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Fewer people looking for work

THE number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in Maidstone has dropped, ac- cording to latest figures released by the Of- fice of National Statistics (ONS). The number receiving JSA has fallen by 214,500 since this time last year, including 66 in Maidstone, a fall of 3.2%. Across the UK, the number of unem- ployed people in the UK dropped by 18,000 between June and August. The newswas welcomed by politicians of

all parties in the town with Maidstone Council leader Chris Garland, a Conserva- tive, saying: “A combination of an improv- ing national picture for the UK economy

Closure after owner’s death

THE HENGIST restaurant in Aylesford High Street has closed sud- denly fol- lowing the death of its owner.


man Paul Smith (43) was found dead at his home in the village. An inquest into his death was opened and the cause given as suspension. With celebrity cook Richard Phillips as head chef, the Hengist had gained a wide- spread reputation as a fine din- ing venue. The restaurant had been trad-

ing until mid-September and had bookings. The building was put on the market for £180,000-£200,000 and was due to go to auction at Kent County Showground on October 31. Mr Smith, of Rochester Road,

was the founder of Regal Es- tates sales and lettings agency. He had been instrumental in a number of business ventures covering financial services, es- tate agency, designer retail out- lets, restaurants and pubs. A tribute from former col- leagues at Regal Estates said he was “a larger than life charac- ter who could not help but be the life and soul of any situa- tion he was involved in”. Mr Smith had not owned the firm for some time.

and the proactive approach that this coun- cil has taken, in partnership with local busi- nesses, to focus on helping to create a positive environment for Maidstone busi- nesses, is now beginning to bring rewards through more jobs becoming available for local residents. “The council must continue on the path

of economic development to complement and support this government's desire for economic growth and job creation. There are few things worse for a family or an in- dividual than being out of work, with no prospect of work.” His sentiments were echoed by Jasper

THE Heart of Kent Hospice has appointed a tem- porary chief executive to oversee the charity’s af- fairs pending the recovery of Kate Bosley. Vicki Morrey has been brought in on a tempo-

Gerard, Lib Dem spokesman for Maidstone and the Weald, who said: “The fall in peo- ple claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in Maidstone and the Weald is a hugely wel- come sign and shows that our economy is recovering with people returning to work.” But he warned “We must remain focused

on creating jobs and ensuring that all hard- working people benefit from the recovery.” Mr Gerard said that Lib Dems in Govern-

ment had helped to create a million jobs and over a million apprenticeships. “Jobs are crucial to building a stronger economy in a fairer society that allows everyone to get on in life,” he said.

Hospice appoints temporary chief executive He said: “The executive team kept things tick-

rary contract in the absence of Mrs Bosley, who was seriously injured in February while cycle training in Tenerife. Kate (50) had raised over £10,000 in the past for

the hospice where she worked, by participating in long distance cycling events. After spending someweeks in intensive care in

Tenerife, Mrs Bosley was flown home to Maid- stone, where she continues to recover ‘at her own pace’ according to a hospice spokesman.

FREE osteophathy is once again on offer to Maidstone residents who need it themost but cannot afford the treatment. The Boxley-based European School of Osteopathy’s teaching clinic, the ESO Clinic in Ton- bridge Road, is running its Helping Hands scheme for the fifth consecutive year. Over the past four years the scheme has helped over 85 peo- ple address difficulties with mobility, injury and discomfort through their osteopathic con- sultations and treatments. With 28 treatment rooms, including three ground floor rooms de- signed to accommodate those in wheelchairs or with mobility difficulties, the clinic is accessi- ble to all. The Helping Hands scheme is

open to all residents within the Maidstone borough and funds are allocated annually from Oc- tober 1 to September 30. There are 20 Helping Hands places available (worth over

A FORMER head boy at St Simon Stock School was put through his paces when he took part in the Tahitian Olympics. David Constable (29), from St Luke’s Avenue,

Maidstone, writes as a freelance journalist and frequently finds himself sent off to exotic loca- tions.Having been givenanassignment in Tahiti for Tatler magazine, he decided to stay on a few daysandget toknowmoreabout thePolynesian way of life, by ‘roughing it’ with local tribes. Soitwashefound himself caughtupin“Heiva

I Tahiti” – the games and celebrations for the Polynesian islands. David, who is pictured at the games, said:

“Polynesiancommunitieshavelongparticipated in island celebrations and physical activities. “The first explorers noted the importance of

ing over in the short term but it was necessary to appoint an interim CEO to manage the charity in her absence and to give Kate time to recover at her own pace and in her own time until she decides to come back – if she decides to come back.” A native of Yorkshire, Kate worked at Demelza House Children’s Hospice before returning to the HOKH where she had worked on the wards as clinical manager shortly after its opening in 1991. Vicki (56) has worked at several hospices around the UK, including Prospect Hospice, Swindon, London’s Trinity Hospice and St David’s Hospice, Newport, Gwent.

School offers free osteopathy

£150 each), giving each success- ful applicant an initial thorough consultation and up to six treat- ments at the clinic, depending on their requirements. The ESO’s head of clinic

Helen Jenkins said: “We know from the tremendous response we have to the scheme how worthwhile and successful it is for the patients. “Many people could benefit

from osteopathic treatment for ailments such as back pain and neck pain but simply find the cost prohibitive. “This scheme is aimed at

those people most in need in the local community – from ba- bies to the elderly, for whom the normal costs are unaffordable.” The clinic is now taking ap- plications for the current year. Call or email the school on 01622 685989 or helenjenk- Each application is dealt with directly and in the strictest con- fidence.

Ex-head boy’s island ‘Olympics’ challenge

thesemanifestationsandthegreat fervourPoly- nesians had for such festivities, particularly dancing and feats of athleticism.” David found the feats quite a challenge and

confessed: “I wasn't prepared for the gruelling events and my inexperience gave me away in- stantly. All the tribal bodies were the colour of walnuts, inked with tribal symbols and warrior vernacular.Mymilky limbs stood out by amile!” A few weeks before this, David was in Sal-

vador, Brazil, for the Metro newspaper and this year he has also visited Andorra, Kansas City, LA, Lisbon,Budapest,SloveniaandMontenegro. He attended St Simon Stock from 1996 to

2003and, after hisA-levels,went to university in America, before doing a masters degree at Loughborough University.

Support YOUR local paper — and we can support YOU - advertise on 01622 630330 East 45 Town Hall closure

ONGOING works to spruce up Maidstone Town Hall have moved from the outside in. Scaffolding was erected around the town centre build- ing a few months ago, while contractors cleaned the stonework, did some redecorat- ing and carried out essential roof repairs. Now, the clean up operation

has gone indoors – closing the main council chamber for up to seven weeks. Work to restore the impressive Rococo ceiling, which has been damaged by water, commenced on October 2.

Until the work is complete,

all council meetings will be held at County Hall, while committees will meet in one of the Town Hall committee rooms orMaidstone Gateway. A spokesman said: “The

work to the main council chamber completes themainte- nance programme started ear- lier in year.”

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