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By community, for for the the community community By the the community,

FREE FREE 0800 023 8974

May 2017 - Issue 131

Dartford’s Local Independent Travel Agent The Entertainers are coming!


Featuring... TINO BEST MONTY PANESAR JOHN EMBUREY and many more!


Lashings Come- The to Dartford CC Page Tom Johnston Voice 2017Page8-9 8 RSPB Volunteer Rainham Marshes NWK Centre - Page Page32-33 26 Ruby Wax Interview Page36 38-39 Dartford FootGolf - Pages

Plus - All your regular Plusfeatures, - All yourevents, regular

features, information andevents, much information and more in much your your larger 60more page in issue. larger 60 page issue. - -

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Slimming World MONDAYS VCD Sports Club, Old Road Crayford, DA1 4DN 9:30am, 11:30am, 5:30pm and 7:30pm Sue 07507 599691 British Legion Hall Devon Road South Darenth DA4 9AA 9:30am, 5:30pm and 7:30pm June 07957 902767 Fleetdown Community Centre Swaledale Road, Dartford, Kent, DA2 6JZ 3:30pm, 5:30pm and 7:30pm Paula 07891 424401 Church Centre, 112 Swanscombe Street, Swanscombe, Kent DA10 0JZ 7:30pm Lisa 07986 030199

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Glentworth Ex Service Club 154 Lowfield Street, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1JB 9:30am and 12:00pm Angela 07956 896679

The Howard Venue (formerly South East Dance Studios) 39 Egerton Avenue, TUESDAYS Hextable, BR8 7LG Greenhithe & Swanscombe 5:30pm and 7:30pm British Legion Club Caroline 07776 181413 London Road, Greenhithe, DA9 9EJ Temple Hill Community 10:00 am Centre Paula 07891 424401 Temple Hill Square, Dartford, DA1 5HY Glentworth Ex Service Club 3.30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm 154 Lowfield Street, Jo 07800 797030 Dartford, Kent, DA1 1JB 5:30pm and 7:30pm THURSDAYS Angela 07956 896679 The Howard Venue (formerly South East Dance Studios) WEDNESDAYS 39 Egerton Avenue, VCD Sports Club, Old Road Hextable, BR8 7LG Crayford, DA1 4DN 9:30am 10:00am, 5:30pm and Caroline 07776 181413 7:30pm Liz 07900 213548

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St Anselm’s Parish Centre 89 West Hill, Dartford, Kent, DA1 2HJ 5:00pm and 7:00pm Gillian 07957 135737 Greenhithe & Swanscombe British Legion Club London Road, Greenhithe, DA9 9EJ 5:30pm and 7:30pm Paula 07891 424401 SATURDAYS Amar Hall East Hill, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RX 9:00am Sarah 07739 027161 Christ Church Centre Kingswood Avenue, Swanley, BR8 8AN 8:00am and 10:00am Kelli 07931 085668




By the community, for the community

FREE 0800 023 8974

Dartford’s Local Independent Travel Agent The Entertainers are coming!


Featuring... TINO BEST MONTY PANESAR JOHN EMBUREY and many more!

8+9 38+39




Tom Johnston - The Voice 2017- Page 8

NWK Volunteer Centre - Page 26 Dartford FootGolf - Pages 36

Plus - All your regular features, events, information and much more in your larger 60 page issue.

Contents - -

8+9.................Lashings coming to Dartford CC 10...................Dartford Volunteer Fair 12...................Dartford Living Meets 13...................Dartford Property Report 16...................Life Under the Stairs 19...................Quartz Financial Services 24....................4:48 psychosis at Mick Jagger Centre 26....................Dartford Change 4 Charity 27....................Beams 29....................Award winning Fox Estates 32+33..............RSPB Rainham Marshes 34....................Sports News

35.......................News from Princes Park 36.......................Local Band Supports DCC 36.......................Dartford Cricket Fixtures 38+39.................Ruby Wax interview 44.......................Local Entertainment 45.......................Fitness 46.......................Auto News 47.......................Gardening News 48-55..................Where to go locally 56.......................Orchard Theatre Competition 57.......................Advertising Index 58.......................Useful Numbers

check out our website for even more local news and articles Dartford Living does not certify, endorse or verify the contents of any communication within the magazine/our online presence or make warranty of any kind, express or implied, with regard to the information contained therein. Dartford Living and its owners cannot be held responsible for any errors, omissions or claims made by advertisers or endorse companies, products or services that appear in any Dartford Living publication or media outlet. Dartford Living is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Dear Readers,

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

Until next time, Vijay - Editor, Dartford Living (and Amie , Annie, Barbara, Bhavesh, Bradley , Cath, Catherine , Christine, Daniel, David, Dawn, Derek, Debbie, Dhiren, Elaine, Eleanor, Emma, Emma, Holly, Jackie, Jane, James , Jenny, Joanne, John, Kay, Ken, Kelly, Mark, Nickki, Nicola, Pam, Richey, Sarah, Sam, Sharon, Stephen, Steven, Teresa, Vanessa and the rest of the fantastic Dartford Living volunteer team) Photo by



We offer amazing value advertising with adverts starting from just £30 per month. We don’t just take your money and add you to the magazine. We want to work with you to promote your businesses as much as we can using our website and social media channels for maximum exposure. We can also provide advertising options solely online on your website and/ or social media channels. We feel we have every base covered. To book in an advert call 01322 507817 or email

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THE ENTERTAINERS ARE COMING TO TOWN! On Friday June 30th Hesketh Park will once again host some of the world’s greatest cricketers when the Lashings All-Stars, take on Dartford Cricket Club. Make a random selection of the world’s greatest cricketers from around 1990 onwards and the chances are they will have played for Lashings at some point, with Brian Lara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sachin Tendulkar just three of the all-time greats to have worn the uniform. Lashings’ started as a pub side and they lost their first match, held in Maidstone’s Mote Park, by 296 runs, capitulating for 29 all out, but over the next dozen years they evolved from being a hopeless collection of punters into one of the best league teams in Kent. In 1996 a chance phone call from an agent changed Lashings forever. Owner David Folb assumed he was being wound up when he heard Richie Richardson was

available, but the West Indies captain was looking to wind down his career and asked his representative to find him a club around an hour from London and somewhere he could rekindle his love of the game. Richardson hung around for the best part of the next 15 years, during which Lashings evolved into the household name it is today. Lashings has changed over the years, morphing into a full-time branch of the entertainment business, staging up to 50 events per year, including football matches, auctions and a lot more. The cricket team however remain faithful to Richie’s vision, bringing the game to places ignored and forgotten by the professional circuit but where there remains a huge appetite for the gentleman’s game. And the only house rule remains exactly the same: no one is allowed to refuse an autograph.

Lashings All-Stars Squad The All-Stars roster for 2017 includes: Tino Best (West Indies) Monty Panesar (England) Gordon Greenidge (West Indies) Devon Malcolm (England) Wasim Jaffer (India) John Emburey (England) Kirk Edwards (West Indies) Alex Tudor (England) Yasir Arafat (Pakistan) Andrew Hall (South Africa) Nick Compton (England) The legendary Gordon Greenidge, keeping wicket for Lashings

*NB: The team is subject to last-minute changes.


FREE ADMISSION FOR TWENTY20 SPECTACULAR! Admission for the Hesketh Park showdown between Lashings and Dartford is absolutely FREE, but fans are warned there are only 500 seats and these will be allocated on a firstcome-first-served basis. The game itself starts at 4pm. The match will be played to the Twenty20 format and should last for approximately three hours. It’s a day that should appeal to the whole family, with a bouncy castle, burger stall and refreshments available all day, as well as Lashings merchandise. The pre-game lunch and entertainment, including an auction, will begin at 12 noon. Tables of ten are available and you could dine with a Lashings legend. It’s a superb way to entertain clients, reward your staff or just spoil your friends. For details call 01622 755030 (option 2) or email info@

Dartford's all-time greats Trevor Ward – Kent Graham Dilley – Kent & England Neil Taylor – Kent Derick Ufton – Kent Mohammad Ilyas – Pakistan

Cricket has been played in Dartford since the early 1700s and Dartford cricket club was founded in 1727, making it one of the oldest clubs in England. Dartford have 5 senior league sides competing in the Kent League (1st & 2nd teams) & Kent feeder leagues (3rd 4th & 5th team) & 2 Sunday sides – contact David Walker cricket chairman on 07736470311 for further info of training & matches. DCC has a colts section from 8 year old up to 17 year olds – contact Ed Stanford on 07818624081 for further info of training & matches. The main ground is in Hesketh Park but DCC also play at Waller Park in Darenth & Oakfield Park in Wilmington.


DARTFORD VOLUNTEERS FAIR INTERESTED in promoting art and doing social media? What about supporting ex-offenders or mentoring young people? North West Volunteer Centre invites you to The Priory Shopping Centre on Thursday 18th May, 10am-1pm for Dartford Volunteers Fair. Speak directly to dozens of Dartford groups working in everything from health and social care, criminal justice, culture, leisure, working with young people and much more. Get information and advice - or get involved and volunteer. Entry is FREE and there will be some stalls with activities to try such as crafts. Ruth Howard of the What If Gallery says: “We are looking for people that can help take our organisation forward, to spread our wings, to engage with artistic people across Kent and to nurture creative activities.” Nicholas Blyth, Volunteer Coordinator of Kent, Surrey, Sussex Rehabilitation Community Company, says: “Our volunteers help support service users on probation throughout their order / licence period and while in prison. We work with service users across all levels of risk and support our volunteers to fulfil their work and personal goals.”

Website: Telephone:01843 590935. Surrey, Sussex Rehabilitation Community Company, The Net Church and many more. Thank you to The Priory Shopping Centre for making room for 30 stalls to showcase what they do, and to Dartford Living for sponsoring 5,000 flyers for the event, which will soon be spotted in locations near you and thank you to The Net Church and Spital Street Methodist Church for loan of trestle tables for the event! We still have spaces for organisations to take part in this free event, so if you are a not-for-profit group making a difference in your community, please get in touch with the contact details below. And if you would like to recognise the voluntary efforts of someone in your group, let us know their name and they will receive a certificate at the event and be put forward to our Kent-wide volunteering celebration in Winter 2017/18. Visit to find out more. Contact Emma Cooney 01843 590935.

Beverley Treece, of Bexley Moorings Project, which supports vulnerable children and young people, said: “We provide a point of stability in chaotic lives, whether in short term crisis or ongoing problems, to 200 children and young people in a year. The majority of this support is delivered by a committed group of around 60 trained volunteers.” Justin Bateman of North Kent Mind says: “Volunteers support our wellbeing services, for example, our agorophobia scheme, which helps people get out of the house and get to an agoraphobic group.” Theresa Oliver from Healthwatch Kent says: “We can record people’s experience of health and social care (at the fair) and we are keen to recruit more volunteers and increase the awareness of Healthwatch Kent in the area.” Volunteering can bring lots of benefits - use existing skills, learn new ones, fill gaps in your CV, gain valuable work experience and qualifications or simply help you do something positive with your time, boost your confidence and meet new people. Come and talk to people from organisations such as Ellenor, Bexley Moorings Project, Young Lives Foundation, Healthwatch Kent, Crossroads Care Kent, North Kent Mind, Kent Young Carers, The What If Gallery, Kent,


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DARTFORD LIVING MEETS....... NICOLE WESTPFEL BY KELLY GOLDSWORTHY I am a 22 year old Film Production student currently finishing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Ravensbourne, North Greenwich. My family have lived in Dartford for 28 years, meaning I have lived here since birth. I have been producing and directing short films over the past three years, including a short film called Feel It written by Maisy Osbon and directed by myself. Vanilla Sunday will be my biggest film yet. I started my journey in film production during my first year of 6th form.I went to secondary school and 6th form at the Leigh Technology Academy and this was first time I was introduced to media production as a subject. My teacher for this subject was very encouraging, and it was only in my 2nd or 3rd lesson when I realised that this is the career path I want to take. I applied for a Foundation course at Ravensbourne, and this gave me the opportunity to explore multiple forms of media including animation, photography, TV/Film and sound design. I decided then to focus on Film, and started my three year degree in Digital Film Production. I am currently working on a 90’s coming of age drama called Vanilla Sunday. It is the emotional story of a friendship of an 8 year old boy and how life’s toils are beyond our control. It is going to be a very stylistic piece, reminiscent of Moonrise Kingdom, by Wes Anderson. We have a great team of talented individuals working on this project, so I’m very hopeful for the film! Film production allows you to take the audience on a journey, and for them to connect with certain emotions. Film production is very demanding but rewarding. Film makers will fully immerse themselves into a project, and work relentlessly at producing a good film, but once its over you step back from the film and wonder how you pulled it off! I really like collaborating with other creatives, which is why I asked my friend Maisy Osbon to join me in writing the script for Vanilla Sunday. We have a crew with over 30+ people coming together to make this film beautiful. I enjoy directing, so in the future, I would really like to to do that, or work on some of my own scripts. There is a big film industry in South of France, and I also want to learn fluent french, so I may spend some time there to broaden my languages and to seek opportunities!

I have my own Facebook film page and website if anyone wanted to explore further into what work I have previously done.

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Dartford Property ReportUseful - MayNumbers 2017 Dartford First Time Buyers borrow £70.2m in the last 12 months Starting with the bigger picture, over the last 12 months in the UK, 1,061,557 properties were sold with a total value of £223.74 bn. To give that some context, ten years ago 1,581,727 properties sold with a total value of £405.56bn, so it can be seen the number of people moving house has dropped by over a third over the last decade. Whether you are a landlord, homeowner or tenant, it’s always important to keep an eye on the Dartford property market, not just from your point of view, but also from every player’s point of view. Over the last 12 months, 1,461 properties have sold (and completed) in Dartford, worth £423.2m. Interestingly the number of properties changing hands in Dartford has also dropped when compared to a decade ago. It might surprise you that first time buyers in 2017 will benefit from a slight decline in Dartford buy-to-let investors. Those looking to buy a home in the spring and summer of 2017 will face a far less competitive Dartford property market than the same time of year in 2016, when the urgency to beat the buy-to-let stamp duty hike was in full swing. Many landlords brought forward their purchases to beat the tax, and since then, the number of buy-to-let purchases has dropped slightly. First time buyers have taken advantage of that and have increased their buying. In fact, looking at the Bank of England figures, this is what UK lenders have lent on buy-to-let properties versus first time buyers over the last 12 months … Q4 2015 - £1bn buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.31bn for first time buyers Q1 2016 - £1.35bn buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.08bn for first time buyers Q2 2016 - £760m buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.28bn for first time buyers Q3 2016 - £827m buy-to-let mortgages vs £1.42bn for first time buyers

When looking at the figures for Dartford itself, first time buyers have borrowed more than £70.2m in the last 12 months to buy their first home. This is a ringing endorsement of their confidence in their jobs and the local Dartford economy. Those 20 and 30 something’s who are considering being first time buyers in 2017 will find that the number of properties on the market has never been as good as it has for quite a while, meaning you have more choice of properties and less competition from so many buy-to-let landlords than a year ago. Rightmove announced nationally that new seller enquiries are 26% up on the same time last year giving the stoutest indication that we may see a slight ease in the lack of properties on the market. When I look at Dartford, at this moment in time there are 284 properties for sale, compared to 162 properties a year ago. All this will be welcome news amongst Dartford first-time buyers with a combination of a proportional reduction in new investors and landlords. 2017 will be an interesting year for all homeowners, be they buy-to-let landlords, existing homeowners or future homeowners. For more thoughts on the Dartford property market like this, you might want to visit the Dartford Property Report:

Managed by Places for People Leisure Ltd for Dartford Borough Council.


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Life Under The Stairs by Jane Stevenson EBBSFLEET – A GARDEN TOWN? DISCUSS. While the Youngest Offspring is working on an internship at Kings Cross, I’ve been driving him to Ebbsfleet Station to get the high speed train. I’m very impressed with the station. It has the air of a modern transport system about it. There is ample parking and there appear to be good transport links with Dartford and Gravesend. Inside, the terminal is quiet and clean and everything is well sign posted. The staff I’ve encountered are polite and friendly and knowledgeable – I’m told the trains run on time and in keeping with a high speed life, the journey takes only nineteen minutes: so far so good. I don’t actually remember an area called Ebbsfleet when I was growing up. It was either Northfleet or Swanscombe. However, over time Ebbsfleet has come into being, primarily as the site for a new town as part of the Thames Gateway regeneration, and this is where it all seems to go wrong. There are some new houses built but hardly enough to constitute a town. My understanding is that Ebbsfleet was conceived as a garden town suggesting a greener environment than usual. I would hope the ‘garden town’ includes parks and open spaces, tree lined streets, quality housing in spacious surroundings and an infrastructure supporting the community. That means schools,doctors, dentists, shops and other amenities, rather than expecting those that will eventually live in this garden town, having to trek back to Dartford or Gravesend for a pint of milk!

coping with this influx of homeowners, and I can see untold misery for families trying to get their children in to their school of choice. Leave those of us in north Kent alone now. Go and develop somewhere else please. ARE YOU A WINTER SAD SUFFERER Thank goodness it’s getting brighter and warmer. No longer do I switch the lights on at 4pm and draw the curtains, and wake up at 7am with the sky still inky black. Spring is on the way. Seasonal Affective Disorder begone! I’ve had enough of you. I was contemplating a period of hibernation in an effort to stall off the mind numbing misery of SAD. It is linked to lower light levels and can result in oversleeping, difficulty in waking, overeating and craving carbs. That would be my tick list from the beginning of October until the end of March – especially the carbs bit. I turn into Pasta Woman in the winter ! SAD is a type of major depressive disorder apparently, and there are a number of treatments available including light therapy, medication, vitamin supplements, cognitive behavioral therapy and ionised air administration.

In my opinion, as someone who has lived in Dartford for most of my life, I can’t believe the government seriously think north Kent needs any further development.

Reading that list I would expect many people to scoff and the phrase ‘pull yourself together’ springs to mind. I would have been one of them, except I watched my dear old dad succumb to this disorder every year. He would barely talk or move, lost interest in anything and everything. Yet once the days got longer it was as if he sloughed off a skin and dropped a decade. Right up until his death in his 80s, he went through this odd pattern of behaviour for a couple of months every year. Not one for new fangled ideas, therapies or tablets, he got on with it and kept himself to himself.

I’m not saying we should go back to the days when rosy cheeked youngsters helped with hop picking and we all lived a ‘Darling Buds of May’ existence, but surely enough is enough.

Thankfully times have changed, and it is far more manageable today than it was. I do wonder though how many people were wrongly diagnosed as mad or bad when they were just SAD.

The road system can barely cope with the traffic now (and don’t get me started on the proposedLower Thames Crossing). I have concerns about Darent Valley Hospital

It is a weird disorder, and I have every sympathy for those who suffer badly from it. Enjoy the warmer days people.

There is talk also of a leisure complex which was pencilled in to open in 2019. Not sure anyone has given thought to how this will affect the peace an tranquillity of a garden town.


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to maintain control of the business. This also aims to provide a fair price paid to the family of the deceased for their share. Would your business cope financially if it lost someone important? Businesses plan their growth strategies, budget and many other things to become successful but unforeseen circumstances can’t be planned for. Business Protection gives you the peace of mind that if something unforeseen happens, your business won’t suffer financially. The loss of a shareholder, director, partner or key employee can leave a business in danger; operationally and financially. With the right Business Protection, money is available to the business if a shareholder, director or key person is seriously ill or dies. This money can be used to: - Repay any business loans/debts - Buy out the ill or deceased party’s share to keep control of the business - Protect the profits if a key person to the business is lost to ill health or death - Replace the key person to ensure the business can keep trading - Provide money to their loved ones if they die.

Business loan protection When a business has loans or debtors, the ability to repay these will be hampered if a key person or director who guaranteed them becomes seriously ill or dies. Some of these loans will have personal guarantees from the directors and their family home could be at risk if the debt cannot be paid by the business. In the event of a key person in the business dying or becoming ill, a loan may have to be repaid at short notice, and the money may not be available. An insurance policy designed to repay that debt should the worst happen gives peace of mind, protecting the business assets, and personal guarantees of the directors. Relevant Life This is a policy taken out by a business to cover an employee, including Directors of a Limited Company, which provides a lump sum for their loved ones in the event of their death. A Relevant Life policy not only creates a benefit for staff, but it’s also tax-efficient for the business. As with all insurances, conditions and exclusions apply.

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Key person insurance - A key person is defined as someone whose absence would affect profits. Some directors plan months in advance to take just a week or two annual leave, but if they died, were involved in an accident or were seriously ill, little or no planning may have taken place for this time away and the effect could be catastrophic. 07932 616400 01474 887948

Customers, staff, reputation and profitability will be at risk, and resources will be needed to keep the business going. Shareholder Protection In order to protect the business and shareholders, insurance can be taken out to ensure that funds are available to buy out the share of the director who is ill or has died,

18 Quartz Financial Services Limited is an appointed representative of New Leaf Distribution Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Mob: 07747 015223 Tel: 01322 412791 45 Knole Road, Dartford, Kent. DA1 3JN. E-mail:

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Dartford Living 23

4:48 PSYCHOSIS AT THE MICK JAGGER CENTRE, DARTFORD website: Tel: 01474 560834 6TH MAY 2017 TO START MENTAL HEALTH WEEK Performance of Sarah Kane’s famous play 4:48 Psychosis at The Mick Jagger Centre, Dartford 6th May 2017 to start Mental Health Week Walk Tall Theatre Company is performing Sarah Kane’s famous play 4:48 Psychosis, at Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford on Saturday 6 May at the start of Mental Health Week. Sarah Kane’s powerful style changed the face of modern theatre in the 1990s. 4:48 Psychosis, which is masterfully directed by director, Robbie Humphries, is very hard-hitting! It is definitely not for the faint hearted and suitable only for over 18s!

who are exhibiting signs of mental ill-health, to be shunned and ostracised as being strange or ‘weird’, when they are, in fact, ill, just as a person with a physical condition is ill. Walk Tall is on a mission is to bring exceptional quality theatre to audiences to provoke thought, open hearts and bring understanding. To contact Walk Tall: Tel: 01474 560834 To book tickets for 4:48 Psychosis contact The Mick Jagger Centre:

The play gets ‘under the skin’ and is ‘in your face’. It shows mental illness from the inside – and the passionate struggle for life. The play questions moral norms and smashes taboos. They will be challenged to question their value systems, ideals, identity or attitudes. The piece pushes the boundaries of a blissfully ignorant society and makes the audience accomplices to the action so they get the feeling they have lived through it. Mental health professionals who saw a performance of the piece last year reported that they found the piece not only powerful, but truly enlightening. Their consensus was that the play needs to reach a wider audience, which is one of the reasons for the showing of the play at the start of Mental Health Week. Walk Tall has also been commissioned by Live Well Kent to use powerful theatre to remove the stigma surrounding mental ill-health in young people and will be going in to schools and colleges from Dartford to Dover in the summer term. Walk Tall will use original theatre pieces and workshops to help young people understand issues surrounding mental health. NHS statistics reveal a marked increase in levels of anxiety and depression amongst children and young people, resulting in concerning behaviours. These include self-harming, agoraphobia and suicidality. In addition, government statistics indicate that 25 % of the population will suffer from a mental disorder in any one year! It’s no wonder that mental health services struggle to cope with the increasing need for their intervention. In addition, sadly, it is not unusual for people, at any age,


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WE’RE ALL GOING ON A SUMMER HOLIDAY… BUT CAN WE AFFORD IT? With the weather warming up and summer on the horizon, most people will be starting to think about getting their holiday plans together. The thing is, sometimes when you’re on a tight budget, it can feel like it’s a choice between having money or having a decent holiday. But, with some careful planning in advance, there are lots of ways to make holidays more manageable and affordable. The first step to planning your holiday is to budget for it. That means sitting down and making a list of costs that are likely to be involved, from spending money, a place to stay and travel insurance, to little things like sun cream, clothes and toiletries. The next step is to think about day-to-day expenses like food and drink and activities you might want to do. Once you have a clear goal, it’ll be easier to start saving. Put aside a manageable fixed amount every week (and resist the temptation to dip into your savings in the meantime!) One problem people often face when travelling abroad is the value of the pound. When it comes to converting your money, it’s very difficult to ascertain the best time to do it, especially in light of recent events putting everything slightly ‘up in the air’. Don’t miss Money Saving Expert’s top tips for getting the most for your travel money at Travel insurance is vital if you’re heading abroad, but there’s a common problem. Should you find yourself ill or injured in the time between booking the holiday and actually leaving, you might find that insurance prices bump up. The last thing you want is to be forced to cancel the holiday and have the money you’ve already spent go to waste because you can’t afford the insurance, so always sort out this out as soon as you’ve booked your trip. After all, half the point of travel insurance is to protect you if something happens and you’re unable to go on the holiday. It might be something you need to fit into your yearly budget, especially if you go away more than twice a year, as annual policies often work out cheaper. Taking all of this into account, you can avoid a lot of the extra costs and complications that come with travelling abroad by choosing to stay in the UK instead. Tourists come from across the world to see all that Great Britain has to offer, so there’s bound to be something to pique your interest.

Website: Telephone: 0800 328 0006

There are plenty of fun, free things to do in the UK, including museums, galleries and parks that are free to enter and lots of areas of natural beauty to discover and rediscover. If nothing else, we’re an island with an awful lot of seaside towns. If you want a holiday on the beach, the coast is never more than 75 miles away. Friends and family are an invaluable resource. If you know someone who’s going on holiday this year, why not offer to house sit for them? It’s the perfect way to get away from home, cut down accommodation costs and make their holiday a little easier too. At Christians Against Poverty (CAP) we know that money struggles can affect every part of your life, from saving for holidays to affording basic essentials like food. The CAP Money Course is a useful tool for anyone, no matter what your financial situation. It’s a great place to start when it comes to learning how to budget, save money and spend wisely. To find out more and check out your nearest course, see If you’re struggling with debt, don’t panic – last year we helped over 20,000 people with their debts. Give CAP a call on 0800 328 0006, visit or pop in to the CAP Drop In at Dartford Community Church Bungalow, 171 Dartford Road, DA1 3EW (via side entrance in Broomhill Road) on the last Wednesday of the month between 12 noon and 2pm to have an informal chat over a cuppa with Karen, our Debt Centre manager (no appointment necessary). All CAP’s services are available to everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background and are free.

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Dartford Living 25

DARTFORD CHANGE FOR CHARITY photographs, music, videos, games and stories. These triggers are used to promote conversation and engagement whilst reducing distress, boredom and social isolation.

Dartford Change for Charity is run by the same people who organise Dartford Toy Appeal. Having had such a fantastic response from the Dartford Community at Christmas we are now hoping to help elderly hospital patients at Darent Valley Hospital and those suffering from mental health problems within the borough. We are now asking people to donate their unwanted change - be that British or foreign currency at one of our drop off points (see below) between 1st July and 30th September. We also ask people who want to hold a collection at their workplace or club to get in touch with us at and we will send you a box. Every coin (on note) gratefully received.

North Kent Mind (formerly Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Mind) is an independent mental health charity operating in North Kent which provides a wide range of services for people who experience mental health problems, whether these are described as anxiety, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Personality Disorder, or otherwise. North Kent Mind’s services include supported housing, low cost counselling, agoraphobic support, activity sessions, springboard, social groups, person centred planning, self-management courses, peer-led activities and open sessions. We work closely with other local organisations, where this is the best way of achieving our aims, and are supported in our work by paid staff, trained volunteers, and student social workers and trainee mental health nurses on placement. Drop Off Points We are looking for businesses and clubhouses to act as drop off points for people to bring their donations. We also hope workplaces, groups and clubs will hold collections. If you want to help please email Change@

The Silver Birch Fund is a charity set to provide gifts and support to older people admitted to Darent Valley Hospital. It recognises that historically the needs of older people in society can be under recognised and this can lead to loneliness, isolation and lack of access to simple things that can make life so much more pleasant. The charity seeks to provide night wear, toileties and other things that can make an isolated patients stay more pleasant. Currently The Silver Birch Fund have a target of £10,000 to pay for a system called interactive me. The system which is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society is a secure web-based tool packed full of features like personal


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Parents Consortium charity name change to


Parents Consortium was originally set up in 1996 by a group of parents that felt their needs for their disabled children to access services was not considered or heard by the local authority at that time. It was established as a local charity and has developed services to what we know today. In 2016 we celebrated our 20th Anniversary which is a major milestone. However, the last couple of years have been a constant challenge to find and generate available funding to offer our range of services to those that need them. Last year we were awarded a lottery grant and a part of that was to conduct an Organisational Review on our strengths and weakness as a business by an independent and highly respected and qualified consultant. The Big Lottery paid for this. One of the results from the review was that our name did not signify that our primary focus was disabled children.    

Funders on occasions did not consider the charity for donations due to lack of understanding of who we are. We have been interpreted as a Parents Association from a school. Local people were not aware of what we offered to disabled children and families as there was confusion with the various past department logos. Trusts and Foundations have been slow to react to our appeals.

An agency called Pillory Barn stepped forward to offer their services free of charge to the charity to develop and create a name change and re-brand. They offered us three days of studio time in kind as a part of their commitment to our change. A steering group was put together to gather their views on colours, names, themes and brand associations. All managers, volunteers and trustees were invited. The agency then spent time investigating names and how these would be perceived. They hosted a focus group of business people and their findings were positive towards our chosen name. After staff, volunteers and trustee consultations we have arrived with the branding and name as BEAMS

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The British Property Awards Winner for Dartford Fox Estates have just won The British Property Awards for Dartford. The team performed outstandingly throughout the extensive judging period, which focused on customer service levels. Fox Estates have now been short listed for a number of national awards which will be announced later in the year at our lavish ceremony in Central London. The British Property Awards provide agents throughout the UK with an invaluable opportunity to compare the service that they provide against the service provided by their, local, regional and national competition. Agents who go that extra mile and provide outstanding levels of customer service are rewarded with our accolades which acts as a beacon to highlight these attributes to their local marketplace.

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The new Dartford Business Awards are now officially open for entry With several categories available, the awards are all free to enter and designed to cater for every size of business, from the smallest to the largest in the Borough. Entrants must be based in the Dartford Borough Council rates areas, and must have been trading for a full year to January 1st, 2017. To enter your business, visit

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Rainham Marshes is an RSPB reserve in Purfleet, Essex. It is situated just off the A13 and very close to Junction 31 of the A282/M25. Dartford Living went to chat to Howard Vaughan, the Visitor Experiance Officer at Rainham Marshes about the history of the reserve, how it is managed, what is there to do at the reserve and what you can see there. While the reserve is actually in Essex it is not that far from Dartford and if you drive, and the tunnel is flowing freely!, it should only take about 15 minutes to get there and according to Howard a lot of the visitors to Rainham come from the Kent side of the river. How did the reserve come about? The RSPB bought the land from the MOD in 2000 who had been using the land as a firing range. A lot of the troops that went out to fight in the First and Second World Wars came through Rainham. There was also a US Army base here in the Second World War. When we took it over it was still a closed site due to the amount of used ammunition, and some possibly live ones, all around the reserve. For the first five years we had to have a bomb disposal expert follow us around to keep us safe.

Website: Telephone: 01708 899840 increase in wildlife at the reserve? Throughout the work that we have done over the 17 years we have managed to increase various things on the reserve like we had hoped. For example the Lapwing and Redshank, which are two of our priority breeding species here, have done better year on year for the past three years. Top help this to happen we have put up an electrified fence around the reserve to keep the predators (mainly Foxes) out, we still have Weasel, Stoat , some of the smaller predators on the reserve but to give the young a fighting chance we have managed to keep the predators the right side of the fence otherwise none of them would reach maturity. This in turn has helped out a number of other species including the Cuckoo, we have 5 adult males and at least 1 female at the reserve even though they are in decline over the UK. We also have the only breeding pair of Marsh Harriers inside the M25. During the winter months we have big flocks of Widgeon, Teal and Pintail and if we are lucky we have wild Goose and Swans passing through the reserve. It is not just birds that Rainham is famous for. We have a large population of Water Voles. These are part of the reason for the SSSI status of Rainham as well as some special plants including the Golden Dock and also a Dragonfly called the Scarce Emerald Damselfly. They are all part of our management plan of the reserve. Do you just let nature take its course or do you have to step in sometimes? We have to get a balance to allow the nature to thrive and on the whole we usually let nature take its course. We do sometimes have to step in, like installing the electrified predator fence. We also do a lot of habitat management. If left some of the plant life would take over the marshland.

The site could have been sold off for development (Universal Studios were interested in the 80’s), due to its run down state, but the RSPB took it over to return the area to its SSSI status (Site of Special Scientific Interest) - Lowland Fresh Water Marsh. In the 17 years that the RSPB have had the reserve they have restored and rejuvenated the area to its former glory as a medieval grazing marsh. How is the reserve coming along? Has there been an


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RSPB member meaning that the reserve gets more money to improve their experience. It also helps them feel a sense of ‘ownership’ as they are helping out their reserve. It is also important to educate people about wildlfe. We have three active classrooms on site that we use for local schools. They get out into nature and are learning at the same time. Some of the children that come here have never seen a cow before! Do you ever get any rare birds on the reserve? In a normal year we usually get between 170 and 190 different species of Bird on the reserve but we do sometimes get some really rare birds visiting. Is it just the birds and Voles that people can see at Rainham? We also are an excellent site for Invertebrates. We have lots of different species of Dragonfly and Damselfly, Butterflies and a number of rare and unusual flies as well. A lot of our visitors in the summer come to look at the invertebrates as the birds are busy breeding. What is your role at Rainham? My job is to make sure that the visitors enjoy themselves at the reserve whether they are here for the bird watching, going for a walk or even just playing on the playground. We have such a great view from the reserve. We have the Thames on one side, the Eurostar line on the other and then the view out over the whole of the reserve with London in the background. We can see the top of the London eye on a good day, although that is disappearing with the amount of new buildings going up in London. A number of our visitors are not even interested in the natural world. Our location affords great views of the river and all of the boats that travel along it. You can also see the planes coming into City Airport and it is also the only place you can see the Eurostar above ground this side of the river. The latest thing we are trying out, and it is working, is Active in Nature. We are encouraging people who might already go out and about to come to the reserve and explore here. The cycle path is linked to the London loop. You can bring your own bikes or we now offer cycle hire and also guided cycle tours. We also have our own running club at the reserve! We have always had a large play area. We now have two expert level climbing boulders. People come from all over to use them and usually bring their family as well.

In 2005 we had a Sociable Plover. It usually is found in Russia and there are only 2000 in the world. Three years ago we had a Slaty-Backed Gull on the reserve. It was the first time one of these had been seen in Britain. They are usually found in Japan! Do you have a favourite Bird? Although it is nice to see the rare birds my favourite is the Grey Wagtail. How to find Rainham: Address? Purfleet Environmental and Educational Centre, New Tank Hill Road, Purfleet, Rainham, South Ockendon RM19 1SZ Follow the brown leisure signs from Junction 31 Roundabout Opening times From 1 November to 31 January, we’re open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it’s 9.30 am to 5 pm. We’re closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Entrance charges Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Nonmembers: £5 adult and £3 child. There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book. Photos: Stephen Young

We have tried to include everybody whether they are interested in wildlife or not. If they enjoy coming along to the reserve then they are more likely to signup as an Interested in advertising? Tel: 01322 507817

Dartford Living




When Sergio Garcia made the comments “I’m not good enough. I don’t have the thing I need to have. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place”, at Augusta, five years ago after 13 seasons of not-quites and might-have-beens, it both overthrew the protocol of the confidence that must be exuded to the public if you are a top-notch sportsperson. Seventy-three appearances at majors. Four times a runner-up. Twelve top fives, 22 top tens, a habitual bridesmaid who could be relied upon to drop the bouquet every time it was thrown his way. But he finally made the breakthrough by winning the Masters at Augusta, after beating England’s Justin Rose at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off. The Spaniard won on what would have been the 60th birthday of compatriot Ballesteros, the 1980 and 1983 winner of the Green Jacket, who died in 2011.

Upcoming events in May include: 2-3: Football - Champions League semi-finals, first legs 4: Football - Europa League semi-finals, first legs 6: Horse racing - 2,000 Guineas, Newmarket 9-10: Football - Champions League semi-finals, second legs 13: Football - Women’s FA Cup final, Wembley 14: Formula 1 - Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona 20-21: Rugby union - World Sevens Series, Twickenham 21: Football - Premier League and Scottish Premiership seasons end 22 May-5 Jun: Tennis - French Open, Roland Garros 24: Football - Europa League final, Stockholm 27: Football - FA Cup final and Scottish Cup final 27: Rugby union - Premiership final, Twickenham 28: Formula 1 - Monaco Grand Prix 29: Football - Championship Play-Off Final, Wembley



Following her recent success at the Kent County Championships Phoebe Rice from Dartford Swimming Club has been selected by the County Amateur Swimming, to take part in the 11-year-old Development Pathway under the England Talent Programme. Coach Chloe Pembroke said, Phoebe has great ability and deserves this chance to shine, we have many great swimmers coming through at Dartford and the club has grown since coming back to Fairfield.


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The regular season for Dartford is now over. After a hard fought campaign Dartford managed to finish in the playoff places (either in 3rd or 4th depending on the outcome of the results on the 29th April, these happened after our printing date). Dartford will have to get past two games against Chelmsford City before playing the winner of the Ebbsfleet game. Whatever the outcome of these games Dartford can be proud of their season. 2 players have reached over 100 goals for Dartford and even the goalkeeper got in on the scoring with a 50 yard shot while playing against Hungerford Town earlier in the season. Look out for the season review coming in the next issue.

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Live Band Event Supporting Dartford Cricket Club

event was supported by Orchard Garage’s customers, friends and family; with tickets selling out very quickly and the venue was packed! It was such a success that they hope to repeat it next year. Another great example of our fantastic Dartford community. Other fundraising activities and events carried out by Orchard Garage can be found on their Facebook page Orchard Garage recently arranged a live band evening to raise funds for Dartford Cricket Club and ended up raising over £500! They wished to a say a big thank you to everyone who helped make it such a successful event. Pam at Orchard Garage said, “The venue staff were so helpful and accommodating and the band Toot ‘n’ Skamen were just brilliant!” Toot ‘n’ Skamen are a SKA band, who regularly play in the area, playing covers of Madness, The Specials and Bad Manners to name just a few. The

Dartford Cricket Club is proud to be one of the world’s oldest Cricket Clubs, with a long and rich history dating back to 1727. We offer junior and senior cricket as well as social membership. With a new pavilion Hesketh Park is one of the best places to enjoy cricket in Kent. Entry is free so come and support your local club. All information re membership, matches, and sponsorship, can be found on our website: and why not follow us on Twitter? @dartfordcricket COME ON YOU DARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2017 HOME FIXTURES AT HESKETH PARK




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Sunday, 4th June 2017 (10 – 4) Princes Park Community Stadium, Darenth Road, Dartford, Kent DA11RT

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Beat Kevin the Dart FootGolf Mini football Bar & Club Shop open Caribbean Grill Other stalls Bat and Trap Live Band Bouncy Castle Face Painting Fire Engine tour Sweets and Treats Balloons Raffle Small Animals PP Fun Run

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Fun for all the family

RUBY WAX TALKS TO DARTFORD LIVING BY LIZ DYER the situation was, and this is to give you the tool, but to also make you laugh with great anecdotes - the stories are hilarious.” Mindfulness is a word we hear thrown about a lot these days - but what is it, exactly? “I can’t really define it,” says Ruby. “All it is is learning to focus your attention when your mind gets frazzled. If we’re talking about stress, about stress, about stress, it has to be a pretty good vehicle. You know, it’s not anything spooky; it’s literally just like mind training to pull yourself off that endless loop tape that keeps you up at night.”

Most of us know Ruby Wax as an actress, comedian and TV personality. Some of us may know her as a mental health campaigner, and the face of Marks and Spencer’s new Frazzled cafes. What a lot of people won’t know is that Ruby also has a Masters degree from Oxford in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy - and in her new show, Frazzled, she shares a little of what she’s learnt in a bid to help us all live a healthier, happier life. The show accompanies Ruby’s most recent book, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, and like the book, it combines anecdotes from her own experience with scientific theory and a practical guide to mindfulness. “The show is basically the book - but theatrical, and I go off piste a lot,” Ruby explains. “So it’s entertainment but it’s also putting across information - I do what Bill Bryson does, which is try to make you laugh, and also to tell you about why you think the way you think. “So the last show, Sane New World, was sort of, what


Although Ruby’s open about her own personal experience with depression, she’s also very clear that this is not a show about mental illness, and it’s got something to say to all of us: “This is frazzled, it’s not mentally ill. Frazzled is to help people who are tearing their hair out because life is hard. And not hard because we’re hungry or third world - we’re frazzled because we’re making it frazzled. Like kind of bumming ourselves with our thinking.” Frazzled is a follow-up to Ruby’s previous sell-out show, Sane New World, which toured in 2015, shortly after she completed her studies. She admits to being surprised by the positive response to both shows. “It’s been better received than I expected,” she says. “The audience is full - you know, people identify with this kind of crisis, but they want to laugh too, so they’re getting a 2 in 1 deal. And it’s a completely eclectic crowd - young people who don’t know I was on TV, and older and gay and different races… it’s a real melting pot.” Even without reading the book, it’s pretty clear that Ruby knows her stuff (Oxford doesn’t just hand out Masters degrees to anyone, after all). But what prompted her to study mindfulness in the first place?

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“I need proof in science before I buy into anything,” she explains. “And everybody wants to know how their mind works - you know, is it working for them or working against them? And it’s doing both. So sort of, to know that means you won’t be so hard on yourself.” After touring the UK throughout January and February, Ruby took the show to Australia in March, and will be back in Britain at the start of May, calling in to the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells on the 10th, and finishing up with a month-long run at the Leicester Square Theatre in London’s West End from 30th May. Where has she most looked forward to visiting? “Well, Australia’s not a bad one!” she laughs. “So I’m not complaining - that’s kind of the gift of doing a show like that.”

show and tell us how you did it!” Finally, Ruby’s top tip for anybody who’s feeling a bit frazzled? “Read the book…” As someone who’s done just that (and who gets frazzled on a regular basis), I’d have to agree this is excellent advice. Frazzled returns to the UK from 1st May. For full tour dates, visit

And what would Ruby say to people who think they’re not frazzled, and don’t need mindfulness? “Well, you might still come to the show because it’s funny,” she offers. “But if you’re good you might also do your own

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Historical Military Themed Tours for Clubs, Groups and Societies Legacy offers a range of military themed tours from a day trip to the scene of the Battle of Hastings, to bespoke tours to the WWI and WWII battlegrounds of Belgium and France from as little as £39 per person. • Luxury Coach Travel • Local Collection Points

Gareth Johnson, Member of Parliament for Dartford, will be available to meet with constituents on the following dates: Bluewater, DA9 9ST (4.00 pm – 7.00 pm - Appointment required) Friday 3rd March Friday 21st April Friday 19th May Friday 9th June Friday 28th July Friday 8th September

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Open Surgery – (no appointment necessary) Dartford Festival, Central Park, Dartford – Saturday 15th July If you would like to meet Gareth at one of his regular appointment based surgeries in the future, please contact him at or telephone 020 7219 7047.

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The Business Engagement Team can help you to protect your business from fire, flood and other business continuity risks.


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Dartford’s Health Walks Healthy Living Centre - Mondays 10.00am Darenth Country Park - Tuesdays 10.30am Greenhithe - Wednesdays 11.30am Central Park - Thursdays 11.30am Swanscombe - Fridays 10.00am Temple Hill/The Bridge - Fridays 11.00am • • • • •


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Dartford Living


Local Entertainment

April/May Theatre Roundup by Liz Dyer As always, April was a great month on the Dartford stage. Among several hotly anticipated comedy, dance and musical highlights, Strictly winner Joanne Clifton proved she can sing and act as well as dance in Thoroughly Modern Millie. And the Dartford Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (DAODS) returned to the Orchard with Made in Dagenham, one of the first amateur groups in the South East to perform the show. It was great to see DAODS back, and as ever, they didn’t disappoint.

This month’s Strictly representatives in Dartford are Katya and Neil Jones, who appear with Robin Windsor in Keep Dancing, a brand new showcase of Latin and ballroom dance styles (16th-20th). And we’ll be heading into next month with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Evita (30th May-3rd June), based on the rags to riches true story of Eva Peron, wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron and starring Emma Hatton, who played Elphaba in Wicked in the West End.

So what’s coming up this month? Quite a lot, actually. For youngsters there’s a chance to get up close and personal with some prehistoric visitors in Dinosaur World (5th-6th) and to relive (or discover for the first time) Dick King-Smith’s beloved children’s story, Babe the Sheep Pig (25th-28th). This one looks just as much fun for the grown-ups, to be honest, especially because it features puppetry from the guys behind War Horse.

Other local(ish) highlights include Buddy (9th-13th) and Priscilla Queen of the Desert (16th-20th) at the Churchill in Bromley - so if you missed either of these great shows at the Orchard, don’t miss this second chance. Or why not head to Canterbury to see Funny Girl (2nd-6th) starring Natasha J Barnes, who famously stepped in to replace Sheridan Smith in the West End to huge critical acclaim.

We last saw John Partridge at the Orchard as Chicago’s silver-tongued lawyer Billy Flynn, but this month he’s back in a very different role in a new production of the award-winning La Cage Aux Folles (9th-13th). He stars in the outrageous comedy as drag artiste Albin, whose idyllic life with partner Georges (Adrian Zmed) in St Tropez is about to be interrupted by the arrival of Georges’ son with his fiancée and her right-wing parents.


And finally - panto news! It was revealed last month that this year’s panto at the Orchard, Cinderella, will star TV personality and choreographer Louie Spence as Dandini. Tickets ar‪e ‬on sale now so don’t delay - it’s never too early to start getting organised for the Christmas season... For London and regional theatre reviews, visit

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Fitness Kids Fitness

With the growing epidemics of obesity and diabetes threatening to fell the NHS, it’s important that as parents, we do our utmost to ensure our children are fit and healthy. These future generations have the right to grow up without the burdens of the many health problems facing many adults (and children) today. Whilst there are some factors that are largely out of our control (air quality, water quality, 24/7 wi-fi signals buzzing around our heads etc.) the most fundamental things we can do to remain fit and healthy remain the same – diet and exercise. As a parent of 2 “spirited” children myself I appreciate that it’s sometimes easier to sit the kids in front of the TV to watch 40 back-to-back episodes of Paw Patrol on Netflix, or stick a tablet/smartphone in their hands, but is that really what they need? Is that conducive to a healthy child? And is it your responsibility as a parent to minimise these activities in favour of more active pursuits? I know many parents will be decrying me for pointing this out and making excuses as to why they need to do this instead of taking them to the park (I can hear the “…but I don’t have time” excuses flooding in), but my personal belief is that as a parent you have (and have chosen to have) a responsibility to ensure your kids are healthy; and that means keeping them active and feeding them well; not feeding them “quick” microwave meals and putting a playstation controller in their hands to keep them out of your hair, and sweets to keep them quiet. So… for those of you still reading who haven’t cursed my name and thrown this article in the bin (as if it never happened)… What can you do? Firstly, don’t send them to nanny’s house. (Joke, but some of you will get it!) Food-wise, it’s a case of buying the best you can afford and preparing your own meals from fresh ingredients. Many people “can’t” cook these days, but it’s really not that hard. There are thousands of simple, quick and easy meals you can prepare without the skills of a Michelin chef, and here’s an idea – your kids can eat the same meals as you – they don’t have to be in the shape of animals or be smothered in ketchup! Just pick your protein source (meat, fish, eggs, cheese etc.) and cook it how you like – try some new seasonings or a squeeze of lemon to add flavour, rather than a packet of sauce. Pick 2 or 3 colourful vegetables to go with it – again, experiment with boiling, steaming, grilling, baking, and adding some butter or other seasonings for different flavours. Kids will eat vegetables if you find ones they like, cook them how they like, and don’t taint their tastebuds with junk food all day long (plus if the other

stuff isn’t on offer, they’ll eat if they’re hungry – just stick to your guns and don’t give in. It’s for their health!). Pick your starchy carb source – potatoes, rice etc. (opt for these over bread/pasta options as many people eat too many of these foods; and try to limit fried options like chips – we chop up some potatoes and bake some wedges as a tasty alternative). There’s always something quick and easy you can make instead of nuking a ready-meal and if you plan ahead and batch cook, you can put the extra in some Tupperware ready for a quick and easy meal next time. As for exercise, you have many options. Schools (through no fault of their own) fall well short of giving children adequate amounts of exercise, so it’s up to you to find other ways for your child to get moving. One great way to incorporate just a little bit more exercise for the kids (and you) is to walk to school. Given that most schools have a catchment area, chances are you’re not more than a 10 or 15 minute walk away; and schools have noticed an improvement in the children’s learning and behaviour when they walk to school. If you have time, take them to the park or out for a bike ride or walk. If you don’t, let them play in the garden. If you can afford it, sign them up to some clubs – fitness classes, self-defence, football, netball, dance, swimming… the list is almost endless. Kids should be moving. A LOT! It helps them burn off the extra energy (think how the dog is when it’s not been for a walk – people aren’t that different!) and it’s recommended that children get at least 60 minutes of exercise per day – and that’s at the low end of the scale if you ask me. Kids love to move – it’s not even exercise for them, it’s play. It boils down to this: If you want your kids to be fit and healthy, YOU need to make sure that they’re eating well and getting exercise – because if you don’t, no-one else will. It’s not the school’s responsibility (although if they could incorporate more PE/games lessons that would be fantastic). It’s yours. I strongly believe that this is a hugely important issue right now and that every responsible parent should go out of their way to ensure that their children are cared for (that is a parents job after all); and in respect of this I now run after-school clubs and children’s fitness classes in Dartford. If you’d like more information on the classes, visit

Dhiren’s Auto News May 2017 Volvo XC60

This is the new 2017 Volvo XC60 model, which owes its refreshed looks inside and out to its bigger brother, the seven-seat XC90, but ther are look and feel differences. At launch, the XC60 will be offered with Volvo’s 187bhp D4 and 232bhp D5 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesels, as well as a 251bhp T5 2.0-litre petrol unit. Later, a 401bhp T8 petrol-electric hybrid that has found favour with economy and tax-minded buyers in the XC90 will also go on sale. Standard safety kit includes automatic emergency braking if the car senses a potential collision up to 37mph and steering support if the car detects either a head-on collision or any imminent accident. Entry-level Momentum versions of the XC60 come with leather upholstery, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control and heated front seats. Inscription versions of the XC60 receive Nappa leather upholstery, electrically adjustale front seats and larger 19in alloys. While entry-level versions of the XC60 are priced from £37,205, you’ll need to spend £41,205 for an Inscription model, and £43,205 for the more powerful D5 diesel engine. The first deliveries are expected in late summer 2017, although order books are open now. 2017 Volkswagen T-Roc


In this month’s article we’ll bring you models to be launched in 2017 and the results of latest Euro NCAP car safety tests.

The Volkswagen T-Roc will be the company’s smallest, funkiest and most affordable SUV. The name sense: T links it to its bigger brothers, the VW Tiguan and VW Touareg, and Roc is a modification of the English word rock, hinting at its rugged, SUV appeal. It seems likely that Volkswagen has erred towards a moderately sportier set-up than might traditionally be associated with an SUV, but without overstepping the mark. That means the T-Roc has a firm ride, but not one that is so rigid as to be intrusive. The 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine sampled in the concept car was more than up to the task of hauling the T-Roc along with enough pace and refinement to suit most needs. Buyers are expected to be given a choice of other familiar 1.0-litre and 2.0-litre petrol and diesel options when the car launches in summer 2017, with four-wheel drive available as an option on bigger-engined models. The biggest difference between the concept and the production car is that the latter has five doors rather than three to boost practicality and make it more family friendly. New Euro NCAP car safety results

The new BMW 5 Series saloon has been awarded the maximum five-star safety rating by crash test body Euro NCAP. Euro NCAP said the 5 Series performed well in all of its crash protection and avoidance tests, with the effectiveness of its automatic emergency braking system particularly impressive. At the other end of the scale, Fiat’s latest Doblo MPV, which is based on the van of the same name, was awarded just three stars. This generation of Doblo van was introduced in 2010, and Euro NCAP says that its relatively poor performance shows its true age.

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Gardening Hints and Tips - May Bedding As your spring bedding plants go over, remove them and compost them. Once the display has completely finished, dig over and prepare the ground ready for your summer bedding plants. Beware of late frosts and have fleece on stand-by ready to protect any summer bedding and other tender plants that have already been planted out. You can also take cuttings of pansies and violas for next year. Take a good look around today for plants for the summer and any products

Lawncare Your lawn should be growing fast this month so you will need to cut it regularly – once or twice a week – to keep it looking good. Now’s also a good time to feed the grass for a lush, healthy lawn, so check out our range of lawn fertilisers. Weeds and even moss may also be growing strongly this month, so take action to keep them under control with a lawn feed, weed and mosskiller. Then re-seed any gaps with lawn seed.

Garden Health Check Keep your spring bedding displays – including bulbs – flowering well by feeding weekly with a high potash liquid fertiliser. And remember to deadhead – that is removing the faded flowers and developing seed heads – and you’ll be rewarded with a further flush of flowers or an extended display. Many border plants will need support and tying in to prevent them from being damaged and flopping all over the garden. Make sure the supports are in place early as it can be difficult to do when they’re in full growth.

Pestwatch The late spring weather is perfect for many pests and diseases to get a stronghold in the garden, so make sure you carry out regular health checks on all your plants, but especially roses, bedding plants and herbaceous perennials. Prevention is always better than cure so keep looking over your plants and deal with any problems as soon as you see them. A ready-to-use spray ensures you have something ready to hand as soon as you see the first signs of trouble. Slugs and snails will also be very active now, so protect your plants from these ravenous eaters with your favourite control methods.

Greenhouse Activity As greenhouse plants will be growing quickly now, check them regularly to see whether they need repotting. If they do, repot into the next size pot using a good quality compost. Good ventilation, regular watering and maybe even some shading are vital at this time of year to keep plants strong and healthy. The greenhouse is a superb environment for growing plants to perfection – but it’s perfect for pests too – especially whitefly. So keep a close eye on all your plants and treat any pest outbreaks as they occur. Houseplants There’s no better way of turning a house into a home than by decorating it with houseplants. Whether it’s ferns for the bathroom, specimen foliage plants for the living room, a splash of colour wherever it’s needed from begonias, orchids and other flowering houseplants, or even something exotic for the conservatory – your home will soon come to life with plants. Just take a look through our houseplant section to see what we have to offer.

Plants of the Month Brighten up your garden with our Plants of the Month. At this time of year there are so many shrubs and climbers to choose from, including: Ceanothus, Choisya, Cytisus, rhododendrons and a vast array of evergreens. Clematis montana, wisteria; plus plenty of herbaceous perennials like aquilegia, dicentra, euphorbia and peonies. Plant Up Containers Summer containers and hanging baskets can be placed outside at the end of May or early June – after the last frost. But, you can plant them up as soon as you like, as long as you have somewhere protected from frost, with good light – a greenhouse or grow house is the perfect place. By planting now they’ll look full and ready to burst into colour for the summer. If you need any help and advice on which plants to use and how to do it – just ask – and remember to pick up your plants, containers, baskets, liners, brackets, compost, water-retention gel and feeds.

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Dartford Living


Where to go locally...

...local events, clubs & groups

Parent & Toddler Groups (Term Time) Mondays

£2.00 per one 9:15am - 11:00am - A&J Toddlers - St Anselms Church Community Centre, Dartford. snack for small biscuits, Tea/coffee each. adults or children extra any for 50p and child adult and of session Contact end at dancing and singing and table Craft slice per 20p Toast juice. with children Julie on 01322 291092. Tuesdays , Dartford. Contact Catherine on Session 1: 9.15-10.45am, and Session 2: 11-12.30pm. Christchurch, Crossroad 01322 220036. on (01322) 288434 for further 9.30am -11.30am. The Salvation Army, 66 Hythe Street, Dartford. Please call us information. snack time for the children For 9.30am-11.30am Sticky Fingers - £1.50 per adult includes tea ,biscuits and healthy Greenhithe Contact 01322 382031 pre school children up to 4 years St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall London Road or see


on (01322) 288434 for further 9.30am -11.30am. The Salvation Army, 66 Hythe Street, Dartford. Please call us information. per family including all snacks and 10am -12pm - Little Angels Net Church, (Formerly Gala Bingo Hall) Dartford, £3 drinks. John 01322 272649. Road, Dartford, DA2 6JZ 12:45pm -2.45pm - Fleetdown Open House - Fleetdown Community Centre, Swaledale £2.50 per Adult


9:30am - 11:30am. St Paulinus Church Hall, Manor Road, Crayford. Child - £1 Non Walkers 9.30am-11am Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child - £1 Non Walkers - facebook. 1pm-2.30pm Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per com/ToeRags


up to 2. £1 per adult 9.30am-11am Baby and me for expectant mothers and mothers / carers of chidrenor see 382031 01322 Contact e. Greenhith Road London Hall, Church e Greenhith St Mary Child - £1 Non Walkers 9.30am-11am Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Greenhithe. Jeanne 01322 9.30am-11.30am Carer & Toddler Group, St Mary’s Church Hall, Stone Place Rd, 380322 1-3pm Gigglekidz, Tree Estate Community Centre on Cedar Road - £2 Per Child


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

Toddler Music & Rhyme Sessions

Tuesdays Two sessions, from 9.30-10.30am and 10:45 - 11:45am in Fleetdown FC Hall; Heath Lane, Dartford. Contact Kate on 07770 860450.. ALSO RUN SAME PLACE/TIM E ON THURSDAYS Tuesdays 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.

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. JUST FOR GROWN UPS GROUP 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


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


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

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


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


St Michael & All Angels Church Hall, DA2 7EG 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 Kay 01322 276528

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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 BRIDGE CLUB

Dartford Books and

Culture Club meets every Tuesday evening at 7.00 pm at meets once a month Wilmington Christian Fellowship Church Hall, on Saturday mornings Broad Lane, Wilmington DA2 7AQ. at Dartford Library. For We are seeking new members at all levels to play more information, find Duplicate Bridge -cost £2 per session. us at www.meetup. com/West-Kent-BookEnquiries: contact Club/ John Davies on 01474 832221 or e-mail

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

The Dartford Chess Club


Come and join your local Morris side, dancing and performing in Dartford, Gravesend and Bexley areas and throughout Kent in the Summer. We are a mixed and very sociable side, and can always find room for new dancers and musicians. It’s a great way of keeping fit and you’ll be helping to conserve a great English tradition. We practice alternate Tuesday evenings at Bexley, from September to April, then dancing out at pubs, clubs and fetes, throughout Kent, from May to August. Private Bookings taken. Contact Alison on 01322 862298, e-mail

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Dartford Living


Where to go locally... Mummy On The Mend


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

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

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

Haven (LGBT) Social Group. London / Kent area. Every Friday - a safe Place to Meet. For more information please contact 01322 287356 or 07503 306467 or email -

TUESDAY 2.00 - 3.00PM (TERM TIME ONLY) Fleetdown Library Everybody welcome, join us for a friendly chat and light refreshments.



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.


A support group for parents affected by pre and post natal depression Mondays - 10-11.30am St Peters Church, Pickford Lane, Bexleyheath Kent DA7 4RW Wednesdays (starting 26th April) 9.30-11.30 Tree Estate community hall Tree Estate Dartford Kent DA1 2RG Fridays 12-2pm St Mary’s Church Hall Greenhithe - Mount’s road, Greenhithe Kent DA9 9ND Email for more details.

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 Book Launch – new & fully illustrated Guide to St Peter & St Paul’s church, Swanscombe. On: Tuesday 18th April 2017 At: Old Fire Station Café, Church Road, Swanscombe DA10 0HF Time: Between 11am and 1pm Launch is free – no need to book, just come and visit. The guide book is £3, all sales going to the church. Christoph Bull (Local Historian) will be there to sell and sign your copies (he has extended and updated this publication) as will Town Mayor of Swanscombe & Greenhithe Bryan Read and Kent County Councillor Peter Harman.

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Dartford Active Retirement Group,[ DARTARA,] We are a group that meets on second Thursday once a month 2 - 4pm at Fleetdown community centre. At the meeting we have a guest entertainer or speaker, we also organise holidays and day trips out as well as activities including theatre trips, curling, short mat bowls, indoor games, coffee and cake afternoons and an art group. Just turn up on the day or phone Maureen Dixon-Jones 01322 383337 or Glenys Theobald 01322 273108 for more information

The Rotary Club of the North Downs

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

The National Women’s Register

The National Women’s Register (NWR) is a national organisation that meets in the Dartford area. The NWR is a discussion group for ‘lively minded women’. Contact can be made via or call 01603406767 and ask about the Dartford group.


The Rendezvous Club (50+)

Every Monday Time: 8pm - 10pm Location: Close to Bexleyheath Town Centre Description: We are a (non-profit making) friendly social group open to anyone over fifty. We enjoy socialising, making new friends and activities including Quizzes, Meals Out, Trips to the Theatre, Cinema, Coach Trips, Gentle Walks and Short Breaks Away. Admission: Subs £2.50 per week. Annual membership £6 If you would like to join us or require further information please telephone: Tel: 01322 287356 or 020 8304 6414


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

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 Crayford Women’s Institute 1st Thursday of every month at 1.45pm. Baker Trust Hall. Maxim Road, Crayford (near Sainsburys). Contact Secretary, Jean Monk 01322 557142

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

Crayford and District Probus Club

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

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Dartford Living


Where to go locally... WHEELCHAIR EPEE FENCING

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

Erith Youth Rugby

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

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

Hartley Swimclub at White Oak Pool, Swanley

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

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

Dartford Gymnastics

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

Learn Karate

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


Wednesdays & Fridays 9:30am-10:30am At Europa Gymnastics Centre Mondays 7.30pm to 8.30pm and Fridays 7.00pm – 8.00pm at Becket Sports Centre For more information please contact Emma: TEL: 07932 621415



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 JU JITSU CLUB 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.

Dartford Orienteering Club

For more details see

Hop like it’s hot

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.

The Highly Strung Badminton Club, a friendly, all ages (must be over 18years old) & all abilities(sorry no beginners) Thursdays at 745-945pm,at the Dartford Girls Grammar School sports hall Shepherds Lane,Dartford,Kent,DA1 2NT For further information email

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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 :

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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 £5.50 per class 07768 447657 for more info

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


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

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

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

01322 221251

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11 15 55

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.


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

Advertisers Index

Directory of Local Businesses advertising in Dartford Living

ACCOUNTANTS, FINANCE & LEGAL Buss Murton .............................................................. 40 Downton Ali Associates..............................................59 GF + Co........................................................................41 Lynton & Co ................................................................4 Quartz Financial Services.............................................19 BUILDERS, DECORATORS ROOFING, BATHROOMS, KITCHENS & WINDOWS

Affix Windows..............................................................30 Claremont Decorative Services..................................52 Nightingale Bathrooms.................................................5 Steve Cook - Double Glazing.......................................23 CONVENIENCE STORE S3 ................................................................................17 COSMETIC, BEAUTY & HEALTH Dia Wipes................................................................7 COUNCIL Dartford Borough Council ...........................................31 EDUCATION Kip McGrath.. ...................................................17 ELECTRICIANS AES Electricians.. ....................................................4 ESTATE/ LETTING AGENTS GPS Lettings............................................................7 Fox Estates ..................................................................11 Virotti................................................................13 Wisdom Estates...........................................................34 FUNERAL SERVICES Stephen P Gay Funeral Services..............................22 GARAGES & VEHICLE SERVICES Orchard Garage...........................................................60 Shenley Road Garage...................................................42 GARDENING SERVICES Barge Group................................................................11 HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE The Barge Group.....................................................11 HOTELS Campanile...................................................................4 JEWELLERY Bradleys..................................................................23 LOGISTICS/ REMOVALS FD TRANSPORT ...................................................42

MARKETING DL MARKETING AND DESIGN...............................28 MUSIC/DANCE & FITNESS Worried about your childs weight?.............................21 Dartford Bootcamps.....................................................30 Fairfield Leisure Centre...............................................30 Monkey Music............................................................49 Why Weight?...............................................................20 Vibe...............................................................18 OPTICIANS Linklater Opticians.. ...............................................40 PICTURE FRAMING Craft Frames.............................................................42 SANDWICH BAR Sally Sues....................................................................22 SECURITY Excel Security......................... ..............................43 SPORTS Fairfield Leisure Centre................................................15 TREE SURGERY The BARGE Group.................................................11 WILL WRITING SMN Will Writing .....................................................22

Advertise in the magazine for as little as £30 per month Contact:

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Dartford Living


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

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


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

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

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Dartford Living



01322 271000    

Local, established, independent garage Customer courtesy cars Wide range of used cars in stock Used Car Finance available

Car MOT Test £30

Bike MOT Test £25

See our independent feedback at: and

Supporting the British Heart Foundation & Dartford Cricket Club

128 Park Road, Dartford, DA1 1SZ

Dartford Living May Issue  

May issue of Dartford Living featuring Dartford Cricket Club, RSPB Rainham Marshes, Interview with Ruby Wax and much more.....

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