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News |


Twice the panto fun for town’s families


MAIDSTONE will play host to two pantos this year when the Hazlitt Theatre faces competition from The Maidstone Studios at Vinters Park.


Cinderella and Peter Pan will go


head to head at Christmas in a battle for bums on seats.


rival


News of the panto


reached the Ha- zlitt – inEarl Street – this week, and they said: “Bring it on. All competi- tion is good.” But marketing


and development manager Michelle Woodland (pictured) said: “It would be wrong for us to say it is not a con- cern. The panto is our big earner. It’s our bread and butter and a success- ful panto means the theatre can run for the rest of the year. “Hopefully, having two pantos in


town can galvanise people and in- spire them to go out and buy tick- ets.”


The Hazlitt has a capacity of 353,


whereas the new panto, Peter Pan, could be staged for an audience of 1,200 – bigger than the Marlowe in Canterbury which, coincidentally, has also lined up Peter Pan. Danny Wright, from Vexx Enter- tainment Ltd, which plans to launch Peter Pan online soon, was keeping tight-lipped. He confirmed hewas from Maid-


stone and had offices on the Integra Business Estate in Bircholt Road. But on its Facebook page it says: “Extremely excited to announce we will be producing a fun filled pan- tomime, Peter Pan at Maidstone TV Studios, this Xmas! Tickets on sale soon!” There is no indication of prices,


but Hazlitt panto tickets are between £14 and £22.50. It is believed Vexx originally tried


to book the leisure centre at Mote Park, but because it is council-run


like the Hazlitt, the centre declined the request. “We are worried about the other panto,” added Michelle. “I don’t think Maidstone needs two pantos but at least theatre-goers have a choice between going to a show at a local theatre in an intimate setting or sitting in a large group.” The Hazlitt has come out fighting


and is planning a big campaign to win the audience over, using local sixth form students to spark ideas through a business competition; im- proved advertising at bus stops and getting involved more with schools and youth theatre. Flyers for the show, which runs throughout December with more than 50 shows, have already been printed and the Cinderella cast will be announced in the summer. Peter Pan’s cast details could emerge in the comingweeks.


Arrests after police force car to stop


THIS is what happens when a car fails to stop for Kent Police's Road Policing Unit (RPU) on the M20. More than one arrest wasmade


after a chase which started in the Malling area and ended at junction eight at Leeds Castle on March 6. A stretch of the M20 was shut at


about 11.30pm and officers carried out a "tactical stop". Kent Police's RPU tweeted:


"Vehicle failed to stop for police in Malling area this evening was tactically stopped on M20 by RPU officers. Persons in custody."


downsmail.co.uk


Court ban for drink-driver


ADRIVERfrom Maidstonewhohad no licence or car insurance was also drunk.


Michael Peter Blake (33), of Corn-


wall Close, admitted driving other- wise than in accordance with a licence, driving without insurance and drink driving on December 29. He was sentenced on March 1 at


Mid Kent Magistrates’ Court. Blake was caught driving a Vaux-


hall Corsa in Bishops Way, Maid- stone, otherwise than in accordance with a licence and with no insurance. He was also more than twice the


legal limit after a breath test showed 82 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35. Magistrates banned Blake from driving for 20 months. He must also pay a £398 fine, £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.


Monkey back at sports bar


CHEEKY bike-riding thieves were caught on CCTV stealing the cute monkey mascot from outside Lash- ings Sports Bar. Two youngsters are seen pedalling outside the venue in Upper Stone Street, Maidstone. As they pass, one reaches out to


grab the monkey from its place on a seat outside the bar. The monkey had only been dusted


downand put out for summer along with a bear mascot. Lashings’ social media manager Michael Swan posted the CCTV on his Facebook page with the message: “The Lashings Monkey has been stolen. If you recognise any of these individuals please get in touch.” The post was shared more than


Review: Molly’s memories on paper Homes at mill


AUTHOR Molly Poulter, pictured right, has been a force in the Maid- stone community for many years, and her new autobiographical book is a fascinating insight in to what drives her. She describes “Of Such Things” as


the 20th Century recollections of an Everyday Woman, 1933-2016”. Molly has packed so much in. Anyone who lived through the war years in Kent and London will asso- ciate with so many of her dramatic experiences and stories. She was an early beneficiary of the new 11-plus examination and one of the few womento go on to university, before becoming an archivist in the India Office Library.


8 Maidstone April 2017 Molly’s local life started in 1966


whenshe and husband Bill took on a very faded oast in Ulcombe. Al- though a mother of two and teach- ing in a secondary school in Chatham, she was soon volunteer- ing for village activities. Thiswas to develop into the campaign to build and launch the Heart of Kent Hos- pice. She became the main organiser to raise £1.3m. When she retired at 60 she started raising funds for sev- eral grade 1-listed medieval churches in Kent. The story is told in 28 chapters.


The book is available from Molly, The Old Dairy, Street Farm, Ul- combe (01622 842988) for £12.50. Review by Dennis Fowle


140 times and, three hours later, it was confirmed the mascot had been returned. “Thank you to all those who shared the video. The monkey has been returned,” wrote Michael.


A PLAN for 300 homes on the site of the former Maidstone print mill has gone public. Developers Redrow held an exhi-


bition where they unveiled the de- tails of their proposal. There will be 300 properties in- cluding affordable homes on the site in Royal Engineers’ Road. There will be one and two-bed-


room apartments along the riverside and three and four bedroom terraced and semi-detached houses around squares. The exhibition took place at the Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre, on Saturday, March 18. Springfield Mill once employed


1,000 people.


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