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News Keep it clean,warnsMPGrant

MAIDSTONE MP Helen Grant has called on her Liberal Democrat rival in the race for the parlia- mentary seat to run a “clean and positive campaign”.

Mrs Grant faces a challenge from

23-year-old Oxford graduate Emily Fermor, who launched a thinly veiled attack on the MP as her can- didacywas announced. Former Invicta Grammar School

pupil Miss Fermor, of Heath Road, Coxheath, claimed that the county town needs a local person with “energy, enthusiasm and commit- ment” which “we have not had for a number of years”. Mrs Grant responded with a

terse statement: “Another woman choosing to engage with our democracy is mostwelcome. I now invite her to join me in giving a public pledge to run a clean and positive campaign.” Mrs Grant swept aside the previ-

ous Lib Dem challenge from Jasper Gerard and was re-elected with a 10,000 majority at last year’s gen- eral election. Mr Gerard had been expected to do well but a downturn in his party’s fortunes nationally scup- pered


chances, despite having worked full-time in con- stituency for three years.

When shewas selected, Miss Fer-

mor (pictured) said: “I am proud of our county town and believe we need a local person representing us, with energy, enthusiasm and a

Democracy up for debate

CHILDREN were given a chance to take on the role of Kent County Council members when they took part in Local DemocracyWeek. Pupils from The Holy Family

Catholic Primary School and SenacreWood Primary, both in Maidstone, took their seats in the council chamber and County Hall as Gary Cooke, KCC Cabinet Member for Corporate and Democratic Services, presided over proceedings. The debate was ‘Should school

uniforms be abolished?’ and arguments included: “Well, what’s

Charity quiz

MAIDSTONE Lions Club has an- nounced a revised date for its an- nual quiz. The event, in Tovil, will be on Saturday, February 25, starting at 7.30pm. Team players pay £5 a head and

can take their own wine and food with them to Archbishop Courte- nay School, in Eccleston Road. Call Malcolm Luxton on 01795 841439.

the point in being part of the school if you don’t wear the uniform?” and “I want to abolish school uniform because it’s itchy.” Students voted 40 to 13 in favour

of abolishing uniforms. Second on the agenda was whether pupils should be allowed to use mobile phones at break time. It proved to be another lively

debate and the vote ended with 30 pupils voting it should be allowed with 21 against. The next day, year six pupils from SenacreWood also enjoyed a tour

of County Hall and Cllr Cooke’s talk on democracy, followed by debates on the topics: “Should ratings be

removed fromvideo games and films?” and “Should children under seven watch television?”

Currency exchange opens A celebration

FOREIGN exchange provider Eu- rochange has opened a new branch in The Mall in Maidstone, creating five new jobs. The outlet, which is on the

upper floor, is the latest of 30 to open in the last 12 months, with nearest outlets previously at Tun- bridge Wells and Lakeside shop- ping centre.

Giles Custerson, managing di-

rector at Eurochange, said:“We are delighted to continue the growth of our branch network across the UK, and our latest opening in Maidstone will fulfil the currency needs of those visiting the shop- ping centre.” In addition to its branch serv- ices, there is a free cash machine.

Car park opens for Christmas shoppers

MAIDSTONE Lions Club will be manning a shoppers’ charity car park on Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas. The group, which gives over £20,000 each year to charitable causes, will be manning spaces at the Job Centre offices in Stacey Street, Maidstone – by the White Rabbit pub – from10am to 5pm. Members of the Maidstone

Lions’ team are pictured doing their stint at the car park last Christmas.

20 Maidstone December 2016

commitment to the local area – something we have not had for a number of years. I have lived in Maidstone all of my life and have a knowledge and understanding of our local town and villages that can’t be taught. “I relish the opportunity to prove myself in the coming years.” Miss Fermor’s selection reflects a growing sense in Lib Dem ranks that Prime Minister Theresa May could call a snap general election next spring. Tory sources say that this is currently unlikely. Mr Gerard – who is now working

as a campaigner for his party – said: “Emily was part of my team in 2015 and was absolutely bril- liant. She worked incredibly hard

and is very popular as a person. “I think she’ll make a fantastic candidate and the way things are shaping up, she has a good shout.” With a huge majority to overturn,

few will give Miss Fermor – a con- sultant with the public relations firm Bell Pottinger – much chance of winning. Miss Fermor added: “The Liberal Democrats are well placed to fight a general election whenever it is held, and I amraring to go. “Since the referendum we have

signed almost 20,000 new members nationally, a large number in Maid- stone and TheWeald. “This means that we now have

more members than we’ve ever had in this century.”

of cultures ANAPPEAL for cash is to be made to produce a multi-cultural recipe book for Maidstone. This was one idea put forward following Maidstone’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communi- ties celebration in the town. The event at The Vine in Boughton Lane brought together people from 20 countries who have made their home here. Areport of the event described it

as a huge success in bringing dif- ferent cultures together and as a way to raise awareness of the need for social cohesion, with six out of 36 attendees requesting more Eng- lish lessons and workshops. A BME spokesman said: “The

BME Forum plans to apply for ad- ditional funding to progress some of the ideas from the group such as the production of a multi-cultural recipe book, a visit to Parliament and more classes for women and children, including swimming, dance and fitness.”

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