This is our monthly look at some of the local stories making the headlines in Sevenoaks for November.
OH MY LORDS
Eight budding young cricketers from Tonbridge starred at Lords Cricket Ground as they were presented there with prestigious Young Leaders in Cricket awards. Kent cricketer Adam Ball, international cricket umpire Richard Kettleborough and Sky Sport’s Matt Floyd, were among those on hand to present the awards to them and 150 other cricketers. The presentation was followed by a tour of the ground.
Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, councillor Owen Baldock, says “We hope that this year’s award winners will go on to inspire other young people to take up the sport and help to boost an interest in cricket locally.”
Hildenborough’s resident chess grandmaster John Emms took the game to Tunbridge Wells as he played 34 games simultaneously against members of Tunbridge Wells Chess Club – and left unbeaten. However, local four school pupils managed to hold him to draws: David Liu and Freddie Hands, of the Judd School in Tonbridge; Oleg Lyakh of the Skinners School; and Grace Lamb from Beechwood Sacred Heart. Michael Shahoud, captain of the Club, said: “The standard of chess was very high. Despite that, John did not lose a single game, which was quite an achievement and highlighted just how well Freddie, David, Oleg and Grace played.”
He hails from New York, but Spiderman appears to have swapped the Big Apple for Kentish life. A mysterious man in a Spiderman costume has been spotted around the Tonbridge, riding the pavements on a hoverboard. The town had previously lacked a superhero guardian, but Spiderman may prove to be a local rival to Tunbridge Wells’ popular unicycling caped crusader. It is currently unknown whether he plans to fight any crime. However, he’ll need to use his spiderweb powers to get around in future, as the Crown Prosecution Service has now ruled hoverboards illegal for public use.
Tonbridge’s Weald of Kent Grammar School has been granted permission to build an extension site in Sevenoaks. Despite the creation of new grammar schools having been banned since 1998, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan described it as a “genuine expansion” of an existing school rather than a new school.
Sevenoaks Grammar School Campaign leader Andrew Shilling describes it as “a victory for parent power”. Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon also approved of the decision, saying that it will “ease the growing pressure on school places in west Kent”, but it has come under fire from the Labour Party as ‘a hugely backwards step’.
A married couple achieved a winning unity at the top of the Wildernesse Golf Club’s annual Battle of Britain golf competitions. Nigel Shields beat 68 other golfers to win the men’s event, before wife Hilary won the women’s event a week later at the Sevenoaks club.
The competitions were set up in 2008 to commemorate a pilot whose aircraft was shot down and crashed into the golf course during the Battle of Britain. One of the pistons from Flight Lieutenant Lionel Harold Schwind’s aircraft was used to create the trophy, which the golf-mad couple will share for six months.
POP UP PRIDE
Tonbridge’s iconic Old Fire Station has entered a new era, being opened officially to the public as a community hub, hosting pop-up shops and local events. The building had lain empty for over 35 years until new owner Richard Collins, founder of the Medischeme insurance company, set about renovating it. Fuggles Beer Cafe, Sankeys and Michelin-starred chef Daniel Hatton’s catering company Hattons are among those setting up at the Castle Street venue over the winter. “They’re all very successful businesses and Tonbridge is missing top class restaurants and beer cafes,” says Mr Collins. “I wanted to invite the best.”