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News Road signs ‘too


filthy to read’ A DRIVER has been let off a charge of speeding because the road signs “were so dirty the court deemed them impossible to read”, Kent County Councillorswere told. This was reported to a KCC budget meeting by Lib Dem Leader Cllr Trudy Dean, debating an increase in council tax equal to £45 a year for band D proper- ties.


Cllr Dean told Downs Mail she had received a


text from a resident about the neg- lected signs but could not supply any further details. Cllr Dean told the budget meeting:


“In many areas, despite best efforts of our staff, the public are going to get a worse service. “Our roads, through years of un- derfunding, will continue to deterio- rate. There is a backlog of repairs of over £580m and spending is insuffi- cient to keep it from growing. This means more damage to cars, greater danger of road casualties, particu- larly to cyclists and pedestrians. “Road signs are not being cleaned.


Road lining is not being carried out. Weeds grow high in gutters and roundabouts.”


downsmail.co.uk


Tesco backing pupils’ bid to pay tributes to friends


TESCO shoppers are backing Maplesden Noakes School pupils who have been raising funds for a garden in memory of two 12-year- old classmates. Students at the Buckland Road


school in Maidstone were over- whelmed with grief following the death in July of Charlie Girling (pictured) on a Scout trip, and Lee Green, in October, following an asthma attack. But weeks after the tragedies,


year 8 students had pledged to raise money for a tribute to the boys.


Fund-raising events have already included a memorial match at Maidstone United’s football ground, where Charliewas a regu- lar supporter, and schoolmateWil- low Pochin has completed a series of running events. She said: “I’ve done quite a few charity challenges, most involving climbing, including breaking a world record.However, this year, I have decided to try something a bit different – for me, at least – by en- tering a number of running events to raise money for the garden in


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memory of my friend, Charlie.” Her first event will be the Glow


Run in April, with a mud run and a superhero race to follow. She said: “I think everyone has a responsibility to help good causes and it is even more encouraging for me that I can support my school and my friends.” Head Richard Owen said: “The students in this year group are still very much affected by these tragedies and are determined to re- member their friends in a positive way by opening a garden where


they can relax and remember.” He hopes work will start on the garden this summer. Student chair of the school coun-


cil, Alphey Anderson, said: “The pain the school has felt will never go away, but we want something that friends, classmates and others can use as a happy memory be- cause that’s how we remember them.”


Charlie, of Ash Close, Aylesford,


had been part of 1st Aylesford Scouts since hewas six and died at a Scouting jamboree in Finland. As part of the fund-raising effort,


pupils are asking shoppers to vote for them in the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. Charlie’s Garden is one of three projects short-listed to benefit from cash made from the sale of super- market carrier bags, with cus- tomers asked to use tokens to vote for their favourite initiative. You can vote at larger Tesco


stores in Maidstone, at Grove Green and Lunsford Park, and Ex- press outlets in Week Street, Bearsted, Larkfield, and on the Loose Road until April 29.


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