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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

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PHOTO: Kerry Barton/Studio23 Photography

Tory councillor tells voters to support opposition parties A DISAFFECTED Conservative councillor has called on voters to back other parties at the local elections on May 2. Ben Walker has represented Ditton ward in the north of the borough for the last four years. He was elected at the age of 20, making him the youngest ever councillor to serve on Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council. He is standing down from the post because he is moving to London, but before he left he launched a virulent attack on councils like TMBC where the vast majority of representatives are from a single party.

Vulnerable

deputy Mark Lumsdon-Taylor amid claims of financial irregularities. These are being investigated by the Further Education Commissioner and Education and Skills Funding Agency. Cllr Cure told the Times: “The Hadlow Group, who have just seen two of their executives depart, are also under threat about the courses at a number of colleges and the quality of their teaching. “They can’t judge what parking is required if they don’t know what services they are delivering. “The inspection also brought into focus the lack of onsite parking on the site,” he added. “We saw overspill parking from the college site, giving considerable concern, particularly as the development

On his twitter account @ BenJamminWalker he said: “One-party dominated councils are a major cause for concern. “Councils of weak electoral accountability are vulnerable to corruption, complacency, autocracy, a lack of scrutiny, mismanagement of public funds & lower price savings. “Vote for Opposition in the #LocalElections2019.” The current council consists of 48 Conservatives, four Liberal Democrats and two independent members. All councillors in Tonbridge itself are Tories, with the Lib Dems holding seats in Larkfield and East Malling, while the independents represent Borough Green and Long Mill. Among the 129 candidates this time, there are 52 Tories, 27 Liberal Democrats, 22 Labour, 14 Greens, 10 independents and four from Ukip.

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HAT’S OFF: An Easter bonnet competition at Sevington Playgroup on River Lawn Road, which is celebrating its 50th birthday

West Kent housing ‘in limbo’ after new concerns over student parking By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk A PLAN to build 53 homes on West Kent College’s car parks has been suspended amid concerns about on-street parking. The application, made by Ashill in September, was set to be rubber-stamped but was halted because of issues with the height of the developments affecting neighbouring properties. These have been addressed, but Cllr David Cure of Judd ward, who called for a fresh site inspection, has succeeded in raising residents’ concerns about parking provision on adjacent streets. It is understood that the Hadlow Group, which owns West Kent, decided to sell off parts of the campus – including a block

used by construction students and the Asquith nursery – to help finance its struggling college in Ashford. If the proposals are not approved, the group may not be paid for the whole site.

‘The students use lots of parking and the traffic surveys they have done are all wrong’ Ashill owns part of it, has exchanged contracts on the remainder and is looking to complete the purchase in August. The Hadlow Group has been mired in controversy this year following the surprise resignations of its principal and chief executive, Paul Hannan, and his


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LOCAL ELECTIONS: Continued from page 1 Ten of the Greens are standing in Tonbridge, which also has 15 Conservatives, eight Lib Dems, seven from Labour, two from UKIP and one independent in Trench ward. On the same day Cllr Walker also called on party members not to vote for the Conservatives in the European elections at the end of next month. A supporter of Brexit, he said Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal with the EU was turning Tory voters away ‘in droves’. He tweeted: “If the UK takes part in European Elections, the Conservatives will face electoral annihilation.” Cllr Walker achieved 36 per cent of the vote in Ditton in 2015, in what he described as ‘previously a Liberal Democrat stronghold’. His running mate Tom Cannon collected 34 per cent to give the Tories 70 per cent of the vote. The 24-year-old attended Bennett Memorial School in Tunbridge Wells and studied politics and geography at the University of Leeds. He spent a year working for the Conservative Party in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. While he was there, he was part of the selection process to choose a new candidate after former Prime Minister William Hague stood down as MP for Richmond. He works for WH Ireland, an investment management company, as a graduate trainee in London. MOVING ON Ben Walker is relocating to London

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Primary pupils talk about sugar with Mayor WITH the local elections coming up, more than 40 pupils from 10 primary schools across the borough have held a debate and voted upon issues that concerned them. The Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling, Pam Bates, took part in the exchange of views on the subjects of sugar consumption and school uniform. The schools were invited to the Council Chamber in Kings Hill to give young people the opportunity to learn more about local government. They talked to Cllr Bates about her role as First Citizen of the borough, and she showed them around the Mayor’s Parlour. “The issue of high sugar levels, so often ‘hidden’ in everyday foods and drinks, is currently high on the public health agenda,” said Cllr Bates. “Today we have had a very interesting discussion about this topic, and it is encouraging to hear the children’s views and to find that they are very aware of the health issues surrounding the intake of too much sugar. “It points to them taking responsibility for their own health matters in the future.” The votes cast for the question, ‘Should we be concerned about the amount of sugar in certain food and drinks?’, found 40 in favour of the motion and one against. They said that sugar can make you hyperactive, and although it can give you an energy boost, a few hours later you will have an energy dip. The pupils also said it rots teeth, can make you obese and lead to illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. The view against the motion was: If you are in a

TONBRIDGE Library is holding an evening of ‘mystery and skulduggery’ on Monday April 29 at 7pm and asks: “Fancy yourself as the new Sherlock Holmes? Put your sleuthing to the test.” Tickets cost £5 each including refreshments, and can be bought on the door. Please call 03000 413131 or email tonbridgelibrary@kent.gov.uk to book a place.

CONTACTS EDITORIAL DIRECTOR RICHARD MOORE richard@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk | 01892 779615 DEPUTY EDITOR EILEEN LEAHY eileen@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk | 01892 576037 REPORTER ANDY TONG andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk DESIGN/PRODUCTION LEE SMITH lsmith8@markerstudy.com SALES ENQUIRIES GHak@onemediauk.co.uk | 01892 779650 FIND US ONLINE facebook.com/timeslocalnews timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk twitter.com/timeslocalnews

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CLARIFICATIONS AND CORRECTIONS HERE at the Times of Tonbridge we strive to deliver fair, accurate and balanced reports. When we don’t meet our own high standards we will accept the responsibility and publish clarifications and corrections. If you would like to make a comment on any aspect of the newspaper, please write to the editor at David Salomons Estate, Broomhill Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN3 0TF, or email newsdesk@timesoftonbridge.co.uk Markerstudy Leisure is a trading name of One Media and Creative UK Limited registered in England and Wales under company number 5398960 with registered office at 45 Westerham Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 2QB.

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SWEET TREAT: Mayor Pam Bates and her deputy Cllr Jill Anderson with pupils of More Park, West Malling bad mood, sugar helps you feel better and gives you instant energy. There was a far greater variance of opinion when voting on the question, ‘should schools ban birthday sweets?’; 18 said yes and 23 said no. A majority felt it was acceptable to have treats in school on a birthday but there were concerns about allergies, bullying and social exclusion. They were overwhelmingly in favour of primary

DEBATING PRIMARY SCHOOLS: Stocks Green, Hildenborough; Fosse Bank, Hildenborough; More Park, West Malling; Wateringbury; Valley Invicta at Aylesford; Brookfield, Larkfield; Valley Invicta at Holborough Lakes; Kings Hill; Plaxtol; Long Mead Community, Tonbridge.

school children wearing school uniform, with 33 saying they should and only eight disagreeing. Those in favour said it stops bullying if all pupils are wearing the same clothes, and there is less stress on what to wear in the morning. They also said uniforms are smart, give a sense of belonging and symbolise their school, and stop expensive home clothes from being ruined. Those who were against wearing uniform said that some school clothes are too expensive and they can be uncomfortable, for example if you have to wear ties. Tracey Hand of More Park School in West Malling, said: “We have had a rewarding time with the Mayor and the debate about sugar and school uniform has been a lively one! “The children have found the whole experience really enjoyable and interesting.”

Hadlow caretaker: Students not affected by finances By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk

In the library with...

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

THE man brought in to put the Hadlow Group back on track after the controversies that engulfed it this year, insists that standards of education will not be affected by financial problems. Graham Morley has been appointed as interim principal after the resignation of his predecessor Paul Hannan and deputy principal Mark LumsdonTaylor amid claims of financial irregularities. He says that although the issues with funding at Hadlow’s agricultural college and West Kent on Brook Street are serious, they will not affect the courses being taken or teaching provision. There are around 10,000 students attending all of the Hadlow Group’s schools and colleges. Mr Morley told BBC South East: “You’ve got the Further Education Commissioner and his team looking into the operations of the college, and the ESFA [Education and Skills Funding Agency] are looking into the finances and the technical issues that sit behind the funding that we get. “The future of the organisation as the Hadlow Group, there are questions about that. “I do think, and I’m very convinced of the fact, that the provision will continue.” He admitted: “The colleges were experiencing some financial difficulty for quite some time.

WEST KENT: Continued from page 1 proposed by this application is displacing a large number of parking spaces to elsewhere within the campus. “It’s in limbo, basically. It’s most peculiar. The college students use lots of parking and the traffic surveys they have done are totally wrong. “They said, ‘we’ll encourage the students to come by bus or walk in’. They all say that, but the students just drive in anyway.” The Area 1 Planning Committee of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, which cancelled its meeting this month, responded to the new survey. It noted: “With regard to car parking, some criticism was previously made that only one survey had been undertaken by the applicant of how many car parking spaces were occupied by the college during a typical day.

The financial issues are quite serious, but none are impacting on the students and staff. They are at a strategic rather than an operational level. “I want to walk away from Kent having left a really strong, sustainable, successful college or colleges with the provision going way out into the future.” Nick Linford, editor of FE [Further Education] Week, revealed the scale of the problem: “They have no money, they’ve run out. The government at the moment are having to bail them out, to support them to keep the doors open, and work on a plan to try to work out how to turn this around.” The Hadlow Group acquired West Kent and

Ashford colleges in 2014 after K College, which ran five sites across the county, was broken up with debts of £16million. It turned the finances around, and then invested £26million in a new Ashford College teaching block which opened in September 2017. But the project has been beset by difficulties – notably involving grants from Ashford Borough Council based on meeting building targets. Last month the Department for Education paid BAM Construction £1million after a part of the group was ordered by the High Court to pay outstanding debts to the developers.

BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE FUTURE Philip Orrell explained the Hadlow Group’s decision to sell part of the West Kent campus to housing developer Ashill, saying: “This is an asset that is under-used with changing requirements in the business, the sale of which will be used to release funds to reinvest in resources for our students. “We expect to release significant funds over £1million to reinvest. “And as part of the legal agreement with the developer, we will also be entering into a contract for client work, which will offer opportunities to our students, including training, business development and new jobs

“Criticism was also made that the survey was undertaken...just before the Easter break. “An additional parking survey has now been undertaken and the results of this shows that the proposed parking arrangements for the college post development (350 spaces) would be sufficient to cater for the needs of the college. This parking survey shows a similar level of parking to that shown in the earlier parking survey.”

Under-used The Ashill development has accommodated a parking need of 350 spaces on the campus. On March 26 last year, the survey revealed that the maximum of 342 cars, while the second survey on March 6 this year peaked at 346. When asked about the provision, Hadlow Group’s Philip Orrell said: “The site in question is

that will also include apprenticeships.” Ashill’s Managing Director Ben Boyce said: “The proposals would create over £270,000 of financial contributions towards education, open space and highways improvements. “And the development would unlock significant funds for West Kent College to invest in new equipment and machinery, alongside educational resources and facilities.” Ashill will be giving £106,000 to The Judd School as part of its Section 106 obligations towards the local community. It is understood this sum will be spent on an intake of students with learning disabilities.

an overflow car park, which is currently underused, so we envision there being very little impact in terms of on-street parking in the residential streets around the college.” And the managing director of Ashill, Ben Boyce, commented: “There are currently two car parks which are surplus to college requirements, which have approximately 174 spaces for the Children’s Nursery and The Oaks building, both of which are to be demolished as a result of the scheme. “The plans do not propose to relocate the college parking as the car parks are surplus to their requirements.” Cllr Cure said: “The residents are concerned, they get students from the college and from Judd.” “They have considered applying for a parking permit scheme but these things go onto a list and there are so many areas in the borough, it takes a long time for the officers to get round to it.”


Wednesday April 17 | 2019

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Billy Bragg to perform at Black Deer festival ARGUABLY one of the most recognisable icons of British contemporary folk music, Billy Bragg, has been confirmed as playing at this year’s Black Deer festival in June. The singer and political activist is joining a host of other names from the world of folk, Americana and country, as organisers of the Eridge Park event confirm yet more names for the June 21-23 event. Rising star Jessie Buckley, who is currently starring in the film Wild Rose in which she plays a country singer, was also added to the Black Deer bill last Friday (April 12). The Irish actress who recently starred in Beast will be signing songs from the Wild Rose soundtrack. Along with already announced acts, which include Band of Horses, John Butler Trio, The Staves, and Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers, Billy and Jessie will be joined by

2012 Brit Award winner Ethan Johns, who is playing not only solo sets but also with Black Eyed Dogs, while Yola will be performing hits from her debut album ‘Walk Through Fire’. Bragg is an icon of stripped-back storytelling and political activism who has just been honoured for an ‘Outstanding Contribution’ to British Music Award at the Ivor Novello awards, and is sure to be a firm favourite with festival goers this year. More than just a music festival, organisers say Black Deer Festival is a complete appreciation of the rich cultural heritage attached to Americana - all the raw passion and grit of the

By Richard Williams NEARLY 90 per cent of children across Kent will start their formal education in 2019 at the first choice of primary school named by their parents, according to Kent County Council [KCC]. The parents of more than 17,000 children in the county found out yesterday [Tuesday] what school their child had been allocated. In total, 15,450 pupils were offered their first preference. A further 1,389 pupils secured a second of third place choice. But 447 children will not be attending a school that was named by their parents. Last year 390 youngsters lost out on their preferred school. Roger Gough, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “Officers have con-

Reallocation “We should not lose sight of the fact that 447 pupils (2.6 per cent) have not been given a school of their preference. We appreciate this will be a disappointing and concerning time for those pupils and their families, but we would urge them not to be discouraged as this is only the first stage in the applications process. “Many pupils will secure places through waiting lists and reallocation, and I would like to reassure parents and guardians that a specialist KCC team is on hand to help them make the most of the options

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Premier Inn planning an autumn opening A CONTESTED budget hotel on London Road is set to open in the autumn, more than two years since it was approved. Planning for the £7million Premier Inn on the site of Tunbridge Wells’ former courthouse was initially granted in April 2017. Opponents of the 110-room hotel development had objected to the proposals which they called ‘over-scaled, overdominant and grossly under-parked’. Now a spokesman for Premier Inn said they expect the doors to the new hotel to open sometime in the autumn.

CONFIRMED Billy Bragg [right]and Jessie Buckley [below]

movement is here. This year, Black Deer have joined forces with director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson, The Neon Demon) to bring a

unique cinematic experience to Eridge Park, showing a specially-curated trilogy of unearthed gems for the first time in a new form. Alongside the cultural events Black Deer Festival will also be cooking up a storm in their Live Fire Arena, with a host of chefs.

Hundreds of children lose out as primary school places allocated tinued to work hard to ensure that as many pupils secured one of their preferred primary schools and we are pleased to see so many families get a favourable offer today.

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available to them.” Since 2010, an extra 636,000 primary school places have been added nationally to meet rising demand, but last year, around one in ten families missed out on their first choice school, although 98 per cent found a place at one of their top three places.

In Kent, 97 per cent of pupils found a place at one of the named schools chosen by their parents. Parents can accept their school place offers or seek alternatives if they are not happy. If you have lost out on a primary school place, email: newsdesk@ timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk

DIY recycling website A TUNBRIDGE WELLS based website for recycling DIY waste launches next week. Alex Thomson who is launching diygogo.co.uk on April 22 said the new website aims to increase the upcycle of unwanted DIY reusables, lower the cost of property maintenance and restoration, and reduce the amount of products that end up in landfill. Mr Thomson, who has received national lottery funding for the initiative added: “I realised from my years of working in the construction industry that a wasteful portion of materials where simply thrown away.”

Seann Walsh apology COMEDIAN Seann Walsh has apologised for his performance in Tunbridge Wells last weekend, after attempting to perform with a slipped disc. The 33-year-old, who was at Trinity Theatre on Saturday, took to Twitter to apologise to local fans for his offperformance. He said: “So today I slipped a disc in my back and thought I’d still try and do my show in Tunbridge Wells. That was not good enough - sorry, I was in agony. If you were there, I’ll see if I can give you the money I get off the ticket back. Thanks for coming.”

Easter temperature rise A WARM front is arriving just in time for the bank holiday weekend. Tunbridge Wells could see highs of 22C on Saturday, before the temperature dips back below 20C on Easter Monday.

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Student denies Pompeii vandalism and insists she has done no wrong A TUNBRIDGE WELLS student accused by Italian police of vandalising and attempting to steal tiles from a 2,000-year-old mosaic floor in Pompeii has denied any wrongdoing. Caprice Arnold, 21, was accused of chiselling off 20 three-inch pieces of the mosaic earlier this month as she visited the Casa dell’Ancora villa with her twin sister and father, Joey Arnold, a company manager from the borough. He said Italian police wanted to make ‘an example’ of his daughter over fears that tourists are damaging the ancient site and that she had been ‘left deeply upset’ after being interrogated for more than two hours at the ancient city. Caprice, who is alleged to have been spotted by a caretaker removing the mosaic tiles, which was estimated to total ¤3,000 (£2,585) in damage, told British newspapers she was innocent.

Misunderstanding She said: “I was so scared. I have done nothing wrong. “I kept trying to explain but I don’t speak Italian and they didn’t speak English. “We tried to be as helpful as possible, just thinking they would realise it was all a big misunderstanding. “They have since said I had tiles and some kind of tool in my bag but that is 100 per cent not true, they did not even search me.” The family have since returned to the UK but have heard no more from Italian police about the incident. Caprice added: “It ruined the trip from then on and I was not able to enjoy it. “It was meant to be a 21st birthday celebration. “We were walking in to the Vatican on Monday when we got the first text from home to say the story was out there and I was mortified. “That’s why I wanted to tell my side of things.”

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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

Hitting the right notes for more than a century as business has adapted By Richard Williams A MUSICAL instrumental retailer has come out in support of the Times’ We Believe in Tunbridge Wells campaign to argue that businesses today need to be resilient and adapt in order to survive and flourish. Andrew Collins, who has run Brittens Music on Grove Hill Road for the last 22 years, says the music shop can trace its roots back more than a hundred years, before even the electric guitar had been invented. He said: “Brittens Music, founded in 1912 as Rabson’s Records was known later as Rabson’s Music Salon at a time when vinyl records and gramophones were futuristic luxuries.” He said the business has traded under a variety of names since, including the Music Centre, Newing-

tons, McCowen’s Music Saloon, finally becoming Brittens in 2003, due to a connection with English composer Benjamin Britten, who helped set up the store’s sister shop in Surrey with his nephew. “My point is that you have to adapt. Music retail has changed dramatically in the last few decades,” continued Mr Collins.

“We will also adapt to whatever our customers want. Instruments are very personal items” Andrew Collins, Brittens Music “Firstly, there has been a huge deflation of prices with things costing a quarter of what they may have cost you twenty years ago. “Then there is digital technology, which has meant you can do things musically that you could not have done before, not at the same cost. “China has also become a huge player in the musical instrument industry and of course, people now shop online.” Despite all this, he said Brittens is thriving, and he believes the key to success is the ‘added value’ retailers can provide their customers. FINELY TUNED “When you buy an Andrew Collins says instrument from business is thriving us, we will ensure

it is set up correctly and will have checked it thoroughly and tuned it,” explained Mr Collins. “We will also adapt it to whatever our customers want. Instruments are very personal items. It is vital a musician is comfortable with it. You need to hear it and feel it before you buy it.” He added that the shop, one of two he currently owns—the other being based in New Haw, Surrey—has a popular music school that teaches 300 people each week, as well as an exam centre. They have also embraced other musical genres and now count among their customers, classical pianists, rock n roll guitarists and even heavy metal drummers. “Traditionally we have always been about classical music,” admitted Mr Collins. “But we now sell electric guitars and cater for all types of musicians. It is about evolving as people’s taste and demands change.”


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are an excellent showcase for the wonderful and diverse range of talent we have in the area.”

LEADING THE WAY Gavin Tyler from headline sponsor Cripps

The Pantiles (managed by Targetfollow) The company that owns and manages The Pantiles is putting their name to Best in Food and Drink award. Corin Thoday, CEO of Targetfollow said: “We are delighted, as owners of the Upper Pantiles to be a sponsor at the business awards. Targetfollow believe it is important to support local businesses as well as recognise and promote their contribution to our town.”

Sponsors line up for networking event of the year as deadline for entries looms By Richard Williams

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

around Tunbridge Wells, and as one of the town’s largest employers we are committed to supporting our local community. “There are many great businesses in the area and they are an essential component to delivering the vibrant local community that we all feel proud to be a part of.”

The deadline for entries for this year’s Times Business Awards is next Wednesday [April 24] so hopefuls need to get their details submitted soon. You don’t want to miss out. Meanwhile a range of businesses have lined up to sponsor LOCAL NEWSPAPERS the event and its various Handelsbanken categories. The Swedish bank set up in Being involved, whether it be by Tunbridge Wells over five years sponsoring or entering or just ago and last year sponsored the attending the gala evening is Best Business 25+ Employees certain to raise the profile of your award. This year they are back, company. putting their name to Service And there are still opportunities Excellence Award. remaining, with three categories “We were delighted to sponsor awaiting sponsors: Creative an award last year for such a Business of the Year; Young great local event, recognising Business Person of the Year; and and rewarding some truly great Best Business 1-25 employees. local businesses and business Sponsors are guaranteed people,” said Nick Green, editorial coverage in Times Local Branch Manager. Newspapers, exposure to over “It gave us the chance to really 220 guests from the business community at the cement our local banking approach, engage with black tie gala awards ceremony on May 30, the local business community and to meet new inclusion within SO Magazine, and extensive people.” coverage on social media. John Bullock Design Companies already sponsoring the awards: This company has been a sponsor since 2017, and this year is no different. The creative architects are back, sponsoring the Best Cripps (HEADLINE SPONSOR) Business 25+ category. The Tunbridge Wells law firm is a long-time “As a sponsor we enjoy extensive media friend of the Times Business Awards, having coverage during the build up to the awards in sponsored the event since 2016. This year the the newspaper and via social media, but also at business, corporate and personal lawyers are the Gala Awards evening at Salomons Estate,” back as headline sponsors. explained Anna Nouyou, Marketing & Office Managing Partner, Gavin Tyler, explained: “At Manager. Cripps, a high percentage of our staff live in and

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2019

Charles Stanley Investment management firm, Charles Stanley, has had a presence in Tunbridge Wells for a number of years, but this is the first time they have got involved with the awards, sponsoring the Entrepreneur of the Year category. Branch manager, Jon Curtis, said: “We are proud to sponsor the business awards as these

How to enter the Times Business Awards 2019: To register your interest as either an entrant or sponsor, or just to find out more information, please contact us through info@timesbusinessawards.co.uk leaving your full contact details. You can also call Eileen Sweeney on 01892 779583.

Royal Tunbridge Wells Together The town centre management organisation and community interest company is sponsoring this year’s Outstanding Business of the Year. Lauren Brook, at RTW said: “Royal Tunbridge Wells Together is delighted to be a sponsor. The awards are a fantastic way of recognising our outstanding local businesses and we are very proud to support this year’s event.” Thomson Snell & Passmore For the second year running, the Lonsdale Gardens-based law firm is sponsoring the Start-up Business of the Year award. James Partridge, senior partner, said: “We have been in the town for a very long time and act for a lot of young businesses. We know how important it is that new businesses start up and how difficult it is so, we are delighted to acknowledge the success of this year’s cohort.” Childrensalon As one of Tunbridge Wells’ best-known family concerns, it is no surprise that Childrensalon have repeatedly chosen to sponsor the Family Business of the Year award. CEO Michele Harriman-Smith commenting on previous events said: “We enjoyed meeting other family businesses that are growing and experiencing the same challenges as we have and we and look forward to taking part again in the future.”


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Borough’s youngest prospective councillor takes on the old guard By Richard Williams newsdesk@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk THE youngest prospective councillor hoping to win a seat at this year’s local election is taking on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Conservative Leader, David Jukes. Councillor Jukes, who has served in the borough since 2007 and has been Leader of the Council since 2012, is contesting his seat in Speldhurst and Bidborough once more, but faces competition from somebody more than a third his age. Liberal Democrat prospective councillor, Iola Palmer-Stirling, is just 20-years old, and the former Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School pupil, who lives in Langton Green, says she is standing against the council leader to address the underrepresentation of young people in local politics. She said: “The underrepresentation of younger people in politics is not just a national issue, but a local one as well, and that this underrepresentation has negative implications. “I think of this as an opportunity to show that young people can be involved. In other areas of the country

“The underrepresentation of younger people in politics is not just a national issue, but a local one as well, and that this underrepresentation has negative implications”

Labour will make sure people have a real say By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk THE Chair of the Tonbridge & MallingConstituency Labour Party, Mary Arigho, is standing in Tonbridge’s Castle ward in the elections on May 2. The former journalist, charity worker and mother of two, 63, will attempt to disrupt a Conservative stronghold that has been presided over by former Mayor Owen Baldock – he is standing down after 35 years in the ward. In the last election in 2015, Ms Arigho stood in the ward of Trench, against the incumbent Mayor Pam Bates, and won 12 per cent of the vote - equal with Ukip.

What do you think are the major issues facing Tonbridge? The Conservatives have dominated the council for far too long and it has made them complacent and unresponsive to local concerns in Tonbridge and Malling. Under the Conservatives, we have seen our quality of life gradually

eroded here in the town. People are appalled that well-loved assets that help to make up the character of the town, instead of being developed, are being sold off at knock-down prices, with little consultation. It is ludicrous that residents are forced to sit in a tree at River Lawn to prevent it from being uprooted. We should not be seeing people sleeping in shop doorways in Tonbridge or families waiting for years to get a home. And the council has not paid enough attention to environmental factors like air pollution. Why do you think Labour has had such a poor record in the town and borough in recent years? Labour has seen its local membership triple in the last few years and there is a growing engagement with us on Facebook, so we are confident that there is plenty of support. We would put pressure on the council to build more social housing. The Bridge Trust homeless charity has described social housing provision in the borough as ‘woefully inadequate’. Only eight ‘affordable’ family homes of three or more bedrooms were built in two years to 2018. But ‘affordable’ is way out of reach for most people at 80 per cent of the market rate. An area of concern is air pollution on the High Street. This is at a dangerous level and, disappointing for a scenic part of Kent, there is poor provision for cyclists. We would redress this, monitor pollution levels at schools and also aim to close the High Street at weekends for markets and cultural events. We are determined to give a boost to small businesses and tourism. Labour would make sure that residents were properly informed and had a real say over new developments.

young people do put themselves forward more, but not so much in Tunbridge Wells where there is a massive gap and I’m not sure current councillors take the views of the 18 to 25 year olds that seriously.” She added that while she is ‘realistic’ about her chances of deposing the stalwart council leader, she is not just a paper candidate. She continued: “It has been really positive on the doorstep. People are quite encouraged that somebody my age is engaged in politics and is willing to give up their time.” The politics student at the University of Bristol said there was a range of issues that she was passionate about. She said: “Locally, I believe there are certain aspects in our town that could be improved to better serve certain members of our community, key examples being transport availability to the surrounding villages and providing adequate support for local businesses. “I also believe that there is a need to make the community more sustainable and environmentally friendly.” Also contesting the Speldhurst and Bidborough seat will be Lucy Willis for the Tunbridge Wells Alliance.

Local Council

Elections

2019 You ran for Trench ward four years ago, why have you decided to have a crack at Castle? Julian Wilson and I are standing for Labour in Castle ward, the first time we have fielded candidates there for a few years. We have been aware of firm support in Castle for a while now and have had a great welcome when we have talked to residents. There is a good sense of community there, particularly in the Slade area, which taps into many things that Labour stands for. What are you going to say when you are asked why Labour hasn’t taken the Tories to task over their Brexit squabbles? The implosion of the Tory government over Brexit has been an eye-opener for many people. On the other hand, Labour has steered a steady course over a political minefield. In the end, Theresa May was forced to face down her own Cabinet, take no-deal off the table and engage in talks with Labour. People are disaffected, particularly with the Conservatives for prolonged austerity and their mishandling of Brexit. How will you explain Labour’s recent problems with accusations of anti-semitism? As a party we are adamant that racism, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia, must be stamped out of national politics. This should not impact locally and we urge people to use their vote in this election.

Wednesday April 17 | 2019


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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

Crazy Kart Race organisers announce exciting line-up ahead of June’s event

A HUGE kids zone with a host of wacky familyfriendly sideshows will be on offer at the annual charity kart race in Tunbridge Wells, organisers revealed this week. The Crazy Jean’s Soapbox Kart Race is not only laying on an even zanier downhill track through Dunorlan Park for its thousands of spectators in June – but an inflatable village, a kids cinema, crazy golf zone and a mountain boarding wall, have also been confirmed. Also available for families will be mini football activities, a parkour wall and pop-up barbers for anyone in need of an impromptu haircut. The event on Saturday June 8

will once again see 50 local businesses, organisations and residents go head-tohead in hilarious Red Bull-style time trials on a specially made racetrack through the town’s picturesque park. Each team is given a basic soapbox kart by organisers prior to Race Day, which they can ‘pimp up’ in any way they like before racing as fast as they can round chicanes and over nailbiting jumps – with the fastest four battling it out in The Grand Final to find the ultimate Crazy Jean’s Winner. The team behind the much-loved community event, local PR company

Chatty Hatter, is hoping the race in its second year will raise tens of thousands pounds again for local charities. This year, funds are being raised for Hospice in the Weald and Taylor Made Dreams, a Crowborough-based charity which enables children with life-limiting illnesses to achieve their dreams. The event team also hope that aside from the charity race itself, the range of wacky family activities on offer will be a big draw to families in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas. “We are determined that everyone who comes to The Crazy Jean’s Kart Race has an incredible day out with something for all kids – from toddlers right up to the grown-up kind,” explains Chatty Hatter MD Nicole Piesse Turner. “For little ones we have an inflatable village, a cinema marquee, crazy golf and football activities, while there’s a parkour and mountain boarding wall for the bigger kids. “This year’s Crazy Jean’s Kart Race will be even bigger and better, too, with an even zanier racetrack, and some truly wacky karts are being created by our racers, who have some out of this world ideas to outdo their competitors.” Trackside facilities also include a huge and varied food and drinks village and a VIP tent. This year’s headline

sponsor will be multi-award-winning local and online company Childrensalon, which stands by a ‘people first’ approach to business, one that is also reflected in their charitable and supportive work in the local community. “With everything on offer at this year’s events, we’ve also ensured no one misses out on the action, with not one but three big screens placed around the park so everyone can see what’s going on trackside,” Ms Piesse Turner added. “Tickets are on sale now and we’re hoping the community really gets behind us again to have some fun while raising serious cash for two incredible local charities who need our help.” For more information, tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please visit crazyjeansevents.com


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Landlords feeling the pinch

A SURVEY has found the South East is the second most expensive region in Britain in which to be a landlord, with operating costs per property more than a third of total rental costs. And Tunbridge Wells is among the most expensive places in the region to run an investment property. The research, carried out by specialist mortgage lender Kent Reliance for Intermediaries, found that the average cost for landlords in Tunbridge Wells excluding mortgage and tax, was £3,637 per property per year. London was identified as having the highest average costs for landlords, at £6,455 per property, with the North East of England identified as the cheapest region, where the average cost was just £1,848. This compares to the national average total of £3,571 per year.

Maintenance In the borough of Tunbridge Wells, landlords spend on average £1,433 on maintenance, repair and services, £1103 on letting agent fees for each property, plus £598 each year on ground rents and service charges, £149 on insurance, and a total of £171 per year on legal, administrative and licence fees., while voids accounted for an average of £621.

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Through their spending across the country, landlords currently contribute £16.1billion to the British economy. However, 36% of landlords said they were considering cutting expenditure as a consequence of tax rises and higher running costs. Adrian Moloney, Sales Director of OneSavings Bank, commented on the lender’s survey. He said: “The significant economic contributions landlords make, both at a local and national level, is often overlooked. “They support thousands of jobs through their spending and house a nation that is increasingly reliant on renting.” He said that despite this: “Landlords have faced punitive tax and regulatory changes, at a time when running costs are climbing. “Policies that increase the cost and complexity of being a landlord don’t benefit tenants – quite the opposite.” Mr Moloney added that ‘heavy-handed’ policies, such as rent control that prevents landlords from absorbing rising costs, could prove to be a tipping point, leading to a dwindling supply of rental homes. However, he commented that there were real opportunities for longer-term tenancies to be aligned to fixed-term mortgage products to provide stability within the sector.

BUSINESS

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NEWS IN BRIEF fight any imposition of these contracts on our members. “Since Asda introduced its flexible contract two years ago, nearly 60% of employees have opted not to go on the new contract.” But Anthony Hemmerdinger, Asda’s Operations Senior Vice President, said the new contracts were ‘fairer’. He added: “This proposal is also about increasing our basic rate of pay and aligning the way of working in our stores so that everyone has the same contract, making it fairer to all colleagues and ensuring we can consistently provide the best service to customers.”

Asda workers could lose their paid lunch breaks

Accountants shortlisted

AROUND 200 staff members at Asda supermarket in Longfield Road, Tunbridge Wells, could lose paid lunch breaks if controversial new contracts are introduced, say union leaders. Asda is planning to move all of their 60,000 retail staff across the country on to new contracts that will see their wages increase to £9 an hour, but in return they will lose paid breaks, will have to work bank holidays, and will have to agree to work more flexible hours. Last week, union leaders said they would fight the plans. GMB National Officer Gary Carter said: “We will

AN ACCOUNTANCY firm set up in Tunbridge Wells just six months ago has been shortlisted for an award. TN Accountancy, based in the High Street, celebrated their six-month anniversary just this month, and has been shortlisted in the Tolley’s Taxation awards. The firm is a finalist for the Best New Tax Practice category. Owner and director Jack Sales said: “I am so proud, and frankly quite surprised, that TN Accountancy has been shortlisted for a national award in its first year.”

Speedy date with potential entrepreneurs LOCAL businesses have spoken to a group of 30 local schoolchildren in a speed dating-style event to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs, and to demonstrate that there is an alternative to university. Companies, including representatives of the construction industry, law firms, hairdressers, the recruitment industry and manufacturers, visited Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge. The businessmen and women spent five minutes with each pupil, which ranged from sixth formers to year 10 pupils, on March 28. Alison Parmar of the Federation of Small Businesses was the organiser of the event, which was titled Skills 30:30. She said: “This is a chance for 30 students, who may have decided not to go to university to find out what it is businesses are looking for. “Also, we want to break down the myths about young people that they are unreliable or do not have the relevant skills required by businesses.” She added that it was also an opportunity for businesses to find out what school leavers are looking for in a career. “Times are changing. Young people want more flexibility rather than expecting a career for life,” she said.

Robert Constable, from Go Construct, said he was there to promote the construction industry, which is often overlooked by school leavers. “We are a very well-paid industry, and the largest industry in the UK, employing 2.7 million people,” he explained. “The range of jobs on offer is extremely diverse, from architects to bricklayers, so I was hoping to enthuse some younger people to get them interested in a career in construction.”

came for the general advice from businesses. I wanted to find out what people in business want from job candidates. “The guidance people have given me here has been so helpful.” The Executive Principal of Hayesbrook School,

Critical Also there was Jacqueline Franklin from Limewood Productions, an independent video production company. “We employ young people rather than graduates because we can train them ourselves so they learn every aspect of the business, from starting off carrying the gear to becoming production assistants,” she said. Many of the students found the 30:30 Skills event highly rewarding. Jakob Pincott, 17, commented: “I’m here looking to see what is out there. I want to get real-life experience in the workplace.” While 18-year-old James Simmonds added: “I

NEW RECRUITS Recruitment consultant Andrea Starbuck from Ten2Two at the event

Daniel Hatley, said of the event: “Our ambition is that all students should have access to their chosen career. Events like this are so critical for students to be able to make good choices. “We are very grateful to all the people who have come and given their time.”


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Chiddingstone’s Real Football is country pursuit with a difference By Andy Tong THE seventh edition of the annual Chiddingstone Real Football match kicks off again on Good Friday [April 19] with more than 200 players expected to take part in the hurly-burly encounter. Starting at 2pm and lasting for around four hours, the charity event is described as a mixture of football and rugby, though with the emphasis on the latter - there won’t be too many diving prima donnas on show. A round ball is carried, kicked or thrown over fields, rivers and woodland, with more than a mile between the two goals. These targets are positioned at two local pubs which each field a team of around 100 – The Castle in Chiddingstone and The Rock at Chiddingstone Hoath. Many of the participants are fuelled by Larkins bitter from the local brewery, with supplies being ferried around during the action. The rivalry between the Castle Crusaders and Rock Inn Rollers can be intense, and the rough and tumble is fuelled by lashings of Larkins ale from the local brewery. The Castle outfit are described as ‘the thinking man’s team [who] have invested considerable time in the organisation of food and beverage for a pre-match slap up feed’. The Rock team, meanwhile, ‘see themselves as drinkers and roarers with the elemental force required to put the Crusaders firmly in their place - scorning the opposing team as overly refined gastro-ites.’ Last year’s event raised more than £5,500 for three charities, the League of Friends of

Edenbridge Hospital, West Kent Mind and Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex. This year, the proceeds will go to the Mind and the Air Ambulance again, and also the Oddballs Foundation, which raises awareness of testicular cancer. Organiser Katie Ashworth said: “This brings together communities from all the local villages and towns. As the game has grown over the years, it even brings in people from further afield - last year we had people from Scotland attend. “The players range from fighting fit rugby players to 60-year-old locals that are regulars in the Rock and the Castle. There are no limitations to who or how many people can play, as long as they are over 16.” She added: “It’s great fun, with over 1,000 spectators now watching the crazy game unfold,

followed by a knees-up going on till late, with live music and more Larkins being consumed! The scores on the doors are that The Castle Crusaders have won 3 games, The Rock Inn Rollers 2 games, and there has been 1 draw. We will just have to wait and see if the Rock can even up the scores, or if the Castle will make another victory!’ The rules are few and far between: Players must not cross any roads, the ball cannot be hidden in a bag or carried by a moving vehicle or ‘four-legged animal’, and no one must ‘intentionally cause harm to others’. It costs £10 to enter, which includes a team shirt (competitors must be over 16). An aftermatch party featuring live music will be held at The Castle in Chiddingstone. For more information visit, chiddingstonerealfootball.co.uk

CROWD PLEASER: It’s all kicking off at the Castle Inn in Chiddingstone on Good Friday

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

Bagpuss goes the extra mile for hope PUSS IN TRAINERS Luke Sedge as Bagpuss

A TEAM of 11 runners, including Bagpuss and his friend Lizzie Mouse, raised more than £4,000 for Hospices of Hope after taking part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon. They were helping to fund the charity’s Bagpuss Children’s Wing in Brasov, Romania, which cares for 150 children living with life-limiting or terminal illness. It was opened in 2002 thanks to the generosity of Bagpuss creator Oliver Postgate, doyen of children’s TV and a supporter of Hospices of Hope. The charity was founded by Tunbridge Wells resident Graham Perolls after he visited a cancer hospital in the east European country in the late 1980s. It now offers hospice services in Romania, Albania, Serbia and Moldova, and is looking to expand those services into other countries in the region. Hospices of Hope has helped more than 40,000 patients and trained more than 20,000 healthcare professionals in hospice care techniques. Luke Sedge, who ran as Bagpuss, was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 42. He said: “It shook my family to the core. Last year was a constant round of treatments and appointments. But all these were given to me and I did not have to ask once. “Without our NHS and the cancer charities in this country I would be living a very different life. I ran as Bagpuss to give children in countries where services are limited or unavailable the same chance, somewhere to feel loved and supported, somewhere to get help, somewhere that gives them hope.” For more informati0n, visit hospicesofhope.co.uk


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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

Community News

NEWS

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Tonbridge Rotary reaches out to help Slide Away charity’s bereaved children deal with such deep-seated emotions. Slide Away staff come from teaching or counselling backgrounds and are experienced in understanding how bereavement has an impact on children, and in helping them manage their grief. Rotary Club President Sonia Williams presented a cheque for £1,000 to Linda Cann and said: “In my working life I shared the sadness of a number of children who were having difficulty coming to terms with loss, so I am very happy we can contribute to this charity and its work.” Linda Cann said: “I was delighted to receive the cheque from the Tonbridge Rotary Club, which will contribute towards the cost of providing a group workshop for local young people. “Over the last two years, the club has shown much interest in the work of Slide Away and has given generous support.” She added: “Listening and talking are at the heart of our work with young people, hopefully enabling them to move forward following bereavement. “The Tonbridge Rotarians have been great listeners and very supportive. “We have a lot in common as organisations, and the Trustees of Slide Away truly appreciate their involvement with this very special local charity.” For more information, visit GOOD LISTENERS: Linda Cann (left), Trustee of Slide Away, with Sonia slideaway.org Williams, President of Tonbridge Rotary Club

THE Rotary Club of Tonbridge held one of its twice-yearly fundraising Frugal Lunches at the Oast Theatre to help finance international projects and enable the club to donate to disaster appeals. Their guest was Linda Cann, a Trustee of Slide Away, which is a small Kent charity that provides support and help for children and young people who have suffered bereavement or are experiencing living with the terminal illness of a close family member. In conjunction with schools, Slide Away offers group sessions to bring together youngsters who may believe they are the only ones having to

FLEXIBLE FRIENDS Penny Wang takes her class at the Day Centre

IN WONDERLAND: The TV series’ Sue Hodge on stage with the cast of Alice in Wonderland

’Allo ’Allo! star becomes patron of Lamberhurst dance school ONE of the stars of the BBC comedy ’Allo ’Allo! was on stage to congratulate the Lamberhurst School of Theatre Dance after their performance of Alice in Wonderland at the Assembly Hall in Tunbridge Wells. Sue Hodge, best known as pint-sized waitress Mimi Le Bonq in the legendary TV comedy series about the French Resistance in World War II, was invited to become a patron of the dance school. ’Allo ’Allo!, which is currently being rerun on BBC Two, achieved viewing figures topping 24 million in its 1980s’ heyday, and later became a long-running stage show at the London Palladium. Sue, who trained as a dancer and theatre performer at Bird College in Sidcup, was delighted to have been asked to support and encourage young talent. “As someone who trained as a dancer, I know the importance of good teaching,” she said.

“It brought back many happy memories of my own performing shows while training.” She added: “Many months of hard work by former London Festival Ballet Company [English National Ballet], TV and West End dancer Maggie Mansi, her dancer and performer daughter Katherine, and Kirsty Cooper have gone into making this special production shine.” The performance featured 150 children aged five to 18 on stage for the family show, which also included an Adult Tappers class. Lamberhurst School of Theatre Dance offers classes for all ages, from infants to adults, six days a week. Over the last 12 months, 93 children took examinations for the Royal Academy of Dance Ballet and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Modern and Tap, achieving 77 distinctions and 16 merits.


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County’s historic records go online making family research much easier

UPROAR One of the popular Dino Live attractions at RVP

Roaring success of dinosaurs is too much for some traders By Richard Williams MORE than 50,000 people a week are visiting Royal Victoria Place thanks to events such as Dino Live, which is currently bringing a glimpse of the Jurassic age to fascinated shoppers, but not everybody is happy. A few traders have been grumbling about the noise the life-size dinosaurs are making, with several stallholders believing they are too loud. One trader at the shopping centre told the Times last week: “Last Saturday it was almost as if somebody had turned the volume up and then went home. It was just too loud. I’m sure there will be complaints about it.” While another added: “I was working at the weekend and it was a lot louder than normal. She then added: “But, we shouldn’t moan too much because it

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

is bringing people in. And anything that gets footfall through the doors is welcome.” Marc Burchett, RVP’s marketing manager said: “We get this all the time. Same at Christmas with people having to listen to the same Christmas songs over and over. One or two traders are grumbling about it but it is bringing people in.” He denied the shopping centre had turned up the volume over the weekend. “We actually turned it down. I was here on Saturday and it wasn’t too loud. This is just one or two traders out of 70. The vast majority of people that go through the centre are very happy with it. The kids are loving it. It is a free event and it is helping bring people in.” He added that Dino Live is running during the centre’s opening hours throughout the Easter school holidays until Tuesday April 23.

GENEALOGISTS have been given a helping hand following the digitisation of more than two million originally handwritten records spanning 400 years of Kent history. Kent County Council’s (KCC) archives team has been busy digitising hundreds of thousands of original parish registers, and for the first time these will be available online thanks to a collaboration with genealogy website, Findmypast.com. The 2.6 million fully indexed baptism, banns, marriage and burial records span more than 400 years and is in addition to the online publication of more than 2.5 million Canterbury Archdeaconry records from the Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Subscription The registers, which come from every parish in the county, have been scanned and digitised in full colour to ensure the highest possible image quality. A spokesperson for KCC said that the archive team continually scan and digitise records, which are lists created from over 3,000 handwritten documents currently held at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone and not official documents such as birth or marriage certificates, but they wanted to ensure people had easy access to them. “All the digitisation has been done by us but we wanted to make them accessible to people all over the county who perhaps cannot go to Maidstone to

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? KCC’s Mike Hill looking at the parish registers

access them, so we have uploaded them onto Findmypast,” added the spokesperson. Findmypast currently charge a subscription fee of £11.95 per month for accessing online records on their website, but access is completely free at all local libraries. Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “We are delighted that the majority of the parish registers held by the Kent Archives service will now be available to view and search around the world for the first time, through the publication of images and indexes on FindMyPast. “We are able to offer free access to FindMyPast in all Kent County Council

libraries enabling Kent residents to use these fascinating records without cost and close to their homes.” A spokesperson for Findmypast said the digitisation means family historians from around the world will have even more opportunities to discover their Kent ancestors and are able to uncover details of their family’s past and add new generations to their family tree with greater ease than before. The company’s UK Data Strategy Manager, Paul Nixon, said: “Now with over 5 million indexed parish register entries for Kent, Findmypast really is the only show in town if your ancestors put down roots in the Garden of England. We’re thrilled to be working with the Kent History & Library Centre.”


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Poll reveals voters in Tunbridge Wells want another EU say A POLL conducted by the national campaign group, Right to Vote, has found that 58 per cent of voters in Tunbridge Wells want a second vote on Brexit. The survey of 9,500 adults in the borough shows more than half are in favour of giving the public a final say on Brexit – closely mirroring the outcome of the original EU referendum. In 2016, Tunbridge Wells was the only constituency in Kent that had a majority that voted remain, with 54.9 per cent of the population preferring to stay in the EU compared to 45 per cent wanting to leave. Only last month, several hundred local protestors from the borough descended on Parliament to campaign for another Brexit vote.

Meaningful Across the country, 58.1 per cent of voters who expressed a view in the poll now want a final say on Brexit, with 41.9% against. The Brexit protest group say that their research indicates that voters in nine out of 10 of Great Britain’s 632 constituencies support a final say. In Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead, the poll reveals 59 per cent of people want another vote. Right to Vote was formed in January by several MPs including Dominic Grieve and members of the new Independent Group. Dominic Grieve MP said: “Asking for more time and opposition help to salvage a deal nobody wants is yet again merely delaying the moment of truth. “We need a meaningful delay to agree a practical and credible proposal which can be put to the people for a final say. What started with the people should end with the people.”

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Creative agency kick-starts the fight against hygiene poverty A LOCAL creative agency has joined a campaigning mother of two in her fight to help low-income families gain access to basic toiletries. Lizzy Hall, 49, launched the initiative last year to tackle hygiene poverty among schoolchildren after watching Ken Loach’s anti-austerity film ‘I, Daniel Blake’, which features a scene where a struggling young single mother is caught shoplifting sanitary towels, razors and deodorant. She said that hygiene poverty is an issue that affects 14 million people in the UK, four and a half million of which are children, two thirds of whom live in a family where at least one parent works, and 1.9 million are pensioners. She added that one in ten school girls cannot afford basic feminine hygiene products, which can result in them missing school. “I asked foodbanks like Nourish [in Tunbridge Wells and south Tonbridge] if they took in toiletries. They did, but only in dribs and drabs – and they get handed out very quickly. “So I sent a WhatsApp plea to my friends and it went viral. Now I am creating new drop-off points every day.” The initiative snowballed, and The Hygiene Bank is now a registered national charity with 160 donation drop off points all over the UK, distributing products to more than 100 different charities, government and voluntary groups. Now Lizzy, from Sevenoaks, has launched a Kickstarter campaign in a bid to raise £8,000 in just 60 days to continue battling this problem. The #ITSINTHEBAG campaign will see everyone who pledges at least £15 receive a branded duffle bag for their own home, if the Kickstarter target is reached. By using this bag,

collecting donations of new, unused and in-date hygiene, beauty, grooming and personal care products can become part of their everyday life. The charity’s Kickstarter launched last month but needs to raise the target money by May 4, so it can buy at least 500 bags from a supplier and distribute them to pledgers. To support the #ITSINTHEBAG campaign, Tunbridge Wells-based creative agency Southpaw has made a pro bono video to be shared on social media to raise awareness of this problem and to try and persuade as many people as possible to pledge to buy a bag for their homes and fill it to help their local communities. Tom Poynter, CEO at Southpaw, said: “Within two minutes of meeting Lizzy and hearing her story, I was totally consumed by the real hidden crisis the UK faces with hygiene poverty. IN THE BAG Lizzy Hall is trying to eradicate hygiene poverty

“When you hear the evidence and see the impact that life’s pressures are having on people, you are genuinely shocked and we felt compelled to help. I truly hope with Lizzy’s drive and ambition, supported by our creativity, we will make a huge difference in eradicating hygiene poverty in the UK.” Lizzy added: “Being clean shouldn’t be a privilege. We have an ambition - to end hygiene poverty in the UK by making personal care essentials always available to those who need them. By launching this Kickstarter campaign, we hope to get one step closer towards that goal. “We’re very grateful to everyone who has supported our campaign so far.” To see the film and contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, visit: kickstarter.com/projects/ itsinthebag


Wednesday April 17 | 2019

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World News

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Work begins to save structure of Notre Dame and its treasures The relic of the Crown of Thorns and the tunic of Saint Louis were among the priceless artefacts that were taken to Paris City Hall for safekeeping. “Some of them will also be placed in the Louvre today or tomorrow, as soon as possible,” said M Riester. “As far as the major paintings, they will in fact only be withdrawn from Notre Dame probably on Friday morning. “They have not been damaged but there could be some damage from the smoke so we are going to take them safely and place them in the Louvre where they will be dehumidified and they will be protected, conserved and then restored.”

Hero

EXTINGUISHED: Firefighters declared their 12-hour operation at Notre Dame had been a success THE Paris fire service have said that Notre Dame’s structure and artworks had been saved after the catastrophic fire that engulfed the 856-year-old cathedral on Monday night. Pompiers de Paris revealed: “The structure of the cathedral is saved and the main works of art have been safeguarded, thanks to the combined action of the various state services committed to our side.” Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted her thanks to the firefighters who saved Notre Dame’s twin towers. They were still hosing the building at 7am yesterday [Tuesday] morning.

“I want to say thank you to @PompiersParis, they saved the towers. I could not imagine Paris without the towers of Notre Dame,” she said. Pompiers de Paris reported two police officers and one firefighter had been ‘slightly wounded’. It said: “After more than nine hours of fierce fighting, nearly 400 Paris firefighters came to grips with the terrible fire.” Mme Hidalgo said most artworks and religious relics had been removed. France’s culture minister Franck Riester posted photos on social media of people loading art on to trucks.

Jean-Marc Fournier, the chaplain of Paris fire service, is being hailed as a hero after taking part in the recovery of the Crown of Thorns. Father Fournier was also commended for his actions after the 2016 Bataclan attack, when he tended to the injured and prayed over the dead. Windows to the rear of the building were blackened but seemed to be intact, as is the organ, one of the biggest and most famous in the world. The organ dates to the 1730s and was constructed by Francois Thierry. It boasts an estimated 8,000 pipes. Experts are assessing the blackened shell to establish the next steps to save what remains of the structure. French junior interior minister Laurent Nunez announced that architects and other specialists would meet ‘to determine if the structure is stable and if the firefighters can go inside to continue their work’. Tycoon Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods

‘The structure of the cathedral is saved and the main works of art have been safeguarded’ group LVMH pledged €200million [£173million] towards the reconstruction, calling the cathedral a ‘symbol of France, its heritage and its unity’. Cosmetics group L’Oreal, owned by the Bettencourt Meyers family will donate the same. Another billionaire, Francois Pinault, who described Notre Dame as a ‘symbol of spirituality and our common humanity’, will give €100million [£86million], as will the energy company Total. The Paris prosecutor said there is no evidence of arson and they are working on the assumption that the blaze was an accident. Remy Heitz says the investigation will be ‘long and complex’, and that five investigators will interview workers from five companies that had been hired to work on renovations to the cathedral’s roof, which was where the flames started.


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National News

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Independent Group will stand in Euro elections THE Independent Group of breakaway ex-Labour and Tory MPs has become a fully fledged political party and will fight the European elections. The new party, called Change UK – The Independent Group, will stand on a pro-EU platform calling for a second referendum. The party claims to have had more than 3,700 applications from people wanting to stand as Change UK candidates in the May 23 poll. It has begun the process of shortlisting and interviewing potential MEPs. Some 70 candidates will be fielded by the party after it completed the registration process with the Electoral Commission. The party will launch its campaign on April 23.

NEWS IN BRIEF

Judge let off jury duty for being sitting judge

WARM THE HEART: Keeley Thorne (right) and her sister Teagan walk through a field full of tulips that have come into bloom near King’s Lynn in Norfolk as Britain heads for hotter weather this week

US speaker warns UK pledges to abolish Sats exams not to hurt Agreement Labour He also called for a more rounded education, JEREMY CORBYN has announced plans to THE speaker in the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has warned the UK not to undermine the Good Friday Agreement when it leaves the EU. On a two-day visit to Ireland the senior Democrat said a quick trade agreement between the UK and the US after Brexit was not on the cards if there was any harm done to the accord. Speaking in Dublin, she said the UK had made the decision to leave the bloc and it should not think ‘for one minute that there’s any comfort for them in the fact that if they leave the EU, that they would quickly have a US-UK trade agreement’. “That’s just not on the cards, if there’s any harm done to the Good Friday accords,” she said. “Don’t even think about that.” She said the Good Friday pact was not just a peace agreement, it was something much more. “This isn’t, for us, an issue or an agreement. It’s a value,” she said.

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

abolish Sats examinations in primary schools. Speaking at the National Education Union’s Conference in Liverpool, the Labour leader set out proposals to scrap the ‘regime of extreme pressure testing’. Labour said the policy would relieve pressure on a schools system forced to cope with overcrowded classrooms, and an ongoing crisis in teacher recruitment and retention. Mr Corbyn said: “We need to prepare children for life, not just for exams. “Sats and the regime of extreme pressure testing are giving young children nightmares and leaving them in floods of tears. “I meet teachers of all ages and backgrounds who are totally overworked and overstressed. These are dedicated public servants. It’s just wrong.” Mr Corbyn also announced that the next Labour government will scrap baseline assessments for reception classes.

saying: “When children have a rich and varied curriculum, when they’re encouraged to be creative, to develop their imagination, then there’s evidence that they do better at the core elements of literacy and numeracy too.” Mr Corbyn said his party trusts teachers and will raise standards by freeing them up to teach. He added: “Teachers get into the profession because they want to inspire children, not pass them along an assembly line.” Schools Minister Nick Gibb condemned Mr Corbyn’s plan to end Sats. He said: “These tests have been part of school life since the 90s. They have been pivotal in raising standards in our primary schools. “That’s why Labour governments led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown supported them. “Abolishing these tests would be a terrible, retrograde step. It would enormously damage our education system, and undo decades of improvement in children’s reading and maths.”

A SENIOR judge has revealed that he was called for jury service and was only excused when he insisted he was actually going to sit as the judge in the case. Judge Keith Cutler, the resident judge of Winchester and Salisbury since 2009, told a jury at Salisbury Crown Court of his surprise at the reaction he received. He said that even though he replied to the summons stating that he was the judge in the pending trial, his reason was rejected and he had to contact the Jury Central Summoning Bureau directly.

Blood loss is tackled DEFENCE Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced a £5million investment in technology which could stop rapid blood loss on the battlefield and the streets. Military doctors and scientists are developing the TXA Auto-injector which would allow life-saving tranexamic acid to be administered at the push of a button. Its inventor, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Wright, said it could have ‘massive utility’.

Strikes at airports BAGGAGE handlers at Heathrow and Luton airports are to stage strikes at the end of the month in separate disputes over pay. Unite said 300 of its members employed by GH London at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 and 4 will walk out for four days from April 26 after voting by 99 per cent in favour of action following six years of pay freezes. At Luton, 120 Unite members employed by the same company will strike for a week from that date in a separate pay dispute.


Wednesday April 17 | 2019

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NEWS IN BRIEF

Jobs boost for full-time and the self-employed EMPLOYMENT jumped by 179,000 in the three months to February to 32.7million, the highest total since records began in 1971. The figure has increased by 457,000 over the past year, all for full-time employees and the self-employed, while the number of people in part-time jobs fell by 15,000. Average earnings increased by 3.5 per cent in a year – no change on the previous month but still outpacing inflation. Adjusted for inflation, pay – including bonuses – increased by 1.6 per cent, the highest figure since the summer of 2016.

Galliford Try falls down SHARES in Galliford Try tumbled by 20 per cent after it issued a profit warning. The construction firm said it would undertake a strategic review that will reduce the size of the construction business to focus on its key strengths. It is anticipated that the assessment will reduce the group’s full-year profit before tax by between £30million and £40million. Analysts had previously expected a figure of £156million.

JD Sports is looking fit JD SPORTS has posted record results despite the UK’s high street crisis, as the sports retailer looks abroad for further growth opportunities. The group reported a 49.2 per cent increase in annual revenue to £4.7billion for the 52 weeks to February 2, coming in at the higher end of market expectations. Profit before tax was up 15.4 per cent to £339.9million.

OPENING OUT Several folding phones will be launched this year

SAMSUNG’S new Galaxy Fold smartphone will be the first of many devices with flexible screens in the coming years, a company director has said. The Fold is the Korean technology giant’s first major device to use folding screen technology and will go on sale in the UK on May 3 for £1,800. Other brands will launch in the UK in 2019, such as Huawei’s Mate X. Mark Notton of Samsung said Fold will be a benchmark for how smartphones will look in years to come, despite initial questions about the design. It features a traditional screen on the outside but opens up like a book to reveal a 7.3-inch display. Apps being used on one screen resize and jump to the other display.

Flexible approach not working ONLY one in four managers fully understand that employees have a statutory right to request flexible working, a new study suggests. The Chartered Management Institute [CMI] said a survey of almost 1,000 managers indicated that a third only believed staff can ask to change where they are allowed to work. Half of them thought there was a right to request a change in hours. The CMI said the statutory right allowing employees to request a change in hours, time or location, which was introduced almost five years ago, was not working. The Institute’s head of policy Rob Wall said: “Flexible working is good business sense, it helps attract and retain talent, improves employee engagement and boosts productivity.

“It can also help close the gender pay gap, which alone should be a wake-up call for the thousands of businesses that have seen their pay gap increase over the last 12 months. He added: “Line managers are key to making flexible working work. “The fact that only one in four managers fully understand the existing right to request legislation shows the gap between the rhetoric around flexible working and the reality. Mr Wall concluded: “The truth is that legislation can only take us so far in terms of shifting behaviours and attitudes. “To reap the full benefits of flexible working, employers need to show genuine commitment and develop data-driven action plans which make flexible working a reality.”

National News

BUSINESS

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Mastercard claim is revived after ruling A £14BILLION damages claim brought against Mastercard on behalf of millions of UK consumers has been revived by a ‘landmark’ ruling by the Court of Appeal. Former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks is trying to bring legal action against the card giant on behalf of an estimated 46.2million people. He alleges that Mastercard’s breaches of competition law, found by the European Commission in 2007, have led to UK consumers paying higher prices on purchases from businesses that accepted Mastercard. The proposed class action was thrown out in July 2017 but Lord Justice Patten said the tribunal ‘demanded too much’ information about how the fees Mastercard charged on transactions were said to have been ‘passed on’ to consumers. The judge also ruled the tribunal misdirected itself in relation to how any damages which might ultimately be awarded were to be divided among the claimants.

Break-up on the bill for Premier Foods MR KIPLING cakes firm Premier Foods is expected to press ahead with a break-up of the group in the coming months. It is understood that the company, which has been under pressure from activist investors, has hired bankers at boutique advisory firm d’Angelin & Co to help manage the process. In February, Premier launched a strategic review, bowing to pressure from investors Oasis and Paulson, who own more than 20 per cent of the group and had called for a radical shake-up. Insiders believe all options are on the table, including a sale, but a break-up is most likely.


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NEWS

Letters

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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

And another thing… This is the page where you, the reader, have your chance to express your views or comments on what’s going on in our part of the world. We like to hear from you. You can email us at newsdesk@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk or newsdesk@timesoftonbridge.co.uk or write to the Editor, Times Local News, Salomons Estate, Tunbridge Wells TN3 0TG Personal apology required for every disabled person in borough before he casually derides them. AS a resident with multiple and complex Having worked in SEND [Special Educational hidden disabilities, I am appalled at the Needs and Disability] for many years, where I Labour Chair and Rusthall candidate Bjorn have battled to make children with disabilities Simpole’s derogatory comments concerning and learning difficulties feel confident, build disabled people [April 10]. their self-esteem, achieve their full potential Whether this was a term used by ‘others and he joined in light-heartedly’ is and feel valued as human beings, I am disgusted that this person then makes irrespective. This man is currently hoping to obtain office on the such a derisory comment and thinks it’s borough council, a position where acceptable to say ‘sorry’ and everything he would come into contact with is fine again. many disabled people. Bigotry on any level is never It shows blatant contempt for acceptable. And this is bigotry against these people, many of whom have disabled men, women and children. to struggle daily with unimaginable I would like Bjorn Simpole to go round disabilities, PIP assessments, loss of the whole borough of Tunbridge benefits, discrimination, and face Wells and apologise in person issues that many others would find to every single disabled man, woman and child. it extremely difficult to deal with. SORRY Nothing less will do. How dare he mock and deride Bjorn Simpole is a Labour Angela Funnell them? He should walk a day in candidate for Rusthall Rusthall the life of a disabled person

Decisions made before expert reports Ms Manson declares that she’s happy to listen to the real-life experts about the proposed theatre being the right size and design and in the perfect location [April 3]. She must have supernatural hearing. In the thousands of pages of material presented by the council to the public inquiry there is not a single expert report that addresses any of these questions. The council decided in 2014 on the size (1,200 seats), the design (a lyric theatre), and the location long before they commissioned any expert reports or undertook any comprehensive public consultation – this was clearly established during the public enquiry. The only expert reports that predated these decisions were: A 2010 review of alternative theatre provision that was merely a useful guide for the uninformed about the different types and sizes of theatre, and that made no recommendations about what was most appropriate for Tunbridge Wells; two reports on refurbishing the Town Hall and the Assembly Hall Theatre, both assuming that these buildings would be ‘modernised’ for their existing uses despite this being clearly inappropriate; and a cultural economy report that informed the subsequent Cultural Strategy 2014 that made no mention of the lack of a 1,200 seat lyric theatre being a weakness in the town’s cultural offering, or an opportunity for the future. The vast amount of money spent on expert reports since 2015 is all directed at delivering the 2014 decisions that were made on the basis of no evidence. Our council has spent about £6million of our money on a whim. They’d better hope that the [Inquiry] Inspector confirms the Compulsory Purchase Order. Robert Chris Tunbridge Wells Alliance

The dramatic scenery keeps changing The welcome announcement, followed by lengthy discussions, regarding new theatres planned for Southborough – at the Hub – and for Tunbridge Wells has brought the notion of ‘experts’ into public scrutiny. So-called experts have already led the Southborough Project Board up the garden path, causing a costly change of architects and builders, and it looks as though the

Calverley project may be heading the same way. I am in total agreement with Kate Griffiths’ carefully detailed objections [March 27] and would like to add an acknowledged expert voice – that of Nicholas Hytner, formerly in charge at the National Theatre and now running his own highly successful theatre at Tower Bridge [The Bridge Theatre], which has relied on no public money to build or to sustain it. He has stated on Radio 4, in a discussion with Libby Purvis, that the only viable theatre worth building today is a totally flexible space which can accommodate several different production styles. The traditional design planned for the Calverley theatre is already out of date. Modern theatre design relies on the magic conjured up by computers, as in the Royal Ballet’s depiction of Alice falling down the rabbit hole, or the Devil flying over Moscow in a Russian production from the Barbican. By the time the new theatre is opened we shall be seeing a lot more of this relatively economic approach to set design. We no longer need costly flying towers or space for enormous pantechnicons delivering vast pieces of scenery. Kate, rest assured you are well supported in the borough by the Labour Party, the Lib Dems, the Greens and the Alliance. You and those who share this view now need to use their persuasive powers in favour of some tactical voting. Fiona C Brown Southborough Town Councillor

No reason Hoopers cannot thrive I respectfully disagree with Marguerita Morton’s letter [April 3] criticising the new theatre, in particular the impact on Hoopers. I attended most of the recent public inquiry to which she referred. It was clear from the evidence that the council has carefully considered the impact on the store and feel it can be managed. The Hoopers car park will stay in its current form, without the loss of a single parking space. Some theatre traffic will pass through the car park, but only a few vehicles per day. It will be overseen by full-time staff to ensure these vehicles move safely and stick to a 5mph speed limit. The main consultants (GVA) expect Calverley Square to boost the local economy by £34million per year, and this will of course help local

businesses. Hoopers themselves are in favour of the development, and their only argument is the theatre should be moved by a few metres. So I don’t agree with Ms Morton’s statements. The council has carefully considered the scheme, including the impact on surrounding areas and businesses, and there is no reason why Hoopers shouldn’t continue to thrive for many years to come. Matthew Bailey Conservative candidate for Paddock Wood West

Rights for children and grandparents I am aged 72 years, I am a pensioner, I have a dyslexic disability, I cannot afford legal aid or a solicitor, I am not computer-literate, I don’t understand the worldwide web. I want Tunbridge Wells to put the ‘grand’ back into grandparents. My wife and I have been prevented from seeing our grandchildren, and I believe that the public must recognise that we have all been blinded to the children’s rights by the words ‘grandparents have no automatic rights’. I believe this to be a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights for equality for all. This should apply to children who are about to become casualties of a breakdown in relationships. The system of ‘contact’ should be in a supervised, CCTV-controlled centre, where the whole visit can be studied and anything untoward will expose itself to the trained specialists and addressed accordingly, giving the children the security of being comfortable with both parents in their lives. For any person, be it judges, parents or grandparents, to object would be acceptable – but to support the objector would be depriving the children of their basic human rights. The objector is usually driven by anger, hate, jealousy and lies. Anger management should be the order of the day. Name withheld Rusthall

Calverley

Observations on life and more important things

DON’T you just love the House of Lords, an Upper House full of fascinating characters? Take the latest pearl to emerge, putting number plates on cycles. No, not a joke. The thought comes from Labour Peer Robert Winston following an encounter with a cyclist riding on the pavement. The woman kicked him ‘in the incident’ and threw his mobile in the road. He said there was no point in calling the police because the attacker could not be traced. “The requirement for number plates would mean cyclists blatantly breaking the law could be identified,” he later reasoned. Guess who doesn’t have to worry about being elected to office? Mind you, he does make a pretty good point.

OFF to Sainsbury’s on His own for the weekly family shop. Surely the highlight of anyone’s week? Top of the list was a jar of honey, not just any honey but manuka, which is apparently a little bit special. And so it should be at £16.50 a jar; that’s not a misprint. Calverley has now ordered a dozen hives. (Yes, He did buy a jar, it was on the list handed to Him by Management.) Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties are, apparently, what sets it apart.

It’s about time we saw the (street) lights I am complaining at seeing so many decapitated street lights, where the tops have obviously been knocked down in road accidents, then taped up with yellow warning tapes. There are three along the A264 Langton Road alone, and many dotted around the borough. There is also one bent outside the Cotswold Shop which has been in this condition for quite a few years, and has not been repaired or removed. Also the paintwork on these street lights in most of the borough are in a terrible flaky condition and it would smarten up the borough if these faults were to be rectified. Jim Tinkler Tunbridge Wells

If you want to save it then take it over I agree that it is sad that The Primrose in Pembury Road, Tonbridge may be demolished, particularly as, some years ago, I frequented it once or twice a week. However, if Tonbridge Civic Society, or any other organisation, wishes to save it, either as a public house or for any other use, then let them buy it and restore it themselves. If they can make a go of it, then good. If not, then it shows why it will have to meet its sad demise. John Brandon Tonbridge

CALVERLEY was sipping a quiet ale in a local hostelry when a man, unknown to the landlord, draws up outside in a limo, walks in holding a clean pint glass, plonks it on the bar, and says: “It’s too long a story.” He then leaves without another word. The imagination runs wild. APPARENTLY there’s a right way and a wrong way of pulling off those yellow Marigold kitchen gloves, should you end up wearing a pair. Do not pull them hard from the wrist downwards as this turns them inside out and makes it almost impossible to put them on again. Also, do not just tug each finger hard as they might come off. (Surely that means the gloves are old and perished?) Simply ease off each finger until all five are loose and then remove the whole glove. Calverley passes on these tips in the hope others may not also learn the hard way.

FINALLY, Calverley is planning a politicallythemed drinks party in a local brewery. Does anyone know of an MP who might be able to organise such an event? He doesn’t. Chin Chin, dear reader

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EDUCATION Times

Every picture tells a story… Benenden School pupil Saiesha Gupta has won a prize in a prestigious national photography competition

AWARD-WINNING Saiesha accepts her award from Professor Paul Nightingale

At the age of just 16, Saiesha Gupta of Benenden School has won the ‘Better Environment’ category of a national photography competition, and received a prize of £150 in vouchers and a trophy at an awards ceremony in London’s Espacio Gallery last month. The photographic contest, the fifth to be organised by the Economic and Social Research Council [ESRC], gives young people aged between 14 and 18 the opportunity to get creative with their cameras and smartphones, and explore the real issues that impact society.

‘With no food or shelter in close proximity, the woman leads a tough lifestyle – however, she is happy’ This year, students were asked to take a photograph exploring what the phrase ‘Better Lives’ means to them. They were encouraged to think about how health, relationships, education, the economy and the environment all contribute to society and people’s lives. The judges were overwhelmed by the quality of the entrants, with more than 506 images submitted by pupils from 160 schools in the UK.

Describing her photo,‘Pashmina’, which shows a Himalayan herdswoman called Jinpa tending to her livestock of pashmina goats in Ladakh, India, Saeisha says: “With no food or shelter in close proximity, the woman leads a tough lifestyle – however, she is happy. She believes that a simple lifestyle away from materialistic ideals within nature is the most suitable environment for her. She spends her days taking care of her livestock, discovering the beautiful

PICTURE PERFECT Saiesha Gupta won first prize for her Pashmina picture

valleys of the Himalayas as she finds new land for her goats to graze on. Jinpa believes that she can appreciate the serenity of her environment much better through living a nomadic life.” Benenden Headmistress Samantha Price said: “We are incredibly proud of Saiesha’s success in this competition. She is a very talented photographer who has worked extremely hard and we are lucky to have a wonderful Art Department here at Benenden who have supported Saiesha’s passion for photography. “Competitions such as the ESRC’s are invaluable for encouraging young people to push themselves to ever greater achievements, and we hope that Saiesha’s success this year will inspire other young people in future.” Winners were divided across five categories that explored important issues in the social sciences: Better Economy, Better Education, Better Environment, Better Health and Better Relationships. The entrants came from a range of schools and colleges, which will also receive the same amount in prize money as each winner. Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of ESRC, said: “There were some brilliant entries. My congratulations to all of our prizewinners, who have helped to show how social science can contribute across a number of areas from the economy to the environment.”

Celebrating pupils’ love of literature A RECORD number of pupils attended the 13th South East Schools Themed Book Award at Kent College, Pembury. A total of 220 students from 20 local schools – including Skinners’ Kent Academy, St Gregory’s Catholic School, The Judd School and Bennett Memorial – were at the celebration evening, sponsored by AXA, to find out which titles had won the Teen and Young Adult awards on the theme of ‘Taking a Stand’. Pupils read books about characters finding their voice, fighting against injustice and being active in their community. Matt Killeen was thrilled to win the Teenage Award category – only the second time a guest author at the

Kent College event has won – with ‘Orphan Monster Spy’. It was a joint win for the Young Adult Award for ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi and ‘Moxie’ by Jennifer Mathieu. Matt and award-winning author Sita Brahmachari talked about the inspiration for their books and their writing and then held a joint Q&A.

Suffragettes Pupils created an entertaining range of book trailers and there was also a fancy dress competition based on characters from the nominated books, which included suffragettes, warriors and a turtle.

DRESS REHEARSAL: Pupils dressed up as the characters from the books they personally enjoyed from this year’s South East Schools awards list

Education

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Weekly Comment

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Rt Revd Simon Burton-Jones

The Rt Revd Simon Burton-Jones is the seventh Bishop of Tonbridge. He has oversight and leadership of the education, youth and children, and community engagement work of churches across the Diocese of Rochester, which includes Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge.

Bishop of Tonbridge

Speed might be convenient and empowering, but slow is smart IT IS said we become like the things we worship, and as technology has become faster, so people have had to match its pace. To give ourselves the measure of this challenge, consider this: The average office email goes unread for only six seconds. Yet research noted in the book ‘Irresistible’ by Adam Alter shows it takes up to 25 minutes to become reimmersed in an interrupted task. If people open just 25 emails in even spaces throughout the course of a day, they will spend no time in their most creative zone. And that’s before we factor in how often we check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is a product of Silicon Valley and used to its crazy working hours culture. In his book ‘Rest’, he has shown through a review of available research how this mad culture has made people less creative at work. He also demonstrates a symbiotic relationship between industry and leisure. Work and rest are partners, not opponents. In fact, developing science shows the brain

works only marginally less hard when we are at ease than when we are striving. So rest is, paradoxically, active. And deep play is especially good at stimulating creativity. For Pang, deep play is defined as that which is ‘psychologically restorative, physically active, and personally meaningful’.

Astonishing Beyond a certain number of hours in the week, we become less productive. Many plough on. Their work is unfinished, so it feels like a pragmatic response to keep going. But in fact they are becoming less efficient, and by stopping work and restarting after rest, they will do a better job than by keeping going. We’re in a crazy place where people kind of know this, but can’t stop themselves. This calls for self-reflection. In 1975, an ageing Arthur Ashe played the young Jimmy Connors in a Wimbledon final

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

SLOW AND STEADY Arthur Ashe knew how to play the long game

that most saw only one possible outcome from. Ashe’s victory in four sets remains one of Wimbledon’s biggest upsets, and it was predicated on a specific game plan. Ashe knew he could not match Connors for speed and power, so there was no point in playing him at his own game. Instead, he devised a slow, low game with plenty of soft returns, which reduced the match to the speed he desired. Connors was perplexed and constantly over-hit the ball in an effort to return the final to the speed he was accustomed to. He lost the first two astonishing sets 6-1, 6-1, after which there was no return. Speed is convenient and empowering, but does not have inherent ethical value. Slow culture is making inroads into modern life via food and travel. It also has a place in reflection and decision-making. Unless we co-opt it, and find the divine wisdom to distinguish between what needs to be quick and what could be slow, we may continue to wither rather than to flourish.

Hugo Pound Campaign Co-ordinator for the Tunbridge Wells Labour Party

Hugo Pound is a chartered psychologist specialising in corporate leadership and strategy. He has worked in industry, consulting, the NHS, and as a qualified social worker in a London borough. He is the Campaign Co-ordinator for Tunbridge Wells and a candidate for Sherwood Ward in the local elections.

It is time for change in Tunbridge Wells THERE is a yearning for change in Tunbridge Wells. Residents are fed up with being ignored by a council hugely dominated by the Conservatives, whose main energy and focus now is on one £90million-plus building project. The borough council election in May provides an opportunity to provide some much-needed opposition to a council marked by decades of complacency. Voters have the opportunity to elect Labour councillors who are in touch with the needs and concerns of local residents.

Housing Labour will continue to oppose the Civic Centre project. We firmly believe that this project should be stopped and creative and cheaper alternatives explored, including redevelopment of the Assembly Hall and existing buildings. The scale of borrowing and annual ticket sales needed for a fixed 1,200 seat theatre make this a risky enterprise which will burden future generations of residents with unsustainable debt. We will work to address the housing crisis. It is too expensive now for many local people to afford to live in the borough, whether that is by renting or buying a home. We will argue for the council to use its powers and influence with social housing providers to

deliver a new generation of genuinely affordable homes. The young and many residents on low incomes need the opportunity to get low-cost housing that enables them to continue to live in their own community in the future. We will press the council to revitalise our town centres. Empty units in our towns across the borough, crippling business rate rises, and high streets hit by the economic uncertainty created by Brexit are signs that the Conservatives have lost sight of the basics. Labour will campaign to keep our retail offer vibrant and appealing, with a focus on supporting independent businesses to give reasons for people to come and shop in our towns. We need to protect our environment. Labour will push for the council to protect our green spaces and invest in sustainable transport. We need to encourage people out of the car and to use public transport, walk and cycle more. We should explore options to reduce unnecessary car journeys across the borough, including Park and Ride and cheaper and more accessible buses, and embrace initiatives such as 20s Plenty to improve road safety. We will oppose austerity, which has done huge damage to our local communities and needs to end. Labour councillors will stand up for public services and prioritise voluntary and community

HUBBUB Controversy has surrounded the new Southborough Hub

sector grants which provide vital services, particularly to vulnerable people. We support more public involvement in decision-making. We believe local decisionmakers are too remote from the people they serve. Decisions are made in private before views are sought. Both the Civic Centre and

Southborough Hub projects are just two recent results of this backward process, where there has been inadequate consultation and a refusal to take account of widespread public opposition. We need more councillors prepared to speak up for people across the borough. If you want real change, please consider voting Labour on May 2.


Wednesday April 17 | 2019

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ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PROPERTY, IN TERIORS & TOP TRENDS

INSPIRATION FOR MOVING AND IMPROVING timeslocalnews.co.uk

Magnificent Black Swan An historic hall for sale Page 24

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A GREAT BUY FOR UPDATING

34

MODERNISED HAVEN IN THE TOWN

41

The apples of your eye A garden with its own orchard Page 25

GOOD NEWS FOR COUNTRY HOUSES


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Best property buys for...

Black Swan Hall

We all love to see homes with the ‘wow’ factor – which could apply to the kitchen, reception room, garden, or something else. Sarah Bond homes in on specific aspects that make these properties well worth a look…

Guide price

Cranbrook Road Goudhurst

£1,550,000 CONTACT • Knight Frank, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 515035 • knightfrank.co.uk A gorgeous, historic, Grade II-listed 16thcentury country house with later additions and a swimming pool. The hall is reputedly the oldest property in this pretty village, occupying in a prominent position on the edge of it, and is within the Cranbrook School catchment area. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n A wealth of period features, including beams and original oak panelling n Magnificent drawing room with open fireplace n Sitting room with inglenook fireplace n Superb double-aspect dining room with French doors to garden n Kitchen/breakfast room with oil-fired Aga n Gym/games room, wine cellar and secondary cellar n Spacious en-suite master bedroom n Guest bedroom with en-suite shower n 4 further bedrooms n Family bathroom n Substantial attic space n Well-established gardens with greenhouse n Heated swimming pool with paved surround n Drive with newly installed gates n Double garage and parking area

The DINING ROOM…


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The PRICE…

The ORCHARD

Western Road Southborough

Guide price

£265,000 CONTACT • Bracketts, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 533733 • bracketts.co.uk A mid-terrace, late Victorian property which has been priced for modernisation. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n Sitting room with cast iron fireplace n Dining room with understairs storage n Kitchen n 2 bedrooms and a bathroom n Garden requiring cultivation, with store

Cedar House

Straight Mile, Etchingham

Guide price £875,000 CONTACT • Savills , Cranbrook • 01580 720161 • savills.co.uk

A great home for commuters in the heart of the countryside with its own charming orchard and views over the Dudwell Valley. Handy for Etchingham Station. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n Drawing room with wood-burning stove n Sitting room with wood-burning stove n Dining room with French doors to terrace n Study

Palmerton

Maidstone Road, Hadlow

£525,000 CONTACT • Barnes Kingsnorth, Tonbridge • 01732 771616 • bkestateagents.com

A spacious bungalow needing modernisation and offering potential for enlargement, subject to the necessary consents.

n Kitchen/breakfast room with Falcon range cooker and French doors to terrace

MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom and south-facing balcony with views

n Kitchen

n 4 further bedrooms and 2 bathroom/shower rooms, one en suite n South-facing garden and terrace n Orchard with plum and apple trees

n Living room with open fire n Master bedroom and shower room n 3 further bedrooms and family bathroom n Access via ladder to spacious loft area/ hobbies room

n Timber gates open to parking area

n Front and rear gardens, including sizeable vegetable garden, greenhouse, sheds and pond

n Double garage

n Detached garage and ample parking

n 2 garden stores and a greenhouse


Connecting people & property, perfectly. Hawkhurst TN18

Cranbrook TN17

1

1

A substantial and impressive Victorian family house with approximately 1.2 acres. • • •

Wealth of period features Over 7,000 sq ft Within Cranbrook School catchment area

An attractive converted barn with spectacular views over countryside. 4

3

• • •

Wealth of period features Presented in immaculate order Within Cranbrook School catchment area

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4

4

Guide price £1,495,000 Freehold

Guide price £1,375,000 Freehold

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

01892 310997

Brenchley TN12

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

01892 310997

Warren Road TN6

1

1

A beautifully presented family home approximately half a mile from the village. • • •

5

Convenient location Garden with terraces Double detached garage

A fantastic family home in a rural and peaceful location, with access onto Ashdown Forest. 5

3

• • •

Including a two bedroom Oast Cottage Additional one bedroom flat Equestrian facilities

3

4

6

Guide price £850,000 Freehold simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

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Guide price £1,995,000 Freehold 01892 310997

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

01892 310997

knightfrank.co.uk Connecting people & property, perfectly. All potential tenants should be advised that, as well as rent, an administration fee of £288 and referencing fees of £48 per person will apply when renting a property. There will also be a £48 charge to register your deposit with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme if applicable. (All fees shown are inclusive of VAT.) Please ask us for more information about other fees that will apply or visit www.knightfrank.co.uk/tenantfees. Knight Frank is a member of the ARLA Client Money Protection Scheme and our redress scheme for consumers is Property Redress Scheme.


Connecting people & property, perfectly. Netherfield TN33

Tenterden TN30

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A most attractive 1920s thatched Arts & Crafts style house in an elevated position. • • •

Equestrian facilities Outbuildings In all approximately 11.83 acres

An impressive Grade II listed Queen Anne house with elegant and classic proportions. 6

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Outbuildings Walled garden Approximately 1/4 mile to Tenterden centre

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Guide price £1,700,000 Freehold

Guide price £1,475,000 Freehold

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

01892 310997

Goudhurst TN17

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

01892 310997

Mayfield TN20

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A handsome Grade II listed 16th century property with a wealth of period features. • • •

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Swimming pool Within Cranbrook School catchment area Approximately 0.75 miles to village

Impressive refurbished farmhouse with wonderful far-reaching views on the edge of the village. 6

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With a one bedroom annexe Swimming pool In approximately 12.67 acres

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Guide price £1,550,000 Freehold simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

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Guide price £1,795,000 Freehold 01892 310997

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

01892 310997

knightfrank.co.uk Connecting people & property, perfectly. All potential tenants should be advised that, as well as rent, an administration fee of £288 and referencing fees of £48 per person will apply when renting a property. There will also be a £48 charge to register your deposit with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme if applicable. (All fees shown are inclusive of VAT.) Please ask us for more information about other fees that will apply or visit www.knightfrank.co.uk/tenantfees. Knight Frank is a member of the ARLA Client Money Protection Scheme and our redress scheme for consumers is Property Redress Scheme.


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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

AT A GLANCE RAVENHEAD FOREST ROAD TUNBRIDGE WELLS n Extended, remodelled,

high-specification home n Living room with contemporary

biofuel fireplace and ornamental log store n Dining room with French doors n Kitchen, including Island with brushed

steel top, hob and breakfast bar area n Utility room & WC n 3 ground floor bedrooms, one en

suite, one currently used as a cinema room and one as a study n Ground floor shower room n Staircase with glass balustrade n 3 first floor bedrooms, one en suite n Family bathroom n Garden with patio and wooded area n Detached double garage with power

and light n Driveway with turning area

Modern executive home close to town’s famous Nevill cricket ground and a lawn tennis club

n Advanced heating and ventilation

systems n 2 rooms wired for surround sound n Integrated security system

£1,295,000 CONTACT • Fine & Country, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 701900 • fineandcountry.com


Wednesday April 17 | 2019

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Property News Rural homes selling well despite Brexit uncertainty The prime country house market has been buzzing ESTATE agents Knight Frank, who have branches in Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks, have released their Prime Country House Index for the first quarter of 2019. And despite some sellers and buyers remaining cautious due to the uncertainty of Brexit, they have recorded a 5% rise in offers made compared to this time last year, and a 22% rise in properties sold subject to contract. The figures highlight the strength of underlying demand, and the continuing desire of people to move house, but Brexit has had an effect on values. Prime property prices in regional markets in England and Wales fell by 0.8% over the first three months of 2019 – the third consecutive quarter that average prices have fallen. The annual change in values over the 12 months to March stood at 1.8%, and while this is still only a modest drop, it’s the biggest fall in five years. However, properties priced to reflect current market conditions continue to attract buyers. More moderately priced properties have shown

greater resilience. Property worth up to £1million fell by a relatively modest 0.7% annually, while £2million-plus properties have fallen by an average of 2.5%. But the estate agency remains optimitic about the long term. Oliver Knight, a senior analyst in Knight Frank’s residential research department, said: “The prime market is expected to remain subdued in the short-term, with Brexit leading the headlines and impacting on housing market sentiment. “However, when the political uncertainty recedes we expect underlying demand to crystallise into more activity. “This, along with the relative value on offer in most prime regional housing markets, especially when compared with London, should underpin a modest increase in values of 0.5% in 2019.” Looking further into the future, he added: “On a longer term basis, we are forecasting cumulative growth of 8.2% between 2019 and 2023.”

URBAN vs RURAL PROPERTY PERFORMANCES THE Knight Frank report also revealed that price movements varied by property type, with longer-term performance highlighting some stark differences. Manor houses, for example, have reported a modest growth of just 0.8% during the past five years, compared with growth of 19% and 24% respectively for cottages and townhouses over the same period. This mirrors a wider trend of outperformance within the market for properties located in

urban town and city settings, relative to their more rural counterparts. Strong price growth in the years following the financial crisis in some areas of southern England means values for prime homes in urban locations have surpassed pre-financial crisis peaks. However, rural properties by comparison remain more than 10% below peak levels. This relative value could help drive demand in more rural markets in 2019.

Stace House

Woodchurch Road Tenterden

Guide price

£1,475,000 CONTACT • Knight Frank, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 515035 • knightfrank.co.uk

A stunning example of a prime country property has just come on to the market with Knight Frank. Once used as a school, this impressive Grade II-listed Queen Anne house is close to the pretty town of Tenterden. The grounds are a particular feature, and include a walled garden with seating areas and a secret garden. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n Believed to date back to the early 18th century, with a substantial Victorian extension n Elegant drawing room with fireplace n Panelled dining room with cast iron gas fireplace, window seats and original shutters n Kitchen with electric Aga, and door to: n Spectacular garden room n Rear hall with servants’ bells and a secondary staircase n Wood panelled main staircase n Large family room with vaulted ceiling n Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom n 5 further bedrooms and 3 family bathrooms, one en suite n Rooftop balcony n Walled garden, fruit and vegetable gardens and a secret garden with fruit trees n Drive with wrought-iron gates, plus rear drive with electric gates n 3 garages, one with room above offering scope for additional accommodation, subject to the necessary consents


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EXPERIENCE A STATE OF FLUX

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Escape to the country

See swathes of springtime bluebells at Hole Park Page 46

ENJOY SWEET TREATS AT EASTER

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CORPS DE FORCE Young performers show the fruits of their labours

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Pictures courtesy of London Ballet Company

‘Imagine you were told not to open the box… we are revisiting this ancient, cautionary tale from the Greek myth of Pandora’s Box’

THE JOY OF DANCE Pandora’s Box conveys a range of emotions

A capital dance performance

The mission of the vibrant and creative London Ballet Company is to personalise performance and highlight topical issues through its original works. Next Thursday, April 25, its latest show, Pandora’s Box, debuts at Trinity Theatre. Eileen Leahy finds out what the audience can expect

THE London Ballet Company was established in 2010 by dancer Sophie Wright. Since then it has gone on to enjoy considerable success with a raft of original productions that have been toured all over Europe. These include Jubilation, a piece to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee; Olympic Dream, a homage to the Olympic games; Eve, which celebrated women in society in order to mark International Women’s Day; and also Poppy, commissioned to commemorate World War I and highlight the devastation war wrought upon society. “With intimate, creative and collaborative performance, The London Ballet Company seeks to provide opportunity and a performance platform to inspire, encourage and nurture future artists in technical excellence and versatility,” says Sophie, who is the director of company as

well as one of its principal dancers. The corps is now bringing its latest offering, Pandora’s Box, to Trinity Theatre. When I ask Sophie what it’s all about, she mysteriously replies: “Imagine you were told not to open the box… we are revisiting this ancient, cautionary tale from the Greek myth of Pandora’s Box.

Expressive “Originally intended to try to explain the reasons for all the evils of the world, the story highlights the consequences of pursuing a particular course of action. The box was opened, and so the virtues of chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility became the sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, hate, envy and pride. “Going against the wisdom and advice of others

can have unexpected results. Pandora made her choice and therefore had to deal with the consequences. But, having, said that there is hope!” There are eight artists in the cast performing the London Ballet Company’s interpretation of this classic Greek myth, and they started rehearsing the new storyline idea from mid-February after formulating ideas for the show at the end of last year. Just like the company’s other shows, Sophie says there will be lots of ‘expressive dancing conveying emotions without words’. “In addition to this,” she continues, “the audience’s presence and their reactions to the different parts of the shows – comical, sad, scary – are also an important element, bringing a vast contrast of emotions in the short time the audience is with us, and they feel this, too.”

IN REHEARSAL For a moving tale

What does dance give Sophie personally? “A sense of achievement. It teaches you dedication, commitment, hard work, great work ethic, team spirit and creativity. You feel unique – different compared to a large majority of the world’s population.” And in terms of what the audience will enjoy about Pandora’s Box, Sophie says it will probably be a ‘variety of comedy, beautiful dancing and different emotions’. “There will certainly be entertainment from the moment the production starts, right until the very end of the show. It’s not traditional ballet as some may think or perceive ballet to be,” she concludes. The London Ballet Company perform Pandora’s Box at Trinity Theatre on April 25 at 8pm. Tickets cost £19 and can be booked via trinitytheatre.net The London Ballet Company trains a number of elite and talented dancers from all over the world through its Associates Programme, and runs summer workshops for dancers aged eight and upwards. To find out more about them, visit thelondonballetcompany.com


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Engaging theatre – with strings attached

Arts & Culture

LET’S GET PHYSIC-AL Life-size puppet physicist Kate with her giant 1980s glasses and hair

The EM Forster Theatre welcomes Smoking Apples Theatre Group’s puppetry production, Flux, next week. Here, its co-artistic director Hattie Thomas reveals more about this exciting puppetry show… Can you tell us a little bit about Flux? Flux is a puppetry and physical theatre performance that follows the journey of Kate, a physicist in the 1980s, as she pursues her passion for science. The show uses extraordinary life-size puppetry, an electrifying set of shadow and light, and a filmic score to tell Kate’s story. How did you come to create this particular production? We wanted to make a show with a strong female protagonist, and we were interested in science as a subject, so we looked up inspiring women in this field and found Lise Meitner. Meitner was a physicist researching in Germany at the time of the Second World War. Along with a chemist called Otto Hahn, she discovered nuclear fission. However, Hahn alone received the Nobel Prize and Meitner’s work was not acknowledged. We felt this would be a great springboard for our main character Kate, in Flux. We then spent some time in Oxford working with a brilliant scientist called Dr Elspeth Garman who worked in nuclear physics during the 1980s, and we interviewed several other female scientists to help develop the show. Tell us a little bit more about Kate’s character… We created a character who is absolutely brilliant at theorising and physics, and who also

loves music and spends all of her money at the local record shop. When the audience meet Kate, she is chaotic in her home life and a little bored in her work life, until the rest of the office go home and she gets a chance to challenge herself, theorising about the best ways to create energy. Once we had this starting point, we really just looked at where her journey could lead to, and the rest of the story rolled on from there. Can you tell us about the links between physics and puppetry? Physics and puppetry may not immediately seem like an obvious combination, but the way that we make our work actually has a lot in common with the way that physicists approach their research. So much of physics is about theorising and imagining what could happen; every time we spoke to a scientist during our research, they explained concepts in pictures and metaphors, and this is exactly how we devise and perform our shows, using strong visual imagery. Can you tell us about the links with music and feminism that run throughout? Music is another brilliant way of illustrating a story or an idea. In Flux it enhances the mood and style of the piece, and brings the audience firmly into the 80s era. The feminist side of the show comes from the choice of a female lead character. Science and physics careers

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What are the challenges with staging something like this? There have been some interesting challenges during the creation of this show. Firstly, having decided to make a show with a full-size, female puppet, we spent some time exploring how she moves, walks, and small habits that she might have. We wanted to avoid falling into stereotypes relating to gender or profession – following a lot of research, we have tried to create a well-balanced and relatable character. Is the play’s original musical score an inspirational piece? Yes and it’s composed by Jon Ouin, (Stornoway, BBC, Sky) and it is hugely 80s inspired. In the same way that our show is non-verbal, we wanted to avoid using music with lyrics as these add another layer of meaning which can be quite distracting. So Jon composed a brilliant score which is completely tailored to suit the story.

are typically seen as male orientated, but so many key scientific discoveries, even in the last century, have been made by women who have then just been written out of the history books. With this show we hope to engage young women with an aptitude for STEM subjects, and to encourage them to believe that they can pursue these careers if they want to. The show stars Kate, but the four performerpuppeteers also play different characters in her story, and we have one more puppet in the show – but I won’t reveal too much about him!

What do you think people will enjoy most about seeing it? It’s either going to be the lights, the puppets or the music, but it’s hard to say which one. The lighting design, by Sherry Coenen, is at a completely new level for us and it really adds the wow factor. And then Kate, with her giant glasses and giant hair, is so engaging to watch, and the music will have the audience dancing in their seats. Flux is on at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge on April 25 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15, and the show is suitable for those aged 11 years and over. See emftheatre.com


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Going Out

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goingout 7 days of activities

By Jerome Bowman

played by a live band, Talentz promise West End production values. Tickets cost £17 and concessions are available. To book, visit emftheatre.com

WEDNESDAY Hole Park in Cranbrook is the perfect place for a walk this month because the Bluebell Spectacular is in full bloom. Enjoy the stunning seas of blue flowers as you stroll through the woodland. Standard admission fees apply. For more information, go to holepark.com

THURSDAY

Tonight at 7pm, an amateur production of Little Shop of Horrors will be put on by The Talentz at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge. The cult classic tells the story of Seymour, who discovers a plant with killer potential at the flower shop he works in. With a 1960s pop and rock soundtrack

SOMETHING TO TREASURE? Antiques and vintage goods at Penshurst Village Hall

GOOD FRIDAY St Saviours in Tonbridge will be holding their Good Friday Service from 10am, telling the Easter story and serving food. From 12noon, head to St Peter & St Paul Church in the centre of the town for The Seven Last Words, which will include readings, reflections and a performance of Haydn’s Seven Last Words. All are welcome. At 2pm, the Dunorlan Park Easter Egg Hunt will commence. The eggcellent afternoon will finish at 4pm, and is chance to get the young ones out into the fresh air. Follow the clues around the park and return your discoveries for a prize. There will also be a raffle. Entry is free but donations are welcome for the upkeep of the park. You will need to book ahead though, so email: judy.guest@hotmail.co.uk or call Judy on 07983209441.

SATURDAY BLUEBELLS GALORE Hole Park in full bloom

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

From today at 9.30am, the Penshurst Vintage and Antiques Fair will be open for business at Penshurst Village Hall. The long-running bazaar features a curated set of stallholders selling everything from painted furniture to architectural salvage. Dealers include Little Wren Vintage, Tatty Chateauz and Hoof Brocante, who recently featured in Quest TV’s Salvage Hunters. The fair

will be on until 5pm and runs again on Easter Day and Holiday Monday. For more details, search Facebook for Penshurst Vintage & Antiques Fair This is the last day you can treat your children to some complimentary delights from the tempting menu at the Hotel Du Vin Easter Egg Hunt. Choose from Chicken Kiev dippers and fish fingers with chips and garden peas. After they’ve feasted, children can head off on a free Easter egg hunt. Clues will be dotted around the hotel and the surrounding grounds. For more information phone 01892 526455 or visit hotelduvin.com/locations/tunbridge-wells

EASTER SUNDAY

Easter Family Fun can be had at Hever Castle today. Spot the bunnies hiding in the castle, or hunt for the colourful carrots in the


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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

grounds. If you find the golden carrot, a special prize awaits – just don’t tell the bunnies about them. There will also be a bonnet-making and decorating workshop, with prizes given for the best bonnets. Standard admission applies. For more information, go to hevercastle.co.uk Everyone’s favourite hairy criminal will be at Penshurst Place today. Captain Blackbeard’s Close Encounter is a chance to hear the eponymous brigand and some of his crew telling a sailor’s tale of creatures from the deep. You can also walk through the gardens and find hidden pictures of the mythical creatures for yourselves. Standard admission rates apply. To book tickets, and for more information, visit penshurstplace.com Every day during the school holidays experts will be on hand for Archery at Bodiam Castle near Robertsbridge, so you can have a go at hitting the bullseye. There’s no need to pre-book, just turn up and participate. All you have to do is follow the signs to the archery centre, then a visitor reception team will guide you from there. The minimum price per session is set at £3. The ON TRACK FOR EASTER The Spa Valley Railway at Tunbridge Wells West Station and beyond

activity will run from 10.30am to 4pm. For more information, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/bodiam-castle

Going Out

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A GREAT TARGET Visit Bodiam Castle and learn some archery

BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY

It’s full steam ahead on the Spa Valley Railway this Easter. Can the children spot all the Easter Eggs on the line? There’s loads to see and do at the three stops, and Tunbridge Wells West station will be open to display its model railway and locomotive restoration, as well as offering face painting and arts and crafts. A family ticket cost £28 if you book online. For more information, go to spavalleyrailway.co.uk

TUESDAY Grosvenor and Hilbert Park are celebrating World Earth Day today from 3pm until 5.30pm. It’s A Small World will be an afternoon of crafting miniature green spaces using recycled materials and natural resources from the park. This is a drop-in event and all children must be accompanied by an adult. No booking is required and entry is free, with a suggested donation of £2.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Hannah

Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells Wednesday, April 17, 8pm

Andrea Pallaoro’s 2017 film is an intimate portrait of a woman’s loss of identity and her grip on reality as she copes with loneliness after being estranged from her son and left completely alone after her husband’s imprisonment. We watch as Hannah’s world unravels. Charlotte Rampling won Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her role as Hannah. The film will be screened in French with English subtitles. Tickets cost £11 for a standard ticket and £10 for concessions. To book, go to trinitytheatre.net


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Going Out

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk THE GREY LADY MUSIC LOUNGE The Pantiles, doors 7.15pm, entry £6/£7 Websites pdag.co.uk & thegreylady.co.uk Wednesday Andy Twyman, Jennie Worthley, Will Locke Good Friday Soul Kitchen Saturday Closed for a private Party Easter Sunday Sorrel Nation, Charlie Rivers

live music With Paul Dunton

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ONIGHT [Wednesday], Blues fans can catch the excellent Katie Bradley, Richard Lane & Adrian Hackford at The Anchor Inn, Sevenoaks High Street, and across the road, folk/rock legends Steeleye Span will at The Stag Theatre. One-man blues band Andy Twyman headlines The Grey Lady with support from Jennie Worthley and Will Locke. The Forum hosts their popular Stable showcase with Apachi Snow, Elephant Radio, Paperfriend and Swords of Thought. My top picks for Thursday include renowned Jazz singer Stacey Kent at Trinity Theatre and The Management Party Band at The Bedford pub. Friday night brings Nate Austin at

The must-read guide to what’s on musically for the week ahead… paulduntonandguests.com

The Nelson Arms in Tonbridge and Hear Lies at The Sussex Arms, with support from All The Above. For Folk fans, I recommend the Ric Sanders Trio at The St Edith Folk Club, Kemsing. The Local & Live Music Festival has now become a charity. To celebrate, The Forum are hosting a free launch show with music from Suncharmer and David Migden & The Twisted Roots. On Saturday, look out for The Patinas at The Bedford, Super Duper & The Ya Yaa’s at The Beau Nash and Will Whisson at The Royal Oak. On Sunday night, The Waterman Trio are at Verdigris in Tonbridge and local singer-songwriters Sorrel Nation and Charlie Rivers are both on the bill at The Grey Lady.

THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS FORUM Tunbridge Wells Common Event information at twforum.co.uk Wednesday The Stable: Apachi Snow, Elephant Radio, Paperfriend, Swords of Thought Good Friday Local & Live Charity Launch (free entry): Suncharmer, David Migden & The Twisted Roots Saturday Boogie Nights THE ANCHOR INN Sevenoaks High Street Open all day, free entry, music from 8pm Wednesday Katie Bradley, Richard Lane & Adrian Hackford THE STAG THEATRE Sevenoaks All event details and tickets available at stagsevenoaks.co.uk Wednesday Steeleye Span THE BEDFORD PUB 2 High Street Open all day, free entry Music from 8.30pm More information at thebedfordtw.co.uk Thursday The Management Saturday The Patinas TRINITY THEATRE Church Road Event details & tickets available at trinitytheatre.net Thursday Stacey Kent

MUSICSTATION Bank Street, Tonbridge Thursday & Good Friday Play it Again at MusicStation 8pm-9.30pm Adult band workshop, all levels welcome. Booking essential. For more details, call 01732 350629 THE FORUM BASEMENT AT THE SUSSEX ARMS Sussex Mews Event information and tickets at twforum.co.uk Good Friday Hear Lies, All The Above NELSON ARMS Cromer Streeet, Tonbridge Open all day, free entry, music from 8pm Good Friday The Nate Austin Duo Easter Sunday Musicstation Jam Session (6.45pm onwards, all welcome) ST EDITH FOLK CLUB St Edith Hall, Kemsing Event information at stedithfolk.co.uk Good Friday Ric Sanders Trio THE ROYAL OAK PUB Prospect Road Suncharmer

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

Open all day, free entry Music from 7.45pm till late Saturday Will Whisson THE BEAU NASH TAVERN Mount Ephraim Open all day, free entry Music from 8.30pm till late Saturday Super Duper & The Ya Ya’s Easter Sunday Open Mic Night VERDIGRIS Tonbridge High Street Open all day music from 6pm Event details available at verdigris-tonbridge.com Easter Sunday The Waterman Trio THE TOAD ROCK RETREAT 1 Upper Street (towards Rusthall) Open all day, free entry Music from 8pm Tuesday Brooks Williams THE PUNCH & JUDY PUB St Stephens Road, Tonbridge Open all day, free entry Music from 8pm Tuesday The Stuka Cats


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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

Why foodie pop-ups are now simply child’s play Jo Banks runs the Alive With Flavour food pop-ups and is now busier than ever hosting them locally. Here she explains their myriad benefits…

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ast week a group of budding young chefs enjoyed a special Easter themed cookery pop-up event with local foodie and blogger Jo Banks from Alive With Flavour. It took place at Chiddingstone Castle and its principal aims were to highlight the benefits of eating well and to get children more involved in the preparation and cooking of delicious nutritious food.

“At Alive with Flavour we are always using the food pop-up as a means of educating and inspiring people with food,” explains Jo who also regularly guest stars on Radio Kent and is a familiar face at many of our local food and drink festivals. “The basic idea is that a food pop-up is set up for a limited period of time and then taken down when the event has finished. Think of it being similar to a market stall that appears in your local high street every Saturday then at the end of the day it has gone.” In fact Jo goes on to say the food pop-up model has enabled her to reach people of all ages, gender and cultures to help educate and inspire them through understanding and experimenting with food. “Originally we used them as a means of working with children to help them understand where food comes from, what they can do to feed themselves and how to use food utensils. But from doing the children’s pop-ups I decided to apply the

same rationale for adults through my supper clubs. I ran an Indian supper club earlier this year which went really well and because of that success I’m planning similar events for the rest of the year as they are a great way of exploring and experimenting with food.” At Jo’s recent Chiddingstone Castle children’s event there were 12 children aged 8 years and upwards who took part in an Easter themed pop-up cookery event which ran from 10 until 3.30pm. During it they learned a number of essential culinary skills including baking batches of ‘bunny bread’ and making a quiche Lorraine. “Sally Boulton joins me on these workshops as she is an expert in baking and decorating cakes,” says Jo. “Last week our pupils made homemade lemon curd and then decorated their Easter cakes with

By hosting a number of Alive With Flavour pop-up sessions Jo says it has helped her to develop not just her food demonstration skills but improve her educational classes, too

JO BANKS FROM ALIVE WITH FLAVOUR it. Any leftovers went home in a jam jar as it’s just delicious as a sandwich! As with every pop-up event I put on it’s important that everything is done from scratch and that we talk about basic techniques, like proving bread or zesting a lemon.” By hosting a number of Alive With Flavour pop-up sessions Jo says it has helped her to develop not just her food demonstration skills but improve her educational classes, too. “The beauty of them is they can take many forms and can open almost anywhere. As long as the space is safe to cook and serve food, it can be a pop-up restaurant or a food tasting station. Pop-ups have been hosted in places as diverse as empty warehouses and rooftop gardens! “What I and my team like about the food pop-up is that provides us with flexibility. It really does allow food anytime,


Wednesday April 17 | 2019

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The perfect tipples for an Easter Feast Our expert James Viner has tracked down three French wines of distinction for Easter entertaining, including two reds to pair with roast lamb and an impressive fortified bottle, which is perfect for chocolate 1) UNDER £10 MUST-TRY SPECIAL BUY Famille Perrin Les Cardinaux 2016, Côtes du Rhône-Villages (£8 offer, reduced from £10, until May 14, Co-op) Whichever joint you pick, Easter’s a cracking occasion to shell out on a decent red. A very evocative wine from an outstanding vintage and top producer (the Perrins own the most renowned Châteauneuf-duPape of all, Château de Beaucastel), this bottle takes you

straight to southern France with its whiff of black fruit, dried thyme, pumice and bramble. Screams for a leg of lamb stuffed with a salty mixture of anchovies, rosemary and garlic or a butterflied leg of lamb dotted with rosemary and lavender. Grenache with syrah and deep, dark mourvèdre. A great find and a very tasty Easter offer. Alc 13%

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anywhere. We are not tied to a particular venue or with the type of food we can experiment with. Some of our pop ups have included a food truck at a local brewery, a supper club within a B&B and a children’s educational event within the Tonbridge Food and Drink festival.”

The next pop-up Jo will host is a vegan inspired one on May 1 and she will also be appearing at the Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival over the bank holiday weekend in May. To find out more about Alive With Flavour and the types of events you can attend visit alivewithflavour.com

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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2) UNDER £15: MATURE BORDEAUX BARGAIN Moulins de Citran 2009, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux (£13.99, Aldi) This classy claret – the second wine of Château Citran – has a riff of savoury leather and cigar-box oak, with bay leaf; the smell of leafy plum and blackcurrant, plus a dash of subtle cedar wood. The combination of 58% black-fruited cabernet sauvignon, 42% plump merlot and bottle age has formed a very seductive wine. Decant and give it a good shake about. There’s a lot to enjoy here with roast beef, a leg of lamb spiked with rosemary and garlic, or after the main course with cheese or chunks of dark chocolate. A canny buy from Aldi. Try it. Alc 13.5% 3) GRENACHE-BASED ‘VIN DOUX NATUREL’ (VDN) – AN ‘EGGS-QUISITE’ MATCH FOR CHOCOLATE Domaine Pouderoux Maury Grande Réserve NV, Roussillon (£11.49, 50cl, Waitrose stores & Waitrose Cellar) Like Port, VDNs are sweet wines lightly fortified with grape spirit. You will not find a more memorable wine to match chocolate anywhere else! There’s a lovely lick of liquidised dried fig and prune, a surge of plum and a slight note of mocha and orange peel. One to relish with Easter chocolates (especially dark), chocolate parfait, chocolate gateau, prunes in red wine or Stilton/Roquefort. Sumptuous stuff. Alc 15.5%


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Spring reads…

Wednesday April 17 | 2019


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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

Spring reads… Including reviews of The Parisian, The Language of Birds, The Pine Islands and The Science of Storytelling

BOOK OF THE WEEK

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad Published in hardback by Jonathan Cape, priced £14.99 (ebook £8.99)

8/10

It is startling to think this ambitious tour-de-force was written by someone at the start of their literary career. Weaving together history and personal tragedy, this debut novel from Isabella Hammad starts with Midhat, a Palestinian teenager who finds himself studying in France at the outbreak of World War I. Having fallen disastrously in love, the young man returns home and settles down to a life worthy of his father’s expectations while Palestine struggles for independence. But an unexpected betrayal, surfacing years later, threatens to unravel the life he has built. Complicated and panoramic, yet with even the tiniest of details meticulously observed, this debut follows the changing desires of a boy as he is moulded into a man, the irresistible pull of family loyalty, and the search for peace, as much within, as on, the global stage. (Review by Jemma Crew)

Books

Life&Times

The Language Of Birds by Jill Dawson

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9/10

Published in hardback by Sceptre, priced £18.99 (ebook £12.99)

Jill Dawson is an award-winning novelist and poet. The Language Of Birds is based on the story of Lord Lucan and is set in 1970s London. Mandy and Rosemary work as nannies for aristocratic families, and the book explores the freedom enjoyed by the young women escaping small villages to enjoy the anonymity of the big city. Both Mandy and Rosemary have had mental health problems, and Mandy is sympathetic to her boss, Katharine, Lady Morven, who is struggling with depression, while Rosemary is more inclined to side with the charismatic Earl. Dawson brings Mandy’s warm, empathetic character fully to life, while Rosemary’s gullible, eagerto-please Norland nanny persona is intriguingly irritating. The story is of domestic details, family dramas, private detectives, country house holidays and occasional chilling atmospheres pointing towards tragedy – all brilliantly told. (Review by Sue Barraclough)

The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann

Published in hardback by Serpent’s Tail, priced £12.99 (ebook £5.69) The Pine Islands is a funny, strange and sad read. When academic Gilbert dreams that his wife has been unfaithful, he reacts by flying from Germany to Japan. Here, he only half-intentionally saves a young man named Yosa from a suicide attempt, and together the two embark on a pilgrimage through some of the country’s most ancient sites. Marion Poschmann’s writing – translated into English by Jen Calleja – is deliciously vivid in its depiction of the forests, mountains and cities through which they pass. The plot is sparse, which will not suit everyone, but this is a refreshing book for the curious reader. (Review by Alys Key)

7/10


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Books

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk NON-FICTION

8/10

storyteller and produces some fascinating examples of how humans have used stories to make sense of the world from the very beginning. The psychology behind why we tell stories, from ancient campfire myths onwards, and later the revelations about underlying personality traits that drive characters, are fascinating. But it’s scientific proof, like brain scans which show heightened neural activity around metaphors, particularly fresh ones, which really hit home, as does evidence that our eyes respond as if the story we are reading is really happening. There are times when you wish Storr could follow some of his own tips to make some sections more palatable, but overall, this is a must-read for any would-be writers. (Review by Derek Watson)

The Science Of Storytelling by Will Storr

Published in hardback by William Collins, priced £12.99 (ebook £7.99) The Science Of Storytelling is a new take on the search to discover the secret formula which can elevate writing to its highest level. There have been plenty of previous attempts to explain to wouldbe authors how successful plots and tropes work, but Storr underpins his findings on fiction with facts from research conducted by neuroscientists and psychologists. Based on a course he teaches, which includes deft examples from everything from Blade Runner to King Lear, he explains that the brain itself is the ultimate

lacks any plot, but for one to three year olds it’s lovely, funny, and will have them wanting to jump on their beds. Grown-ups, too! (Review by Ella Walker)

CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW

Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka

Published in hardback by Gecko Press, priced £7.99 This adorable flip chart book from an award-winning Japanese illustrator is full of humour and animals’ bellies as they leap giddily in the air. It’s all about jumping, with Matsuoka drawing the comical ‘boings’ of grasshoppers, kittens and fish, and, erm, less successfully, snails. Sure, it’s not groundbreaking and

8/10

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

BOOK CHARTS HARDBACKS 1. Pinch Of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherston 2. Hinch Yourself Happy by Mrs Hinch 3. BISH BASH BOSH! BY Henry Firth and Ian Theasby 4. Mary Berry’s Quick Cooking by Mary Berry 5. Fing by David Walliams 6. The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris 7. Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry 8. Metropolis by Philip Kerr 9. The Confessions Of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins 10. Spring by Ali Smith (Compiled by Waterstones) PAPERBACKS 1. Circe by Madeline Miller 2. Past Tense by Lee Child 3. The Boy At The Back Of The Class by Onjali Q. Rauf 4. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty 5. Transcription by Kate Atkinson 6. Wilding by Isabella Tree 7. Playfair Cricket Annual 2019 by Ian Marshall 8. The Secret Barrister by The Secret Barrister 9. Diary of Greg Heffley’s Best Friend by Jeff Kinney (World Book Day 2019) 10. The Tattoist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Compiled by Waterstones) E-BOOKS 2. No Way Out by Cara Hunter 3. Dead If You Don’t by Peter James 4. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing 5. The Suspect by Fiona Barton 6. Sea Of Memories by Fiona Valpy 7. You Then, Me Now by Nick Alexander 8. The Moor by LJ Ross 9. The Cornershop In Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May 10. He Will Kill You by Charlie Gallagher (Compiled by Amazon)


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travel

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Travel

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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

From farm to plate in the Maldives

to savour the local flavours On a remote coral island in the Maldives, Hannah Stephenson discovers a rural community which has turned its sandy landscape into a farming haven

M

ALDIVIAN farmer Ali cuts open a heavy, juicy watermelon from his plot of land, proudly presenting us each with a slice, juice dripping, still warm from the sun. Standing on his small farm on Meedhoo, an island within the Addu Atoll (the southernmost group of islands in the Maldives, next stop Antarctica) you could be a million miles away from the luxurious five-star resorts

MINT FOR DINNER! Hannah Stephenson in the chef’s garden

complete with the picture postcard white beaches, aquatic lagoons, over-water villas and swaying coconut palms that are synonymous with these islands. Walking past a corrugated shack that doubles as his shed, Ali proudly shows us his farm, which looks a bit like a huge allotment. Watermelons and honeydews are ripening on the ground in the sun, many of which serve the discerning clients at the nearby deluxe Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa on neighbouring Villingili Island. Ali is one of 50 farmers on Meedhoo who have helped form a cooperative to clean up their land and make it more productive in partnership with the Shangri-La group, and tourists are now being offered the chance to see how this partnership is working in a new farm-to-plate experience. Since the tourist boom of the 1970s, hotel-islands (there’s only one resort hotel or complex per island in the Maldives) were originally developed with the aim of keeping Western visitors separated from the Muslim localities.

Turtles

AT HOME ON THE SEA An overwater villa at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa

But trends are changing and, despite the continuing political unrest of this nation, tourists are growing more curious about local communities and their cultures, seeking more authentic travel experiences. The location of Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort is ideal for the luxurious fly-and-flop break, where tourists can boast that they’ve crossed the Equator, spotted turtles, seen manta rays and spinner dolphins or played golf. And, being close to the other islands, it also allows an insight into local life.


Wednesday April 17 | 2019

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk PRISTINE BEAUTY The beach that was once a rubbish dump

The journey to get there involves taking a 70-minute flight from the capital Malé to the island of Gan, formerly a major military base for the British Army during the Second World War. Gan is connected by a 17-mile causeway to three other islands in the atoll, making it the Maldives’ largest land mass. From Gan, it’s a ten-minute boat ride to Villingili, which is less than two miles long and retains some jungle and wilderness feel. Guests cycle along sandy roads which cut through swathes of coconut palms and giant banyan trees, passing several freshwater lagoons.

PICK OF THE BUNCH Growing bananas

Once you’ve had a few days to wind down and admire the glorious vistas and sumptuous accommodation, you may want to sample a true taste of Maldivian life. A ten-minute speedboat trip takes us to Meedhoo Island, just 2km x 2.5km, where we are presented with garlands of frangipani and bougainvillea by beautiful Maldivian children dressed in Dhiveli libaas (traditionally weaved dresses with ornate necklines) – watched by their proud mothers. Meedhoo is clearly new to tourism. Only a few years ago, the beach on which we are standing was a rubbish dump awash with plastic bottles, rusty cans and other debris – a makeshift landfill. Today, thanks to the work of concerned members of the community who formed an NGO to clean up the island, and educate adults and children in all matters of eco-friendliness, there’s not a plastic bottle or bag in sight. There are still regular beach cleans three years on, and a local waste management company removes the rubbish. Here, female tourists are politely asked to wear attire which covers their shoulders and knees in respect of the Muslim faith. Driving on the sandy road past 900-year-old Koagannu, the oldest cemetery in the Maldives,

Travel

we come across an impressive school hidden behind bright blue walls. Meanwhile, a peppering of stylish gated houses in subtle shades of lemon clash with nearby tired, older buildings with corrugated roofs and fading pink painted walls. Traditional houses used to be made of corals but that doesn’t happen any more. It seems tourism has helped some prosper on Meedhoo, but has been slower to transform life for others. With a population of 3,500 to feed, farming has always been big here. Now it’s bigger. On one farm we walk past deep troughs of leafy Chinese cabbages, huge banana trees and beds of yam, whose voluminous leaves are known as elephant ears, and are asked to remove our shoes before entering a large greenhouse filled with rows of lofty cucumber plants bearing dangling ripening fruits. It’s one of four greenhouses made possible through a 15,900-dollar loan (approx £12,200) in 2013 from the Shangri-La group to the cooperative, which has helped increase farming production massively – so much so that Meedhoo and its neighbouring islands in the atoll now provide the resort with around 15% of its fruit and vegetables. The farmers paid back the cost of the greenhouses within ten months. Hot Maldivian chillis, papaya, bananas and a variety of salad leaves are flourishing on the cultivated land. Fragrant frangipani, bougainvillea and other flowers grown on the island also serve the resort. So how can they grow such rich produce on a bed of coral sand? Rotten leaf matter on the island is broken down to make soil richer, although compost also has to be imported from

FRESH FROM HIS FARM: Meedhoo Island farmer Ali with a water melon

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Sri Lanka and India to beef up the terrain, while great tanks gather rainwater for the crops. And while problems of whitefly, thrips (an insect) and mites sometimes threaten the harvest, the biggest challenge for farmers is the changing weather patterns resulting in a longer rainy season, says community environmental officer Mohamed Kamir. But efforts are being made to expand the types of crops which may be able to cope with changing weather conditions. Earlier in the day, we visited the resort’s own chef’s garden to pick vegetables and herbs to use in our dishes at dinner. There’s an abundance of mint, dill and basil, as well as gourds, aubergines, courgettes and spring onions, Chinese cabbage and rocket, all of which provide some of the resort’s needs. If the chef’s garden cultivates a new variety successfully, it will teach the Meedhoo farmers how to grow and care for the plants, so that they can expand their own crops. We sit down to our delicious farm-to-plate dinner in stylish settings on Villingili later that evening. On the menu was locally-caught wahu carpaccio, meaty tuna with lemongrass veloute (with herbs and vegetables we picked earlier in the chef’s garden), and fruit cocktail with mango soup courtesy of the farmers of Meedhoo. Nothing could taste sweeter. HOW TO GET THERE Room rates at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa are from 645 US dollars (approx £494) per night, based on double occupancy, and includes breakfast and all taxes and fees. To book, call 0800 028 3337 or visit shangri-la.com/male/villingiliresort Kuoni offers seven nights at ShangriLa’s Villingili Resort & Spa in an ocean villa with private pool including breakfast, flights on Emirates from London Gatwick and transfers in resort. From £3,049 pp based on two adults sharing. Call 01306 747008 or visit kuoni.co.uk


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Motoring

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk

Motoring News

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

This week…  A leaf-e outlook  Play-ing the field  Electric free-for-all

Popularity pushes a limited edition e-car to become permanent fixture NISSAN has announced that the all-electric Leaf e+ is now a permanent member of its line-up, after strong customer support for its limited-edition predecessor. Launched as the Leaf e+ 3.Zero, the car was originally limited to 5,000 models for Europe – but after taking more than 1,200 orders within 24 hours of its reveal, Nissan decided to push the car into mainstream production. Pricing for the longrange model begins from £35,895. The Leaf e+ features a larger capacity battery pack – 62kWh instead of the standard model’s 40kWh. Nissan claims this gives it a range of 239 miles on the WLTP cycle – up from the standard car’s 168-mile range. However, that’s still down on the Hyundai Kona Electric’s 279-mile claimed range. The e+ is also compatible with 100kW fast chargers, allowing drivers to charge the battery to 80 per cent in around 40 minutes. The electric motor has also received an upgrade to a 215bhp motor with 340Nm of torque. That allows for a 0-60mph sprint of 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 98mph.

The e+ is based on top-spec Tekna trim, bringing a generous specification as standard. Nissan’s full suite of ProPilot driver assistance tech is present and correct, while on the inside, buyers benefit from Nissan’s latest eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system as well as a seven-speaker Bose stereo. A metallic blue trim on the front bumper is the only external differentiation, though e+ models do ride an almost imperceptible 5mm higher than standard cars due to the larger battery pack. First deliveries are expected to begin in the summer. The Nissan Leaf e+ costs from £35,895, while standard-range models cost from £27,995.

UPGRADED The new Leaf-e+

WIDENING THE VISION Hyundai

Chance to ‘Play’ with new features from Hyundai HYUNDAI has released a new trim level for its i10 city car and i20 supermini ranges. Named ‘Play’, the spec is a typical mid-life update, bringing high levels of equipment for a lower price by adding features individually. The i10 Play starts from £11,195, matching the mid-spec SE grade on price. However, it heaps on the luxury features, giving the dinky city car 15-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, black door mirrors and, best of all, a seven-inch infotainment system with DAB and compatibility with smartphones through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The i10 Play is available with a single engine – the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, boasting 66bhp and a five-speed manual gearbox. And it’s

available in a choice of five colours. The i20 takes a similar approach but beats its SE equivalent on price by £1,000. Available from £14,495, it features a similar spec to its i10 sibling – 16-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, black mirrors and the seven-inch infotainment display. The i20 comes in a standard twotone paint finish with a black roof. It’s available with either the 1.2litre, 82bhp four-cylinder or the 1.0litre, 98bhp turbocharged three-cylinder engines. Both are paired to five-speed manual gearboxes. Both the i10 and i20 models also feature ‘Play’ badging to mark them out from the rest of the range. Play models are now available to order, with the first examples already in showrooms.

Toyota to share hybrid tech secrets with rivals TOYOTA – which continues to be a leader in petrol-electric powertrains – is to give other manufacturers access to its patents for hybrid electric vehicle technology. In an attempt to bring down the overall impact of emissions and promote the uptake of electrified vehicles, the Japanese firm is letting rivals look at almost 24,000 patents awarded over the past 20 years that relate to electric motors and power control units. Access and royalty-free licences will be granted until 2030 to 23,740 patents – 5,680 of which were already available in relation to fuel-cell electric vehicles. Toyota will also be providing other brands with fee-based technical support for developing and selling electrified vehicles that use Toyota-sourced components. Toyota’s Executive Vice-President, Shigeki Tareshi, said: “Based on the high volume of enquiries we receive about our vehicle electrification systems from companies that recognise a need to popularise hybrid and other electrified vehicle technologies, we believe that now is the time for co-operation. “If the number of electrified vehicles accelerates significantly in the next ten years they will become standard. We hope to play a role in supporting that process.”


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Recruitment

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Wednesday April 17 | 2019

WITH THE

FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB TODAY – A MUST-READ FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR WORK LOCALLY

OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS AND TONBRIDGE

Fill your vacancy now in print or online

From just £99 For more information contact our commercial team on 01892 779650


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Numbers are substituted for letters in the crossword grid. Above the grid is the key with two letters solved. Try to complete the first few words to give you more letters, or look for a frequent number that might reveal a common letter. As you find letters, enter them in the key and into the grid. Cross off the letters in the A to Z list.

Codeword:

To complete Sudoku, fill the board by entering numbers 1 to 9 so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains every number uniquely.

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7 9 5 4 4 6 9 3 6 4 5 6 8 6 7 3 7 5 2 5 4 8 1 8 4 3 9 5

© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles, Inc.

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© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles

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LAST WEEK’S SOLUTIONS

SUDOKU & JIGSAW SUDOKU

DIFFICULTY RATING: ★✩✩✩

CLASSIFIEDS

Life&Times

Puzzles

In this Sudoku, the normal 3x3 boxes are now strangely odd shapes – but all the rules and logic of normal Sudoku apply. Fill the board by entering numbers 1 to 9 so that each row, column and box contains every number uniquely.

Puzzle solutions will be published in a forthcoming issue

S H R U I E T O X I W P L U T O N S Q U A T S E L U D R A I S L E O L R O Y A

B M I C A L G A E R N D R O J A F F A I O B L I S A I R S L L A LWA L AW N E Y U T T A R E A S S U Z B E L D E R A L Y A R

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Sudoku:

1 6 4 9 2 3 5 7 8

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7 1 2 5 9 4 8 6 3

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5 7 2 6 8 4 3 9 1

2 5 3 4 1 9 6 7 8

3 6 8 1 9 7 2 5 4

4 5 1 2 7 9 3 8 6

2 9 6 8 3 1 4 5 7

Jigsaw Sudoku:

7 2 5 9 3 8 4 1 6

9 4 6 3 5 1 8 2 7

1 3 9 8 6 2 7 4 5

4 8 1 7 2 6 5 3 9

6 9 4 2 7 5 1 8 3

8 1 7 5 4 3 9 6 2

© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk

Wednesday April 17 | 2019


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Sport

FORsports EVENstories MORE to: NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk or newsdesk@timesoftonbridge.co.uk Please send newsdesk@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk

Wednesday April 17 | 2019

Player rebellion leads to mass exodus of Ladies By Andy Tong FOOTBALL: THE future of Tonbridge Angels Ladies hangs in the balance after a player rebellion led to all but one of the squad leaving the club. Apart from one player who has said she is retiring, the others are joining Tunbridge Wells Foresters to launch their inaugural women’s team. The exodus came after three players had their registrations cancelled by manager Dan Couldridge, who said they had refused to play and had breached a Code of Conduct. One of the rebel trio told the Times: “He doesn’t listen to the team or the coaches, he ignores suggestions on both tactics and who plays. “He has a list of who is playing in the first half and the second and doesn’t change that – it doesn’t matter who we’re playing or what’s happening. “The majority of the team approached

“I’ve played for years, and I’ve never missed a game literally for anything apart from work,” she added. Couldridge contacted the three players and told them: “As you have made it clear that you are not prepared to play for the team while I am running it, I will cancel your registration.

him months ago with ideas for training but he didn’t take it on board, “We were fed up, so we had another meeting – which was structured so it wasn’t offending him and he would take the hint. We all gave our input.” The situation came to a head before a ‘crucial’ match against Lewes Foundation on March 10 – their second cup semi-final inside eight days. According to the club, ‘a handful of players refused to take part in the match’. The Times source said only three players declined to play – one because of work. “Before the second semi-final I decided I didn’t want to play because he had been rude to me,” she said. “He says we broke the Code of Conduct, about respecting the manager and the players. We didn’t do anything wrong. “Then he told us he was taking away our registrations because we refused to play, which wasn’t true. I just didn’t put my name down to play.

‘All the girls got together and said, ‘we can’t lose three players like that’ “I have not made this decision lightly, but I see no other way forward. “You’ll be free to sign for another team next season once all money is paid up and all kit returned.” The Ladies management issued a statement on Facebook saying: “Those players were disciplined accordingly. It then became apparent that a much

larger group of players were unwilling to take part in further matches under the current management.” A friendly against Eastbourne which had been arranged for the following Sunday was then cancelled. Our source said: “All the girls got together and said, ‘we can’t lose three players like that’. So we contacted the club and had a meeting with them. The board told us, ‘we still want you to be a part of it but Dan isn’t going anywhere’. “Before the friendly against Eastbourne one of us told Dan ‘you haven’t addressed the issues’, and he just decided he’d cancel it.” But then one of the coaching staff and 13 players decided to play in the friendly without telling Couldridge. The management said: “It was made clear by the group concerned that the playing squad would not be willing to see out the season under the present management, which left Tonbridge

Angels with no other option but to withdraw the team.” The Ladies have not played since then and have had all their points in South East Counties League deducted. Couldridge wrote to his squad saying: “As I see it there are three players in the side who have spent far too much time listening to two players with an axe to grind from another team and that is what has caused the toxicity that exists today. That is completely unacceptable. I can see no future for players like that at this club.” Our source denies that the Maidstone players that have been implicated had no effect upon her decision-making. The acrimony comes despite the fact that the side have performed very well since they were founded in June 2015. They were promoted to Division One East last season, won the league cup and the Bexhill Tournament – and playing at Longmead for the first time.

Champions hand out lesson to leave Angels hanging on

UP AND AWAY Slavomir Huq clears for Dorking as Angels put him under pressure

Tonbridge Angels 0 Dorking Wanderers 2

PHOTO: David Couldridge

By Jim Rowe FOOTBALL: THE runaway champions of the Bostik League Premier, Dorking Wanderers, laid on a masterclass in inflicting a defeat which leaves Tonbridge Angels’ play-off ambitions in the balance. The Surrey side showed why they have been so successful with good possession and patience, while a taking their chances when they came. They timed their moment perfectly, performing in front of a crowd of more than 800 spectators at Longmead. Tonbridge will need to put this defeat behind them as they prepare to face play-off rivals Worthing and Carshalton Athletic in their next two fixtures. The first half saw Dorking content to move the ball around in midfield, choosing their moments to go on the offensive – and when they did they always looked capable of scoring.

In the 17th minute Matthew Briggs accelerated into Tonbridge’s final third from the right and whilst his effort was parried by Angels keeper Jonny Henly, the ball fell kindly for Jason Prior and the experienced striker scored. Just when the Angels thought they might get to half-time just the one goal adrift, Dorking struck again. James McShane whipped in a cross, Reece Hall had a free run to the back post and shot firmly past Henly. During the first half Tom Derry, Jack Parter and Arthur Lee all went close for Angels. In the 36th minute Joe Turner forced a good save from Dorking keeper Slavomir Huk. The second half saw a distinct improvement from the Angels but a two-goal deficit was always going to be a mountain to climb against a side with the calm control of Dorking. There were half-chances for Sonny Miles, Joe Turner, Adem Ramadan and Tom Derry, while Jared Small put in some teasing crosses but no one in a blue shirt could take advantage.

Angels manager Steve McKimm said: “The players have to realise the opportunity they have. We are still very much in the mix and they need to get themselves over the line. “We shall work hard, and sort a few things out at training ready to face Worthing on Good Friday, which will be a huge game.” The Angels are in third place with 66 points while Carshalton Athletic are one point behind and Worthing two further back on 63. There are a number of other teams technically still in the mix with three games to go – Leatherhead, who beat Angels in their previous match – Bishop’s Stortford, Merstham and Folkestone Invicta down in ninth place. Second-placed Haringey Borough are likely to secure a home tie in the end-of-season knockout on April 29 but Tonbridge will hope to secure the other home spot for third place. First the Angels have to travel to Worthing on Good Friday [April 19, kick-off 3pm].

Pay is rewarded with European sprint chance DUATHLON: AMY PAY has secured a place on Team GB’s 30-34 age group squad after taking part in the European sprint duathlon 2020 qualifier at Bedford Autodrome. The Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club athlete took part in the event based around the beautiful and historic Thurleigh Airfield with fellow member John Kendall. The venue has been turned into a motor racing track, and the race featured a flat 5km run followed by a technical 20km bike course and a further 5km run. Pay, who has been competing in triathlons for three years, came third to qualify for the showpiece for the first time, while Kendall finished eighth in his 55-59 age category. David Bagge also competed in the British standard distance age group championships as the Autodrome, the

IN THE RUNNING: (L-R) Amy Pay of Team GB, Neil Couchman and David Bagge top level of competition in the UK. The race consists of a 10km run, 39km bike ride and 5km run, and

Bagge finished eighth in his 50-54 age category with a time of 2:04:15. He and Neil Couchman enjoyed a

strong race at Maidstone’s duathlon, a 9.5km run followed by a 42km bike leg and finishing with a 3.5km run. Couchman, who is in the 40-44 age group, finished second, with Bagge first in age group and fifth overall. Chris Nieuwoudt was representing the club at Challenge Salou, a middle distance event near Barcelona, finishing 419th in a time of 5:43.33. The event began with a 1.9km swim, which was to prove challenging due to large swells which made sighting difficult. Many competitors missed the first buoy and had to swim back to find it. The 90km bike route was on smooth roads with long inclines and strong coastal winds. The final 21km run leg took in four laps of the beach front which was lined by throngs of locals coming out to support. Nieuwoudt finished in 5:43.33, 419th overall.

ATHLETICS: Tunbridge Wells Harrier Billy Hobbs (pictured) broke a 30-year-old club record at the Paddock Wood Half Marathon. In a high-quality race he recorded a time of 1hr 9min 21sec, finishing in seventh place and becoming the first Harrier to break 70 minutes over the 13.1-mile distance.


Wednesday April 17 | 2019

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Tonbridge Juddians 55 Clifton 12 By Adam Hookway RUGBY: TONBRIDGE JUDDIANS’ last home match of the season saw them score nine tries in another free-flowing performance that extended their remarkable winning run to 12 matches. However, it was not enough to secure a play-off place at the top of National Two South as Canterbury secured the runners-up spot. Clifton scored first but TJs s00n responded as flanker Ben Ashmore took charge of the ball and TJs drove the maul over for an unconverted try. They now went into top gear with some fast, flowing rugby, Tom Chapman to dart through for a well-taken try from Charlie Edwards’ quick pass. Four minutes later Chapman’s speedy break took him close to the line before he handed on to winger Hugo Watson to dot down.

Watson fielded Clifton’s kick and chipped the ball over the defence, caught it and passed on to Tom Nicoll, who crossed for TJ’s bonus point try. Fly-half Will Robinson converted for the third time to take TJs into a 26-7 lead on the half-hour. Edwards’ deft kick ahead into goal caught Clifton’s defence on the back foot and Chapman reached the ball first to score again. Then Watson repeated his chip-kick and caught the ball to run in his second try, and TJs went in at half-time 36-7 in the lead. After the break, TJs’ forwards produced a good scrum on Clifton’s put-in, and the ball was chipped through the defence for Nicoll to take advantage of a favourable bounce and score his own second try, Robinson converting. A penalty kick to the corner set up a good attacking position for the visitors and No 8 Niall Gibbons, with the help of a good rolling maul, touched down for an unconverted try.

PHOTO: Adam Hookway

Watson’s hat-trick of chips crown nine-try romp by TJs

YOU GO FIRST Hugo Watson scores after his kick and catch In the last 20 minutes the pace slowed but TJs were still hungry. When Clifton spilled the ball in their 22, centre Duncan Tout was first to it and bustled his way through for an unconverted try. After a one-two passing move with full-back Toby May, Watson registered a stunning hat-trick of chipped tries, Robinson converting.

It has been another hugely successful campaign for the Tonbridge side, who have won 24 out 29 matches and finish six points off the play-offs. As they try to hang on to third place ahead of Henley Hawks, who also have 115 points, TJs travel to Birmingham Solihull for their final league match on Saturday April 27 [3pm kick-off].

Walker keeps nerve to inflict narrow defeat on Wells Hertford 33 Tunbridge Wells 32 By Roger Clarke RUGBY: TUNBRIDGE WELLS ended their season with a thrilling game in Hertfordshire with saw both teams run in five tries. The defeat brought to an end Wells’ four-game winning run which saw them rise up to seventh in the London and South-East Premier Division after an inconsistent first half to the campaign. After an early penalty Jake Caddy scored a try on nine minutes after good work from Mike Doherty on the right, Frank Reynolds adding the extras.

Brendan Cressilla saw the latter score his third try of the season under the posts. Reynolds converted to give Wells a 22-12 lead at the interval. After the break Rory Seymour unlocked the Wells defence with a deft chip and catch, going in under the posts for a converted try. Hertford started to enjoy the lion’s share of possession. A loose Wells kick that missed touch was fielded by centre Richard Streets, who completed a mazy run to score on 55 minutes. Sam Walker converted to give Hertford a bonus point try and take the lead at 26-22. Wells rallied in response and they showed great patience as they went for the line, scrum-half

After a quarter of an hour, Reynolds released Mike Doherty with a fine pass, and he scored an unconverted try to lead 15-0. Three minutes later, Wells missed a kick ahead and Josh Corcoran got the home side up and running with an unconverted touchdown. They were now camping in the Wells 22. The visitors conceded a kick to the corner after some indiscipline and Hertford rolled the maul over the line for Tim Matthews to score a converted try. With half-time just seconds away, the visitors were awarded a penalty and kicked to the corner, and the forwards launched towards the tryline. A deft one-two pop pass from Aston Croall to

‘Quiet – but hard as nails’: Mighty Allen steps down

PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

TRY AND TRY AGAIN Dave Allen is the record try-scorer in National League One

RUGBY: TUNBRIDGE WELLS 1st XV have said farewell to Dave Allen, who has decided to retire at the age of 37 after two years as player-coach. The back-row forward, who specialised at openside flanker, went to Hugh Christie School in Tonbridge and learnt the game at Sevenoaks RFC from the age of six. At 17 he joined his father’s former club Old Juddians and spent six seasons there, during which time they amalgamated with Tonbridge to form TJs. In 2004 he was recruited by Blackheath, where he played for 13 years. He became the all-time try scorer in National League One history with 147 tries from 274 appearances for the club. Graham Cox of Blackheath described him as

‘hard as nails on the field, yet quietly spoken and charming off it’, adding: “A master at controlling the ball at the base of the rolling maul, from where a majority of his tries have been scored, he has been recognised as the best open-sides away from the fully professional arena for more than a decade, turning down numerous offers to play at a higher level.” He also represented England Counties eight times and played one match for the Barbarians against Combined Services. The club’s President, Roger Clarke, said: “It has been a privilege to have him as part of the town set-up and everyone wishes him the best. “Maybe deep down we hope he will change his mind as next season looms large on the calendar.”

Charlie Rigby touching down for the bonus point. Reynolds could not convert but Wells were back in the lead at 27-26 with a quarter of an hour left. The visitors then attacked from the restart with Mike Hathaway scything through the defence to launch the speedy Max Hobbs at the line and he scored an unconverted try. With a lot of time added on because of a spate of injuries, in the 88th minute the ball was moved wide to Streets, who just got it down over the line. Time was up and Walker had to convert a kick 15 metres in from the touchline against the breeze. He held his nerve to seize a one-point victory from the jaws of defeat.


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Times of Tonbridge 17th April 2019  

Times of Tonbridge 17th April 2019  

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