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Remembrance Au pair hanged herself in park


hall opens MAIDSTONE’S Vinters Park Crematorium celebrated its 50th anniversary with the opening of a new Book of Re- membrance Hall. The hall was opened by cabinet member Cllr Marion Ring at an event for funeral directors. The crematorium, owned


and managed by Maidstone Council, opened in autumn 1962. Almost 84,000 crema- tions have taken place at the site since then. The Book of Remembrance


Hall has the capacity to house three books of remem- brance, and there are eight areas in the crematorium where ashes can be strewn, as well as burial sites for ashes. Cllr Ring said: “We strive to ensure cremations are as pleasant an experience as they can be under the cir- cumstances. The memorial areas and the Book of Re- membrance Hall are tranquil areas for remembrance and reflection, and we’re very proud of the staff at the cre- matorium and the facilities we provide.”


Village set for


French link HOLLINGBOURNE’S summer fete will have a French theme in 2013 to mark the village’s twinning with a community near Lille, in northern France. Parish council chairman


Mike Bedwell is hoping to or- ganise the twinning before the fete on June 15, possibly with the town of Templeuve. The fete on the Lance Memorial Field,will be preceded by a pa- rade of classic cars, and it is hoped these will be joined by 2CVs and a very rare 1924 Cit- roen Biarritz. Members of the parish council travelled to Templeuve in De- cember, to further the talks, and met mayor Luc Monnet and members of the town council. They were taken on a tour of


the town saw the historicwind- mill and visited the Jules Verne primary school.


A POLICE officer heard over the force radio that the body of her children’s nanny had been found in Maidstone’sMote Park. Detective Constable Kinga Hammersley thought her Hun- garian-born au pair, Laszione Peto, had gone to visit her daughter in London, but the 55- year-old, who had a history of mental problems, had hanged herself in the park where she used to take her young charges. Mrs Hammersely said: “I was


at work and heard it come over on the police radio.” A Maidstone inquest heard


that Mrs Peto, amother-of-three, ofWillington Street, Maidstone, had been working in England but returned to Hungary for medical treatment. She had suf- fered psychological problems and had made her employer aware of a suicide attempt about


10 to 15 years ago. Her daughter Susanna said:


“Her illness meant she some- times felt victimised and when things went against her, she re- acted more dramatically.” Mrs Peto was found hanging


from a tree by a jogger at about 8.30am on Sunday, June 24, about a week before she was due to return to Hungary. Mrs Hammersley said she was happy with Mrs Peto, who was like a grandma to her young children, and regarded her as a friend. However, Mrs Peto was due to leave her job at the end of July because the family no longer needed childcare. Mrs Peto was last seen on the evening before her death as she left the Hammersleys’ house and walked towards the bus stop. The inquest heard her be- haviour had changed in the last


few days and she had become irrational about a money issue. Mrs Hammersley had tried to reason with her and thought it was a misunderstanding that couldbesortedout.“Ijust thought she needed to calm down for a couple of days and then come back and get her things. I had no reason to think she would do what she did”, she said. Mid Kent and Maidstone as- sistant deputy coroner Gail Elli- man confirmed the cause of death was suspension with chloroquine poisoning as a con- tributory factor, and said Mrs Peto’s diagnosis was not clear as she was only ever treated in Hungary. Recording a verdict that the au pair killed herself, she said: “Changes in her men- tal health do indicate to me that she intended to take her life.”


Nursery flying the kitemark


STAFF from Pennies Day Nursery, Newnham Court, have won the Kent Quality Kitemark (KQM). Pennies’ manager Michaela


Muller, who accepted the quality as- surance award at the Ashford Inter- national Hotel, said: “Thiswasateam effort and all our staffwere involved. We had to prove commitment to change, especially within transition for children fromone stage of educa- tion to another.”


Synthetic green boost for bowling club


BEARSTED and Thurnham Bowling Club, which is based in Church Landway, Bearsted, has been given permission to re- place its existing grass surface with a synthetic exterior. Club chairman Grahame Har-


ris wrote in a letter to Maid- stone Council: “Playing opportunities are severely re- stricted by our conventional grass playing surface, limiting playing time to barely five months of the year. “Except for the most extreme weather conditions, an artificial green will be available for 12 months of the year,without any restrictions or concerns about excessive wear.”


ASHEPWAY primary school that received a damning Ofsted report last year is improv- ing, according to inspectors who visited re- cently.


Greenfields Community Primary School,


in Oxford Road, was rated satisfactory, which means improvement is still required before it can become a good school. How- ever, inspectors highlighted a number of strengths and improvements made since the last visit. Teaching had improved since the inspec-


tors visited in March last year, as a result of newly-appointed head teacher Dan An- drews motivating staff and pupils to do


24 East


The club’s scheme was given planning consent after receiving support from bowling govern- ing bodies, county, borough and parish councillors, as well as neighbours Bearsted Woodland Trust, the Scout group and ten- nis club.


Maidstone Council chief ex- ecutive Alison Broom wrote in her supporting letter: “I have no hesitation in supporting a club which is actively seeking exter- nal funding to help develop and improve its club facilities…for all members of the local com- munity, including those who are disabled or disadvantaged.” The bowling club is now at- tempting to get planning per-


their best, the report said. There were good relationships between pupils and the school’s dedicated, enthusiastic staff, and pupil attendance had improved since the last inspection. Pupils with disabilities and special edu- cational needs received good support from teaching assistants, and teachers marked books regularly and discussed their com- ments with pupils, helping them improve. Teaching still required improvement, however, as it did not adequately challenge average and above average pupils and not enough progress wasmade by children, par- ticularly in English and maths.


mission for eight floodlights mounted on six columns. “The columns would match


that of our neighbours, the Bearsted and Thurnham Tennis Club, both in terms of height and colour. The luminarieswill be much less bright,” wrote Mr Harris. “The installation would be painted green to match those at the tennis club and to blend in with the surroundings. Itwould enable greater participation of our sport by extending play dur- ing twilight and darkness. Lighting would not be used after 10pm.” Maidstone Council will deter- mine the latest application.


Ofsted inspectors note progress at primary school


Inspectors said the school should strengthen leadership and management by providing a support programme to develop teachers’ skills, tracking pupils’ progress more effectively and training governors to challenge senior leaders. Mr Andrews, who was appointed in Oc-


tober after being deputy head and acting head, is proud of the school’s progress. He said: “In March 2011 we had an inad- equate monitoring inspection so to have progressed to a grade three from that point is fantastic. I amso proud of all the staff and children and I have no doubt Greenfields will be a good school.”


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