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News Scouts get £3,000 fayre boost

MORE than £5,000 has been donated to local charities and organisations as a result of this year’s Bearsted and Thurnham Carnival and Fayre.

The main beneficiary was Bearsted Scouts, who received a cheque for £3,000 towards essential repairs to the Scout Hut at Church Landway, including a new kitchen and drainage works. The funds were raised at the

Fayre in June, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of Alice's Ad- ventures in Wonderland. Fayre chairman June Wilkins

said: “Once again, we had a very successful year, one of the best by far. The weather was on our side andwe had a wonderful turnout of people and their families. The fayre creates a wonderful commu- nity spirit which is what makes it so special.”

Birthday girl Elsie is 100

ELSIE Gurr from Maidstone has cel- ebrated her 100th birthday. The former housekeepermoved to Kent from Mid- dlesex when she was just a few months old, fol- lowing the death of her mother, and her father remar- ried. One of two girls, her family also included seven half-sisters.

Onleaving school Elsie worked as

a housekeeper for a couple who lived in Chatham, and then Loose, where she met her husband Bill. He used to work in the grocery shop at the top of Cripple Street and would deliver to her workplace. The couple married in 1939 and

lived in Bower Lane, Maidstone. Their daughterPat lives in the town. Son Adrian died in his 60s and son Roger moved toAustralia. Elsie finally settled at Loose Court residential home in March last year. She has four grandchildren and

three great-grandchildren, who all wished herwell on her big day.

Safety chains

SHOPPERS in Maidstone can avail themselves of a free purse chain as the Christmas shopping season gets underway. MaidSafe, the town’s crime re- duction partnership, is handing out the purse chains each Wednesday in The Mall. The purse chains are, designed to

attach purses to handbags deter pickpockets. They will be available from 10am

to noon on the first floor of the cen- tre, near BHS and Boots.

38 Maidstone Town Xmas 2015

Other organisations to receive donations included: Madginford Seniors; St Peter’s Busy Bee Pre-School; Bearsted and Thurnham WI; Bearsted Cricket Club; Bearsted Girl Guides; Roseacre Raiders Football Club; Madginford Park Estate Football Club; Bearsted Korfball Club; Directions Performing Arts; Thurnham Infants School; Maidstone Scout Gang Show; Young Lives Charity; Maidstone Majorettes; Motor Neurone Disease Charity.

This year's donation recipients

Don’t undertake grier lorries, driverswarned

A NEW winter road safety cam- paign is being rolled out in Kent warning drivers they could be put- ting their lives at risk if they use the hard shoulder to undertake gritting trucks. Highways England’s gritter driv-

ers have noticed a growing prob- lem with road users veering into the hard shoulder to avoid being hit by salt. Not only do the drivers of these

vehicles risk colliding with station- ary cars and lorries, but they also cause hazards to gritters attempt- ing to leave roads at junctions. The latest statistics show that, on

average, 16 people lose their lives every year as a result of collisions on hard shoulders or in laybys across England, and 45 suffer a se- rious injury. Gritters usually travel at 40mph

in the middle lane when they are spreading salt on a three-lane mo- torway, treating the lane they are in and one lane on either side.

Drivers are being advised to only

pass a gritter when it is safe to do so, avoiding using the hard shoul- der and checking for hazards ahead. Tim Lyver, from Highways Eng-

land, said: “Our gritter drivers will be out in all weathers this winter and we’re encouraging road users to do their bit to help keep the re- gion’s motorways and major A roads moving. “The vast majority of people sup-

port our gritter drivers by keeping back a sensible distance and only passing when it’s safe to do so, but a few have been putting them- selves and others at risk by using the hard shoulder to undertake.” Chief Inspector Amanda Tillot-

son from Kent Police, said: “Un- dertaking is always a dangerous manoeuvre regardless of the cir- cumstances and not only puts the driving doing it at real risk of a col- lision, but it also puts other road users at risk.”

Empty shops Death in tent

MAIDSTONE town centre has slightly fewer empty shop units than it had six months ago.

There are 646 ground floor

units in the town centre, of which 18 are new businesses. However, 66 of the units are empty – making 10.2% of the total. In May, the figure was 10.7%.

Maidstone Town Centre Management’s


Williamson said that 49 of the unitswere virtually unlettable.

A HOMELESS man was found dead in Maidstone in his tent near the River Medway. Julian Boughton (46)was a famil-

iar figure in the town, accompanied by his Staffordshire terrier, Dexter. Hewas a regular visitor at Maid-

stoneDay Centre and on Tuesdays, he went to the market in Barker Street. His next of kin have been in- formed. Zofia Grzymala, manager at Maidstone Day Centre, described him as “an amazing guy” who “was greatly loved by the whole homeless community”.

New minibus helps patients get to hospice

THE Heart of Kent Hospice has launched a new patient transport service to enable more local patients with a life-limiting illness to benefit from the services provided. Thanks to the arrival of a minibus,

the hospice can now provide free transport for patients needing to visit the hospice for outpatient appoint- ments, day therapy and drop-in ses- sions and the dementia cafe. The minibus has been adapted to accommodate patients with mobility problems, including wheelchair ac- cess and specialised equipment such as breathing apparatus. Available five days a week, the service will complement the volun- teer drivers who give up their time on a regular basis to take patients to and from the hospice inAylesford. This new patient transport service

has been funded by Coxheath-based Westerhill Homes and The Big Lot- tery Fund, with contributions from other trusts and foundations, aswell as parish councils. Kerry Harrison, acting patient services director, said: “Many of our patients have difficulty getting to the hospice as they live on their own with no access to public transport or are dependent on family and friends. “This can cause additional stress

and anxiety for our patients and their families, during what is already a difficult and challenging time.” The hospice has recently ap- pointed a transport coordinator to manage the new service, to ensure it meets the needs of local patients. It is also looking to recruit more volunteer escorts to ensure that pa- tients have a comfortable journey. For details go to or call 01622 792200.

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