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Great Day Out THE CBeebies Mr Bloom & Friends’ Big Day Out event in Mote Park recently was a big hit, with around 18,000 visitors at- tending over three days. Maidstone Council’s cabinet member for community and leisure services, Cllr John Wil- son, said: “The CBeebies Big DayOut was a fantastic event for all the family, and we’re de- lighted the BBC sawwhat a per- fect venue Mote Parkwould be. “Congratulations to the offi-

cers at Maidstone Council, and the Mote Park volunteers, who worked exceptionally hard.”

Prison overcrowded MAIDSTONE Prison has been named in a national report on overcrowding. It found that 58 inmates were sharing cells originally de- signed for one. East Sutton Park had no prob-

lem, according to the research by theHoward League for Penal Reform.

Family portrait A BEHIND-the-scenes tour of Maidstone Museum uncovered a special find for one lady. MaryWaugh got to see a por-

trait of her great, great grandma Emma on a visit to the mu- seum’s archive. The chalk portrait, by Ford Madox Brown, was part of the museum’s Heritage Open Days.

Council meetings on screen

CITIZEN journalism hasmade it into the council chamber. New rules have been brought in to make coun-

cils more transparent and accountable to their local communities – which includes allowing meetings to be filmed, tweeted and blogged. Communities secretary Eric Pickles has intro-

duced the new national rules – alongwith a brief- ing booklet – which allows members of the public to now film meetings of local authorities and their committees. Discreet filming which does not disrupt pro- ceedings is to be encouraged, according to Mr Pickles, who said: “We recommend that those wanting to film liaise with council staff before the start of the meeting and, as a courtesy, atten- dees should be informed at the start of the meet- ing that it is being filmed.” A Maidstone Council spokesman said: “Maid-

stone Council webcasts all meetings so our de- bates and meetings are available for all to view. The ability to tweet, blog and film meetings is

A MAIDSTONE hotel is well on its way to hitting its £2,000 fundrais- ing target for Breast Cancer Care. Staff at The Mercure Maidstone

Great Danes Hotel have already raised £1,100 through a variety of activities. The most recent saw general manager Dominic Di Cara secur- ing 63rd place with the Mercure team in the Brighton Falmer Triathlon. The Mercure was a main spon- sor of the event and whileDominic

DownsMail Business Focus

Looking after your nest egg? don’t move, improve… with Kestrel Home Improvements

KESTREL has recently arrived from Sundridge as a well-established business priding itself on quality and exceptional service. Mark Ramsey, the proprietor, bases his sales philosophy on listening – not lecturing – and by paying careful attention to what the customer needs. Together with his sales partner Kes Kneller and fitter Wayne Dalton, you can be assured of a professional service from installation to completion of windows, doors and conservatories that are designed to suit your lifestyle.

Between them, the members of staff have over 60 years’ experience in the home improvement industry. All work is covered by an insurance backed underwritten guarantee with no hidden clauses, adhering in all respects to the Government body FENSA’s rules and regulations.

simply an extension of what we do anyway and is to be welcomed.” Although Mr Pickles said councils could rea- sonably ask for filming to be undertaken in such a way that is not disruptive or distracting to members and officers, there was nothing to pro- hibit filming of meetings. He added: “Council meetings are public meet-

ings. Elected representatives and council officers acting in the public sphere should expect to be held to account for their comments and votes in such meetings. “The rules require councils to provide reason-

able facilities for any member of the public to re- port on meetings. Councils should thus allow the filming of councillors and officers at meetings that are open to the public.” The new rules also facilitate social media re- porting of meetings – which means bloggers, tweeters, Facebook and YouTube users, and in- dividuals with their own website, should be al- lowed to report meetings.

Charity target gets a boost from hotel

Richard Coupland (commercial development manager) took on the swim and run elements. The trio are pictured left, after the event. Other fundraising activities

took on the cycle leg of the chal- lenge, his colleaguesDuncanBev- erage (company secretary) and

have included a strawberry after- noon tea organised by Exquisite Spa at the hotel, which saw a number of guests attending such as members of the public, the Mayor of Maidstone and breast cancer specialists from Maid- stone Hospital.

We don’t employ high pressure salesmen.

For more information please call the number below or call in for an informal chat.


Kestrel Home Improvements 22 High Street, Snodland ME6 5DF

See how you can enhance your home adding value to your property. Call: 01634 241236 Visit: Email:

You can e-mail the Downs Mail — East 27

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