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School trip grounded in coup unrest drama

FAMILIES of pupils whowere due to fly to Kenya to help poor children are fighting to reclaim almost £1,000 each after the tripwas cancelled.

Twenty-eight pupils from Holmesdale School, Snodland were devastated when they arrived at Heathrow airport, only to be sent home because their flight had been grounded by a military coup in Turkey. To make matters even worse, their frustrated families are fighting to re- gain a large part of the £1,575 they paid for each youngster. Although Turkish Airlines has refunded their flight fees of £600 each, the rest is still outstanding, as a travel insurance company has refused to pay out. Families attended a meeting at the

school and Holmesdale’s executive principal, Patrick Hannaway, has taken up the fight. However, he has been told by the Claims Settlement Agency that the tripwas covered for “war” but not a military coup. Mum Kerry Stothart, of Willow

Road, Larkfield, who chaired the meeting, said that no alternative flight was provided and the 10-day trip had to be cancelled. Kerry, whose 16-year-old daugh-

ter missed out on the trip, said: “Jess had been looking forward to the trip to Kenya for two years. Ultimately

Pupil Jess Stothart, from Larkfield, with her mother Kerry

we will not rest until we have our outstanding refunds of £975 per child.” Jess, a student at Holmesdale for

five years, said: “I worked extra hard to raise the cash, as we all did. We would have gone to the kids’ schools, teaching them and playing games. I have still got my suitcase upstairs full of presents such as pens, papers and colouring books for

them. It would have been a real ex- perience for us all.” The group of year 10, 11 and 12

pupils and three teachers, was due to fly to Istanbul on Saturday, July 16 on the first leg of their trip. They booked through specialist travel firm African Adventures, which is based near Southampton. The holi- day involved voluntary work, helping to build a perimeter-

3 New bridge over Medway set to open

THE official opening of the new road bridge across the River Medway is expected to take place on September 15.

The £19m bridge has been built by developer Trenport to link Peters Village, a new 1,000-

home community near Would- ham, to the A228 on the outskirts of Snodland and Halling. Details of the ceremony were being kept under wraps, but businesses in Snodland are hop- ing that the first traffic flow

across the bridge will herald new prosperity for the town. This will be the first time the two banks of the Medway have been linked in this area since a military Bailey Bridge was built during World War II.

Making grade

01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

STUDENTS throughout Malling and Maidstone are moving on to new challenges after celebrating the rewards of their studies with successful A-level and GCSE re- sults. For pictures and details, turn to pages 20 and 22.

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Inside this edition:

A SURVEY of West Malling businesses found that the town’s 1,215 workers need at least 160 more car parking spaces, leading to renewed calls for a new parking site. See the four-page sup- plement by Malling Action Partnership, which supports people, businesses and events in the 11 parishes in Malling.

Obituaries Comment

September 2016 No. 233 News Village buses saved

CAMPAIGNERS in Aylesford and Eccles have won their fight to keep their late bus service.

Elite sports centre

WORK has started on K Sports’ major sports complex at Ditton.

Fish van victory

A MOBILE fish bar has been allowed to stay in an Aylesford car park.

Cricket century

A DEAL secures cricket at Town Malling’s ground for the next 100 years.

World title bid

SNODLAND-born Olympic athlete prepares for his next challenge.

24 32


Parish Councils42-43 Crime Reports 43

THERE was an attempt to steal two caravans from a field at Kings Hill. A bank card and cash were stolen in a burglary in Ditton. Three white flatbed trucks were stolen from a farm in Mereworth.

12 A 6 4 A 4

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