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River gathering goes ‘swimmingly’

MAIDSTONE’S “boat gathering” proved a resounding success, with more

than 100 boats mooring along the Medway for a day of fun and frolics. Medway River Boaters refused to be sunk after organisers of the River Festival decided to pull the plug on the annual waterborne gala and set about organising their own event, spreading the word through friends, family and social media. A Facebook page drew almost 4,000 hits in a week. With some boats gathering a

week before the event and a sun- filled start to the school holidays, Mark Smurthwaite, one of the or- ganisers, couldn’t have been hap- pier. He even got a mention from Chris Evans on Radio 2. Mark said: “We didn’t receive one bad comment – just lots of praise. The atmosphere was awe- some.

“It was just phenomenal. For something that wasn’t ‘organised’ it went swimmingly. There was a great atmosphere with old friends meeting up and a lot of laughs.” Town centre manager Bill Moss

Heroes remembered

A DELEGATION from Maidstone is on its way to France as part of the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I. Councillors Brian Mortimer, Dan

Daley, Gordon Newton and David Pickett are visiting the French village of Montauban in the Somme, to lay wreaths in memory of the many soldiers who died fighting for our freedom. Coxheath held its own

13 Cllr Brian

Mortimer with medals won by his grandfather, Sgt William Mortimer, in World War I

Tax on the up

INCOME tax payers in Maidstone are seeing their bills rise faster than the average rate for the UK, ac- cording to a survey. In Maidstone, taxpayers pay an

average of £5,520 a year, an increase of 8% over five 36

OAK AND PINE The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 August 2014 No. 208 News School scheme off

MAIDSTONE Council turned down a plan for 220 homes on the playing fields of New Line Learning Academy.

Head passes away

TRIBUTES were paid to MidKent College principal Sue McLeod, who died from a brain tumour.

Motorists beware

WILLINGTON Street will remain closed till August 31 to enable the repair of road damage caused by the wet winter.

19 Companies boost

MAIDSTONE is showing solid signs of economic growth, with more businesses opening and fewer closing.

said he would fully support a sim- ilar event next year and Mark and the other organisers, Matt Holness and Brian Ashdown, from Little Venice in Yalding, are rallying sup- port from members of the council. Mark said: “I’ve no idea why the council doesn’t support this event – it brought loads of people into town, who spent lots of money.

There are plenty of businesses along the river which stand to ben- efit and, with a bit of sponsorship, it could be even better.”

Mark (55), from Boughton Monchelsea, who moors his 25ft cabin cruiser at Yalding, believes the town’s shops and busi- nesses stood to profit hugely, with many boaters24

24 Letters cost £12,600

COUNCIL apologises for correspondence “error”. 25

Allington protection NEW homes refused. 30

Comment Obituaries

46-47 34

32 Crime Reports 37

THIEVES made off with solar panels from the roof of Hunton Village Club in West Street.

Parish Councils 37-47

CLAIMS of anti-social behaviour were made about church visitors at Chart Sutton village hall; work was to begin on a revised traffic calming scheme in Coxheath; reasons for banning dogs on East Farleigh recreation field were ex- plained; rabbits and poppies were going head-to-head in Egerton; puddles were collecting on a footpath in Hunton; John Perry stepped down as Staple- hurst chairman due to borough commitments.

6 4

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