Birchington Beacon

P1090811beacon new2beacon new 3 The re-built Birchington Beacon in Epple Bay was finally topped this weekend when the Birchington shield was fixed to its bracket by Joseph La Roche, the beacon was burnt down during the celebrations for the Queens Diamond Jubilee last year. The top section has now been constructed in steel.

Javelin trains coming to Birchington in January

What Is The Javelin Train?

Javelin23Bullet trains present iconic images of Japanese life and culture, and now they’re creating the same images on the UK rail systems. On 12th Dec 2008, the first UK Javelin train raced into London on its inaugural high speed rail journey.

These good looking dark blue liveried Javelin trains – also known as Class 395 -  offer the fastest domestic service rail travel in the UK and went into full passenger service in December 2009. Built by Hitachi, the 140mph maximum speed Class 395 Javelin train completed the first rail journey from Ashford in Kent to London St Pancras in 37 minutes.

From the first scheduled service in December 2009, there have been around 29 Javelin trains in service with Southeastern rail on the Kent to London (St Pancras to Ebbsfleet/Ashford) domestic rail service and High Speed 1 Channel Tunnel Rail Link routes, reducing previous journey times from around 83 minutes to 37 minutes. Southeastern rail lease the trains from HSBC Rail.



David Martin with the last winning bowl of the tournament


Parish Chairman Councillor Jack Cohen and Nuala O’Donoghue from The Co-operative Funeral Care with the winning team

On 14th June 2014 Birchington Bowls Club held a successful Tournament involving 8 teams and sponsored by The Cooperative Funeral Care.

Bowling commenced at 1000 hrs and continued until 1500 hrs.  The top 4 teams then fought out for the final positions. The winners were a team named Birchminster, made up from member of Birchington and Minster Bowls Clubs, who beat a team from Victoria Park, Deal. The scores being level after twelve ends a tense extra end was needed to decide the winners. Another match took place between Broadstairs and another team from Birchington to decide the remaining placings. Again the Birchington team were winners.

A lot of work went into the tournament and with the fine weather all went well, both for the teams and spectators. Jack Cohen, Chairman of Birchington PCC, Nulia O’Donoghue, from Co-op Funeral Care and Les Lush President of Birchington Bowls Club were in attendance to present the prizes. Mick Davis of the Executive committee thanked all the bar and catering staff for their help in making the tournament such an enjoyable event.

Birchington’s refurbished RSPCA charity shop re-opened

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The official opening of the recently refurbished RSPCA Charity shop in Station Road, Birchington-on-Sea by Cllr Bill Furness, Vice Chairman of the Parish Council, on Friday the 30th of May 2014.

Alan the Magician

Balloon modelling by Birchington’s Alan the Magic Man blowing up balloons during the day.


Time team Tony Robinson (look alike).

Face Painting

Face painting inside the shop and Anne Smith with the Volunteers and customers waiting for shop to re-open.



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The Wantsum Morris Dancers visited Birchington on BOXING DAY

During a sunny respite in the stormy winter weather, a large crowd enjoyed a performance from this group of dancers.

Wantsum Morris Men formed as a club in 1967, with the members living both sides of the Wantsum Channel, which in former times separated Thanet from the rest of Kent.

The repertoire is drawn from the vast selection of traditional dances collected from the villages of the Cotswolds, complemented by some more recent dances in the Cotswold traditions as well as a few from the Welsh borders and a rapper dance from the North East of England.

The costume is knee breeches, tabard and a tricorn hat. The tabard is decorated with a St Augustines cross with a depiction of Reculver towers in the top left corner. St Augustine arrived in England at the Southern end of the Wantsum, and built an Abbey at Reculver at the Northern end.

Morris dancing has experienced a great revival during this century, due mainly to the enthusiasm of collectors such as Cecil Sharp, who between them saved this rich heritage from virtual extinction.

The original Morris was possibly a circle dance , often danced around a “female” figure. However, even in 1480 there were complaints that the dance had already degenerated.

These dances have disappeared into the mists of time, killed off by the Puritan attitudes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is a disappointing that we shall never know the local dances performed by a group of men around Canterbury in 1589, shortly before the mayor of Canterbury had the maypole pulled down from the Dane John.

The 1589 side were led by a musician called Henry Parkes, who played fiddle The average age was early twenties, although the “Mayd Marryon” character was played by a twelve year old boy. There seem to have been six dancers who had costumes including bells and “furnytur”. They did not seen to be cadging as they were retained for the fortnight around Mayday by a “Jencke of Herne”. Within this 14 days the side danced Canterbury and at least four villages covering some 12 miles. At one village, Chislet, they attended church on Ascension day, and therefore presumably did not consider themselves Pagans.

Our knowledge of this side come from the records of a case against them for dancing without a licence held at the Quarter Sessions. Details above were taken from extracts of the trial in Philip Edmonds article in “Hoath and Herne”published by K H McIntosh.

Wantsum Morris Men perform annual tours on Boxing day and May 1st. In addition they dance local villages and towns during the summer season, and occasionally venture onto foreign soils. Recent trips have included the Tarn valley in France, The Eastern seaboard of the U.S.A. and Poland.


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The Queen’s jubilee was officially handed-over to the people of Birchington by the Managers of the CO-OPERATIVE FUNERAL CARE Barbara Binding, Lisa White and Councillor Amelia West. The event was also attended by B.P. Councillors Jack Cohen Chairman, Bill Furness Vice Chairman, Marion Evans, Michael Jarvis and Bernard La Roche together with TDC Councillors Kay Darke and Clive Hart.


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Around 800 people filled The Centre in Birchington on Saturday to enjoy a model railway exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of trains arriving in the village.

Vistitors flocked in as soon as the doors opened to enjoy 13 model layouts, built in a range of scales by local enthusiasts and club members, as well as seven trade stands. Birchington Heritage Trust also displayed old railway photos from its collection. Outside, youngsters were also able to enjoy rides on a miniature railway operated by Frank Norton and a team of fellow enthusiasts.

The event, organised by the East Kent Model Railway Society on behalf of Birchington Parish Council, also saw announcement of the winners, and presentation of prizes, in the Trains In Focus photography competition.

This attracted dozens of entries in three classes and prizes were generously donated by Hornby Hobbies, SouthEastern Trains and Crampton Tower Museum, Broadstairs.  Parish Council Chairman Cllr Jack Cohen said: “It was a fantastic day for all concerned. The turnout was unbelievable and everyone I have spoken to has said how much they enjoyed themselves.”

EKMRS Chairman Nick Evans said: “We were bowled over by the attendance and there was a lively atmosphere with so much to see throughout the day.  “As I was taking down direction signs along Station Road, a lady stopped me and asked if there would be another exhibition next year as she hadn’t had the chance to get to this one!  “There certainly seems an appetite to hold one in 2014 so we will be discussing that over the next few weeks.”

Winners in the Trains In Focus competition were:

Adult winner:  Philip Knowles, Whitstable
Adult runner-up:  Alan Cox, Westgate
Highly Commended:  Rita Knowles, Whitstable
Highly Commended:  Sarah Scott, Westbrook
Highly Commended:  John Tearle, Ramsgate
Highly Commended:  Jeff Shalloo, Herne Bay

Special prize for best set of photos: Paul Norris, Birchington

Youth winner:  Louisa Webb, 16, Birchington
(no other prize in this class)

Children’s winner:  Jack Brown, 5, Margate
Children’s runner-up:  Thomas Reed, 8, Birchington
Highly Commended:  Phoebe Appleby, 5, Birchington
Highly Commended:  Matthew Taylor, 4, Margate

The competition was judged by Nick Evans, Cllr Jack Cohen and Mike Pearce, former Editor of the Isle of Thanet Gazette – and columnist.

Photographing Trains

Steam Railway
Photography Tips
It’s tempting to always focus on the bigger picture when shooting heritage railways. After all, the engines and their surrounding vistas can be truly spectacular. But there’s more to the railways than that. Much more. Every engine comprises hundreds of working parts, all of which have to be lovingly greased and maintained. Then there are the nameplates, shed plates and builder’s plates that give an engine its personality. Cogs, levers, rods… steam engines are living, breathing machines! So next time you find yourself up close and personal to a steam engine, try focusing on these details and start building up an image library of a very different type of shot. Use the FZ200’s macro mode to get in close and capture every little detail. You could even create interesting triptychs – a series of three images that work in sequence or to a theme – and take your snaps to another level. As they say, it’s the smaller things in life that make the biggest difference!