Wealden News

This is our monthly look at some of the local stories making the headlines in The Weald for November.

Curling Queens

The England Ladies’ Curling Team are raising money on Pledgesports to fund their trip to compete in this month’s European Curling Championships in Esjberg, Denmark. The team of five Olympic hopefuls, from areas including Benenden and Hawkhurst, have qualified for the tournament, but are struggling to make ends meet, as three of them are students. They’re offering signed memorabilia and curling coaching in return for donations. “We are asking if people will support our team to give us the chance to progress to the world stage,” the girls say. “Going forward, we want to make it to the world curling championships and we also have huge ambitions to break into the British Olympic team in the future.”

Astilbe & Sorrel

Congratulations are in order for a local florist, after she was named ‘newcomer of the year’ in the British Florist association industry awards. Sophie Hill, who runs the Astilbe & Sorrel flower shop in Hawkhurst, beat off stiff competition to be crowned the winner in her category. “The sore hands and late nights are worth it for the joy Astilbe & Sorrel brings,” says Sophie. “But, to be recognised by a large organisation is a real honour.” Sophie is resident florist at the Walled Nursery, and opened her shop in 2014.

Cranbrook is the sixth most expensive market town in the UK, Lloyds Bank have found. One of two Kent towns on the list, above West Malling in eighth place, the average property price in Cranbrook is £392,000 – nearly £150,000 over the national average.

Buckinghamshire town Beaconsfield topped the list. The average property there sets buyers back nearly £1,000,000 – over double the cost in second-placed Lewes.

Lloyds’ mortgages director Andy Mason says: “Homes in market towns typically command a significant premium over their neighbouring towns. The quality of life benefits often associated with living in such locations are still proving popular among homebuyers.”

Squash fans in the Tenterden area will have to take their racquets elsewhere, as from this month Tenterden Leisure Centre has removed its squash courts in order to expand its gym facilities. Players will now have to travel to Cranbrook or Biddenden to use their squash courts, while the TLC expansion plans also see the crèche relocated to another area of the building.

‘As squash usage has declined to below 15% of the squash courts capacity, it is with reluctance that the decision to remove the squash court to provide additional gym facilities has been taken,’ it states on the TLC website. ‘Use of the gym has been growing significantly and, due to this, a decision to expand on this area has been made.’

Out Of This World Fashion Show

Uckfield Community Technology College suffered an invasion of Daleks, Sith and aliens – but, fortunately, it was just part of their Out Of This World fashion show.

Space-themed heroes and villains costumes were made by lower school textiles students and worn on the catwalk by teachers and students, with Tron, Star Wars and Star Trek all referenced. This culminated in two Doctor Who characters fighting over a toy Tardis – only to be ‘killed’ by the Daleks and Cybermen. Also showcased was wearable art, created by GCSE students, and paper outfits, made in just a fortnight by A-level textiles students.