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Attacker jailed A MAIDSTONE man has been jailed for 10 years for stabbing a Gurkha veteran, leaving a five inch blade in his arm. Jamie Hall (39), of Fairmeadow, admitted four charges when he appeared at Maidstone Crown court, in- cluding attempted robbery, grievous bodily harm with in- tent, possessing an offensive weapon and common assault. Former soldier Taitex Phla- machha (38), who runs a gro- cery shop, was attacked at a cash machine in Maidstone, last October. The ex-Gurkha, a black belt

in karate and taekwondo, managed to overcome Hall and held on to him until police ar- rived.

A NEW youth service celebrated the formal opening of its Hedley Street office at the end of January. Young Kent was formed in Octo-

berby themergerofKentYouthand Kent Council for Voluntary Youth Services, and theMaidstone office opened in November. The charity provides support services, repre- sentation and information tomem- ber organisations and celebrates the achievements of young people. Young Kent supports clubs and groups for children and teenagers, offering leaders advice with things such as how to apply for funding

Town Hall agreement reached

VOLUNTEERS are to work with Maidstone Council to offer tourist information services from the Town Hall. Voluntary Action Maidstone

(VAM) has been based in the foyer since the Visitor Informa- tion Centre (ViC) moved to Maidstone Museum last year, but with many visitors still heading for the Town Hall, they have been handing out advice and information, as well as maps and guidance. Now, their role is to be for- malised, as part of a bid to en- hance the tourist economy. There has been an increase in visitors to the ViC since it moved to the museum, and the

Youth charity opens office

and how to complete the Disclo- sure and Barring Service (DBS) forms – the process that has re- placed theCRBcheck. The charity helps organiseactivities for young- sters in its member groups and runs youth clubs across the county. Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone

and TheWeald,was given a tour of the building by chief executive Eve Johnson and chairman Rupert Allinson. MsGrant said: “Itwaswonderful

to meet the Young Kent team and to hear about the invaluable work they do supporting young people.

Thanks to their work, youngsters havethe opportunity tokeepfitand develop important life and social skills.” Ms Johnson said: “We are de- lighted that Helenwas able to join

cost of bringing it back to the town centre would be more than £168,000 in the first year. However,with plans for the re- development of land nearMaid- stone East railway station, the perception of the town centre could change, councillors heard. Rather than relocate the ViC

again, the council has decided to work with VAM, offering train- ing and support to volunteers. VAM, which has also experi-

enced increased footfall since being in the Town Hall foyer, had been concerned that the ViC could be brought back, forc- ing them to move again. However, members said this had never been the intention.

Liz Tredget, VAM’s volunteer

centre manager, told the regener- ation and economic develop- ment overview and scrutiny committee that about a quarter of visitors to the town hall foyer were seeking tourist information and, in 90% of cases, VAM was able to assist, if only by redirect- ing them to the museum. Committee chairman Cllr

David Burton said: “The plan is for us all to work together.” It was agreed a small cross-

party working group would li- aise with VAM to see how the new objectives could be achieved and to look at how the appearance of the foyer could be enhanced.

MP Helen Grant joins the team from Young Kent at the formal opening of their

Maidstone office

us, not just to visit our new office but for the opportunity to share with her theessential supportwork wecarry out with youngpeopleand youth organisations across the county.”

Bluebell Walk Sunday 5th May

The place for plants

We are open 7 days a week 9am – 5.30pm

including Sundays & Bank Holidays

National Garden Gift Vouchers sold and redeemed

Stockists of the

free 2013 Yellow Book for Kent.

01622 737801 Ashford Road (A20), Bearsted,Maidstone, ME14 4NH

16 East

A sponsored walk through the North Downs which is in the heart of the Kent Countryside.

• Starting and finishing at Harrietsham village Hall • Enjoy a perfect day out with all of the family including the dog! The bluebells should be in full bloom.

• £10 per adult which includes a ploughman’s lunch/ £3 for children

• Refreshments and cakes available Book online at

Call 01622 790195 or E-mail All money raised is for the Heart of Kent Hospice

Visit Downs Mail’s website —

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