Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Retiring police chief reveals challenge of drug gang fight
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By William Mata
Violence Mr Pate is set to retire this year after 30 years in the force, in which he has also been Borough Commander for Tonbridge & Malling. He said home county forces have come under increasing pressure in recent years as London gangs base themselves in a town before moving on. “During my time there have been emerging crime types such as gangs of London based drug dealers coming down to Tunbridge Wells and preying on vulnerable people,” he said. He explained that individuals, often from a less fortunate background, can find an identity in a group. This can be exploited by criminals who can gather large groups of young people in the London boroughs to effectively run a drug operation.
For full interview see pages 4-5
PHOTO: David Bartholomew
DRUG gangs, who take over homes of vulnerable people, have been ‘dismantled’ in Tunbridge Wells. Retiring Chief Inspector Dave Pate says his team have all but eliminated these London-based criminals in the town, which he considers his greatest achievement. Since taking the role of Tunbridge Wells Borough Commander in 2013 the chief has overseen the arrests of 124 drug gang members. Their sentences have amounted to a combined 156 years of imprisonment.
THE INSIDE TRACK
Read Nus Ghani MP’s first column for the Times Page 24
WORTHY WINNERS: Recipients of the inaugural SO magazine Lifestyle Awards were (LEFT TO RIGHT) Leigh Roberts, Sam Dewey, Shelly Sellings, Matt Biddle, Ed Lumsden, Susie Hasler, Helen Francis, Clare Lush-Mansell, Gavin Kean and Ashley Birch. The local lifestyle magazine’s first prize ceremony was held at Trinity Theatre last Thursday evening. For more on the winners see pages 8-9.
BBC objects to controversial plans for £90m town theatre By William Mata firstname.lastname@example.org THE BBC is the latest big name in Tunbridge Wells to call for Civic Complex plans to be altered. Hoopers and Metro Property joined the broadcaster in stating opposition to aspects of proposals to build on land bordering Calverley Grounds. They all commented on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s [TWBC] planning application for the 1,200-seat theatre and office project, which will cost a gross £90million. Thaddaeus Jackson-Browne, of Lam-
bert Smith Hampton – the legal firm representing the BBC – described plans as ‘simply unworkable’. He said the broadcaster’s Radio Kent and South East News studios in The
‘This jeopardises the entire operation’ Great Hall on Mount Pleasant Road would be impacted by noise, lack of car park space and dust pollution. “The BBC is not opposed to the principle of the Civic Development, however the BBC is concerned with the proposals in their current form and cannot support this appli-
cation,” he wrote on Friday [February 9]. “The proposal to demolish the existing car park to make way for the development, with no alternative parking arrangements for the BBC proposed during the construction phase, is unviable and hugely harmful towards operations. “The amount and level of disruption to the BBC’s day to day operations in respect to the logistics of deliveries, servicing and car parking for staff and visitors is simply unworkable and jeopardises the entire BBC operation at The Great Hall.”
Continued on page 2
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Firms share mixed views Continued from page 1 “Therefore the BBC requests significant amendments be made to lessen the inevitable harm that would result from this development as proposed.” TWBC is seeking full planning permission for the development after councillors voted 30 to 13 in favour of designs at a meeting in December. Planning officers will now inspect designs before deciding whether to grant permission. A determination deadline has been listed for April 13.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Homeless charities fear impact if council merges care services
Initiative The window of opportunity to comment on the designs closed last weekend with 193 individuals and companies sharing a mixture of views. Hugo Fenwick, Director of Fenwick department store, wrote: “We fully support this outstanding initiative which will enable Tunbridge Wells to become a significant cultural and leisure destination for the wider region. “Fenwick also trades as the principal department store in Canterbury and we have witnessed how that City has immeasurably benefitted from that Council’s vision to become a cultural destination for East Kent.” However, other firms were less supportive with Hoopers accusing TWBC of showing ‘total disregard’ to concerns raised at an earlier stage. The department store on Mount Pleasant has long-opposed ‘the need for the scheme to utilise its car park for delivery, servicing and refuse collections associated with the theatre’. Thaddaeus Jackson-Browne, also representing Hoopers, wrote: “Should the council proceed we will also be requesting the Secretary of State calls in this application for his own determination.” Metro Property, who own The Great Hall arcade – which also includes Sainsbury’s, raised objections, citing a ‘loss of green space’. Councillor Tracy Moore, TWBC Cabinet Member for Civic Development, said: “We have consulted on the development, receiving support from both the public and businesses in the borough, and made changes to the scheme before its submission for planning permission to address issues raised. “Whilst we understand there are concerns, these will be weighed up by the planning committee against the long-term benefits this development will bring to the borough.”
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STRONG FEELING John Handley, Chief Executive of The Bridge Trust
By William Mata firstname.lastname@example.org SMALLER homeless charities fear they ‘could disappear’ if Kent County Council [KCC] chooses to integrate services. In launching a public consultation last week, County Hall has put forward three options for awarding their homeless support contracts, set to begin from September. Two of the three options could result in major changes to the existing system, with the possibility of one larger charity taking the entire contract. John Handley, Chief Executive of The Bridge Trust, said this could be the ‘nail in the coffin’ for his Tonbridge-based charity, which has supported 6,000 homeless people with advice, accommodation and practical support since 1991. “Commissioning services is costly for them, so I can see they will want to commission fewer services. “They could even parachute in a [national charity] like St Mungo’s, but by doing that they will lose the local knowledge. We know who is out there and who the rough sleepers are.” At present County Hall has 29 contracts, through which it provides:
Supported housing, outreach for rough sleepers and practical help in securing tenancy and benefits. In the consultation paperwork, KCC states the existing model ‘lacks flexibility’ by not catering for those with ‘complex needs’. It also spoke of an ‘overlap’ and leaves those without a permanent home facing the equivalent of a ‘postcode lottery’ with certain types of service available in some areas and not others. As well as leaving services as they are (option one), the county council is also considering grouping services in Kent boroughs or districts together (option two) and integrating services into a single countywide provision (option three).
Support KCC said these latter options would offer ‘fairer and more consistent support’. The documents did state, however, that option three ‘presents the possibility that the contract is awarded to a single large organisation, which could impact on the work of smaller local organisations’. Mr Handley continued: “It will need some fleshing out and it is a tough one to predict. “It will undoubtedly mean we
could lose out. I am expecting a reduction of 20 per cent to 25 per cent – around £2,500 a year.” Mr Handley said that as prices have increased the charity has not seen a rise in County Hall funding for six years. “I can see small charities being consumed by the larger ones. We are fearing for the future. “It is certainly going to happen this year, and it is almost a relief as we know where we stand,” he added, saying the charity may need to rely more on donations. “I would encourage everyone to participate in the survey. If we do not show an interest, charities could disappear.” Chris Thomas, of Kent and East Sussex charity Porchlight, said: “There is a real risk of vital homelessness services disappearing” [see panel for more].
Gillian Douglass, Chairperson of Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrats, said: “There should be cost savings but there appears to be nothing within the consultation to say whether the budget for homelessness will be impacted.” Councillor Karen Constantine, part of the opposition Labour group, said: “It is time to fight for more funding and create a sustainable solution that meets the needs of the homeless.” Councillor Graham Gibbens, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We want to work with as many organisations as possible to deliver stronger and better services, whether it be for young people, care leavers or people who have been homeless for several years.” The consultation closes on March 4. You can share your views at www.kent. gov.uk/homelessnessconsultation
CHARITY VIEW Kent charity Porchlight could be affected by changes to homeless support services. We spoke to their Communications Coordinator Chris Thomas. Do you fear spending on homeless services could be reduced? We understand the pressure Kent County Council is under. Years of government austerity have left it with very difficult decisions. But, this isn’t the first time homelessness services have seen their budgets cut in recent years – we may not be able to take another one. Could any of the plans announced put rough sleepers at risk? Homelessness in Kent is at an all-time high and our outreach team is already being stretched to breaking point. Under the new proposals, there are no guarantees that there will be a team whose work is solely based around this job. The importance of the work they do in bringing people in from the cold can’t be overstated. Having some sort of part-time outreach team simply won’t work.
Could any proposals negatively impact upon applications? Some people sleeping rough have very complex needs and getting them to accept help can be difficult. In some cases, it takes our outreach team weeks to gain someone’s trust enough that they begin the journey towards escaping the streets. If this kind of work is cut back, or disappears altogether, these people may never end up receiving the help they deserve.
Post-surgery unit used to cope with extra demand By Andy Tong email@example.com A RECOVERY UNIT at Tunbridge Wells Hospital has had to be drafted in as back-up this winter because of the number of patients seeking emergency treatment over the last two months. The ward is usually reserved for those who have undergone operations. The hospital at Pembury has also transferred most of its planned surgery to its sister site at Maidstone. The decision to move the majority of its ‘elective activity’ was taken before the winter began in order to ‘reduce the number of patients cancelled on the day of surgery’. In recent years the NHS has seen a spike in demand because of illness caused by the cold weather, such as influenza, which places stress on the hospitals’ capacity.
Elective procedures are those that are booked in advance and do not involve a medical emergency or require urgent treatment. Typically this includes joint replacements, cataract removal and all cosmetic treatments. A spokesperson for Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [MTW] told the Times: “As part of our Winter Plan to manage the care of our patients in a safe way, we are carrying out more of our planned procedures at Maidstone Hospital. “This enables us to better use our facilities at Tunbridge Wells Hospital to care for high levels of emergency patients, which have been seen both locally and nationally. “At times, this includes using our theatre recovery areas, as an in-patient facility, which are fully equipped to care for patients.” Recovery units allow patients to have a short period of close monitoring immediately after
surgery before returning to a bed or being discharged to go home. The Trust said: “This area is only used during times of significant emergency demand to support patient flow through our emergency departments. The unit has been used for this purpose since the beginning of January but it is ‘flexed up and down according to need on a daily basis’. The Trust aims to end the arrangement at the end of this month. The ward has 21 beds, with up to 17 of them being used at any one time. A limited number of operations continued to be carried out at Tunbridge Wells and were ‘not impacted by the use of these recovery areas’. MTW said it experienced ‘high levels of demand’ over Christmas and New Year, and on January 2 every hospital in the UK was cleared to cancel all non-urgent surgery in order to free up hospital beds. In a highly controversial move, the
West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group’s postponed or cancelled all non-urgent operations for up to 102 days at the start of last year to save money. Over a 12-month period up to last April, MTW cancelled 521 surgeries for non-clinical reasons on the day a patient was due to arrive, after they had arrived or on the day of their operation. This compares with a figure of 362 over the previous year, while between April and September 2016 there were 170 cancellations – though the figures are expected to show an increase over the winter months. Once an elective operation has been cancelled at the last minute, the hospital has to reschedule so the patient does not have to wait any longer than 28 days for their treatment. In 2016-17 MTW failed to meet this deadline on 25 occasions, according to figures released by NHS England.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
NEWS IN BRIEF
County Hall Leader blames ‘steep’ cuts as council tax rises by 5%
Southeastern shares Valentine’s messages RAIL commuters have the chance to share a Valentine’s Day message as they wait in the rush hour crush on the platform. In-between announcing platform alterations and train departures, Southeastern staff will be displaying anonymous poems and love letters throughout today [Wednesday, February 14]. If you want to charm, or embarrass, your sweetheart – email valentines@ southeasternrailway.co.uk with the location and time they are likely to board the train along with a message.
By William Mata THE Leader of Kent County Council [KCC] has attacked his own Conservative government for cutting local authority grants. Cllr Paul Carter hit-out at ‘steep cuts’ in a BBC Radio 4 interview last week, days after KCC raised council tax by an average 5 per cent. Speaking on The World at One programme, Tory MP Bob Blackman told presenter Martha Kearney on Thursday [February 8] that county councils could do more in becoming financially efficient without raising tax. In response Cllr Carter, who is also Chairman of the County Councils’ Network, said he ‘couldn’t disagree more’.
Efficiencies “Local government generally has delivered the greatest efficiencies in the past seven to eight years of any part of the public sector,” said Cllr Carter. “County councils have had the steepest revenue cuts of all. “Kent County Council, is delivering the same services it did five or six years ago with 30 per cent less money.” The Times reported last month that KCC was planning a council tax rise that will see Band D properties in Tunbridge Wells go up by 4.89 per cent or £80.15 more a year. Mr Blackman suggested such moves would be less necessary if authorities were prepared to dig into their reserve funds. Cllr Carter said: “We have always had modest reserves, we have been able to preserve those. “We pay right and appropriate salaries to all of our staff, including our senior management,” he added. “[I would say to ministers] give us all the transitional help you can, we have just got £150million announced for adult social care pressures.” Labour county councillor Karen Constantine commented: “KCC has around £200million in reserves, presumably for a rainy day. “I’d advise Paul Carter and my Tory counterparts to look out of their windows now as it’s raining pretty hard.” MONEY TALKS Paul Carter
Colourful side of town shown off in map BUSINESS group Royal Tunbridge Wells Together (RTW Together) has commissioned a new map which showcases the town’s architecture and parks. Drawn by Elaine Gill and graphic designed by Jenny Heylin-Smith, it also provides information on eating out as well as the town’s history. Karen Pengelly, of RTW Together, said:
“Tunbridge Wells is a beautiful town with many notable buildings, and it became apparent that we needed a unique and high-quality map that complemented the area. “This wonderful resource will hopefully help visitors explore and understand more about our lovely town.”
Retail giant apologises after lorries become road hazard By Jonathan Banks
TROUBLE SPOT Lorries have proved dangerous
TESCO has apologised after complaints their lorries have been causing a hazard by unloading in London Road. The chain has been criticised by Southborough residents with traffic frequently backing up behind HGVs near the Express supermarket.
AN organisation which promotes health links between the UK and Pakistan is holding a Lung Awareness Day in Tunbridge Wells. Professional Friends of Pakistan will host the event from 10.30am Saturday [February 17] at Victoria Hall in The Camden Centre for anyone to attend. The meeting will welcome respiratory expert Dr Syed Arshad Hussain.
Stop wasting bottles TONBRIDGE has set up three points where people can refill water bottles in a bid to reduce plastic waste. The locations are at Artspring Gallery in the High Street, Cafe in the Park at Haysden and Tonbridge Old Fire Station. You can download an app with a map of places to refill water bottles free by visiting www.refill.org.uk
Women in literature MR BOOKS on Tonbridge High Street will be featuring female writers and inspirational figures around International Women’s Day on March 8. The book shop intends to host talks, readings and events, and is seeking suggestions from residents. You can contact Mr Books on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Deliveries Bill LeGrys, owner of LeGrys Estate Agents, has taken photos of lorries unloading and waiting outside the supermarket. He said drivers were not permitted to unload on the road under their trading agreement and should instead be made inside of the car park. “There is often a build-up in traffic around the bend,” said Mr LeGrys whose premises is
Lung Awareness Day
opposite the Southborough Tesco store. “Up to three vans can be parked along the pavement at one time. They are aware of the no parking but they are doing it to get deliveries in as quickly as possible. “Because of this nobody can see what is coming down the A26.” Pictures taken by Mr LeGrys
were seen by the Times and sent to Tesco’s management. A spokesman for the supermarket giant said: “Parking in this way is clearly unacceptable and we have spoken to our distribution teams to ensure this does not happen again. “We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”
Chocolatier to close CHOCOLATE factory Charbonnel et Walker is set to close its site in Quarry Road, Tunbridge Wells, after 40 years. The luxury brand has announced the manufacturing plant will be moved to a site in Poundbury, Dorchester, at the end of March. Charbonnel et Walker has not commented on how many jobs could be affected.
‘It has not been easy’ Continued from page 1 The gangs find an addict, typically a person behind on rent payments, and the dealer then takes over the victim’s house in a process known as cuckooing. Using their home as a base, they can take over and threaten or exercise extreme violence towards the victim – paying the person in drugs. “It has not been easy,” added the chief inspector, who paid tribute to the ‘courage’ and ‘commitment’ of his community policing team. “There have been challenges stopping you from achieving this success, but there has been success as there are now less class A drug users in the borough.
Successes “It was a problem we have tackled and reduced it working alongside our rehabilitation partners. “It is still there but not the problem it was in 2014.” CI Pate said one of his successes has been stopping Tunbridge Wells borough being used by using a strong and consistent message. “In partnership with other agencies I have led the dismantling of these groups. “I think this has defined my time as Chief Inspector, alongside keeping people safe and helping maintain this as a great place to live and work.”
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Retiring chief feels hard work has paid off to keep town safe By William Mata firstname.lastname@example.org JUST three months before he is due to step down, CI Dave Pate told the Times that drugs and gang operations are among the crime the local force is fighting every day. Tunbridge Wells borough statistically has the lowest crime levels in Kent but the Chief Inspector has faced a number of challenges in his 30-year career to maintain that. The retiring Chief Inspector for Tunbridge Wells has said a lot of hard work is behind keeping the
n Joined Kent Police in 1988, starting on
Pantiles foot patrol. n Selected to work as a dog handler in 1995 n Promoted to Sergeant in 2004 n Borough Commander for Tonbridge in 2009 n Borough Commander for Tunbridge Wells
2013 to 2017 until May 2018
DOG DAYS: Alongside canine Byron who became a familiar sight in Tunbridge Wells in the 1990s
‘All the roles were rewarding in their own way, but working with animals as a dog handler was amazing’
DAVE PATE TIMELINE
n Chief Inspector of Tunbridge Wells 2013
town and surrounding areas safe. As well as dismantling London-based drug gangs (see page 1) CI Pate has also seen the devastation caused by ‘new psycho active substances’. These are counterfeit versions of illegal drugs which have often been imported from foreign countries and have incorrectly been labelled as ‘legal highs’. He said a 2016 change in law has made policing easier, as it became illegal to sell or import these substances. “There were several cases where people would be collapsing in the streets because of the effects of these drugs. “We managed to support the Home Office in creating legislation that tackles the dealers and distributors but does not overly-punish the users. “It has not completely eradicated the issue but we have seen progress.”
LEGACY Chief Inspector Dave Pate at his desk
Other issues in Tunbridge Wells to have emerged are cybercrime and domestic abuse, according to the Chief Inspector. Some of these crimes are now better known to the police because of improved reporting and awareness. He also credited the introduction of the 101 helpline and other agencies for aiding the public to feel comfortable in how to best approach the force. “Most crimes committed now will involve an element of technology,” he added. “In some ways it has become easier for the
police because of video, you can see what has happened. “But in other ways it’s become harder. There are a range of different devices available to criminals on the internet and we have had to skill ourselves to become an expert in analysing those.” Another challenge has been continued government budget cuts. Since 2010 the number of offic-
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Appeal to see property come back into use
TEAM EFFORT CI Dave Pate (pictured centre) and Kent Police officers and staff outside Tunbridge Wells Police Station
By Phil Spacey FOURTEEN properties in Tunbridge Wells’ borough have stood vacant for at least ten years, a Freedom of Information Request has revealed. Figures released by the town’s Liberal Democrat Party, and seen by the Times, also show 102 homes have stood empty for two years or more. Conservative-held Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] has defended their policy on empty homes which opponents say could be used to house the homeless. Lib Dem Councillor Ben Chapelard said: “At a time when the homelessness crisis is worsening it is a scandal that so many homes locally are sitting empty.
‘These homes could be turned into affordable places to live for those who need it’ “I had a foot patrol, which probably sounds ers nationally has fallen by more than 20,000. CI Pate said: “We have been challenged through alien now, down in The Pantiles area. “From there I joined the CID (Crime Investigabudget constraints. We have had to adapt but inevitably it does mean some things are not so tion Department). It was a promotion that everyone recognised. Even the local villains would say easy to do. “For example we can no longer attend every crime ‘ooh, you’re a CID officer now’.” CI Pate then joined the traffic unit and was later reported to us. based at the now defunct Southborough Police “I think the police you see is actually the Station. tip of the iceberg of all the police He has also been based at Maidstone and activity that goes on throughout a Edenbridge police stations and was proday. We are massively supportive moted to Sergeant in 2004. of PCSOs and we have set up the For several years following he worked in the police cadet scheme.” force as a dog handler, a role he said was Kent Police is also becoming more ‘memorable’ with many in the town coming to proactive online, using their Faceknow his canine Byron. book page to communicate a “I was also privileged to help find warning message to their thoumissing people, that is something I sands of followers. have always had a passion for,” Back in 1988, CI Pate he added. signed up to a very differ“All the roles were rewardent force, long before the ing in their own way, but days of social media, working with animals as a and made himself dog handler was amazknown on a foot patrol ing.” in The Pantiles. After this he worked his “On my first job it way up the career ladder was down at the staUSE THE FORCE with other roles such as tion area and I got CI Dave Pate praised his Borough Commander for punched in the face, fellow police officers Tonbridge (in 2009) and which at the age of 20, Tunbridge Wells (from 2013 shook my world up.
to 2017). In 2013 when he was selected to become Chief Inspector for Tunbridge Wells. CI Pate has not commented on what he will look to do after he retires in May but has passed on his best-wishes to his, as of yet, unamed successor with policing set to change even further.
Constraints “Amid a rising population, the challenge will continue to be cybercrime. We are going to have to continue our knowledge on things like fraud taking place online.” He added: “It is inevitably sad that I am leaving. I have been privileged to lead some courageous officers, who are prepared to be assaulted in their line of duty – which is not often seen and I am proud to have led them. “In partnership with other agencies and charities, the police have been able to sustain the safety in the town and borough. “I have come to the end of my service and I am going to retire. I want to remain focused on what I can contribute to the community. There are some exciting opportunities coming up in the town with new builds and developments.”
See Times page 1 for CI Pate’s views on London drug gangs
“These homes could be turned into affordable places to live for those who need it across Tunbridge Wells. “It is shameful that TWBC has failed to use its existing powers to end this scandal.” The homes listed are all private and do not have an occupier but it is understood council tax is being paid. Cllr Chapelard said the authority has the power to take over properties that have been empty for two or more years using Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs). A TWBC spokesman said: “An EDMO is a legal option available to all councils but one that is used very infrequently. “The criteria for their use and the number of properties covered by exemptions, as well as the resource intensive, lengthy process involved in obtaining an Order means they would not be our first course of action.” TWBC said that according to their most recent data there are 133 empty properties currently in the borough. But this does include property the council is in the process of renovating. Councillor Lynne Weatherly, said: “The council is very keen to bring empty properties back in to use. “We work closely with Kent County Council to deliver the No Use Empty scheme and we have our own Tunbridge Wells Empty Property Initiative.”
See also: Cllr Chapelard’s column on Page 24
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Village cinema set for new sound system after community award By William Mata email@example.com AFTER winning a grant for funding, Rusthall Community Cinema will be fitted with sound equipment worth £5,000. The popular village group, which has 60 members, was presented with the cheque from finance firm OneFamily as part of its Community Awards. With the funding, the cinema – which shows two films a month – will replace its second-hand
SCREEN TIME (L-R) Members Kevin Mullery, Rosemary Romano, Anne Goldstein, Maggie Fraser, Rachel Bain, Eugene Gardner and Karen Gardner
audio equipment with a new sound system. Eugene Gardner, who founded the project two years ago, said the money will boost the cinematic experience for members, who vote for the films shown. “The new audio equipment will mean that anyone who comes to visit us can have a better cinematic experience,” he said. “Over the past two years it’s been a huge hit with the local community, so much so that we’ve been able to increase the number of showings to two every month.”
COMING SOON… The next film to be shown at Rusthall Community Cinema will be the animated adventure The Red Turtle [Cert PG] this coming Saturday [February 17].
The cinema shows around 20 films per year on various Saturdays, with the screening followed by a discussion. Mr Gardner launched the project in 2016 after finding out about how a volunteer-run cinema can enhance a community.
Entertainment The Rusthall group operates as a charity and caters for those who may otherwise find it hard to get to the screenings by offering free transport. Local musicians and filmmakers are also encouraged to contribute, while local charities are invited to promote themselves. Mr Gardner added: “The biggest misconception we come across is that we offer the same as a commercial cinema, and having already seen a film is a good reason to not see it again. “In fact ours is a different concept from commercial cinemas and film societies. “Films are chosen by popular suggestion and vote, are preceded by an interesting related entertainment, and followed by a fascinating discussion for those who want to stay.” The club charges £4 for each film or £40 for a one year season ticket. www.rusthallcinema.club
Cinema Paradiso Following on from this, the club will screen the Oscar-winning 1988 Italian drama Cinema Paradiso [Cert 15] on March 10. Then, on March 24, the biopic about opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins [Cert PG] will be shown, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. The film for April 7 has yet to be decided. WHAT A SWEET TREAT! Members Valerie Cunningham and May Nolze
Boost for new cultural hub By Jonathan Banks firstname.lastname@example.org THE Cultural and Learning Hub for Tunbridge Wells has moved a stage closer with £886,250 worth of funding being secured. Last week, Arts Council England pledged the grant towards the project, which will see the town’s library, museum and Adult Education Centre facilities combined. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] voted last month to grant planning permission for the project, estimated to cost £13million.
Contractors Now the Stage Two application has been accepted by the arts council, TWBC will turn their attention to securing a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – the outcome of that application should be known in April. If all goes to plan, contractors will be appointed
to carry out works from next January and the work will last for two years. In the meantime, library and museum services will temporarily be supported in an alternative location, details of which are yet to be confirmed. A special feature of the new design is a Tunbridge Wells Experience room, which will incorporate a tourist information desk. There will also be an education suite. TWBC hopes the hub, which flanks the Town Hall, will become the ‘heart of the community’ and will allow more of the museum’s 77,000 items to be on show. All the facilities are set to be rolled into one ‘fluid experience’ which will allow people to walk around a circular route. The library is likely to contain a café and offer instantly accessible quick-pick items, with the full archive upstairs. The Adult Education Centre will retain its tripleheight spaces open to the roof for art classes. Meanwhile, its staircase, described as a ‘heritage gem’, will be stripped back to its former glory. ALL IN ONE An artist’s impression of the new Hub
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Local lifestyle heroes LAST THURSDAY evening, SO Magazines hosted stage was comedian Kerry Godliman, who has its inaugural Lifestyle Awards ceremony at appeared on Live at the Apollo and on the Trinity Theatre. The evening began with a drinks Channel 4 series Derek with Ricky Gervais. reception where guests enjoyed flutes of chilled She entertained the audience with her trademark Prosecco courtesy of the Hotel Du Vin. sharp and witty observational humour before Once all the finalists for all ten categories had the finalists and their guests enjoyed an interval arrived and quenched their thirst, it was time for cocktail courtesy of Grub & Liquor. them to take their seats in the packed auditorium and enjoy a musical set by the Times’ talented Fantastic live music columnist Paul Dunton and his orchestra. Once refreshed, it was time to get After being on with the business of awarding the welcomed by SO great and the good of the local Magazines’ Editorial lifestyle scene. SO Editor Charlie Bond Director Richard confirmed that 20,000 votes had been Moore, who was cast for the ten SO Lifestyle Awards also compere for the evening, gold medal-winning Paralympian Will Bayley, MBE, took to the stage to share the inspiring story of how he has not let the disability he was born with – arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder that has affected all his limbs – stop him from achieving his goal of playing table tennis for his country. PURE GOLD The sportsman, who Paralympian Will was raised in Groombridge, Bayley, MBE, gives told the audience how, an inspiring talk despite the odds being stacked against him, he kept going and eventually went on to win Gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Next to take to the
categories, which included Best Local Blogger (won by My Tunbridge Wells’ Clare LushMansell), Most Fun Family Day Out (Hever Castle) and Top Cup of Coffee (The Black Dog). The final gong of the night was the Special Recognition Award, which was given to Shelley Sellings, who works tirelessly to raise awareness about ovarian cancer – a potentially fatal disease which cannot be screened for. Speaking at the end of the night, Charlie Bond said: “What a fantastic success for the first SO Lifestyle Awards. It was a brilliant night and a chance to celebrate all the area has to offer. Thanks to our headline sponsor, Lorenzo from The Gallery, and congratulations to the winners, who were all very worthy of their awards.”
THE WINNERS STYLE CHAMPION – Susie Hasler (Styled by Susie) TOP CUP OF COFFEE – The Black Dog MOST FUN FAMILY DAY OUT – Hever Castle BEST LOCAL BLOGGER – Clare Lush-Mansell (My Tunbridge Wells) FOODIE FAVOURITE – Birch’s Whole Good Food BEST LOCAL PRODUCT – Chapel Down FITSPIRATION – TWPT (Tunbridge Wells Personal Training) FEEL-GOOD FACTOR – Leigh Roberts RAISE A GLASS – Saint John’s Yard INSPIRATIONAL PERSON – Ashley Birch SPECIAL RECOGNITION – Shelley Sellings (Who raises awareness about ovarian cancer)
CHEERS! Saint John’s Yard won ‘Raise a Glass’
THE WRITE STUFF Claire Lush-Mansell of ‘My Tunbridge Wells’ is voted Best Blogger
SO HAPPY Ashley Birch is Inspirational Person of the Year (The Caroline Elliott Award)
FITTING TRIBUTE TWPT took home the Fitspiration Award
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ITâ€™S SHOWTIME! Organisers Lara Milan and Charlie Bond
QUEENS OF THE CASTLE Hever Castle representatives celebrate winning Most Fun Family Day Out
MUSIC MAESTRO, PLEASE! The Paul Dunton Orchestra are the first to entertain the audience
STANDOUT STAND-UP: Comedian Kerry Godliman had the audience in stitches
BEST BAR NONE Finalists catch up before the awards
FINE FORM Leigh Roberts took home the award for the Feel-Good Factor
Local Business News
NEWS IN BRIEF
Long-standing fashion retailer closes in town FIVE staff have been affected by the closure of the store Long Tall Sally, which has departed Tunbridge Wells after 30 years in the High Street. Management of the company, which sells women’s clothing, confirmed the shop had closed for the last time on Saturday [February 10]. A Long Tall Sally spokesman said the company’s focus had shifted from instore to online. “We have done, and continue to do, everything we can to support our five valued store colleagues in finding new positions, and thank them for their dedication and loyalty to our brand,” he said.
Job change at agents ESTATE agents Savills has appointed director Tom Bryant as Head of Residential Development Sales for Kent and Sussex. Moving back to the company after a spell with corporate commercial and investment firm CBRE in London, Mr Bryant said the local market has changed, with more young people looking to get on the property ladder. The firm has confirmed he will be based in the Sevenoaks office, rather than the branch in Tunbridge Wells High Street.
New centre coordinator BUSINESS group Royal Tunbridge Wells Together has announced Lauren Brook as their new Town Centre Coordinator. Karen Pengelly, Manager of the Ely Court-based organisation, confirmed last week that Ms Brook, who has a marketing background, had assumed the role.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Commuters stung by rail fares may opt to work from home in future By William Mata email@example.com THE rising cost of rail season tickets from West Kent to London could lead ‘more people to work from home’, according to a Tunbridge Wells estate agent. Simon Spare, Director of Thompson Spare, said Southeastern’s fares might turn professionals away from making the expensive commute. In January rail franchise holder Southeastern raised peak season ticket prices for commuters to the capital by 3.6 per cent – meaning it now costs £4,644 a year from Tunbridge Wells station to make the journey, and £4,232 from Tonbridge. Mr Spare, whose estate agency is in the High Street, said: “I think it unlikely that commuters will suddenly want to find work in Tunbridge Wells just because of increasing train fares.
ESTATE OF PLAY Tunbridge Wells estate agent Simon Spare
“It might be conceivable, however, that people will be encouraged to spend more time working from home. In some industries this is clearly impractical, but in others it could be a good solution. “With more time spent in the town, there might be more money spent in the town as well, which might please local traders.” Southeastern was criticised for the price hike, which was above the national average of 3.4 per cent and came in alongside increased station car park charges. This has left drivers to Tonbridge Station paying nearly £1,300 a year just to park. Former commuter to London Lucy Hodgson told the Times that rail fares and travel stress led her to set up The Great Recruitment Company
END OF LINE: Former London worker Lucy Hodgson now works from home in recruitment from her home in Frittenden in 2016. The 41 year old said: “For seven years, I spent three to four hours per day commuting from Paddock Wood, then Staplehurst, to Holborn. “By the time I had paid for petrol, car parking, the season ticket for the train – and possibly for the bus or tube, too – I calculated that I had
to earn an additional £11,000 before tax.” Recent research by Zoopla found the asking price for homes has risen to more than half a million in Tunbridge Wells and £482,000 in neighbouring Tonbridge. Ms Hodgson said extremes in house and travel prices are having a knock-on effect locally. She continued: “As a recruiter, and subsequently headhunter, I have witnessed numerous large companies leaving Kent which are not being replaced. “There are a comparatively low number of employment opportunities in Kent that pay more than £40,000 a year, outside of the traditional professions. “This means that those who are particularly focused on promotions at work, or want to buy a house, are likely to have to consider commuting to London. “And as house prices are still increasing rapidly, there is often a need for at least one member of a household to commute to the capital in order to afford a mortgage. “The resulting impact on communities, and on house prices, is certainly detrimental, in my view.” She added: “I think Kent needs to focus on attracting and retaining big business as well as encouraging the self-employed and entrepreneurs, so that there is less need for those living in Kent to commute. “Our position near continental Europe should really help with this.”
Local Business News
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Opening date for new bus depot BUS company Arriva’s new Tunbridge Wells depot will officially open on May 27, the operator has confirmed. Their garage in Kingstanding Way, on the North Farm industrial estate, replaces the former depot in St John’s Road, which closed last October after 80 years. Since then, the buses have been temporarily based in Cannon Lane in Tonbridge. The Kingstanding Way depot is built on the site of a former technical college and will create room for 80 buses and seven maintenance bays. An Arriva spokesman said the project is a ‘multimillion pound investment’, but could not confirm the complete cost. A family fun day will be held at
WORK IN PROGRESS Arriva’s new home is set to open over May Bank Holiday
Asphalt firm on the road to gas utilities ROAD surfacing and aggregates company Ferns is looking to increase its presence in the gas sector with their purchase of engineering services business Forefront. Law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore [TSP] helped oversee a deal, announced last week, which will bolster the portfolio of Maidstone-based Ferns. South East-based Forefront, who are gas infra-
structure specialists, have a £15million turnover and employ 150 staff. A spokesman was unable to confirm if jobs could be affected and if Forefront will continue under the same name.
Delighted TSP said Ferns had bought Forefront from the Alternative Investment Market -listed Renew Holdings for a ‘de minimis’ price. Keith McAlister, Corporate Partner at TSP, said: “We are delighted to have advised Ferns on its acquisition of the Forefront group. “It is an excellent opportunity for
Ferns to grow its capabilities in the gas sector. “Forefront operates in London and the South East of England, so Ferns’ acquisition of the company will further strengthen its presence.” This month, TSP, who have an office in Lonsdale Gardens in Tunbridge Wells, also played a key role in the sale of professional landscaping management firm Gavin Jones Ltd, which has a turnover of £30million, to Nurture Landscapes. That deal was also announced last week. It will create a group with combined sales of £65million and 1,000 staff, providing services to more than 3,500 national clients.
the depot on Sunday, May 27 – during Bank Holiday weekend – to mark it officially open. Lauren Edmonds of Arriva Southern Counties said: “It is fantastic that we’re ready to move our engineering teams in at the new depot, and we’re expecting everything to be fully operational by the spring.
Excitement “The new site will be a great addition, and will serve to help us deliver the best possible service for bus customers in the area. “We hope those in the region will join us to celebrate the opening with fun and games for all the family.” Engineering teams are already
DEAL-MAKER Keith McAlister, Corporate Partner at TSP
setting up the Kingstanding Way site. Oliver Monahan, Area Managing Director for Arriva, added: “We move with a mixture of sadness and excitement. “There is sadness that we have left the old garage and excitement at the prospect of having a new, modern and purpose-built depot to serve routes across West Kent.” Developer PegasusLife has confirmed plans to convert the former St John’s depot into 94 residential units, to include a self-contained swimming pool and gym. This follows a sale agreement between PegasusLife and Arriva, which was struck in October 2016.
Further calls for dualling major road to the coast TUNBRIDGE WELLS MP Greg Clark said he has written to Roads Minister Jesse Norman in his campaign to upgrade the A21. The Conservative is calling for the entire stretch, which leads from Sevenoaks to Hastings, to become a dual-carriageway. It currently runs as a single lane south of Lamberhurst. Mr Clark said: “We are at a really important stage in the campaign as the Government has been consulting on the Road Investment Strategy. This will see decisions made as to which main roads will be upgraded between 2020 and 2025.”
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Once and future Mayor
In a revolutionary move at the Town Hall, Councillor James Scholes is set to become the Mayor of the borough for a second time. He tells the Times why By William Mata firstname.lastname@example.org FOUR decades after he was first elected to the Town Hall, Councillor James Scholes is looking forward to an unprecedented second term as Mayor of Tunbridge Wells. Should he successfully defend his Pantiles & St Mark’s ward in May’s local elections, the 75 year old will succeed Cllr Len Horwood as Deputy Mayor. Then in May 2019, the Conservative is set to become the first person since the Second World War to hold the position twice, having first worn the ceremonial chains from 1991 to 1992.
THEN AND NOW Cllr James Scholes in 1998 (right) and 2018
‘To be asked to be Mayor again is unprecedented’ With hundreds of council meetings and functions behind him, Cllr Scholes has seen it all, but remains optimistic about the town’s future and is committed to his constituents. “It is a great honour, and to be asked to be Mayor again is unprecedented,” he said. “The Council Leader, David Jukes, asked if I would like to do it, and I spent a little while thinking about it, then I said I would like to.” When Cllr Scholes was first elected to serve Tunbridge Wells
Borough Council [TWBC] in 1976, the original Star Wars film had not been released, James Callaghan was Prime Minister and ABBA were topping the charts. Tunbridge Wells was also a very different place. “When I first arrived, there would have been old ladies in Hoopers who would have scoffed at the word change,” he laughed. “We stuttered as a council in deciding the best way forward, but getting Royal Victoria Place shopping centre was a breakthrough. “Now David Jukes has pushed on ambitious projects which the town needs,” he continued, listing the regeneration of the Union House site, where he once had an office, as an example. “There has also been a big increase in traffic,
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
but the council has limited power in what can be done about that. “It would have been nice to have the cinema,” he added, commenting on the former ABC site which has stood derelict at the top of Mount Pleasant for 18 years and counting. Having been born in Oldham, Cllr Scholes moved to Sheffield and London before settling in Tunbridge Wells with his wife Jane in 1970. Now the pair have two children and six grandchildren. He is also a member of the English Senior International Chess Team.
BACK TO THE 90s Cllr Scholes was Mayor from 1991-1992
Decisions He worked for Barclays as a member of the Stock Exchange, and as a software house manager. He then retired to concentrate on his council duties. Apart from the two years he took off from 1986 to 1988 to concentrate on work, the councillor has served without interruption, and was also Council Leader from 1998 to 2002. “Council members are not so smartly dressed in the chamber these days,” he commented. “They also used to bow when the Mayor left the chamber, which was a mark of respect that I miss. “A big change is that there is now a Cabinet system, which leads to more instantaneous deci-
PAST PAPERS: Cllr Scholes’ as Mayor sions – and the same has happened at Kent County Council.” County Hall has been another part of Cllr Scholes’ life, and last year he retired after serving the Tunbridge Wells South ward at the authority for 24 years. During this time he served as Social Services Chairman and Finance Chairman, among other roles, and last month was presented with a special scroll to mark his election as an Honorary Alderman alongside six other former councillors. He considers his greatest achievements include helping introduce Police Community Support Officers, helping County Hall to become more financially secure and leading his party back into power overnight in Tunbridge Wells in 1998. Recalling another highlight, he said: “I was Mayor when the restored Dunorlan
Park was reopened. “Princess Anne reopened it. People said we would ruin it, but opponents admitted they were wrong and liked it.” Cllr Scholes’ financial nous saw TWBC find ways to balance the books without raising council tax – although this may have counted against the authority.
‘People can remember you have helped them for many years’ “The Labour Government then capped the level we could increase it by,” he explained, adding that the way the situation played out was one of his few regrets. “This meant that we could never raise it and that may have inhibited us. On the other hand, it does mean we have lower council tax than Crowborough residents do to this day. “We have always been regarded as one of the most efficient councils.” Through its various names and incarnations, the councillor has always served the Pantiles & St Mark’s ward and has never lost an election, usually taking at least 60 per cent of the vote.
Although this record came under threat in the 1980 election when he scraped through to victory by only six votes on the third recount. Cllr Scholes said being Mayor had been so enjoyable the first time that initially he feared a second stint may sour his memories. But after speaking with wife Jane, who will be Mayoress, the pair decided it would be a fresh experience. “There was a lot of travelling all around the county last time, and I think it will be more localised now. You realise there is so much good work that is being done locally. It is the little kicks that keep you going,” he said. “A lot of people raise their problems with me and they write back to say thank you. People can remember you have helped them for many years. “I would not be standing again if I did not think I could make a contribution.”
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
New central office Energetic legal staff step up to raise for Citizens Advice £17,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust follow-up meetings THE Tunbridge Wells and District Citizens Advice Bureau is moving its office to new town centre premises on February 23. For initial appointments, it will continue to be based at Tunbridge Wells borough council’s Gateway premises at Fiveways, where it is open from 10am-4pm. But the site for follow-up meetings will now be on the ground floor of the Town & Country Housing Group building in Monson Way, off Monson Road. It was previously based in Vale House in Clarence Road. Last year, the bureau’s team of 70-plus volunteers helped over 5,300 people – more than one in 20 in the borough – in 11,000 sessions, and secured for them £1.145million in debt relief, unclaimed benefits and savings in energy bills.
LOCAL law firm Cripps has raised more than £17,000 for its 2017 charity of the year, the Teenage Cancer Trust, following a variety of fundraising efforts. Staff from the Tunbridge Wells and Kings Hill company took part in a highly competitive Christmas bake-off judged by local celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager, a quiz night, and a ‘Tough Mudder’ five-mile mud and obstacle course. One of the highlights of the collective effort was a Triathlon Challenge which saw employees cycling, swimming and running more than 7,000 miles.
Senior partner Clare Hyland said: “We are proud to have raised so much for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Every year our charity committee puts together a calendar of fundraising events, and this year has seen a number of new ideas.
Comforting “All of the events have been great fun, and we have really enjoyed working with the team at the Teenage Cancer Trust.” The Trust provides lifechanging care and support to young people living with cancer.
It has 28 specialist units across the UK, providing worldclass facilities and a comforting environment for those in need. Sian Cooper, South-East Regional Fundraiser at the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “We are so grateful to Cripps for raising such an incredible amount. “For every young person we reach, there’s another one that we can’t. “We want every young person with cancer to have access to specialist support, no matter where they live, and Cripps has helped us get that many steps closer to making this happen.”
Anxiety Alison Kemp, the charity’s local Grants Manager, said: “Citizens Advice offers free advice to help local people find a way through their problems – whether they’re caused by debt, benefits, housing and homelessness, employment issues, family relationships or consumer rights.” She added: “Our work goes much further than advice. We help a growing number of families to avoid eviction by supporting them with financial management, saving the council the cost of rehousing, and reducing the burden on the NHS by freeing up the GP consulting time that is now being spent on non-medical issues like debt, which can cause anxiety and depression.” In addition to the Monson Way office, which opens on February 26, Citizens Advice can also continue to be accessed at Gateway, as well as Cranbrook Library, the Soup Bowl drop-in at the United Reformed Church, The Hub at the Mental Health Resources Centre in Grosvenor & Hilbert Park and three GP surgeries – at Rowan Tree, Greggswood and St Andrews Medical Centre. For more information, call the advice line on 03448 487978 or visit www.twcab.org.uk
A HUGE THANK YOU: Laura McMaster (left) of the Cripps charity committee receives a heartfelt thank you card from Sian Cooper, South-East Regional Fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust
Wine buff’s gifts for Demelza after taste of Hush Heath red
A WINE connoisseur has donated £1,000 to Demelza Hospice Care for Children in return for 12 bottles of premium English red wine. Phil Swallow, a member of the Hush Heath Wine Club, was moved to support the Kent winery’s charity of choice after tasting barrel samples of Hush Heath Manor Pinot Noir 2017. He has also offered the children in Demelza’s care a private steam train charter on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway line. The charity provides care and support for seriously ill babies, children, young people and their families across Kent, East Sussex and South-East London.
SAMPLE AND SWALLOW: (L-R) Head Winemaker Victoria Ash, Demelza’s Sarah Kemsley, Phil Swallow and his wife Caroline and Leslie and Richard Balfour-Lynn at Hush Heath Estates’ Marquee
Hush Heath Estate’s producers, Richard and Leslie Balfour-Lynn, held a fundraising event at The Goudhurst Inn in 2016 which raised more than £100,000 for Demelza. Head Winemaker Victoria Ash said: “Phil Swallow was our very first member to sign up to the Hush Heath Wine Club, which we launched last year. “The whole team here is delighted that Phil’s passion for English wine has provided us with this special opportunity to raise money for Demelza.” Sarah Kemsley, Head of Major Donor Relationships at Demelza, added: “This donation from Phil Swallow and his family will have a great impact on the service we provide to the amazing children we have the privilege to work with. “Leslie and Richard Balfour-Lynn have been generous supporters of Demelza and it was great to catch up with them at Hush Heath Estate. “Since visiting our hospice at Bobbing, they have become wonderful ambassadors for Demelza by introducing us to new supporters like Phil.”
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
SEVEN HEAVEN Ed Petrie as Muddles with Jasette Amos as the Wicked Queen
Oh yes they did! Snow White cast shake the bucket in aid of ellenor THE Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs pantomime at the Stag Theatre raised more than £5,000 for local hospice charity ellenor. The Sevenoaks theatre’s bucket collections at the end of each performance during the five-week run raised a total of £5,242.32. ellenor’s mascot, Ellie, and cast members joined in the fundraising fun, taking selfies with the audience.
Generosity CBBC’s Ed Petrie, who played Muddles in the Christmas production, said: “It was great to see so many people in Sevenoaks get behind this fantastic cause. Their generosity bowled me over every night.” ellenor cares for families of children facing terminal illness or living with life-limiting conditions
across West Kent. It provides round-the-clock care at the end of life in the sanctuary of the patient’s own home – the only charity in the county to provide this service. Katie Gardner, ellenor’s Area Fundraiser, said: “This is the first year we have been supported by panto producers Those Magic Beans, and we are delighted they chose our charity to benefit from their annual pantomime collection. “The generosity of the audiences for every performance is staggering, and will make a huge difference to the patients, families, and carers supported by ellenor each and every year. “It costs £6.9million to provide our services every year, and we are dependent on the generosity of the community we serve.” For more information, call 01474 320007 or visit www.ellenor.org
SMILES BETTER: (L-R) Philip Gray, Peter Dickinson and Anne Gilbert of Combe Bank Educational Trust, Joanna Stratton and MP Tom Tugendhat. (Front) Head Boy Zachary Reynolds and Head Girl Alexa Rogers
Hever school in a class of its own THANKS to the efforts of Headteacher Joanna Stratton and Governor Philip Gray, Hever Primary School has two new classrooms. The facilities at the 129-pupil Church of England school were unveiled in a special service led by Reverend Wendy Izod, Priest in Charge at the Three Spires churches in Hever, Four Elms and Mark Beech. Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat attended the launch and said: “It is so important that each and every one of you are part of a community. “It doesn’t matter what your background is, who you go on to marry, how many children you have, Hever will always be in your heart and in your history. Be proud of your school and go on to achieve great things.”
The service ended with the burying of a time capsule, the brainchild of Year 6 pupil Morgan Davis, who wanted to create a lasting record of her primary school life before she leaves for secondary education.
Aspirational Pupils from every year group contributed ideas and materials for the capsule, including examples of their work, class photos, information about the school and a photo of Mr Tugendhat with speculation about his future potential as the Prime Minister. Miss Stratton said: “This was an aspirational and celebratory day for our students. “Tom Tugendhat sent a pertinent message to all the
children and the community as he opened our new build. He inspired us to be nostalgic and remember our community and how important it is to understand the responsibilities we have as citizens of this country.” The classrooms were made possible thanks to donations by the Combe Bank Educational Trust, the Coldman and Guthrie families, Gatwick Airport PLC, Hever Parish Council and The Friends of Hever School. Mr Tugendhat added: “It was a huge privilege to open new classrooms at Hever School and see again what staff, parents, governors, and most of all the children, are doing to build a community and grow the roots that make confident, capable young people. Thank you to all. You’re working miracles.”
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
MP fights to save surgery
NEWS IN BRIEF
County Hall welcomes government funding
HEALTH chiefs are being urged to keep the only GP surgery in Rotherfield open. Last week, Wealden MP Nus Ghani met with Dr Elizabeth Gill, Chairman of the area’s Clinical Commissioning Group, to discuss the planned closure of the practice. Residents would need to travel to Jarvis Brook to see a doctor if Rotherfield Surgery closes. Decisions are set to be made about its future this month.
THE government has given Kent County Council [KCC] a boost of £150million in funding, including £4million to ease adult social care pressure. KCC Leader Paul Carter welcomed the extra money last week, a few days after announcing council tax could be increased by 5 per cent. The Conservative-led authority will attempt to pass their 2018-19 Budget in a Full Council Meeting on February 20.
Invaluable Ms Ghani said: “The Rotherfield Surgery provides an invaluable service to so many of my constituents, so I am glad I was able to have a fruitful and important discussion with the CCG about the surgery’s future. “I pushed them for the assurances that they are doing everything they can, but will continue to apply pressure on the CCG to ensure that they don’t let Rotherfield and the surrounding villages down.” See also: Nus Ghani’s column on Page 24
City of Culture bid?
FIREFIGHTERS STAGE MOCK CHURCH BELL RINGER RESCUE: A Kent Fire & Rescue crew covering the Sevenoaks area trained for a specialist rescue operation by abseiling from a church tower in Chevening last month. They used a rope system to lower a dummy casualty 80ft from the top of St Botolph’s Church
Kent’s high gun attacks on animals THE RSPCA took 51 calls about air gun attacks on animals last year in Kent, one of the highest figures in the country. Only the West Midlands had more, with 54, as call handlers at the animal welfare charity received a total of 884 alerts last year. The government has started a consultation into the complete mandatory licensing of firearms in England and Wales. The RSPCA’s David Bowles said he
hopes the nation can follow the lead of Scotland, which imposed the licensing requirement in January 2017. “The review around the regulation of air weapons is welcomed,” he said. “We hope our appeal to the government will help demonstrate the scale of calls to us every year, and remind them it is important to protect animals as well as people.” Mr Bowles said the RSPCA appeal followed Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean writing to the Home Office to
urge for the legislation after a 13year-old boy named Benjamin died from gunshot injuries in May 2016.
Heartbreaking Mr Bowles added: “It is heartbreaking that such a tragic incident has sparked this review, and our thoughts go out to the boy’s family and friends. But we hope that any future regulation of these weapons in England and Wales will better
protect people and animals. “The RSPCA has long been calling for stricter controls over air guns, as well as better education and explanation of the law for those buying one. “Our 24-hour cruelty hotline receives hundreds of calls every year reporting airgun attacks on animals. “Animals can suffer horrendous injuries and often die as a result of airgun attacks, and these weapons are potentially extremely dangerous for people as well.”
THE 2025 UK City of Culture could be in Kent if Canterbury’s council stages a successful bid. The historic cathedral city would reap rich rewards in both economic and cultural benefits if it applies to be chosen to succeed Coventry, which will be the City of Culture for 2021. Canterbury City Council is reportedly now considering a new application for the honour following an unsuccessful bid in 2017, when it was awarded to Hull.
Fun stars for festival A FESTIVAL in Yalding has announced indie band Starsailor and rap-rockers Fun Loving Criminals as this year’s headliners. Around 4,000 people are expected to enjoy the seventh year of the familyfriendly Vicar’s Picnic festival, which is set to be staged on July 20 and 21. Tickets are on sale now, with adult weekend passes costing from £60. To book and find out further information, visit www.vicarspicnic.co.uk
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
SEARCH PARTY: Armed officers at The Commons
Wimbledon organiser becomes first female to hold Black Rod Black Rod is the senior official responsible for maintaining order at the House of Lords, and is thrust into the spotlight each year at the State Opening of Parliament, when sent to bang on the door of the House of Commons to summon MPs to hear the Queen’s Speech. Ms Clarke was responsible for the organisation of the annual Wimbledon tournament as championships director at the All-England Lawn Tennis History Club, and has previously held roles at four OlymMs Clarke is the first woman to hold the post in the pic Games, the London Marathon and UK Sport. Black Rod is appointed by the monarch, and the House of Lords in the 650-year history of the role. She has taken over from former Black Rod David Queen approved Ms Clarke’s position in NovemLeakey and will be formally introduced into the ber, on the recommendation of a selection panel chaired by the Lord Speaker. Lords next week. The present rod dates from 1883 and is emblaHISTORIC MOMENT: The Queen zoned with the heraldic meets the first female Black Rod motto “Honi soit qui mal y pense”, translated as “Shame be to him, who evil thinks”. It is three-and-a-half feet long, decorated with a gold lion and garter and has a gold orb as a chivalric centrepiece. As well as organising access to and maintaining order within the House of Lords, Black Rod acts as secretary to the Lord Great Chamberlain, with responsibility for major ceremonial events in the Palace of Westminster. Ms Clarke has said she is ‘both deeply honoured and delighted’ to be offered the post. THE QUEEN has presented the first female Black Rod with her ceremonial staff to mark the historic appointment. The monarch invested Sarah Clarke as Lady Usher of the Black Rod in the private audience room at Buckingham Palace. She was given the thin, ebony Black Rod and chain of office.
Package delivered to Commons contained ‘non-harmful’ powder A SUSPICIOUS package found in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday contained white powder which was ‘non-harmful’, a House of Commons spokeswoman said. Scotland Yard confirmed that specialist officers from the Counter Terrorism Command were called into action when the package was first discovered. A spokesman said: “At approximately 11.36am on Tuesday, February 13, police were informed of a suspicious package that had been delivered to an office within the Palace of Westminster.
Specialists “The letter contained a white powder and it is currently being assessed by specialists. “The office remains closed at this time, but the rest of the Palace of Westminster is open.” A message was put out on the annunciators which are displayed on TV screens around Parliament, reading: “Incident in the House of Commons being dealt with by the Metropolitan Police, do not be alarmed.”
NEWS IN BRIEF
Cleese relaxed over return to TV sitcom ACTOR and Monty Python star John Cleese said he feels no pressure for a new sitcom, Hold The Sunset, to live up to the success of Fawlty Towers, because he did not write this one himself. The BBC One series is the veteran actor’s first sitcom appearance since he starred in the successful series he co-wrote with his co-star and for,er wife Connie Booth nearly 40 years ago. Hold The Sunset sees Cleese play Phil, who is keen to move abroad with his ex-partner and neighbour Edith, played by Alison Steadman.
Officer under fire A SENIOR counter-terrorism officer who lost top secret documents after they were stolen from his car could be dismissed after a disciplinary panel approved a case for gross misconduct against him. Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, of West Midlands Police appeared before a hearing at force headquarters on Tuesday. The panel will deliver its recommended sanction later, but the final decision on Mr Beale’s future with the force then rests with Chief Constable David Thompson.
May to meet Merkel PRIME Minister Theresa May is to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday as the Government steps up efforts to make progress on Brexit. The Prime Minister’s talks with Mrs Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin comes ahead of her speech in Munich on Saturday.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Mordent takes her time over future of Oxfam funding A DECISION on whether to withdraw public funding from Oxfam over the aid worker sex scandal will not be taken hastily, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has said. The charity has issued an ‘unreserved apology’ to the Government, donors, supporters and the people of Haiti over its handling of sex allegations, including the use of prostitutes by workers, in the earthquake-hit country in 2011. Ms Mordaunt said she would take the issue very seriously but stressed she would be guided by a Charity Commission inquiry into Oxfam while deciding whether to pull funding. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the scandal should not be used as an excuse to cut overall aid.
Furore Oxfam received £31.7million from the Government in 2016/17, but the support has been put at risk by the furore, which led to the resignation of its deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence. Ms Mordaunt said: “I know people will be worried about the charity, they’ll be worried about the money, but we need to be guided by what the Charity Commission are doing and also I have made it very clear to Oxfam what we expect to see from them. “But these decisions shouldn’t be taken hastily, but I am considering them.” Mr Corbyn said: “I’m an admirer and supporter of Oxfam but I want them to show they are going to manage things in a robust way to make sure that all of us have confidence in Oxfam going forward.” The Charity Commission said Oxfam may not have ‘fully and frankly disclosed material details’ when it first investigated allegations of misconduct in 2011.
WEATHER REPORT Royal Navy bomb disposal divers in King V George Dock close to London City Airport
NEWS IN BRIEF
Mayor gives thumbs up to bus drivers’ rest stops BUS drivers in London will have improved access to toilets. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said £6million will be spent to deliver permanent toilets along 40 routes which only have limited access or opening hours. Temporary toilets have already been installed on routes and there are also arrangements in place for drivers to use local cafés or shops. The mayor said: “These men and women work hard keeping London moving at all hours so it’s vital that they are given the dignity of having access to a rest stop.”
Airport reopens but bomb disposal is hit by weather AN UNEXPLODED Second World War bomb found in the River Thames that caused the closure of London City Airport will be detonated today (Wednesday) if weather conditions make it safe to do so. The Royal Navy planned to conduct a controlled explosion on Tuesday but strong winds and a large sea swell posed a risk to divers.
No rise Commander Del McKnight, the commanding officer of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Diving Squadron, said: “The bomb presents no risk to the public in its current location.” The 1.5-metre-long tapered-end shell was found 15 metres underwater and was moved to a secure area after its discovery on Sunday morning. London City Airport opened as normal on Tues-
day after dozens of flights were cancelled following the bomb’s discovery. A 214-metre exclusion zone was set up in Newham after the 500kg device was found at King George V Dock in east London on Sunday. It meant residents had to be evacuated from their homes and the airport shut to all flights as the runway fell within the sealed-off area. Robert Sinclair, the airport’s chief executive, said: “The World War Two ordnance discovered in King George V Dock has been safely removed by the Royal Navy and Met Police. As a result, the exclusion zone has now been lifted and the airport will be open as normal on Tuesday. “I would like to thank the Royal Navy, Metropolitan Police and Newham Council for their professionalism and expertise in bringing this incident to a safe conclusion.”
£100 fine for begging THE ROYAL Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is considering fining rough sleepers up to £100 for begging or leaving their bedding in public places. Council leader Simon Dudley managed to survive a vote of no confidence and his council faced fierce criticism after he said the number of rough sleepers would put Windsor in a ‘sadly unfavourable light’ when it hosts the royal wedding in May.
Assange arrest warrant A WARRANT for the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been upheld by Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. She said she was not persuaded by the argument from Assange’s legal team that it was not in the public interest to pursue him for failing to answer bail at a police station as he fought extradition to Sweden in 2012 The Ecuadorean Embassy granted Assange asylum four years ago.
National Business News
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
NEWS IN BRIEF
TUI records a rise in revenue and demand TRAVEL giant TUI reports there is ‘resilient’ demand for its holidays from UK customers, despite having hiked winter travel prices 8 per cent to make up for the weak pound. The FTSE 100-listed firm logged an 8.1per cent rise in revenues to $3.5billion (£3.1billion), up from just shy of $3.3billion (£2.9billion) a year earlier. When stripped of currency effects, turnover climbed 9.1 per cent. Pre-tax losses, meanwhile, narrowed from $103.3million (£91.8million) to $72.5million (£64.4million).
First time buyers boost THE NUMBER of people taking their first step on the property ladder reached its highest levels in a decade last year, reports trade association UK Finance. In 2017, 365,000 first-time buyers were recorded, the highest number since 2006.
Inflation remains steady STERLING rose 0.3 per cent against the dollar to $1.38 on Tuesday following the news that the rate of Consumer Prices Index inflation held steady at 3 percent in January. Against the euro, the pound was trading flat at €1.12.
Job cuts at Amazon AMAZON has not ruled out making cuts to its UK operations as part of a rare global jobs shake-up at the online retail giant. The company, which employs 24,000 staff in the UK, has confirmed it is to axe a ‘small’ number of positions.
BP boss jumps to defence of PM during Brexit talks
Facebook promises to tackle fake news after Unliver threat
THE Chief Executive of BP has defended Theresa May’s handling of Brexit, expressing his ‘sympathy’ for the Prime Minister’s position and saying it was bad for the country to negotiate an EU divorce deal in public. Bob Dudley said the media was putting unrealistic demands on Mrs May by expecting her to reveal the finer details of Britain’s exit from the European Union on a daily basis. Speaking to CNBC at the Egypt Petroleum Summit in Cairo, he said his experience of negotiating led him to believe that clarity over the Brexit agreement would be found closer to the deadline. He said: “I’m sympathetic to the Prime Minister for everyone wanting to know every move she’s going to make.
FACEBOOK executives have pledged to tackle fake news and online fraud after Unilever warned tech firms that it will pull lucrative advertising contracts if companies allow their platforms to ‘breed division’. Adam Mosseri, the social network’s head of news feed, said: “We think the commitment by such a large advertiser on these issues is great. “It’s on us to make sure we deliver and meet whatever expectations that they have.” His comments come after the consumer goods giant’s marketing chief Keith Weed raised serious concerns over the spread of illegal and extremist content online.
OIL CHIEF Bob Dudley
Unrealistic “In oil and gas you negotiate all the time constantly. You don’t do them publicly. “And in my experience negotiators don’t come together until closer to a deadline. So, I think it’s unrealistic for her to negotiate in public. I think that’s not good for the country, actually.” Mr Dudley also backed the oil giant to remain rooted in Britain after Brexit, saying BP was ‘deeply committed’ to the country. The comments after the oil major secured one of the strongest years in its recent history last week after a hike in the cost of crude helped annual profits more than double. The energy giant saw underlying replacement cost profit - BP’s preferred income measure - soar to $6.2billion (£4.4billion) for 2017, up from $2.6 billion (£1.9billion) the year before. BP is among a string of oil majors benefiting from climbing prices, having seen Brent crude hit 70 dollars per barrel last month - its highest level
in more than three years. However, Mr Dudley said that he expected Brent crude to track below the 70 dollars a barrel mark in the coming years, with the group planning for prices of 50 dollars to 65 dollars a barrel by the end of the decade.
He said: “We cannot continue to prop up a digital supply chain - one that delivers over a quarter of our advertising to our consumers which at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency. “Fake news, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate, toxic content directed at children - parts of the internet we have ended up with is a million miles from where we thought it would take us.” Mr Weed has met with a raft of Unilever’s digital partners to stress that it does not want to advertise on platforms which do not make a positive contribution to society. Unilever has cited research showing that trust in social media has hit a new low as a result of failed action over misleading or unlawful content - and said that while 2017 was the year of mobile video and voice, 2018 will either be the ‘year of trust’ or the ‘year of techlash’, where the world will turn on tech giants.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Cyclone hits Tonga and is now heading towards Fiji islands
Turkey fires shot over bows of oil firms after boat drama
THE PACIFIC nation of Tonga is cleaning up damage from a cyclone that destroyed its Parliament House, as well as homes and churches, and was intensifying as it headed towards nearby Fiji. Cyclone Gita caused power outages after tearing through the island nation just south of the capital, Nuku’alofa, with winds exceeding 120mph. About 5,000 people stayed in evacuation centres overnight and an emergency was declared. Tongan legislator Lord Fusitu’a said it was a great disappointment the parliament building had been knocked down. “Successive legislatures over the years have suggested building a new Parliament House, and I guess that’ll be a necessity now,” he said. About 2,500 people living on two of Fiji’s islands are said to be at risk as the cyclone heads towards them.
TURKEY’S President has issued a warning to Greece, Cyprus and international companies exploring for gas in the eastern Mediterranean not to ‘step out of line’ and encroach on Turkish rights. Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the warning in an address to legislators of his ruling party as Turkish warships continued to stop a rig reaching a location off Cyprus where Italian energy company Eni is scheduled to drill for gas.
Evacuation Director Anare Leweniqila said emergency supplies of food and water were being gathered and urged elderly and disabled people to begin moving into evacuation centres. The storm has strengthened since hitting Samoa and American Samoa last week, where it caused damage to buildings, widespread power outages and flooding. President Donald Trump on Sunday declared an emergency in American Samoa, a US territory. Australia and New Zealand are sending humanitarian supplies to Tonga, including emergency shelters, cooking equipment and hygiene kits.
Rammed It came as Greek authorities said a Turkish coastguard vessel had rammed a Greek coastguard boat off a couple of uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea over which the two Nato allies nearly went to war in 1996. WARNING Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey opposes the gas drilling, saying it disregards the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots. The Cypriot government says it has a sovereign right to drill, and that if the search is successful, any income would be shared equitably if the island is reunified. The European Union on Monday cautioned Turkey to respect the territory of its member states and to avoid ratcheting up tensions. Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded in 1974, after a failed coup by supporters of union with Greece. The island joined the EU in 2004, but only the southern part enjoys full membership benefits. Many in Turkey also dispute Greek ownership of uninhabited Aegean islets near Turkey’s coastline. Greece’s coastguard said nobody was injured in the collision around midnight on Monday, although the Greek vessel suffered damage to the stern where the Turkish boat hit it with its bows. It said the precise circumstances of the incident are still unclear. The coastguard vessels were off the uninhabited Imia Kardak in Turkish - islets, which both countries claim and are prime fishing spots, attracting boats from both countries. Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos voiced concern but appealed for restraint. “Right now there is no need to pour more oil on the flames. What is needed is calm, levelheadedness and a serious handling of the situation,” he said.
SPORT IN BRIEF
Stokes teams up with England after hearing BEN STOKES is flying out to join England’s tour of New Zealand today (Wednesday) after appearing at Bristol Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning. The 26-year-old all-rounder pleaded not guilty to affray after an incident in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol on September 25 last year and was granted bail. The case will begin at Crown Court on March 12 although it is understood Stokes will not be required to return to the UK for the first hearing.
Froome races in Spain CHRIS FROOME will make his controversial return to cycle racing at the Ruta del Sol in Spain today (Wednesday). The four-time Tour de France winner is fighting to prove his innocence after returning an adverse analytical finding for asthma drug salbutamol at La Vuelta - a race he won in an historic Tour-Vuelta double - last year. Several rivals, as well as UCI president David Lappartient, have called for 32-yearold Froome to be suspended by Team Sky until the case is resolved.
Mason forced to quit HULL’S England midfielder Ryan Mason has announced his retirement from playing football after failing to recover from the fractured skull he suffered last year. The 26-year-old was involved in a clash of heads with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill at Stamford Bridge in January 2017 and has not played since.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Editor at 16 Lonsdale Gardens, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1NU Not enough planning for NHS demand
I, among others, acknowledge that speed cameras seem to be an awful nuisance, especially if just 1mph about the speed limit was to be penalised. However, I am grateful for one of the three specifically mentioned in Mr Casson’s letter [January 31]. I regularly use the junction where Birling Road meets Frant Road, just down the hill from one of the speed cameras. Before the camera was introduced, every week or so there was evidence of accidents, bits of metal, etc., strewn in or beside the roadway. Since the camera was installed it has inhibited the natural inclination to speed up down a straight bit of road. It is now possible to exit safely from Birling Road as cars no longer appear out of nowhere while one is turning right. I would be very worried if that camera was to be removed. Of course, if there was no penalty, everyone would ignore a vital safety warning. Where the money goes is another thing. Yvonne Spencer Tunbridge Wells
Not good for my peace of mind I so agree with your correspondents who wrote ‘No desire to visit a ghost town’ and ‘Why Waitrose isn’t coming’ [January 24]. They seem to sum up what so many of us residents feel about the town. I mourn the closure of The Nutmeg Tree especially. It was a wonderful independent café with friendly service, excellent traditional cooking and comfortable chairs with cushions to absorb the sound so one could have a conversation with another. Where does one go now? Most of the restaurants and cafés have ‘modern’ wooden everything and are so noisy it is no pleasure going there. Add to that the fact that a large number of businesses and retailers have left the town, making the centre and around it of little interest. All that seems to happen is more and more flats are being built. Yet more people to crowd the already ‘stuffed’ roads through the town. If it’s so vibrant, why can’t we feel it? Judi Best Tunbridge Wells
Hoopers’ fate could seal our own Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has put forward its planning application for the Civic Centre and new theatre to the in-house planning department for a decision. It seems a foregone conclusion that the plans will be approved – a fait accompli. Northamptonshire County Council borrowed a mere £53million for the construction of their new offices. Now they face having to sell them because of the burden of debt. The Royal Haymarket Theatre is selling as visitor numbers decrease due to the economic
VITAL WARNING Speed cameras protect motorists
PHOTO: Rose Bainbridge
Never mind where money goes – penalties for speeding save lives
situation and Netflix and Amazon competition. Our theatre will be in competition with London’s theatres, Canterbury, Eastbourne, Bromley and soon Brighton. Canterbury can invoke a clause stopping us having a musical at the same time as it does, as it will not want to split its audience. Without the Great Hall car park, and with the prospect of 99 flats being built on the old cinema site without parking facilities, this vibrant southern end of town – and Hoopers in particular – will be under existential threat. Where is the economic benefit to the town if Hoopers, a magnet for out-of-town shoppers, closes? The council assures us that our proposed debt, currently [estimated around] £92million, will benefit our town by at least £14million per annum. How reassuring at a time of economic slowdown with shops closing in town. These councillors tell us council tax will not go up, but already Citizens Advice, amongst others, is to receive less. This debt burden is to be handed down through the years. Who is this council responsible to? Obviously not to the citizens of Tunbridge Wells, Cranbrook, Goudhurst, etc. I am outraged. Catherine Thomas Via email
Learn the lesson of Northampton With the recent news about the financial difficulties of Northamptonshire County Council, who are considering selling and leasing back their brand new £53million headquarters, we should be very concerned about our council spending £90million on a new Civic Complex that will never generate an income. Nicholas Pope Tunbridge Wells
I totally agree with Hugh Masters [January 24] about having a full review of the NHS and what infrastructure is now needed. I believe the country has been badly let down on this issue by politicians. If they had planned well and looked at what was happening, we would not be having the problems that seem to be there now. It was so predictable. Firstly, both parties over time have reduced the number of beds by in excess of 40 per cent; secondly, how many additional hospitals have been built in the last two decades while the population has soared by a city the size of Birmingham and more? In short, we have a finite resource yet an ever-increasing demand, and different governments haven’t looked at forecasts of population. If they had we would have used the finances we have to cope with the changes. A recent survey says that 84 per cent of people want the foreign aid budget to be used on the NHS. This in itself wouldn’t make an immediate difference as we need to expand resources, which takes years, as well as train doctors and nurses for the new facilities. By all means scrap foreign aid and have a disaster fund in its place, but don’t expect extra finance to be the solution to our NHS problems. Why do our leaders not look at trends and long-term requirements? Maybe we wouldn’t have these problems. This applies to many areas, such as schools, infrastructure, water supplies, etc. David Preston Tunbridge Wells
Stand up, don’t get muddled up I’m afraid half a page of waffle from local Tory MP and minister Greg Clark will simply alarm more businesses on their uncertain future after Brexit. It is now just over a year until the UK officially leaves the EU, and still the Conservative government is engaged in endless talks about talks, with a complete lack of clarity on the end point of the so-called transition period. The simple truth is that our local MP, formerly a strong Remainer, and unlike his colleague Anna Soubry, lacks the guts to stand up for the secure future of this country, and jobs, against the hard Brexiteers in his party. Dr Alan Bullion Via email
EU workers undercut salaries Martin Brice’s claim that the EU is the richest free trade area in the world is factually incorrect, as it is in reality a customs union, not a free trade organisation. In the same way that Kent is in a customs union with, for instance, Somerset, but the county cannot conclude free trade agreements of its own with other countries, so the same applies to the UK while a member of the EU. As trade with the rest of the EU is set to fall precipitously over the next decades, we shall be infinitely better off once we can make our own deals with the rest of the world. Andrew Wilcox repeats the canard, often repeated by the members of the comfortable middle class, that EU migrants are more likely to
We do our best to publish letters in full. However, the Editor reserves the right to edit any letter. Please ensure that letters do not exceed 250 words
work than the British population, ignoring the fact that too many greedy businesses merely wish to use these people to undercut the wages of indigenous workers. This makes it uneconomic for the latter to take these jobs, as they need to live in a country with a higher cost of living than that of the countries from which the migrants are coming. The ordinary workers of this country have been exploited by the liberal elite’s love affair with the EU, and Brexit will rebalance the economy in favour of the less well-off. Colin Bullen Tonbridge
What happened to middle ground? When I was in the army, self-harm was a serious charge and could lead to severe disciplinary consequences. Britain is currently engaged in a long process of self-harm. Of this there can be no doubt. We have already witnessed the loss of our credit rating status, the devaluation of our currency, the rise of inflation, the departure of many valuable people underpinning the essential functions of our NHS, an abominable rise in hate crime and, from recent government figures, the bleakest looking future for our economy. All of these self-inflicted wounds are due to a large handful of Tory MPs driven by their ambition to seek personal gain. Instead of the government ridding itself of these harmful people, it gives them high office and a stepping stone to even greater power. If these were normal times, the electorate would rise up and rid itself of these noxious elements, but they are not normal times because we have as an alternative a government in waiting riven by covert Communists, permeated by anti-Semites and led by an old man who has made sitting on the fence his speciality. What then is the solution to this dilemma? Is there no one capable of setting up a Centrist Party: One that has the future of Britain as its principal care, one that will build on the good fortune that we have being a member of the EU and having, until recently, the respect of most other countries bound to us by advantageous trading arrangements and common interests? Alexander Magnus Tunbridge Wells
On the way to improvement I wanted to write to thank your readers for taking the time to give their thoughts and feedback on Arriva’s bus services in and around the Tunbridge Wells area. It really is important to me that we listen to customers. We received lots of feedback covering a range of subjects, including suggestions for new routes and reintroducing routes that were withdrawn. Our planning and commercial teams are now working through all the responses to help decide on what, if any, changes we will look to make. Once these plans are finalised I will update you on what our plans to improve services look like. Thank you again for helping us continue our efforts to improve your local bus services. Oliver Monahan Area Managing Director, Arriva Kent and Surrey
Calverley is away again this week…
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
EDUCATION Times WITH THE
A prestigious London performance Musicians from Benenden School hit a high note when they appeared with world-renowned violinist Tasmin Little at a special concert in the capital BENENDEN SCHOOL’S Symphony Orchestra has performed at Drapers’ Hall, London in a joint concert with the English-Speaking Union [ESU], an international educational charity. Tasmin Little, one of the ESU’s most widely known music scholars, played as part of the ESU centenary celebrations to honour the founding of the charity in 1918. The symphony orchestra of Benenden School, one of the UK’s leading independent establishments, appeared in celebration of the school’s 95th anniversary. The concert, held last month, had a varied programme which included pieces by Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart and Rossini, as well as a piece composed by former Benenden pupil Grace Young.
PULLING ALL THE RIGHT STRINGS Members of Benenden Symphony Orchestra with Tasmin Little (right)
Scholarship Benenden Headmistress Samantha Price said: “We are honoured that our symphony orchestra performed with Tasmin Little in such magnificent surroundings. “Benenden and the English-Speaking Union both focus on advancing the aspirations of young people, and our collaboration for this concert was the ideal way to celebrate our respective anniversaries and combined success. “Music is integral to all that we do at Benenden. We are committed to not just helping pupils to reach the very highest standards of performance, but also to widening participation in music.” The concert was held in joint celebration of two organisations which are committed to assisting talented young musicians. ESU Director-General Jane Easton said: “I am delighted that ESU alumna Tasmin Little so generously donated her artistry for this concert with Benenden’s exceptional young musicians. “Tasmin was the recipient of an English-Speaking Union music scholarship, which she credits with altering the course of her life. “At the ESU we work to narrow the gaps in opportunity and achievement for young people
regardless of their background, allowing them to enter the ‘global conversation’ which was so much part of our founding vision.” Multi award-winning Tasmin Little has firmly established herself as one of today’s leading international violinists. Her recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Royal National Scottish Orchestra garnered outstanding critical acclaim and was awarded the Critics’ Choice Award in the 2011 Classic BRIT Awards. She remains one of the few violinists to perform Ligeti’s challenging Violin Concerto, and has performed this work at the Berliner Philharmonie, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Salzburg Festival, the BBC Proms, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Philadelphia Kimmel Center.
In 2012, Tasmin was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Birthday Honours List for Services to Music. She said of the special concert: “It’s a great pleasure to work with the young musicians of Benenden School, and I really appreciated their attentiveness and intensity as well as their willingness to take on board musical ideas and incorporate them immediately into our performance. “I’m excited to make music with them in celebration of the centenary of the ESU and to support music at Benenden School.” Benenden Symphony Orchestra – formerly known as Hemsted Forest Youth Orchestra – comprises Benenden pupils as well as young people from schools in the surrounding area, confirmed a school spokesperson.
We are the Futsal Kent Champions A GRAMMAR is celebrating an Under-12s (Year 7) victory at an all-Kent Futsal championship. Last week, Futsal players from Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys [TWGSB] travelled to Medway Park in Gillingham along with the school’s U14 (Year 9) and U16 (Year 11) teams to compete in the Kent finals, which boasted the best eight Futsal teams in the county.
Shoot-out The opening U12 match was against Folkestone Academy, resulting in a 3-0 win for TWGSB. A school spokesperson said: “The boys played very well in the second group match to beat eventual runners-up Bexleyheath Academy 5-1. The final group game was against Howard from Gillingham, resulting
in a 2-1 victory for our boys.” Having topped the group, TWGSB played St Gregory’s Catholic School in the semi-final, winning 3-0. The final against Bexleyheath Academy finished 0-0 and went straight to a penalty shoot-out. “All five TWGSB players converted their spot kicks, with goalkeeper Brett Smith saving one penalty and scoring his own decisive penalty to secure a 5-4 victory,” added the spokesperson. The boys were presented with their trophy and medals and will go on to represent Kent in the South East England Finals. The TWGSB U14 team lost 3-2 in the semi-final and finished fourth in Kent. The TWGSB U16 team narrowly missed out on qualifying for the semi-finals despite a convincing 6-0 win over Harvey GS, Folkestone.
TEAM SPIRIT: The TWGSB teams included – Brett Smith, Will Puffette, George Shine, Ben Cossar, Isaiah Everitt-Victor, Alfie Chart and Morgan Davidge. Alex Yeo, Theo Sturgeon and Sam Ryder also played in the qualifying match
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Liberal Democrat councillor
There are three Liberal Democrats serving on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and their leader is Ben Chapelard, who represents St James’ Ward. He was first elected to the council in 2010
Let’s be radical and stay in the Single Market, Mr Clark At last! Some clarity on Brexit! Or so I thought… I dived in to Greg Clark’s column in last week’s edition of the Times [February 7], full of expectation that we would, finally, get some answers on what our future relationship with the EU might be. You would think that as Business Secretary our Tunbridge Wells MP would be able to shed some light on what is going on. Instead, all I found were the same old meaningless platitudes and no real concrete answers. Mr Clark’s article boiled down to him congratulating himself and the Tory government for wanting to provide stability, simplicity and access to foreign labour during the Brexit negotiations, as well as implementation periods for business and industry. This is a bit rich from a government which has withheld all 58 of its Brexit impact assessments. Surely publishing these documents would help businesses plan for the future? Or does the Business Secretary agree with Jacob Rees-Mogg that his own Treasury staff have been fiddling the figures? I do, however, concur with him that business and industry need absolute clarity over Brexit. So here is something radical: Why not back keeping Britain in the Single Market and Customs
Union as the Liberal Democrats have always suggested, Mr Clark? This way every business can work within the current regulations, recruit the European staff they need and get on with growing their business rather than having to worry about every twist and turn in the inward-looking Conservative government’s ongoing family feud. This seems eminently sensible to me, and no doubt to the 8,000 Tunbridge Wellians whose livelihoods depend on access to European markets and funding.
that Tunbridge Wells and the UK are better off out of the Single Market and Customs Union, then he must come clean with us, his residents, as to the reasons for this sudden change of opinion (beyond his desire to placate Conservative back-
benchers and further his own ministerial career). I won’t hold my breath for any clear answers from him. In the meantime, who will pick our Kentish produce, nurse our sick and fill our vacancies come March 2019, Mr Clark?
Constituents Sadly, this option seems to have bypassed the Business Secretary, who is doing the hard Brexiteers’ dirty work. Rather than pursuing the Prime Minister’s extreme version of Brexit, Mr Clark should be putting all his energy into keeping us in the Single Market and Customs Union. I also feel it is appropriate to remind our MP that HIS CONSTITUENTS voted REMAIN in the EU referendum. So why is he working so hard to go against the wishes of the residents he claims to represent? Let us not forget that, at first, our MP campaigned for Remain. If he now genuinely believes
Conservative MP for Wealden
Nus Ghani was elected MP for Wealden in May 2015 and represents Crowborough, Eridge and Uckfield among other towns. She also currently serves as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport and is Assistant Government Whip. In 2018, Ms Ghani became the first Muslim woman to speak from the House of Commons Dispatch Box. The Times also publishes comment from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties
Make tackling mental health and loneliness a priority LONELINESS and mental health are some of the most underreported issues we face as a society today, and something that regularly comes up at my surgeries across Wealden in Crowborough, Hailsham and Uckfield. It is often the quietest voices that are the most forgotten, but this is a problem we can’t ignore. Fighting back against mental health has been left on the back burner for too long, and now, in 2018, I am pleased that we are finally talking about this more than we ever have done before. Now 1,400 more people are accessing mental health services every day compared to 2010, with almost 750,000 more people taking advantage of counselling and talking therapies. More money is also being invested in our mental health services, with an extra £1billion to be invested by 2020-21, ensuring that people can receive the right care when and where they need it. This investment means that 20,000 more people can now get support to find or stay in work through individual placements, as well as 21,000 extra mental health professionals in the NHS. I was fortunate enough to be able to work with Jo Cox, MP, supporting her as she set up a Commission to bring an end to loneliness. Jo was tragically killed in June 2016, and in her memory, the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission carries on doing invaluable work taking on loneliness, a generational challenge that affects almost nine million people across the country.
Jo campaigned tirelessly to tackle loneliness, making the point that ‘young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate… it is something many of us could easily help with. Looking in on a neighbour, visiting an elderly relative or making that call or visit we’ve been promising to a friend we haven’t seen in a long time’.
Engagement I used to chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ageing and Old People, seeing and hearing first hand the effect loneliness can have on older people. It is not uncommon for some people to go more than a week without speaking to any other person, with Age UK estimating that some 3.6million people have television as their main form of company. We must work to change this. The recent appointment of a Minister for Loneliness, Kent MP Tracey Crouch, is a big step in the right direction. With a dedicated position in the heart of Government, the Minister for Loneliness will work with the NHS, local authorities and charities to ensure that tackling loneliness remains a priority. Last month I supported a ‘Brew Monday’ event taking place in Hailsham in my constituency, organised by the Samaritans and local charity Southdown. Brew Monday encouraged people to
come together for a cuppa and a chat on the third Monday in January, traditionally regarded as one of the loneliest days of the year – ‘Blue Monday’. Through a combination of community engagement projects like Brew Monday, combined with Government support and investment, loneliness
and poor mental health really is something we can tackle and beat together. Something as simple as knocking on your elderly neighbour’s door for a quick chat can mean so much and make such a big difference to so many people’s wellbeing.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
yourh me INSPIRATION FOR MOVING
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Mad about marble A super-cool showcase Page 47
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To suit your budget
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
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PENNINGTON PLACE SOUTHBOROUGH
n 2 bedrooms
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SOUTHWOOD ROAD RUSTHALL
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n Bike shed n Communal grounds n No forward chain CONTACT Bracketts Tonbridge 01732 350503 www.bracketts.co.uk
£340,000-£350,000 n n n n n
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Wednesday February 14 | 2018
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UNDER £450,000 STRATFORD STREET TUNBRIDGE WELLS
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CONTACT Bracketts Tunbridge Wells 01892 533733 www.bracketts.co.uk
UNDER £600,000 HILDEN PARK ROAD HILDENBOROUGH
£500,000 n Detached chalet-style bungalow n Flexible accommodation n 23ft sitting room with wood burner n Kitchen/breakfast room n Conservatory n Reception room/bedroom 3 n 2 first floor bedrooms n 2 bathrooms (one on the first floor and one on the ground floor) n 65ft rear garden and parking n Parking
CONTACT Bracketts Tonbridge 01732 350503 www.bracketts.co.uk
UNDER £700,000 UNDER £1MILLION PENNINGTON PLACE SOUTHBOROUGH
£750,000 n Entrance hall n Family room n Lounge n Kitchen n Utility room n Conservatory
n Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom
BARDEN ROAD, SPELDHURST
n 3 further bedrooms
n 1930s semi-detached house
n Family bathroom
n Gardens to front and rear
n Sitting room
n Double garage and driveway
n Kitchen/dining room
CONTACT Wood & Pilcher Southborough 01892 511311 www.woodandpilcher.co.uk
n Master bedroom with en suite
n TV room n 3 further double bedrooms n Family bathroom n Rear garden n Off-road parking and garage
CONTACT Wood & Pilcher Southborough 01892 511311 www.woodandpilcher.co.uk
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
AT A GLANCE BEULAH ROAD TUNBRIDGE WELLS n Set over 3 floors n Period features n Sitting room n Kitchen/dining room n Utility room n Cloakroom n 3 ground floor reception rooms/bedrooms n Ground floor bathroom n 2 bedrooms on first floor n L-shaped garden n Office/games room/workshop n Off-road parking n Gas central heating
£850,000-£895,000 Available for sale through Wood & Pilcher Tunbridge Wells 01892 511211 www.woodandpilcher.co.uk
Victorian villa with a rear extension and large garden office or workshop
The main living space is on the lower ground floor and includes a comfortable sitting room with fireplace
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Substantial family house on the edge of a popular village AT A GLANCE
THE PONDS VINEYARD LANE, TICEHURST n Built by Berkeley Homes in 1995 n Sitting room n Family room n Study n Kitchen/breakfast room n Utility room n Dining room n Master bedroom with en-suite bath/shower room n 4 further bedrooms n Family bath/shower room n Integral double garage n Detached garage n Extensive off-street parking
The gardens are a particular feature with lovely views over the neighbouring orchard
n Well-maintained gardens n In all about 0.36 acres
GUIDE PRICE ÂŁ995,000 Available for sale through Knight Frank Tunbridge Wells 01892 515035 www.knightfrank.co.uk
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
AT A GLANCE ROSEHIP HOUSE STEEP ROAD, CROWBOROUGH n Built by Millwood Homes in 2016 on the outskirts of town n Entrance hall n Cloakroom n Dining room n Study n Kitchen/breakfast/family room n Vaulted ceiling n Utility room n Drawing room with fireplace n Master bedroom with en suite and dressing area n 4 further bedrooms (1 with en suite) n Family bathroom n Double garage n 8-year remaining Premier Warranty
ÂŁ1,395,000 Available for sale through Wood & Pilcher Crowborough 01892 665666 www.woodandpilcher.co.uk
Superb designer home with outstanding country views towards the South Downs
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Charming period farmhouse with barn and tennis court AT A GLANCE
PUCKSTYE FARM HOLTYE COWDEN, NR EDENBRIDGE n Reception hall n Sitting room n Kitchen/breakfast room n Utility room n Larder n Boot room n Cloakroom n Master bedroom with en suite n 4 further bedrooms (one with en suite) n Family bathroom n Landscaped garden with all-weather tennis court and meadow n Two ponds and woodland n In total about 8.57 acres
Available for sale through Savills Tunbridge Wells 01892 507000 www.savills.com
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Fire up your
PHOTO: Courtesy of MorsØ 08 – £1,680 www.Morsoe.com
With spring on the way, if you want to make your home feel fresher and brighter but still really cosy, Eileen Leahy tells you how…
S WE edge towards longer, lighter days we feel the hibernation period of staying in and not doing very much coming to an end, but we’re not quite out of the woods yet thanks to this current cold snap. So while you’re sitting on your sofa and keeping cosy by the fire in a setting like that above featuring a stylish MorsØ woodburner, now is the time to get planning. But if you have no idea where to start in terms of a colour scheme, whether to use pattern or not, or which type of lighting to go for, don’t panic. Right now all the major home retailers are revealing their new collections for spring/ summer 2018, so there’s plenty of inspiration out there. So start your research by arming yourself with a pile of brochures from your favourite high street stores, or go online and have a good browse, selecting looks that appeal to you. Because the truth is no matter what is trending according to the tastemakers, for a specific style to be successful in your own home you personally have to love it. When putting together a new look that will last – weathering all those fickle trends to still look wonderful years down the line – you’ll need to adhere to a few golden design rules. Firstly, never underestimate the power of a neutral hue. All too often people pitch strong colours together – think chocolate brown and red, yellow and black or purple and gold. They may well have instant impact in a room but often they feel too dramatic – especially during the daytime. To ensure a sophisticated look that still packs a stylish punch use rich cream, pale grey or warm white to good effect. Use your accessories, such as cushions, curtains, throws
‘When putting together a new look that will last you’ll need to adhere to a few golden design rules’ and ornamental items to introduce splashes of colour. Remember, though, not to have more than three shades in your scheme as you want things to look harmonious and not jumbled. A table with a lamp placed on one or both sides of a sofa always helps to create a chic, streamlined space. Pattern also brings an important element to a room, and although many are too scared to use it, a little goes a long way. How about using some florals or geometric designs on some oversized cushions, for example? As our image shows, texture is hugely important as it helps to create different layers and levels of interest. Weaving in lots of knits, wood and ceramics will give a space character. Try stacking your logs up in the recess by your fireplace if you have one. Not only is this practical, it creates a real visual statement, too. Lastly, don’t forget those all-important accessories. A few candles, some pretty picture frames and a vase of fresh flowers or foliage may seem like simple additions but they’ll do that necessary job of turning a house into a home.
1 2 3
Instead of having all your tear sheets, print-outs and paint swatch cards floating about, collate them all in a notebook with handy storage sections. You can jot down plenty of notes and there’s lots of space to test out different paint colours, etc Always try out your paint colours on walls at different times of the day so you are as happy with them in bright morning sunlight as you are by a gentle illuminated glow
Do your research by making sure you pick up your favourite retailer’s current look book, or go online and view Pinterest, where you can save items to mood boards and help compile a cohesive look
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
GOLDEN WONDER Amara Cross Bottom Marble Table, £180.00, Amara, www.amara.com
CHOP, CHOP Marble wood chopping board, £40, Kelly Hoppen London, www.kellyhoppen.com
ILLUMINATING IDEA Large marble candle, £25, Monsoon, www.monsoon.com
TOP SERVICE: White Marble Diamond Jewellery Trays £8.99, New Look, www.newlook.com
HANDY STORAGE Marble Effect Tumbler, £3, Matalan, www.matalan.com
TIME’S UP Marble Desk Clock £40, Oliver Bonas, www.oliverbonas.com
DRAMATIC IMPACT Boutique Marble White Wallpaper,£18.99, Very, www.very.com
WRITE ON Marble Desk Accessories, £10, TX Maxx, www.tkmaxx.co.uk
Get the lowdown on what’s on the up in the beautiful world of interiors courtesy of theknow
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
The picture perfect garden Ahead of the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual photographic competition, Chris Young, Chair of the judging panel and Editor of the RHS members’ magazine The Garden, explains why these specific pictures work so well
RE you convinced your outdoor photos are the bee’s knees? Well now’s your chance to prove it to the Royal Horticultural Society. The charity’s free annual photographic competition is now open, offering cash prizes and the opportunity to have your work exhibited. But how do you improve your winter shots? Chris Young, Chair of the judging panel, advises: “Choose the right day and the right light levels, and stunning images can be taken. Focus on what you want to achieve in your image – a large-scale statement or close-up detail – and think of the colour combinations, as well as how the different focus can change the feeling to a photograph.” He gives more tips below…
The essence of a garden “This shot of our RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex shows the stark outline of the different forms and shapes of plants in January. With winter stripping back some of the leaves and many of the flowers, we are left with a composition of foliage, spent flowerheads, stone boulders and the rolling landscape in the background. Even though some of the plants look like they should be in a warm climate (the palm for example), there is a clear chill to the shot. Using the camera in landscape form widens the horizon of the shot and ensures the maximum view is taken.”
Colour your senses “Winter doesn’t mean ‘no flowers’. There are many jewels in the plant crown at this time of year, including iris. This bulbous Iris reticulata ‘Pixie’ is a small plant often used in winter walks – as can be here at RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Yorkshire. This image ensures the focus is on the deep purple flowers, blessed with yellow splashes of colour, while the foliage in front and behind is out of focus. This centres all attention on the clump of flowers and brings their welcome joy to the viewer.”
Not just plants “The trusty robin always makes a picture-perfect subject for a photograph. By creating a shallow depth of field around the subject, we can focus all our interest on the robin sitting atop a spent seedhead. The background is a muted colour, while the orange of the bird’s breast tonally links to the browns behind it.”
How to enter Winning photographs will receive cash prizes from an overall prize fund of £10,000, and feature in a new exhibition to be held at the RHS London Plant and Art Fair on July 11-12, followed by a touring exhibition across all four RHS Gardens at Wisley, Hyde Hall, Rosemoor and Harlow Carr. The winning images will be selected by the judging panel for their originality, creativity, artistry and technical excellence. Entrants must submit their photographs online by 10am on Thursday, March 1, 2018. To enter, visit www.rhs.org.uk/photocomp
Fill your flowerbeds with colourful
winter blooms Is your garden still looking bleak despite the appearance of snowdrops and a few other early bulbs? Then make the most of winter-flowering shrubs to brighten your borders
Mahonia These spiky evergreens offer terrific winter colour with their sprays of dainty zingy yellow flowers at the tips of the branches
Viburnum These invaluable winter shrubs come in a range of shapes and sizes, both evergreen and deciduous, but tend to be easy to grow on most soils in sun or partial shade
Daphne Among among the most popular blooms is D.odora ‘Aureomarginata’ – a low-mounded type with evergreen
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK Weber Q1200 Gas Barbecue
yellow-edged leaves and purple flower buds that open to scented mauve flowers in late winter, followed by fleshy red berries
Skimmia Skimmia japonica produces clusters of fragrant, white or pink-tinted spring flowers opening from red buds
Erica carnea You can’t go wrong with lowgrowing Erica carnea, an invaluable winter-flowering variety that comes in a range of colours from white to pink and deep purple-red Weber Q1200 Gas Barbecue This is the ideal gift for a romantic meal for two in the great outdoors. Weber’s vibrant range of portable Q1200 gas barbecues comes in five funky colours: Orange, blue, fuchsia, green and purple, to brighten up any patio or outdoor space. The lightweight, portable grill is great for days out or weekends away, and simple to transport and set up wherever you go. Price £269 – available from www.weber.com and various garden centres and retailers nationwide
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
thekn w ARTS AND CULTURE | LIFE & STYLE | MOTORING TECHNOLOGY | DREAM DESTINATIONS | SPORT
The food of love
Let’s get fizzical
Pick of the best sparklers for Feb 14
FOOD & DRINK
Serve up the perfect Valentine’s feast Page 65
HEART TO HEART
Improve your work wardrobe
THE CALL OF CROATIA
Can you handle her?
We speak to controversial comedian Shazia Mirza Page 58
YOUR DRIVING AMBITION
RUGBY TEAM’S ON THE BALL
Arts & Culture
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Funny girl... Outspoken and opinionated stand-up Shazia Mirza is coming to Trinity Theatre on February 23. Ahead of her show, Eileen Leahy caught up with the comedian to find out what makes her tick
o Shazia, please can you tell us a little bit about your new show With Love From St Tropez? Well it’s funny, it’s stupid and it’s about the craziness of the world. It’s got everything; Brexit, butt plugs and the periodic table. Sounds frightening, but don’t worry, it’s quite a laugh. What makes it special to perform? Everyone on stage thinks they’re special, and we think everything we’re doing is special. So this is no more special than the rest of us…
‘It’s funny, stupid and about the craziness of the world. It’s got everything; from Brexit… to the periodic table’
How long have you been touring, and how do you find it? This particular tour, With Love From St Tropez, has only just started and will go around the country for five months. But my previous tour was extended three times and went on all year. I also get to do some dates abroad this time, travelling And Trinity Theatre, the venue is also lovely. to Sweden, Ireland, and Paris. What is the secret behind a successful What is the audience’s general comedy show? reaction to the show? It’s like a romantic date. Good rapport My audiences are a lot of fun. They are mixed with the audience, laughter, fun, and a ages and abilities so it’s always fun. Some of them challenge. And give them a kiss goodnight. don’t really know what they’re coming to see, and that’s always funny for me to watch. What else are you up to in 2018 – and beyond? How easy do you find it to write comedy? I have a few fun TV shows coming out, I’m It takes years to get good and get quick to see writing a lot, and starting my new podcast. something and then turn it into a joke, but the And I will probably have lots of adventures more you do it, the better you get. A bit like sex in the sun… and baking. JUST FOR LAUGHS… What inspires you and why? Some of Shazia Mirza’s funniest one-liners: Life. Ordinary people chatting on a bus, people n Some people always want things to be the waiting in a queue at a bus stop. The ordinary is the most interesting. same. Take old people. You turn the heating down ten degrees in an old people’s home What are you looking forward to about and half of them die in protest. coming to Tunbridge Wells? n My mother wears the burka… she doesn’t It’s an unusual place. I have some friends that live there, it’s beautiful and the people are nice. want to be seen in public with my dad.
Shazia Mirza in brief n She trained at the
Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in London n She began performing
as a stand-up comedian in 2000, and a year later picked up the Hackney Empire Best New Act award at the London Comedy Festival n Shazia is the UK’s only
female Muslim stand-up,
a job which many in her culture would frown upon. She won the award of Young Achiever Of The Year in the government’s initiative for the Asian community, The Leadership & Diversity Awards
diverse as Texas and Kosovo n Her TV work includes
Have I Got News For You and Loose Women. She has also been marooned on an island with Bear Grylls – as part of the C4’s The Celebrity Island
n Originally from
Birmingham, Shazia has performed her brand of comedy all over the world, in places as
n Before becoming a
comedian, Shazia taught science in secondary schools
Arts & Culture
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Perfectly in tune with the wonderful world of music This year, one of the area’s longest established music appreciation groups, CODA, celebrates its 35th birthday. Eileen Leahy finds out more about their celebrations and the very special birthday of its founder Athur Boyd FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC Founder Arthur Boyd
good calibre of artist to come and perform. This enabled CODA to develop into the esteemed group it is today, having organised over 250 concerts for its members at such prestigious venues as the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall in London, as well as attracting a number of famous names over the years including Yehudi Menuhin. CODA currently puts on six recitals a year, inviting different musicians to come and perform. After moving on from Arthur’s house, the group moved to different locations around Tunbridge Wells including Kent College, and since 2015 have met at Rose Hill school.
MASTERFUL Acclaimed pianist Florian Mitrea will play
HIS coming Sunday, the musical appreciation group known as Concerts Originaux des Amis – or CODA for short – celebrates its 35th birthday by hosting a concert at Rose Hill School which will showcase the talented young pianist Florian Mitrea. It will also raise a toast to its founder, Arthur Boyd, who has a very special birthday of his own
to mark this year as he turns 90 years old. Arthur set up CODA in 1983 as he wanted to foster his passion for music and share it with his friends and the community in and around Tunbridge Wells. He started off hosting concerts at his house with an old upright piano, but courtesy of his musical connections he was able to attract a
“They had recently completed their Arts Centre, which included a purpose-built theatre,” explains Alex Metcalf, a CODA member and good friend of Arthur. “They were very keen to have us there. “In return, CODA allows the school to use its impressive Yamaha C5 Grand Piano. “The fact that we offer memberships means that there’s a social element. Members get to know each other and lifelong friendships are forged based on a mutual love of music.” CODA currently has around 60 members, but are especially keen for younger people to join up. An annual single membership costs from £8. “We are trying to engage the people of Tunbridge Wells by raising awareness of CODA — we plan to hold more free events and run regular promotions,” says Alex. “We are very keen to host additional concerts aimed at younger audiences, going into schools in our local area.” After all the years, it will come as no surprise to learn that CODA has an ‘exceptionally loyal’ audience. “Many have barely missed a concert in decades,” says Alex. So what will the audience enjoy most about the group’s forthcoming concert with Florian Mitrea?
“Florian is an extremely exciting young artist, of a standard you would usually have to travel to a major London venue to hear play. “His playing has been described by the great Argentine classical pianist Martha Argerich as ‘outstanding’, and his recent CD Following the River has been reviewed as ‘masterfully played’. “It is a privilege to have him come and give a recital on our doorstep.” And what plans does CODA founder Arthur have for his forthcoming 90th birthday? “There will be post-concert fizz and cake for all at Florian’s recital,” reveals Alex. “Plus we have a few other little surprises up our sleeves.” If you’d like to find out what, do go along to their next concert on Sunday… CODA present their concert with Florian Mitrea at Rose Hill School on Sunday February 18 at 3pm. Tickets cost £13 for members and £17.50 for non-members. To book, and for more details, visit www.codatw.co.uk
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
going ut Seven days of activities at a glance WEDNESDAY Roma Sharpe, who will be 90 this year, is an amateur artist and she is currently holding her first solo exhibition of artwork at Trinity Theatre Gallery, every day until February 17. The show is entitled Just Journeys and is a collection of her work over a period of 50 years. The gallery is open daily from 10am to 10pm. A Spoonful of Sherman will run all this week until Saturday at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge. Celebrating a century of songs from members of showbusiness’s most famous lyricist family, it’s a must-see if you love musicals.
By Eileen Leahy
Tickets cost £16 and performance times vary. See www.boxoffice.tonbridge-school.co.uk SO Magazine award-winner Hever Castle is continuing its Living with Nature event during half term and it’s a chance for young people to discover all about conservation and local wildlife. As well as finding out about animals and their habitats, there will be workshops with the RSPB and a self-guided Wildlife Detective walk. For further information, call 01732 865224 or see www.hevercastle.co.uk If you think it’s time to get back to basics and meet new people face to face, not from behind a
STEAM INTO THE RAILWAY WORLD At Tonbridge Model Railway Club’s Annual Exhibition
screen, then why go along to The Bedford’s new speed-dating events being held in its Vale Vault bar? Rather fittingly, the first one happens tonight, Valentine’s Day, from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £14.99 and include a complimentary house drink upon arrival.
The Big School’s Birdwatch is on until February 23 – an event which encourages children to get out and about and look for different varieties of bird then submit their findings to the RSPB. Half term is the perfect time to get involved. For more information, visit www.rspb.org.uk Go Ape at Bedgebury has reopened for spring and it’s an ideal activity for the children to get stuck into this half term as it’s both exciting and adventurous. Children must be aged ten years plus and be at least 1.4m tall in order to participate in this tree top adventure, where you can swing through the trees like Tarzan and fly through the sky on a zip wire. For tickets and timings, visit www.goape.co.uk If the rain puts paid to any trips in the great outdoors, then worry not as the area’s only trampoline centre, located in Tonbridge, is a great alternative activity when the weather doesn’t want to play ball. Jump In, located on Morley Road, offers toddlers to teens a variety of different packages, which include an hour’s BEE AWARE Friends of Grosvenor and Hilbert park host a bee talk
jumping time from £7 (for the under 5s). For more information, visit www.gojumpin.com
FRIDAY From 1pm until 4.30pm, the Friends of Grosvenor and Hilbert Park are hosting Bee Our Friend, an event where you can learn all about this humble insect and also have a go at making your own bee crafts, including a clay bumblebee and hive from natural materials. Taking place in the Hub, it’s suitable for all ages and a donation of £1 is suggested towards materials. No booking needed. The Claquer Improvisation group presents their Making It All Up show this evening at the King Charles the Martyr Church in Tunbridge Wells at 7.30pm. It reveals the secrets of improvisation and the successful way to perform spontaneous theatre. Tickets cost £10 on the door or £8 in advance. For further information, email: email@example.com
Today the Tonbridge Model Railway Club’s 37th Annual Exhibition takes place at the Angel Centre from 10am until 5pm. There are over 30 working layouts, demos and experts on hand to answer questions. Tickets cost £6 and £1 for children aged 10-16. For more details, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tonbridgemrc.com
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
FLIGHTS OF FANCY Youngsters can enjoy Living with Nature at Hever
IT’S A DATE On Valentine’s night at The Bedford’s Vale Vault bar
PICK OF THE WEEK:
Tonbridge Philharmonic Society Tonbridge School Chapel, Saturday February 17, 7.30pm
The Tonbridge Philharmonic Society present their much anticipated orchestral concert, which includes the following pieces: Copland’s Fanfare for the common man, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Shostakovich’s Symphony No 7 Leningrad. They are performing in the atmospheric surroundings of the Tonbridge School Chapel and will be conducted by Matthew Willis. The performance starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £16 for adults, £15 for senior citizens over 60, £8 for students and under 12s go free. For more information, see www.tonphil.org.uk/tickets
Located in Bough Beech near Chiddingstone, Bore Place is hosting a basket-making workshop today and tomorrow from 9.30am to 4.30pm. No previous experience is necessary and the course will be run by an expert – Bore’s underwoodman, John Waller. For prices and to book a place, visit www.boreplace.org
West Kent ivc is a social group that meets on a regular basis and enjoys visits to historical places and the seaside as well as going out to eat, going ten pin bowling and to the cinema. For more information, please call 0844588482, email: contact@ westkentivc.org.uk or visit www. westkentivc.org.uk Currently showing at Tonbridge School’s OBS gallery is the Flow expo. It is a wonderfully rich selection of ceramics, paintings, installations and photographs, and children are welcomed along to take part in the show’s special activity trail. Entrance is free and it can be viewed every weekend from 12noon until 4pm until March 4. For more information, visit www.tonbridge-school.co.uk/obsg Penshurst
JUMP FOR JOY Visit Tonbridge’s trampoline park
Place’s Enchanted Gardens Trail finishes today. So if you haven’t been along yet then now is your chance to explore the stately home’s magical forest and hidden secret garden rooms as you traverse the 11-mile trail – which is dotted with concealed characters and clues. For tickets and timing details, visit www.penshurstplace.com The Merry Opera Company performs two shows of The Marriage of Figaro today at the Opera House in Tunbridge Wells. The times are 2pm and 8pm and tickets start from £19. See www. merryopera.co.uk
MONDAY All this week you’ll have the opportunity to catch The Oast Theatre’s performance of The Game’s Afoot (or Home For the Holidays) by Stuart McCreadie. This comedy spoof meets a good old whodunit is set on Christmas Eve in 1936 at the home of an actor famous for portraying Sherlock Holmes. Try to keep up as you work out who is dead and who might be as the hilarious plot unfolds. Tickets cost £10 and £7.50 for members and can be purchased at www.oasttheatre.com
The Shelved exhibition is now running at Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery until April. It’s a collaborative project between bookbinder Tracey Rowledge and silversmith David Clarke. Funded by Arts Council England as part of the second
development stage of the Cultural & Learning Hub in Tunbridge Wells, the artists have spent time going through the museum’s collections and library archives, as well as various items sourced from charity shops and items reworked by townsfolk to give them new aesthetic value.
For more information, see www.tunbridgewellsmuseum.org Trinity’s latest art exhibition is entitled A Cut After The Rest and showcases the work of local photographer Claire Dominic. As well as a selection of her photos, she will also be exhibiting lino cuts. See www.trinitytheatre.net
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
THE BEAU NASH TAVERN Mount Ephraim Open all day, free entry, music from 8.30pm till late Saturday Rooster Tail
THE ASSEMBLY HALL THEATRE Crescent Road Details of all events and tickets available at www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk Monday The King Is Back (Elvis Tribute)
live music With Paul Dunton
The must-read guide to what’s on musically for the week ahead… www.paulduntonandguests.com
S WE move into mid-February, the good news is there are a host of excellent gigs and concerts to be enjoyed as we edge closer to spring. For a romantic music experience this Valentine’s night, renowned pianist Iain Rae will be at The Grey Lady Music Lounge, and the fabulous Lyrae duo – comprised of Lianna Jeffery and Jennifer Maslin – will be at The Trading Post offering an enchanting mix of their classical meets pop repertoire. There are some great other midweek outings on offer, with the internationally renowned guitarist Juan Martin performing at Trinity Theatre this Thursday evening. Popular local singer and violinist Charley Blue will be at The Spa Hotel this Friday, and for fans of alternative music, make sure you
catch Desert Mountain Tribe and Mother’s Cake at The Sussex Arms basement on Friday night. The following evening you can catch Raised by Raptors, Operation Kino and Artifacts all in action there. There are lots of other excellent acts to see on Saturday, including Riff Raff at The Royal Oak, The Violet Jive at The Trading Post, Rooster Tail at The Beau Nash Tavern and Hammell on Trial at The Bedford. Why not close out the weekend in style with some wonderful acoustic music at The Grey Lady on Sunday evening with revered local guitarist Sean de Burca headlining? The way he plays is a truly amazing sight. Support comes from The Wonderists and Mya PB. For fans of folk music, the excellent Alan Austen and Linda Smith will be at The Tonbridge Folk Club this Monday evening.
THE GREY LADY MUSIC LOUNGE
Tuesday Guy Sharpe, Alex Van, Emily Izen Row
The Pantiles Doors 7.15pm, entry £6/£7 Websites www.pdag.co.uk & www.thegreylady.co.uk Wednesday Valentine’s Evening with Iain Rae Friday Soul Kitchen Saturday Project 5 Sunday The Wonderists, Mya Pb, Sean de Burca
Church Road Details of all events and tickets available at www.trinitytheatre.net Thursday Juan Martin
THE BEDFORD 2 High Street Open all day, free entry, music from 8.30pm till late Saturday Hammell on Trial
THE ROYAL OAK Prospect Road Open all day, free entry, music from 8.30pm till late Saturday Riff Raff
THE SUSSEX ARMS BASEMENT Sussex Mews Open all day, entry charge may apply, music from 8.30pm more information at www.twforum.co.uk Friday Desert Mountain Tribe, Mother’s Cake Saturday Raised by Raptors, Operation Kino, Artifacts Sunday The Sad Song Co
THE PUNCH & JUDY
5 Culverden Down Open all day, free entry music from 8pm Wednesday Lyrae Duo Saturday The Violet Jive
11 St Stephen’s Street, Tonbridge Open all day, entry charge may apply, music from 8.30pm Tuesday Pete Webb Band
ST PETER’S UPPER CHURCH
TONBRIDGE SCHOOL CHAPEL
Pembury. Full concert details at www.cantiaci.org.uk Saturday Cantiaci Vocal Ensemble at 7.30pm
Tickets: £16 Adults, £15 Concessions over 60, £8 Students. Children under 12 free. Tickets from the TPS Box Office www.tonphil.org.uk/tickets Saturday Tonbridge Philharmonic: Shostakovich at 7.30pm
THE SPA HOTEL Mount Ephraim Open all day, free entry, music from 8.30pm, booking for dining recommended on 01892 520331 Friday Local & Live presents: Charley Blue (Valentine’s Special)
TONBRIDGE FOLK CLUB
THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS FORUM Event information at www.twforum.co.uk Saturday Boogie Nights Sunday Art 31 (2pm-6pm) Monday Pale Waves, Our Girl, BLOXX
THE TRADING POST
Sean de Burca
The Flying Dutchman, Hildenborough Hat collection with a contribution of £7 (£5 concessions) is suggested. Music from 8pm, all welcome. More information at www.tonbridgefolkclub.org Monday Alan Austen and Linda Smith
Food & Drink
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Think pink on
Valentine’s Day As romantic fever takes hold, our wine expert, James Viner, rounds up his best buys to add plenty of fizz to all the fun
CLINK TO ME ONLY… You can’t beat bubbles for that dream date
PERFECT PINK PARTY TRADITIONAL METHOD FIZZ
1. Château de Chamteloup Crémant De Loire Rosé (£7.99, Aldi) If you’re on a budget, you can still enjoy five-star fizz courtesy of this Aldi offering. Pulsating with stunning red fruits and roses on the bouquet and offering a stylish and silky palate, this ace traditional method sparkler stimulates your senses and is certain to work wonders if you pour it for your Valentine. At this price, it’s far better than any cut-price rosé Champagne and a splendid partner to a red fruit panna cotta or warm chocolate cake. 100% mouthwateringly perfumed cabernet franc. Great for party hosts. Alc 12%
THE ONLY WAY IS KENT, WINEMAKER VICTORIA ASH
2. Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2013, Kent (£29.99-£35.99, SimplyWines Direct and Waitrose) You may well wish to disregard Champagne and favour a bottle from the heart of the Kentish countryside to toast your sweetheart. 2013 marked the tenth spectacular vintage release of Balfour Brut Rosé, a sophisticated elite wine with rather more chardonnay in the blend than pinot that’s alive with summer berry, freshly baked bread and gentle spice flavours. It’s at once fleshy, yet focused and tense – just the amorous ticket for smoked salmon, turbot in a creamy sauce or fishy canapés. Ravishing stuff. Alc 12%
BENCHMARK, MOUTH-FILLING NON-VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE
3. Pol Roger Champagne Brut Réserve NV, Épernay (£34.99 offer at the Co-op and widely available; £22, 37.5cl, The Wine Society) Pol Roger was just 18 when he founded his Champagne house in 1849. The white foil Brut NV is a vinous bullseye made from around 30 still base wines chosen from at least three vintages (equal parts chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier). All toasted brioche, hazelnut, ginger nut biscuit and white peach, underlaid with soft spices. Spot on for sushi, oysters, cold lobster mayo, scallops wrapped in prosciutto, gougères, fish and chips or Thai dishes. A real standout when I tasted it again recently. Top marks. Alc 12.5%
SYBARITIC ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA
4. Taittinger Brut Champagne Prestige Rosé N.V (£35-£37.75 offer Tesco/ Waitrose; £21.99, 37.5cl, Wine Reserve) This graceful, racy and deep pink-coloured rosé makes for a beautifully poised apéritif and is sure to be an outstanding appetiser for your Valentine’s celebrations. It fizzes with wild strawberry and raspberry loveliness; there’s also a bit of spicy/toasty richness. A scrumptious pairing for fruit-based desserts, sushi, dim sum, Cantonese, salty snacks and canapés. They don’t come more seductive than this. An altogether luxurious choice and a very tasty treat for your privileged loved one. Tantalising offer. Alc 12%
Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine
Win Wines served at the EE BAFTA Film Awards Courtesy of Champagne Taittinger and Villa Maria Q. “What is the name of Taittinger’s sparkling wine project near the village of Chilham in Kent?” On February 18, the stars of the film world will come together to celebrate the best in film at the EE British Academy Film Awards 2018. To celebrate the occasion, we are offering Times readers the chance to win an exclusive BAFTA-labelled bottle of Champagne Taittinger Brut Réserve NV and Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2017 as well as Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2016 – the exact same wines that guests will be enjoying during the BAFTA awards ceremony evening. Champagne Taittinger and Villa Maria’s partnerships
with BAFTA pay tribute to their support and love of the arts. Taittinger is the only leading Champagne house to remain owned and actively managed by the family named on the label. Taittinger is widely available, see www.taittinger.com and @TaittingerUK Villa Maria has been New Zealand’s most awarded winery for more than 30 years and remains proudly family-owned. Villa Maria wines are widely available from all good retailers. Visit www.villamaria.co.nz and @VillaMaria_UK TERMS & CONDITIONS: Entrants must be 18 or over and must provide a mainland UK address and telephone number for delivery. For more information, visit www.bafta.org.
Food & Drink
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
INGREDIENTS: (Serves 4)
12 medium-sized fresh scallops, removed from their shells 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for dressing the salad 100g/31/2 oz pancetta cubes 4 tablespoons chardonnay, viognier or other full-bodied white wine
The food of love… The perfect dish to serve up this February 14
2 tablespoons fish stock or water 1 tablespoon double/heavy cream or crème fraîche
Cooking scallops is a bit like cooking a steak. You can sear them, then make a delicious dressing with a dash of wine mingled with the pan juices
To make the parsnip crisps, cut off the root end of the parsnip to leave a piece about 10 cm/4 in long and 3-4 cm/11/4-11/2 in wide at its narrowest point. Using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, shave off very thin slices.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper FOR THE PARSNIP CRISPS 1 medium parsnip, peeled
Fill one-quarter of a wok with vegetable oil. Heat the oil until very hot, about 190˚C (375˚F), or until a cube of bread turns golden in 40 seconds.
Vegetable oil for deep-frying sea salt
READER OFFER: Wine Lover’s Kitchen is available to Times readers for the special price of £11.99 including postage & packaging (rrp £16.99) by telephoning Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quoting the reference LY6. Published by Ryland Peters & Small.
Pour off the fat from the frying pan/skillet, then return the pan to the heat for about 1 minute until almost smoking. Add the scallops to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on their thickness, turning them over halfway through. Remove them from the pan, set aside and keep them warm.
Pour the white wine into the pan and let it bubble up. Continue cooking until the wine has reduced by half. Add the fish stock or water and keep the liquid bubbling until it has reduced to just over a couple of tablespoons.
Add the parsnip slices and fry in batches for about 30-60 seconds until brown and crisp. Remove the crisps with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Recipe courtesy of Wine Lovers Kitchen
Warm scallop salad with crispy pancetta and parsnip chips METHOD:
About 80g/3 oz mixed salad leaves
Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan/skillet, add the pancetta cubes and fry for about 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, then set aside and keep warm.
Pour any juices that have accumulated under the scallops into the pan, stir in the cream or crème fraîche and season to taste with salt and pepper. Warm through for a few seconds, then remove the pan from the heat.
Divide the salad leaves between four plates, drizzle with a little olive oil and season lightly. Scatter over the pancetta cubes and the parsnip crisps.
Put three scallops on each plate, spoon over the pan juices and serve immediately.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
The multiple faces of
Croatia A hot pick for 2018
DUBROVNIK The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, above and below
here are the best places to visit in Croatia?
This is a big question, and in answer there is no best place, just the right place for you. If you are the type of person who likes beaches and coastal relaxation, the Croatian islands or Makarska Riviera could be the best choice. If you’re looking for some charming seaside towns, the Istria Riviera is the place to go. And without a doubt, Dubrovnik holidays have something for everyone – nice beaches, culture, rich history and easy access to other cities. Wherever you choose, a visit to Croatia is likely to leave you with lasting memories and a yearning to return for more.
‘When thinking of Croatia, beaches often don’t spring to mind immediately, yet travellers are still flocking there in search of beach holidays’ There are no rail services in Croatia, and for those who don’t want to take a bus, it limits you to getting around by car. Thanks to a favourable exchange rate, you can get a lot further for your money by car than you would in, say, Italy or France. Ferry travel is increasingly frequent, making a multi-centre in Croatia much more feasible. There are a huge number of routes, including Split-Dubrovnik, Venice-Pula and Rijeka-Split, easily connecting the main coastal areas.
When is the best time to visit Croatia?
The months of May, June, September and October are the best time. Croatia’s coastline follows a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. Although, be prepared – availability of the best hotels is limited in June and September, so best to book ahead. When thinking of Croatia, beaches don’t often spring to mind immediately, yet travellers are still flocking there in search of beach holidays. In reality, the beaches are mostly shingle, rocky platforms or imported sand. But you’ll find a few beach gems to add to a multi-centre holiday. Rab island is great and Banje Beach, a mix of pebbles and sand, located in the heart of Dubrovnik. The town of Omis is an attraction in itself. The long golden beach has made it very popular. Croatia’s most famous beach, Zlatni Rat, is a
MOORING UP The harbour in Split
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
seafood specialties prepared in a variety of ways! Croatia also produces some noteworthy wines.
Cruising around Croatia
Discover the best of the Adriatic on your holiday with a luxury cruise. Departing from Dubrovnik, you can enjoy the best of the city before embarking on a comfortable and relaxing journey along the Adriatic coast. Cruises are eight days (seven nights) long and travel between Dubrovnik, Mljet, Hvar, Bol, Split, Brac Island, Makarska and Korcula. The motor cruisers have a fully qualified captain and friendly, attentive crew. You will receive dinner on the first night, plus breakfast and lunch each day in the ship’s restaurant, prepared by on-board chefs. There are also complimentary tours of Hvar Town, Korcula and Split included within the itinerary. When time is not being spent sightseeing and exploring the delightful Croatian towns along route, why not just relax on the cruiser’s sun deck equipped with sun loungers and enjoy the ever-changing views?
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD Makarska Beach
distinctive tongue shape surrounded by azure waters. It is on the island of Brac, a 50-minute ferry journey from Split. It boasts gorgeous pinefringed beaches, isolated bays and the highest peak of the Croatian islands (Vidova Gora 778m). And its many towns have delightful cobbled streets, romantic squares and an indulgent selection of good bars and restaurants.
Multi-centre holidays – where to go?
Your options are endless. You can easily hop on a ferry to Italy or cross the border to Montenegro or Slovenia. Popular locations such as Pula, Makarska, Dubrovnik and Split make picking one destination a hard task. Not to mention the Ariatic islands and stunning national parks! One perfect combination would be a holiday in Split paired with a city break in Dubrovnik. This multi-centre holiday matches the two best cities together for a delightful trip away. Such a holiday would give you a real taste of Croatia’s history
and culture, as well as a good dose of relaxation. If travelling for a week, we recommend you spend four days in Dubrovnik to see the sights, then hop on a ferry to Split for three days relaxing by the sea. Split boasts some beautiful beaches and several historical sites. In the evenings the delightful harbour is lit up by restaurants and waterfront bars. Dubrovnik, also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, is top of the list for most visitors to Croatia and it’s worth spending some time there. Discover the walls of the ancient old town, dive into the warm soothing sea, and take the cable car high above the city for spectacular views.
The utmost compliment is paid by Italians visiting Croatia for fantastic seafood and excellent local wines. Coastal areas are heavily influenced by Mediterranean flavours and feature delicious
SEEING THE SIGHTS By cable car (above) and on a cruise
Look Good, Feel Good
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
A timeless scent is every glamorous goddess’s staple. Jo Malone fragrances can always be relied on to last and make you smell gorgeous, but instead of going for an old favourite why not try its new Rare Teas range? Rare Teas Golden Needle, £165 (75ml), www.jomalone.com
If your skin is prone to break out after a glass of bubbles, then make sure you have this silky powder foundation to hand as it will help to balance and even out your skin’s complexion and get it glowing again Achieve instant movie star appeal by wearing your hair in a chic chignon. This product by revered hairstylist to the A-List Sam McKnight is described as being like ‘20 hair pins in a can’
This is the perfect piece of make-up as it covers all bases when it comes to looking good on the go, and will squeeze into even the smallest of handbags
Easy up-do hair texturising product, £25, available from www.sammcknight.com
Charlotte Tilbury Every Woman’s Instant Beauty Glow, £89, available from Fenwick and John Lewis, www.fenwick.com www.johnlewis.com
Foundation, £18, available in three shades, Pixi, www.pixi.com
Red carpet ready With the BAFTAS taking place this weekend, now is a great time to perfect that show-stopping Hollywood look. Here’s the cosmetic kit you’ll need to do it…
Avoid a make-up mishap and freshen up wherever you are by always having a packet of these on you. The French skincare brand counts Victoria Beckham and Rosie HuntingtonWhiteley among its celebrity fans Bioderma Sensibio H2O micellar wipes, £7.20, www.boots.com and www.feelunique.com
A slick of scarlet on your lips will complete your celebrity look, but make sure you try out a few tones in order to complement your skin colour. This one by Zoeva suits most complexions and has great staying power Luxe matte lipstick in Futuro Red, £11.80, www.zoevacosmetics.com
Send your beauty updates to: email@example.com
Look Good, Feel Good
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Get the look:
PRETTY IN PINK Pale pink collarless blouse, £32, Principles by Ben de Lisi, www.debenhams.com
Every week in the Look Good, Feel Good pages of theknow we bring you the latest fashion trends and accessories. Eileen Leahy lifts the lid on the items every professional woman needs in her wardrobe
IN THE NAVY Navy Ponte Skirt, £55, Laura Ashley, www.lauraashley.com
BAG THIS Michelle Keegan Winged Tote, £95, Littlewoods, www.littlewoods.com
LOOK SHARP Harper skirt and Adeline top, both £89, available with accessories from Fenn Wright Manson, www.fennwrightmanson.com
SEE THE SUNNY SIDE Tortoiseshell sunglasses, £8.99, New Look, www.newlook.com
IT’S A SHOE-IN Nude 3 strap-barely-there sandal, £55, Lipsy London, available from www.next.co.uk and www.asos.com GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES Gold hoop earrings, £7.00, M&Co, www.mandco.com
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Renault The RS arrives with a lot of hype – can it live up to it? Jack Evans gives it a whirl… WHAT IS IT?
The Megane RS has been one of the most crucial hot hatches for some time. With its predecessors regarded as some of the finesthandling hatches of all time, the new car has a lot to live up to – but Renault hopes that, thanks to a range of new technologies and chassis enhancements, this version will be the best yet. But there are more competitors than ever for it to take on, making its job even trickier.
There’s quite a lot going on beneath the muscular styling. We’ve now got four-wheel steering, a powerful turbocharged engine and – enthusiasts rejoice – the choice of either a dual-clutch automatic or six-speed manual gearbox. Renault says this model features more influence from its learning in motorsport than ever before. Engineers from the firm’s F1 team even helped with developing the engine, ensuring it was as responsive as possible. The exterior has also been beefed up, as have the chassis and brakes. In all, it’s designed to be the most involving Megane RS yet. There’s a choice of either Sport or Cup chassis, too, with the former more road-ready
and the latter aimed at those who want to use their Megane on track.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET?
The 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine is the same as the one you’ll find in the Alpine A110 sports car. As mentioned, two transmissions are available. However, the biggest change comes with all-wheel steering – a first for the segment. At speeds of up to 37mph, both the front and rear wheels turn in the same direction, affording the car better high-speed stability. At low speed, they move in opposite directions, and this means it can turn more sharply than with a conventional set-up.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
A hot hatch needs to be sharp, nimble and, most of all, fun. In most respects, the Megane ticks these boxes. The 1.8-litre engine feels punchy at low speeds yet has a willingness to be revved out, too. It sounds characterful enough, though only when switched into all-out ‘Race’ driving mode. In regular modes it’s pretty muted. The handling is sharp and the four-wheel steering makes it particularly agile in the bends – and it’ll happily begin to rotate
Megane RS on a lifted throttle, but it never becomes scary or difficult to drive. But there are some niggles – the gearshift paddles are mounted a bit too high on the steering wheel, while the brake pedal lacks a degree of bite in the first inches of travel.
HOW DOES IT LOOK?
Despite being based on a run-ofthe-mill hatch, the RS manages to look impressive in the metal. The arches have been fleshed out at both the front and rear, while small touches such as air vents behind the front wheels and a large hexagonal exhaust surround help differentiate it from the regular Megane. Certainly, there were few people on our test route who didn’t stop to stare – and that’s exactly the effect hot hatches should have. The RS moniker has always been an indication of truly sporty cars, and enthusiasts instantly recognise the level of tuning and mechanical enhancement it represents – a feature that can’t quickly be attained but has to be earned over time.
WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE?
The sports seats are hugely comfortable with plenty of support and adjustment, while the seating position is spot-on. The materials are decent enough, with only a few low-rent plastics on the dashboard and around the infotainment system spoiling the overall effect.
A hot hatch needs to be usable on a daily basis, so it’s handy that the RS features both decent rear-seat legroom and a large boot. It means users won’t get caught short in terms of practicality.
WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?
The Megane benefits from quite a lot of standard equipment. Central to the cabin’s design is the large 8.7-inch infotainment screen, which houses satellite navigation and media functions. One of the cleverest functions it features is the RS Monitor. This allows drivers to connect a dash cam or smartphone to the system and film their laps on track. Then, the car’s in-board telemetrics can overlay details such as speed and G-reading on to the footage, which can then be uploaded to the internet. The screen itself looks good, but small icons make it a little hard to navigate and input a destination.
The Megane RS is a bit of a mixed bag. The engine, chassis and ride are impressive. The 1.8-litre unit is responsive and pulls hard through the rev range, while the Sport chassis is just well judged enough for the road. The infotainment system and paddles do bring things down. But it is still a huge amount of fun to drive – and that’s one thing you need with a hot hatch.
FACTS AT A GLANCE: MODEL AS TESTED:
Renault Megane RS ENGINE: 1.8-litre
turbocharged petrol POWER: 276bhp TORQUE: 390Nm
MAX SPEED: 155mph
UK drivers warned over fake ‘ghost’ insurance THOUSANDS of motorists in the UK could be driving uninsured vehicles without realising it because of scams by ‘ghost brokers’, police have warned. A national campaign by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department [IFED] has been launched to make the public aware of con merchants who are using social media to trick motorists into buying fake insurance policies. The City of London Police Action Fraud crime reporting centre received more than 850 reports linked to ‘ghost broking’ between 2014 and 2017. Individuals and organisations lost around £631,000 in total, with each victim being cheated out of an average of £769. The IFED took action against offenders in 417 reported cases, including a man who made £59,000 as a result of ‘ghost broking’. But the department believes the number of unreported cases could be much higher, as a result of motorists being unaware of their illegitimate policies.
Say ‘Hey’ to Mercedes MERCEDES-BENZ has unveiled its new A-Class hatchback with a host of fresh features, calling it the ‘benchmark’ of the compact class. The firm has given this fourth-generation an aggressive facelift with a lowered front end, new grille, longer and wider wheelbase, and larger wheel arches for a more spacious feel. Intelligent voice control features for the first time in the German brand and can be activated using the phrase: ‘Hey, Mercedes’. This can control destination input, phone calls, music selection, messaging, weather forecasting and climate control. The A-Class is available with either a 1.4 or 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, with 161bhp and 221bhp respectively, or 1.5-litre (114bhp) diesel engine.
0-60MPH: 5.6 seconds MPG: 40.3 (combined) EMISSIONS: 158g/km PRICE: £30,000 (est)
Don’t risk excessive cost MOTORISTS opting for a large voluntary excess on their car insurance could be taking an unnecessary risk, new research suggests. An investigation by price comparison site uSwitch found that the average annual premium with a voluntary excess of £1,000 was £318 – just £12 cheaper than policies with a £250 excess. It means motorists could face being liable for an extra £750 of damage in the event of a claim for a saving of just £1 per month on their insurance. The research also found the average cost of an annual premium was the same with a £1,000 voluntary excess as it was at £500, meaning motorists were risking a high excess for no reward.
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
CHARGE UP GP Batteries’ new Lithium-Free TRAV O SAFE is the Safer & Smarter Travel Charging Solution, £24.98, www.uk.gpbatteries.com
IN FOCUS: This clever smartphone magnifier will enlarge your phone’s pictures and movies as well as your viewing pleasure, £24.95, Cuckooland, www.cuckooland.com
DEEP THOUGHTS Take your picture to another level courtesy of this clever and inexpensive underwater camera, £60, Debenhams, www.debenhams.com
Must-have gadgets State of the art technology Every week in theknow we’ll bring you the latest tech and clever time-saving gadgets and widgets to make your life easier, more enjoyable and often fun. Eileen Leahy picks her top tech essentials IN TUNE Listen to music wherever you are with the Move R3, personal DAB+/FM radio, £89.99. Available in a choice of two colours, from www.Pure.com
THE MULTITASKER The Midland ER300 Radio features a powerbank, torch, SOS Beacon and Ultrasonic Dog Whistle, £59.95 www.nevadaradio.co.uk
RING THAT TONE The Honor 7X offers a genuine affordable smartphone alternative from £269.99, www.hihonor.com or Amazon
SEE THE LIGHT Quiet Mark, the international award programme for excellence in low-noise technology and solutions, offers the Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 700 Wake up to Daylight Light, £149.99, from John Lewis. For more information on Quiet Mark, visit www.quietmark.com
LISTEN UP THX Luna home audio system, available in signature Edifier red and black, £399.99, www.edifier.com
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB TODAY â€“ A MUST READ FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR WORK LOCALLY
OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS AND TONBRIDGE
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
A B C D E F G H I J K L MNO P Q R S T U VWX Y Z 25
2 6 5
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.
2 4 9 4 7 1 3 2 1
5 9 8 5 4
To complete Sudoku, fill the board by entering numbers 1 to 9 so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains every number uniquely.
9 6 3 5 6 2 7 1 3 8 4
8 1 5
© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles, Inc.
© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles
DIFFICULTY RATING: ★★★I
LAST WEEK’S SOLUTIONS
SUDOKU & JIGSAW SUDOKU
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
G Y P S U M H O E E E S R E E M E R S T E M O M I S M I M I P R EWA R T R B E N V I E D F X O L I D I P R I M S N O R A I NWA S G E L E Q U I T Y S
I P L G E A C O L C O S A J T E E T R
H O P O S T U R A P T E D O R S I L T I A Z Z R Z I O K E
2 1 7 6 9 4 8 5 3
8 5 4 7 1 3 6 9 2
9 3 6 2 5 8 7 4 1
5 7 8 3 4 2 9 1 6
6 9 2 8 7 1 5 3 4
1 4 3 5 6 9 2 8 7
7 8 5 4 3 6 1 2 9
3 1 2 6 9 5 8 4 7
4 9 3 8 2 7 5 6 1
7 2 6 5 8 3 1 9 4
4 6 1 9 2 5 3 7 8
3 2 9 1 8 7 4 6 5
8 7 5 1 6 4 9 2 3
2 3 9 4 1 8 7 5 6
9 4 1 3 7 2 6 8 5
6 5 8 7 4 1 2 3 9
5 8 7 9 3 6 4 1 2
1 6 4 2 5 9 3 7 8
© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Kicking off the Six Nations in local style It’s that time of year when rugby fans the world over flock to their nearest stadium, pub or living room to witness ‘rugby’s greatest championship’ unfold. Read on to find out everything you need to know about enjoying the Six Nations tournament where you live
Six Nations fixtures and TV schedule ROUND THREE France v Italy – Orange Velodrome (Marseille) Friday February 23, 8pm, BBC Ireland v Wales – Aviva Stadium (Dublin) Saturday February 24, 2.15pm, ITV Scotland v England – Murrayfield (Edinburgh) Saturday February 24, 4.45pm, BBC
ROUND FOUR Ireland v Scotland – Aviva Stadium (Dublin) Saturday March 10, 2.15pm, ITV
ROUND FIVE Italy v Scotland – Stadio Olimpico (Rome) Saturday March 17, 12.30pm, ITV
France v England – Stade de France (Paris) Saturday March 10, 4.45pm, BBC
England v Ireland – Twickenham (London) Saturday March 17, 2.45pm, ITV
Wales v Italy – Principality Stadium (Cardiff) Sunday March 11, 3pm, BBC
Wales v France – Principality Stadium (Cardiff) Saturday March 17, 5pm, BBC
Raising the (cross)bar Sam Westlake, director of Framptons Café Bar and Kitchen in The Pantiles, tells us how they’re planning on getting into the sporty spirit for the duration of the tournament In what ways will you be celebrating the Six Nations this year? Rugby fans are in for a real treat at Framptons this Six Nations! We’ve put together a special bar menu, which will run alongside our usual offering. Our famous Tank Beer is always popular, alongside an enviable selection of premium spirits, cocktails and soft drinks. We also serve really great coffee, roasted specially for us by Caravan Roasters. How do you plan on showing the matches? We’ve set up an HD projector screen, so everyone will get a great view of the action. Which of the games will you be playing? We’re showing all of the matches, so whoever you support, come along!
What would be your meal of choice during rugby season? That’s a tough one! We’ve given careful consideration to the menu throughout the tournament, focusing on artisan, healthy and seasonal local food. Steaks and burgers also make an appearance, and fans watching later matches can graze on sharing platters of fish or charcuterie, local venison with garlic mash, confit of duck
and an ever-changing chef’s special – and for the purists, there’s even a chicken and mushroom pie! For us, though, I think it has to be a Framptons burger and a pint of Moretti. Will you be supporting any particular team this year? We’re huge rugby fans, so wish all of the teams the very best of luck, but go England!
Where to watch in and around Tunbridge Wells Don’t want to miss any of the action? Then make your way to one of these five favourite local pubs and bars to make sure you don’t miss a single second Framptons Café Bar and Kitchen 2 The Pantiles Tunbridge Wells Kent TN2 5TJ 01892 530 819 www.framptons bar.co.uk
The Royal Oak 92 Prospect Road Tunbridge Wells TN2 4SY 01892 542546
The Bedford pub 2 High Street Tunbridge Wells Kent TN1 1UX 01892 578 538 www.thebedford tw.co.uk
The Old Vine Cousley Wood Road Wadhurst TN5 6ER 01892 782271 www.theoldvineinn. co.uk
Saint John’s Yard 66 St John’s Road Tunbridge Wells Kent, TN4 9PE 01892 619 376 www.saintjohns yard.com
Please send sports stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
SDW youth section makes strong impression in cyclo-cross league By Julian Fussell CYCLING: THE Southborough & District Wheelers have completed a successful cyclo-cross season with the club’s youth section recording some excellent results and placing well in the season’s final league tables. The club has flourished under the guidance of Bruce Sandell, who passed British cycling level CX qualifications earlier in the year. He and fellow club coach Alan Oakley have been able to secure excellent training facilities to support the development of the club’s younger riders. SDW were well represented across the youth category races, competing
for 30 minutes on the full adult courses, at times carrying their bikes across the cold and muddy courses. In the final season tables, Theo Sandell finished third out of 44 riders in the Under-10 boys; in the Under-12 boys Jamie Scriminger was well placed in 14th; Bryony Fishpool was sixth in the youth female section, with Felix Todd 14th, Maurice Tate 17th and Todd Purchas 19th in the youth male league; Cameron Preece recorded an impressive sixth place in the junior male section. More information about club rides and activities can be found at www. southborough-wheelers.co.uk
FINE SEASON Theo Sandell finished third in the Under-10s out of 44 riders
LEARNING CURVE Bryony Fishpool and Maurice Tate compete in the youth league
Wells recover from poor start to extend lead at top Bournemouth 2 Tunbridge Wells 5 By Francis Bridgeman HOCKEY: TUNBRIDGE WELLS came away from the south coast with victory after a poor start, and a slip-up by second-placed Banbury saw Wells extend their lead at the top of South Premier League Division Two to six points. The Dorset side had frustrated Wells in the corresponding fixture in October, coming away with a draw. So the visitors were determined to take all three points from this game, their longest away trip of the season in the league. The driving rain and cold weather were pretty
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
miserable – and Wells seemed to have brought this with them as they started poorly. Within 20 minutes, Bournemouth had earned themselves a two-goal lead. This seemed finally to galvanise the visitors into action and in quick succession Harry Roberts and Ben Brandt scored to equalise by the break. A stern half-time talk from player-coach Ben Allberry saw Wells come out for the second half up in fighting form at last and they started to play the sort of hockey that has taken them to the top of the division.
A good cross from Kyle Mathieson early on gave Allberry the chance to apply a delicate diving deflection to give Wells the lead for the first time.
Sizeable lead Although there were few clear-cut chances, a penalty corner for the visitors saw Chris Pelmore convert smartly and double Wells’ lead – which was extended further as Allberry notched his second late on to secure a 5-2 win. With Banbury slipping up at Trojans, whom Wells had beaten the previous weekend, Wells have a sizeable lead in the table with six games remaining. Wells will be taking nothing for granted, however, as those remaining games are against sides at the higher end of the table. Next they entertain West Hampstead at Kent College, Pembury this Saturday (February 17, 1.30pm start) while the two sides immediately behind them play each other on the same day.
Ladies denied by goalmouth scramble Upminster 1 Tunbridge Wells Ladies 0 HOCKEY: TUNBRIDGE WELLS Ladies narrowly lost at Upminster in a hard-fought contest but they remain third in East Region Division One South as other results went their way. The visitors fell behind in the second half to a goalmouth scramble with Upminster somehow bundling the ball over the line. Wells were unable to find the goal they needed to earn a point. The ladies’ leagues now take a break, before Wells will hope to get back to winning ways when they travel to Brom Becks on February 24.
PHOTO: Adam Hookway
TJs shut out by table-topping Cinderford
PLEASE RELEASE ME Jack Mutch sends the ball to the backs
Cinderford 26 Tonbridge Juddians 0 By Adam Hookway RUGBY: HAVING faced third-placed Redingensians Rams and second-placed Chinnor in their last two games the encounter with table-topping Cinderford was always
going to be a tough task for TJs. Though they were unable to get on the scoreboard, the visitors mounted a valiant full 80-minute effort against a home side of some size, speed and dexterity. Cinderford are yearning for a return to
National One, and now boast a 10-point lead with eight games remaining. They were the first side to shut TJs out completely since their own promotion to National Two South. Cinderford dominated possession and
only allowed Tonbridge Juddians to cross the home 22m line once all game. Cinderford were 19-0 up at the break and the bonus point try came early in the second half. TJs had hit everything that moved for much of the game but Cinderford always seemed to be on the front foot and able to create in close quarters. Their scrum had a ON THE definite edge and CHARGE too many scrum Hugo Watson penalties had TJs on carried well the back foot with two tries coming from penalties to the corner followed by lineout catch and drives. The fact that TJs kept going for the full 80 minutes without taking a backward step was impressive. Ryan Jackson continued to do the hard yards alongside captain Mike O’Sullivan in the front row and defence. Scrum-halves Jack Mutch and Charlie Edwards enjoyed the close
quarter work and Hugo Watson carried well alongside Finlay CoxonSmith, who is starting to put himself about. TJs’ best run of the game was a defensive gather by Ryan Redman to set up two attackers and race 40 metres into Cinderford’s half. After their tricky run, TJs move on to a home game against a resurgent Worthing on Saturday (February 17, kick-off 2.30pm)
Wednesday February 14 | 2018
Nisbet and Ebbage dominate County Championships SWIMMING: TONBRIDGE Swimming Club’s juniors were given a splash of inspiration ahead of their County Championships at Crystal Palace when they received a surprise visit from Olympian Ross Murdoch, the Commonwealth Games 200m breaststroke champion. Erin Nisbet, 12, was just out-touched at the wall in the girls 13 years 100m butterfly final and had to settle for second place. This impressive swim sees her now ranked second in the Southeast region. She added a further two silver medals in the 200m fly and 100m breaststroke. Caitlin Ebbage took bronzes in the 100m fly and 100m breaststroke behind Erin, then went one better with second place in the 200m breaststroke. She had been hugely successful over the first two weekends of the Kent championships, defending her 2017 titles in style.
the 400m and 800m freestyle events, recording a six-second personal best (PB) in the latter to be ranked third in South-east region. Then she won the 200m freestyle, though by a narrow margin, but powered to victory in the 200m backstroke to win by 15 seconds and post a new long-course PB of 2min 25.00sec.
DEEPLY MOVED: Olympian Ross Murdoch attends a Tonbridge training session In the gruelling long-distance events in round one, she once again won the girls 13 years 400m Individual Medley, in which the swimmers have to do 100 metres of each of the four strokes, but-
terfly, back, breast and freestyle. Erin claimed an excellent fifth in her first attempt at the event in the long-course 50-metre pool. Caitlin also retained her crowns in
This time placed her fourth in the open age group and maintained her British No 1 ranking for her age group. She also defended her title in the 100m event. The Tonbridge team mates dominated the girls 13 years 100m freestyle race from the first stroke. As fastest qualifiers, they turned together at the 50-metre mark but Caitlin just got the edge coming out of turn. Erin continued to fight to the last stroke and the
pair powered to first and second places. Josh Prendergast, 11, swam in the boys 12 years 400m freestyle in his first ever County Championships but didn’t let his nerves get to him as he powered to fourth place with a 14-second PB. Debuting in the 1500m in a longcourse pool, he blasted to a 20-second PB and earned a South-east regional base qualifying time. The boys 14 years 200m breaststroke saw Ollie Isaacs have an epic battle with fellow Kent Weald team mate Brandon Harris. The latter led the pack until the last 15 metres, when Ollie made his charge and just out-touched Brandon to take third place on the last stroke. There were impressive debuts at county level Tonbridge’s Holly Geake (12), Noemie Thomson (14), Ellis Kottas (14), Charlie Brice (10) and Ruben Antelo-Cowley (10).
Welcome win for Angels as Bantick runs the show Tonbridge Angels 2 Staines Town 1
By James Rowe FOOTBALL: WITH their season in danger of falling flat, Tonbridge Angels achieved a timely victory over a Staines side who had been pushing hard for the play-offs. Despite the defeat the visitors showed they will continue to challenge for a part in the end of season shake-up. But it was Tonbridge that took the honours with a determined defensive display and by taking the few chances they created. New recruit Paul Kalambayi, on loan from AFC
PHOTO: David Couldridge
CLOSE CONTROL Sam Bantick shows his skills
Wimbledon, went straight into the centre of defence alongside Sonny Miles, which allowed Craig Stone to move into a holding midfield role. As a result there was a more secure look to the Angels formation. Staines were on a five-match winning streak in the Bostik League Premier while the hosts had lost their last three games, and the opening exchanges went to form. Staines laid siege to the Tonbridge goal and after nine minutes they deservedly went ahead when following four saves in quick succession from Angels keeper Jonny Henly, eventually Daniel Brown managed to fire the ball high into the roof of the net. It looked as if it was going to be a long afternoon for Tonbridge but they got themselves back into the game when an excellent free-kick delivery from Sam Bantick gave an unchallenged Alex Akrofi the opportunity to head past Conor Hudnott in the Staines goal. This spurred the Angels on to take a more assertive
role and on 23 minutes Bantick forced a terrific save out of Hudnott. Just a minute later the same player drifted out to the left and unleashed a shot which this time Hudnott couldn’t deal with and Tonbridge found themselves in front. The rest of the half was a fairly even affair and as chances were created, the expectation was that the game would produce more goals. The second half saw more possession for Staines but they came up against a resilient Tonbridge defence who worked well as a unit, with plenty of support. Henly was called into action one more time to make a save in the 79th minute from the always willing Buchanan. At the other end Alex Akrofi was a constant threat and provided a welcome outlet to take the pressure off the Angels defence. In the closing stages Staines poured men forward in an effort to get something from the game but the Angels rearguard held firm. Angels manager Steve McKimm was full of praise for his team, saying: “The effort the boys put in today was brilliant. “Staines are a good side and they showed plenty of that but the boys deserve praise for the way they applied themselves against a strong forward line and took their
chances when they came. “They have come in for some recent criticism but today they answered that in emphatic fashion.”
DEFENSIVE STEEL THE Angels’ defence has been bolstered by the arrival of Paul Kalambayi (pictured), who joined the AFC Wimbledon Academy from Brentford in 2015, and signed a professional contract with the Dons the following year. The 18-year-old made his senior debut for the League Two side when he came on as a substitute in an EFL Trophy group stage match at Barnet which Wimbledon won 4–3. He arrives on a one-month loan. “I’m looking forward to Paul enjoying equal success with other AFC Wimbledon loanees that we have had here at the club in recent seasons,” said manager Steve McKimm.