Local News

Police Appeal Following Serious Collision

Police Appeal Following Serious Collision

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are appealing for witness to a collision in Sittingbourne.

Kent Police were called at 6.40pm on Saturday (20th June) to a report of a collision between a blue Volkswagen Golf and a cyclist on the A2 London Road near the junction with Hempstead Lane.

Officers attended along with the South East Coast Ambulance Service and the Air Ambulance for Kent, Surrey and Sussex and a 62-year-old man from Sittingbourne was taken to a London hospital by road. He remains in a serious but stable condition.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kent Police's Serious Collison Investigation Unit on 01622 798 538 or they can email: sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting reference LB/55/20.

Major Gas Leak Closes A2 At Newington

Major Gas Leak Closes A2 At Newington

Picture: Richard Palmer

Kent Police have had to closed the A2 at Newington due to a 'major' gas leak.

The road closure comes just a day after residents received a letter saying that months of roadworks along that stretch of road were finally finished and that the area would be 'getting back to normal'.

London Road is currently CLOSED between Playstool Road and Bull Lane, causing lengthy tailbacks on to Keycol Hill (coming from Sittingbourne) and back to Hartlip (coming from the Medway towns). 

Cllr Richard Palmer, who represents Harlip, Newington and Upchurch on Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: "This is really frustrating and causing chaos around the village in the country lanes. SGN Engineers had been working on this stretch of road with a contraflow for weeks and were hoping to complete on Sunday 21st June, ten weeks ahead of schedule. It is obviously an emergency and unplanned as police are manning the barriers."

SGN engineers, wearing masks, are still on the scene. The recent works were supposed to be the final part of the massive £1.8 million scheme to renew nearly 3 miles of aging gas main pipes, with contractors  even working throughout the recent coronavirus lockdown to keep the project on time.

Appeal Launched Following Serious M2 Crash

Appeal Launched Following Serious M2 Crash

Kent Police collision investigators are appealing for information after a one-vehicle collision on the M2 which left the driver with serious injuries.

The accident happened at 7.42pm last night (Saturday 7th June) when a white Citroen C1 left the carriageway during heavy rain, striking a tree on the embankment on the London-bound carriageway between junctions 6 and 5 near Faversham.

The driver was taken to a London hospital where she remains in a critical but stable condition with life-threatening injuries.

Officers from the Kent Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit are appealing for information and dashcam footage of the incident. Any witnesses are being urged to contact them on 01622 798539, quoting reference JW/49/20 or, alternatively you can emai: sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk.

Sittingbourne And Borden Village FC's Forge Link

Sittingbourne And Borden Village FC's Forge Link

Sittingbourne FC and Borden Village FC have announced a formal link between the two clubs going forward.

The two club committees say they have been discussing the tie up for sometime and following changes at Borden Village felt that the time was now right to join forces. The tie up has begun with Sittingbourne FC helping Borden finalise a strong management team that will now include names familiar to stalwart Brickies fans.

The Borden committee released this statement to SFM News: "We at Borden are excited to bring in our new manager Kevin Brown". Kevin, 45, brings a wealth of experience to Borden, having played for Sittingbourne, Tonbridge Angels, Gravesend, Worthing, Sheppey Utd, Greenwich Boro and Tunbridge Wells over a 25 year non league playing career. He moved in to coaching after retiring, at Ashford u23, but is now looking to make the step up In to management.

Joining him as no 2 /coach will be Simon Beard . Simon himself had a distinguished non league playing career starting at West Ham Utd as an apprentice before playing top level non league with Sittingbourne, Dover, and Hastings Utd .Simon is also a UEFA B licence coach and is academy coach at Rondos.

The Borden Commitee went on to say: "These are exciting times for the club which will include a link up with Sittingbourne FC which will benefit both clubs." There was already a link between the two clubs through committee members of both clubs, Roger Pudner (who is also the groundsman for both clubs), and Ian Jackson.

Sittingbourne manager Darren Blackburn will have an overseeing role over teams of both clubs and for Sittingbourne the interchange of players that this link up makes possible will prove invaluable. These are exciting times for Sittingbourne Football coming out of the country's COVID-19 Lockdown.

Swale Borough Council's Chief Executive Dies

Swale Borough Council's Chief Executive Dies

A statement released earlier today Swale Borough Council announced that their Chief Executive, Mark Radford, has died.

Mark had been undergoing treatment for cancer since last year, but during a recent stay in hospital, he contracted coronavirus. This proved to be one fight too many, and he passed away yesterday (Thursday 28th May).

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We are all deeply saddened that our Chief Executive Mark Radford has passed away. This is so very sad because he has fought so long against his illness, only to catch the Coronavirus whilst receiving treatment for his condition. He has been so brave and sustained himself with the conviction that he would return to work with us. He was dedicated to the council and loved the borough, and he and I have spent much time discussing the future, as well as talking about our respective football clubs. It is a very sad day, and my thoughts and prayers are with Mark’s family and friends.”

Mark began working at Swale in 1987 as the council’s Estates Officer and Valuer, responsible for managing the property assets. In 1996 he was promoted to Director of Corporate Sservices and was responsible for running the business of the council as well as transforming service delivery of key services.

He became interim chief executive in February 2017 following the departure of Abdool Kara and his post was made permanent in January 2018.

Arriva Announce Bus Social Distancing Measures

Arriva Announce Bus Social Distancing Measures

Local bus company Arriva Kent have announced that they will be running more services from next Monday (1st June) - but passengers will be advised to wear face masks when social distancing isn't possible.

Other new measures will see a sign stating 'bus full' being displayed when the vehicle has reached its capacity and when this sign is showing, the bus will not stop to pick up any new passengers - it will only stop to let people off. If the bus does stop, only one new passenger will board for every passenger that disembarks from the service. On the bus itself any seats that are within two metres of the driver will be taped off, but wheelchair spaces will remain available and passengers will NOT be allowed to stand on their journeys.

Oliver Monahan, Area Managing Director at Arriva Kent, told SFM News: “We are committed to running vital services to support workers and people needing to undertake essential journeys at this time. Passengers can rest assured that during these times of change we are continually monitoring service levels in line with demand and will, wherever we can, adapt our services to meet this. We urge all those needing to travel to only use public transport if necessary and to check our website at www.arrivabus.co.uk/coronavirus for up-to-date advice and bus times before they travel.”

Revised timetables can be viewed and downloaded here, or by using the Arriva UK Bus App - available from the Apple Apps Store and Google Play.

First Ever Online Fire Station Open Day

First Ever Online Fire Station Open Day

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) are calling on residents at home to tune into their first ever online fire station open day on Thursday 28th May.

Aimed at families and all ages, the virtual event has been organised in place of a number of the their annual ‘Family Open Days', which were cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will take place from 11am on the Kent Fire and Rescue Service Facebook page, starting with Sittingbourne fire station.

Videos will be posted throughout the day until 2pm, each one with a different theme. Those who attended the annual open days last year, enjoyed hearing from station staff, watching firefighter displays, the Byrnes show and taking part in the new activity trail. The good news is, all of this will still play a part in the first ever online open day, meaning everyone can still experience what a real open day offers - but without even having to leave the house!

Those who 'tune in' will be able to learn important safety tips by watching the online firefighter videos and demonstrations and the service's education team, 999 control operators and the Byrnes family mascot, Woody, will also be making appearances through a number of fun, learn-at-home videos.

Ann Millington, Chief Executive of KFRS, told SFM News: "We know there's a lot going on in the world right now, but learning vital fire safety advice is still incredibly important- especially with more people at home during this time cooking, using electricals and having barbecues. We're really excited to launch the first ever online fire station open day, so that families can watch along and learn at home. We do hope you'll save the date and tune in on the day to enjoy the educational videos, shows and interactive activity trail, as created by our firefighters and support staff - it's going to be great fun for the whole family!"

For more information please visit: facebook.com/kentfirerescue.

Sittingbourne Robber Jailed For Snatching Handbag

Sittingbourne Robber Jailed For Snatching Handbag

A robber, who stole a handbag from an elderly woman while she walked to a Sittingbourne shop, has been jailed.

Craig Creasey initially engaged in conversation with the victim, who is in her 80s, before snatching her bag with such force she fell to the ground.

The 39-year-old, from Sittingbourne, admitted robbery and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday 13th May) to 16 months imprisonment.

The offence took place outside a shop in St John's Avenue at around 9:00am on Tuesday 14th April and was clearly captured on a security camera with the footage showing Creasey driving to the scene in a car before speaking to the woman outside the shop. The footage showed a short conversation taking place before the offender snatched her bag and ran towards his vehicle while she was left laying on the floor, having sustained bruising to her arm and soreness to her shoulder.

Creasey then drove away from the scene but, shortly after the offence took place, the CCTV footage was uploaded to social media and within minutes Creasey's name had been reported several times to Kent Police. Patrols acted promptly and arrested Creasey later that day and he has remanded in custody ever since. Officers were also able to reunite the victim with her bag, which contained several photographs that are of sentimental value.

The investigating officer, Detective Constable Nicola Lincoln, told SFM News: "This crime was carried out during lockdown, when most people are looking out for their vulnerable friends, family members and neighbours. Creasey saw his victim outside the shop and took advantage of the situation, pulling her to the ground, injuring her and stealing her bag. Though shaken and physically hurt, she has shown great bravery in assisting us with our case and should be commended. Though this was an awful experience for her, it brought out the best in the community, who rallied round and were keen to wish her well, send cards and flowers and even donate money to the NHS as per her wishes. A true reflection of the largely good, kind people in the community as opposed to the abhorrent actions of one person".

Latest COVID-19 Figures Released

Latest COVID-19 Figures Released

The latest Office Of National Statistic (ONS) figures for Kent have been released and show that the county has suffered at least 4,254 coronavirus cases, with a further 706 cases recorded in the Medway unitary authority area.

Locally here in Swale the rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people is 198.0 compared to the worse rate in the county in Ashford which was recorded as 492.7.

The week ending 1st May was the first, since coronavirus arrived in Britain,in which London did not register the highest number of Covid-19 deaths. The South East had the highest weekly count, with 967 death certificates mentioning a confirmed or suspected case of the disease.

Here in Sittingbourne a mobile testing centre (by appointment only, via a secure system) has been set up, with the NHS and the Army, in the Swale House Car Park. 

Speedway Mascot Naming Competition Result

Speedway Mascot Naming Competition Result

It's a tail in the jungle for sure how Kent Speedway fans have been rallying together to pick a name for their new mascot: not just the TouchTec King of the Jungle but a master of all he surveys at Central Park and there by right Royal Appointment!

The competition, backed by SpecSavers, saw a terrific response with a pride of great names including Lennie (a nod there surely to Kings' promoter Len Silver), Luke (ditto to much-loved former skipper 'Bowen 747'!), Kenny, Kingsley and Kingston!

It was certainly looking like it might be a headache for the judging panel to pick (and unfortunately in the jungle there are no headache tablets as the parrots eat them all...) - until a name came roaring into view with six picks and so taking the title.

Yes, the name is ROARY.

Commercial Manager Graham Darling told SFM News what happened next: "There were six people who went for Roary - which is a great name combining the Lion theme with the roar of the Speedway bikes - a sound loved by all in the sport. Six picked the winning name but there can only be one winner. We therefore arranged for Si Kellow of Iwade Garage, who has been on the judging panel, to do a video draw where he numbered the names and did a random draw. That draw selected No.5 which was George Hodgson who has won the top prize of VIP tickets and a replica Kings/Royals 2020 shirt."

Kent TouchTec Kings hope to get up and running on their NEW Wednesday evenings at Central Park Stadium as soon as possible and we will keep you updated with developments.

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