26 May 2011

‘Putting on the Glitz’ - Dramarama (High Halstow), 2/3/4 June 2011

Dramarama, the High Halstow amateur dramatics group, proudly present ‘Putting on the Glitz’ on Thursday 2 June, Friday 3 June and Saturday 4 June. Performances begin at 7.30pm at the Recreation Hall in High Halstow. Tickets are £4.

For more information and bookings, contact Fred and Hazel (01634) 251135, Noleen (01634) 271026, Joanne (01634) 250911 or Wenda (01634) 253169.

Hoo Boot Fair at the GEC Bowls Club, Sunday 29 May 2011

Sunday Boot Fairs, organised by the GEC Bowls Club (Bells Lane, Hoo, Rochester, ME3 9DZ), are taking place throughout the summer.

Held in the sports field next to the club, the next Boot Fair is this Sunday (29 May). Other dates include: July 3, August 7 and September 4. Trading from 6am, bargain hunters are encouraged to get along early!

If anyone would like a pitch - just go along on the day (as early as possible). There is a charge of £5 per pitch.

25 May 2011

Farmers’ Market (Allhallows), Saturday 28 May 2011

The next Allhallows Farmers’ Market will be this Saturday, from 10am to 1pm, at Allhallows Village Hall (Stoke Road, Allhallows, ME3 9PF).

Pop along for fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, bread, cakes, honey, homemade cards, pet food, plants, sweets, bags, jewellery, candles, gifts, charity mugs and much more!

To book a stall, contact 01634 270360.

New to You Clothes Sale (Hoo), Thursday 26 May 2011

The Five Bells pub in Hoo (1 Stoke Road, Hoo, ME3 9BE) will be hosting a 'New to You Clothes Sale' tomorrow (Thursday), from 4.30pm to 7pm - free admission.

Organised by the Hoo Village Events Committee.

22 May 2011

Volunteering at Grain Coastal Park

Volunteers have given hours of their time and their enthusiasm to help improve Grain Coastal Park – a partnership project between Grain Parish Council, Medway Council and the Kent Wildlife Trust.

Tasks have so far have included clearing litter, pruning bushes, painting bollards and shelters, digging holes, erecting new information signs and surveying plant life. A big difference has been made, but there’s still plenty more to do. New volunteers are always welcome – and just a few hours a month will make a big difference.

I went along to the May volunteering day, and along with project co-ordinator Paul Pearce, from the Kent Wildlife Trust, I was tasked with re-locating a litter bin from one end of the car park to the other.

Sounds simple enough? Well, that’s what I thought, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

However, I’m pleased to say that a couple of hours later, following the addition to our team of two extra volunteers, heavy lifting chains, a wheelbarrow, a trolley mover and an hydraulic concrete breaker – the bin was indeed moved and looking very much at home next to the new information signs (see the photograph below).

I never thought I’d get such a great sense of satisfaction moving a rubbish bin – but it’s great seeing all the improvements coming together, of which this was just one.

Don’t worry if this all sounds a little too strenuous – there are plenty of gentle tasks for people of all ages to help out with too.

The next opportunity to help will be on Sunday 5 June, starting at 10am (until 12 noon), with an afternoon session from 2pm. The focus will be on cleaning up the beach. And there’ll also be an opportunity to learn about marine wildlife. Click the image below to find out more.

Take a look at the Kent Wildlife Trust website for more information about their work.

20 May 2011

New website for St. James’ Church at Cooling

The Friends of St. James’ Church at Cooling, who work in partnership with The Churches Conservation Trust, have gone online with a new website.

Dating back to the late thirteenth century, St. James’ Church is well known for its association with Charles Dickens, who is thought to have set the opening to Great Expectations in the churchyard.

The Church is fascinating and full of history. It's also worth taking time to enjoy the rural setting of Cooling itself - one of the most picturesque parts of the Hoo Peninsula.

If you would like to support The Friends of St. James’ Church – visit their new website here.

19 May 2011

BBC Domesday Reloaded on the Hoo Peninsula

I suppose that even those of us not destined to make it to Monarch, President, renowned scientist or even famous celebrity, all have our own little place in history. But until this week, I had forgotten about my modest involvement in the 1986 Domesday project - an ambitious attempt to record a snapshot of everyday life across the UK for future generations. A much less sinister motive than the tax revenue driven record of property and land ownership by our French cousins 900 years earlier.

I think it was either late 1985 or early 1986 when a couple of school friends and I were given a 'vital task' - sent to interrogate the local part-time Librarian about what she liked and disliked about her job!

I can't say our findings have been at the forefront of my mind these past 25 years, but having heard about the recent publishing of all the Domesday project material, I decided to have a browse.

We learned that books weren’t being returned to the library after they were borrowed. Not exactly crime of the century perhaps, but given the perennial budgetary constraints on such community services, as much of a selfish nuisance then as it is now I suppose!

Searching around the site, I see that a number of villages from the Hoo Peninsula participated in this project as well, submitting written reports and photographs – all of which are available to view on the BBC Domesday Reloaded website. Not surprising, given that over a million people took part nationwide.

There are sections (D-Blocks as they are known on the site) for Cliffe, Cliffe Woods, Hoo, St. Mary Hoo, Stoke, Grain, Chattenden and Lower Upnor.

The section about Hoo (D-block GB-576000-171000) includes submissions about family life, ‘interesting’ local people, shopping patterns, leisure and recreation, housing, local news and events.

The section about Stoke (D-block GB-580000-174000) includes submissions about Mackays Court Farm, Stoke Church, Hoppers Lane, Microlights, St. Mary Hoo and general information about village life.

Take a look at the BBC Domesday Reloaded website and see what was recorded back in 1986. You never know, you may find your name in its own little place in history.

16 May 2011

Get involved in the 2011 Relay for Life!

People of all ages will be taking part in this year’s Relay for Life (Rochester) event, in aid of Cancer Research, on Saturday 2 July from 2pm.

Local teams of friends, families, neighbours and work colleagues will be helping to raise funds for the life-saving work of Cancer Research UK. Team members will take turns to walk, run, skip or crawl around the running track at Deangate Ridge for 24 hours. And a great overnight party, with camping, music, stalls, entertainment and BBQs, will be taking place to ensure a superb atmosphere.

With the walking option likely to appeal to many (including me - and I’ll be adding sponsorship details here soon!) this is a perfect way for everyone to get involved with this great fund-raising effort.

This relay will take place at the Deangate Ridge Sports Complex, Dux Court Road, Hoo, Rochester, Kent, ME3 8RZ.

If you’d like to find out more about taking part, contact Nancy Waller by email here or phone 01622 221254 (daytime).

For more information about Cancer Research’s Relay for Life events, visit their website.

10 May 2011

Petition for Hoo Parish Church – signed, sealed and delivered!

Several months ago, an independent petition was launched by members of the community who wanted to help safeguard the future of Hoo St. Werburgh Parish Church. The petition asked the Bishop of Rochester and the Archbishop of Canterbury to "provide adequate funding to keep Hoo St. Werburgh Parish Church open." It was hoped the petition would also highlight the huge financial problems being faced by the Church and encourage donations.

On 29 April, whilst attending the the Hoo St. Werburgh Royal Wedding Party, Maureen Tong-Ralphs (Hoo Village Events Committee) presented the petition to Rev. Andy Harding in Hoo Village Square. The petition contained more than 1,000 names – demonstrating how people feel about the local Church. It will hopefully do much to highlight the urgent need for donations.

More information about getting involved with the Church’s financial appeal is available here.

English Heritage Project Update (April 2011) Hoo Peninsula Historic Landscape

A project update has been published by English Heritage, about their work to raise awareness of the historical development of the Hoo Peninsula landscape.

Photograph: Copyright, English Heritage.NMR

The purpose of the project, outlined on this website in September 2010, is to ensure the historic environment makes a positive contribution to the area’s future development. Read the project update below (just click):

More information can be obtained by visiting the English Heritage website.

7 May 2011

High Halstow Hikers (May Walk), Sunday 8 May 2011

The High Halstow Hikers will be heading west of the Hoo Peninsula for this month’s walk.

Tomorrow’s walk (Sunday) begins at 10am from the main car park of Shorne Country Park (meeting close to the Visitor Centre). A map of the location is available here.

The walk will be through well-established woodland tracks and will follow the Darnley Trail, which is about 6.5 miles.

More High Halstow Hikers walks will take place on 12 June, 10 July and 14 August – more details will be added to this site when available, or contact Mitchell Dowsett by emailing here.

Grain Coastal Park (May Volunteering Day) - do you have any spare time to help?

Volunteers from across the area will be helping with work to develop and improve Grain Coastal Park tomorrow (Sunday). These photographs show some of the things that have been achieved over the past few months.

Although a lot has already been done to improve the local environment, like clearing paths, pruning bushes, painting car park bollards and installing new information signs, there's still more work to do. New volunteers are always very welcome, just a few hours a month really will make a difference!

If you're interested in getting involved tomorrow, there’ll be plenty of practical tasks to do. And help is needed with a plant survey in the afternoon.

If you would like to lend a hand, sessions will be from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm (meeting at the beach car park). Volunteering days will be held on Sunday 5 June and Sunday 3 July.

This project is being led by the Kent Wildlife Trust, with the support of Grain Parish Council and Medway Council. If you would like more information, or to discuss how you can help, please contact Paul Pearce (Kent Wildlife Trust) on 01622 662012 or send an email here.