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Last Friday saw the first Kent Challenger Games at the Julie Rose Stadium – the inspiration of our Mayor, Cllr Winston Michael. Those present were witness to something truly special, and we should all take heart from our young people showing just what they can achieve.
These school children proved how determined they were when faced with the many challenges. They competed against each other with friendship and true sporting spirit, with many friendships made. The choir of 150 children formed from 14 schools gave an emotional rendition of 10 inspirational songs, including the Games Anthem “One in a Million” – remarkable given it was the first time they had sung together. The Towers Cheerleaders Stunt Team also gave extraordinary performances. With a large detachment of military personnel in attendance Ashford and Kent affirmed their commitment to the Military Covenant. This was a defining moment, as so much is owed to our brave forces who are called to put their lives on the line for us all. The Gurkha Marching Military Band gave virtuoso performances and captured the hearts of everyone.
Every school paraded with a banner and the day was judged by everyone to be an outstanding success. It was made clear that there is nothing like this for the children at this level and that the Kent Challenger Games filled the gap. Calls were made to organisers for the Games to be a fixture every two to three years.
Ashford’s historic Victoria Park has been awarded a £167,000 development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund, which will support an exciting project.
The council, in partnership with the community and others, has adopted a plan to create a destination that boosts civic pride, and celebrates the rich heritage of this important site. The funding will support the timely and beneficial repairs to the iconic Grade II* Listed, Hubert Fountain and the surrounding piazza area.
Other works will include replacing the play space with sensory gardens, extending the community orchard, restoring the secret garden and creating a paved path. This should provide the community with a pleasant environment and will help create a well-maintained space for local events, such as the evergrowing Create Music Festival, which takes place this coming weekend, and other cultural and entertaining activities.