcharity.org.uk



Want to set up a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram page for your business but don’t know how to?

Maybe you already have social media accounts but you want to increase your number of follows?

Looking to write text for a blog or website but don’t know where to start?

13 www.dartfordbusinessdirectory.co.uk VISIT DARTFORDLIVING.MARKETING OR CALL 07814 475289 DARTFORD LIVING MARKETING


Walk Through History in Greenhithe and Stone

Chances are you’ll be heading to Bluewater at some point this January for a spot of bargain hunting (if you haven’t already overspent there at Christmas)! However, as anyone who’s explored its historic high street will know, Greenhithe and the surrounding area has a rich history steeped in shipping rather than shopping. Thanks to its naval heritage, this part of North Kent has played a vital role in both military training and international trading over the years. So, put those shopping bags down and let’s go for a walk through the history of Greenhithe and Stone…

Did You Know?

‘Hithe’ was old English for ‘landing place’ – hence, Greenhithe meant ‘green landing place.’

Set along the route of Roman road Watling Street,

Greenhithe was a popular stopping off point for pilgrims heading to Canterbury and Dover. Neighbouring village, Stone, has Saxon roots, with its church St Mary the Virgin being built around 970. Mariners on the Thames apparently referred to it as the ‘lantern of Kent’ due to its high position and another landmark, Stone Castle, was originally built in the eleventh century, mainly from local flint.

The church owned much of Greenhithe, too, during the 14th century, when King Edward II gifted Ingress Estate to Dartford Priory nuns. The area at this time was mainly farmland, although it soon became clear that more precious (and more profitable) resources were lurking underground…

Great Excavations!

Which natural resources have been quarried in the Greenhithe area?

A) Flint

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B) Chalk

C) Lime

Answer: All three! Flint, Chalk and lime have all been sourced locally and used in the brickmaking / building industries.

Greenhithe’s fortunes really improved in the 18th century, as river trading took off and its wharves opened from the early 1700s. Not only was chalk and lime in demand but corn and wood were also exported, with the High Street growing out of this boom in local trade. Even now, some properties still exist from this period, including the White Hart pub which dates from 1799.

‘Except as a yachting station, Greenhithe itself offers but little to notice.’ Charles Dickens 1880, Dictionary of the Thames.

Okay, so Dickens wasn’t terribly impressed –although many other visitors were, as Greenhithe became a tourist resort in the 19th century with its very own pier! The 1800s also marked a new era of military training in the area, as the Worcester committee was founded in 1861. Focused on increased trading opportunities alongside naval excellence, this led to the opening of the Thames Marine Officer Training School. Providing officers for the Royal and Merchant Navy, its legacy lives on today with a number of local roads having ‘Worcester’ in the title.

Residents of the Ingress Park Estate will be familiar with Ingress Abbey, originally built in a Tudor Gothic style and designed by the architect Charles Moreing. During the 1800s, a

series of follies and grottoes were added (some of which remain today). The Abbey has had its fair share of colourful residents, as well as being commissioned as an Army hospital and Naval training facility. Rumour has it that the original ragstone walls were built from remnants of old London Bridge!

Did You Know?

The Cutty Sark was moored at Greenhithe during the 1930s before being moved to dry dock at Greenwich.

Although tourism and trading has declined along the Thames Estuary, Greenhithe continues to redevelop and reinvent itself in the 20th and 21st centuries. Alongside Ingress Park, house building has boomed (often controversially –Stone’s village no longer exists in its true sense and the much loved Stone Lodge Farm Park is a distant memory for the many local children who enjoyed school trips there). Then, of course, there’s Bluewater, which was opened in 1999 after an arduous ten year building project set against fifty-metre high chalk cliffs. There’s no denying it’s an impressive feat of architectural engineering – and has really put the area on the map. Maybe even Charles Dickens would be keen to stop and have a wander if he chanced upon Greenhithe now…

Clair Humphries is a freelance writer and Content Partner for Ordnance Survey. Website: www.clairhumphries.com Twitter: @clairhumphries Instagram: clair_humphries


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Dimples Day nursery is a family owned and run nursery located in Darenth, Kent. It is set in 8 acres and outdoor play is at the heart of their ethos. It is a Forest School and have a dedicated Forest school cabin and field.

candidate to work at Dimples? Here are a few great reasons you might like to work at Dimples:

They have a fantastic staff team ranging from unqualified members of staff, apprentices training for their level 2 and 3 early years qualifications as well as level 2, 3 and degree level qualified members staff.

They really value their team members and this results in a really high retention of staff. They offer lots of staff benefits including your birthday off as a paid day if it falls on a working day, a large onsite staff car park and a discount on children’s nursery fees.

They have top rate resources and facilities. Staff are highly trained and they invest heavily in CPD.

The nursery celebrated its 20th anniversary in July 2022 and achieved its 6th consecutive Outstanding rating by Ofsted in November 2022. They celebrated the 20th anniversary with a fantastic party for all of the Dimples’ family in the summer following our pre-school leavers’ sports day. Paul Cutler, the Mayor of Dartford attended our celebrations and was a part of our ceremonious tree planting and plaque unveiling. Our saying is always ‘once a Dimples’ child always a Dimples’ child’ and the invitation was extended to ALL Dimples’ children past and present. We were delighted when children that we had looked after in the early days came back to celebrate with us including some of our first Dimples’ grand-babies. We have recently finished our fabulous new extension which includes a new sensory room, a new pre-school room and an extension to the nursery kitchen.

WANTED: Great People To Work For A Great Nursery!

Do you know someone who would make a great

Parents are always very welcome into nursery, they host events such as the summer garden party and pre-school Christmas carol concerts. Real life, hands on experiences are imbedded in their every day learning experiences and the children have many opportunities for offsite visits e.g. to the woods, country park, local library, etc to enrich their understanding of the world around us.

Email enquiries@dimplesnursery.co.uk if you’d like to apply for any of the roles advertised on the advert on page 19.

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21 www.dartfordbusinessdirectory.co.uk Stagecoach Performing Arts is the trading name of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Limited. Stagecoach Theatre Arts schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach and Creative Courage For Life are registered trademarks of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Limited. Singing, dancing and acting classes for year-olds 01732750783 Leigh UTC, DA1 5TF www.stagecoach.co.uk/dartford Stagecoach Dartford 4 - 18 - RESPONSIVE WEBSITE DESIGN - MAGAZINE & PROGRAMME DESIGN (CURRENT DESIGNERS OF THE OFFICIAL DARTFORD FC MATCH DAY PROGRAMME AND DARTFORD LIVING MAGAZINE) -PROMOTIONAL LITERATURE DESIGN DAVE@DARTFORDLIVING.DESIGN 07793535534 | DARTFORDLIVING.DESIGN

St Kitts

We recently attended an event hosted by the St. Kitts and Nevis tourist board and we are super excited to share with you why this beautiful Caribbean Island should make your holiday shortlist.

St Kitts is a tiny Caribbean Island with a big punch – along with its sister isle of Nevis, just two-and-a-half miles south, it constitutes the smallest country in the Western hemisphere. This unspoilt and authentic sunshine escape delivers everything you’d expect from a Caribbean holiday – and then some.

A World Heritage-listed fortress, a scenic railway, cultural events and activities aplenty from ziplines and wreck diving to rainforest hikes and a fabulous golf course. There’s excellent food, with fresh fish, lobster and tropical fruits to the fore, and a diverse choice of beach and inland hotels from luxury to affordable. The thermometer hovers at an inviting 25-28C year-round, Kittitians are a welcoming and charismatic bunch, and – most importantly – the rum punches hit the spot.

Just 18 miles long, St Kitts has a green landscape centred on a mountainous heart capped by the rainforest-cloaked volcano of Mt Liamuiga. To the south-east lies a long, undulating peninsula scalloped with golden beaches with just one resort – the new five-star Park Hyatt St Kitts. There are spectacular coastal vistas to neighbouring islands and abundant heritage sites left from the days of sugar (production only ended in 2005). Today St Kitts has a private jet terminal the YU lounge, the superyacht marina at Christophe Harbour and Port Zante which is visited by many cruise ships. To a child’s eyes, St Kitts is a blissfully warm and dreamy island of sandcastles, sailing and colourful fish. For parents, it is a place to grab some sunshine and relax on the beach. A trip can be educational too, as older children learn about the region’s nature and the legacies of slavery and colonialism. There are no all-inclusive resorts, and the island particularly suits active families.

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The best places to stay

PARK HYATT ST KITTS St Kitts’ newest hotel sits beside Banana Bay on the southeast peninsula, offering 126 sophisticated rooms including 48 suites, some with roof-top pools. Treats include three signature restaurants, two pools (one adults-only), a destination spa and a rum bar, plus water sports and children’s activities

OCEAN TERRACE INN Within walking distance of Basseterre, this four-star boutique hotel in Fortlands has 34 contemporary rooms set on several levels around a lagoon-style pool with views over the harbour. Fresh fish is served in the Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant, and it attracts both business and leisure travellers.

TIMOTHY BEACH RESORT Right beside South Frigate Bay and the lively watering-holes of “The Strip”, this keenly priced resort appeals to families and sociable travellers. Many of the 55 rooms have kitchen facilities and amenities include a large pool, relaxed ocean view restaurant and The Dock bar with live music on Sundays.

This is an island where the fishing boats still go out almost every day, hauling in a super-fresh catch of tuna, wahoo and mahi mahi as well as plentiful lobster. The hills are equally rich with tropical fruits – mangoes, papaya, guava, avocado – and organic vegetables grown on small, hand tended plots. Farm-to-table, seato-plate, that’s the way it goes here from beach bars to fine-dining restaurants. And on the drinks front there are rum-based cocktails, Caribbean beers and a host of exotic juices.

For a romantic dinner, there are classy venues such as Marshall’s in Basseterre and the Pavilion Beach Club at Christophe Harbour. For top class seafood, head to Spice Mill Restaurant at Cockleshell Bay, while The Kitchen at Belle Mont Farm has a

‘new Caribbean’ menu featuring dishes such as lemongrass-poached lobster with dasheen risotto and cinnamon-braised goat loin.

The best beaches on St Kitts adorn its south-east peninsula and have clean sands, sheltered waters and fine views of nearby Nevis. Here Cockleshell Bay is the most popular but never feels overcrowded, with a good choice of bars, restaurants and water sports. Adjacent to this, crescent shaped Banana Bay is home to the new Park Hyatt St Kitts resort. As a rule, the sands on the southern, Caribbean Sea-facing side of the island are the most family-friendly. South Friars Bay is ideal for a long beachcombing walk with a supply of bars along the way. Beaches on the northern, Atlantic-facing side are wilder with few facilities, so better for a bracing walk or kiteboarding, with black volcanic sands in the north at Dieppe Bay.

This magical little island knows all about helping couples grow together, whether they are new friends, recently engaged, getting married, on honeymoon, renewing vows or celebrating an anniversary. The secret of romance lies in enjoying memorable shared experiences and there’s no shortage of those, from facing up to thrilling zipline rides, rattling through the sugar cane fields on a scenic train, or cuddling up on a catamaran cruise as the sun sets.

To travel to St. Kitts and Nevis and all other winter sun destinations contact us today.


Dartford Town Centre www.hardenholidays.co.uk 0800 023 8974


With an all-star cast including David Schaal (Glyn - The Office, Jay’s dad Terry - The Inbetweeners), Harry Visinoni (Seb Franklin - Coronation Street), Sarah Moyle (Valerie Pitman - BBC’s Doctors) and Jasmine Armfield (Bex Fowler - EastEnders), Jumping The Shark is a celebration of the sitcom and its place in our hearts.

For those wondering about the title, Jumping The Shark takes its name from a phrase coined in response to an episode of US comedy Happy Days where a leather-jacketed Fonz (played by Henry Winkler) jumped over a shark on water skis. Whilst Happy Days remained popular for several years following the out-of-character stunt, the phrase ‘jumping the shark’ has become synonymous with a long-running series introducing a gimmick in order to hold the fanbase, when the writers have run out of ideas. As Frank Donohue knows, it can often have the opposite effect.

Comedy is no laughing matter, as Jumping The Shark is about to prove!

‘Misleads’, ‘straight reverses’, ‘telegraphing’, ‘the rule of three’ ‘the law of C’, ‘jumping the shark’… these are the rules of comedy. You can’t just learn them. You have to live them.

Five strangers gather in the conference room of a shabby hotel on the outskirts of Farnham; it’s in need of improvement, but then again so are our protagonists. Their characters may be very different but there is one thing that links Pam, Gavin, Morgan, Dale and Amy… they all want to realise their dreams through comedy.

Frank Donohue, the finest sitcom writer of his generation, has flown in from Los Angeles to conduct a seminar teaching his five lucky disciples the tricks of the trade, trade and maybe, if they have what it takes, he’ll show them the holy grail: how to write the perfect sitcom. As his masterclass progresses, we get a unique glimpse into each character and discover that unlikely mix-ups, farcical set-pieces and gut-wrenching tragedy exist in their everyday lives as much as they do on the page.

It’s not something that concerns writers David Cantor and Michael Kingsbury, whose credits include writing BBC hits My Family and Two Pints of Lager & A Packet of Crisps, and co-creating the West End and touring sensation Round The Horne… Revisited. Every generation seems to spawn a talented comedy writing duo - Galton and Simpson, Croft and Perry, French and Saunders –and Cantor and Kingsbury look likely candidates for the 2020s. Following an acclaimed run at London’s White Bear Theatre in 2019, Jumping The Shark is the first of their canon to embark on a UK tour, visiting the Orchard Theatre from Tue 21 – Sat 25 February.

For lovers of TV sitcoms this is a ‘must see’ for 2023!

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A new comedy by David Cantor & Michael Kingsbury FEATURING AN ALL STAR CAST INCLUDING COMEDY IS NO LAUGHING MATTER! Directed by
DAVID SCHAAL as FRANK The Inbetweeners & The Office HARRY VISINONI as MORGAN Coronation Street SARAH MOYLE as PAM Doctors, Emmerdale, The Brittas Empire & Extras JASMINE ARMFIELD as AMY EastEnders TUE 21 - SAT 25 FEBRUARY ORCHARDTHEATRE.CO.UK | 0343 310 0033
Peter Frosdick and Classical Events present
Michael Kingsbury


I’m at that age where the New Year doesn’t really affect me now. I’m done with making resolutions I don’t keep, usually because they were badly thought out, far too grand or unachievable.

I’ve settled for small steps in the right direction. Changing a couple of things over time rather than planning world domination or to win the London Marathon this year.

The past few months have been miserable for all. Rising cost of living, strikes, fear of the collapse of the NHS, little or no career prospects for the many of the Millennials, many of whom entered the job market saddled with debt with little chance of ever paying it off.

Despite our hopes for our children, many of us have come to realise that they need our support both financially and emotionally, well into their 30s and 40s. This can cause resentment against a social system which has changed rapidly since Covid, while those in charge prove incapable of understanding anything outside Westminster.

We have become so apathetic towards those

who govern us, yet we expect them to also provide solutions to all problems. In my opinion this is where we should look at our own actions and take back personal responsibility.

Some are just common sense – not something I am gifted with – while others may require a change of loyalties to stretch the pennies further. For instance, I’ve decided to change my broadband provider because my existing company just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. They are far too expensive and not particularly loyal to long term clients.

I’m not struggling to feed a family, so a couple of extra items in my shopping will go towards the food bank trolley – every little helps – to coin a well-known phrase. Alongside that I plan to ‘go local’ for supplies, buy what I need and stay away from the BOGOF deals. A rethink about our food intake is a definite. Other Half doesn’t like anything green, apart from peas, while I love my veg. Rather than buy fresh fruit and veg only to throw some away, I’m opting for ready- made salads – one will feed me for three days with no waste. I’ve ventured into bulk cooking and freezing on order to take advantage of deals on

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meat and fish.

I’ve always been a fan of a charity shop bargain and recently I’m finding more ‘brand new with tags’ clothing in them than ever before. I’d put a sweater in my online basket costing £28. After a rummage round my local shops’ I came home with two unworn sweaters and a needlecord skirt all for £12. Good job I remembered to cancel the basket!

Petrol is expensive over here so means of cutting fuel bills is a must. Living in Hawley with its poor bus service and no local shops required a car journey to Dartford or Swanley for almost everything. Today I try and consolidate errands so only a single journey is needed. I can walk to the local shops, doctors, library, and leisure centre – that’s my exercise and daily wellbeing checked!

Heating is the one thing we can’t really skip on, due to medical advice. By layering with T shirts and jumpers, keeping the doors closed where possible and improving the insulation in our house has helped. There is more to do, but we’ve made a start.

If I listed everything I’d like to achieve for this year, it would be self-defeating as it magnifies the task ahead. I’ve chosen three projects to start and hope I’m successful at them.

This is my plan for a better New Year; a year where I want to take charge of me again. A year when I can see the benefits of my actions, rather than wait for the government to decide how to fix yet another crisis. It’s not for everyone, and many of you will have already implemented some of the choices I’ve decided to make. Please feel free to ignore them altogether, cherry pick the ideas you like or embrace it wholeheartedly.

I don’t want to go on as before, stuck in the same groove, with the same concerns and challenges as last year. With just a small amount of change and commitment, I hope to make 2023 a happier and more contented year for all at the Stevenson Beach Retreat.

Happy New Year to you


Dartford’s premier private practice, serving Dartford community since the 1980s Did you know we are accepting new patients to our practice? Our award-winning team of highly qualified Clinicians, Hygienists, Orthodontic Specialists, Oral Surgery Specialists and experienced support staff are waiting to look after you and your oral health. Our Practice offers state of the art equipment, the latest treatment techniques and in-house specialists, ensuring minimally invasive treatments and preventative oral hygiene services To welcome you to our practice, we have 2 New Patient Offers for you to choose from: New Patient Exam £65 instead of our usual price of £75 Direct Access Hygienist Appointment (30 minutes) £68 instead of our usual price of £78 We also offer: • Specialist and Special Interest Dentistry: Braces, Root Treatments, Implants • Cosmetic Dentistry: Invisalign, Composite Bonding, Smile Makeovers • Denplan Membership options and interest free finance to help spread costs • Saturday Appointments To take advantage of either offer, please call 01322 223 927 to book your appointment, quoting DLOFFER22



During October and November 2022 Garry Turner and Erica Semerdzhiev started the process of setting up three neighbourhood watch schemes in the West Hill, Dartford area and they were keen to share both why they felt drawn to do this and to invite other Dartford residents to consider doing the same.

A seed of inspiration

Having observed for some time the work of Newtown councillor Laura Edie, West Hill residents Garry and Erica were curious what motivated Laura to set up her NHW group.

Laura shared “I have always championed the power of community in making changes. I decided to set up the Newtown Neighbourhood Watch group last year, as a way of bringing Newtown together. Having a neighbourhood WhatsApp group means that, as it is instant, it’s a useful crime prevention tool, warning residents in a timely manner and making them more vigilant.

We have dealt with issues few and far between, ranging from anti-social behaviour, burglaries and speeding concerns. We have quartely meet ups and have also organised a VAWG walk, to help women living locally share their concerns. Next up we have a PCSO community safety walk planned on 4th Jan.”

Garry realised just how disconnected his own life was from his local community and wondered if others felt the same way.

This lead to a prompt research project being carried out where he drew up an estimated zone for what would become West Hill Neighbourhood Watch 1 and then made a direct proposal to all 800+ homes in the upper West Hill area to ask if residents would be interested in joining such a scheme.

The appetite for a community based scheme was clear to see and so with the support and guidance of Laura and Erica, approaches were made to both NHW and Kent Police and the formal process of setting up the first scheme was underway.

Replicating NHW Across Dartford

One of the most inspiring things about NHW is that any resident can set a scheme up. The

process is straight forward, the support is fantastic and the impact is almost instant when designed with intention.

At the neighbourhood watch website ourwatch. org.uk you can search for any currently live schemes to a) see what already exists, any of which you can join and b) identify areas where a new scheme could add value to the local community.

With regards to setting up a new NHW scheme Erica shares that “Although safety and security remains our primary concern, we are actively creating opportunities to bring community together. Through meetings, litter picks, rallying around Wilmot Park, ideas are being shared and voices are being heard. This sends the message of care out into the community. People want to feel cared about, they want to have a reason to care as well. We are creating those reasons and reinforcing the messages of care and concern in our community. This is a powerful way to connect with people and strengthens the bonds of the community which before did not exist, as there was no space nor platform for that to exist. Neighbourhood Watch may seem like the unlikely hero in this scenario but it’s familiar, trusted, and helpful. We are truly building a safe and connected local community and I look forward to watching it grow both in scope and impact.”

Setting up the schemes is one thing, but ongoing guidance and support of the scheme is a crucial consideration.

Garry shares “it is important to note that these schemes are voluntary, self-organised and do not come with any funding attached.

That said, the support from the NHW and Kent Police is great and from what we have learned, there is much goodwill within the community to support and take part in the ongoing running on such schemes, provided they are designed to be inclusive and with co-creation as a key value.”

What’s next for West Hill Neighbourhood Watch

Such has been the impact in West Hill in such a short time that Garry and Erica are grateful that the three local councillors have shown an active interest to be part of in person meetings



and to work with the NHW in tackling issues of anti social behaviour, getting the dilapidated Wilmot Park review brought forward and more and they have also engaged Kent Police such that a community safety walk with local PCSO Mel Butler is in the diary for Jan 24th 2023.

These NHW screens are not as people may imagine, a curtain-twitching, complaint-based group that doesn’t get things done! It is quite the opposite, an activist group of residents that are working with our representatives to actively ensure that not only reactive topics are dealt with, but that proactive topics are brought forward and investigated.

Garry and Erica have gained some deep and effective knowledge of how to set up these schemes and whom to contact so if any Dartford residents are interested to set up their own scheme, feel free to contact Garry at greengarryturner@gmail.com or Erica at mrssemerdzhiev@gmail.com.

mycommunityvoicekent.com Ourwatch.org.uk

Johnson, Member of
for Dartford
appointment, please
www.dartfordbusinessdirectory.co.uk Gareth
For assistance or a surgery
contact me at: Email: gareth.johnson.mp@ parliament.uk Telephone 020 7219 7047
30 www.dartfordliving.com 01322 343152 housinggrants@dar tford.gov.uk *Discretionary assistance is subject to budget availability and may be frozen by the Local Authority when necessary Can’t leave hospital? Cold home? HOUSING ISSUES: Home in disrepair, de -cluttering, deep cleaning, moving furniture ADAPTATIONS: Stair lifts, level access shower, access ramps, large scale proper ty adaptions SAFETY: Key safes, bannister and grab rails ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, repairs or replacement boiler Struggling to stay at home? Need adaptations? Contac t us even if you’re unsure or your need isn’t listed Grant awards of up to £15,000 now available! New eligibility criteria, more grants approved. Call us today. Dar tford Resident? Even if you are a homeowner, in work or have savings, Healthy Living Walk - Mondays 10.00am Dartford Heath Walk - Tuesdays 10.00am Darenth Country Park - Tuesdays 10.30am Greenhithe - Wednesdays 10.30am Tree Community Centre - Thursdays 11:15am This walk has been temporarily suspended and will resume at a later date in 2022 Central Park - Thursdays 11.30am Swanscombe - Fridays 10.00am Swanscombe Castle Hill - Sundays 9.00am weekly! For more details including starting points please contact the One You Kent team call 01322 343067 or email oneyou@dartford.gov.uk Funded by • Health walks are free and led by trained volunteer walk leaders • Short social walks that last around an hour • No need to book - just turn up • Any age and ability welcome • Great for people getting little or no exercise, recovering or suffering from an illness or lacking in confidence • Dress for the weather including comfortable footwear


have now completed 24 league games before the double bumper derby clashes against Ebbsfleet United on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

A brilliant run has seen Tom Bonner and Co suffer just two defeats in the last 17 league games. Those came on the road at Farnborough (3-1) and Chelmsford (1-0), while the Darts remained unbeaten at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park during this run, winning all matches at home except for the last one, a 0-0 stalemate against an excellently organised Bath City.

Hello again, welcome to another edition of Walking With The Darts, a monthly update on all things related to Dartford FC, courtesy of Dartford Living Magazine.

By the time you’re able to read this piece, a lot would have happened both on and off the pitch as far as Dartford FC are concerned. Most importantly, however, we’d have enjoyed the Christmas festivities and said our goodbyes to 2022 and welcomed the beginning of a new year. So, without further ado, I’d like to take this opportunity to start by wishing all our readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year on behalf of Dartford FC, Dartford FC Women, Dartford Living Magazine, and myself.

As is the norm during this time of the year, the Darts have endured a busy and difficult period on the pitch. Not only are the lads battling extremely competitive teams in the National League South, but they’ve also been battling the elements as well. A recent freezing spell has seen many games postponed during recent weeks, but Alan Dowson’s side have been fortunate to continue playing and

Unfortunately, we have seen a few niggling injury concerns, particularly in between the sticks. This has meant that Dowse has had to dip into the transfer market once again to bring in Norwich City U21 goalkeeper Archie Mair, who has been impressive of late. He’s been joined recently by attacking midfielder Malachi Napa, who’s arrived from Wealdstone on loan for a month.

And, it was due to injuries, as well as a poor performance overall, that the Darts fell to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Swindon Supermarine in the FA Trophy last month. Academy goalkeeper, Tom Wray, was called into action but, to be fair, he could do nothing about a fired-up Swindon on the day. However, the Darts remain in the London Senior Cup and Kent Senior Cup, as fixtures have been delayed for various reasons. They’ll face the Metropolitan Police in the former and travel to Ebbsfleet United in the latter, so be sure to come along and show your support.

The last game before we begin the festive period saw the lads travel to top three competitors Havant & Waterlooville on a freezing cold December night. A returning Luke Allen and Alex Wall starred in a brilliant night which saw the Darts return to Kent with a 3-1 victory. The result saw Dartford

Palmer, team photos by Carol White-Griffiths, Women’s` team photos: Taur Everard

leapfrog their opponents into second place of the National League South table, where they now sit equal on points with Ebbsfleet. So, it’s all to play for as 2023 begins!

Meanwhile, Connor Dymond’s Dartford FC Women have endured a rather challenging time of things recently. Winger/forward, Amy Panayi has left the club and now wears the colours of rivals Welling United. But, more importantly, the ladies have done the club proud with the recent cup competition exploits.

Despite making history in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, Lizzie Adams and Co couldn’t progress any further on this occasion, as they eventually fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Hashtag United. However, they were victorious in their Kent Cup Quarter Final, beating Ashford Ladies comprehensively with a 4-0 scoreline. They’ll now

face Aylesford Ladies in the Semi-Final.

That result was then followed by a 2-1 win over Aylesford Ladies in the London & South East Regional Women’s League South, before they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Dulwich Hamlet.

Manager Connor Dymond will surely welcome the Christmas break, but will be hoping for more consistency in the New Year, as they’ll be able to focus more on the league and meet expectations of challenging for promotion.

Finally, it has been an honour to write for Dartford Living Magazine on behalf of Dartford FC throughout the year. I look forward to sharing more with you through 2023.

As always, thank you for your continued support and thanks for reading.

34 www.dartfordliving.com It’s not working, it’s caring with Home Instead Excellent training Great rates of pay Variety of hours Make a difference Working in hospitality meant getting to know regular customers. It’s similar to my role as a Home Instead CAREGiver, we share stories, jokes and laughs! 01322 584438 homeinstead.co.uk/dartford Join our team Each Home Instead franchise is independently owned and operated. Copyright © Home Instead® 2021.


Happy New Year and welcome to another edition of Senior Snippets: the monthly advisory column with the older members of our community in mind, brought to you by Christina Uppenkamp, Director of Home Instead Dartford.

The start of the year is traditionally a time when lots of people focus on creating new healthy habits, so we have decided to take this opportunity to suggest one of our own. Carrying out an annual home safety check is something that you can do in just a few hours once a year and it could help to keep you and your family healthy and safe. Here are our suggestions for how to go about it.

Make sure you have emergency numbers to hand: Keep phone numbers for the emergency services, a reliable family member or friend and your doctor somewhere easy to access in a hurry. If you keep a mobile phone with you at all times, save your emergency numbers there. If you don’t, write them clearly and leave them next to every phone in your home.

Book a fire safety check: Lots of fire departments offer a free home fire safety check and install smoke detectors free-of-charge as well. Why not contact the local fire department and arrange for them to visit your home? Or ask a family member or friend to test your existing smoke detectors to make sure they are still working fine.

Remove hazards to prevent falls: Check each area of your home to see whether there is anything you could fix or move to make the space safer. Secure rugs, so that they don’t slip as you walk on them, move loose wires and other trip hazards, and make sure that routes you walk often are clear of objects. If you are wearing a falls alarm, make sure it is regularly tested to ensure if can help you in an emergency. Have someone check your outside lighting to ensure you can safely see steps and pathways in darker months and ask for help to get your driveway gritted on icy days to avoid falls.

Install safety measures: If manoeuvring around the bathroom is challenging for you, or feels unsafe, consider having grab rails installed to help you and putting a rubber mat in the bath to prevent slips. Make sure you have a sturdy banister running along your stairs and consider anywhere else in the home where safety features could make life easier. Social Services or an Occupational Therapist can conduct a needs assessment for you to establish if you require certain equipment to stay safe at home.

Home Instead also offers a sensor system (no cameras, no voice recording) for lone living people to help keep them safe by sending alerts to friends and family or even the emergency services if they had a fall or have not moved in a particular room for a certain amount of time. Just give our office a call to learn more about this. Change the code to your key safe: It’s a great idea to change the code to your key safe regularly, especially if you have people in your home on a regular basis, such as cleaners, carers, doctors and delivery people.

You may choose to add additional points into your home safety check. However you go about it, begin by asking yourself whether you feel safe and secure in your home and what you would do in an emergency, then put in place any measures you need.

If you would like to suggest a future topic for this column or have questions about our home care services, please get in touch with Christina on c.uppenkamp@dartford.homeintead.co.uk or via 01322 923750.


In this month’s article we look at the growing range of electric models and tips to stay safe this winter.

2023 Abarth 500e electric car - the new Abarth 500e electric car could have a big impact on the hot hatch market being the first fully electric with instant power and no exhaust pipe emissions. It will be powered by a frontmounted electric motor that produces 152bhp and can go 0-62 mph in 7 seconds. The 500e has the same 42kWh battery as more expensive versions of the Fiat 500, but has a shorter range because of its increased performance, with a range not confirmed but could be around 160 miles. Charging could take you to 80% in 35 minutes with a charging speed of up to 85kW. Key 500e details include ‘Abarth’ spelt across the bonnet and tailgate, flared wheel arches, a honeycomb-effect lower grille (for cooling the battery), a rear air diffuser and a boot spoiler. On sale mid 2023 pricing could be from £35,000 – yet to be announced.

2023 Vauxhall Astra Electric – the new Astra will have a variety of options available, as a petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or as a full electric car. It also gives the choice of hatchback or estate car, either powered by a 153bhp electric motor paired with a 54kWh battery with a range up to 258 miles. With the more powerful battery (100kW) it can be charged up to 80% in 30 minutes. The interior will feature a 10in digital instrument panel and a central touchscreen display. There is also a head-up display that projects the most important driving information on to the windscreen, in the driver’s line of sight. A range of safety features such as drowsiness detection, lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking (AEB) are also included as standard. It is expected to be available early 2023 from around £35,000.

Winter driving guide 2022 - Low temperatures, poor visibility, snow and ice can all make winter driving hazardous – use these helpful tips to stay safe.

• Allow extra journey time, check the vehicle before you head off like tyres, fuel levels and oil.

• Clear any ice or snow from the windows using a scrapper and de-icer waiting for full windscreen demisting

• Top up anti-freeze in the cold weather – you’ll need 50:50 mix of antifreeze and water for the winter

• Wear comfortable clothes and shoes and keep some food and warm clothes in car in case required

• When driving ease your foot off the clutch gently and apply brakes gently

Safe driving and keep well prepared for the winter months.

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by Bhavesh Ganesh

England manager Gareth Southgate and his players harboured a familiar sense of missed opportunity as that elusive major tournament triumph escaped them once more.

Watching the scenes after the match against France brought flashbacks to the World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia in Moscow in 2018, and to the European Championship final loss to Italy at Wembley 17 months ago.

Amidst the pain of their latest defeat, Southgate offered solace to devastated England players who inspired hope, only to see potential glory pulled from their grasp.

A 2-1 World Cup quarter-final loss to holders France, was a cruel outcome. England’s display deserved at least to drag the game into extra time.

Perhaps this is why it felt different, even more painful, for England this time. A genuine opportunity to win this World Cup had opened up for Southgate’s team, an emerging blend of youth and experience.

The old question will be asked as to why England cannot force their way past elite opposition at major tournaments. But on this occasion, at least, there can be no complaints about the approach. However, once again, England and Southgate will be reflecting on what might have been, as a very good chance to win the World Cup slipped painfully through their clutches.

Upcoming events in January include:

14 December 2022 – 3 January 2023: PDC Cazoo World Darts Championship 6-29 January 2023: Tennis grand slam: 2023 Australian Open


Local people from ‘Dartford painted rocks’ on Facebook have been busy this month painting and hiding them around the town. The rocks can be exchanged at Stephen Oliver: Studio and Gallery located at the Orchards Shopping Centre .

Here are some of the photos of their latest painted rocks.

Rock Painting in Dartford cal people from Dartford Painted Rocks on Facebook have been busy this month painting hidin hanged at Stephen Oliver: Studio and lery lo e are some great photos of their painted rocks


After the excitement of Christmas, it’s not unusual to feel a little low in January. Combine this with long dark nights, cold weather, pressure we put ourselves under with new year resolutions and regret about Christmas excesses and it’s no surprise that some people suffer. How can we address this?

Firstly, recognise it is completely normal to lack energy and motivation at this time of year. Many will be experiencing the same. For most, this is a transient phase and things get better. For some, this may be a sign that you have seasonal affective disorder - a condition where people have signs of depression during the winter months but not in the summer.

Getting out in natural light will help your mood and help regulate your sleep wake cycle. Even just sitting by a window will help. Vigorous exercise for 30 minutes, three times weekly has been shown to be effective against depression. Gentle exercise, such as a walk or cycle, can also help, especially if this gets you out in daylight.

Getting enough sleep is also important. Poor sleep leads to worry and worry leads to poor sleep, it can become a vicious cycle. For help with sleeping visit https://www.mind.org.uk/informationsupport/types-of-mental-health-problems/ sleep-problems/tips-to-improve-your-sleep/

It is normal to crave stodgy, fatty foods when it is colder. Try to fill up on vegetables rather than carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, bread or pasta - they will leave you feeling more lethargic.

Make sure your New Year’s resolutions aren’t over ambitious. Choose things that are achievable and measurable, and that you can stick to. Getting creative or learning a new skill can help reduce your stress levels. Celebrate the small wins and move your focus away from the negatives.

Being constantly connected to your devices can negatively impact your mood. Using electronics in the 90 minutes before you go to bed can affect your sleep. Getting lost in a good book is a great way to take your mind off how you are feeling and can be relaxing. Perhaps this might be an idea for an achievable resolution for some.

If you are feeling anxious or sad, speak to someone. Sometimes all we need to do is talk to a friend or relative - it’s true that a problem shared is a problem halved. But if you need more support, then there are lots of organisations that can help you or you can speak to your GP team.

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Why do you think Rocky Horror is still so popular?

It’s very inclusive, it’s very easy to watch. It’s not rocket science as far as narrative is concerned - Brad and Janet are a couple that we kind of recognise as Adam and Eve or Romeo and Juliet, like a stereotypical couple - we can all relate to them. It is a fairytale - we even like the nasty characters, we love the Cruella De Vil kind of character, Frank N Furter. The fact that it is such light-hearted naughtiness, combined with root fairy tales has a lot to do with its longevity.

What was happening in your life at the time you wrote The Rocky Horror Show?

I was a recent father of my first child and out of work when I wrote the show. 1972-73 was a moment of change. Glamrock and overt sexuality was around, gay people were coming out and there was a ‘buzz’ in the air. There are certain parts of the world where we are a little bit more free to be ourselves. London is certainly one of them. Back in the Seventies you had gay bars, but now you don’t need to because if you walk into most bars in London there will be a gay man behind the bar. That is rather nice.

What was your inspiration when writing the show?

How does it feel to see the incredible success the Rocky Horror Show has had?

I hope what I’ve done professionally on stage has entertained and made people feel a little bit better when they leave the theatre. I’ve never done anything for back-slapping purposes, to make myself feel elevated in any kind of way. I’m just so grateful that I’ve been part of something that has so uniquely left its mark.

I remember a director once told me, ‘There’s only one thing you should do in your life, Richard, and that’s realise your dreams. A lot of people will try and stop you achieving those dreams but the only real person who can stop you is yourself.’ I was young and he was old and it was the first time a grown-up had ever said anything so joyous to me, so wonderfully liberating. Everybody else said, ‘Be careful, get a proper job, get your degree as a plumber. Don’t get these lofty ideas.’ As it says in the show, “Don’t dream it, be it.”

I have a very low-brow approach to life, I like Populist kinds of themes - comics and rock’n’roll and B movies. The plot and dialogue for The Rocky Horror Show are raids on populist things: from advertising, from comics, from B movies, from sci-fi. It’s a complete and utter raid upon all those elements; a joyous raid.

Do you have a favourite character?

I would have loved to have played Rocky, that would have been cool, wouldn’t it? But one thing is essential, you have to be rather handsome and you know, muscular, and that ain’t going to work. I could have played Janet. They’re all so stupidly wonderful these characters, they’re iconographic.

How do you think the live shows compare to the film?

The live show has an energy that the movie doesn’t have - it wasn’t intentional, but the film was very slow. Once some fans came up to me and said, “did you leave the gaps between the lines so that we the audience could say our lines?”. I said, “Well, ok yes”. But no we didn’t. The movie

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is a very surreal, almost dreamlike journey, the live show is far more rock and roll.

What advice do you have for anyone that is new to Rocky Horror?

None - just come with an open heart and a good will or not at all. I always worry that maybe the fans might steal the evening. I don’t ever want the show to be just a few people having fun and the rest of the audience thinking that they’ve arrived at a party that they weren’t invited to, so that’s important.

What’s your favourite part of the show?

The noise at the end of Rocky is wonderful – it is empowering and exhilarating at the same time it is quite joyous. Rocky never fails to deliver. Each performance lifts the heart and the nightly laughter and roars of approval leave the whole cast with a sense of wellbeing and accomplishment that you rarely get from any other shows.

What sets Rocky Horror apart from other musicals?

When it was written, it didn’t follow any kind of formula. The songs aren’t showbizzy. So many new musical numbers you hear now, if you didn’t know what song it was you would instantly know it was a Broadway song. I find that a bit annoying. If you’re going to spend a bit of money on a night out it’s good to know that you’re spending it on something you’re going to enjoy. It’s a rock’n’roll show with a storyline on one level, it’s a fairy tale on another level, and it’s as enjoyable and silly as a Carry On on another.

How different do you think your life might have been without Rocky?

I have no idea but, I would have had a good life because I am made that way. My journey has been a different one than others. I guess some people have a game plan. I would imagine they’re rather humourless. Most of us get an opportunity and we wing it. Luck plays an awfully big part in our lives. You should never underestimate that. I am the luckiest person on the planet. I shall be happy as long as I can keep singing.

The Rocky Horror Show is at The Orchard Theatre from Monday 9th to Saturday 14th January




Our convenient location in the town centre means you’re never too far from savouring one of our chef’s specials or platters, made with the freshest ingredients and cooked to absolute perfection. We’ve been cooking up a storm since 1974


Come What May The Ultimate Tribute to Moulin Rouge


We present to you an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza as you enter the secret world of one of the greatest movie-musicals of all time, featuring Strictly Come Dancing’s, Robin Windsor.

Bursting at the seams with timeless classics including Come What May, Your Song, Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend, Roxanne and Lady Marmalade plus hit songs from The Greatest Showman and other iconic movie musicals.

Travel back in time as the children of the revolution take you on a thrilling non-stop journey into the sexy, disreputable and glamorous underworld of Paris.

It’s a ‘Spectacular, Spectacular’ evening of unforgettable dancing, dreams, adventure and above all – love!

Come What May is a tribute to which movie-musical?

1. Cabaret 2. Moulin Rouge 3. Burlesque Email competition@dartfordliving.com by the 20th January to be in with a chance of winning.

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. Winners will be notified by telephone by the Orchard, within 5 working days of the competition being drawn. 5. Employees and the immediate families of participating companies are ineligible to enter. 6. Closing date for the competition is stated above. 7. 7. All entries will be added to the Dartford Living mailing list to receive a copy of the magazine by email once a month. Please state when you enter the competition if you don’t wish to be added



Comedy is no laughing matter, as Jumping The

‘misleads’, ‘straight reverses’, ‘telegraphing’, ‘the rule of three’ ‘the law of C’, ‘jumping the shark’… these are the rules of comedy. You can’t just learn

Five strangers gather in the conference room of a shabby hotel on the outskirts of Farnham; it’s in need of improvement, but then again so are our protagonists. Their characters may be very different but there is one thing that links Pam, Gavin, Morgan, Dale and Amy… they all want to

Frank Donohue, the finest sitcom writer of his generation, has flown in from Los Angeles to conduct a seminar teaching his five lucky disciples the tricks of the trade, trade and maybe, if they have what it takes, he’ll show them the holy grail: how to write the perfect sitcom. As his masterclass progresses, we get a unique glimpse into each character and discover that unlikely mix-ups, farcical set-pieces and gut-wrenching tragedy exist in their everyday lives as much as they do

With an all-star cast including David Schaal (Glyn - The Office, Jay’s dad Terry - The Inbetweeners), Harry Visinoni (Seb Franklin - Coronation Street), Sarah Moyle (Valerie Pitman - BBC’s Doctors) and Jasmine Armfield (Bex Fowler - EastEnders), Jumping The Shark is a celebration of the sitcom and its place in our hearts.

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DARTFORD FC january 2023 1ST JANUARY 3PM 14TH JANUARY 3PM 17TH JANUARY 7.45PM ebbsfleet united hemel hempstead met police your community your club MATCH PRICES ADULT : £15 CONCESSION : £10 YOUTH (13 – 17) : £5 JUNIOR (5-12) : £2 BUY ONLINE AT WWW.DARTFORDFC.COM OR ON THE GATE 21ST JANUARY 3PM taunton town
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9:15am - 11:30am - A&J Toddlers - St Anselms Church Community Centre, Dartford. £2.50 per one adult and child and 50p for any extra children or adults each. Tea/coffee biscuits, small snack for children with juice. Craft table and singing and dancing at end of session Contact Julie on 07917 843592.


Session 1: 9.15-10.45am, and Session 2: 11-12.30pm. Christchurch, Crossroad, Dartford. Contact Catherine on 01322 220036.

9.30am-11.30am Sticky Fingers - £1.50 per adult includes tea ,biscuits and healthy snack time for the children For pre school children up to 4 years. St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall London Road Greenhithe Contact 01322 382031 or see www.stmarygreenhithe.com

9:30-10:30am Music and Rhyme Time at Fleetdown Utd FC (near Dunelm). £5 per session if you sign up for the term, siblings go free. Contact Katie on 07734661352 or Facebook.com/musicandrhymetime

10.30 - 11.00am. “Baby Bounce & Rhyme” at Fleetdown Library. Music and fun for babies and pre-schoolers. No charge. Term time only. All are welcome - just turn up!


1pm -2.45pm - Fleetdown Open House - Fleetdown Community Centre, Swaledale Road, Dartford, DA2 6JZ - £3.50 per Adult - £1 Siblings Bottomless refreshments.


10:30-11:30am, Music and Rhyme Time at Fleetdown Utd FC (near Dunelm). £5 per session if you sign up for the term, siblings go free. Contact Katie on 07734661352 or Facebook.com/musicandrhymetime


9.30am-11am Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child - £1 Non Walkers - facebook.com/ToeRags Mummy’s Linkup: 10am – 2pm on the 2nd Friday of each month, Tree Community Centre Mummy’s Linkup : 10am – 12noon on the 4th Friday of each month., Temple Hill Community Centre


2-3pm - Lego Club- ages 5 and over - Chrome Road Slade Green DA8 2EL Tel: 01322 333602


Themed Football and multi skills sessions are suitable for girls and boys aged 16 months to 5 years old. Your little superstar will learn shapes, colours, numbers and lots, lots, more all through playing the BabyBallers way!

Classes in Dartford, Northfleet, Gravesend and Ebbsfleet on Fridays and weekends. Please visit https://babyballers1.class4kids.co.uk/ or email matt@babyballers.com


Award winning messy play and mark-making classes across North West Kent for ages 5 months to 5 years. We learn how to write through messy play, scribbling & more! Our classes provide ample sensory development opportunities and focus on developing children’s pre-writing skills and all the important little muscles involved in this. Contact Aisha at aisha@littlelearnersuk.com or visit the website to book a class. Littlelearnersuk.com




THE NORTH WEST KENT BRANCH OF THE MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE ASSOCIATION meets on various date at Birchwood Country Club For more information contact Alexon 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.

ALL DIRECTIONS 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 837172 or 07570 347612

AGE UK, CRAYFORD LIBRARY POP IN PARLOUR COFFEE MORNING every Friday morning 10.3012.30 Tea, Coffee, Biscuits and a chat - Just £1


For people with Parkinsons and their carers. Dartford: 2nd Wednesday of each month, Mick Jagger Centre, 7 -9pm. Information support workers available, guest speakers and quizzes. Contact Wendy Leach.   Tel:  02083065973


The Wellbeing Link meets on Friday mornings from 10-1pm in the St. Anselm’s Parish Centre, 89 West Hill, Dartford A friendly and informative group is a support group for people with any life affecting health issues from loneliness and isolation to life limiting conditions. - call Julie On 07775875585


We are a small friendly group who meet at the Meeting Place in the Orchards Shopping Centre on the first Tuesday of the month. Join us any time between 11am and 1pm for a social chat, coffee and biscuits or a fun quiz. For more information contact mikeansell.dt@hotmail. co.uk


SURROUNDING AREAS SOCIAL GROUP more information visit: www.meetup.com/20s-30s-DartfordBexleyheath-surrounding-areas-social-group/



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 visit u3asites.org.uk/dartford/welcome WILMINGTON AND AXSTANE PROBUS CLUB

We are a group of retired men who meet monthly for a lunch and a speaker at the Swanley Bowls Centre. We also have a monthly walk and occasional coffee mornings and as a side line we raise money for a local charity. If you are missing the contact with other business men since you retired, why not come and join us on the last Thursday of every month. For more details contact Phil Burt on 01322 274541 or look at our website www. waprobus.com


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 www.nwr.org.uk or call 01603406767


Dartford & Gravesham Branch. Meets the first Wednesday of every month at the Masonic Hall, West Hill, Dartford from 1012pm.Activities include guest speakers, outings, lunches, holidays and quizzes. For more information contact Marion on 01322 402967


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 www. nagfencing.eu


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


Sundays 10:15-10:45 at Swanscombe Leisure Centre.

Call Saj on 07903 513104




Celebrating 50years.

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 www.dartfordgymnastics. co.uk for full details or contact Linda on 01322 409312 or email dartfordgymclub@yahoo. co.uk


Learn karate with Yamato Damashii – for adults & children

Every Wednesday evening at the Leigh Academy & every Saturday morning at Becket Sport Centre, first lesson free.

For more info, visit www.ydma.club or find us on Facebook, search for Yamato Damashii Martial Arts.


www.kentexiles.co.uk. Coach Martin - 07944 730634. All ages from 7 years to adult welcome


I run group fitness classes as well as 1-1 and semi private personal training sessions in Darenth at Dimples Day Nursery DA2 7HT.

ENERGY Fitness & Nutrition: we offer a wide variety of group classes such as strength & conditioning, boot camps, Boxercise, mum and baby classes, inside and outside classes with great equipment and suitable for all abilities. The website is www.energyfitnut.co.uk


We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at Dartford Girls Grammar School at 7.30pm. Activities include guest speakers, theatre visits and monthly lunches. New members welcome. For more information please call Judith on 01322 278703


Mondays 7-8pm for 7-16s at the Dartford Girls Grammar, Shepherds Lane Dartford DA1 2NT in the Dance Studio.

We have an adult class 8-10pm too.  We’ve been running for 20 years, building confidence, teaching self-defence, hardening the target, developing skills and always welcome new members.


A fun (different) circuit based workout with space hoppers that challenges core stabilty, balance and strength. It is suitable for all levels and abilities. Classes are held every Wednesday evening at the stone pavilion starting at 8:15 until 9:00 costing £5 per person.

HAWLEY AND SUTTON AT HONE ACTIVE RETIREMENT ASSOCIATION is a friendly group of retired and semi-retired men and women over 55. We have a monthly meeting on the second Thursday at Sutton at Hone Scout Hut at 1.30pm. Associated activities include petanque, keep fit, short mat bowls, country walks and ten pin bowling. Come along to a meeting [£2 entrance] or call Carol on 07912 564710. You will receive a warm welcome.


Based in Erith we have a wide number of members from across SE London and Kent. A great place to come and have a game, make, paint and hobby! Or, if you prefer, come grab a cup of tea and chat about all things hobby and some things not! For more info visit - https:// emperors10th.wixsite.com/home


Dartford parkrun is a free to enter 5k run every Saturday morning starting by the Dartford harriers track in Central Park at 9am. All participants get a time a position emailed and texted after the event. To register go to www.parkrun.org.uk. Remember to bring your printed Barcode.

Every Sunday Morning in the Park there is a Junior parkrun over 2k.


A new Parkrun event with parking at Crazy Barn


Seeds is a long-established cycling Club in Dartford and we share our headquarters at Hesketh with Dartford Cricket Club. We cater for most abilities and have a social ride most Saturday mornings. For info on joining us



please visit our website www.seedscycling.co.uk


We are the local British Triathlon Federation Club covering Bexley, Dartford and Swanley. We offer coached swimming sessions 3 times per week at White oak pool in Swanley and Fairfield pool in Dartford. Our members compete in many local Triathlons plus many members are training towards Iron Man distance. We also have our own Triathlon in June every year which has been running since 1989. If you are interested in joining us then please visit our website http://www.dartfordandwhiteoaktri.co.uk


Dartford Road Runners are based at Princes Park Stadium and are one of the biggest road running clubs in Kent. We currently have about 200 members of all abilities including a beginners group. DRR teams compete in the Kent League, the Assembly League and the Kent Fitness League. To see what we offer and how to join us please visit our website – anyone is welcome to join us with all abilities. http://dartfordroadrunners.co.uk/node/440


Dartford Harriers is among the leading athletics clubs in Kent, with a history stretching back to the 1920′s, making it one of the oldest clubs in the country. If you are interested in seeing how we can help you advance your Athletics then please visit our website http://www.dartfordharriersac.co.uk


We are situated in Dartford’s outstanding Central Park and can provide access to a state of the art running track (re-laid in 2015) and the full range of track and field facilities for just £4.50 per session (we offer discounted annual memberships). Refreshments and changing facilities are also available. For no extra charge, we hold coached track sessions on Wednesday evenings for runners of all abilities.

This is a tough but very popular way to increase your stamina and running technique, and you’ll be in the company of qualified coaches and some of the friendliest runners around. For more information please visit our website centralparkathletics.co.uk

Every Sunday 10-11am – Child friendly coached sessions – Come and join the CPA Swifts – As a fledgling club we would like to give children of all ages and abilities the chance to experience training and coaching within a club environment – come and be part of the team Free first session with this advert


SLGR is a local running club with structured training sessions designed to improve runners speed and stamina. There are currently four runs available with more starting soon; see below for more details.

The Run leaders for each group are as follows; Dartford Cricket Club, Dartford - Dawn & Brian

Cyclopark, Gravesend - Dawn & Brian

New runners are always welcome, and you can contact Brian if you would like more information; see contact details and e-mail link on Our Group page.


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.

DARTFORD & DISTRICT PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY. We are a long-established camera club meeting fortnightly at Stone Pavilion. We have an exciting programme of speakers, competitions, practical evenings and would welcome new members with or without photographic experience to our friendly meetings. You can attend several meetings as a guest before taking out membership which enables you to become a fully-fledged member and enter competitions. Our website is dartphoto. org.uk. We have a spacious hall which enables us to meet “socially distanced” in the present environment. We hope to meet you soon.


Want to learn to play or sing?

For all ages and abilities, we have something for you.

We offer a variety of music learning activities based at The Mick Jagger Centre including Individual Instrumental Lessons, group sessions



with Red Rooster, Dartford Youth Choir and DMS Orchestra!

What’s stopping you?

Webpage: www.themickjaggercentre.com/ dartford-music-school.html

Email: DMS@themickjaggercentre.com

Follow us: Twitter @Dartford_Music Instagram @dartfordmusicschool

WILMARA Wilmington Active Retirement Group.

We are an active retirement group who meet on the third Friday of the month from 2pm till 4pm at the Memorial Hall in Wilmington. Our activities include guest speakers, outings, holidays, theatre trips, tenpin bowling, Petanque, Kurling, indoor sports activities and a lunch club. Please come along and pay us a visit you will be very welcome!

Telephone Membership Secretary. Wendy Murray 01322 226943



Learn new techniques, make friends and enjoy interesting talks, workshops and demonstrations. Absolute beginners and more experienced stitchers welcome. We meet

on the third Saturday of every month except August from 2-4pm in Southfleet Village Hall, Southfleet, Gravesend, DA13 9NX or by Zoom if necessary. Visitors are very welcome.

website: www.northkentembroiderers.co.uk email: info@northkentembroiderers.co.uk phone: Eileen on 01474 324734


A warm welcome awaits newcomers to Dartford’s oldest choir - established over 100 years ago. We rehearse on Monday evenings between 7.30pm and 9.30pm at The Mick Jagger Centre, Shepherds Lane, from September to June and perform four concerts annually. Just turn up to sample the delights of choral singing! For more information please contact the Chairman, Pat Everington. Tel: 01322 220124.


meets usually on 3rd Friday in the month ( October to May) at the Mick Jagger Centre, Shepherds Lane, Dartford at 7.30 p.m. See website for details.


St Alban’s Church

- Stepping Stones’ Toddler Group @ St Alban’s Church, St Alban’s Road, Dartford DA1 3FT Wednesday’s from 8:30am – 11:30am.

- Community Café Coffee Morning @ St Alban’s Church (Tuesdays) , St Alban’s Road, Dartford DA1 1FT, 10am – 12noon. Drinks, sausage or bacon sarnies, scones, fruit, friends and chat.

- Knit & Natter @ St Alban’s Church, St Alban’s Road, Dartford DA1 1FT 10:00am – 11:30am, on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Come and knit, learn to crochet (or teach someone else), have a coffee and a lot of nattering!

St Edmund’ Church

- Kindness and Wellbeing Group @ St Edmund’s Church, St Edmund’s Road, Temple Hill, Dartford DA1 5ND

- Tuesday’s from 9:30am – 11:30am. Make new friends, chat over a cuppa, mindfulness and well being resources and support.

- Café @ St Edmund’s Church, St Edmund’s Road, Temple Hill, Dartford DA1 5ND Thursdays from 10am – 12noon

- Over 60’s Club @ St Edmund’s Church, St Edmund’s Road, Temple Hill, Dartford DA1 5ND Lunch at 12:30pm (£5pp must be booked in advance). Raffles and bingo from 1pm, prizes galore.



"WOW Centre" opens at the new Claire Tiltman Community Space near Bluewater

AwardAward-winning baby winning baby development development classes classes


NEW LOCATION! NEW LOCATION! You can now find multi-award-winning Baby Sensory classes on offer at the (brand new) You can now find multi-award-winning Baby Sensory classes on offer at the (brand new) stunning Claire Tiltman Centre in Greenhithe Monday, Thursday & Friday each week stunning Claire Tiltman Centre in Greenhithe Monday, Thursday & Friday each week Baby Sensory moved Baby Sensory moved from Stone Pavilion to the new facility in from Stone Pavilion to the new facility in September and the feedback from existing parents has been September and the feedback from existing parents has been iincredible ncredible.

Parents and babies from the North West Kent area are ve ry Parents and babies from the North West Kent area are ve ry delights from this well-established and well-loved local ba delights from this well-established and well-loved local ba by by programme to offer a complete approach to learning and to programme to offer a complete approach to learning and to stimulate, educate and provide precious memories during th as stimulate, educate and provide precious memories during th as won multiple awards both nationally and internationally sin won multiple awards both nationally and internationally sinc

Welcome to a magical world of wonder, Welcome to a magical world of wonder, sensory learning exploration, and sensory learning exploration, and extraordinary delights! extraordinary delights!

Parents and babies experience hundreds of different fun activities during the 40+ themed lesson plans which vary from week to week. With a wide range of activities, from baby signing to optic light shows, bubbles, bells, musical fun, and puppet shows, Baby Sensory allows parents and babies to spend quality time together Babies can start Baby Sensory classes from birth and move on to Toddler Sense when they are 13-months-old.

Baby Sensory provide ideas for play, massage, tummy time, movement, visual development, hand- eye coordination and music in simple, practical ways that can easily be repeated at home. Classes feature a combination of original and traditional songs and rhymes to develop early communication skills

“A sensory environment rich in sights, sounds, “A sensory environment rich in sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures promotes brain growth, smells, tastes and textures promotes brain growth, increases the capacity for intellectual increases capacity for intellectual development, and forms the foundation for all development, and forms the foundation for future learning ” Dr Lin Day, founder of future learning ” Dr Lin Day, founder of Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense

In themed weeks, parents and babies will swirl through snow, enjoy a beach party, laugh at the jungle jitters, explore a watery world undersea, join us on an animal adventure, and marvel at the magic that we have created.

Each week, there is a magical exploratory play area so that you can meet other parents, make new friends, share tips and experiences and support each other through the early stages of parenthood Your baby also enjoys happy social play, which sets the tone for the acquisition of future skills such as cooperation, turn taking and sharing.

LEARN MORE & BOOK: www.babysensory.com/dartford-gravesend



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Police 01622 690690


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)


Darent Valley Hospital 01322 428100

Dartford East Health Centre 01322 421480

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


Heathrow Airport Enquires 08700 000123

Gatwick Airport Enquires 08700 002468

National Rail Enquires 08456 484950

Highways England Info Line 0300 123 5000


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

Call 999 in an Emergency Fire, Police, Ambulance and Coastguard

101 Non Emergency Number for Kent Police Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

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: 116 123

LOCAL MP Gareth Johnson 020 7219 7047


Bexley Rugby Club 01322 550142 or www.pitchero.com/clubs/ 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. dartfordjujitsu.co.uk

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- Contact: 01322 299990 www.dartfordfc.com

Dartford Valley RFCwww.pitchero.com/clubs/ darenthvalleyrfc/


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Investments – whether you want to invest a lump sum, save regularly, invest in an ISA or another type of savings plan, we can help you find the best plan to suit your requirements. As there are so many di erent types of savings and financial investments available, it is wise to seek professional advice.

Retirement Planning – this is about saving enough money while you’re working to ensure you have a su cient level of income when you retire. Our pension specialists will help you plan your retirement, by assessing all aspects of your financial circumstances, from saving for your retirement to investing your retirement savings.

Estate Planning – you don’t have to be wealthy to consider estate planning. Even sentimental items, small sums of money and belongings will need to be distributed following your death. Planning for what will happen to your estate and the impact on your family, is a responsible thing to do. Circumstances can change very quickly and knowing your family will be looked after, will provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Download ‘The Value of Financial Advicewhatever stage of life you’re at’

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