This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. They are the champions!

David is given Freedom of the Borough

FORMER leader of Tonbridge and Malling Council, David Thornewell has been honoured with the Freedom of the Borough for his many years of dedicated service.

David, aged 64, who served on the council for 39 years until 2011, was its leader from 1995 to 2003 and then continued as leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group.

Margaret Robinson and Malcolm Wickenden of Maceys Meadow team

THE team of volunteers who have transformed Maceys Meadow from a neglected rubbish-filled cherry orchard have received an accolade for their efforts.

They have been named as Environmental Champions by Tonbridge and Malling Council in a scheme that recognises people for “going the extra mile” to improve their neighbourhood.

The 20-acre site now includes an apple orchard with special old varieties, a cherry orchard, nut plat, mixed woodland, Jubilee wood and a green space for general use. Many of the trees in the woodland were sponsored by local people in memory of a loved one.

There are also two pastures where sheep graze and children love to see the new-born lambs every year.

Dedicated volunteers have learned many new skills, including hedge laying, and two members have installed owl and song bird boxes.

The team is also celebrating success in getting through to the second round of bidding for a Heritage Lottery Fund project promoting community orchards.

Larkfield litter pickers Sarah Cole, Sarah M’Grady and Claire Dobson

Also receiving awards as Environmental Champions from the outgoing mayor Cllr Brian Luker were West Malling street cleaner Pete Gardner and the Larkfield Litter Pickers.

Pete was praised for

being helpful, bright and cheerful, and so conscientious that even cigarette butts out of plant tubs go in his sack.

The litter pickers were congratulated for making a big impact in Larkfield with three major clean-ups.

West Malling street cleaner Pete Gardner

As chairman of East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council, he remains devoted to local issues and takes a keen interest in the countryside and planning matters. He leads walks for the Ramblers Association and is a Correspondent for the Open Spaces Society.

After being presented with his official vellum scroll, he said: “This is a great honour”, and quipped: “If this was the Freedom of London, I would have the right to take my sheep across London Bridge. If that was the same locally, I would have to take them across Aylesford bridge.”

*Also honoured for their distinguished service to the borough were Liberal Democrats John Clements and David Lettington who were created aldermen.

John was first elected to represent Aylesford in 1995, and then Larkfield North from 2003 to 2011.

David was first elected to Tonbridge and Malling in 1995 as the youngest councillor in the country at 21 years and 60 days. At the time, eligibility for office was 21. He represented Larkfield South until 2011.

Portas Town bid – give us your views

SHOULD West Malling have its own traffic warden to ease parking problems, and would you like loyalty cards for shopping locally?

How do YOU think the town could be improved?

Malling Action Partnership is working with the Chamber of Commerce on the possibility of entering a bid to obtain Portas Town funding and would like to hear the views of local people.

Shopping guru Mary Portas is behind a new grant scheme offered by the Government to help bring new life to High Streets.

As well as a traffic warden and loyalty cards, suggested improvements for West Malling include a park and ride service, perhaps from the station; a scheme for refurbishing neglected shop fronts; restaurant tokens to be collected to get a free meal.

Another possibility was the creation of a town team of businesses and parish council to plan improvements for the town centre.

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