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Issue 35, December 2014 Complimentary

DENISE VAN OUTEN The star with a big heart


s e r u t a e f R E H T O The rise and rise of Benedict Cumberbatch

Find your perfect Christm

as tree...

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Can you believe Christmas is here again? The year seems to have just flown by, and it seems like only yesterday that we were in the middle of summer! But I have to say I love the festive season – the lights, the atmosphere, the entertaining, the carols, the mood of expectation. I even love tackling the shops with all the hustle and the bustle. Even if you hate going shoulder-to-shoulder in pursuit of that elusive gift, it really is the season to be jolly. Of course, I always think it's important to remember that a great gift doesn't have to be a great item. Treating someone to a day out, whisking them to the theatre for a surprise, or simply paying a visit to a friend or family member you haven't seen for too long. The thought really is what counts. So amid all the hullabaloo you've come to the right place to enjoy a relaxing few hours pouring over our pages before getting ready for that party or next trip to the stores. Inside this issue we've got some of the biggest stars of the moment. There's Benedict Cumberbatch, a man for whom everything he touches right now seems to turn to gold. And while we're talking about success stories, what about Anne Hathaway? From winning an Oscar to ending the year sky high with a role in the science fiction extravaganza Interstellar. There seems to be no end to her success story. That's not all. Bringing a little more glitz and glamour is the gorgeous Denise van Outen. So enjoy a moment of tranquility, put your feet up and enjoy a little you-time this festive season with your copy of mmm. All of which leaves me just to wish each and everyone of you a very happy Christmas and a very prosperous new year. Here's hoping Santa brings you everything you wished for. See you next month!



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LTD Warming Homes Throughout Kent Since 1917

• Full Installation of Wood Burning Stoves • Bespoke Service Professionally Managed from Design through to Completion • Specialist in Unique Custom made to measure Granite and Slate Hearths

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mmm MMM Media Ltd GHL House 1st Floor 12-14 Albion Place Maidstone Kent ME14 5DZ Tel: 01622 299035 Publisher Rasa Dregva Editor Tom White Travel Editor Tricia Lester

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anne hathaway the famous actress’ route to stardom and happiness

58 mmm


headcorn a popular destination for tourists with its quaint shops and its history


property the latest Kent property on the market in harrietsham


food check out our wonderful christmas recipes


motors lexus reveals lf-c2 luxury roadster concept


benedict cumberbatch the rise and rise of benedict cumberbatch


local news local business news in Kent


travel we’re taking you to the christmas markets


hms seal robin brooks recalls the link on hms to a village in Kent


denise van outen the star with a big heart


events what’s on in and around Kent this month

Design Matthew Jones Karen Oliver Sales Dawn Long Sue Houghton Accounts Kerry Head Further contribution Robin J Brooks

All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. © MMM Media Ltd 2014


picks out the stunning new christmas home collection

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From Chatham to Gotham via Brokeback mountain Anne Hathaway’s route to stardom and happiness

hen a mother-of-two joined a Victorian ropery tour at the Historic Dockyard Chatham what she was not expecting was to spot one of Hollywood’s A-listers among those listening intently to the guide. But as the tour party strolled around the dockyard back in the spring of 2012, the eagle-eyed visitor thought she recognised a slim woman with striking looks. Jo Lord, 38, told her local paper at the time: “Nobody clocked her. She was wearing walking boots with slouchy socks and baggy jeans that looked like they belonged to a boyfriend. She kept very quiet and was writing in a notebook. “I thought, ‘That looks like Anne Hathaway’.” And Anne Hathaway it was. For the talented actress was in the county to shoot a role which would elevate her to new heights of stardom. Using the dockyard’s historic buildings and back drop, the producers of the big screen adaptation of the celebrated musical Les Miserables had found the perfect location. Which meant Anne found herself in Medway to shoot scenes as Fantine – a character she had to shed pounds to portray and had her hair shaved off on camera for. It would be a role which would secure her a place at a very distinguished table. For she is now one of just 23 people to win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, a Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Critics’ Choice Award, all for a single role. a


Credit: Chrisa Hickey 12 mmm

Credit: Mingle Media TV

Credit: Christopher Peterson

Credit: Caspian Blue

She certainly hasn’t looked back either. And having turned just 32 last month, few would bet against her adding to that tally of remarkable awards. Her latest big movie role is in Interstellar, the monster sci-fi hit, released last month. It reunited her with director Christopher Nolan with whom she had worked on the Batman smash the Dark Knight. What’s more, with her career at its peak, she’s never been happier in her private life either, it would seem. She has been with actor Adam Shulman since November 2008 – tying the knot in 2012. They started dating just months after the breakdown of

her relationship to Italian real estate developer Raffaello Follieri. The pair had gone their separate ways after a charitable organisation – the Follieri Foundation – which she had helped set-up, was investigated over tax issues in the US. Follieri would eventually be found guilty of defrauding investors and sentenced to a four and a half year jail term. Anne, for her part, was not charged with any crime, but the relationship was over. She admits she hit it off with Shulman “almost immediately” but that it took a while for the two to start dating. a

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He proposed just moments after she got off the phone having agreed to have her head shaved for Les Miserables, by asking her how would see feel about being “a bald bride”. During the time they’ve been together she’s enjoyed the most fertile period of her career so far. From the Dark Knight to Les Miserables. She’s even hosted the Oscars. Certainly her lifestyle is envied by many. Her jet-setting, commanding millions for each movie and a content family life seems to give her a winning balance. She explains: “I’m very fortunate that my husband has a job that allows him to travel and kind of make his own schedule, so he travels with me whenever possible. “Sometimes that’s not possible and whenever that happens, we have a rule that we aren’t apart for more than two weeks. “When we got married I thought it was a great party, but I honestly thought we were doing it more for tradition and I wasn’t prepared for the radical shift that my heart was going to have.” It’s not been all plain sailing, however. Certain acceptance speeches at award ceremonies have been widely criticised for being rehearsed and acted rather than heartfelt. “She’s too eager to endear herself to people” is a a

So I decided I wanted to figure out who I am. I wanted to learn who I am. I didn’t want to feel so fragile every time I left the house because I was so dependent on the way other people viewed me.

16 mmm Credit: Harry Wad

regular refrain. It’s not something she’s unaware of. “My friends and I had an idea we wanted to do something on celebrity pregnancy rumours, so we put it in Google to see what we could find,” she explains. “And this story came up titled ‘why does everyone hate Anne Hathaway?’. “I could not help but read it. You try to cut off the negativity at first, but then I realised I couldn’t and the reason for that was that I hadn’t learned to love myself yet. “If you don’t love yourself, then when someone else says horrible things to you, part of you is always going to believe them. “So I decided I wanted to figure out who I am. I wanted to learn who I am. I didn’t want to feel so fragile every time I left the house because I was so dependent on the way other people viewed me. “Now I feel like I’ve arrived in a place where I have a tremendous amount of love and compassion for everyone else and for myself – which I never had before.” Born in November 1982 in New York, her father was a lawyer and her mother an actress. It was she who inspired her young daughter to follow in her footsteps. Ironically, Kate Hathaway toured as Fantine in the first US tour of Les Miserables when little Anne was just six years old. The middle of three children, she was raised Roman Catholic. She felt so strongly about her faith she even considered being a nun when she was a child. However, when her brother revealed he was gay, it shook her faith in the church. She explained: “I realised my older brother was gay, and I couldn’t support a religion that didn’t support my brother.

“Now I call myself a non-denominational Christian because I haven’t found the religion for me.” Her acting talent emerged early, though, and at school she took part in school productions before going on to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. A talented soprano singer too, she found herself in demand from the age of 15, when she appeared in a production at the famous Carnegie Hall. She was also in a US TV series, Get Real, at the age of 16. Her big breakthrough came in 2001 when she appeared in the Walt Disney drama, The Other Side of Heaven. But it was another Disney production, the Princess Diaries, which put her name to a wider audience. It became a major hit, grossing $165m worldwide and gained Anne critical acclaim, After more movie roles she acted in Brokeback Mountain and won glorious critical acclaim, elevating her reputation. Then it was The Devil Wears Prada and crowned by Les Mis which delivered her an Oscar. Since then she hasn’t looked back, And if she can transform the negative perception of her among many, then she has achieved it all. mmm

Fact file Name: Anne Jacqueline Hathaway Age: 32 (November 12, 1982) Born: Brooklyn, New York City, New York Occupation: Actress Top five films The Princess Diaries (2001) The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Alice in Wonderland (2010) The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Les Misérables (2012)

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Woods Designer Clothing is probably

Kent’s leading independent fashion store Woods have been selling designer clothes to both Men and Women since 1989 and are the official

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Black Textured Wool Crombie Coat, £190, Printed Ombre Silk Top, £49, Printed Ombre Silk Trousers, £89, Silver Metal Clutch, £59, John Lewis

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Amara Roberto Cavalli Zebrato Shawl Bathrobe, £193

Debenhams Lancome, £49

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House of Fraser Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Lipstick Collection, £30

Gifts for her Tommy Hilfiger Navy Sparkle Gloves £50

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Leia Fantasie Ivana, Basque £79, available in cup sizes D – G Co-ordinates from £20, sizes XS – 2XL Matching Bra also available Leia Wacoal Embrace Lace Chemise, Sizes S – XL, £51

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Celebrate Christmas Lying eight miles (13km) from the county town of Maidstone in Kent on the A274 road to Tenterden is the village of Headcorn. Although not appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086, the Domesday Monachorum or ecclesiastical survey does record the existence of a church at Hedekaruna. It tells us that Henry of Ospringe was appointed the first rector in 1222 by King Henry III who later gave the ‘den of Headcorn’ to the Maison Dieu at Ospringe near Faversham The Master and Brethren of this organisation granted a weekly market to Headcorn together with an annual fair to be held on June 29th each year which was to become known as St Peter and St Paul’s Day in recognition of the establishment of a parish church which was dedicated to their names. However in 1482 the Ospringe house was dissolved and in 1516, St John’s College Cambridge was given the Maison Dieu properties with the fair then changing to June 12th.

If evidence were needed to prove that the area was inhabited during the Bronze Age a Neolithic polished flint axe was found in a stream together with a bronze palstave axehead revealing the presence of people. Further evidence came from a farmsted in the south of the parish that probably dates from the prehistoric iron age into the early Roman period, both of which were discovered when fieldwork was undertaken by the Kent Archaeological Society between 1993 and 1995. The signs of early iron smelting and a small cemetery with Roman cremations were also found during the work, further evidence of early occupation. Prosperity came to Headcorn when a weaving industry was established during the reign of King Edward III. Houses were built for the workers together with an enlargement of the parish church to accommodate the Sunday worshippers. Near the south door of the church a sapling of an Oak tree was planted which became known as

Weald of Guitar mmm

in Headcorn ‘the Headcorn Oak’. This came to be recognised as a symbol of Headcorn and claims have been made over the years that it could be 1200 years old. However a more recent examination from the Forestry Commission puts its age at just 500 years old. Sadly it was damaged in a fire on April 25th, 1989 but continued to produce new growth until July 1993 when it finally died. Situated as it is in the Weald of Kent, a glorious area of the county, Headcorn has always enjoyed a community spirit. There are several hostelries and inns in the village, perhaps one of the best known being the ‘George Inn’ on the High Street. During early times this was the hub of horse drawn coach services to Kent, Surrey and Sussex. At 7am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the Tenterden Coach set out on a ten hour journey of 55 miles passing through Headcorn and calling at the ‘George’ to pick up or drop off passengers. Nowadays the inn is known for its food and ambience although the building

has changed very little since the coaching days. In addition to long distance travel, for 130 years a horse drawn bus service between Tenterden, Headcorn and Maidstone was run by Messrs R and J Bennett. An advertisement of 1750 shows a team of eight horses pulling a stage wagon. This service also ran to London and back once a week taking two days each way. However the advent of the steam engine saw the days of such halcyon travel soon disappear.On October 31st, 1904 the Headcorn, Sutton Valence and Maidstone Motor Omnibus Company Ltd opened a service using steam vehicles. Replaced in 1912 by Reliance Motor Services, they were replaced by the Maidstone and District Motor Services who continued until the 1960’s when they amalgamated with the current operator Arriva. Headcorn remains a popular destination for tourists with its quaint shops and its history and on December 13th there is to be a Christmas Event in the village.

Photo Factory


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Perfect Christmas Food Ingredients 15 lb turkey, rinsed, patted dry and giblets removed (and reserved) 1/2 stick butter, softened 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted 2 1/2 cups white wine Salt and pepper

Method Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bird breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Pour one cup of white wine over the top of it. Rub softened butter all over the outside and generously sprinkle salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, stir melted butter and one and a half cups of wine together. Place cheese cloth in the butter mixture and soak thoroughly. Drape the soaked cheese cloth over the top of the turkey. Place turkey in oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees. Every 30 minutes, brush some of the remaining butter mixture over the cheese cloth. Its important to keep the cheese cloth moist, but it will turn brown. After two and a half – three hours, remove cheese cloth and discard. Brush remaining butter mixture on top of the bird. Continue cooking, basting occasionally with pan juices, until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees. The 15 pound bird roasted for close to four hours. Remove from oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Giblet Stock (for Homemade Gravy) Ingredients Turkey giblets (minus the liver) 1 celery stalk, 1 carrot, 1 onion 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon peppercorns

Recipe for

Roast Turkey

Method Toss all ingredients into a large stock pot and cover with water. Simmer for three hours (while the turkey is roasting). Strain and toss solid ingredients. Homemade Gravy Ingredients 3 cups giblet stock 4 tablespoons flour 1 1/2 cups Madeira wine Pan juices from turkey Method Pour turkey pan juices into a fat separator. Let it rest for 10 - 20 minutes to allow fat to rise to the top. All the good stuff is the dark brown liquid at the bottom. Set aside. In a small cup, whisk flour and one cup of stock until flour is dissolved. Set aside. Put roasting pan on the stove over medium heat. Slowly pour in wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the roasting pan. Slowly whisk in stock-flour mixture. Cook for three to four minutes, or until flour is totally incorporated. Add remaining two cups giblet stock. Add dark turkey drippings (not the fat). Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 20 minutes. Strain gravy through a fine sieve. Serve with the turkey.

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Recipe for

Christmas Pudding Cook’s tips

Store your prepared pudding, well wrapped and in a cool, dry place for up to three months. Method Lightly butter a 2 ½ pint/1.4 litre pudding basin 17cm Place the dried fruits, candied peel, apple, orange and lemon juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the brandy and stir well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to marinate for a couple of hours, preferably overnight. Stir together the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon in a very large mixing bowl. Add the suet, sugar, lemon and orange zest, bread crumbs, nuts and stir again until all the ingredients are well mixed. Finally add the marinated dried fruits and stir again. Beat the eggs lightly in a small bowl then stir quickly into the dry ingredients. The mixture should have a fairly soft consistency. Now is the time to gather the family for Christmas Pudding tradition of taking turns in stirring, making a wish and adding a few coins. Spoon the mixture in to the greased pudding basin, gently pressing the mixture down with the back of a spoon. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, then a layer of aluminum foil and tie securely with string. Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for seven hours. Make sure you check the water level frequently so it never boils dry. The pudding should be a deep brown

Recipe by Sainsbury’s

Ingredients 1lb /450g dried mixed fruit 1 oz /25 g mixed candied peel, finely chopped 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped Grated zest and juice ½ large orange and ½ lemon 4 tbsp brandy, plus a little extra for soaking at the end 2 oz /55 g self-raising flour, sifted 1 level tablespoon ground mixed spice 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon 4 oz /110 g shredded suet, beef or vegetarian 4oz /110g soft, dark brown sugar 4 oz /110 g white fresh bread crumbs 1 oz /25 g whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped 2 large, fresh eggs colour when cooked. The pudding is not a light cake but instead is a dark, sticky and dense sponge. Remove the pudding from the steamer, cool completely. Remove the paper, prick the pudding with a skewer and pour in a little extra brandy. Cover with fresh greaseproof paper and retie with string. Store in a cool dry place until Christmas day. Note: The pudding cannot be eaten immediately, it really does need to be stored and rested then reheated on Christmas Day. Eating the pudding immediately after cooking will cause it to collapse and the flavours will not have had time to mature. On Christmas day reheat the pudding by steaming again for about an hour. Serve with anyone of these lovely accompaniments. Brandy or Rum Sauce, Brandy Butter or Custard.

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Celebrate the Festive Season in Style








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What to lay 2

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here’s nothing better than having all your decorations up. But don’t forget your table decorations! mmm takes you through their selection of must haves for your tables this Christmas..., Scandi Blue and Ice Christmas Table - Ledbury Table Linen and Napkins, £40.00

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House of Bath, Illuminated Village Scene, £29.95

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reate a welcoming home in time for the festive season. mmm shops around for this years impressive selection of trees and decorations that will give your home that perfect Christmas for all the family...

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From Shakespeare to Sherlock and back again The rise and rise of Benedict Cumberbatch

hen the Barbican Theatre in London put tickets on sale for a three month production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet next year, every single one of them was snapped up in a matter of minutes. While it would be encouraging to think it is the endearing popularity of the Bard and of live theatre which drove the remarkable demand, the truth is that it was down to the incredible pulling power of a man who has become a nation treasure. Just five years ago, Benedict Cumberbatch was merely a successful actor who was making a strong reputation for himself on the stage, radio and television. But the truth is, few would have recognised him in the street. Less remember that remarkable name. But then the distinctive looking star signed up to bring to life once more the most famous detective in the world – Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. It would send his star soaring into the stratosphere. By transforming the fictional detective written by a man who named Groombridge Place in Kent one of his


favourite haunts, into the modern age, with wit and humour, he introduced a new generation to Holmes, and sent ratings for Sherlock to the top of the TV charts. Since then he has rarely looked back. Further, short, series of Sherlock have followed – including one of the most talked about cliffhangers in modern television when Holmes was seen tumbling off a roof and falling to his death, only to appear, secretly, at his own funeral. The whole world wondered how he’d done it. There has been no mystery to Benedict’s rise though. His acting talents have charmed viewers, his good looks enthralled a growing legion of female admirers. His friendly nature, wit and charm in interviews has only enhanced him further. Roles in major Hollywood movies such as Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy and War Horse followed. And when he took over the main baddie role in Star Trek Into Darkness, he hit the A-list. Last year, he could be heard – if not seen – as the voice behind the dragon Smaug in the second Hobbit movie, a role he reprises in the final instalment released this month.

Among the major awards he has scooped include, in 2013, a Britannia Award from BAFTA as British Artist of the Year for his “masterful performances in television, film and theatre”. Earlier this year, Time magazine named him one of its top 100 ‘most influential people in the world’. The smart money is on his performance in 12 Years a Slave, landing him an Oscar nomination too. Not that movies are what Cumberbatch wants to be pigeon-holed by. “I want to be known as an actor,” he explains, “not as a film star, or theatre actor, or television actor, or Sherlock, or for just one role. “I want to be known as an actor, and do a bit of everything.” It was perhaps inevitable that he would become an actor. His parents were both in the industry. Born in July 1976, he grew up in Kensington and Chelsea. His great-grandfather, Henry Arnold Cumberbatch, the consul general of Queen Victoria in Turkey, his grandfather a prominent figure in London high society. He attended boarding schools from the age of eight, attending Brambletye School in West Sussex and then Harrow School where his talent as an actor emerged. In fact he was so good, his drama teacher described him as the “best schoolboy actor” he had ever taught. a

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After leaving the prestigious school, he took a gap year where he volunteered as an English teacher at a Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling, India, before returning to the UK to study drama at the University of Manchester, before attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. It proved the perfect platform to launch his career which would ultimately lead him to such remarkable success. From 2001 he started securing major roles in major theatrical productions. And gaining plaudits for his performances too. Television soon beckoned and in 2004 he was cast in the title role of Hawking, a TV drama about the life of Stephen Hawking. It won Benedict a BAFTA nomination for best actor in a TV show. a

People have this idea that you’re immediately bubble-wrapped and surrounded by security. I’m not. I get on the Tube and I get on my motorbike.

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Further roles followed, but it was in 2010 when he took on the role of Sherlock, alongside Martin Freeman, when he reached new highs. The show then became an international hit. “I have always been very grateful for the opportunities I have, because I wasn’t born into them,” he explains. “My mum and dad worked really hard to afford them. Mum made commercial choices – and dad as well – to keep me in school uniforms and keep the fees paid. “I was like a walking mortgage. I was a very expensive child because of the way they tried to educate me. That was completely off their own bat.” So what does he make of Sherlock, the character he is most associated with? “If he’s charismatic, it’s an accident of who he is,” the actor explains. “He’s an odd entity. He’s sociopathic and there is a vicarious thrill you get watching someone who carves his way through bureaucracy and mediocrity like a hot knife through butter. “As the series has gone on he’s become a deconstructed and more vulnerable character who is easier to relate to and care about. But it’s a slow learning curve. He’s still staggeringly smart, violent, physically capable, irreverent,

comically rude — to idiots or anyone vaguely in his way — and dangerous.” But with terrific fame come terrific pressures. “You try to normalise things as much as you can. “I rely on friends and family, things that I’ve known longer than any of this nonsense, and nature, moving on from being observed in that manner. “I do a little bit of drawing. I do a little bit of pen and ink, but canvas work has been a little while off. I need the space and a bit more time. ...But yeah, I love sketching still. I really love that. “People have this idea that you’re immediately bubble-wrapped and surrounded by security. I’m not. I get on the Tube and I get on my motorbike. I go to galleries and restaurants and museums and I see people, and they take photographs and I say, ‘Please don’t,’ or whatever seems the appropriate response.” It seems unlikely his fame is going to die down any time soon. His latest film, The Imitation Game, has been critically well received and the roles are lining up. He will appear opposite Johnny Depp next year in the movie Black Mass, amongst a host of other projects. And then, of course, there’s that sold-out run at the Barbican stretching through August until October. Like Sherlock, it seems we simply cannot get enough of Benedict Cumberbatch. mmm

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Fly to

Christmas Wonderland In just



Fancy a Christmas shopping experience with a continental twist? Then why not hop on a plane for a magical weekend in ‘Paris by the sea’.

Next month Lyddair, based at Lydd Airport, launches its scheduled Christmas flights to the stylish French resort of Le Touquet, famous for its gorgeous illuminations, shops, restaurants and Christmas market in art deco surroundings. The jewel of France’s northern coast is transformed into a Christmas wonderland during December, with thousands of twinkling lights and a host of events and activities. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride, hop on the merry-go-round, get your skates on for the outdoor ice rink or browse the stalls at the popular Christmas market. Spend the day shopping for gifts, dine at one of Le Touquet’s excellent restaurants, or simply wander through this chic seaside town and soak up the festive atmosphere. For more information about scheduled and charter flights with Lyddair, call 01797 322207, email, or visit To find out more about Christmas events and activities in Le Touquet, go to

Return flights with Lyddair cost £149.94 adults, £138.54 children and £55.90 infants. Prices are based on an overnight stop, with scheduled departures from Lydd on Saturday December 6th, 13th and 20th and return flights on Sunday December 7th, 14th and 21st. Flight time is just 15 minutes, with check-in only 45 minutes before departure – giving you more time to spend enjoying Le Touquet. Accommodation is not included but Lyddair’s reservations team can assist with hotel bookings, as well as provide restaurant recommendations. If you really want to travel in style, why not charter your own aircraft to Le Touquet? It’s the perfect way for a small group of family or friends to enjoy Christmas shopping together – and it’s more affordable than you might think. You’ll have your own aircraft and pilot, you can fly any day of the week, either for a day trip or overnight stop, and choose a departure time that suits – all from just £133.35 per person*.

Christmas Markets

A Travel report on the wonderful Christmas Markets in Europe. or hundreds of years traditional Christmas markets have adorned the cities of Northern and Central Europe with bright lights and colourful decorations, heralding the onset of winter. Perfect for a festive city break, they provide an opportunity to enjoy a real Christmas atmosphere, sample delicious local specialities such as glühwein and gingerbread and to buy some handmade local crafts – perfect gifts for loved ones at home. Kirker offers a wide range of city breaks to some of Europe’s best Christmas markets, including flights from your local airport, private transfers and accommodation


in a carefully-selected hotel in the heart of the city. From three-star pensions to five-star palaces, our range of properties offers something to suit every taste and budget, and each hotel has been personally inspected by members of our experienced team. All Kirker Christmas market holidays also include the exclusive Guide Notes to the best restaurants and sightseeing in each destination – including our personal favourites and recommendations which you won’t see in mainstream guide books. A Concierge is also on hand to arrange a walking tour, book tickets for a Christmas concert or carol service or to reserve a table for a delicious dinner at a recommended restaurant.”

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For music lovers, there is nowhere more perfect than Vienna – birthplace of Schubert and Strauss, home of Mozart and Beethoven and a city blessed with two world-class opera houses and a host of theatres and concert halls. Kirker clients receive a complimentary Vienna Master ticket which offers entrance to the city’s great Kunsthistorisches and Leopold Museums, and the Concierge would be delighted to book seats at the opera or perhaps tickets for a performance of the famous Vienna Boy’s Choir or the legendary Spanish Riding School. If you are seeking a perfectly preserved medieval city, try Prague with its fairytale towers and spires, cobbled squares and the elegant Charles Bridge guarded by Baroque statues of saints – all Kirker holidays also include a complimentary private walking tour with one of our expert local guides, the perfect way to appreciate the turbulent history of this fascinating city. For those who prefer not to fly, take the Eurostar to the markets of Brussels a

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and enjoy delicious Belgian beers and hot waffles on the Grand Place, or visit picturesque Bruges for chocolate shops, traditional lacemakers and walks along the historic canals and cobbled streets. Germany is the spiritual home of Christmas markets, and they take place throughout the country, from Munich in the south, with the snow-capped Alps beyond, to Cologne and its awe-inspiring cathedral in the north. Berlin offers another contrast; a city with a rich and sometimes troubled history, which has become one of Europe’s most dynamic and exciting modern cities. Whichever destination you choose, a festive escape provides a welcome break and an opportunity to combine shopping with some culture, sightseeing, delicious food and relaxation. For expert advice and a Christmas Market holiday to suit your own personal requirements, speak to your local Baldwins Travel Group shop.

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The Star with a big heart From the Big Breakfast to the West End, Denise van Outen is finding love again as she enters her forties t has been a significant year for Denise van Outen, because 2014 has been 12 months of transition for the blonde bombshell whose looks and attitude have cemented her position as one of the nation’s best-loved female celebrities. She emerged into the new year single once more – after the breakdown and ultimate divorce of her three year marriage to Any Dream Will Do and musical star Lee Mead. A mother to a young daughter – she turned four earlier this year – May saw perhaps the most significant date in the diary, as Denise left her thirties behind after turning 40. But in a style which endears her to the British public, she leaves the year stronger than she left it. She has successfully toured a musical – Some Girl I Used To Know – and, perhaps most significantly has found a new love in boyfriend Eddie Boxshall, a City worker. The pair may have decided to take things slowly – both have children – but they are clearly smitten and have been snapped out and about in recent months.


Reflecting on reaching the big 40 she remained upbeat, explaining: “I felt OK about turning 40 because I’m doing the things I should be doing “Women can have it all but it comes at a price. Something will suffer somewhere: I’m a mother, I work, you try see your friends, make time for your friends, but you don’t have time for yourself.” And she’s certainly kept herself busy over the years, with roles in TV supplemented by stints on the stage – her onewoman show followed in the footsteps of a successful stint as Roxie Hart in the West End hit Chicago – and even on the big screen, in the British movie Run For Your Wife. But she admits juggling the demands of her young daughter, Betsy, is perhaps the biggest and most rewarding role she’s had yet. The couple live in a farmhouse in a village between Maidstone and Ashford, but the demands of her career can make life a challenge at times. She recalls her time on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing show in 2012. a

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“I’ve had days when I feel I’m a terrible mother but I think all women go through that,” she explains. “I call it mother’s guilt and get it when I’m working and think I should be at home with Betsy. “I was under a lot of pressure while filming Strictly. I would rush to take Betsy to nursery, rush to the dance studio, dance all day, then rush to pick her up, give her a bath and evening meal and get her to bed. “When I feel guilty, I remind myself that I’m doing it for her – like all parents I want her to have a good life. “The person I admire the most is my own mum. When I was little, she worked at two different jobs to provide for the family, and gave me the idea that it’s good to be a working mum. She taught me just to trust my instincts when I had Betsy. My late grandmother was also really special, and I hope I’ll be able to pass their skills and values to my own daughter.” Born in May 1974 in Basildon, Essex, she was the youngest of three children. Her fame started at an early age, modelling for knitting patterns when she was just seven. Her love of performing took up to the Sylvia Young Theatre School and by 1986, at the tender age of 12, she appeared in the musical Les Miserables. Further roles in Anthony Newley’s Stop the World – I Want to Get Off and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream cemented an impressive portfolio at a young age. But it was in 1997 went she finally cracked the big time with Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast. Her partnership with presenter Johnny Vaughan helped revive the fortunes of the show.

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When I feel guilty, I remind myself that I’m doing it for her – like all parents I want her to have a good life

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She left by the end of 1998 wishing to pursue her acting career, before returning to the show in 2000-2001. However, her relationship with Vaughan would sour after the pair reunited for a breakfast radio show on Capital in 2008. She explained at the time: “Johnny didn’t really welcome me with open arms, in fact he made me feel very uncomfortable. “He wouldn’t let me speak, would tell me when I should and shouldn’t speak and would also constantly not mention that we were joint presenters. When I would go to speak he would fade my microphone down. “It wasn’t the relationship we had on TV. It was very different.” For his part, Vaughan denies any of the claims, and says he owes his successful career to the pair’s stint on the Big Breakfast. As a no-nonsense, strong woman, she created a powerful persona which has seen her rarely out of work since. a

It was as a judge on BBC1 singing contest Any Dream Will Do that she met Lee Mead, the eventual winner. They not only started dating, but married in 2009 – moving to Kent in the process. He is the father to little Betsy. Although their relationship crumbled, they have remained close for their daughter and it was because of that, she admits it took a little while before she started dating again. She explains: “I’ve just got back on the dating scene after a year of healing and being respectful to my ex-partner and thinking, ‘I want to do it the right way’.” “I do feel 20 inside, I think you always feel young inside. My nan was in her eighties and she still felt 19.” Her next big challenge will be far from a glamorous affair, however, after revealing she is to cycle 250-miles across Vietnam and Cambodia in January. The eight-day trek will raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. She will be joined by TV stars Lydia Bright from The Only Way is Essex and Take Me Out’s Zoe Hardman. It’s not the first time the big-hearted star as put herself out for charity either. In the past she’s climbed Mount Kilmanjaro, cycled 180 miles across India and trekked the Great Wall of China all for the hospital. It seems there really is no mountain high enough for Denise. mmm

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Christmas Is family time

Christmas Home Marks & Spencers

Light Up Noel Letters £60 Marks & Spencers

Festive Three Wick Candle £8 Next

Set of four Vintage Plates £14 BHS

Light Up Noel Letters £60 Marks & Spencers

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Reindeer Cushion £28 Debenhams

Christmas Cushion £25 Debenhams

Christmas 2014 Home available from Harpers Maidstone

Rustic Advent House £25 Next

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le Sa e er iv on s s r ts m b ts a M Sta ce un o


De c h a Dis first ! t 27 xtr on ys E










MON-SAT 9am - 6pm

SUNDAY 10am - 4pm

Unit E, Hart Street Maidstone, Kent ME16 8RF

Call us on 01622 662770

Here at Allsorts Antiques Vintage & Collectables our aim is to make buying Antiques and vintage appealing to all. We strive to bring you the most eclectic and diverse mix of items from a range of periods so that you will always be able to find that thoughtful gift or that unique piece for your home that makes you stand out from the crowd. Open Tuesday to Saturday: 10am - 4.30pm Sundays: 10am - 4pm Late night on Thursdays until 7pm in run up to Christmas

37 High Street, Headcorn, Ashford, Kent TN27 9NL 01622 892 400

Vintage jewellery, Antique furniture, Sports memorabilia, Vintage clothes, Militaria, Glass, China and porcelain and lots more... Come visit us soon....

Lets Connect...

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Luxury Vinyl tiles available from all leading manufactures Stockists and Fitters of





Open: Mon-Fri at 8am to 5pm Sat at 9am to 1pm

Unit 8, Ballard Business Park, Cuxton Road, Strood, Kent, ME2 2NY Tel: 01634 720411 Email: Website:

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Deck Doors YOUR

Give your home a welcoming feel as Christmas guests enter, with a verdant wreath or garland to grace your front door. Whether it be floral, leafy, twiggy or contemporary, mmm discover the history of the wreath and the various styles available for you to purchase this Christmas… atural wreaths A natural wreath is the most traditional type, with beginnings in the distant past. The most common type is made from evergreen boughs and holly sprigs, with holly berries also incorporated. Other natural wreaths include those using dried flowers, herbs, grasses, and twigs.


Sainsbury’s Home classical wreath

rtificial wreaths Artificial wreaths mimic natural wreaths, while modern wreaths, which are also made from artificial materials, have an entirely different look, sometimes involving lights, fibre-optics, tinsel, baubles, and other festive items.

A Tesco Direct, traditional wreath

Homebase, gold bauble and gold leaf wreath

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odern wreath Designed to bring a bit of festive cheer, rather than mimic the traditional evergreen wreath. They are usually brightly colored, often highlighted with glitter, or are frosted to give a wintry, seasonal appearance. Metallic tinsel is very popular for bright, decorative, modern Christmas wreaths.


Marks & Spencers snowy woodland spruce wreath

House of Bath tree shaped wreath

iy wreath A family oriented alternative is to decorate an evergreen, holly, or tinsel wreath with pictures of family, friends, and pets. This produces a unique wreath that celebrates family, friends, and loved ones. For those who do not want to make a wreath from scratch, they can easily customize a plain or very simple wreath, which eliminates the time consuming process of actually creating the base of the wreath.


Homebase, red berry pinecone and holly wreath


inecone Wreath A wreath of moss and Norway-spruce pinecones makes for a decoration you can use year after year.

John Lewis, snowy pinecone wreath

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* Wood & Multi Fuel Stoves * Marble, Wood & Stone Fire Surrounds * Gas & Electric Fires * Chimney Lining * Full Installation Service * Gas Fire Servicing

Visit Our Showroom 2 Castle Court, Castle Road, Eurolink Industrial Estate Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3TD Tel: 01795 599234 - Opening Times: Monday - Friday 9.30 - 4, Saturday 10 - 4

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The Water Tower stunning conversion of a edwardian water tower with contemporary addition Property - The Water Tower Address - Stede Hill, Harrietsham Bedrooms - Four Bathrooms - Two Price - ÂŁ1,195,000 The Water Tower The Water Tower sits in a rural elevated position along Stede Hill and is conveniently located 1.2 miles from Harrietsham with its primary school, shop, pub and station with links to London Victoria. Maidstone is approximately 9 miles away with a comprehensive range of shops, schools and recreational facilities. The M20 at junction 8 is 4.6 miles providing links to the national motorway network, channel tunnel, London and the Kent coast. There are numerous schools in the area including Maidstone Grammar School for Boys and Maidstone Girls Grammar school together with Sutton Valence and its associated prep school. Sporting facilities include golf at The Ridge and Chart Hills, the country club at Marriott Tudor Park together with recreational facilities at the nearby world renowned Leeds Castle. The Water Tower is a truly unique property dating from 1903 and having been superbly converted and renovated by the current vendors together with the addition of a superb contemporary single storey extension. The vendors have gone to great lengths to preserve the integrity of the original building yet adapting it for the needs of the modern homeowner. There are a wealth of materials used including glass and exposed brickwork. A key note is the green roof blending the house into its surroundings. The front door opens to the spacious reception hall with full glass wall

overlooking surrounding farmland. The hall opens to a feature full height stairwell with impressive spiral staircase to the three floors of the tower. The sitting room is to the front and formed from the original ground floor of the tower with double doors to the front. A corridor leads from the entrance hall to the remaining ground floor. There is a utility room with space and plumbing for washing machine together with the under floor heating manifold. The kitchen/breakfast/family room is a superb feature of the property with a wood burning store and curved wall with sliding glazed doors to the garden. The kitchen has been fitted with a range of striking German high gloss units with white quartz work surfaces. There are a range of integrated appliances. Of particular note is the striking glass corner to the room. The corridor continues past the kitchen to the two ground floor bedrooms, both with full height windows. The bedrooms can be used for a variety of purposes. Between the two bedrooms is a spacious bathroom with bath and separate shower cubicle. Throughout the reception rooms and kitchen/breakfast/ family room is an impressive oak floor. The spiral staircase leads to the three floors of the tower. On the first floor is a bedroom which could be adapted to be a dressing room for the master bedroom or a study if required. On the second floor is a spacious bathroom with separate shower cubicle and a high level window. The staircase continues to the superb master bedroom. Both ends of the room are entirely glass creating a dramatic space with views over the surrounding countryside. For more information, please call Knights Frank Estate Agency on 01732 744477,

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Motors Lexus LF-C2 Lexus Reveals LF-C2 Luxury Roadster Concept At one of the latest Auto Shows hosted the world debut of the new Lexus LF-C2 concept, a 2+2 roadster design study that captures the key themes in a strong future style direction for Lexus. Introducing the LF-C2, Jeff Bracken, Lexus US Group Vice President and General Manager said: “This concept shows consumers around the world Lexus’s devotion to emotional designs and its passion for an exceptional driving experience.” The concept is derived from a pure and simple sports coupe idea, with a highly styled 2+2 layout. Designed to give driver and passenger the best top-down driving experience, it has no roof or cabin covering of any kind. The exterior styling was influenced by the way surface shapes interact with different type of light.

The designers created edges, planes and curves that allow LF-C2 to project a different character when seen from different angles and in different lighting conditions. This approach, combined a layered paint process, results in a striking appearance and a progressive interpretation of an open-top luxury GT. a

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The show car’s golden yellow finish has been created using a multi-layered paint process. A primer coat is followed by silver, a clear coat, then a yellow which reflects off the silver to create a brilliant lustre, followed by a top coat. Yasuo Kajino, LF-C2’s Chief Designer, said: We’ve been instinctively drawn to and inspired by those things that capture the beauty of light. When you put something in the right light, people see it in a way they never have before.” The concept displays an experimental rendering of Lexus’s signature spindle grille design, using a braided mesh effect which represents Lexus craftsmanship, and which changes appearance when viewed from different angles and in different light. It sits between triangular LED headlights – a shared feature of Lexus sports cars – and indicator lights that initiate a character line that sweeps through the arrow-shaped body to the car’s abbreviated tail section. Vents in the front bumper direct cooling air to the brakes and help manage airflow to keep the front end stable at high speed. The profile displays a sweeping line from the front bumper fin to the steeply angled A-pillar. Small vents in the side sills direct

air to the rear brakes, exiting through fin-like rear diffusers. The rear end features L-shaped tail lights, chrome-tipped quad exhaust pipes and a pronounced new rear diffuser design. The concept is fitted with five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the cabin is spacious and luxurious, matching the sporting elegance of the exterior. In fact the exterior styling extends into the cabin, with the centre console originating from the rear deck in a line that runs the length of the cabin to the dashboard. The dashboard itself displays a functional simplicity with an attractive but straightforward instrument cluster, a central video monitor controlled by a Remote Touch pad and a classic analogue clock set between the central air vents. The qualities of a driver’s car are reflected in the thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and form-fitting seats. The interior designers sought a balanced atmosphere of power and simplicity that connects with the primary senses: white and grey leather surfaces are soft to the touch, and LED lights run the length of the interior below the window line.

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LocaL NeWS

Local News KeNt BUSINeSS NeWS Kings Hill viewed as example for government project

Michael Cassidy CBE, who has been appointed by the government to deliver the proposed Ebbsfleet Garden City, has visited Kings Hill in order to see Kent’s premier example of placemaking. As chairman designate of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Michael Cassidy has £200m government backing to create the country’s first garden city for almost 100 years. Kings Hill is being developed by Liberty Property Trust and Kent County Council as an 800 acre contemporary ‘garden village’ providing housing, a business park, schools, retail, sports and leisure amenities, to create a true community. “Kings Hill has been independently lauded as the UK’s exemplar mixed use community and I wanted to see for myself how this ambitious project has been delivered,” he said.

“The key to any successful development is meticulous masterplanning and I was very impressed to see how Liberty and KCC have put this into practice to create a vibrant, aspirational community where people can have a balanced live/work/play lifestyle. “The quality and diversity of this ‘garden village’ has many of the elements that we would like to see for Ebbsfleet Garden City. Indeed, one of my ambitions is to build an incentive into the planning process which encourages the delivery of such quality. “Liberty and KCC regularly look at the masterplan to ensure that they are delivering what is appropriate at that time and, if necessary, adapt the plan to reflect market forces and the changing way people live and work. This attention to detail ensures that they are providing what people want.” Andrew Blevins, Liberty’s managing director, said. “Kings Hill was named Britain’s best new village in a placemaking report by international real estate consultants CBRE and we have continued to build on that. It was also named recently by the Daily Telegraph as one of the best places to bring up a family, of which we are very proud.” “At Kings Hill we aim to provide a quality environment that enhances people’s lives and where our community have all they need for the every-day conveniences of life on the doorstep, so achieving sustainability” he said. “We were delighted to welcome Michael Cassidy and show him what we have done here and our commitment to executing our development plans in the best way possible.”

moving and tragic events follow one BoY BotH at Home and on tHe western front Among the many facts and stories told about the First World War in the 100th anniversary of that momentous event, is that of the Old Contemptibles. While many ‘histories’ of the Old Contemptibles have been written, little has been told about the survivors and their subsequent lives following their virtual annihilation in 1914. This novel corrects this omission with a tale about one such survivor, William, a child born into the rural poverty of Victorian England. He was a soldier and a resourceful engineer and this book outlines his struggles as well as his triumphs guiding himself and

his extended family through the War. The book does not glorify or satire the war or its effects; rather it demonstrates the resilience of our forebears caught up in events not of their own making. The remarkable work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who maintain the war cemeteries and memorials is woven into the narrative and is further covered in an appendix. “An Old Contemptible” ISBN 9781849637763 by Anthony Rea is available to buy from, and all good bookshops from the 28th of November.

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lOCAl news

MiniMise energy Powering UP for overseas growth Minimise Energy is expanding it’s overseas operations to meet growing demand for it’s bespoke energy efficiency solutions. The Rochester-based business has enjoyed rapid growth thanks to its commitment to innovation – developing, manufacturing, trialling and installing products to solve unique, client-specific lighting and energy efficiency problems when off-the-shelf items won’t deliver the required results. This flexibility and customer-focus saw Minimise Energy’s turnover rise from £650,000 in 2011 to £8.9 million in 2013, its direct workforce expand from five to more than 50, and has given the company a platform to develop overseas opportunities. Mark Robinson, CEO of Minimise Energy’s parent company, APC Technology Group plc, said: “It’s only been a short time from start-up but we have already established a reputation for providing bespoke solutions and developing innovative products. “People know that we listen first, placing the customer at the centre of each project and then setting about

seeking a solution. This is one of our main strengths – we come up with tailored solutions for our clients, with 80 per cent of the projects we’re involved in containing bespoke elements, and we manufacture our own products so there are no

restrictions on what we can deliver. “There are huge opportunities in the UK and also worldwide. Our bespoke solutions are already being specified in USA and Canada and we are now entering the South American market. There are also many opportunities across mainland Europe, especially in areas with hotter climates and higher air conditioning loads.”

“Our monitoring systems allow clients to understand precisely where they are in terms of energy usage, capturing their heating, lighting and technology outputs and analysing the data right down to individual terminals and devices. “This can drive simple and effective energy efficiency changes such as switching off lights and monitors over night. With clear facts at hand, it is easy to set about developing tailored solutions to increase efficiencies. “We are now incredibly well placed to continue our recent growth as we combine the flexibility of an SME with the delivery and capacity of a large, established organisation. We really enjoy what we do – saving people money so that they can reinvest that resource elsewhere – and look forward to taking the bespoke Minimise Energy approach to new markets.” Minimise Energy is part of APC Technology Group plc. It’s UK head office is situated on the Rochester Airport Estate, while it also operates satellite offices in London and Leeds as well as in Ontario, Canada and Miami, USA.

annoUncing the winners of develoPMent awards The winners of the 2014 Kent Design and Development Awards have been revealed, with a primary school named Project of the Year. Eighteen projects were shortlisted for the seven category prizes by the judges, with the overall Project of the Year voted for on the night from among the category winners by more than 150 guests who attended the event held at County Hall. Taking home a total of three awards, Goat Lees Primary School in Ashford was voted Project of the Year. Designed by Pellings, Bromley, with support from Crofton Design Associates, based in Hadlow, the school makes the most of natural light and ventilation, with intelligent use

of space and strong links with the outside. The building, which is for community as well as educational use, also utilises photovoltaic and solar thermal panels. Each of the category winners were presented with a unique trophy sculpted by Jason Mulligan and hand carved from Kentish Ragstone from nearby Hermitage Quarry, provided by Gallagher Group. Andrew Metcalf of Maxim, who was master of ceremonies for the evening, said: “Despite all the challenges faced by those in Kent’s development community it is clear that quality really shines through. Each of our shortlisted finalists have made a positive contribution to how our county looks.”

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LANGDON THE LION HELPS MAKE BRIDGE BUILDING FUN Primary schools are to benefit from free educational materials encouraging children to consider a career in civil engineering. Schools in Maidstone, Medway and Tonbridge are being given the Key Stage 2-level education packs by Rochester Bridge Trust. Comprising 12 lesson plans, the books and associated website encourage youngsters to get involved with bridge building, trying out different techniques and thinking about the

engineering challenges involved, guided by mascot Langdon the Lion. Rochester Bridge Trust’s Sue Threader explained: “As well as supporting the provision of bridges along the River Medway and the maintenance of those at Rochester, we also have a commitment to encourage young people to consider civil engineering as a career option. “These lesson plans – which are ideal for after school clubs – are a way of doing just that, and with the help of Langdon the Lion, we feel certain children will enjoy taking a handson approach to bridge building.” The materials were written by Mrs Threader, a qualified civil engineer, with design by Guy Fox, a specialist educational charity.

Langdon, the friendly character who guides children through the activities, is inspired by the lion statues which sit on Rochester Old Bridge. His name is taken from Langdon Manor Farm, one of the original properties bequeathed to the Trust, which dates from 1399. As part of his surveying duties and to help launch the education materials, Langdon recently visited bridges over the River Medway in Maidstone, Rochester and Tonbridge.

CHILD MAINTENANCE ARREARS COULD SOON AFFECT YOUR CREDIT RATING Separated parents who fail to pay child maintenance face being turned down for mortgages, loans, credit cards and more under new Government plans, warns Kent law firm Furley Page. The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) has announced that it is seeking Parliamentary approval to share the details of child maintenance non-payment with credit reference agencies. The new powers would mean that, from next March, parents who fail to keep up with contributions towards their child’s upbringing risk harming their own credit rating. “Maintenance arrears could have the same effect as other debts and financial firms could use the data to help them decide whether or not to offer someone credit,” says solicitor

Naomi Hayward, a family law specialist at Furley Page. “It could even affect your chances of getting something as simple as a mobile phone contract.” Information about non-payment of child maintenance would potentially be shared with credit reference agencies at the point where a liability order is made against a parent. A liability order is made by the court for the total sum after all other efforts to obtain payment have failed. Just under 1.5 million child maintenance cases are being overseen by the Child Maintenance Service and Child Support Agency. Although the majority of parents who have left the family home do contribute to their child’s upbringing, in the year April 2013 to March 2014, more than 12,400 liability orders were granted against people who had child maintenance arrears, according to the DWP. Announcing the proposed changes, Child Maintenance Minister Steve

Webb said that a minority of ‘absent parents’ had for too long got away with failing to pay maintenance, leaving families without any financial support. “This Government is determined to take action to tackle this kind of irresponsible behaviour and support families,” said Mr Webb. “I would hope that we see this power used very little because the deterrent effect of a possible negative mark on a person’s credit rating will convince those who have previously failed to pay towards their children’s upbringing to do the right thing.” Naomi adds: “This is a strong warning from the Government: pay child maintenance in full and on time or risk having your credit score damaged and future borrowing compromised.” Naomi specialises in family breakdowns and children’s matters and is a fully-trained Collaborative Lawyer, which means she is able to offer clients an alternative method of resolving family disputes without having to go to court.

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ANNA’S JOLLY HOCKEY STICKS! A pupil from Sutton Valence School, near Maidstone, is carving out a future career on the UK’s top hockey pitches. Anna Baker (17), from Biddenden, represented Sutton Valence School and England in hockey in the Sainsbury School Games in Manchester in September and has just returned victorious after leading the regional team to success in The Futures Cup – a nationwide challenge among the sports stars of tomorrow. Last season, Anna played for the England U16s and later this month will trial for England U18s in Birmingham and in March, she will represent England, playing in the European Championship in The Netherlands. Anna has played two seasons for Canterbury Ladies 1st XI, alongside Old Suttonian and GB player Susannah Townsend, which topped the league last year, and also plays for the premier league Canterbury Ladies 1st XI indoor team. She plays for the school’s 1st XI and the Saxon Tigers – England’s regional hockey squad.

It was as captain of the Saxon Tigers that Anna, who plays forward, took her team to triumph in the 2014 Futures Cup, held in Cannock, Staffs, during half term. The cup is modelled along the lines of a junior international tournament and the Tigers played against Mercia Lynx, the Pennine Pumas and Wessex Leopards. Anna scored both winning goals in the latter game to put the Tigers head to head with the Mercia Lynx in the final, drawing 1-1, which won them the tournament. Anna also triumphed by scoring for Canterbury in a recent match in the Investec National League. She began playing hockey at the age of seven, following in the footsteps of her father Andrew, at Gore Court Hockey Club, Sittingbourne. She joined Sutton Valence Prep School three years later, where she was able to continue her love of the game, as well as participating in all the other school sports. She was selected for the High Performance Assessment Camps

(Hi-PAC) when she was still only 14 – a year below normal entry age - and is now starting her fifth season under the programme. Although Anna now plays in hockey matches three or four times a week, she still finds time to fit in the occasional game of golf in between her A-level studies in Maths, Geography and RS. Now in Y13 at Sutton Valence School, Anna hopes to read Geography at university whilst pursuing her dream of playing hockey for team GB. Anna thrives on playing with experienced internationals and is described by her club as ‘an U16 England forward with a high work ethic who loves to score goals’. Headmaster Bruce Grindlay said, “I’m delighted that Anna’s hard work has been rewarded. She applies the same discipline, determination and commitment to her academic work, her sport and to her role as a Prefect within our community. I have no doubt that Anna has a very bright future.”

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A Seal of Friendship For many, Christmas during the Second World War meant being away from home and loved ones. No more so than those serving in the Royal Navy and in particular, on a submarine named HMS Seal. Home comforts however were forthcoming from an unusual source as Robin J Brooks recalls a link that remains today between that submarine and a village in Kent ne of the many submarines built at Chatham left the dockyard in April 1940 to join the 2nd Submarine Flotilla at Rosyth. Even before the keel had been laid down the boat had been adopted by the village of Seal near Sevenoaks. Her captain, Lt Cdr Rupert Lonsdale, received a letter from a Mrs Poland of Godden Green saying that the village would like to adopt the submarine in order to bring a few comforts to the crew. Together with a Mrs Dorothy Coleman the adoption process began. The proposal was readily received by the officers and men of HMS Seal and in return, Captain Lonsdale said he was lucky to have such a splendid crew and that they were all grateful for the link that had been forged between them and Seal village. A notice was published in the Seal Parish Magazine and the Sevenoaks Chronicle newspaper announcing that the village was to adopt HMS Seal and that any gifts that people may wish to contribute would be gratefully received


HMS Seal

and passed on to the crew when they were in home waters. Immediately gifts of sweets, cigarettes, books, games and knitted garments began to arrive at the collecting points. After three weeks sufficient items had been received to despatch four very large parcels to Seal’s home port and a letter from Lt Cdr Lonsdale sometime later expressed the thanks of the entire crew. ‘ Thank you all so much for the large hampers which were waiting for us when we got in from our last patrol some nine days ago. We shall soon be off again but will be warmer and happier by way of the presents sent to us. Thank you again for everything’ Seal sailed a short time later with her many cards and letters from the villagers wishing her and the crew good luck. The main duty of HMS Seal was to lay mines in enemy shipping channels, the first of which she commenced in April 1940 with a trip to Stavanger Harbour. Unfortunately on her way back to Rosyth Seal collided with a merchant vessel which necessitated her return to Chatham. Further repairs were carried out at Blyth  The Chatham Naval Memorial

l- HMS Sea .C Barnes l Memorial M r e c ffi O ava Petty Chatham N red on the Remembe

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in Northumberland before the submarine was assigned to Operation DF-7, the mining of the Skagerrak, the shallow stretch of water between Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The shallow depth of the Skagerrak made such an operation dangerous for any submarine but especially for one the size of Seal. Carrying 50 mines, the submarine entered the danger area but was spotted by German aircraft which attacked causing slight damage to the hull. Diving to 90 feet to avoid further attacks, she managed to lay her mines and prepared to return to the UK. Once again she became the target for the German aircraft and setting a zig-zag course, inadvertently entered an un-charted minefield on May 4, 1940. Unfortunately the vessel snagged a mine which exploded at the stern causing severe damage. With sea water pouring in the captain, Lt Cdr Rupert Lonsdale, ordered all the watertight doors to be shut, an act that saved members of the crew from drowning in certain areas of the submarine’. After several hours on the seabed, the order to surface was given only to find that the weight of the water inside the hull would not allow it to do so. Several more attempts failed by which time many of her crew were suffering from the lack of oxygen. The captain, a devout Christian, then led his men in prayer after which he ordered them to move to the forward area of the boat in an effort to once again attempt to surface. This time, very slowly, HMS Seal lifted off the sea bottom and by 01.30am on the 5th she was back on the surface. Realising that a run for home was out of the question due to the damage, Lt Cdr Lonsdale decided to head for Swedish waters after informing the Admiralty of his decision.

The damage was more than was thought initially and although the engines were started and the boat began to make headway, it was realised that it would be a long trip to Sweden. An hour into the journey at around 02.30hrs the sound of an aircraft approaching put the crew on full alert. Two German Arado seaplanes spotted Seal and began circling her at the same time commencing a devastating attack. Despite some retaliation from the gun deck, the attack proved too much for the exhausted crew and the captain, in the interest of his men, ran up a white cloth in surrender. With the seaplanes landing close to the submarine, a U-boat arrived on the scene shortly and took HMS Seal in tow whilst the crew were taken off to become prisoners of war. This did not stop the villagers of Seal sending parcels which they continued to do via the Red Cross. Through this organisation books, woollen garments, games and letters arrived at the camp to help the 55 men endure the conditions of a prisoner of war camp. When eventually Miss Coleman made contact with Lt Cdr Lonsdale, she soon began to help in the welfare of some of the crew’s families often travelling long distance to bring the news in person. Repatriation came in 1945 with the captain and some of his crew visiting Seal shortly after. They presented the Parish Council with a cheque from the money they had saved to help pay for a new sports pavilion in grateful appreciation of the efforts of the villagers during their captivity. They met many of the people who had cared so deeply for them and were welcomed into their homes like members of the family. In 1950 many of the crew returned to witness the unveiling of the new pavilion and a plaque commemorating the close relationship between the village and the submarine. 1988 saw a large reunion over the weekend of May 7 and 8, the dates nearest to the submarines capture by the Germans. In a very informal speech to a crowded village hall, Lt Cdr Lonsdale expressed his dismay when he realised that his boat had not sunk but was in the hands of the German Kriegsmarine.

“ I do not expect ever to forget the shock which I experienced a few days after my capture when out for a walk under guard at Kiel I saw the Seal being towed into port. Nor even worse when leaving Kiel for the prison camp I caught sight of her in dry dock. I then knew that our efforts to sink her had failed and she had fallen into the enemies hands”. Upon leaving the navy, Lt Cdr Lonsdale had entered the clergy and was now a Canon. He led the memorial service in Seal Church after which all retired to the Kentish Yeoman for lunch and a further exchanging of photos and memories. The only sad episode was that when the crew returned to the UK from the prison camp a courtmartial was ordained when it was stated that two charges had been filed against the officer in charge regarding the fact that the vessel had been allowed to fall into enemy hands and had not been scuttled. After a lengthy hearing, the officers and crew were honourably acquitted of all charges. HMS Seal did in fact go on to serve with the German Submarine service sailing under the name of UB, a rather ignominious end for a valiant submarine and crew. On January 28th, 2010 the Sevenoaks Chronicle recorded that sadly the last crewman from HMS Seal had passed away. The friendship between the crew of the submarine and the village is still apparent today in the village sign in Seal which features the navy emblem with a seal below it. The plaque in the sports pavilion is a constant reminder of the time when presents and cards from the villagers bought so much pleasure to a submarine and her crew especially at Christmas. BY ROBIN J BROOKS

Commanding officer – Lieutenant Commander Rupert Lonsdale. No. 1 – Lieutenant Terence Butler. Navigating officer – Lieutenant Trevor Beet. Others – Sub Lieutenant L Henderson – Sub Lieutenant Philip Boulnois – Engineering officer (Elec) – Lieutenant R H S Clark. From the Sevenoaks Chronicle dated May 1940 ‘HONOURABLE ACQUITTAL VERDICT TENSE CLOSING SCENE OF TRIAL DRAMA’ ‘Honourably acquitted of two charges at a Portsmouth court martial today, Lieut-Comdr Rupert Philip Lonsdale RN, captain of the ill-fated submarine Seal, who had looked tired and drawn during the ordeal of his trial, showed no emotion as the decision was announced’. POEM FOR THE NAVY “There are no flowers on a sailor’s grave No lilies on an ocean wave, The only tribute is the seagulls sweep And a teardrop on a loved one’s cheek”.

The crew of HMS Seal visit the village in 1946

Seal village sign The Navy emblem on the left hand side


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sumptuous Victorian evening dress recreating the atmosphere and grandeur of past times. The audience will be invited to join the soloists in two popular carols at the end of the programme. Tickets: ÂŁ19 & ÂŁ17 (No Booking Fee). Visit for more details.

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MMM Magazine December '14  
MMM Magazine December '14  

Kent lifestyle magazine featuring what is best in the area: celebrities with links to Kent, history, food, local villages, Christmas shoppin...