Palace date as pieman Mikemeets the Prince

CUSTARD pies were at the top of the agenda when a well-known charity hero received his MBE fromPrinceWilliam. Mike Fitzgerald (79) had his day

out at the Palace onOctober 31 after he received the award in the Queen’s BirthdayHonours for serv- ices to the homeless and community inMaidstone. Mr Fitzgerald,who lives inLaxton

Drive, Chart Sutton,was a borough councillor for 12 years and served as mayor, alongside reams of charity work. Although he has stepped down

fromhis roles at the head ofHome- less Care, Fusion and the Commu- nity Rail Partnership, he is still involved in the charities, as well as maintaining positions with the Royal British Legion, Citizens’ Ad- vice and Chart Sutton Parish Coun- cil.

And he admits his day at the

Palace was great – but believes the charities are the oneswho should be recognised. “This is one of the best things,” he said. “You see others getting these

ease as it concerned theWorld Cus- tard Pie Championships, which he founded 50 years ago in Coxheath. “That was a surprise,” he said. “I

presume somebody looked me up, but Iwas essentially there for home- less and other charities. “I explained to himthat we don’t

actually throw custard, we just mix flour andwater – I toldhimthat cus- tard doesn’t travel.” News of his honour had come as

Mike FitzgeraldMBE, with his wife Maureen at BuckinghamPalace

awards, and it’s greatwhen it comes to you.At the end of the day, it’s the charitieswhodeserve the award, not me. “Itwas exciting tomeet the others

who had received awards – and to have an insight into how it all went on is very interesting. We had a great time. PrinceWilliamwas very chatty, he put everyone at ease.” And the Prince’s opening gambit toMr Fitzgeraldcertainly put himat

a complete surprise to Mr Fitzger- ald.He said: “I didn’t knowanyone was planning on putting me for- ward.Then you have to keep it quiet for sixweeks. Thatwas very hard!” He was joined by his wife Mau-

reen at the Palace. Their son Scott and daughter Julie also attended, with their other daughter Susan in Hong Kong. And he enjoyedmixing with oth-

ers as they waited to receive their honours, including a famous face fromtheworld of comedy. “Therewerepeople fromallwalks

of life and charities,” he added. “Billy Connollywas there as hewas made a knight.”


Festive fair in village church

IT’S guaranteed to be a white Christmas Fair inHunton this year as the popular event returns on Sat- urday, December 9. A wide choice of gifts and crafts

will be on offer in the churchwhile tasty treats in the churchyard will include a barbecue, roasted chest- nuts, toasted marshmallows and more. There are strong rumours it will “snow”. The popular bottle stall will be

back, as well as hot drinks, home- made cakes and a bar, and face painting, lucky dip and guess the sweets in the tin for children. Entry is £1 per adult, and pro- ceedswill go to church repairs.

Man remanded AMANhas been remanded in cus- tody after being charged over three burglaries. William Rye (42), of Vicarage

Lane, East Farleigh, was arrested on November 8 by officers investi- gating burglaries in his home vil- lage and in Staplehurst. Rye was also charged with pos-

sessing an offensiveweapon. He appeared before Maidstone

Magistrates on Friday, November 10, where he was remanded to ap- pear before Maidstone Crown Court on December 8.

Family Funeral Service brings its personal service to Headcorn Business Focus

Family Funeral Service brings its personal service to Headcorn

FAMILY Funeral Service has opened a new base in Headcorn, offering its friendly service to even more people across the Maidstone area. The family

owned, and family run business offers a personalised approach, with the option of home visits and access to a friendly voice at the end of the telephone 24 hours a day. Already operating out of Bearsted, Family Funeral Service is run by Michael Lawrence and his son Robert, along with Kim and Angela - the team behind the third-generation business

4 Cavendish Way, Ashford Road, Bearsted, Maidstone ME15 8PW

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that has been helping families in the area for 40 years.

Michael Lawrence said: “We are pleased our branch in Headcorn High Street is now open. We’ve worked hard to ensure the premises is sympathetic to the village conservation area, with help from Nick Prior, at Woodland Carpentry, and provides a comfortable environment in which people can relax and talk through their needs.

“Jo will be our lady on hand to help families looking to arrange a fitting tribute for their loved ones. I will also be there daily to meet families and help with their requirements and wishes.”

To meet his new business commitment, Michael and his wife Shirley have recently moved to Headcorn. He added: “The loss of a loved one is never easy to cope with, and the added stress of making arrangements can often bring further emotional upset. With our

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01622 962001 Maidstone Weald December 2017 29

experience of making funeral arrangements we have learned how to help families have and be part of a meaningful service that celebrates life. “Our approach is simple. We sit with you in our office or your home, taking you slowly and methodically through the various decisions that you will face and the options available to you. Sometimes, it’s just good to sit and talk to someone with experience and compassion before making a decision.” Contact Family Funerals on Bearsted 01622 260200 or in Headcorn on 01622 962001.

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