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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, who lives in Weavering, 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

isolation. I had been a chief execu- tive and now I was at home all day. It was incredibly painful and diffi- cult for me. The biggest thing that happened to me was volunteering.” After an initial assessment, Kate was simply asked to travel by bus two days a week to the RBLI, say hello to the staff and catch

the bus home. “Giving me some- where to go in the very early days was important. It gave me some or- ganisational skills,” she said. Her next task, which she enjoyed for six months, was packing jam, before she moved on to working in reception and then to her current

role 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 raised more than £10,000 for the charity in long distance cycling events. The accident happened during a pre- season cycle training trip in Febru- ary 2013. She spent two weeks in intensive care in Tenerife before being taken to Maidstone Hospital. The cause of the accident is a mystery as there were no witnesses and Kate cannot remember it.

Downs Mail wins award LibDemFran

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 (pictured, right), 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 June 2015 No. 218 News NHS trust in court

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

Charity decision

VOLUNTARY Action Maidstone may change its name to reflect the fact it now has many projects throughout Kent. 6

Finders to go online

KENT Police will no longer take in lost property and has told people to instead use social media to contact owners.

Council elections

LIB Dems put in respectable showing but Tories remain largest party.20-21

Prison future doubt

EAST Sutton Park has been praised for its work but threat of closure remains.34

Comment 30-3146-47

leads council MAIDSTONE Council has a new leader. Just a year after Conservative Cllr Annabelle Blackmore took over the reins of the hung council, she has been ousted from the post – by a sin- gle vote from the Labour member who sought to succeed her. Labour Cllr Malcolm McKay launched a surprise bid for the lead- ership after the recent election results returned another hung council. He said: “Everyone assumes the

leader will be a Conservative or a Lib Dem. But it hasn’t worked in the past, so why should it work in the future. I amoffering a real


THE decision to demolish the Russell Hotel has been criticised.

Crime Reports 31

A SCAFFOLDING tower and Royal Albert 12-piece tea set were among items stolen.

Obituaries 36-37 Parish Councils 46-47

A WARNING was sent out to footballers in Chart Sutton; money was saved on painting parking bays in East Farleigh; a walking bus scheme was poorly supported in Hunton.

Cricket club has chemical threat

MINDLESS vandals could have put paid to the future of a 200-year old cricket club, by pouring weedkiller on the cricket square and wickets. Yalding Cricket Club was already struggling to find players and funds. Now it once more faces an uncertain future – with a pitch which is un- playable. Police are investigating the criminal damage while the English Cricket Board is checking for soil contamination. Full story – page 4

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