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Notes of 2009


From the Dover Mercury, 8 January, 2009.

Warm yourself with a winter ale.

THIS years White Cliffs Festival of Winter Ales will be held at Dover Town Hall next month. The 16th annual festival, organised by the Deal, Dover, Sandwich and district branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, it will feature more than 70 of Britain's finest winter ales, and there will be live entertainment.

It takes place on Friday, February 6 from 1 untill 11pm, and on Saturday, February 7 from 10.30am until 6pm, or until the beer runs out, whichever is the sooner!

Admission is 5 on the Friday and 2 on the Saturday, and free to CAMRA members who produce a valid membership card.

The organisers say that families "with well-behaved children" are welcome on the Saturday afternoon.

A limited number of advance tickets are being offered for the Friday evening to avoid people queuing, and these can be obtained from Blakes, Castle Street, Dover, on 01304 202194, or from Roger Marples at 12 Elms Vale Road, Dover CTI7 9NW.

The event is being supported by Dover Town Council, Dover District Council, Adams Printers and Thanet Leisure Force.


From the Dover Express, 8 January, 2009


KRISTIAN James Thrale, 21, of Heathfield Avenue, Dover, will appear before Folkestone magistrates on Friday charged with being drunk and disorderly in Stembrook on Sunday morning.


From the Dover Mercury, 12 February, 2009.


BEER drinkers from around Kent are expected to flock to Dover Town Hall for this year's White Cliffs Festival of Winter Ales next week.

The 16th annual festival, organised by the Deal, Dover, Sandwich and district branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), will feature live entertainment with more than 70 of Britain's finest winter ales.

The festival runs from 1pm to 11pm on Friday, February 6, and from 10.30am to 6pm on Saturday, February 7 - or until the beer runs out!

Admission is free for Camra members. For non-members, entry costs 5 on the Friday and 2 on the Saturday and organisers say that families “with well-behaved children” are welcome on the Saturday afternoon.

Some advance tickets are available for Friday, from Blakes, Castle Street, Dover on 01304 202194, or from Roger Marples at 12 Elms Vale Road, Dover CT17 9NW. The event is supported by Dover Town Council, Dover District Council, Adams Printers and Thanet Leisure Force.


From the Dover Mercury, 12 February, 2009.

Jekyll and Hyde roller-coaster of living with drink.

By Graham Tutthill.


MOST people think that alcoholics are the ones with the problem - that they are the ones who suffer - while little thought has been given to the damage done to the families of those with drink problems.

With one in every five adults in the UK now regularly abusing alcohol, people's attention has focused on the burden of criminal damage, road accidents and the effects on health and police services.

A growing cause for concern is for those in close contact with serious problem drinkers, as they can also be adversely affected.

Health care professionals are increasingly recognising alcoholism as a 'family illness' with partners, parents, spouses and children seriously affected by one person's problem with drink.

Those in a close relationship with someone with an alcohol problem are exposed to behaviour that is often erratic, confusing, irrational, emotionally hurtful and even physically violent.


AI-Anon Family Groups offer support to those who are affected by someone else's drinking. This can include embarrassment caused by the drinker's behaviour which in turn leads families to hide the problem, or deny it to themselves and others. It can also create a climate of secrecy and shame within the home.

Desire to help can become an obsession with 'fixing' the problem taking over the family's life in much the same way that alcohol obsesses the drinker.

Children of an alcoholic parent often isolate themselves. A loving parent can be transformed into a violent, abusive drunk making a child ashamed to invite friends home, uncertain of what will happen on a daily basis.

Those close to a problem drinker live a roller-coaster existence of hope and despair, as promises are broken and family life breaks down. It can be like living with Jekyll and Hyde.

Common problem

AI-Anon Family Groups exist throughout the world. In the UK, some 800 groups meet weekly in cities and towns, to offer understanding and encouragement, and to share experiences of dealing with their common problem.

One Dover woman who regularly attends a group' said: "For many members of M-Anon, just knowing they are not alone in their struggle to cope with the destructive nature of problem drinking is a great help.

Al-Anon provides a safe environment in which anonymity is assured, where people can gain insight into their problems, and learn from the experience of others how best to improve the quality of their own lives, whether the drinker sobers up or not."

• For more information contact the AI-Anon helpline on 0207 403 0888.



DR ROBERT Lefever, founder of the Promis Unit of Primary Care at Nonington, a treatment centre for depressive illness and all forms of addictive or compulsive behaviour, said: "AI-Anon Family Groups are a breath of fresh air in the insight that they give into the disease of alcoholism, which has rightly been described as 'the family illness'.

"This Implies far more than the effect on families of other illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. In alcoholism and other forms of addictive behaviour the family is intricately tied up with the problem to the extent that sometimes they can even become engulfed by it.

"AI-Anon gives a vital insight into the way that family members themselves need to learn to look at their own behaviour as something that does not cause alcoholism, or even contribute to It. Nor can the family members cure it.

"Nonetheless, a great deal can be done when family members learn to look at their own behaviour and draw back from helping too much.

"The effect on the sufferer is that it leaves him or her in a situation where there is nothing left to do but look at him or herself and seek help through Alcoholics Anonymous:'



A DOVER woman whose husband and two daughters have been alcoholics spoke to the Mercury about how it has affected her life.

"I wasn't drinking, but I ended up madder than those who were," she said. "It's been a lifetime of hell.

"I used to try to teach my husband how to drink responsibly, taking him out for a couple of drinks and showing him that's all you needed. I didn't realise he'd had several drinks before we went out, and afterwards he just carried on having more.

"It's a disease of denial. One of my daughters went to recovery and is doing well. The other, when she is not drinking, is the most beautiful person you could ever wish to meet. Then she goes on a bender and she is as mad as a March hare. You can see her working up to It. And then she is full of remorse and guilt. But it's never her at fault, it's always someone else.

"That's why I got so poorly - I couldn't believe that the people I loved were acting like this. I was baffled by it.

"I was working in Canterbury 25 years ago and I met a friend I hadn't seen for 16 years. She just looked at me and said: 'Is he still drinking?' It seems you have to look at the person who is living with an alcoholic to see the effect it has. She took me to my first AI-Anon meeting in Canterbury, and I've never looked back."


From the Dover Mercury, 19 February, 2009.

Facing up to reality of binge drinking.

Walmer Science College 2009

Actors and police highlighting the dangers of binge drinking, with head teacher Simon Heaton at Walmer Science College. Picture Terry Scott.


PUPILS at Walmer Science College took part in a mock reality show to educate them about the dangers of alcohol and excessive drinking.

Reality Bites is a stage production based on a TV reality show where students interact with a presenter.

It is based around a teenage girl, played by an actress, who has a binge drinking problem which has resulted in her being expelled from a school.

The presenter then takes the audience through the issues concerning alcohol abuse and the dangers of it, using audience participation with questions and answers.

Head teacher Simon Heaton said: "The students appreciated being able to ask questions of the actors and the police."


From the Dover Mercury, 26 February, 2009.


JOBLESS Dean Jackson has been banned from the road for three years for drink driving after having a row with his girlfriend.

Jackson, 49, of Dover Road, Walmer, was stopped and breath-tested in Ramsgate by an on-call paramedic who was concerned by the manner of his driving.

Jackson's lowest breath reading showed he was twice over the legal alcohol limit.

He was arrested and charged with drink driving and driving with no insurance.

He appeared before Folkestone magistrates last Thursday to plead guilty to both offences.

Debbie Pizzey, defending, told the court Jackson had been at a child's birthday party on January 18.

She added: ”He and his partner had an argument and he picked up the car keys and left the house.”

Jackson, a draughtsman by trade, has not worked for 18 months but has the chance of getting a job in Holland where his partner is from.

Magistrates chairman Sarah Thome told Jackson: “You have pleaded guilty and by doing so you have saved public money and we have reflected that in your sentence.”

Jackson was fined 250 and ordered to pay 60 in court costs and a 15 surcharge.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years.


From the Dover Mercury, 26 March, 2009.

When the town had a pub for every day of the year.

AN EXHIBITION on past and present pubs of Dover has opened at the Dover Museum.

In the 1880s, the town had 300 pubs or beer houses, and was aptly named "the town with a different pub for every day of 'the year". (I still disagree with this number. I'll accept 230. Paul Skelton.)

In comparison to most other towns, which had one pub per 1,000 inhabitants, Dover had one pub per 100. The Compensation Act of 1904, which sought to reduce the national number of pubs, brought about a dramatic decline in numbers along with bombing during the Second World War and redevelopment.

By 1969 there were 81 pubs left open in the town.

The exhibition is open from now until the end of May. For more information, please call Dover Museum on 01304 201066 or log onto


From the Dover Express, 26 March, 2009

Celebrating boozers

A NEW exhibition is raising a glass to the pubs of old Dover.

Photos and items from former boozers in the town are on display in the latest stairwell exhibition at Dover Museum in the Market Square.

In the 1880s, Dover had 300 pubs and beerhouses, (I wish they would prove this to me!) or one per 100 inhabitants, when most other towns of similar size at that time had one per 1,000 or higher. It was for this reason that Dover became known as the town with a different pub for every day of the year.

The Compensation Act of 1904 aimed to reduce the number of pubs nationally. This had a dramatic effect on Dover over the next 30 years, especially as at the same time, projects by Dover Corporation, and the redevelopment of the docks by Dover Harbour Board, called for the demolition of many of the old streets and their pubs.

Many more were lost through bombing and shelling during the Second World War, and by 1969 there were 81 pubs left open in the town.

The exhibition is open from now until the end of May. For more information, call Dover Museum on 01304 201066 or log onto


From the Dover Mercury, 9 April, 2009.

Alcohol poisoning cases have doubled.

THE number of drunk people admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning has doubled in east Kent in the past year. In 2007-08, 175 women were admitted because they had drunk too much, compared with 90 women in 2006-07.

Although considerably lower in number, the number of men admitted in the same period increased from 73 to 134.

A spokesman for NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent said the number of people hospitalised had fluctuated over the past five years but was now lower than they had been in 2004-05 and still below the national average.

The trust pointed out that in 2007-08, 38.1 men and 46.7 women per 100,000 people in east Kent went to hospital, compared to 45.2 men and 55.1 women nationally. The spokesman said: "When looking at the rate per 100,000 population, east Kent's latest figures for 2007-08 are considerably below the average for England - nearly 15 per cent difference.

"This is a far more accurate measure for gauging the extent of intoxication, bearing in mind the growing population."

The number of girls admitted for drunkenness improved, however, with 12 admittances in 2006-07 decreasing to nine.

Figures for the number of boys admitted were omitted as the number was said to be low enough to make the cases identifiable.


From the Dover Mercury, 23 April, 2009.


POLICE in Cox Hill, Shepherdswell, arrested Rory Kehoe McKenna, 28, of Lisaturrin, County Cavan, Ireland, on Sunday night. He was charged with drink-driving and is due to appear in court on May 6.


From the Dover Mercury, 4 June, 2009.

Crackdown on sale of alcohol to 'children

STAFF at supermarkets should be more careful about selling alcohol to under-age customers.

South Kent police area commander Chief Supt Chris Hogben said he had seen a till operator holding up a bottle of alcohol and getting a nod from a colleague 60 yards-away.

"That's supposed to be a supervised sale, and it's not right," he said.

"During the next 12 to 18 months, we will be concentrating on off-licences where alcohol is often cheaper.

"We will be working with the council and Trading Standards to make test purchases.

"Licensees need to be responsible in the way they act." And, he said, they would also target pub landlords who sold alcohol to those who had already had too much to drink.

"The days of serving alcohol to those who are drunk have gone. Those who cause us problems persistently will be targeted and they will lose their licences.

"Licensees have a moral responsibility as well"



POLICE officers should be spending less time with prisoners in custody and more time on the streets.

That's the view of Ch Supt Chris Hogben who has set an ambitious target for the time it should take to hand over a prisoner.

"What I intend to get to is a situation where officers bring a prisoner in and within 10 minutes they are clear of the custody suite," he said.

"I want to create a system whereby a prisoner is brought in, detention is authorised, and a civilian detention officer takes over the rest of the process and the uniformed officer gets back on to the street.

"I need to invest in civilian senior detention officers and have more custody sergeants. The only way I can do that is by closing one of the custody sites and I am currently looking at that."

Ch Supt Hogben said he was considering closing custody at Ashford and more than doubling the number of cells at Folkestone from 15 to 35.

"I am not thinking of closing Dover custody in the short-term," he said.

"We are going to have to look to do business differently. We may deal with more people by issuing them with 80 fixed penalty notices on the street rather than taking them to the police station."


From the Dover Mercury, 25 June, 2009.


TESTING strips which show when alcohol has been added 1o soft drinks are being used As part of a campaign to keep youngsters safe.

The Dover District Community safety Partnership has bought a large quantity of the strips which give an immediate indication of whether alcohol has been mixed with soft drinks.

The testing strips will help police officers who stop suspected under-age drinkers who consume alcohol in public but try to hide it by mixing it with soft drinks.

If alcohol is detected, the drink will be seized and disposed of.

Community safety manager Christopher Allen said: “This project is one. of a number of initiatives being introduced to combat the harm caused by alcohol.”


From the Dover Mercury, 2 July, 2009.


NINE people took part in a clean-up on Deal beach on Sunday.

Working from the pier to North Street, they filled 10 bags in just under two hours.

The clean-up was organised by the Friends of North Deal, whose chairman Gordon Sencicle said: “Most was rubbish, but in addition we found a football and an unopened bottle of wine.

“I would like to thank the people who turned up, particularly two youngsters who joined in.”


From the Dover Express, 27 August, 2009. Report by Rhys Griffiths

Dry pub perfect haven for teens

'This could be a community resource for all ages'

YOUNG Tories in Dover and Deal have proposed opening an alcohol-free "dry pub" to give youngsters a place to go.

They believe there are simply not enough things for young people to do in the district, and think a venue similar to pubs for adults could be the answer.

"Rivals Nightclub" in Deal regularly holds nights for under-18s, but the members of Conservative Future in the area think one night a month is not enough.

Spokesman Dan Sansom said: "A dry pub or cafe where young people can network with their friends, meet new people and go for nights out would be fantastic.

"We could use one of the many closed-down pubs in the area, turning it into a community resource not only for young people but for all ages.

"The pub could be used throughout the day as a venue for coffee mornings, mums and tots, and local society meetings. In the evenings the pub could open its doors to young people, youth bands could be invited to play to their friends, and theme nights could be a regular occurrence after all, everyone likes fancy dress, don't they?"

Activities for young people is an issue which has been raised recently by Tory parliamentary candidate Charlie Elphicke.

In a recent opinion piece for the Express, he said: "Why don't we use one of the many closed pubs in the area and turn it into a community resource for all ages?

"No harsh new bricks and institutional white walls. Something informal, welcoming, traditional and familiar.

"Teenagers could enjoy it in the evenings. Get the full pub experience without the alcohol.

"This kind of project is something I feel very strongly about."


From the Dover Mercury, 27 August, 2009.

Beer lovers in for treat at festivals

BEER enthusiasts are spoilt for choice this bank holiday weekend, with five real-ale festivals taking place.

Tony Wells, pubs officer of Deal, Dover and Sandwich Campaign for Real Ale, said: "Beer festivals are a popular way for landlords to promote real ale at their pubs as well as attracting more customers."

From Thursday to Monday, the "Chequer Inn," Ash, has its festival with 12 ales over five days, and a mini folk festival.

Ten beers will be served from the beer tent at the "Crown Inn," Finglesham, from Friday to Monday, with a hog roast and raffle for Kent Air Ambulance.

At the festival at the "Louis Armstrong," Maison Dieu Road, Dover, from Friday to Sunday, there will be live music.

Nine real ales will feature from Saturday to Monday, at the "Three Horseshoes," Great Mongeham, which is raising money in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind with a fun day, face painting, bands, barbecue and bouncy castle.

The East Kent Railway is also staging an event with Gadds beers, music and barbecue from Saturday to Monday at its Eythorne station, with a heritage train from Shepherdswell.


From the Dover Mercury, 17 September 2010.


A MOTORIST who thought there was no limit to the amount of beer he could bring into the country fell foul of the law.

Port of Dover police stopped a Toyota Corolla which was loaded with 60 cases of beer, leaving just enough space for the man to sit in the driver's seat.

He was given a penalty notice for dangerous use of a motor vehicle and the beer was seized by Border Agency officials.

The penalty notice was one of 76 issued by the port police during August.


From the Dover Mercury, 22 October, 2009.

Perfect post for the man with a passion for pubs.

A PASSION for beer and pubs is a double pleasure Tony Wells enjoys to the full.

Tony Wells

So much that even on holidays his constant companion is a well-thumbed copy of the Campaign for Real Ale's latest Good Pub guide.

He said: "It rarely lets me down and my wife Trisha and I always plan our holidays around the guide."

Tony, 51, is pubs officer for the Deal, Dover and Sandwich branch of CAMRA. He worked in IT until being made redundant from Pfizer about a year ago.

He was a CAMRA member in his youth, so now in semiretirement he has time to rekindle his interest.

When he moved to Finglesham in 1993 his new home was only 70 yards from the "Crown Inn," so the temptation for a pint was on his doorstep.

He said: "I started going to a few beer festivals and then the CAMRA branch meeting before being cajoled into taking on the job."

He enjoys the voluntary work and on his patch there are 125 pups, as well as hotels. Of the 112 pubs open for business, 97 serve real ales.

The branch has almost 300 members and membership is increasing about by 10 per cent each year.

He said: "I monitor what is going on in the pubs in the Deal, Dover and Sandwich area, particularly the planning applications for a change of use.

"Then I report back to the branch monthly meetings and also CAMRA headquarters.

"Some pubs close down and that means more business for the ones that are left, but people have to reach them and unless there are public transport links those pubs may still struggle."

On behalf of the branch he is in involved in researching and monitoring the CAMRA pubs. So there is plenty of opportunity for drinking real ale.

He said: "It is phenomenally interesting. Every beer has its own characteristics and taste, as opposed to keg style beer which I find horrible.

"But I am aware that everyone has their own tastes and CAMRA does not try to force every pub to have real ale.

"The important aim is to keep and support real ales and breweries, which are part of the British culture. I would hate to see that disappear."

Tony does not advocate drinking excessively and said too many real ale beers are more likely to send the consumer to sleep rather than be aggressive!

He said: "I have been to hundreds of real ale beer festivals and never seen any trouble."

When his passion for beer gives him time, Tony and Trisha are involved in preparing and delivering the parish magazine and also enjoy a game of bat and trap. Not surprisingly, at their local The "Crown."


From the Dover Mercury, 3 December, 2009. By Graham Tutthill


THE parents of 14 teenagers caught drinking alcohol at Crabble Athletic Ground in River have been sent letters from the Dover Community Safety Unit.

The teenagers were congregating at the sports ground on Halloween night and were spoken to by PCSO Jason Brett. A police patrol attended to help PCSO Brett take their details and to confiscate their alcohol.

A letter has been sent to all the parents to advise them that their child had been drinking and to offer help if they need it,” said Sgt Guy Thompson.

Details of young people caught drinking alcohol are passed on to the Joint Family Management Programme team at the Community Safety Unit.

A letter to parents is the first, and usually last, step in the process, but if youngsters continue to come to the attention of the unit, further measures include home visits and ultimately behaviour agreements and anti-social behaviour orders.

“Young people drinking in public is often raised by local people as something they want the police and council to deal with,” said Sgt Thompson.

“It can certainly be an issue for us when it leads to antisocial behaviour and problems like criminal damage.

"That is why we intervene early with young people, we work with schools to educate youngsters and work with our partners at Trading Standards to ensure shops and off-licences are not illegally selling alcohol.

“By sending these letters to parents we are also asking for their support by talking to their children about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking.”

■ Anyone with concerns about young people and anti-social behaviour should speak to their neighbourhood officer whose details can be found on the Kent Police website at or by phoning 01304 240055.


From the Dover Mercury, 17 December, 2009.

Licensee in trouble; after serving under-age drinkers.

A LICENSED premises in Deal is under investigation by police after a "large number" of under-age customers were found inside.

The name of the premises has not been revealed, but police say the licensee may be called in for a review of the licence.

It is part of the latest crackdown on under-age drinking and alcohol-generated crime and anti-social behaviour in the district.

More than 50 young people have been stop-checked by police in the first two weekends of the operation and officers have seized alcohol from 17 of them who were drinking in a public place.

Five adults have been arrested for alcohol-related offences and will be given warnings under the Three Strikes scheme. If they are arrested again for alcohol-related offences in the next six months, they will be banned from participating pubs and clubs.

Police have been making sure licensees of pubs and clubs are managing their premises properly in the run-up to Christmas and the new year.

Plain-clothed officers were out in a number of premises across the district and mostly found premises and the staff working well within the Licensing Act.

However, in Dover a landlord or designated premises supervisor was given an 80 fixed penalty ticket after officers found him selling to a person who was drunk.

Officers in Deal found staff at one premises dealing "robustly and appropriately" with a person who was causing a nuisance.

Sgt Guy Thompson, of Dover District Community Safety Unit, said: "We will work with those responsible premises in dealing with issues surrounding alcohol and the Licensing Act.

"However, where those premises and designated premises supervisors fall below that standard expected of them, we will use the law to ensure they comply."

From now until January 2, officers will carry out high-profile patrols in Dover, Deal and Sandwich town centres on Friday and Saturday nights to deter offences and to promote responsible socialising.


From the Dover Mercury, 24 December, 2009.


TWO women who ran out of money to buy drink have been jailed for robbing a post office.

Sentencing Laura Maxwell and Katy Pritchard to 40 months in prison and 15 months at a young offenders' institute, Judge James O'Mahony said their actions had been “extraordinarily stupid”.

Jacqueline Witts was working as a shop assistant at Crabble post office in Buckland Avenue when the two women walked in, Maxwell holding a kitchen knife and swearing at the victim as she demanded money.

Maxwell grabbed the till drawer, containing 460, and both women fled. Mr Witts later said in a victim impact statement, the robbery left her shocked and shaken and feeling sick.

They appeared at Canterbury Crown Court and admitted robbery and sentence was adjourned for reports.

When they returned for sentencing 19-year-old Pritchard of London Road, Dover, asked for one further offence to be considered and Maxwell, 29, of Sandown Close, Deal, asked the court to consider two further offences.

Oliver Saxby, for Maxwell, said it was hard to explain the offence but alcohol lay behind it: To her credit she had been candid and said she just lost the plot.

“What she did was incomprehensible and she has undergone courses while in custody,” said Mr Saxby. He added that Maxwell had suffered a traumatic childhood which may be the roots of her alcohol abuse.

Leroy Redhead, for Pritchard, said in her case the robbery was also inexplicable but she too had been drinking heavily.

The robbery was not her idea but she went along in her drunken state and became very frightened.

“She is only 18 and has had a tough background. Her role was peripheral and she is effectively of good character,” said Mr Redhead. He asked the court to consider a suspended sentence saying Pritchard's problems sprang from alcohol and she needed treatment.

Sentencing both, Judge O'Mahony said: “It was an extraordinarily stupid thing to do to get yourselves in a position where you face such long sentences because you ran out of money to buy alcohol.

“I have to look at it from the point of view of a vulnerable person entrusted in the post office to look after money and faced with the awful aggression.

The robbery was not her idea but she went along in her drunken state and became very frightened she was confronted with at the time.”

Ms Witts had told police that the second woman without the knife had not said anything or attempted to take any money and appeared to have just tagged along.

Judge O'Mahony said he could make a significant difference between the accused although custodial sentences were inevitable.