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downsmail.co.uk Why Emily enjoys dog’s life


IFYOUare out and about in Maidstone you maywell see Guide Dogs trainer Emily Knott with her canine recruits, working hard to improve the lives of blind and partially-sighted people.


Emily (29) from Leybourne has


just passed her year-long training to become fully qualified, and is loving every minute of her new job. She has been involved with the


Guide Dogs charity for eight years after her parents volunteered to act as “boarders” for guide dogs. Emily also volunteered and soon realised that she wanted to work for Guide Dogs full time. She has now had 15 dogs through her hands. She teaches them all the el- ements, or tasks, of guiding a blind or partially-sighted person. One of the most frustrating obstacles is cars parked on pavements. Emily said: “We teach our dogs


to always keep their owner off the road, and then we have to teach them to go around cars, which


Picture show


AN EXHIBITION of photography by former Invicta Photographic Club member Brian Paxton will go on display at Maidstone Salvation Army. Mr Paxton, who died in 2015 of pancreatic cancer, was a keen pho- tographer. The display has been organised


by his wife. See his photographs at the Salvation Army Hall in Union Street on Saturday, October 22, from 3pm to 6pm. Entry to the ex- hibition is free, but donations are welcomed in aid of Pancreatic Can- cer UK.


Age UK plea


THIS October,AgeUKis calling on the people of Maidstone to support its annual stock appeal, The Big Bag Challenge, by donating as many bags of quality clothing or goods as possible. The appeal starts on October and volunteers in the Age UK Maid- stone shop will be on hand to re- ceive donations, with the goal of reaching 100,000 bags of goods in just two weeks. The Age UK shop is at 11 Gabriels Hill.


Festive appeal


STAFF at Angels Funerals in Cox- heath are collecting gifts to spread Christmas cheer to the homeless as part of their festive appeal. The firm is appealing for dona-


tions of practical items, such as hand cream, socks, scarves, hats, toothbrushes and thermal cups or flasks. Donations can be taken to Angels Funerals, Heath Road.


Formore local news www.downsmail.co.uk


Newly- qualified Guide Dog trainer Emily Knott with two of the dogs she has trained to help blind and partially- sighted people


means taking them on to the road - safely, of course. It’s very frus- trating.” Emily admitted that saying


goodbye to her dogs can be emo- tional. She said: “I get really at- tached to every one of them and do get sad when they go on to their


new owners. Of course, it is an amazing thing that they are going to do. It’s like having children – you’re proud when they go to school, or pass exams, but you also shed a tear! “It’s amazing to get feedback that


your dog has changed someone’s life. I can’t think of greater job sat- isfaction.” Emily is one of the team of Guide


Dogs workers and volunteers based at TurkeyMill in Maidstone, covering an area including Kent and East Sussex. The charity is entirely funding by donations from the public and be- quests in wills. Emily added: “We are hugely grateful to all the support we get that allows us to do this work.”


U3A group marks 25 years of learning


MEMBERS of the Maidstone U3A have celebrated 25 years of belonging to the national organisation which promotes learning for retired and semi-retired people. New chairman James Downer


thanked Stephen Bush, who was chairman for the previous four years, crediting him with increasing mem- bership and finding a new venue for the group to meet. Mr Bush also introduced new ac- tivities, including short holidays. The annual meeting was followed


by tea and coffee with three deco- rated cakes spelling out the U3A


New chairman James Downer addresses the U3A meeting


logo, specially made for the occa- sion.


The art, craft and geology groups Awards for traders


TWO Kings Hill business have been successful in the Kent Inde- pendent Traders Awards 2016. Post and Packing and Lumiere Aesthetics picked up the titles of Medium Business of the Year and Customer Service Award respec- tively.


Post and Packing offers an alter-


native service to the Post Office, often opening in places where a post office has closed.


Owners Martyn Filby and Hugh Furnace took over the business in 2012, when the original firm was threatened with closure, keeping on all the staff.


Marketing manager Chloe Sands said:”Hugh and Martyn have put in a lot of time and hard work to build the business and grow it. They really deserve the award.” Kelli Preston, owner of Lumiere Aesthetics which offers non-surgi- cal treatments such as contouring


and laser hair removal, said: “I treat everyone as a client and a friend, not just a number through the door.”


The contest was organised by the Kent Independent Traders group and sponsored by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).


David Milham, from the FSB said: “Running your own company can be tough; the Kent Independ- ent Traders Awards recognises this and brings together successful en- trepreneurs who have the determi- nation to make their idea work.”  She Who Bakes won the Home- Based Business of the Year award at KITA 2016.


Former St Simon Stock school pupil Britt Whyatt set up the com- pany two years ago. She started baking cakes for friends but now works almost exclusively online with some 200,000 followers on Facebook.


mounted exhibitions of their works and findings and a number of new members signed up at the meeting.


Police tackle


hare coursing OFFICERS from Kent Police’s rural liaison team have been cracking down on illegal hare coursing and lamping. The operation coincided with a


recent full moon, when there is a spike in such activity. PC Michael Laidlow said: “We


are keen to hear from anyone who is aware of illegal hare coursing or lamping in their community. “Not only is this activity cruel,


but it is often linked to damage and theft on rural properties.” Police with 4X4 vehicles were on


hand to respond to reports of this wildlife crime in addition to pa- trolling hot spot areas. PC Laidlow said: “Hare coursing


and lamping can have a devastat- ing impact on farming and wildlife if left unchallenged, andwewant to workwith the community to target individuals involved.”


Maidstone November 2016 27


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