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Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat – Awards and Reward

A couple of items, recently reviewed, regarding the Lifeboat that I feel need shouting about:-
The first being a celebration of the 90 years of service by two stalwarts of the station.
Judith Richardson, currently the Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer was presented the award for ‘Excellence in Volunteering’, having spent the past 50 years of her life associated with the local lifeboat. Judith’s late husband William was the previous Coxswain whose role was taken over by Stuart Adams who, on the same occasion was recognised for his 40 years of service – having joined at the age of 17.
Both were presented the awards at the annual blessing and re dedication service for the stations Shannon class lifeboat.
In attendance and providing beautiful music, as always, were the City of Canterbury Brass Band, who, in turn, were presented with a framed photograph of the lifeboat ‘The Morrell’ (and signed by the crew) in recognition of their 30 years attendance at the memorial meeting.

Also in the news – the lifeboat were presented with a cheque for £1000.00, donated by the family of the late John and Betty Blackwell, following the sale of a private collection of stamps and post cards – purchased by Niko and Rachel Miaoulis – proprietors of the Pilot Inn, here at Dungeness.
The cheque was presented by Ian Blackwell who is one of the volunteer head launchers/drivers.
For further information on this and all other related Lifeboat matters please visit their site – through the ‘Links’ page.

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Democracy in Action! Planning Decision

A public meeting was held last evening (Tuesday 29th August) in the Council offices in Folkestone to hear the arguments for and against the proposals for the redevelopment of the derelict radar site.

Consent was granted with only one Councillor against – from Lydd Council.

This council was the only objector. Their grounds being that the development ‘not in keeping’.

This comment, from anyone, does make my blood boil and, having been granted permission to speak at the hearing, I reminded all those present that one of the features that adds to the uniqueness of Dungeness is the fact that every single building on the Estate is different. So how can a modest innocuous little building (see post here) be out of keeping. A point seemingly agreed by all other committee members.

Anyway good to see democracy in action where mere members of the public can stand up and have their say?

Normally I do not vocally support specific planning applications – preferring to be a member of the silent majority who, by virtue of the fact they don’t complain, must be considered in favour.

On this occasion though I became incensed by comments from those against the motion, who do not live here or, the non-resident, weekender – in this case a very nice lady who at least had the guts to stand and express her views.

I am glad we live in a society where one can be heard!

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Lifeboat Open Day Success

Sunday 13th August. The annual Lifeboat Open Day was blessed with brilliant weather and with many hundreds of visitors, was a resounding success. Not only held as a fund raising event but an opportunity for the public to meet the men who, without recompense, put their lives at risk to rescue others in distress, at sea and to learn more about the service the RNLI provides – AND ALL FROM PUBLIC DONATIONS!!

The public were invited to part with money at the usual tombola stalls, hot dogs and drinks and shortly after 2pm witnessed a display of a rescue at sea which included an Air Sea Rescue helicopter based at the local Lydd airport.

The RH&DR (small railway) added an extra stop opposite the lifeboat station to give visitors the opportunity to park further afield and experience a ride on the miniature railway.

In all a great day and all in a great cause.

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Planning and other things

Some call it the ‘Decca Station’, others the ‘Marconi Site’ but whatever you call it it is a mess having bee allowed to deteriorate over the years.

As it is today – a wreck.

A planning application for its redevelopment, in keeping with what is already there, was finally rejected – after two years of negotiations with planners, Natural England and locals.

Local ‘here today gone tomorrow’ Councillors poked their oar in with such comments as ‘ugly’ ‘not in keeping’, ‘don”t like it’ etc. One non-resident owner started a petition against its ‘revival’, getting it is understood, 28 signatures. As there are only forty of us living here permanently and all those consulted over the proposals were in favour, it does beg the question as to where the complainants come from.

Anyway, the property has been purchased and the new owners have submitted plans for a modest little bungalow which is quite in keeping – whatever that term means. BUT the anti brigade are out in force to prevent it on the most pathetic of grounds – including one who seems to think digging a hole to insert a septic tank, will undo all the, alleged, good work Natural England do in preserving this hither to barren expanse of beach – but now an overgrown mass of grass weeds and brambles.

It is worth having a look at the comments posted on the Shepway District Councils planning application web site for the comments – most of which come from people who don’t live here.

As it would have been.

This is a private estate, not dedicated to the public and I suggest if anyone does not like the way we live here then keep away.

As if one small bungalow, sitting on the same footprint of a structure that is already there is going to have such a dramatic effect on the area is nonsensical.

As it is likely to be subject to planning consent.

It should be remembered that those, fortunately with the money, are prepared to replace structures here that will be around for another 100 years or so (or until the tide comes in and puts us back to boggy marsh) and the fact they may not be to everyone’s liking is irrelevant – as Dungeness is unique for many reasons including the sheer diversity of the structures (shacks) that have been built here over the years. There can be no argument that something is not in keeping as something HAS to be different to qualify to be IN keeping.

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Plein air at Dungeness


Today, local artist Paul Apps held a plein-air workshop, focusing on ‘off the beaten track’ locations at Dungenes.

The enthusiastic amateur artists attending the workshop painted interesting variations of these local scenes.

Check out Paul’s website for his plein-air portfolio of other local scenes.

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Good Knees Required

Good knees are required for some light house work locally.   In the lighthouse!

Weekly cleaning during the ‘open’ season’ and minor odd jobs as and when they are needed.

With over 160 steps to the top any applicant must be reasonably fit.

Applications by phone or though the ‘Old Lighthouse’ website – see ‘Links’

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Pubs and Things

A warm welcome to Richard Davies who has recently taken over the Britannia Pub (more about him in a later blog)

Richard is aware how the ‘Brit’ has been run down over the past several years.   Once the hub of the local community, with the changing demographics and less people actually residing here permanently, the place did not offer too much in the way of goodwill or good food.

Richard is changing all that with home cooked foods with meats coming from Lydd and ice creams from Maidstone…………………….   More later>

And talking of pubs the 270 year old ‘Royal Mail’  in Lydd suddenly closed.   The brewery, Shepherd Neame (local Kentish Brewery from Faversham) reported it was no longer a viable business.

What I do not understand is how local campaigners want to keep the place open as, as Bob Martin, chairman of the local Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said, these places are ‘an important part of community life’   ??  But they are closing because fewer people frequent them.   Simple as that.   What are prospering are the smaller micro brewery outlets and it is there you can get a variety of local beers.

Pubs have to be more than beer sellers and must provide something ‘extra’ to attract the punters.   Good food or music and certainly must appeal to the family.  

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There seem to be more and more overnight campers on the beach, flagrantly ignoring the, very polite, notices to refrain from so doing.  The general public seem to forget Dungeness is a private estate and not dedicated to the public.

Seems EDF are in a quandary as to what to do about it.

I have suggested the erection of watch towers and machine gun posts but alas these cannot be considered of the grounds of ‘Elfin Safety’   Evidently a guard may fall off the ladder ascending the towers!

Bring in a private  car parking enforcement company and leave it to them.   At least that distances EDF and the affable Owen Leyshon from the ignorant sods they often have to deal with

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Interesting pic of the Old Lighthouse from the grounds of the Roundhouse.

Alas cannot find the original email from the photographer but looking at the copyright stamp it would seem to be N Barsons.  (Please get in touch)

And anyone thinking of transferring the image to a piece of pottery (a dinner or wall plate perchance) remember it is copyrighted!!

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