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‘Volunteering helped me to rebuild my life’

KATE Bosley, former chief executive of the Heart of Kent Hospice, has

spoken of her battle to rebuild her life after a serious cycling accident. She told guests at the launch of

Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) Volunteering Scheme how her world was turned upside down two years ago by the accident in Tenerife. The mother-of four was left fighting for her life and unable to continue with her job running the Aylesford-based charity.

Although her memory is badly damaged, Kate began steadily to re- cover and found that volunteering with RBLI at Aylesford helped her to rebuild her confidence and skills. She said that after the accident “it

was quite clear I wasn’t going to be the Kate Bosley that was Kate Bosley. I have lost some of my sight and get balance problems. The biggest problem I had was social iso- lation. I had been a chief executive

and now I was at home all day. It was incredibly painful and difficult for me. The biggest thing that hap- pened to me was volunteering.” Kate related how, after an initial as- sessment, she was simply asked to travel by bus two days a week to the RBLI, say hello to the staff and catch the bus home. “Giv-

ing me somewhere to go in the very early days was important. It gave me some organisational skills, I had something to do,” she said. Her next task, which she enjoyed for six months, was packing jam, be- fore she moved on to working in re- ception and then to her current role

Downs Mail wins award

THE Maidstone Legacy Award has been made to the Downs Mail and founder Dennis Fowle at the Celebrate Maidstone gala ambassador din- ner at the Hilton Hotel. Mr Fowle is pictured receiving the award from William Alexander, High Sheriff of Kent. Event chairman Neil Pattison said the 18-year-old Downs Mail was leaving a lasting legacy to benefit Maidstone, especially as a campaigning newspaper. Retired chairman and former editor-in-chief Mr Fowle, now president, was earlier one of eight speakers on Maidstone legacies and explained why there should be a close bond between a town and a respected local newspaper.

He tried to build this from 1997 when the Downs Mail circulated to about 12,000 houses in and around Bearsted up to today, with more than 80,000 copies of the four-edition publication reaching out to the Maidstone and Malling boroughs. “I wanted local residents to trust and respect the Downs Mail – to see it as a helpful friend,” he said.

8 dealing with paperwork.

She said: “It is quite clear I would be sitting at home, depressed and unhappy if I had not done volun- teering with RBLI. I hope it goes two ways, and that I will be able to help them; that it will develop and that I will be able to give more back.” Kate (52) became the hospice’s chief executive in 2007 and, as a keen cyclist, raised more than £10,000 for the charity in long distance cycling events. The accident happened dur- ing a pre-season cycle training trip in February 2013. She spent two weeks in intensive care in Tenerife before being taken to Maidstone Hospital. The cause of her accident is a mys- tery as there were no witnesses and Kate cannot remember it. Volunteer for the RBLI

13 KCC weighs

up lorry parks KENT County Council has failed to rule out using the site of the now closed Aylesford Newsprint as a large lorry park for Operation Stack. KCC wants to relieve congestion on the M20 corridor when periods of bad weather or strike action in France force the closure of the Chan- nel Tunnel.

Currently, the coastbound motor-

way is closed between two junctions when Operation Stack is imple- mented, but KCC wants at least one dedicated parking area for lorries to enable traffic to flow freely. The 38-hectare


Newsprint site, which closed in Feb- ruary, is being considered by KCC for this purpose.

A spokesman for KCC said the au- thority shared Tonbridge and Malling Council’s aspiration for em- ployment at the site, but would only go as far as to state that it does not form part of any lorry park- ing plans “at the moment”. 3

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Inside this edition:

WEST Malling School has been given an outstanding rating. For details, see the four-page supple- ment by Malling Action Partner- ship, which supports people, businesses and events in the 11 parishes in the Malling area.

May 2015 No. 217 News Town sport success

MAIDSTONE’s rugby and foot- ball clubs have been celebrating winning their respective league titles.

No halfway house

A CHARITY has pulled out of converting a former pub into homeless accommodation after a price increase. 4

Election blues

TONBRIDGE and Malling Council remains a stronghold for the Conservatives, who won 48 of the 54 seats.

10 NHS trust under fire

STAFF at local hospitals face court proceedings after the death of teacher Frances Cappuccini.


17 30

Crime Reports 34 Parish Councils 42-43

CARS were blocking access to a defibrillator in Addington; low footfall at the village library was discussed in East Peckham; anti- social driving was taking place in the Asda car park in Kings Hill; an appeal had been lodged against a Freedom of Informa- tion decision in Leybourne; changes to a bus timetable were requested in Ryarsh.

Comment 46-47 43 3,6

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