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From the Games to Grinches

By Canterbury Times  |  Posted: January 04, 2013

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CROWDS lined streets in Canterbury, Upstreet, Sturry and Faversham to watch as the Olympic Torch passed through the district.

Meanwhile Swale Borough Council was criticised for spending £20,000 on the event in Faversham, which included an activity day at the Rec.

ESCAPED murderer John Massey was found hiding in a Faversham home, ending one of Britain's biggest manhunts. He was discovered in Westgate Road after escaping from Pentonville jail. It is thought he was attempting to visit his mother in the Cottage Hospital.

BUSINESSMAN Rokib Ali revealed a £200,000 plan to transform Herne Bay's bandstand into an upmarket Indian restaurant. The Maharaja opened in October.

IT WAS war of the crystal balls as the Bay's psychic partners Ali Janes and Tracy Fance went head to head and formed rival fortune-telling businesses. The pair became competitors after shutting their shop Guiding Angels.

VOLUNTEERS took to the beaches to hand out water and flip flops to Whitstable's party goers.

The group of 18 street pastors became the first to operate solely on sea front.

RESTAURANT boss Philip Guy was furious after yobs throwing stones at foreign students smashed the windows of Le Petit Poisson. Mr Guy criticised police, who dismissed the "racist" attack as youngsters having a bit of fun.

EMELI Sande headlined the seventh Lounge on the Farm music festival, amid criticism from musicians that organisers were exploiting local bands.

BURGLAR James Scamp was jailed for 16 months after a break-in in Canterbury in which Sarah Weston lost her unborn baby. Miss Weston had jumped from a first floor window to escape the thief.

TRIBUTES poured in for the district's longest serving councillor, Hazel McCabe, who lost her battle with cancer at the age of 82.

JAILED pimp Tim Blake-Bowell was banned from teaching. The former PE teacher was told he could appeal to be back in the classroom in three years time.

AUTHOR David Procter hit out at Canterbury council after it banned his poster ad campaign for being too sexual. Officials said it would be inappropriate to have the book's adult themes promoted on council property.

CANTERBURY'S only open centre for the homeless, Catching Lives, was given a stay of execution after being threatened with closure.

FRIENDS of Faversham Cottage Hospital launched a campaign to safeguard the town's minor injuries unit in the face of changes to the way local health services are run.

CAFE owner Colin Wilson defended an "ageist" advert he had placed, asking for staff under 25 years old only. The boss of Penny's Pantry in Faversham said it was in line with government policy to combat unemployment among school leavers but jobseekers questioned its legality.

TOWN centre traders in Faversham called for a Friday traffic ban trial to be scrapped just a week after it began. They failed to persuade councillors it was ruining trade.

JAMES Bond-style jet pack gadgets left onlookers in Herne Bay shaken but not stirred. The JetLev was being trialled in the sea by a company thinking about introducing them for "pleasure flights" in the town.

A RENT row erupted in Whitstable after independent shop owners complained they were being priced out of the high street. Pets Pantry owner Tony Rotherham-Bone predicted the 100 per cent increase would lead to chains moving into the town. Councillors and traders gathered in an emergency meeting at which the rises were reduced to 80 per cent.

WHITSTABLE'S bobbies learned the police station was to be closed in a multimillion-pound cost-cutting drive. The decision would save the force £200,000 and bring in a similar sum from the sale of the building.

FORMER police community support officer for Swalecliffe Michael Brock was found guilty of trying to rape a woman in a violent sex attack outside The Wall Tavern. Brock was jailed for six years.

CHESTFIELD Cricket Club was targeted in a suspected arson attack. The damage was limited to a few melted windows and doors but captain Duncan Brown was not so lucky – his wife's car and wedding ring were destroyed in the blaze.

YOUNG mum Becky Geake and her two sons fled their Whitstable home after suffering their fifth break-in in two years. Ms Geake, 24, had family photos destroyed and heirlooms taken and was threatened with a samurai sword by one intruder at St Andrew's Close.

WHITSTABLE Biennale came to an end. It featured knitted graffiti, a bouncy life-size version of Stone Henge and a sculpture made entirely of car parts.

CANTERBURY'S new Beaney Museum was unveiled after ten years and a £14 million revamp.

A WOMAN with learning difficulties was nearly driven to suicide after being hounded by bailiffs sent by Canterbury City Council.

Dawn Brazier lived without heat or electricity after falling behind with her council tax payments and had to borrow money for food.

FAVERSHAM Hop Festival drew complaints as well as 40,000 visitors, after the cinema shut due to drunken fighting. There were four arrests and reports of underage drinking and revellers urinating on cars.

PEACHES Geldof thrust Davington into the spotlight when she got married in the village church – the same place her parents Bob Geldof and Paula Yates tied the knot.

FAVERSHAM dad Anthony Sturman was spared jail despite accidentally printing out child porn he had downloaded at work. The 59-year-old Shell executive was rumbled when a co-worker went to sort out a paper jam.

FAVERSHAM took the lead role in new Channel 4 drama Southcliffe, as television cameras rolled in for the start of an eight-week shoot. Beautician Jo Pepper rubbed shoulders with lead actor Rory Kinnear while her home in The Mall was used for filming. She said: "They were really nice and Rory watched Ice Age with my two little boys between scenes."

PLANS for a giant solar park on prime farmland near Sheldwich angered neighbours. The planning application was dropped the following month.

KILLER algae forced the council to close Herne Bay's Memorial Park after dead fish were spotted floating in the bright green water.

A HIGHWAYS Agency worker died in a freak accident as he repaired a crash barrier on the A2 at Barham.

HAZEL the hawk was enlisted by Canterbury City Council as a secret weapon in the fight against pigeons. Rentokil released the bird to scare away the pests after worries about droppings damaging cars and spreading disease.

IT WAS out with paper and pencils and in with iPads at Spires Academy, which handed out hi-tech tablets to every pupil. The school said the move, which cost £125,000, was "the future of learning".

SHOCKED Whitstable residents were told they would have to pay £16 to walk to their own back doors after the council issued them with "pedestrian permits". The council paused the plans after the outrage.

WHITSTABLE was put on red alert as a pumping station fault sent a flood of sewage heading for people's homes. Tanker crews worked for two days to pump out the four million litres of sewage and rainwater threatening Cromwell Road, Westgate Terrace and Station Road.

WHITSTABLE schoolboy Reece Puddington had a sauna installed at his home to help him in his battle against a rare form of cancer.

SANTA brought Herne Bay a new Christmas tree after the previous one was branded the worst in the world by national newspapers.

ZOMBIES descended on Herne Bay in a large-scale fundraising invasion, raising £2,600 for Kent Air Ambulance. Meanwhile, Herne Bay Baptist Church launched its own And There Was Light celebration, encouraging angels to spread their alternative message.

TRAFFIC stopped moo-ving when a trailer carrying Highland cows overturned on the Thanet Way at Whitstable. The animals were not harmed but the road was closed as the herd grazed on the carriageway.

TANKERTON FC launched a last-ditch appeal to raise £150,000 to buy a new pitch, which garnered celebrity support from England footballer Ashley Cole and ex-boxing champ Barry McGuigan.

CANTERBURY'S X Factor hopeful Lucy Spraggan was forced to pull out of the ITV talent show due to illness.

VILLAGERS in Herne vowed to fight plans for 1,000 homes on Strode Farm. Councillor John Moore said the proposals were "horrifying."

A CARGO plane was hit by lightning as it flew over Herne Bay, sparking rumours of an air crash at sea. Witnesses said the Manston-bound plane was flying below storm clouds when the bolt struck.

KENT voted Ann Barnes in as the first Police and Crime Commissioner in a landslide victory for the independent candidate.

FORMER police dog handler Stephen Dean walked free from court after his pet mauled a horse rider in woods in Dunkirk.

He was given 120 hours of community service and ordered to pay his victim, primary school teacher Ann Sage, £500 compensation.

REMEMBRANCE Sunday was particularly quiet in Sheldwich after thieves stole the church's 400-year-old bell.

A GAS bill blunder threatened to shut Faversham's cinema after British Gas warned it would send bailiffs in. It later emerged the meter belonged to another address.

MUSICIAN Mark Fairbrass needed hospital treatment after being beaten with his own guitar. Martin Edwards, of Central Parade, Herne Bay was jailed for four and a half years for hitting his friend over the head with the Fender after a drunken row.

METAL thieves turned into the Grinch when they stole a postbox full of Christmas cards from next to Reculver school.

HERNE Bay beach hut owners learned they might only be able to keep their properties for 30 years in a council shake-up.

DODDINGTON mechanic Dan Wood was visited by a Christmas ghost. He got the shock when friends pointed out a spooky image of a child in a picture he had taken of his Christmas tree.

CRICKETERS from Davington tried to bowl maidens over with by selling a nude charity calendar to raise money for a diabetes charity.

CANTERBURY grandad Stan "The Man" Truelove turned on his Christmas lights in front of huge crowds and a TV crew.

STAFF at the Horsebridge Centre were given an early Christmas present after an £8,500 grant from councillor Mark Dance saved their jobs. The cash-strapped community centre had been planning to make staff cuts after Canterbury City Council slashed its funding from £70,000 to £15,000.

AN INQUEST into the death of Callum Osborne heard that emergency crews dug with their hands to try to save the Canterbury builder while he was buried alive in an 8ft deep trench in Swalecliffe.

WHITSTABLE thief John Corley was jailed for six years for his part in a bullion raid. He was one of a gang of seven people who stole gold bars worth £1.1 million.

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