A FAVERSHAM pensioner has been brushing up on his painting skills and donating the results to good causes.
Malcolm Lyons, 80, of Springhead Road, is giving away his latest work, a five-foot-tall Egyptian landscape, to the elderly residents of Abbeyfields Court residential home.
Malcolm, a retired landlord, explained how his hobby was beginning to help deserving causes.
He said: "I'd call myself an artist but I'm by no means a professional painter. Art is a hobby I keep going back to, but really I just totter about, using my spare room as a sort of studio."
Malcolm likes to experiment, painting everything from abstracts, sci-fi scenes and landscapes. He has sold pieces to family and friends, but never commercially.
He explained: "I don't like to stick to one type of subject. I'll do anything from a scenic river to Aztec patterns.
"I've got the pieces all around the house and I'm running out of space, so now when I've finished one I like to give it to a good cause.
"I gave 16 paintings to Age Concern to auction to help pay for their new dining room and now I'm hoping the residents at the care home will enjoy my latest one.
" I just like to give them away."
Matthew Robbins, head of AmicusHorizon in east Kent, the organisation which manages the residential home, praised Malcolm for donating the art.
He said: "We're very grateful to Mr Lyons for donating such wonderful artwork to our Abbeyfields scheme.
"It's a really eye-catching piece and I'm sure it's going to be a talking point with our residents."
A BREWERY resurrected after 25 years has once again stopped producing pints, and its owner says Tunbridge Wells pubs should show more support to a homegrown business.
The Royal Tunbridge Wells Brewery Company shut its doors just before Christmas as owner Simon Lewis said he wanted to "re-evaluate the business".
Mr Lewis said a number of factors had forced his decision but wished he had more hometown support.
He said: "I am slightly disappointed that pubs in the town didn't really take to us. It seems like the town never owned us.
"Of course, it is up to them what drinks they sell but we have fantastic quality, award-winning beer and there are some people who think they won't be successful unless they sell a particular brand.
"The fact the sales side has slowed down is a consequence of the market. The price of the raw materials is going up and we are really about making great quality products."
Mr Lewis resurrected the business, located in Chapman Way, in 2010 after it had been closed for 25 years.
The 45-year-old said it had been successful since its reopening but sales started to flag when brewery manager Jamie Simm left his role in the middle of 2012.
"While I owned the business, Jamie was really running it," Mr Lewis said. "Since he left it has not done what I wanted it to do.
"There are a massive number of reasons why it could work and reasons why it could be difficult.
"What I am looking for is investment or somebody with an entrepreneurial edge to look at the business with fresh eyes and come up with ideas.
"I am sure it can be massively successful, it just needs the person who is passionate and willing to work hard."
Mr Lewis, who also runs The Bedford Pub in the High Street, confirmed he had spoken to interested parties and was hoping to start brewing again "in the next two months".
"The fallback position is we sell the equipment in the brewery and break it up piece by piece. That is what I worry about the most."
THANET residents are being asked for their views on how to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions in traffic hotspots around the district.
According to Thanet District Council's action plan, the problem is caused by too many HGVs, lorries and buses, and by the volume of congested traffic.
TDC says air quality on the isle is good and well within the limits set by the Government for the protection of human health, but there are two areas where pollution is higher than is desirable.
The two hotspots are The Square in Birchington and the High Street in St Lawrence.
Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) have been declared at both sites and in 2011 the council considered diverting traffic travelling to Margate from Birchington onto more scenic routes.
But the idea was rejected when investigations found that the new routes were in residential areas not designed for heavy traffic.
TDC now wants to curb NO2 emissions by reducing the amount of time vehicles spend stationary at the two junctions.
Research suggests that there needs to be a cut in pollutant emissions of 21 per cent.
Residents are being asked for their help in combating the problem by commenting on the authority's latest air action plan.
Michelle Fenner, the council's cabinet member for regulatory services, said: "This plan looks at the whole of Thanet strategically as an Air Quality Management Area. This is a really good opportunity to have your say on the ways in which we are looking at making the area even better for residents and tourists alike."
The Air Quality Action Plan is available to view at www. thanet.gov.uk/airquality. E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org before March 14.
A MAN who was pursued through town and threatened with arrest by the "fag butt police" missed out on a hot date as a result.
Ian Butcher was waiting for a bus in Folkestone, en route to see a woman he had met online, when XFor officers swooped on January 4. The 44-year-old said he felt "intimidated and victimised" by their manner – and that he had not even dropped any litter.
Mr Butcher, from Cheriton, is now trying to appeal his £80 fine.
He said: "It's wrong – how many other people have been caught like this?
"I do smoke but I hadn't been smoking. I'd had one in the pub garden, then walked up to the bus station. The next thing, I was accused of dropping rubbish.
"I asked them to point out which cigarette end they were saying I'd dropped and they refused. I'd have thought that with no proof, they'd have to drop it but then they started threatening me with arrest."
The father-of-two has been given the video taken by one of the XFor officers that day. It shows him getting on to the bus while the officer informs a passer-by he is "having someone arrested".
Mr Butcher then gets off the bus and walks away towards Grace Hill. The officers following can be heard to say: "You're just making an idiot of yourself" and "you're being a pain in the a***".
Eventually, the group meets a police officer, called by XFor, to whom Mr Butcher gives his details.
Mr Butcher said: "I thought people were innocent until proven guilty and as they couldn't prove it, everything from the start on is victimisation and harassment – I hadn't even dropped litter.
"I'd like to arrest the XFor officers for wasting police time, as the force seems to be at their beck and call.
"And then, I got so much abuse from the woman I was supposed to be meeting. I tried to explain and she just said: 'No wonder you can't get a girlfriend."
A Shepway District Council spokesman said: "We do not believe our enforcement officers acted in an intimidating way. They will respond appropriately. If Mr Butcher believes the fixed penalty should not have been issued, he could allow the matter to go to court and plead not guilty."
Do you know the woman Mr Butcher was going to meet? Call the Herald on 01303 851655.
PARISH councillors in Hawkhurst are to step in to help firefighters – but rather than tackle blazes or cut people from vehicle wreckage, they will be wielding a map and a torch.
Hawkhurst Parish Council agreed at its January meeting to venture out into the community to uncover any forgotten fire hydrants.
The hydrants are important as they provide a water source which crews need to find quickly when there are fires nearby.
Chairman Keith Brown said: "Around our parish are lots of fire hydrants. They are supposed to be painted yellow.
"Quite often they are covered by mud or vegetation and the fire service has difficulty finding them.
"We have a map but they are not easy to see. They want us to look around for them and make sure they are seen."
The issue raised some concern from councillor John Hunt, who said: "I find it bizarre they are asking us to mark the hydrants they use."
Kent Fire and Rescue Service water services manager Steve Lewis said: "We are dedicated to ensuring there is an adequate supply of water available for the purpose of fighting fires throughout Kent and we inspect the county's water provisions through a rolling inspection process to minimise the risk of issues, should the sources be required.
"We recently set up a community programme working closely with parish councils, to help them take ownership of the area they represent in relation to fire safety – including the fire hydrants – by issuing them with a map identifying the hydrant locations within their area and asking them to report any issues to us so they can be rectified as soon as possible."
However councillors will not be required to break open a pot of paint just yet, as Mr Lewis explained: "The inspections are on a visual basis only. No parish members or local residents should carry out any physical work upon the fire hydrants or take any risks on or around busy roads.
"We would also like to reassure residents that we will continue to take all reasonable measures to ensure water is available for fire-fighting and this piece of work will in no way impact on our dedication to ensure Kent Fire and Rescue Service provides the right response to your emergency."
Councillor Colin Williamson said: "I believe we should go forward with this."
AN all-weather sports pitch will be created for students at Hartsdown Academy in Margate following a £146,000 grant from Sport England.
The 3G pitch, which will also be open to use by residents and local groups, received the biggest cash boost of any Kent project in the latest round of funding from the Lottery scheme.
Andy Somers, executive head teacher at Hartsdown Academy, said: "It is fantastic news that we have been successful in our application for funding towards our community project to create a 3G all-weather, three-quarter size pitch on the college fields.
"We are now working with architects to get the drawings done.
"It will be a floodlit facility and although we have to go through the planning process, we are hoping that will not be an issue because we already have floodlights at our community netball courts.
"The all-weather pitch will be an amazing resource for a variety of sports including football and hockey.
"It will be used during the evenings and at weekends, after school and in the holidays."
He added: "Now we are looking for community partners to come in with us on this exciting project and help us manage it and ensuring that it is open 24/7 for the benefit of all our sports users."
The grant is part of Sport England's Olympic and Paralympic legacy programme.
East Kent College, which this month received £25,000 from Sport England, has taken on a college Sport Maker.
Stephanie Howard, a former PE teacher, will work with students and young people to make sure they get opportunities to take part in sports.
She said: "I'm really looking forward to working with the students and helping them to get involved through the college. a
"I want to help them to take part in those sports that they may not have tried their hands at otherwise,"
Plans include starting boxing and fitness classes.
DOVER District Council is on course to pay out £2 million to consultants in the space of three years.
DDC splashed out almost £700,000 on "expert advice" in 2012, an increase of more than £30,000 on the amount spent in 2011.
If the local authority's outlay on consultants continues at the same rate in 2013, more than £2 million will have been paid out in 36 months.
Out of the eye-watering £1,317,023 forked out over the last two years, almost 10 per cent has been bagged by BBP Regeneration.
This consultancy firm has offered "expertise" on the Dover Town Investment Zone (DTIZ) and the Aylesham village expansion project since at least January 2011.
On its Linkedin page, the Tottenham-based business is described as "a specialist property, regeneration and economic development consultancy, [delivering] regeneration solutions for public and private sector clients across the UK."
BBP, which employs up to 10 people, has pocketed £103,941 from DDC.
Work on the DTIZ is ongoing, while planning permission has been granted for the Aylesham village expansion scheme and is due to begin this year.
In October last year, the Express revealed how more than £150,000 of consultancy fees was paid to World Famous Fireworks – the firm which provided the pyrotechnics when the Olympic Torch passed through Dover.
Among the other big recipients of public cash was GVA Grimley, which received £123,917 for consultation on Deal's flood defences.
After the Express published this article, DDC released online figures for the amount that had been spent on consultancy in September 2012. The local authority had paid out £9,579 – the lowest figure for monthly consultancy expenditure since the accounts were first made public in January 2011.
This was followed by totals of £26,285 in October, £74,812 in November and £33,199 in December.