The St Peter’s Village Tour http://villagetour.co.uk/ has been taking place for the last 21 years. It is an entirely volunteer-led initiative which tells the history of St Peter’s, near Broadstairs, through vignettes acted by volunteer members of the village community in costume.
Sadly on 13th August a heavy downpour forced the cast and audience into adopting the wet weather programme which entailed the various vignettes being acted out around the Church.
The St Peter’s Village Tour group was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2009.
A voluntary collection is made at the end of each tour and any profits after the expenses, are donated to local projects, including the Church Tower which is currently undergoing extensive repairs.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Tour the Lord- Lieutenant congratulated the cast and organisers for their polished performance under difficult circumstances, and commended everyone for the donations they make to local projects.
The Lord-Lieutenant presented Young Lives Foundation with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at an awards ceremony at Eastwell Manor, Ashford on 5th August, 2015.
Over 80 guests including the volunteers of YLF’s Appropriate Adult Service, to whom the award is owed, attended the event to see the Lord-Lieutenant hand the crystal award and certificate to CEO, Stephen Gray and two of the longest serving volunteers, Janet Judges and Mike Lowrey.
Deputy Lieutenant, Kate Lampard, delivered a citation at the event followed with a speech by the Lord-Lieutenant who said,
“Her Majesty rates the importance of recognising the wonderful work organisations like yours do in the community very highly indeed – and on her behalf I bring heartfelt congratulations and thanks. This group is truly exceptional and as Lord-Lieutenant I am hugely grateful for the outstanding contribution you make. The work you undertake and your depth of knowledge is so valuable and deserving of recognition.”
It is with deep regret that the Lieutenancy records the death peacefully in his sleep of the former Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Allan Willett CMG CVO at his Chilham home on 18 July 2015. He would have been 79 next month.
His successor as Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in the County, Viscount De L’Isle MBE, said: “I know that all members of the Lieutenancy, past and present, will join me in paying tribute to a great Son of Kent who will be much missed. He will be remembered not only as a gifted business entrepreneur and inspirational public sector leader, but as a generous philanthropist and moderniser of the Kent Lieutenancy.”
Born in India of tea planter parents from Kent, Allan Willett returned with them at the age of two and was brought up on Thanet farms during World War II.
Although the family was bombed out of one farm and flooded out of the second, he formed an enduring love of what he called the Frontline County.
He played rugby for Kent as a schoolboy, was commissioned into the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) and served with the King’s African Rifles fighting the Mau Mau in Kenya.
After working as a salesman in Canada he moved into the packaging industry and back in Great Britain formed his own company on a shoestring. His entrepreneurial flair enabled him to grow it into Willett International Limited, one of the world’s largest electronic coding and information labelling companies.
It had operating subsidiaries in 30 countries, twice won The Queen’s Award for export – and for his achievements Allan Willett was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1997. Sale of the company in 2002 enabled him to launch his charitable Foundation, benefiting mainly Kent causes with donations of some £4 million.
As well as running his own company, Allan Willett devoted many years to public sector service, serving as Director of East Kent Enterprise Agency, Locate in Kent and as Chairman of East Kent Initiative and Forum.
In the early ’90s the Government invited him to become founding Chairman of the Industrial development Board for London and the South East. And in 1998 he was asked to establish the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), promoting sustainable wealth creation, re–generation and social inclusion in a region with a population of eight million people and a £150 billion economy. He stepped down as Chairman in December 2002 following his appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Kent.
He defined his Lieutenancy’s aims as: to provide a focus for County identity, unity and pride, give a sense of stability, recognise achievements, success and excellence, and promote service to others, and its aspiration to celebrate Kent, its unique history and culture, serve its communities – and contribute positively to its future. The Lieutenancy continues to pursue these aims under his successor.
In his personal tribute, Lord De L’Isle said: “When Her Majesty appointed Allan on the advice of the Prime Minister they made a choice that was, as they say, out of the box, yet truly inspired.
“The Monarchy itself was modernising to ensure its relevance in the 21st Century, and both The Royal Household and Number Ten Downing Street made it clear that they wanted the County Lieutenancies to march in step.
“In our corner, that required someone with a great love of our County. Someone with an incisive, innovative mind, considerable organisational skills, and above all a leader prepared to devote so much of his life to Kent.
“In Allan Willett they found the perfect match. The creator of Willett International, a man who had given many years to public sector work – much of it here in support of regeneration; and a man with deep roots here who truly loved Kent.
“He formed a team, of which I was proud to be a member, and set about modernising and reforming the Lieutenancy – succeeding to the point where Kent has become a by-word for best practice and leadership nationwide, a shining example to all other counties.
“His legacy includes what have already become great Kentish traditions: the Civic Service at which community leaders and volunteers rededicate themselves to the service of others and Spirit of Kent Award which recognises exceptional service by an individual to the county.
“He and his wife Anne carried out hundreds of engagements throughout the County, and he will especially be long remembered for the highly successful campaigns he inspired: calling for greater public support for the Forces of the Crown and their families; celebrating youth achievement, and promoting volunteering in the community.
“His philanthropy has also been outstanding: to Canterbury and Rochester Cathedrals, to the Marlowe Theatre and Turner Contemporary, which have both become significant economic engines helping to drive East Kent forward, and to many other voluntary community-based causes County-wide.”
As Lord Lieutenant he was President or Patron of a score of Kent organisations and voluntary bodies from the Men of Kent and Kentish Men to the Royal British Legion, and was appointed a Knight of Justice in the Order of St John. He chaired Canterbury Cathedral Trust at the launch of its current fund-raising campaign and was himself a major donor.
On his retirement as Lord Lieutenant he was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), an honour that is in the personal gift of Her Majesty The Queen.
He was also presented with the Kent Invicta Award for his exceptional service to Kent, and at a special meeting of the County Council its leader Paul Carter praised his generous charitable contributions and his outstanding public sector work.
He said: “You have transformed the Lieutenancy of Kent. You have been, alongside your wife Anne, totally dedicated to the job and exceptionally generous with your time. And your lead on the support to the Armed Forces in Kent and encouragement to young people has been second to none.
“Despite suffering bouts of illness in recent years you have carried on with dogged determination, keeping to extremely demanding schedules of duties and ceremonies in Kent.
“On behalf of the County Council, but more importantly on behalf of the Kentish men and women and the men and women of Kent and all our young people, we thank you.” And he added: “You have touched hearts and put a smile on so many faces.”
In recent years he was dogged by serious ill health, which he bore with fortitude, but continued to serve the County he loved, living up to the motto on his coat of arms: Be brave for there is much to dare.
A Memorial Service for the life of Allan Willett CMG CVO, will be held at Canterbury Cathedral on Friday 2nd October 2015 at 11.30am. All are welcome to attend the service but due to numbers likely to attend, entrance to the Cathedral will be by ticket only. To apply, please contact the Civic Office, Kent County Council, County Hall, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ, by email to email@example.com or by telephone to 01227 738800.
The Lord-Lieutenant Viscount De L’Isle MBE joined Army and Air Cadets from Canterbury and the surrounding area, at the official opening of their new Joint Cadet Centre at Leros Barracks, Sturry Road, Canterbury, on Thursday 16 July 2015.
The Lord Mayor of Canterbury and her Escort, Councillor Sally Waters and Mr Robert Waters, and the Deputy Leader of Canterbury City Council, Councillor Pat Todd, were among the local dignitaries who attended.
The new Centre will be home to approximately 40 Army and 40 Air Cadets and replaces both the old Canterbury Army Cadet Force Detachment accommodation in the Barracks, and, the 312 (City of Canterbury) Squadron, Air Training Corps’ building at the Cossington Road, Canterbury site, where the latter unit had been based for many years. Both buildings had reached the end of their lives.
The City of Canterbury has long been associated with the Armed Forces and is steeped in military history: Leros Barracks has been a traditional base for both the Army Reserves (previously known as the Territorial Army) together with the Kent Army Cadet Force, for many years.
The new Joint Cadet Centre allows the benefits of synergy between the Army and Air Cadets in a new purpose built Centre sponsored by the military and saves money for the taxpayer.
Speaking before unveiling a plaque to mark the event Lord De L’Isle said:
“In all our Cadet movements Kent’s young people are acquiring self-discipline, teamwork, leadership, a sense of duty, pride in belonging to their units, and perhaps most importantly – good citizenship.”
The cool and blustery weather did not dampen the spirits of the many members of the public who attended the Memorial Day Event at Capel-le-Ferne.
Since the 2014 Memorial Day the iconic “Wing” Visitor Centre has been built and was officially opened by The Queen on 26th March 2015. Following the opening the new centre has been very popular with visitors. For details please visit http://www.battleofbritainmemorial.org
Memorial Day took its usual form with a large official lunch followed by a drumhead service at which wreaths were laid at The Airman Memorial, and also a march past of the Guard of Honour from the RAF Regiment Reserve, Air Training Corps, Cadets and Massed Standards.
Unfortunately the low cloud base prevented the planned flypasts.
During the day HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO spoke to members of “The Few” and inspected the Guard of Honour and Standards.
HRH Princess Alexandra was guest of honour at the opening of the Huguenot Museum Visitor Centre in Rochester on 13th July, 2015.
The Viscount De L’Isle the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, welcomed Princess Alexandra to the opening which was also attended by the Mayor of Medway, Cllr Barry Kemp and his wife Mrs Joyce Kemp, Council Leader Cllr Alan Jarrett, and the Acting Dean of Rochester Cathedral, Canon Dr Philip Hesketh.
The museum tells the story of the Huguenots, widely known as the world’s first refugees, their persecution in France, escape to Britain, and the trades, crafts and skills they bought with them.
Museum Director Miss Kay and Huguenot Trustees Chairman Peter Duval escorted HRH Princess Alexandra round the galleries, displays and the educational learning area.
The centre opened in May following a £1.5 million development project, due to a substantial grant from the heritage lottery fund and donations from trustees of the nearby French Hospital. Residents at the hospital, known as La Providence, have been the driving force behind the project and many have donated items and mementoes handed down over the generations.
Princess Alexandra unveiled a plaque and signed the visitors’ book at the Museum before leaving.
HRH The Countess of Wessex made a visit to The Royal School for the Deaf in Margate. It was a beautiful sunny day and The Countess of Wessex toured the Sensory Garden meeting the Children and Staff.
On to Chime Communications, in Ashford, the Company are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. The Countess of Wessex, who worked in Communications before her marriage, was very interested in the research, which company undertakes. Chime offered to conduct a pro-bono marketing survey on behalf of one of the Charities the Countess supports, which she gratefully received and agreed to suggest a suitable candidate.
Hard hats were the order of the day at Rochester Cathedral where work is going on to re-roof the library and make a secure area in the crypt for a permanent display area for the Textus Roffensis and other Cathedral Treasures.
The crypt will also be much more suitable for more events than has been the case in the past. The Countess of Wessex is Patron of the Rochester Cathedral Trust.
The sun shone warmly on the first Royal British Legion County Parade and Service to be held in a renewed memorial garden.
The Royal British Legion Industries’ Garden of Honour, in the Royal British Legion Village, Aylesford, proved an inspiring venue for this special annual commemoration.
Gravesend Borough Band played from the new Bandstand as the Royal British Colours were paraded across a large paved area with a poppy motif as its centrepiece.
Revd Chris van Straaten, padre to the Royal British Legion Village Branch, led the service, while Canon Revd Paul Kerr, County Padre to the Royal British Legion, Kent, gave the address.
Trevor Sturgess, Deputy Lieutenant representing the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, read the first lesson, while Cllr Owen Baldock MIET, Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, and Cllr Leyland Ridings MBE JP, read the other lessons.
Revd van Straaten led the Act of Remembrance, while Cllr Leyland Ridings recited the Exhortation.
Two minutes’ silence followed The Last Post, after which Brigadier (Retired) Tony Kerr OBE recited The Kohima Epitaph. “When you go home, tell them of us and say: For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”
Veterans, serving officers, cadets and Royal British Legion members and friends from across Kent and beyond, attended the moving service that concluded with the National Anthem.
Barry Duffield, Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, photographed the event for local media and for this website.
The closing date for 2016 entries for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), was 18th September 2015. For 2017 applications should be received by 16th September 2016, however they can be submitted at any time before then. Details can be obtained from https://qavs.direct.gov.uk/
The Award winners for 2016 will be announced on 2nd June 2016.
This year six awards went to Kent organisations see https://www.kent-lieutenancy.org.uk/6-kent-winners-queens-award-voluntary-service-announced-2nd-june-2015/
It is very much hoped there will be another strong list of candidates from Kent for 2016.
There are many very exceptional voluntary groups across the County who might consider sending in a nomination for 2017, and in particular volunteer- led groups which involve young people.
Supporting letters accompanying nominations might include a description by a person who has received help, rather than a bland statement from an official source. Any supporting letter needs to explain why the writer endorses the group, not just that he/she does.
The Cabinet Office will ask The Lieutenancy to assess 2016 Kent entries during the Autumn for the national selection by a QAVS panel to take place in London in the New Year.
The Lord-Lieutenant urges anyone who knows of a voluntary group who should be nominated, to read the information at https://qavs.direct.gov.uk/ and then persuade the group to put in their entry for 2017 before the closing date of 16th September 2016.
A poignant and entertaining series of commemorative events for the New Waterloo Dispatch (NWD) culminated in colourful drama in Faversham, Sittingbourne and Chatham.
They were a fitting climax to the series of events across the county on June 20 and 27 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
They were led by the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent Lord De L’Isle, assisted by a number of Deputy Lieutenants.
NWD national chairman Peter Warwick praised the organisation of the events. “They’ve gone brilliantly,” he said. “Right from the start when Percy and White landed on Broadstairs beach, I couldn’t have imagined it better. There’s been a great turnout. Events in Faversham, Sittingbourne and Chatham complete the picture because Kent played such a huge part in the story.”
Excited crowds in the two Swale towns shouted “God Save the King” after the arrival of interpreters of Major Henry Percy, Wellington’s aide-de-camp, and James White, captain of HMS Peruvian, in a replica black-and-yellow post-chaise drawn by two horses.
They emerged from the vehicle with two Imperial Eagle Standards, waving their impressive hats at spectators gathered outside the Alexander Centre, Preston Street, Faversham.
Percy proclaimed: “After so many good years, good people, the wars are finally at an end and we may look forward to re-drawing the map of Europe in the coming time of peace. God bless the Duke of Wellington and his victorious soldiers.” Percy presented a replica Dispatch to the Mayor of Faversham Cllr Nigel Kay.
Philippa Ewart, a descendant of Charles Ewart who captured the French colours at Waterloo, atttended the ceremony. She said: “I’m a bit emotional.”
Sittingbourne Retail Association staged a street fair in the town to coincide with the historic events outside The Red Lion.
Lord and Lady De L’Isle, the Mayor of Swale Cllr Anita Walker, cadets, veterans and re-enactors welcomed White and Percy who also presented the Mayor with a replica Dispatch.
Mr Warwick presented the Mayors of Faversham and Sittingbourne with a book about the Battle and a carton of specially blended Waterloo tea to mark the anniversary.
A further ceremony was held at the Great Lines, Gillingham, as part of Armed Forces Day.
Lord De L’Isle said: “I am delighted with the success of the Waterloo events across Kent and Medway, and thank the Deputy Lieutenants and others who worked tirelessly to make them go so well.
“I hope the public and young people enjoyed what they saw, and that the events helped them learn more about one of the most important battles in British history, the outcome of which in many ways shaped our lives today.”
Mr Warwick added that the events were not the end of the Waterloo 200 commemoration. “The great thing about what happened at Waterloo was that Europe came together and delivered a long period of peace. It’s a role model that the New Waterloo Dispatch is trying to promote. We will now talk about peace rather than war.”
The Swale events were co-ordinated by Elizabeth Tullberg MBE JP DL, and in Gillingham by Russell Race JP DL. Frank Martin DL co-ordinated the arrival of the Dispatch in Broadstairs a week earlier, while Brigadier (Retd) David Ralls CBE DFC DL, assisted by Stephen Kingsman DL, organised events in Canterbury. Barry Duffield DL was official photographer and Trevor Sturgess DL publicised the commemoration.Back to top