The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas performed a Beating Retreat ceremony at Brompton Barracks following a reception in the Corps Officers’ Mess, given by Lieutenant Colonel Will Robinson, Commanding Officer of 1 Regiment RSME and Holdfast Training Services. The evening reception, followed by the ceremony of Beating Retreat, was an opportunity for the Regiment to thank the local communities and organisations who have supported and worked alongside the Chatham training facility.
Prior to the event a tea party hosted by Brigadier Matt and Mrs Becci Bazeley was held at Pashley House. Brigadier Bazeley is ex-officio Deputy Lord Warden and Deputy Constable of Dover Castle in addition to his responsibilities as Commandant of RSME Group.
During the ceremony the Gurkhas performed a Kukri dance – all young Ghurkha men learn the dance to hone their skills in the use of the fearsome weapon, the kukri knife. The ceremony concluded with Viscount De L’Isle taking the salute from The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas.
Mrs Jane Ashton was installed as the new High Sheriff of Kent at St George’s Church, Benenden, on Sunday 8th April 2018. The service was preceded by a luncheon at Benenden School, and followed by tea there by kind permission of the Headmistress, Mrs Samantha Price.
The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The origins of the Office date back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the king for the maintenance of law and order within the shire, or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year.
Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector. In recent years High Sheriffs in many parts of England and Wales have been particularly active in encouraging crime reduction initiatives, especially amongst young people. Many High Sheriffs also assist Community Foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people both in endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work. The High Sheriff Association adopted DebtCred and Crimebeat in recent years in response to specific areas of need.
Mrs Ashton looks forward to busy year in office, succeeding Mr George Jessel DL in the role.
The Princess Royal was greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant when visiting the County on 1st December and was escorted to the following destinations –
The Princess Royal opened the new £10million Goatham packhouse and coldstore. Named the Arthur Goatham building after company founder and father of Clive Goatham , the packhouse is located at Flanders Farm, Hoo. The Princess was met by the senior management team of AC Goatham, where she was given a tour around the new state-of-the art facility. She also met members of staff, local dignitaries and unveiled a plaque. Arthur Goatham set up the business with his wife Phyllis in 1947 and they began as agricultural contractors and together with their son Clive, purchased their first farm, Street Farm in Hoo in the 1980s. Since then they have expanded their fruit growing business across 27 farms in Medway and Kent, growing some 200 million apples and 50 million pears each year which are sold in supermarkets across the UK.
The Princess Royal officially opened the Copper Rivet Distillery which is based in Pump No.5 at Chatham Dockyard. The family-run company produce Dockyard Gin, Vela Vodka and Son of a Gun – an unaged grain spirit with a whisky flavour profile, which has been designed especially for use in cocktails – with Masthouse Whisky due to be ready in 2020. HRH enjoyed a tour of the premises and a tasting. Matthew Russell, co-founder of the distillery, said: “It’s a really exciting day. It’s a true honour to have her come so we’re very excited.” Princess Anne unveiled a plaque to officially open the business and was presented flowers by some of the employees’ children.
Square Pegs, a youth arts organisation for people with special needs aged 7-25 exists for young people who don’t fit in with mainstream activities because of learning or communication difficulties. The group which started 12 years ago, were very proud to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in November, the only organisation in the county in 2017 to be presented with the accolade. Beth James, Square Pegs Director, received the award from the Vice-Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Richard Oldfield, at a special ceremony to celebrate the occasion.
The organisation holds five weekly drama clubs and monthly singing and film club sessions in Chatham, Maidstone and Canterbury for around 70 young people a week. The next planned progression is for Square Pegs to create a professional theatre company to build on the high standard it has achieved to date. The organisation has also applied for charity status and if successful, it will create more opportinites for funding.
HRH The Duke of Kent visited three very different venues when in Kent on 9th November –
HRH was greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant and escorted on a tour of Folkestone’s impressive new museum at the Town Hall which The Duke of Kent officially opened on 9th November by unveiling a commemorative plaque. The town council was awarded Heritage Lottery Funding to support the ambitious scheme, which has allowed Folkestone’s history to be displayed properly for the first time in more than 50 years.
Jennifer Childs, Town Clerk, explained: “Folkestone has a huge amount of history but it was stored in various places because there wasn’t a suitable site in the town. The council was determined to bring these artefacts home and we are delighted with what has been achieved at the town hall.” Folkestone architectural consultancy Godden Allen Lawn drew up the plans for the scheme, which included extensive structural alterations, waterproofing the lower ground floor, installing a lift and creating new toilet facilities. Director Nick Lawn said: “It was a privilege to be asked to work with the talented team involved in bringing Folkestone’s heritage back to the town and giving it a new home in what is itself a fine building,”.
The Big Cat Sanctuary was most honoured to welcome HRH The Duke of Kent to the official opening of their new Jaguar Lodge.
The Duke of Kent gained an insight into the work being carried out at the sanctuary – supporting their four pillars of ethos: Welfare, Breeding, Conservation and Education as well as having a guided tour to see some of the incredible cats.
The Big Cat Sanctuary is a conservation organisation for wild cats which also offers sanctuary to retired and homeless cats and are proud to have recently launched an education programme within schools as well as being recognised as the Kent Animal Charity of the year with the Kent Charity Awards. With the knowledge and dedication of Managing Director and Big Cat Expert Giles Clark and the team, the facility thrives in its ethos to give the animals a fulfilled quality of life in captivity – stimulating them both mentally and physically.
A ceremony was held at the company’s Smarden premises, where HRH was joined by the Lord-Lieutenant who read the citation for the award. HRH presented the official certificate and commemorative crystal bowl to Managing Director, Terry Capps. The award recognises the company’s achievement of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2017 and the occasion celebrated the momentous achievement which recognises outstanding sales performance in international territories over the last three years.
A tour of offices and factory included a practical demonstration of some of Premier Coatings protective tape systems. Part of Winn & Coales International’s world wide companies and agents, Premier Coatings Limited is one of the leaders in corrosion prevention and sealing technology.
The Kent County Council Civic Launch of the 2017 RBL Poppy Appeal was held at County Hall, Maidstone, on 25th October 2017. Among the invited guests was Mr Bill Cockcroft DL representing the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, The Viscount De L’Isle MBE.
The Royal British Legion is the UK’s leading Armed Forces charity, providing financial, social and emotional care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces, past and present, and their families.
Kent’s finest have been honoured by The Queen with the presentation of their British Empire Medals (BEM). Chosen for their outstanding and dedicated community work and public service the 3 recipients, Mr Henry Austin (Tonbridge), Mr Dean Faulkner (Sheerness) and Miss Melanie Hipwood (Sittingbourne) were named in The Queen’s Birthday Honours list after the medal was reintroduced in the Diamond Jubilee year.
The Lord-Lieutenant, Viscount De L’Isle MBE, held an Investiture at Penshurst Place on 17th October to present the 3 Medallists with their award, following the official announcement in June. The short citations were read by Mrs Louise Bryant, a Deputy Lieutenant and one of the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadets, Cadet Warrant Officer Bradley Relyea from 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron also assisted the Lord-Lieutenant during the Ceremony.
Mr Henry Austin has dedicated over 47 years as a volunteer for The Boys’ Brigade and has held over 12 positions in the Tonbridge and North West Kent Battalions. When he was made Vice President, he supported 15 other Boys’ Brigades, mentored new Captains and was instrumental in the inclusion of females which saw 10 young girls achieve The Queen’s Badge – the highest honour available.
Mr Dean Faulkner has dedicated many years to St John Ambulance since joining as a young Cadet. He was made a Cadet Leader at the very early age of 16, which was a considerable achievement. His continued dedication to the organisation was recognised in 1995 when he was made Assistant County Commissioner. In addition to this very demanding voluntary role, he is a member of the Isle of Sheppey St John Ambulance Band since 1976 and is an active fundraiser to ensure the band continues for many more years.
Miss Melanie Hipwood has worked as a Civil Servant for the Department for International Development (DFID) since 1993. She was instrumental in the successful move of this Department to Whitehall, which significantly reduced estate costs and enabled them to be one of the leading Whitehall departments in adopting modern work practices. It has been her outstanding service to public administration, ‘going above and beyond’ for the benefit of others, that she has been recognised with the British Empire Medal.
In presenting the medals on behalf of The Queen, the Lord-Lieutenant congratulated the recipients for their dedicated work on behalf of others.
The Lord-Lieutenant, greeted by Zach Miles, Abbeyfield Kent Society Chairman, and Leon Steer, Abbeyfield Kent Society Chief Executive, was in attendance and taking a reading at the Golden Anniversary Service of the Abbeyfield Kent Society held at Canterbury Cathedral on 10th October. The Service celebrated the Society’s fifty years of caring for the older people of Kent and included a performance by the Invictus Games Choir.
The Abbeyfield Kent Society is a registered charity that provides housing and care to older people at a number of locations in Kent and prides itself on its core values of care, compassion and companionship, based on Christian values and ethos.
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