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Looking forward to brighter Christmas


THERE will be two separate Christmas light switch-ons in Maidstone. The main switch-on, to be performed by the Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Clive English and the cast of the Hazlitt pan- tomime, will take place in Ju- bilee Square at 6pm on Friday, November 15. The High Street will be closed to all traffic from 4.30pm to 7pm. Last year’s “futuristic” tree (pictured) is going to be placed in Lower High Street,where the new paving should be com- plete, while this year’s new tree – standing 10 metres high – will be the focal point of the celebration. The secondwill take place on Thursday, November 21 at Fremlin Walk to mark the be- ginning of the late night shop- ping season. The council set aside more


than £74,000 from last year’s budget underspend for Christ- mas lights improvement and the scheme has been extended to bring sparkle to more areas of the town centre. As well as a dramatic display planned for Jubilee Square and the upper High Street, there will be new decorations in St. Faith’s Street, Mill Street, Med-


Volunteers clear ponds


VOLUNTEERS donnedwaders at ChilstonPonds, near Lenham, and took the plunge into an historic ice pond. Theaim wastore-


move some of the veg- etation to prevent the pond from becoming covered with reed mace and other weeds. This is goodnewsfor


the protected great crestednewts that are found in the pond, as they need open water to perform their courtship ritual, which is key to the survival of the species. Some of thewillowtrees on the island in themiddle of the pondwere


way Street, the station end of Week Street, High Street, Bish- opsWay and Fairmeadow. These improvements will re-


place the last of the old lights with low-energy LED lights, a project that started in 2007. Union Street, Pudding Lane,


the upper and lower High Street, and Barker Road will have the old lights replaced with low energy displays. There will be ongoing attrac-


tions for late-night shoppers in Fremlin Walk, including the likelihood of an appearance by


Make your Christmas Magical, with a visit to The Reindeer Centre


Old and young alike will enjoy visiting Santa’s Magical Grotto. Walk through six animated festive scenes; children will then have their very own special encounter with Father Christmas alongside some of his “Trusted Reindeer Friends”. Every young visitor receives a quality wrapped gift, while adults will enjoy soaking up the atmosphere and tucking into a complimentary mince pie.


ALL UNDER COVER


FREE PARKING


No pre-booking required


FAMILY ATTRACTIONS 3 Straw Bale Ball Pit 3 Snow (fake) Play Area 3 Elf entertainers 3 Christmas "Passports" 3 Bouncy Castle and Play Area


3 Gift Shop - Large Animal corner


OPEN 16TH NOVEMBER UNTIL 24TH DECEMBER - 10AM - 4PM PRICES FROM £7.50 To £15


Capralama Farm, Bethersden, Ashford, Kent, TN26 3EQ FOR FURTHER DETAILS VISIT: www.reindeercentre.co.uk 01233 820545


22 East


also cut down to create a more diverse habitat and to provide a clear viewof the historic ice house from the entrance of the park. Mike Phillips, of the Mid Kent Downs Countryside Partnership, which organised the day, said: “It’s really encouraging to see people who care so much about the places where they live. This sort of positive action takenby the Heaths Countryside Corridor is inspirationalandshowswhat can be donewhen a communityworks together.” ChilstonPonds formed part of the Heritage Lottery FundedWandering


andWondering project. The next volunteer day is on Saturday, November 2, and all are wel-


cometowadeinandhelp. Contact theMidKentDowns CountrysidePart- nership on 01303 815170 for more details.


Cancer charity’s call for help MARIE Curie Cancer Care needs volunteers in Maidstone to bank money put into its collection tins in the area and to come upwith new places to put them. The charity provides nursing support at home for those with terminal illnesses. To help, contact community fundraiser Fiona Dodd, on 01622 230745, or email fiona.dodd@marie curie.org.uk.


Excel Yachting Next Course Dates


RYA Yachtmaster/ Coastal Skipper Theory. (11 to 18 Nov) £365 per person


RYA. Day Skipper Theory (5 days intensive) 19 to 25 Nov £325 per person


RYA VHF / DSC. SHORT RANGE CERTIFICATE Radio Course, 7 Dec £85 per person


CEVNI (One day course Including Assessment) (Just refresher course £50.or Just assessment £25) GILLINGHAM MARINA, 14 Dec £75 per person


NAVIGATION OR METEOROLOGY - DAY SKIPPER OR YACHTMASTER LEVEL- DO YOU REQUIRE A ONE DAY OR MORE, REFRESHER COURSE WILL DO GROUPS PRICE NEGOTIABLE !! Available until DECEMBER


IF YOU DO NOT SEE A COURSE THAT FITS WITH YOUR AVAILABLE TIME.


JUST GIVE US A CALL AND WE WILL TRY AND MAKE ONE FIT, WE’RE HERE TO HELP!!!


** All practical sailing courses are held in conjunction with Prosail/Outreach


e: excelyachting2@aol.com www.excel-yachting.co.uk www.excel-yachting.co.uk/dates_booking


t: 07710 647966 Have you got news for us? Phone our News Desk on 01622 734735


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