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Pumptrack plan makes progress

MORE than 500 people are now backing a campaign for a cycling pumptrack in Maidstone or Mid Kent.

Mountain biker Mike Jordan reg-

ularly travels to a track at Hawkinge and believes something nearer the county town would be a great boon for stunt cyclists. Pumptracks allow bikers of all

kinds to put their wits and skills to the test on a purpose-built track. It can cost between £40,000 and £60,000 to build a pumptrack – plus the cost of the land. Mike (27), from Tovil, initially ap- proached Maidstone Council but has now been told no land is avail- able, so he has widened the scope to look at sites within 10 miles of the county town. He said: “Having a track near the

town is a big improvement over the nearest track being 40 miles away. Consequently,we will be contacting Ashford Council and Tonbridge and Malling Council, to put forward the proposals and enquire whether they have suitable sites.” He said: “Allwe need is a patch of land about 30m by 30m andwe can

work on fundraising and making it a reality.” Mike has approached a number of

developers in a bid to convince them to incorporate a pumptrack into future housing plans, as part of their requirement to provide green space and recreational areas. He said: “Several of them have shown interest and said they will discuss incorporating them into fu- ture projects, so that’s good news.” Heis stillwaiting to hear from the Cobtree Trust about whether there is a suitable space at Cobtree Manor Park, but in the meantime he has set up an informal mountain bike club called Invicta Gravity Riders, with the intention of becoming a regis- tered sports club. The club has been given steward-

ship of the old Red Bull Track that was built in Mote Park in 2010, and has been authorised by Maidstone Council to carry out repairs. Mike said: “This is a positive step

and hopefullywe'll be able to work on improving mountain-biking op- tions and facilities across the county, improving Kent's appeal as a cy- cling destination.” Veteran award for Shaun

A FORMER serviceman has received a national award for helping fellow veterans meet the challenges of adjusting to civilian life and work. Shaun Maloney (pictured), head employability coach and specialist

trainer at Aylesford-based Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), was honoured for his work in helping to change the lives of hundreds of service leavers. He was chosen to re- ceive the award because of his commitment in developing and delivering the RBLI’s Life- Works courses, increasing them locally and nationwide and expanding them to sup- port military spouses and part- ners and veterans serving in prison. He received the individual

award for excellence in support of service leavers at the inau- gural Nationwide Resettle- ment Awards ceremony in Manchester. Delighted Shaun said: “I’m

overwhelmed to receive the award and to have been chosen from so many other dedicated people. As a former member of the Armed Forces, I know how daunting it is when you leave. It’s like leaving your family and sometimes it’s hard to see how your skills and experience fit into civilian life.” RBLI chief executive Steve Sherry said: “We’re extremely proud of Shaun’s achievement.His knowledge and empathy, together with his com- mitment and creativity in developing the courses to help his fellow veter- ans, are why he is thoroughly deserving of this award, and we thank and congratulate him.”

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