Archive for the ‘Breaking News’ Category

Let’s FACE It! for the High Street

Monday, November 24th, 2014

As one of the original New Towns, Crawley is a modern and vibrant place to live. We often notice how more recent developments are shaping the town’s appearance over time, but it’s also important to remember that Crawley is also home to many historic buildings and locations.

Parts of the town with particularly distinctive characters have been identified as conservation areas. There are four in the town centre – the historic High Street, St. Peter’s, Dyers Almshouses on Northgate Road and Sunnymead. Each of these areas has a special appearance that it is important to preserve and, if possible, enhance.

To help make this happen, Central Crawley Conservation Area Advisory Committee (4Cs) is an independent group of residents, businesses and community representatives. The group meets every two months and takes an active role in providing feedback on planning applications proposed in the town centre’s conservation areas identifying improvements that can be made to the appearance and environment in these locations.

As part of their conservation efforts, the 4Cs will be joining up with Let’s FACE it! in December to carry out a bulb planting campaign in the High Street.

Bulbs will be planted in the flower beds outside the Jar Jar Bar and Barclays Bank and residents who want to be involved are encouraged to meet outside Barclays Bank on Wednesday 3rd December at 10am.

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “It’s important to protect and enhance our historic sites around Crawley, so it’s encouraging to see campaigns like this bulb planting event to help promote the conservation areas and get more people interested in our town’s heritage.”

The 4Cs are always looking for new members and would like to hear from anyone with an interest in protecting the historic environment and improving the attractiveness of the conservation areas. If you’re interested in conservation and would like to get involved, the 4Cs would like to hear from you!

And if you would like to help on 3rd December, please wear old clothes and stout footwear. Children are most welcome but must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Tools and equipment will be provided by Crawley Borough Council.

For more information on the 4Cs , email or call Anthony Masson on 01293 438761. And for more Lets FACE it! information, contact Ruth Growney at or on 01293 438926


Big Tidy Up at Woldhurstlea Wood

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014


Crawley Borough Council staff and a local resident gathered at Woldhurstlea Wood in Gossops Green to help tidy and clear rubbish last week.

The litter clearing event was part of the nationwide Keep Britain Tidy’s Wombles Big Tidy Up Event, which is being supported by Waitrose.

During the event, the council’s Community Wardens and Ron MacRae managed to clear 11 sacks of litter, a metal bed frame, a metal dustbin, garden power tools, chair cushions and cones from the woodland.

Cabinet member for Environmental Services, Cllr Colin Lloyd said: “It’s great to see a member of the community join our Community Wardens and help to keep this wooded area clean and tidy.

“It’s important to look after areas like Woldhurstlea Wood and prevent them from becoming dumping grounds, ruining their natural beauty and tranquil surroundings.”

For more information visit

Salsa dancers from Crawley & Horsham perform on BBC Children In Need with Tony Blackburn

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Salsa dancers from Horsham & Crawley were invited to perform on BBC Children In Need on Friday 14th. The dancers had performed flash mobs around Gatwick Airport at the invitation of The Rotary Group of Horsham.

Both BBC London and Children In Need picked up on the videos of the flash mobs and the group were invited to perform on the night as part of the live broadcast. Over 20 dancers went along to New Broadcasting House and performed a ‘Rueda de Casino’, a Cuban salsa style danced in pairs in a circle. Jon Riley who runs Horsham Salsa was briefly interviewed along with Susanna Rodriguez.


When the presenter then invited Jon and Susanna to ‘keep dancing’, Radio and TV legend Tony Blackburn came over and joined in the fun.

The dancers then joined Tony Blackburn at the end of that section of the evenings broadcast dancing a Conga onto the Pudsey bus.

The combined efforts of all the Rotary activities at Gatwick Airport raised something in the region of £3,500.

Background Information

The performance was only broadcast on BBC London as most regions had coverage of their own local events, though as this is the default channel for many Sky viewers, it was seen as far away as Cumbria. It is also the version on BBC iPlayer. BBC Children In Need part 1 – approximately 1hr 15 mins into the broadcast.

2014 11 13 Dancing With Tony Blackburn 4

Jon Riley started Horsham Salsa over 7 years ago and has been holding Cuban Style salsa classes weekly. Currently classes are held on Wednesdays at Chameleon in Horsham and Thursdays at The White Knight on Worth Road in Crawley.

The 21 dancers involved were a pretty even mix of Horsham and Crawley residents.

The dance style Rueda de Casino, is danced in pairs in a circle and a leader calls out the names of the moves, in Spanish. The move names are in Spanish as in the same way that ballet is always taught in French, so ‘Casino’ is always called in Spanish and is done that way throughout the world.

The invite from Rotary came about as the result of a Flashmob that the group did in Horsham as part of a worldwide day of Rueda Flashmobs. The main video of that flasm mob has nearly 3,000 views.

The videos of the flashmobs (sadly not the greatest quality) were put on You Tube and it was those that were picked up by first BBC London and then by the main Children In Need charity.

The invitation to go up to London for the broadcast was made about a week before the event and all the dancers had to make arrangements to leave work early or change plans to be there.

The huge advantage of this form of dance (Rueda de Casino) is that a group can dance in Unison with no rehearsals as all the dancers have already learned the names of the moves. This means that the group can form up, dance together and disappear again with limited preparation.

Website for the club is and

Compilation of all the parts where dancers appear, sometimes in the background – we were recruited as ‘crowd’ as well.

Flashmob at Gatwick 1 –

Flashmob at Gatwick 2 –

Flashmob in Horsham 1 –

Flashmob in Horsham 2 –

Fundraising gets a good kicking

Monday, November 17th, 2014

BBC Children in Need is the BBC’s UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK. One of the highlights is an annual telethon, held in November and televised on all the BBC channels from 7:30pm until 2am. “Pudsey Bear” is BBC Children in Need’s mascot.

The BBC’s first broadcast charity appeal took place in 1927, in the form of a five-minute radio broadcast on Christmas Day. It raised about £1,143, which equates to about £27,150 by today’s standards, and was donated to four children’s charities. The first televised appeal took place in 1955 and was called the Children’s Hour Christmas Appeal, with the yellow glove puppet Sooty Bear and Harry Corbett fronting it. The Christmas Day Appeals continued on TV and radio until 1979. During that time a total of £625,836 was raised. Terry Wogan first appeared during this five-minute appeal in 1978, and again in 1979. Sometimes cartoon characters such as Peter Pan were used.In 1980, the first Children in Need telethon was broadcast, a series of short segments linking the evening’s programming instead of the usual continuity. It was devoted to raising money exclusively destined for charities working with children in the United Kingdom. (

The people of Crawley joined in with many events going on around the town on Friday, to help raise funds for Children In Need 2014.

Sue Beadell, 4th Dan Black Belt with Crawley Black Belt Academy joined a ‘few others’ to do just that. Sue told us “the parents and students of Crawley Black Belt Academy took part in a kick-a-thon in aid of Children In Need.

“One of our young blackbelt students, Ryan Verner, came to us with an idea. His idea was for a few students and instructors  to do a few kicks and raise some money. Word soon spread and everyone wanted to get involved.

Black Belt Academy

“Sensei Wayne Beadell, picked a number out of the air. This just happened to be 100,000! Not a problem to the students and their very supportive parents. It worked out that 100 people would do 1000 kicks each. So that is what they did. 1000 kicks for Children In Need! Crawley Black Belt Academy Rocks!!”

Well done to all involved! What a great effort by all.

Local musicians to Lord it up in London

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Local musician and composer Paul Stanworth recently performed with his dad Mike, at a local fundraising event in Crawley.

In the audience was Lord Neil Kinnock. On hearing Paul perform, Lord Kinnock joined him on stage at the event to perform a few songs.


Lord Kinnock was so impressed by Paul and Mike Stanworth, he invited them to perform at a large event in London, with many high profile celebrities and film stars.

Lord Neil Kinnock said “When I heard Paul and his Dad play at a Crawley fundraising dinner, I knew they’d be terrific at our fundraiser in London and I was very glad when they said they could do it. Paul can play absolutely everything!”

IMG_5202Paul told us this was his play list for the evening. Lord Kinnok signed it so
Paul has now put the picture in and framed

Paul Stanworth said “we are really excited. It doesn’t seem real actually. My dad and I have performed many times together at various events, but I feel this one is going to be one of the most memorable. We are extremely grateful for the invite. Lord Kinnock was very charismatic and friendly, we had a good laugh. Can’t wait to see him again. Lord Kinnok is a bit of a family hero in a sense, as I am from a long line of yorkshire coalminers. It is going to be a privilege to perform for him and his guests.”

New vehicle system to save on fuel costs

Friday, November 14th, 2014


South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is to install a new system on its ambulances which will save on fuel costs and in turn reduce emissions.

The dynamic speed control system will mean a vehicle’s speed is restricted when it is not on an emergency.

The system, which only comes into operation when a vehicle is being driven under non-emergency conditions, works by altering the vehicle’s acceleration profile. It means vehicles not responding to an incident as an emergency will be restricted to 62mph.

Evidence from a trial carried out by SECAmb in the Chertsey area suggests that the Trust is likely to see a reduction of at least 10% in fuel usage across its fleet as a result of the changes with savings being used to further improve patient care.

With the Trust’s fleet covering approximately 17 million miles each year and fuel costing around £6m a year it is hoped the total savings are likely to equate to more than half a million pounds every year.

By altering the vehicle’s acceleration profile, wear and tear will be reduced and ride comfort for both patients and crews is expected to improve.

The system, which will be rolled out across SECAmb’s Kent, Surrey and Sussex region over the coming months, will first be fitted to the Trust’s A&E vehicles. It will then be installed on the Trust’s patient transport vehicles and other support vehicles in its fleet.

As part of the rollout signage will be fitted to the vehicles to inform other road users that the vehicle is limited when not on an emergency.

SECAmb’s Head of Fleet Justin Wand said: “The decision to install this system on our operational vehicles will significantly reduce their fuel consumption and save public money.

“In addition, given the huge number of miles our vehicles cover, we know we have a duty to take our responsibility to the environment very seriously.

“This move is just one way which we can, to an extent, limit our impact as an organisation on the environment at the same time as making savings, which can be reinvested into patient care.”

Hair today, gone tomorrow…..all for good friends and a great cause

Friday, November 14th, 2014

One of our readers Katie Pudney recently made us aware of her friend Maxine who is about to embark on a very selfless act.

We met Katie and her friend Maxine to find out what this selfless act will be. Maxine told us “on the 4th December I am going to have my hair plaited, chopped off and donated to The Little Princess Trust.”


We asked Maxine why she is doing this and she told us “I have two very close friends who are currently battling cancer, one has breast cancer and the other stomach cancer. I wanted to do something special for them and as they are losing their hair, I thought it would be quite befitting. I wanted to let them know that we support them all the way.”

Katie is a part time hairdresser and will be cutting Maxine’s hair. Katie told us “I am so proud of Maxine and I am honoured to be the one doing the hair cut. It will all be sent to the Little Princess Trust on the day. It’s just lovely to think a poorly child could feel more human again with a wig made from Maxine’s hair, it would be brilliant. I’m going to give Maxine a lovely pixie look.”

Little Princess Trust are an organisation with the sole purpose of providing real-hair wigs, free of charge, to boys and girls across the UK and Ireland that have lost their own hair through cancer treatment.

Shelley speaks to Katie and Maxine:

Maxine went on to tell us “I can’t wait to help a child who has lost their hair. After all, I’m lucky, my hair will grow back. If it makes them feel better then it is all worth it.”

Maxine is raising funds via her Just Giving page. Maxine told us they already have over £300 in just a week but her target is £500. If you would like to support Maxine please click here.

The cut will be filmed by a friend on the day at a private location.

There are the unspoken heroes of our town who do little things that make a huge difference, in many ways, Maxine Harrison is one of them.

We would like to wish Maxine all the best with her new look and want to thank her and Katie for speaking to us.

Henry Smith MP helps launch Tickets for Troops at Crawley Town FC

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Henry Smith MP Dave Pottinger Tickets for Troops

Henry Smith MP has joined with Dave Pottinger, Chairman of Crawley Town FC, in officially launching the club’s involvement in the Tickets for Troops initiative, in a presentation before Tuesday’s evening’s match with Gillingham.

Henry said;

“It was an honour to help launch Crawley Town’s involvement in Tickets for Troops. It was an extremely poignant evening, coming on Armistice Day, where the Last Post was played, and a minute’s silence observed, before kick-off.

“I am grateful that Crawley Town responded so quickly to my request for them to join the scheme. I am pleased that they have become the first organisation in our town to donate tickets to our servicemen and women, who will forever deserve our thanks.”

Tickets for Troops provide free tickets to members of the Armed Forces for a variety of sporting, musical and cultural events. The scheme offers serving personnel, and those medically discharged from the forces since 2001, the well-deserved opportunity to enjoy an event of their choice with their friends and families.

Service personnel can go to and by searching for Crawley, will be able to book tickets for future Crawley Town home league matches

Dave Pottinger, Chairman of Crawley Town Football Club, commented;

“We’re delighted to be supporting the Tickets for Troops initiative.

“No one should ever forget the sacrifices made our by service personnel around the world and Tickets for Troops is a wonderful way of rewarding them for the hard work they do on our behalf. We look forward to welcoming Armed Forces personnel to our matches for a long time to come.”

Veronica Bamford, Director of Operations at Tickets for Troops, said;

“We are delighted that Crawley Town FC will be supporting our nation’s servicemen and women this season. Henry Smith MP has also been a great support in enabling Crawley’s first organisation to donate tickets through Tickets for Troops.”

Follow Henry daily via:

Retailers support Appeal for vulnerable local children

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014


Local charity Home-Start CHAMS is delighted at the support from retailers Tesco, and Bartie’s Sussex Faire, for its first ‘Snowflake Appeal’ raising funds for vulnerable local children.

Tesco Extra stores at Crawley and Horsham are inviting customers to decorate the Christmas tree in their stores with Christmas Wishes in support of the Snowflake Appeal.  Customers can give a donation to receive a Snowflake Appeal pin badge and write a special Christmas Wish message, which will be added to the tree.

“We would love people to come along to help the tree fill up with their Christmas Wishes in support of vulnerable local children.  They just need to pop along to our stores and look out for the Snowflake Appeal posters” said Tesco’s Customer Service Manager

Home-Start CHAMS work with families with young children, helping to prevent crisis, because when parents suffer tragedy and hardship, children can suffer for a lifetime.  They are running the Snowflake Appeal to help raise the money they need to offer the vital support these children need and make sure they can reach even more vulnerable local children in 2015.

National on-line home accessories and gift retailer and local food producer Bartie’s Sussex Faire are also backing Home-Start’s Snowflake Appeal.  Throughout the festive season, will be making donations to the Appeal for all purchases which include a special Snowflake item in the shopping basket.  Bartie’s are supporting the Appeal through all sales of their Christmas Food Items and will have a stall at many local food markets and the major Christmas Festivals across Sussex in the weeks before Christmas.

“We are so pleased to have the support of these businesses for our Snowflake Appeal”, commented Jacquie Thomas, Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Home-Start CHAMS. “It gives local people a real choice in ways they can be part of the Appeal – with something as simple as making a Christmas Wish, or doing some Christmas shopping, right through to running their own event; doing something they love.”

For details of ways individuals and businesses can support the Snowflake Appeal go to or contact them on 01293 416327. candle

Reward of more than £10,000 put up to catch group of burglars

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Rewards worth up to £10,500 have been put up to help find a group of burglars who have broken into almost 100 homes across the south east.

Detectives are now linking offences from across East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Kent, Surrey and London to one group of offenders but need the public’s help to identify those responsible.

A total of 34 homes in West Sussex, 10 in East Sussex, seven in Brighton and Hove, 35 in Kent, 8 in Surrey and two in London are thought to have been burgled by the group.

Sussex Police, Kent Police and Surrey Police have now each contributed £2,500 to a reward to help catch the offenders – a total of £7,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved.

Independent from the police, the charity Crimestoppers is offering its own reward of up to £3,000 for information that is passed anonymously through the organisation’s 0800 555111 number that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for these crimes.

If information passed to the charity should lead to an arrest and conviction, both rewards will be considered.

The group of burglars usually smash doors or windows to get into the homes, carry out quick searches and steal gold jewellery in particular.

The most recent offences happened in Surrey between 3pm and 9.15pm on Tuesday 4 November at Dovers Green Road, Reigate, Yew Tree Close, Horley, St Monica’s Road, Tadworth, and Bakers Close, Lingfield.

They are believed to be using at least two vehicles to carry out the burglaries, a silver Audi and a blue Ford Mondeo, both of which are being driven on false numberplates.

Detective Inspector Dave Wardley-Wilkins said: “The offences across the region are so similar that it we have to presume that they are all linked.

“We believe one group of burglars are involved but at this stage we do not know if it is exactly the same group of people each time. A number of people are involved but the make-up of the group may change depending on who is available.

“In each case the burglars appear to be looking for jewellery when they break in and often leave other valuables items behind.

“There already have been almost a hundred victims in this series and we urgently need the public’s help to stop these offenders before they claim any more.”

Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area of the burglaries on the days they were committed or the days before and who may have seen people acting suspiciously.

Of particular interest is anyone seen with a silver Audi or blue Ford Mondeo like those pictured that are fitted with numberplates that have been cloned from another, unrelated car of the same type and colour.

The numberplates could be switched after the burglaries so police would also like information from anyone who may have seen cars having their numberplates changed or who has found abandoned numberplates.

In West Sussex the group are believed to be responsible for nine burglaries in Copthorne, five in East Grinstead, 11 in Crawley, two in Burgess Hill, two in Haywards Heath, three in Ardingly and one each in Turners Hill and Crawley Down.

In East Sussex they are linked to seven break-ins in Crowborough, two in Robertsbridge and one in Battle.

In Brighton there are four burglaries in Patcham and three in Hollingbury that are believed to be responsible for.

In Kent they are suspected of being involved in 12 in Tunbridge Wells, five in Sevenoaks, two in Cranbrook, four in Longfield, five in Tonbridge and one in each of Otford, West Kingsdown, Farmingham, Meopham, Wateringley, Snodland and Kings Hill.

In Surrey they are linked to four in Horley and one in each of Smallfield, Reigate, Tadworth and Lingfield.

The London offences were in Bexley and Sidcup.

Anyone with information should contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting Operation Smart, email or call 101.

If you have any information about burglaries or shops selling stolen goods, call 101 or email For crime prevention advice visit

If you see or hear a burglary taking place call 999 immediately.

Residents are also being encouraged to register their items on the world’s largest property database so that if they are stolen, they can be reunited with the owners – and so the offenders can be prosecuted.

You can register your property in just a few minutes by visiting To watch a video about Immobilise and how it works, visit

Follow the ongoing burglary campaign being run across the south east on Twitter using the hashtag #LightLockList.


Friday, November 7th, 2014

wsfr acc

Safe Drive Stay Alive, the powerful stage show helping to keep young people safer on the roads, is back touring the county for an eighth consecutive year.

Safe Drive Stay Alive, which began in 2006 as a partnership between West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Sussex Police and the NHS, is a key part of the Service’s wider campaign to promote safer driving habits to young people.

The show has now been seen by more than 70,000 young people across 28 of the county’s schools and colleges. In the last 5 years the overall number of people injured in collisions involving young people has fallen by 18%.

The 90-minute stage production interweaves dramatic film footage with moving first hand accounts delivered live by the real victims, surviving family members and emergency service workers personally affected by devastating road crashes.

The show addresses the key risks facing young drivers including speed, mobile phone distraction, drink and drug driving, complacency and peer pressure.

Organiser of Safe Drive Stay Alive, Jackie Boyle, said:

“Unfortunately, both locally and nationally, young drivers are the most likely to be involved in a serious car accident. As a fire service we believe we’re in a unique position to positively influence young people and help reduce the number of people losing their lives on our roads. Safe Drive Stay Alive is an important part of that.

“The show is emotionally hard-hitting and we make no apology for that. The speakers who come on stage aren’t actors; they are real people whose lives have been changed forever by a road traffic collision. The audience is left in no doubt about the potentially life-changing consequences of taking risks as a driver or a passenger.”

The team behind Safe Drive Stay Alive has now produced a new 30-minute film that takes you behind the scenes of the show, explores the motivation of those bringing their story bravely to the stage and demonstrates the positive impact it has on the young people who see it.

Watch the film here or visit

Safe Drive Stay Alive will be visiting:

Nov 11th – Butlins, Bognor Regis

November 18th 19th 20th – Chichester College

Nov 25th – The Hawth Theatre, Crawley

December 10th & 11th December – Northbrook College, Worthing

March 25th 2015 – Chequer Mead Theatre, East Grinstead

For more information on Safe Drive Stay Alive visit or search Safe Drive Stay Alive – West Sussex on Facebook.

50th Birthday for Town Hall

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

photo of the Town Hall and Civic Hall taken circa 1964

The Town Hall is 50 years old this month and a photo exhibition celebrating this milestone starts on Monday (10th November) in the foyer of the building.

The building was officially opened on 14th November 1964 by Michael Stewart MP, the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

The 2.5 acre site on which the Town Hall and Civic Hall now stand was purchased by Crawley Urban District Council from the Crawley Development Corporation in May 1958 for the princely sum of £10,000.

A Town Hall Sub-Committee was formed in June 1958 and visited a number of town halls before the council appointed Sir John Brown, A E Henson and Partners of London as architects in March 1960.

Original tenders for building the complex in 1961 were too high so the designs were modified and a tender of £352,057 was accepted from Humphreys Limited of Knightsbridge a year later. Work began in August 1962.

The Town Hall was built to serve a town of 75,000-80,000 people but the capability to expand upwards and northwards was included. Northward expansion, which included the multi-storey car park, took place in 1989.

The Council Chamber was initially designed to seat 27 members, with 25 in a single horseshoe formation and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman at the dais at the eastern end of the chamber. Expansion was built in here too, with space for the inner horseshoe we now have with 37 members.

The architects’ said: “The aim when designing the Town Hall was to produce a simple solution by the form of the building, the structure, choice of materials and the use of few strong colours.

“The external cladding of the building is especially interesting as it is the first use of one inch slabs of coarse roach Portland stone (chosen for its interesting texture).”

The final cost of the Town Hall, including land, architectural fees, construction and furniture and fittings was £448,200.

Before the Town Hall was built council meetings took place in the hall of West Green Junior School. This was despite council offices in Robinson House in Robinson Road (now Asda) and Goffs Park House.

Councillor David Shreeves, Cabinet member for Customer and Corporate Services, said: “The Town Hall is an important building in Crawley and this photo exhibition will be a great way to mark its 50th anniversary.

“While pulling together the images and researching the history of the building we’ve uncovered some fascinating information. Come and find out more between 11th and 21st November!”

The photographs, as well as an artist’s impression of the Town Hall and Civic Hall and documents created for the opening of the building, are on display near Cashiers in the foyer until Friday 21st November.

Makeover For Play Time At Manor Green

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Thames Link Programme

Manor Green College in Crawley has undergone a DIY S.O.S-style transformation thanks to three companies working on the Thameslink rail improvement programme

Timelapse showing the improvement at Manor Green College

Students and staff returning to school after the October half-term break were surprised to find their playground had been transformed into a sensitively-designed space that is safe and fun to be in.
The improvements include a new cycle track for play and road safety lessons, benches, burgundy tarmac and gates. The team also painted fences, refurbished playground equipment, replanted shrubs, cleared out a pond and made a raised vegetable bed. Inside the team also improved ventilation in one of the classrooms.

The transformation has been made possible by 40 volunteers from Network Rail, UK Power Networks Services and BPH Rail who took time out from the £6.5bn Thameslink Programme, which will improve capacity and reliability on the one of Europe’s busiest rail routes.

On November 4 the children of Manor Green College invited the volunteers to a small party celebrating the new surroundings. A number of students came into school a day early to bake some cakes and make sandwiches for the event.

Speaking at the launch of the new playground, Julie King, Deputy Head of Manor Green special needs College, said, “The work of the volunteers has completely transformed the play area for our students. The area has been enhanced, is now looking like new again and is safer and more secure. On behalf of the students and staff at the college we cannot thank you enough for all your hard work”.

Speaking on behalf of the Thameslink Programme, programme director, Barry Dilks, said: “Our aim is to not only improve the lives of commuters, but make a genuine difference to the local communities we’re working in.

“We’re proud to be able to help give the staff and students the environment they deserve. It’s been an absolute pleasure to spend time with the children and staff and I am sure all our volunteers will feel proud that we could provide such a wonderful improvement for some very special students.”

Henry Smith MP thanks Crawley Royal British Legion Poppy Sellers

Friday, October 31st, 2014
Henry and Michael Elliott, Secretary of the Crawley and Ifield branch of the Royal British Legion

Henry and Michael Elliott, Secretary of the Crawley and Ifield branch of the Royal British Legion

Henry Smith MP has thanked local Royal British Legion volunteers, and has bought his annual commemorative wreath at the County Mall stand ahead of the Civic Remembrance Service which will held at St John the Baptist’s Church on Remembrance Sunday, 9th November.

Henry said;

“It is always a privilege to meet those Crawley volunteers who have taken the time to help the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal again this year.

“I hope all townsfolk will wear their poppy with pride in support of our troops, past and present, and in remembrance of those who have fallen.

“We will continue to think of the dangers they put themselves in to defend our freedoms.

“I have been campaigning on behalf of members of our Armed Forces and their families; sometimes publicly, and other times behind the scenes.

“Recently, I approached Crawley Town Football Club to ask if they would join the Tickets for Troops scheme, and I was delighted to confirm last week they officially agreed to do so.

“I look forward to paying my own respects at the Civic Service of Remembrance at St John’s on Sunday, 9th November.”

Follow Henry daily via:


Harvey Meets His Life Savers

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

On the 8th April 2014 tragedy struck when seven year old Harvey was playing on a rope swing at Cherry Lane Adventure Playground in Langley Green.

A wooden pole, suspected of rotting below the ground, broke in half and fell directly onto Harvey, striking him on the head. Harvey was seriously injured and rushed directly to St George’s Hospital.

Harvey has now fully recovered and has recently returned to school.


Yesterday (Wednesday 29th October) Harvey and his family were invited to the head quarters of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance based at Redhill Aerodrome, Redhill to meet the crew who played a major part in saving Harvey’s life on the day of the incident.

CHT speak to Stuart Plumbley & Jill Playle:

We had the pleasure of speaking to Stuart Plumbley who is a Critical Care Paramedic (with advanced training) and was one of the paramedics who attended the scene back in April. Stuart told us “Harvey, bless him, he had an accident in the playground where he sustained quite a bad head injury. Myself, Dr Matt Davenport and Captain Dan Kitterridge, the pilot, attended the scene and looked after little Harvey. We were able to bring life saving interventions to the scene, which in this case was to anaesthetise him. We then flew him to St George’s Hospital in Tooting. This only took us eleven minutes thanks to the new helipad on top of the hospital. If we had gone by land it would have taken about forty minutes. Going by air makes a massive saving and can make all the difference. Now being able to land directly on top of the hospital saves even more time, and more lives.”

Stuart told us he has been a paramedic with the ambulance service for seventeen years and with the air ambulance for nearly five years. Stuart said it is a great organisation. Working closely with his SECAmb (South East Coast Ambulance) colleagues he believes they make a significant difference to patient outcomes.


We got to speak to Jill Playle, Director of Communications at KSS Air Ambulance. Jill told us “We rely almost entirely on funds from the general public. It costs six and a half million pounds to keep the operation going. Harvey’s story is a great example and illustration of where the money goes, how it is used and how we help people.”

We asked Jill how people can help to fund raise for the KSS Air Ambulance. Jill told us “people can fund raise for us in many different ways. they do parachute jumps, challenges, cycle rides, marathons etc, there are lots of ways to help raise money. People can also join our lottery, which is s valuable way of raising money for the organisation. Just Giving is a great system to use if doing a fund raising event. We are one of the listed charities and we also get the chance to receive Gift Aid which is great.”

CHT speak to Faye Hankin & Ros Hankin:

Faye Hankin, Harvey’s mum, spoke to us about their visit to the KSS Air Ambulance. Faye told us “It’s been a great day. Harvey has got to meet the paramedics and the pilot. If it wasn’t for them, Harvey may not have survived. We are really grateful to the new helipad at St George’s, which only opened the day before the incident. Harvey may have had to go to Southampton which could have taken longer and time was of the essence.”

Ros Hankin, Harvey’s Nan told us “We can’t thank the KSS Air Ambulance enough. We were in total despair. When we were told Harvey may not wake up we were devastated. We are a big family and rallied round each other. Harvey missed his eighth birthday on the 10th April. The accident was on the 8th April and he was in a coma for a week. When he woke up he was able to see the balloons. We just can’t thank them all enough and of course St George’s. They were all brilliant.”

Ros went on to tell us how they, as a family, had raised £440 to donate to the KSS Air Ambulance. They felt it was the least they could do and will continue to raise funds whenever they can.

Harvey and his family visit the KSS Air Ambulance:

The staff at KSS Air Ambulance had a special treat for Harvey in the form of a birthday cake to make up for Harvey missing his birthday whilst being in a coma. Harvey and his brother also got to a tour on the Air Ambulance that played its part in saving Harvey’s life.

You can read more about the launch of the fantastic time saving and life saving helipad at St George’s Hospital here.

If you would like to support the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance in any way, you can do so by visiting their website here or giving them a call on 01622 833833.


We would like to thank the Hankin family for their time and thank you to Jamie and Jill from KSS Air Ambulance for inviting CHT down to be part of this great occasion.

We would like to wish Harvey all the best for his future.

Care and support website continues to grow

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

A website that helps West Sussex residents to live independently is continuing to increase in popularity.

West Sussex Connect to Support ( launched in April with information and an online market place for people to find and buy the support they need.

The website helps anyone who needs some support to remain independent, to shop for support services and products, find local activities and groups and look up information and advice.

People can use their own money, or funding they get from the County Council, to purchase online services, the same way as they would purchase other products over the internet.

Hundreds of different products and services are available to purchase and the number is rising each week as more organisations register with the website.

Veena Chohan, a carer from Crawley, said: “This website is a good idea for carers like me as it makes things a lot easier to find instead of going to lots of different pages. The categories are easy to use and it is easy to navigate around the website. I can see this website making life easier for me.”

Mandy Paine, a carer from Littlehampton who runs a support line for other carers, said: “I think it is an absolutely brilliant idea. At the click of a button you can immediately find the services or products you need.”

Peter Catchpole, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “West Sussex Connect to Support is all about giving people who use health and social care services more control and say over their own support.

“By registering with the website people can look at what is available, the cost of the service and whether it operates in their neighbourhood. Although it is early days for the website the feedback so far has been very positive and really encouraging.”

Businesses can find out more about promoting the products and services they offer can register in a provider area on the website ( or for more information they can call 0333 600 6330.



Wednesday, October 29th, 2014


West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to celebrate safely during their firework and bonfire festivities by attending an organised display rather than holding an event at home.

Jackie Boyle, Community Fire Safety Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said:

“We’re calling for people to help prevent emergencies by attending, wherever possible, a properly organised community bonfire and firework event. The fireworks set off will be more spectacular than those people use in their garden and they are much safer.

“Traditionally, the firework season can be a busy time of year for fire services and this year it coincides with the most prolonged period of FBU strike action since the start of the dispute. That means it is vitally important that people follow our safety advice and don’t take unnecessary risks.

“If anyone can’t attend an organised event and is planning a firework party at home, then please follow some basic precautions to help keep you and your family stay safe.”

Firework Safety:

. Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
. Keep fireworks in a closed box
. Follow the instructions on each firework
. Light fireworks at arm’s length using a taper
. Stand well back
. Never go back to a lit firework – even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode
. Never throw fireworks or put them in your pocket
. Light sparklers one at a time, wear gloves and don’t give sparklers to children under five.
. Stay in full control if you’re lighting fireworks – avoiding alcohol is the safest option!

Bonfire safety:

. Let your neighbours know you are planning to have a bonfire or they may end up dialling 999.
. Don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going – you run the risk of the fire flashing up and burning you.
. Build your bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees.
. Avoid having a bonfire in windy conditions – it increases the likelihood of the fire spreading out of control.
. Don’t build it too big, and make sure it is stable.
. Don’t burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint – they can produce toxic fumes or explode.
. Don’t leave your bonfire unattended or leave it smoulder when you have finished – make sure it is fully extinguished.

For information on organised bonfire and firework displays visit

Happy Birthday To Our Royal Marines….Thank You

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Royal Marines 350yrs

In memory and respect of 350 year of service by our Royal Marines, we asked Royal Marine David Lilburn MBE to tell us a little about what the Royal Marines are all about and how it all started. David left the Royal Marines as a Colour Sergeant. He served for 25 years, as did his father who served 28 years, his grandfather 26 years and his great grandfather 22 years……this is what David told us:

The Royal Marines Convening Order (the start)

The Kings Most Excellent Majesty.

His Royal Highness the Duke of York, Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Duke of Albermarl, Duke of Ormond, Lord Chamberlain, Earle of Angelesey, Earle of Lauderdaill, Earle of Middleton, Lord Bishop of London, Lord Ashley, Mr Vice Chamberlain, Mr Secretary Morice, Mr Secretary Bennet, Mr Chancellor of Ye Dutchy, Sir Edward Nicholas

Upon a report from the Lords Committee of the Affairs of His Majesties Navy Royal and Admiralty of this Kingdom this read at the board.

His Majesty was pleased to order and direct that twelve hundred land soldiers be forthwith raised, to be in readiness, to be distributed into Majesties Fleets prepared for sea service which said twelve hundred men are to be out into one regiment under one Colonel, one Lieutenant Colonel and one Sergeant Major. And be divided into six companies, each company to consist of two hundred soldiers; and to have one Captain, one Lieutenant, one Ensign, one Drum, four Sergeants, and four Corporals, and all the soldiers aforesaid to be armed with good firelocks; all which armies, drums and colours are forthwith to be prepared and furnished out his majesties stores; the care of all which is recommended to the Duke of Albermarle his grace, lord General of his Majesties Forces.”

The above was the initial Convening Order for twelve-hundred soldiers to be recruited for service as a regiment of land and sea soldiers for service in King Charles II Naval Fleet. Initially the regiment was know as the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot and later became known as the Admiral’s Regiment. The regiment was renamed several times and actually disbanded on two occasions, in 1713 and then after War of Austrian Succession. In 1755 fifty new companies of marines were created and through the years the number of companies grew and in 1802 they were given the title Royal Marines by King George III, to reflect their steadfast loyalty to the Crown during the war with France. In 1804 an artillery division was created, and later separated into their own division in 1859, under the name Royal Marine Artillery. Finally in 1923, both of these divisions combined as the Corps of Royal Marines.

As a result of this Order, this fighting force of courageous infantry soldiers became seamen and played a significant role aboard the warships as part of the Royal Navy. These Marines on the sea used their muskets against enemy ships (often from above) and when on land, their infantry training played a significant role in many battles throughout history, most notably the war with France and Spain in 1704 when the British troops attacked the Rock of Gibraltar,“1,900 British and 400 Dutch marines prevented Spanish reinforcements reaching the fortress. Later, British ships bombarded the city while marines and seamen stormed the defences.” The Great Victory of Trafalgar in 1805 involving a large fleet of Royal Navy warships with a compliment of 2,700 Royal Marines defeated the Franco-Spanish fleet. The attack against the Barbary Corsairs in 1816, Bombardment of Algiers, where significant loss of life occurred on both sides and victory for the British which resulted in the release of over 1,000 slaves.

The Royal Marines have had a long and enduring history that is reflected in their present-day badge. The Lion and Crown reflect the Royal honours granted to the regiment in 1802 by King George III. “Gibraltar” has a significant meaning to the old marine regiments during the aforenoted Siege of Gibraltar in 1704 (which was led by Admiral Sir George Rooke, a English naval commander). In the centre, the “world globe” was chosen by King George IV as a symbol that represents the Royal Marines’ global success around the world. The encompassing laurel leaves are believed to honour their gallant effort during the capture of Belle Isle in 1761. The fouled or tangled anchor symbolizes the difficulties associated with service in the Marines. Finally, the Latin phrase “Per Mare Per Terram” roughly translates to “By Sea, By Land”; this is the motto of the Marines, which first appeared on the headdress of the men during the Battle of Bunkers Hill in 1775.

Link to video:

The BBC have an excellent video which we would like to link too. Please click here.

Hi-Res-Logo-Variant-11-Inverted-Colours2David Lilburn MBE and published author of poetry, wrote us this poem for today also:

In town or a city, by an ocean so bright,
We gather this October 28th so proudly tonight,
To honour all Royal Marines, so far and so near,
It is a birthday we celebrate each and every year.

We’ve lived 350 years, I am so told,
Wait, no man could ever be that old,
You are right, my wise and cherished friend,
It’s the Royal Marines, to whom greetings we send.

We look at those gathered at the ocean shore,
I sense a difference from celebrations before,
There has been a concern who would fill our ranks when we fall,
In years to come, who will answer the call.

Gathered amongst the brothers are faces lined with wars of the past,
And the new breed at each table, recognized by the youth they cast,
Men who have served with honour in the struggles of today,
In continents and lands that are so far away.

Lift your glasses to every brother who has been to Hell,
In all parts of this world, they have served their Corps well,
The ranks of the old embrace the new members, some son’s,
Come back to us safe, when your war is won.

The 350th celebration is drawing to a close for another year,
We had time to tell stories and, yes, shed a tear,
We are aware that there are many in our ranks who will not be here,
To witness the joy and happiness of spending time with those dear.

Per Mare – Per Terram, Royal, gathered here with good cheer,
Look around you, it’s the image of those faces so dear,
A more powerful bond was never know to another,
Than that relationship of our Royal’s, Brother to Brother.

St Francis back to their winning ways!

Monday, October 27th, 2014


St Francis got back to their winnings ways on Saturday after an incredibly entertaining game against Horsham 3s. Horsham had brought a challenging side mixing the old guard with youth and they were some really exciting talent who tested St Francis whenever they had the chance.

Horsham were first on the leaderboard when their outside centre made a burst through the Saints defence and scored under the posts – it looked for a moment that the Saints were going to be in for torrid afternoon.

It was Jack Norrie who scored the first of many Saint’s try in a well composed attack from their line out. Norrie, putting in his third man of the match performance this season, scored a second try later in the game.

Hugely influential Captain Tom Bruce scored under the posts after the backs went on the attack and this was shortly followed by an incredible try from fly half Privitera who weaved his way through Horsham’s defence comfortably.

As the game went on the Saints continued to find their form and in the second half some tactical changes saw winger Alex Reid come on and score in the first few minutes of the second half. Another notable change was bringing on Jason Boyer who made a huge impact in the front row which proved too strong for Horsham – he was also unlucky to be disallowed a try as he charged for try line only to be ‘held up’.

The Saints are continuing to grow as a team and it seems clear that with Emon Keshavarz slotting into the scrum half position it has helped the team hugely. His brother Arjan also has to be noted for putting in a bruising display as he made hard yards round the park tackling and looking for the offloads.

Horsham managed to score once more in the dying minutes of the game as a quick reaction to a charge down saw them score in the corner.

Saints face Norfolk Arms away at their new ground next week – the Arms are always a side that Saints relish and will again test them as they push to hold themselves at the top end of the table.


Paul Sparkes / Ryan Lace / Vincent McGahan / Mark Devlin / Darren Shadbolt / Arjan Keshavarz / Jack Norrie / Steven Hand / Emon Keshavarz / Antonio Privitera / Tom Bruce (Capt) / David Ayres / Tim Rodgers / Adam Pique / Alex Minnis


Jason Boyer / Matthew Vaughan / Mark Eastman / Alex Reid / Gary Hall / Warren Shortz

St Francis 1st XV   31  Horsham 3s      12


Norrie 2

Bruce 1

Reid 1

Privetera 1

Cons: 3

Let it snow! Family support charity asks for support for its Snowflake Appeal

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Homestart CHARMS

Local charity Home-Start CHAMS is launching its first ‘Snowflake Appeal’ to raise funds for its work supporting vulnerable local children and families who are struggling to cope.

“Many young children face tragedy and hardship,” said Liz Roe, Manager at Home-Start CHAMS, “When families struggle to cope with illness, disability, bereavement, poor housing, mental ill health, or many of these problems at once, Home-Start supports them until they can stand on their own two feet again. ”

Last year they supported 327 children in 146 families throughout Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex where they work.  But still the charity cannot keep up with demand for its support, with the number of families referred to them for help rising almost 20% in the last year.

A local mum explained what the charity meant to her and her children: “Home-Start has been very supportive. They kept me grounded. If it hadn’t been for Home-Start I would have gone over the edge.”  To be able to offer the vital support families need and make sure they can reach even more vulnerable local children in 2015, Home-Start CHAMS is asking local people to get involved in the Snowflake Appeal, which runs from 1st November until 31st January.

“The circumstances of each child and family are unique and fragile,” said Jacquie Thomas, Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Home-Start CHAMS.  “And we tailor make our support to their unique needs.  That is why we have a unique and fragile snowflake to represent the appeal”.

Home-Start CHAMS has been supporting local families since 1998.  They can do this for just £27 a week, but need over £200,000 every year to support all the families who ask for their help.  All funds raised by their Snowflake Appeal will go to help local children and families.

“We are asking people to do something they love to help raise funds,” added Jacquie.  “Whether you make snowflake decorations to sell, get sponsored to run to the North Pole (on a treadmill at your gym!), or get your school involved in a Snowflake bake sale – there is a way to fundraise to suit everyone.”

Free fundraising ideas packs and details of other ways you can support the Snowflake Appeal are available from or by contacting them on 01293 416327.