Local News

Panto To Help Disappointed Aylesford Ticket Holders

Local Panto To Help Disappointed Aylesford Ticket Holders

Trio Entertainment in association with Swale Community Leisure Trust and Swallows Leisure Centre have stepped in to help disheartened families this Christmas.

Pantomime Producers Kevin Brown and Darren Paine of Trio Entertainment and the staff at The Swallows Centre were saddened to hear of the recent closure of The Maidstone Pantomime, upon hearing the news plans were put in motion that has allowed 100 free tickets to be made accessible for anyone effected by the recent closure of ‘Snow White' in Aylesford.

Anyone wishing to take the opportunity to access these free tickets must bring proof of purchase of the Snow White tickets - the tickets will be then issued on a first come first served basis and will only be available for this Saturday (22nd December) at 7:00pm. These tickets can be reserved by emailing andrea.chase@serco.com with proof of purchase for Snow White. Those that are successful in receiving the free tickets will receive a confirmation email as confirmation - the venue would advise that they bring this with them.

The Producers of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk' are also offering 10% off any performance with proof of purchase - and are looking at adding an extra performance on Christmas Eve. Jack and the Beanstalk stars Steven Arnold, who played Coronation Street favourite Ashley Peacock for 14 years, He will be starring as the giant's evil henchman Fleshcreep in the Sittingbourne panto.

Joining him on stage at The Swallows will be Katie Burke, who is returning after playing Belle in Beauty and the Beast last Christmas. And for the third year in a row, resident dame Tilly Trott will be played by Harry Moore. The role of Jack will be played by Tom Balmont and Olivia McLaughlin is Fairy Beansprout. The cast will also be joined by youngsters from the Kent School of Dance, which have their regular meetings at The Swallows.

Tickets for the eighth annual pantomime are on sale now priced between £8.50 to £12.50.

To book, call the Swallows Leisure Centre reception on 01795 420 420 or visit www.sittingbournepanto.co.uk.

Police Fun Day Raises Over £700 For Charity

Police Fun Day Raises Over £700 For Charity

A charity has had a welcome financial boost following a Kent Police Fun Day earlier in the year here in Sittingbourne.

In September 2018 the Kent Police Recreation Association organised the family fun day which, due to 2018 being the centenary year of World War One, was themed throughout with activities including a trench experience and wartime victory live band. Two veterans from World War Two were also guests of honour at the event.

During the event donations were made towards the Royal British Legion and on 6th December Swale's Chief Inspector Rachel McNeil and PC Adrian Goodsell presented a cheque to Richard Palmer, from the Swale branch of the Royal British Legion (pictured above).

Chief Insp McNeil told SFM News: "the Royal British Legion is a fantastic charity which helps to support those who have fought for our country and I'm really pleased we were able to raise £716.33p for such a worthwhile cause. I hope that the money can help a lot of people who selflessly help others".

Free Christmas Car Parking This Saturday

Free Christmas Car Parking This Saturday

The Spirit of Sittingbourne, the developer behind the town centre regeneration, will be offering free parking at all car parks in Sittingbourne this coming Saturday (8th December).

They have told SFM News that move comes as an expression of gratitude to Sittingbourne residents for their patience during the recent re-generation roadworks. Spirit Of Sittingbourne has covered the cost of parking with Swale Borough Council and the decision to cover the costs followed feedback from local businesses who were concerned after Swale BC announced they will not be providing free car parking this December, as they have done in previous years.

The free parking will apply to all car parks in Sittingbourne, listed below:

Location     Type Spaces Disabled Motorcycle  Bicycle
Albany Road        Pay and Display - short stay 104     5     1     4
Central Avenue      Pay and Display - short stay     60     4     1             4
Cockleshell Walk    Pay and Display - long stay     96     6     0     0
Crown Quay Lane Pay and Display - short stay     42     3     1     0
The Forum     Pay and Display - short stay    162     6     2     4
Swallows     Pay and Display - short stay        86     6     0     20
Swale House*        Pay and Display - short stay        72     0     0     0
Milton High Street  Pay and Display - short stay        10     0     0     2
Spring Street     Pay and Display - long stay     72     0     0     0
Bell Road     Pay and Display - long stay     24     2     0     0

A Spirit of Sittingbourne spokesperson told SFM News: "We are delighted to be offering free car parking in Sittingbourne town centre as local businesses have understandably felt the impact over the disruptive summer of roadworks and we wanted to make sure thar they get some extra help over the crucial festive trading period. We are encouraging shoppers to take advantage of the free parking and support their local businesses by visiting Sittingbourne town centre as part of their Christmas shopping this December."

Local Restaurant Crowned 'Korma Kings'

Local Restaurant Crowned 'Korma Kings'

Pic: Shabul and Kabul (chef) both owners of Maharani...

Britain's 'korma kings' were crowned on Monday (26th November) evening 'second to naan' with Sittingbourne's very own Maharani Restaurant (in West Street) receiving the highest accolade in the curry industry - the BCA Curry Chef of the Year award for the South East.

The 12 winners of the coveted Chef of the Year category can now lay claim to being the best in their region after impressing judges during a heated cook-off last month. The Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA) visited hundreds of curry houses and takeaways across the length and breadth of Britain in the hunt for the nation's top chefs and restaurants.

The 13th annual Curry Chef and Curry Restaurant of the Year Awards are the curry industry's premier awards, backed by restaurants and chefs themselves and considered the ‘Oscars' of the curry world.

The BCA, which represents more than 12,000 restaurants in the UK, whittled down a list of hundreds of contenders to just 27 chef finalists and 38 shortlisted curry houses. The finalists went head to head with one another at a cook-off event to produce a dish worthy of the judges' top marks and The Maharani came through with flying colours.

Congratulations to Shabul and Kabul (Chef) co-owners of the Maharani Restaurant pictured above.

Sittingbourne Neighbours Scoop £90,000 Prize Money

Sittingbourne Neighbours Scoop £90,000 Prize Money

Two lucky Sittingbourne residents had a "Super Saturday" (24th November) after their postcode "ME10 1BX" won People's Postcode Lottery's Street Prize.

One of the Borden Lane neighbours scooped £30,000, while the second doubled their prize to £60,000 thanks to playing with two tickets. Wayne Mitchell, aged 46 and a self-employed electrician, was with his fiancé Michelle and their three-year-old son Edward when they received the cheque for £30,000. Wayne told SFM News: "I was quite astounded when I saw the amount I had won. We're in the process of renovating our house and this will mean we can get it finished much sooner than expected. I have a feeling Michelle will enjoy spending the win more than me. My daughter is at university so she'll definitely want a chunk of it too! I'm really looking forwarding to just relaxing and enjoying the win."

Martin Kite, aged 64, doubled his prize to a staggering £60,000 thanks to playing with two tickets. Martin and his wife Julie were jetting off to Iceland just after receiving their cheque and told SFM News: "We're going on holiday today so we'll be celebrating there. We'll need to get a decent bottle of champagne, this definitely calls for it! It will be an extra special Christmas too and I'll be able to get some great presents for my kids!"

People's Postcode Lottery ambassador Danyl Johnson presented the winners with their cheques and told us that he was "chuffed for Wayne and Martin! It sounds like they'll both enjoy spending their prize money and treating themselves."

With a minimum of 32% from every ticket going to charity, players of People's Postcode Lottery have now raised £361 million for over 4,000 good causes across Great Britain and internationally.

A number of local Sittingbourne charities have benefitted from the funding raised by players, including Space 2 Be Me, which received £6,400 last year to run employability workshops for young people with special needs.

Pic: L-R Martin Kite, Julie Kite, Danyl Johnson, Michelle (Wayne's fiancé) and Wayne Mitchell.


Ex-Boyfriend Jailed For Vicious Assault In Iwade

Ex-Boyfriend Jailed For Vicious Assault In Iwade

A violent offender who dragged his ex-girlfriend into the street by her hair has been jailed.

Luke Chawla, aged 25 and of Murston Road in Sittingbourne, also punched his victim repeatedly after letting himself into her house in Iwade following the end of their relationship.

He pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to five years and four months' imprisonment when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday (15th November). Chawla must also serve a further three years on licence under the terms of an extended sentence.

The court heard how on the morning of Saturday 18th November 2017 he attended his victim's address in order to collect some of his belongings. He returned in the evening and after initially being refused entry, he used a key that the woman did not realise he had to let himself in.

Chawla then ran upstairs and launched a vicious attack on the woman, punching her with both hands before dragging her down the stairs by her hair. He then dragged her into the street where members of the public intervened and ordered Chawla to leave the area.

He was arrested by a Kent Police officer the following day.

Investigating officer PC Nicholas Rivett-Carnac told SFM News: "The victim in this case suffered serious facial injuries and a bleed on the brain in what was a completely unprovoked attack. I am very pleased that she has since made a full recovery and is now moving on with her life. Tackling domestic violence is a priority for Kent Police and I hope the sentence imposed on Luke Chawla sends a strong message that such offenders will be put before the courts and imprisoned for their crimes. His victim displayed tremendous courage in reporting the offences committed against her, and her actions will have given great confidence to others who find themselves victims of domestic violence".

MP Presents Prizes To Anti-Litter Poster Winners

MP Presents Prizes To Anti-Litter Poster Winners

Pic: Matt Hogben, Gordon Henderson MP, Kirsty McBride, Fiorina Coccia and Paul Knell

Gordon Henderson MP presented local school children with prizes in the Litter Angels 'anti-litte'r poster competition on Thursday (8th November) at Kemsley Community Hall.

Litter Angels is a charity set up in 2008 by Mr Henderson to create, through education, awareness about the anti-social nature of litter and its effect on our local environment.

The theme of this year's competition was how litter harms the seaside and 14 local primary schools took part.

With the help of Paul Knell and Matt Hogben from McDonald's, the charity's main sponsor, all the children who were shortlisted were presented with a certificate and the winner from each school received a goodie bag containing a personalised mug and a copy of the Litter Angels storybook.

The overall winning poster was designed by Fiorina Coccia, who attends Bobbing Village School. Fiorina received a cheque for £50 and her school received a cheque for £100, which was collected by teacher, Kirsty McBride. The winning poster will now be printed on a metal sign that will be displayed in the car parks of the McDonald's restaurants across Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

Mr Henderson told SFM News: "Litter is an important issue locally and this competition has made the children think about how litter can have a negative effect on the seaside. They were all very excited at the presentation and I would like to thank all those involved with the competition, particularly, McDonalds for their continued support."

Police Appeal For Witnesses After Family Robbed

Police Appeal For Witnesses After Family Robbed

Witnesses are being sought after a family were robbed in Sittingbourne in what officers believe may have been a case of mistaken identity.

The couple and their baby are reported to have been targeted at around 8.30pm in Balas Drive on Wednesday (7th November) evening.

Three men are alleged to have followed the victims home from a shopping trip and when they arrived at their house and began unloading their vehicle three men are reported to have got out of a car and threatened them.

They demanded drugs and cash from the victims and started to search their car while the couple's young baby was still inside. No injuries were reported.

Having searched the car, the men then stole the victim's keys and a baby changing bag as well as the items the couple had just purchased from a department store which included an advent calendar with beauty products inside and a baby blanket.

One of the men is described as being of medium build, around 5ft 5ins tall, wearing a balaclava and a dark padded jacket. The second man is described as being around 6ft tall, well-built, wearing a balaclava and a dark hooded top with a black jacket with a white zip. The third man is described as aged in his 20's, 6ft tall, of slim build, with dark hair and appeared to be clean shaven. He was wearing a red hooded jacket.

They are believed to have travelled to and from the scene in a grey Toyota car.

Sergeant Marc Makin, from Kent Police's Criminal Investigation Department, told SFM News: "We are treating this as a case of mistaken identity as the offenders demanded drugs and cash from a young family who had just been on a shopping trip. While these incidents are rare they are still very frightening for those involved. I'd like to hear from anyone who has information or who thinks they saw the suspects prior to or after the incident. I'd also like to hear from any motorists who may have captured the suspect's vehicle on their dash cam."

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Kent Police Appeals Line for Swale on 01795 419 119 quoting 07-1614.

Alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent free and anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Man Charged After Machete Incident In Sittingbourne

Man Charged After Machete Incident In Sittingbourne

A 53-year-old man has been remanded in custody following reports a man was threatened with a machete in Sittingbourne.

The incident, which caused no injuries, is reported to have taken place in Chalkwell Road on the evening of Friday 26th October.

Later that same night a machete is then reported to have been used to damage a car before a pick-up truck was driven into a further five parked vehicles.

James Thomas Hilden, who is of no fixed address, was arrested the following evening after being identified as a suspect.

On Tuesday (30th October) he was charged with affray, criminal damage and threatening a person with a bladed article and was remanded in custody to appear before Medway Magistrates' Court.

At that hearing he was further remanded and will appear at Maidstone Crown Court on a date that is to be determined.

Appeal After Serious Collision Overnight In Bobbing

Appeal After Serious Collision Overnight In Bobbing

Kent Police are appealing for information following a collision in Bobbing which left three people with serious injuries.

Officers were called to the scene, A249 northbound slip, at 11.50pm last night (Wednesday 24th October). The collision involved a white Volkswagen Caddy van and a black Audi A1 Sport, which had come to a stop.

A woman in hers 20's and a teenage girl, both from the Swale area, sustained head injuries and were both passengers in the Audi.

The woman was taken to a local hospital for further treatment and the girl was conveyed to a London Hospital. The driver of the Audi, a man in his 20's from Gillingham, also sustained chest injuries and was taken to a London hospital. At the time of the collision, he was standing beside the vehicle.

Officers from Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit would like to speak with anyone who has information, including dash cam footage, linked to the collision.

Anyone with any information can call Kent Police on 01622 798538 quoting reference: HW/DC/149/18.

Or alternatively they can email: sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk.


Subscribe to Latest 106.9 SFM Local News

100% Local Radio for Sittingbourne