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Dartford Living February 2016 - Issue 116

WHAT’S INSIDE... Team Hard

Stanhill Farm

Win a signed Plus - All your regular features, puzzles, events, Shirt

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Page 22

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information and much, much more in your new 48 page issue.


“A Hand Holding Service” Established 35 years

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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.

Tel: 01322 278188

Haslemere, 4 Summerhill Rd, Dartford DA1 2LP Email:


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


Dear Readers,

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, The Prior 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! Over 4,500 local people already this!

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

check out our new website for even more local news and articles

6-13....................... .................... What’s on 14...................................... Useful numbers 18-19 ..........Local racing team - Team Hard 22...........................................Stanhill Farm 23.............................Dartford Living Meets 28...............................Life Under The Stairs 30.....................................Max Makerspace 31.............................................Pets Corner 32........Thanks from Darent Valley Hospital 36-37.....................................Charity Focus 38..............................................Auto News 39...............................................Gardening 40.....................................................Fitness 42....Dartford Valley RFC Presidents Match 43..................................Sporting Comment 43................Win a signed Dartford FC Shirt 44..........................................Mister Maker 45.........................Jan/Feb Theatre Update



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Advertisers Index

Directory of Local Businesses advertising in Dartford Living

ACCOUNTANTS, FINANCE & LEGAL Conradi Morrison & Co .....................................................2 GF+Co......................................................20 Lynton & Co ........................................................................5 BUILDERS, DECORATORS ROOFING, KITCHENS & WINDOWS 4k Building Services.........................................................47 A Baines & Son Roofing.....................................................26 Claremont Decorative Services.. .................................46 EuroClad......................................................................29 John Hargreaves Building...................................................34 Michael Jones ...................................................................26 Prime Plastering ...............................................................15 Steve Cook - Double Glazing............................................27 CHILDCARE Dimples.. ...........................................................24 COSMETIC, BEAUTY & HEALTH Amazincare....................................................................... 28 Dia Wipes.. ............................................................17 Slimming World .................................................................25 The Well Counselling.................................................,,,,,,,,.35 EDUCATION Kip McGrath.. .........................................................27 ELECTRICIANS AES Electricians...............................................................4 MTRPS Electricians ...........................................................15 ESTATE AGENTS GPS Lettings....................................................................17 Wisdom Estates..............................................................33 FLOREST St Albans Flowers...........................................................15 GARAGES & VEHICLE SERVICES Shenley Road Garage..........................................................34 GARDENING SERVICES Hawley Garden Centre .......................................................13 HEATING AND PLUMBING JA Projects........................................................................35 JEWELLERY Bradleys............................................................................26 LOCKSMITHS/HOME SECURITY Dartford Locksmith.............................................................46 LOGISTICS/ REMOVALS FD TRANSPORT ...........................................................47 INTEGRAL MOVING SERVICES.......................................35 MUSIC/DANCE & FITNESS Dartford Bootcamps............................................................4 Monkey Music.. ..........................................................7 Vibe..................................................................................19 OPTICIANS

Linklater Opticians.............................................................33 PETS Easipetcare...................................................................48 PICTURE FRAMING Craft Frames.. ...........................................................34 SPORTS Dartford FC........................................................................41 Ladies Basketball ..............................................................41 STOVES AND FIREPLACES The Stove and Fireplace ....................................................31 VOLUNTEERING West Kent Befriending Service.......................................36 WILL WRITING SMN Will Writing .........................................................46 WEBSITE, BROCHURE DESIGN DS Brochure Webdesign..................................................4

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Where to go locally...

...local events, clubs & groups

Parent & Toddler Groups (Term Time) Mondays 9:15am - 11:00am. St Anselms Church Community Centre, Dartford. Contact Julie on 01322 291092. St Mary’s Greenhithe Church Hall, Messy Makers:10.15am-11.15am - an hour of messy play and creative activities for 2-5 year olds. at or call London Road, Greenhithe. £4.50 per child. For further information and to book, please emailus 07851 150593. Tuesdays Catherine on 01322 220036. Session 1: 9.15-10.45am, and Session 2: 11-12.30pm. Christchurch, Crossroad, Dartford. Contact and drinks. John 01322 272649. Little Fishes: 12 - 2pm, Net Church,, (Formerly Gala Bingo Hall) Dartford, £3 per family including all snacks information. further for 288434 (01322) on us call Please Dartford. Street, Hythe 9.30am -11.30am. The Salvation Army, 66 school children up to 4 years pre For children the for time snack healthy and ,biscuits tea Sticky Fingers, 9.30-11.30 am £1.50 per adult includes www.stmaryg see or 382031 01322 St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall London Road Greenhithe Contact Wednesdays for further information. 9.30am -11.30am. The Salvation Army, 66 Hythe Street, Dartford. Please call us on (01322) 288434 term, £5 weekly dependent on 6-weekly 1pm-2pm - Fleetdown Community Centre, Swaledale Road, Dartford, DA2 6JZ t - £30 for Kent “Happi-Mess Facebook on us find or kent@hotma availability, paid in advance - happi-messThursdays The Vineyard Centre, 24 Market St, Dartford. Contact Jane on 07956 430244 for further details. 9:30 - 11:30am. St Paulinus Church Hall, Manor Road, Crayford. - 9.30-11am Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child - £1 Non Walkers - 1-2.30pm Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child - £1 Non Walkers Fridays 9.30-11am Baby and me for expectant mothers and mothers / carers of chidren up to 2. £1 per adult St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall, London Road Greenhithe. Contact 01322 382031 or see www.stmaryg - Walkers Non £1 Child per £3 Dartford centre, education Adult Group Toddler Toerags 9.30-11am 380322 01322 9.30-11.30 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

healthy snack time for the children. Daddy and Me 9.30.-11.30am A group for dads and male carers of children up to 5years. £1.50 includes www.stmaryg see or 382031 01322 Contact Greenhithe. Road London St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall,

Toddler Music & Rhyme Sessions

MONDAY S 10:30am - 11:00am & Friday 2:15pm - 2:45pm at Dartford Library - Baby Bounce & Rhyme Time TUESDAY S 2 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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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 : 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

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

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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.

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 Pamela Childs 0208 303 8971


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, please call 07860 963333 or find us at West-Kent-Book-Club/


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 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

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. £2.00 per afternoon. £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, free tea And biccies. 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

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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 Players Crayford 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

Established for 36years - No Expensive courses Puppies from 3months - Older dogs any age. Tel. Barbara for more details 01322 663956


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 -



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

Dartford Art Group

We meet every Thursday evening from 7.309.30pm. We meet at the What if...? Gallery 67-69 High Street Dartford DA1 1DJ. The cost to belong is £40 per annum. For further enquiries please email or ring 07940 836672

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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

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.



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

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.

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).

MALE? AGED 18 - 44?

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

DARTFORD LIONS CLUB 1st Tuesday of every month Dartford Conservative Club Spital Street, Dartford DA1 2DT. Meeting start at 20:00. Further details call Cathy 01322 618640

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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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.

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.



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

Dartford Orienteering Club

For more details see

YOGA WITH EMMA 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:

Based in Greenhithe, FREE FIT is a community fitness club designed for people of all ages looking to gain basic levels of fitness, drop a few pounds and enjoy meeting and training with like minded people. So if Gyms are not your thing and you are looking to take your first steps in fitness and weight loss, come and train with free fit.

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Want to get fit iin 2016 whilst enjoying fresh air and home grown veg? Allotmments for rent in Gore Road, East Dartford are available now. Contact Brian 01322 384484 or dartfordeastallotments@

Dartford & Crayford Sea Cadets based at Brooklands Lake Dartford, next to Homebase on Princes Road. We parade every Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7pm9.15pm and is open to new recruits, junior cadets aged 1012 and Sea Cadets aged 12-18. email for more details.

Mummy On The Mend

A support group for parents affected by pre and post natal depresion Fridays 12:30 til 14:00 at St Marys Church Greenhithe Email for more details.

Gareth Johnson, Member ofMember Parliament forof Dartford, will be available meet with constituents on the Gareth Johnson, Parliament forto Dartford, will be dates: available to meet following with constituents on the Bluewater, DA9 9ST (4.00 pm to 7.00 pm - Appointment required) following dates: Friday 4 September Bluewater, DA9 9ST (4.00 pm – 7.00 pm - Appointment Friday 2 October required) Friday 6 November th



Friday 4 December th

Friday 5th February Friday 4th March

Open Surgery (No appointment necessary) Saturday 18th July – all day, Dartford Festival, Central Park, Dartford

If you would like to meet Gareth at one of his regular appointment

If you would like to meet Garethsurgeries at one of his regular based surgeries in the future, please based in theappointment future, please contact him at or telephone 020 7219 7047.

contact him at or telephone 020 7219 7047.

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Dartford Living


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 0800 0280247 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


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 HELPLINES 24 Hour Kent Dementia Helpline: 0800 500 3014 Alcoholics Anonymous: 08457 697 555 Citizens Advice Bureau: 01322 224686 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: 08457 909090 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 Todayand Tomorrow Dartford Remembered Dartford Gossip Dartford Hour Love Dartford

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Quality plastering services at competitive prices across Kent Contact Daniel for a free consultation on: T: 07736 255822 E:

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11 15 15

Eat, sleep and gym. Gym membership


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Lowfield Street, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1JB

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Managed by Places for People Leisure Ltd for Dartford Borough Council. A one-off admin fee applies to all memberships. Terms and conditions apply.


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Local Feature

Interview: Tony Gilham - Hard Work Paying Off for Team Hard! by Dave Shafford

For those of you who follow motorsport the name Tony Gilham or Team Hard should ring a bell. You can’t miss his and the teams distinctive Pink and Green Livery. The pink is to represent their connection with breast cancer awareness and Tony regularly raises money for cancer charities. Tony has been around British Motorsport, either racing or with his own team, for over 10 years now. Team Hard was originally run out of a very small garage in Dartford but has now expanded to larger premises just off the A2 in Strood. Tony picked up the racing bug as young as 4 years old when he competed in BMX Championships, winning the world championships at aged 9. Growing up he then competed in cage fighting contests to earn a bit of extra money, but he also enjoyed it, so he carried on for a number of years. He had always wanted to get into motor racing and in 2005 he decided to take part in a season racing a Toyota MR2 mark 1. He thought this would get the motor racing bug out of his system but he went on to win the championship in his first season so he progressed into the VW Cup for another year of racing culminating in also winning that championship in 2007. This then lead to drives in the US Time attack series and Euro tuner challenge where he was successful in winning both in class. Tony came back to the UK to race in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship in 2008. He was leading the Amateur class overall on the last lap of the last race of the season when a crash put him out of the race and he lost it all.

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He spent another two seasons in the Porsches where he was team mate to former BTCC champion Tim Harvey. In 2011 Tony was able to progress to the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), signing up with top team 888 Racing. Funding issues meant the season was cut short. Tony returned in 2012 with his own team running a car for himself or other drivers if funding was required. After stepping away from the BTCC in 2013, his team came back in 2015 with a single Toyota and a few cars in the VW Cup. This has now lead to an expanded program for 2016. Team Hard has now expanded to be one of the largest motorsport teams in Europe in terms of cars run. It also provides a clear ladder for people wanting to progress from karting all the way up to the BTCC or GT cars and beyond. Team hard now has a presence in: · Karting · Fiesta Juniors · VAG Trophy · VW Cup · Clio Cup · British GT · Ginetta Supercup · Ginetta Juniors · And the BTCC. Even though they might be one of the largest teams of their type in Europe they are a small family team at heart, being run by Tony with support from his family. Tony explains over a chat at Team Hard’s base that they had one of the largest teams in the BTCC, running 4 cars and one of the main teams in terms of building cars to the new NGTC regulations. They had just started to develop

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the cars into race winning cars (that later went on to finish runner up in the 2015 championship) but the team that were helping to develop the cars was not going along with their family ethics, so Tony decided to walk away and start the process again and build the team without any external influences. Tony developed a unique process where the sticker on the car is just one of the perks to becoming a sponsor of Team Hard. Tony said, “It is very easy to put a sticker on a car but unless you are actively promoting the sponsor there is not a lot of value in it. We take a proactive approach to build a relationship with the sponsor. This includes VIP Hospitality at the races, track days with the race cars and the ‘show’ of the motorsport. Money cannot be made by just turning up and going racing.” Team Hard offer the full management program to their drivers from setting up the sponsorship deals to mentoring from Tony. The setup also allows businesses, from the large multi nationals to small local businesses, to get involved. All of the sponsorship money goes into a pot that can be used by all the drivers, thus allowing small

businesses who maybe cannot afford to put as much in, the opportunity to sponsor a team and the less well funded drivers the possibility of getting a drive even if they cannot raise all of the money needed. It is testament to the number of cars the team has expanded to run that this approach is working. This also goes to show that Team Hard is really starting to build on the foundations it has created over the past few years and is an asset to the Dartford community. Team hard drivers to look out for include: Chris Smiley, Howard Fuller, Michael Epps, Howard Fuller, Simon Rudd, Damani Marcano, John Stevens, Andy Wilmot and Kenan Dole. Dartford Living will be following the teams progress over the coming year, with reports online on our website ( and in the magazine.

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She’s waiting for the chance to feel like she matters

What are you waiting for? You can give a young person a new start in life. If you’ve just been thinking about fostering, now is the time to do it. And you really can do it. Especially when you have support, training and advice from the UK’s largest independent fostering agency. Call Foster Care Associates today on 0800 022 4012.

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Dartford Living


Featured Local Business

Online Farm Shop - Stanhill Farm

Stanhill Farm in Wilmington is pleased to offer an online farm shop, delivering fresh produce direct to your door. The delivery charge is included in the price and our catchment covers a vast area of South East London and Kent. If your postcode doesn’t come up as being covered, please contact us as we are always looking to extend our delivery boundaries.

or be tied into any contract. We offer the flexibility of choosing how often you have deliveries and in what quantities, and you can save your regular items for quick, convenient ordering. Our payment process is secure through Sage Pay and we will only take payment after delivery has taken place, therefore if any items are unavailable you will not be charged.

We grow around 33 varieties of fruit and vegetables on the farm each year and in addition, our online farm shop offers many more of the everyday essentials including dairy, eggs, bread, juices, condiments and household items.

If you don’t have access to the internet this is not a problem as we can set up an online account for you. Please give us a call to discuss further.

Our veg boxes contain a selection of seasonal produce and start at just £6.50; you can view the contents of each week’s box to enable you to see what is included before placing your order. However, if a seasonal veg box isn’t for you, you can visit the online shopping page and select the exact items you require, enabling you to tailor your order to your needs. Getting started is easy, and once you have created an account with us you will not need to re-enter your details


We appreciate that in the busy lives many of us lead it is not always possible to make a trip to the farm in person, so we are delighted to be able to offer our online service enabling us to bring the farm to you. We strive to bring you only the highest quality produce at a great value and take pride in excellent customer service. For further details please visit or telephone 01322 669 711.

DARTFORD LIVING MEETS....... BY KELLY GOLDSWORTHY Jamie explained that he became a taxi driver 25 years ago. After being made redundant and starting a new job where rumours of redundancies had already started he decided to start the knowledge (an extensive training course taken by black taxi drivers in which they must demonstrate knowing every road and landmark in London and how to get there). Completing this is 21 months Jamie has been a cab driver ever since.

time. It is funded by sponsorship and donations.

Asked what he liked most about his job, Jamie explained that the freedom is a big advantage ‘if you want to take a break and try another occupation or do something else for a few weeks or months you can. You’ve got no boss to ask if you need a day off so you can plan your time as you want and it’s a fantastic view out of my office window any time of day or night. It’s also nice to be part of a profession that dates back to 1654 which is when Oliver Cromwell created licensed taxis. ‘

Find out more about the Magical Taxi Tour at www. or see their facebook page facebook. com/magicaltaxitour

I love it, but then I have got a vested interest – I met my wife on the trip when she was accompanying her daughter, who had leukaemia. Her daughter made a full recovery and so I got a family out of it!’ Follow London Taxi Radio on twitter @LondonTaxiRadio

Find out more abut London Taxi Radio Jamie also runs

One thing Jamie has been able to do is set up a radio station: ‘A few years ago I started to think cabbies could do with their own radio station. I asked on twitter for people’s thoughts and was surprised when people responded to say it was a good idea. I’m the type to just get on with things so I found out how to do it and created London Taxi Radio. Seven of us do a show weekly, with guests on Mondays at 1pm and we produce a podcast.’ Another side of Jamie’s life is his involvement with charities. He explained ‘After I’d been driving a couple of months I heard about The Albany Taxi Charity Fund which involved black cab drivers taking children with disabilities, mostly those in residential homes, for an annual day trip to Margate. I did this for a few years and then went on their committee. I then joined the Mordon East London Cabbies Outing which involved taking underprivileged children out on a day trip. Then, 17 years ago I got involved with The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers Magical Taxi Tour. This is an annual weekend event where cab drivers, escorted by the English and French Police take children with life limiting illnesses and their siblings for a weekend in Disneyland, Paris. We put on a party for them and give them a great in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817 Interested inInterested advertising? Tel: 01322 507817 Dartford Living

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New Year, New Career Nursery Nurse level 2 or 3 Lunchtime assistant End of Day assistant Play worker for holiday club Apprenticeship vacancy Full details on our website www. Due to our new building opening we are recruiting enthusiastic, knowledgeable practitioners to join our fantastic team. Candidates must have excellent knowledge of the EYFS, child development and be personable, caring and motivated. Successful applicants will love outdoor play and have a real passion for working with children aged 3 months to 5 years. Competitive salary and excellent working conditions. Full and part time positions available. Email CV and covering letter to or call 01322 285885 Dimples Day Nursery, Green Street Green Road, Darenth, Kent, DA2 7HT


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VCD Sports Club, Old Road, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4DN 9:30am and 11:30am Your Consultant’s name is Sue 07507 599691

Greenhithe & Swanscombe British Legion, London Road, Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9EJ 10:00am Your Consultant’s name is Paula 07891 424401

South East Dance Studios, On the site of Oasis Academy,39 Egerton Avenue, Hextable, Swanley,Kent, BR8 7LG 9:30am Your Consultant’s name is Caroline 07776 181413

Sutton Court, Church Road,Sutton At Hone, Dartford, Kent, DA4 9EX 9:30am Your Consultant’s name is June 07957 902767 VCD Sports Club, Old Road, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4DN 5:30pm and 7:30pm Your Consultant’s name is Sue 07507599691 Fleetdown Community Centre, Swaledale Road, Dartford, Kent, DA2 6JZ 5:30pm and 7:30pm Your Consultant’s name is Paula 07891 424401


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Sutton Court, Church Road,Sutton At Hone, Dartford, Kent, DA4 9EX 5:30pm and 7:30pm Your Consultant’s name is June 07957 902767 Church Centre, 112 Swanscombe Street, Swanscombe, Kent, DA10 0JZ 7:30pm Your Consultant’s name is Lisa 07986 030199

Visit the website to read Zoes story… 0844 897 8000

Glentworth Ex Service Club, 154 Lowfield Street, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1JB 5:30pm and 7:30pm Your Consultant’s name is Angela 07956 896679 Wednesday Glentworth Ex Service Club 154 Lowfield Street, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1JB 9:30am and 12:00pm Your Consultant’s name is Angela 07956 896679 VCD Sports Club, Old Road, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4DN 10am Your Consultant’s name is Liz 07900213548 VCD Sports Club, Old Road, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4DN 5:30pm and 7:30pm Your Consultant’s name is Liz 07900213548 South East Dance Studios, On the site of Oasis Academy,39 Egerton Avenue, Hextable, Swanley,Kent, BR8 7LG 5:00pm and 7:00pm Your Consultant’s name is Caroline 07776 181413

St Anselm’s Parish Centre, 89 West Hill, Dartford, Kent, DA1 2HJ 5:00pm and 7:00pm Your Consultant’s name is Gillian 07957 135737 Greenhithe & Swanscombe British Legion, London Road, Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9EJ 5:30pm and 7:30pm Your Consultant’s name is Paula 07891 424401 Saturday Amar Hall, East Hill, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RX 9:00am Your Consultant’s name is Sarah 07739 027161 Christ Church Centre, Kingswood Avenue, Swanley, Kent, BR8 8AN Saturdays 9:00am Your Consultant’s name is Kelli 07535 443981

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Life Under The Stairs

Local News

by Jane Stevenson

NEW YEAR? BAH HUMBUG! A belated Happy New Year to you. We are almost through the first month of 2016. Christmas is over and where I live, the only reminders are a couple of discarded Christmas trees and some battered packaging out for the bin men. 2016 is well and truly upon us. To be honest I don’t like New Year at all: all that and frantic bonhomie at midnight. Woe betides anyone who phones me on the stroke of Big Ben to wish me a happy New Year. I probably lose more acquaintances this time of year than all other 365 days put together. Thankfully, family and friends know better than to make the call! It wasn’t always like that. I used to go to Trafalgar Square and join in the hugging and backslapping with complete strangers with gusto, wishing them all the best for the coming year, knowing full well I wouldn’t ever see them again. This was followed by friends and self, singing Auld Lang Syne raucously before catching the train back to Dartford with other merrymakers. So what happened? I think it was the realisation that a new year doesn’t make things better. Problems and concerns don’t magically disappear at midnight, like Cinderella’s coach. It needs commitment from me to make things happen, and that was my problem. It meant changing me. I was talking about this dilemma with the offspring, before Christmas and out of the mouths of babes came this gem. ‘I’m not making New Year Resolutions, I’m having monthly goals, they’re easier to achieve so I’ll feel better’. Talk about a light bulb moment! Yet again, I’ve learnt something of value from one of my young’uns. So 2016 sees me setting myself realistic, achievable tasks, whether it is to write 1000 words in the morning, lessen the ironing pile or do half an hour on my exercise bike. I’m choosing my own goals, and hopefully they will turn into positive habits.

a bit of privacy, something to give me a curtain of colour between my house and the pavement. I bought the giant variety, which can grow nearly two metres. The plan was to grow them against a wall and enjoy their beauty, along with the foxgloves which also grow. I like an old fashioned garden. Every day I checked them, talked to them, and even stroked their little leaves. Made sure they had water and kept the weeds at bay. They responded by growing into healthy little plants and seemed pleased to see me. I left them for a couple days over Christmas. The family were here and we made the most of their visit. When I eventually went to see them I found wholesale slaughter in the garden. Made Custer’s last stand look like a small fracas! Their little leaves are riddled with holes, and in some cases the plants seem to have vanished. My dream of a fragrant and colourful barrier against the world is in ruins. There are some left that are relatively unharmed, so I drew up a battle plan to combat the little critters that have desecrated my dream – and promptly threw it out. It revolved around blasting the garden with chemicals, something the aging hippie in me finds unacceptable. A hunt around the internet came up with organic insecticides, natural homemade insecticides and ideas for introducing bug eating bugs. I was amazed at the variety of products all readily available in my home, which might protect my little hollyhocks. So I leave you to rifle through the cupboards for the ingredients for Rhubarb Leaf Mix and Basil Tea, in hopes that it isn’t too late for the plants, and that the troublemakers will think twice before munching their way through my garden. See you next month.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE Something is eating my baby hollyhocks, and I’m not happy. I planted two dozen of these graceful plants in the front garden back in September. I wanted to create


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Dartford Living


Kids’ Zone Crafts

Max's Makerspace By MicroHackers - A Dartford Edtech Startup

Invisible ink Materials: • 1 x Piece of paper • 1 x Lemon • 1 x Crayon Tools and equipment: • Paint brush • Knife

Instructions: 1. Very carefully slice a lemon in half with a knife. 2. Squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl. 3. Dip the paintbrush into the lemon juice and paint a picture on the piece of paper. 4. Leave the piece of paper to dry. 5. Your picture will now be completely invisible. 6. Rub the side of a wax crayon all over the piece of paper. 7. Your secret painting will magically apear! Information: The lemon juice is an acid, which breaks down the surface of the paper. This change is invisible until you rub a crayon over the surface. Further ideas: Perhaps you could write an invisible note to a friend, and get them to reveal what is written by using their crayon.


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Every month Judy Walker (CEO of easipetcare) will be sharing her hints and tips for caring for your pet Pet Insurance In A Nutshell The Christmas buzz is now well and truly behind us and hopefully you will have hit the ground running in 2016, already ticking things off your to-do list! As a result, now is a popular time for considering the pros, cons and feasibility of pet insurance… The Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, is quite right in stating that “insurance is about making unpredictable events predictable in case the unpredictable happens.” It covers situations in which your beloved pet becomes unexpectedly ill or injured, when vet bills can simply become unaffordable. However, even if you have a healthy household income and money for those rainy days, insurance can still work out cheaper in the event that you actually need to make a claim!

Pet Corner

leading pet insurers covering Tesco and More Than pet insurance) launched their ‘Preferred Referral Network’. This network benefits the pet-owner by ensuring the highest standards of veterinary treatment are provided at competitive costs. IAnd I personally am delighted to see our preferred referral partner West Midlands Referrals on this list! So that is it – insurance in a nutshell! I hope this will be of some use to you and your family

So how do you go about getting insured? The best way to ensure a fair price nowadays is through a price comparison website. These sites provide the very best way of discovering the best policies out there for your specific pet and allow you to directly compare similar quotes. Be sure to keep in mind; - Cheap will mean less cover. Consider the breed of your pet and the health issues they may be pre-disposed to and make sure these are covered at the very least - A higher excess may mean smaller monthly payments. But make sure you would be able to easily cover this excess in the event of a claim - Always declare medical conditions. It may be tempting to ‘forget’ a long-standing health condition that your pet has, but ultimately the insurer is unlikely to pay out in the event of a claim - Always read the small print. Quite simply, be sure of what you are signing up for! In order to ensure you are fully covered according to the policy you have opted for, you should always ensure all of the details you provide are accurate. However, from August this year, the law is changing to help those who accidentally provide incorrect information and ensures that “insurers will be unable to unfairly reject customers’ claims because they have given the wrong information about an irrelevant element of their policy” This does suggest that insurers are not keen to help the pet-owning public and yet that is not the case. In December 2015 for example, the RSA (one of the UK’s Interested in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817

Dartford Living


Local News

Thank you from Darent Valley Hospital

Once again we are so grateful to those who gave support to our Christmas Appeal which last year raised £11,082.82. (We are still counting this year’s). A big thank you to all our volunteers who help our staff throughout the year – we are so grateful to them all. I thought you would like to read the message I have included below it will give you an idea of the type of things your charitable donations help to provide. Highly specialised equipment to help fight diseases are important but the small things also mean such a lot. Thoughtfulness of those thinking of others at such desperate times as well as the kindness shown is something I hear about and witness regularly and reaffirms my belief in humankind. Message from our Chief Executive I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas and are giving consideration to your New Year’s resolutions. I was reflecting on what a special time Christmas can be - and how difficult it can be as well. My thoughts went to those flooded out of their homes in Cumbria and Yorkshire. I saw the first baby born on Christmas Day - a special day to be born - and also how tense some of the ward staff were looking after critically ill patients - a particularly poignant time of year to lose anyone. There were three special stories I heard over Christmas that I wanted to share with you all. Having heard the parents of the young hockey player who died, talking of their decision to allow their son’s organs to be used as per his own wishes, I was struck by their calm grace and generosity in their darkest hour. Discussing this with one of our colleagues on Christmas Eve, she relayed to me a similar story of such amazing consideration and compassion; of someone also willing to give the gift of life and hope to others, despite her own terrible loss. We both discussed how the amazing organ transplant staff work with such delicacy and professionalism at these desperate moments in people lives. The second story was one of our staff raising money


and providing very generous Christmas provisions for a family where both parents were seriously ill and unable to work. They were in for a Christmas of little hope and cheer due to severe disability and illness. I know that many of you would empathise with families in such a situation, especially with children, and will applaud the action of our staff in giving direct and practical support, beyond just clinical and social care. My final story is one relayed to many of us by Tracey Cummins who was telling us how some of the charitable money is used for SOS situations. The story she told was of a homeless gentleman, brought to A+E. He had to have his clothes cut off him and had no replacements nor any friends or family to provide for him. Again, through the kindness and awareness of our staff, the call for help went out and clothing and charitable support was asked and given, allowing the man to have new clothes provided. He cried at the gift of clothing - his dignity had been returned to him and the generosity of our staff, was the first he had been shown in a decade. So for this season of goodwill, and looking to the new year ahead, it seems appropriate to return to the values of our organisation, so clearly evidenced in the anecdotes above. Care with compassion; respect and dignity; professionalism; teamwork; and striving to excel are all central to this organisation, and underpin the work that each one of you does here day in day out. I remain proud to lead this excellent hospital, and am inspired on a daily basis by all of the staff here whose commitment to our patients I never take for granted and for which I remain indebted. Susan Acott, Chief Executive, January 2016

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Could you spare some time to help? We are looking for Volunteers

Hope Group, Peppercorns 3 Orchard Street Dartford Kent DA1 2DF

Do you want to make new friends and gain new experiences and skills? Then we could be the group for you! The Hope Group is a friendly and supportive women’s only voluntary group. We aim to help women of all ages and backgrounds that are suffering with mental health issues, low self-esteem or are isolated. We provide support and social events to help improve the quality of their lives. Whilst helping them to meet new people and become more confident within the community. What will the role involve? We are currently looking for volunteers to help meet the demands of the group and grow. The role will include administration duties, raising awareness for the group’s activities and organising events and fundraising. What Skills & Qualifications are required? Due to the nature of our work we are looking for female volunteers only and you must be over 18 years of age. This is a flexible role with most of the work being based online and from home. Therefore you must have the ability to work from home and proficient computer skills., with access to a computer. Occasionally you may be required to supervise our yoga and meditation classes based in Peppercorns opposite the old bingo hall in Dartford. What will you gain? The opportunity to work in a friendly and supportive environment. Working from home with flexible hours. You will gain valuable new skills and experiences. Full induction and training will be provided. Reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed. How to apply? If you are interested please send us an updated CV and cover letter to We will contact all applicants to advise of the next steps. If you r application is successful at this stage you will be invited to an interview.

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

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The pressures of modern day life often mean that we get to the stage where we find it difficult to cope. When things get on top of us, it can be helpful to share the load with a sympathetic counsellor. That is why we are here.

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Charity Focus

Each month we will be featuring a local charity. If you represent a charity and would like to be featured please email

Dreams is a new Community Interest project that aims to build a future in dance for children with disabilities. Dance has specific benefits to this group of children as it aids the development of co-ordination, spatial awareness, and self-awareness and allows the child to gain an understanding of respect for the space they occupy.

Please contact either: Jan: or Allison: allison@dreamsindance.

Both our holiday workshops and our weekly class have been developed to allow the child to strengthen their own belief in themselves through the enjoyment of movement to music. The dates of our next family workshops are Monday February 15th 2016 & Saturday April 9th 2016 These days run from 10:00 – 15:00 both being held at “South East Dance Studios” Hextable, Kent. Both the workshops and the weekly sessions are free. If you are interested in attending any of our sessions

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Please Pleasemention mentionDartford DartfordLiving Living when when contacting contactingour ouradvertisers advertisers

North West Kent Life is the local branch of a national charity that is one of the largest providers of accommodation for pregnant women and unsupported mothers aged 16-25 years in the UK. Dartford Life House residents with Honorary Chairman Rebecca Luton and Senior Support Worker Bally Majhail receiving a £200 cheque from Asda Living’s Domonique Bishop. We currently have 23 houses and five community services across the UK. Last year we supported 285 vulnerable young people, over a third of whom were under 18. LIFE houses reflect a typical domestic environment; tenants have their own bedrooms and share communal facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and lounges. In two locations we have self-contained flats. A Support Worker is on site every weekday.

Rebecca Luton on 07956 111909. Website: www, Helpline: 0808 802 5433 Registered National Charity No. 1128355

All tenants have an Individual Support Plan. Support Workers devise these alongside tenants and regularly review the plan together, helping tenants achieve their goals. The Life Skills Programme helps tenants develop the skills necessary to move on to independent living and covers budgeting, education, employment, nutrition and kitchen skills as well as pregnancy, childcare and emotional support to deal with relationships and parenthood. Our Community Support Schemes provide support to young parents and their children in their own homes. Service-users are either former LIFE Housing tenants who have moved on but who need extra support, or they are referred to us through agencies such as Social Services. Life Support Workers Joy Scudder and Bally Majhail with the Worshipful the Mayor of Dartford Councillor Iam Armitt during his recent visit to the Dartford Life House. The North West Kent Life Group primarily fundraises for the local LIFE house in Dartford which provides supported accommodation for up to five pregnant women or mums with small children. We are always looking for new committee members who can get involved with our fundraising events. We hold Coffee Mornings, Quiz Nights and Sponsored Events as well as running Life Stalls at Christmas Bazaars and the Dartford Festival. If you would like to get involved, please contact

Alzheimer’s & Dementia S U P P O RT S E R V I C E S Registered Charity No. 1024385

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Dhiren’s Automotive News


In this edition we’ll look at new models launching in spring 2016 and new remote technology to assist Volvo drivers.

2016 Ford Edge SUV

This is the new Ford Edge, an upmarket SUV, which will sit above the Kuga and the Ecosport in Ford’s SUV range. The Edge will be launched with a choice of two versions of Ford’s 2.0-litre diesel engine: a (177bhp) with a six-speed manual gearbox, and a six-speed automatic transmission (207bhp) both with CO2 emissions of 149g/km. All models feature Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and there’s a front, split-view camera to aid parking manoeuvres, and a rear camera system that works, with a Blind Spot Information 30 mention Dartford System, to show the driverPlease cars approaching from Living either side when reversing out of a tight space. Boot space is large, with easy access and a flat floor. Ford claims a class-leading capacity of 1788 litres with the rear seats folded, but has yet to reveal capacity figures for the Edge with its rear seats in place. Prices start at £29,995 for the entry-level Zetec version with the 177bhp 2.0-litre TDCI engine and rising to £36,745 for the 207bhp Sport. It will go on sale in the UK in spring 2016. 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The latest E-Class has been made more dynamic and more likely to appeal to younger buyers. Visually, the new car shares much of its design language with the C-Class and


larger S-Class. The new E-Class is longer and lighter than its predecessor, which means it can be aerodynamically more efficient than any other the E-Class. Five engines will be available at launch, however, and they include a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol with 181bhp, and an all-new 2.0-litre diesel with 192bhp. The latter engine is claimed to return up to 72.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 102g/ km. Other diesel engines that will follow later in the year include an entry-level 2.0-litre unit with 148bhp. The new E-Class gets a thoroughly upgraded cabin, with all but the entry-level model receiving a completely digital instrument cluster and infotainment system, which is presented on two 12.3-inch screens. Starting prices have yet to be annouced but expected to be just under £36,000, a slight increase on the current model, £34,870. It will be available from this Spring. Volvo and Microsoft - wearable voice-control technology

Volvo launches a new voice-controlled smartwatch system that allows you to control various features of the car remotely. Its launching a new voice control system available on the latest Microsoft Band 2 smartwatch via Volvo’s existing Volvo on Call app. It’s part of Volvo’s commitment to focussing on innovations that sit “outside the traditional automotive arena”. This new system allows owners to send addresses to the satellite navigation system, set the car’s climate control system, sound the horn, flash the lights and even lock the doors. What makes Volvo and Windows’ system unique is the fact that it is exclusively voice-controlled, effectively you talk to your car via the Microsoft Band 2 wearable smart device. The system will be available from April 2016 to all Volvo owners with Volvo On Call installed in their cars.

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Gardening Hints and Tips February


Plants of the month Check out our Planteria for plants that are looking good now. And if it’s instant impact you’re after, then consider Viburnum tinus, the contorted hazel – that’s Corylus Avellana Contorta, the silk tassel bush Garrya Elliptica, winter flowering heathers or the Kilmarnock willow - that’s Salix Caprea Kilmarnock.

cuttings. And don’t forget to stock up on pots, labels, twine, compost and all the other sundries you’ll need to get the best out of them.

Vegetables Now’s a perfect time to make a start on producing tasty vegetables for the summer. Don’t be too impatient to start sowing outside, but instead warm the soil ready for sowing by covering it with clear polythene or plastic cloches. You can plant shallots outside; although in cold areas start them in pots of compost in a coldframe or greenhouse. And sow summer cauliflowers in seed trays in warmth. Plan & plant your flower borders You can plant hardy trees, shrubs, roses, fruit and perennials, and nearly all other outdoor plants we have in stock providing the soil isn’t frozen solid or waterlogged. Remember to improve the planting area first with a good soil improver such as tree & shrub planting compost. Top dress trees & shrubs Get your trees and shrubs and beds and borders off to a flying start this year by mulching and feeding with a controlled release fertiliser. Mulches should be applied a couple of inches thick and good choices include bark chips, manure and compost. Buy summer flowering bulbs Now’s the time to buy begonias and dahlia tubers together with the huge variety of summer flowering bulbs we have in stock. Although it’s too early to plant them in the garden, buy them now to ensure we have the range of varieties you require. Begonias and dahlias can be started into growth indoors now and the resulting shoots used for

Climbers Plant climbers now to provide colour, height and interest for clothing walls, fences, arches and arbours. As well as for screening compost heaps and other unsightly objects. Fast growing plants like clematis, ivy, honeysuckle, Virginia creeper and roses are perfect choices. If your soil is too wet and sticky, wait until conditions improve before planting. Weeds Keep those annoying weeds at bay and you will enjoy your gardening a lot more. Small weeds are best dealt with by hoeing them off. Beds and borders can be kept weed free by applying a 2-3inch thick mulch; and weed suppressing planting membranes ensure the perfect start to new beds and borders. Annuals Now’s time to make a start on sowing those summer bedding plants indoors that need a long growing period – as long as you can provide the right heat and light conditions. You can sow sweet peas, dianthus, lobelia, ageratum and bedding geraniums. Top dress trees & shrubs Get your trees and shrubs and beds and borders off to a flying start this year by mulching and feeding with a controlled release fertiliser. Mulches should be applied a couple of inches thick and good choices include bark chips, manure and compost.

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Fitness What to do if your diet isn’t working This time of year is notorious for people starting new and crazy diets; and by February chances are a good proportion of those new-year-dieters have either given up completely or are starting to lose faith in their “it worked for my friend” diets. As with most things, people are after quick results. “10lbs a week or I’m trying something else.”Healthy fat loss doesn’t come that quick. Consistency works better than an all-out effort for a week. So... You started a diet in January (well, after you’d eaten the Christmas leftovers and only had the chocolates that no-one likes left), and you’re already beginning to lose hope and admit defeat. What can you do? The first thing is reassess your “Diet”. If you cut too many calories you’ll almost certainly have lost some weight, but your body is smart and won’t play ball much longer. You need to increase calories (but to just under what you were eating before), so you’re still eating a bit less, but not starving yourself or your body. To make up for this increase in calories you can attack the “calories in vs. calories out” equation from both ends. Increase your exercise; not excessively, but increase it, to focus on the “calories out” side. By doing this you’re not tricking your body and sending it into panic mode. Too few calories and your body will adapt and stop burning so many calories, ditch some much needed muscle tissue and focus on storing fat! The exact opposite of what you’re aiming to achieve! If you keep calories up, your body feels safe and maintains its usual calorie burn. Add in some exercise and you’ve just tipped the balance into the energy deficit you need for fat loss, but without the loss of muscle tissue or your body “slowing down”. Once you’ve established a reasonable amount of exercise and regained control over your calories, monitor your progress. Don’t weigh yourself daily and stress out over a pound here and there; just once a week. 32

If you see weight loss, great! Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t be tempted to change things to try and speed it up. If you see no change, either increase your exercise slightly or cut calories by 100cals a day and see what happens next week. If your weight goes up (and if you’ve been, honestly, consistent with your diet and exercise) then both increase exercise and decrease calories by 100-200cals a day. Use this method until you reach your goal weight, but NEVER, ever, EVER cut calories too low. If you’re eating less than 1500 calories a day, training 3-5 days a week (no more), and still not losing weight, find a good trainer and get help – you may be doing something wrong, or could be doing something better, or possibly (in very few cases) you have a more sinister underlying problem. As a side note, if you’ve been following a low-calorie diet (less than 1500 calories a day) for a while, then you’ve trusted the wrong people and probably done more harm than good. You’ll need to gradually bring calorie intake back up again (before you get ill) and focus on food quality and exercises that don’t take too much out of you while your body repairs itself and recovers from starvation and shut-down. I would also strongly recommend you seek expert help to ensure you do this correctly as you need to undo the damage, ideally without gaining back any fat. Diet can get extremely complicated, but can also be very simple. Monitor your progress and adjust accordingly, following the simplest of guidelines I just set out, you’ll do fine. By Mark Broadbent, Master Personal Trainer & Instructor at Dartford Bootcamps. Visit for information on Personal Training, Nutrition coaching or Bootcamp Fitness classes. - And follow us on Facebook and Twitter (do it now……) for extra tips, advice and motivation.

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Local Sports News Dartford Valley RFC President’s Match On 2nd January 2016, “The Annual Mudfest of Madness” (otherwise known as The President’s Match) was held at The Leigh Academy. John Davis-Ashdown’s Invitational Team played against The Combined Teams of Dartford Valley RFC. The invitational team was selected from people that used to play for the old Darenth Valley club (pre-2009) and others that are not members of Dartford Valley. This means that The President’s Team boasted a great deal of experience (ie old age and wrinkles), bulk (ie a bit chubby), grey hair or baldness, mixed in with some fine specimens of youthful, muscular and quick-footed chaps. The burning question was: could the old codgers and young guns compete with the might of Dartford Valley’s 1st Team, 2nd Team, The Ladies Squad and a special guest? Footballers talk about their matches being “a game of two halves” but this match was “a game of three thirds, played in four sections” because the DVRFC Ladies (including two guests from Blackheath Ladies Rugby) took to the pitch for the last ten minutes of each half. Confused? You should be and spare a thought for our referee Steve King who had to control all the mayhem, dressed as Mrs Santa Claus. . . . it was a tough job but someone had to do it! The players took to a very muddy pitch with heavy rain coming and going throughout the afternoon but they were all fortified with the traditional drinking of fine port to steady any nerves. The President’s Team wore the Wooden Spoon playing strip (kindly lent by the charity) and was expertly managed by former Darenth Valley player, Brian Castleton, better known as “Smudger”. George Morris managed the DVRFC team with guile, tactics and cunning. Despite the weather, about eighty hardy spectators were then treated to a well-contested rugby match, played in the traditional style of good humour but each team was desperate to win as well as entertain the supporters and enjoy themselves.


The Mayor of Dartford, Cllr Ian Armitt, The Deputy Mayor, Cllr John Burrell, the Leader of Dartford Borough Council, Cllr Jeremy Kite MBE and Wooden Spoon representative, Peter Johnston were all on the touchline, cheering on the players, laughing at the high jinks, wincing at the hard tackles and celebrating the tries. When the Ladies came onto the pitch, the excitement levels were raised even higher . . . how would they cope with the men, the mud and the rain? They were superb – playing real rugby to a high standard. Everyone was impressed by the talent and commitment that they brought to the match. The final ten minutes saw the arrival of a special guest player, Cllr Avtar Sandhu MBE, having a go at rugby for the very first time (it showed but he thoroughly enjoyed it!). George Morris saved his best tactical ploy for the last five minutes of the match . . . .sending on every single member of his squad (about 28 in total) to flood the pitch with DVRFC players (have you ever seen a line-out of 38 players??). Was the final score important? Not really because this match is about having a laugh with great friends . . . but if you must know, The President’s Team scored seven tries to Dartford Valley’s two. The event was rounded-off in Goals Bar with a raffle and then the presentation, to Peter Johnston from the Wooden Spoon charity, a cheque for £558.58. DVRFC had raised this money for Wooden Spoon in the previous month– something to be very proud of, which also demonstrates the club’s commitment to helping others and our community. Many thanks to each and every player, Steve King, Kelly Judd, Nishi Patel, the Team Managers, Pete Bresser, the bar staff at Goals and all of the spectators for contributing to such a successful afternoon. I must also give my sincerest thanks to Mick and John, for their Hot Dogs & Sweets stall and to Avtar, Rags and their staff for running the Mobile Bar Hire Ltd pitch-side bar. You proved that bad weather never stops DVRFC from having a great time.

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Win a Dartford Football Club shirt signed by the first team

Dartford Living have teamed up with Dartford FC to offer one of our readers that chance to win a signed 2015/16 Dartford FC Home Shirt (L) To be in with a chance of winning just answer the question below. What year did Princes Park open a) 2006 b) 2007 c) 2008 Please send your entries to Dartford FC Competition, Dartford Living, PO Box 283, Dartford, Kent, DA1 9BW or email by the 16TH FEBRUARY- RULES: 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 email by Dartford Living, within 5 working days of the competition being drawn. 6. Employees and the immediate families of participating companies are ineligible to enter. 7. Shirt will need to be collected from Princes Park by the winner ID will be required.

Bav’s Sporting Comment Even FIFA gets it right sometimes…. In front of the usual Zurich crowd of power brokers, buffet-lurkers, shrivelled legends and terribly tuxedoed superstars, Lionel Messi has been awarded the Ballon d’Or for 2015. It is tempting to shrug, yawn and wonder what the fuss is about. Let’s be honest. This isn’t exactly news is it? …anyone with even a passing knowledge of Messi’s extraordinary feats between January and June last year knows already he has been, beyond doubt, the best footballer on the planet. Although there is certain unease with star worship and swooning over footballing individuals, not least when the major part of Messi’s own success has been the chemistry with that three-man Barça frontline. Remember when the Premier League was considered to have the world’s best players? Not anymore. Five players from the English top-flight were eligible to receive votes, but not one received more than 1.3% of the share. Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard led the way with 59 points. For context, Messi received 1,666 points.

Upcoming events in February include: 6: Rugby Union - Six Nations, France v Italy and Scotland v England 7: Rugby Union - Six Nations, Ireland v Wales 7: American Football - Super Bowl 50, San Francisco 13: Rugby Union - Six Nations, France v Ireland and Wales v Scotland 14: Rugby Union - Six Nations, Italy v England *16-17: Football - Champions League round of sixteen 23-24: Football - Champions League

round of sixteen 26: Rugby Union - Six Nations, Wales v France 27: Rugby Unions - Six Nations, Italy v Scotland and England v Ireland 28: Football - League Cup final,

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Local Entertainment News


He’s CBeebies’ artiest entertainer and he’s coming to a stage near you on his first ever UK theatre tour! Mister Maker & The Shapes Live will be visiting venues across the country in 2016. Mister Maker is at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford, on Mon 15th and Tue 16th February We caught up with Phil Gallagher (aka Mister Maker) to find out what is in store. How did the Mister Maker character come about? Have you always been crafty? The idea of the character was to be able to teach exciting arty techniques whilst hopefully being entertaining and funny. I have always loved making things - from a very early age! I remember making fluffy bugs out of wool, cardboard and googly eyes with my Grandpa when I was very young. What can we expect to see on your first UK tour? There’ll be lots and lots of arty fun and some singing and dancing too! Of course there will be some great makes as well including a really big one that everyone can join in with. What’s really exciting is that I’ll have the Shapes joining me on stage alongside a wonderful supporting cast. We hear that there are quite a few Mini Makers outside the UK too… I’m proud to say we have a very loyal fan base around the world. The show is now played in over 100 countries. I have loved visiting all the countries I’ve been to and they all hold special memories for me. The favourite live show that I’ve done outside the UK so far was in Jakarta, Indonesia - over 10,000 wonderful people came to cheer me on and I will forever be grateful for the incredible reception that day.

strong too! (I’m desperately trying to flex my biceps as I write this!) What are your top tips for getting crafty? Try to use recycled materials as much as you can - start saving old kitchen roll tubes, cereal packets, sponges etc. as these can be really useful. Gloopy glue, pencils, pens and paint are important too - along with scissors. But be careful, scissors are sharp! Remember, there are no right or wrong answers with art. It is just all about being creative and finding the fun in making something. What’s your favourite craft material in the Doodle Drawers? Probably my paint! If you could make absolutely anything, what would it be and where would you make it? I would say my dream arty adventure would be a painty football splat picture made on the pitch at Wembley Stadium! If you were one of the Shapes, which shape would you be and why? Probably Rectangle as he’s the tallest!

If you could be one item from your Doodle Drawer, what would it be and why?

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Wool - soft at heart but when stretched, I’m tough and

I love watching football! Spending time with family and friends is my favourite thing to do.


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Local Entertainment News

January/ February Theatre Roundup by Liz Dyer

It’s been a great start to the year for local theatre lovers. Over the festive season, it was all about Eastenders, with Shane Richie starring in the 3D spectacular Dick Whittington and Ricky Norwood appearing alongside the Lynch sisters from B*witched in Gravesend’s Robin Hood. Both pantos got great reviews and booking’s already open for next year, when our options will be Snow White or Jack and the Beanstalk. Since the New Year, we’ve enjoyed some fantastic shows at the Orchard; highlights included New Jersey Nights, a toe-tapping celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and Cirque Berserk, a circus show made for theatre and featuring a programme packed with death-defying stunts, including the aptly named Globe of Terror. We enjoyed not one but two classic shows from the Moscow City Ballet, Giselle and The Nutcracker, and at the end of January, Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph appeared as the horrid Miss Hannigan in Annie. So what’s coming up in Dartford next month? February kicks off with The 39 Steps (1st-6th), which recently left the West End after nine years to go on tour. Based on Hitchcock’s spy thriller, the show features four actors playing 139 roles in 100 minutes; I think it needs to be

seen to be believed! Next up is Footloose (8th-13th), starring Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan, and guaranteed to get us all up and dancing - especially those of us of a certain age who remember the movie... Parents of young children may want to check out CBeebies star Mister Maker, who’s appearing at the Orchard on 15th and 16th February. He’s followed by Gargantua, a play by Carl Grose, performed by the brilliant Orchard Youth Theatre, on 21st and 22nd. And we’ll be closing out the month with the fabulous Chicago (29th Feb-5th March), starring John Partridge, Hayley Tamaddon and Sam Bailey. Finally, a little bit further afield, two of my all-time favourite shows are coming to the Churchill Theatre in Bromley: Blood Brothers (22nd-27th February), followed by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (1st-5th March). So if you haven’t seen these amazing shows before (or even if you have), now’s your chance. Of course there’s lots more going on, so check out, and churchilltheatre. for all the upcoming events. For more regional and London theatre reviews, check out

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Dartford Living February 2016  

The February issue of Dartford Living Magazine featuring Team HARD, Stanhill Farm are usual features including Where to Go Locally and Fitne...

Dartford Living February 2016  

The February issue of Dartford Living Magazine featuring Team HARD, Stanhill Farm are usual features including Where to Go Locally and Fitne...