During the Ashford Applause campaign we have been delighted to receive so many wonderful applications which have brought to light the amazing contribution people are making to the community during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.   

We want to recognise all the incredible local people going above and beyond to support the community. Your hard work is valued and greatly appreciated as proven in the heart-warming nominations you received.  

Read all about our nominated Ashford community champions below!

Alfred Gent 

Alfred is a volunteer and has been doing an amazing job; serving the NHS bacon and egg rolls, chocolate bars, crisps and cold drinks in Kent and Sussex. As part of The Salvation Army Alfred's team have completed 45 days at different community hospitals.

Angela Munt 

Angela has been volunteering since the outbreak of the pandemic. She has helped with people's shopping, collecting medical devices from the hospital, befriending service and even baking birthday cakes! Angela has made a huge difference to many people's lives, not just by doing their shopping but also being a friendly face and getting to know the people she's helped.

Charlotte Phillips 

Charlotte is a team leader for East Kent Children’s Community Nursing team and selflessly contiued to work throughout lockdown. She cares so much for Kent’s sick children and she makes herself available for them night and day! 

Chris Burton 

Chris worked so hard over lockdown as a Paramedic Practitioner, continuing to risk his life every day and helping those in need. Thank you, Chris for all your continued hard work.

Chris and Nic Kimmance 

Chris and Nic help run Ashford Vineyard and founded Ashford Sings; a community choir in 2010. The choir has been a way for many people to connect and make new friends and during lockdown Chris and Nic helped keep their members in touch with each other through Zoom practices and quizzes. 

Chris Miller 

Chris is an amazing gentleman who helped others in a time of need, including helping vulnerable residents to maintain their gardens while external services were unavailable.

Christie Haggis and Lucy Ellis

Sisters Christie and Lucy set up a volunteer group to support Kennington residents through the pandemic. The volunteers have helped the community with essential shopping, collecting prescriptions and supporting people feeling isolated. 
The girls didn’t stop there; they set up a community pantry, as well as a second-hand school uniform 'swap-shop'. They both deserve recognition for identifying need in their community and decisively acting upon it. They have been the instigators and ambassadors for local action and creating real community cohesion. 

Clare Charles 

Clare went above and beyond during lockdown, rain, wind or shine to help homeless people in the community. She deserves to be recognised for her outstanding unwavering contribution to the community during the Covid-19 crisis.

Colin & Kathryn Salmon | Rev Cathie Aldis-Saunders & the volunteers 

In St Francis, Revd Cathie Aldis-Saunders, Colin and Kathryn Salmon and a wonderful team of volunteers from South Ashford Churches turned the regular school-holiday meal offer into a takeaway. They delivered “Boxes of Hope” and ensured that each parcel was healthy and a treat. They delivered to around 50 families reaching 140 children.

Dawn Smith

Dawn is a recently qualified learning disability nurse who checked in on people every day during lockdown. She did all this as well as helping a family with home schooling their four children and doing some of their shopping too. Dawn also regularly checked in with her neighbours and offered her time to the Ashford Street Pastors. 

Denise Curtain 

Denise organised a community group called 'Rolvenden Response,' overseeing a group of volunteers helping the community in a variety of ways, from making friendly phone calls to isolating residents to organising free delivery from the village shop and bulk collection from local pharmaceuticals. This community effort, led by Denise, has been praised as exemplary. 

Fountain Kebab Staff 

The staff at Fountain Kebab have taken free food parcels to the William Harvey Hospital A&E department and to the NHS 111 Moat Way to show their support and thanks to the hard working NHS staff during the pandemic. 

Gaye Larter 

Gaye has hugely supported those living in Hamstreet. She wrote, printed and delivered a lock-down support booklet called 'Hamstreet Community Comes Together'. What’s more, Gaye set up 'Hamstreet Helping Hands'; a group of volunteers who would shop, collect prescriptions amongst other things to help the housebound.

Gaye has truly inspired many to become more involved in the community and reach out to those who were housebound. She encouraged others to share their talents and time with those who really needed help and support and made a positive change to the community of Hamstreet. 

Helen Harris 

Helen was running the Food with Friends cafe at the Ashford Gateway before being furloughed. Whilst on furlough, Helen volunteered to help the NHS and tirelessly gave all her time to support those in need. 

Helen and Huw Pinney 

Helen and Huw run BrownBills Optometry in Ashford. They have put all of their staffs needs before their own, as well as running the usinesses for emergency patients and offering repair work for patients who had damaged spectacles. They ensured patients were kept topped up with medical supplies and checked in on staff to ensure they were well while on furlough. 

Holly van der Beeck

Holly works at the Godinton Park Community site and during the pandemic set up a food bank for people on the estate to support those in need. Holly really is a pillar of the Godinton community; she finds the time to help others and someone who truly needs recognition for her efforts. 

John Howell

John set up the Community Care Ashford group. He and his group of dedicated volunteers have been a tremendous asset to the community going above and beyond to help people by giving their time and love without question. 

Julie McMahon

Julie has worked through the pandemic as a funeral director, ensuring that all the families she has looked after received the best care and attention she could provide in such an unprecedented time. In addition, she helped home school her grandchildren, manage her businesses, looked after her families’ animals and helped with washing and shopping. 

Karen Barret 

Karen has kept the village going through this pandemic by giving free meals to vulnerable people and feeding the village with very reasonable meals. She works hard 7 days a week and deserves recognition for her hard work.

Justin Burden 

Justin has worked hard to support Ashford’s food bank and the homeless community during the pandemic. He volunteers his time to support the community 7 days a week.  

Liz Thatcher 

Liz co-ordinated the delivery of food parcels to self-isolating, vulnerable adults and families and those facing hardship during lockdown. She's worked tirelessly along with the rest of the team at Ashford Vineyard to make sure that everyone gets what they need as quickly as possible during the Crisis, and she does it with such great enthusiasm and efficiency. I really think she deserves some applause. 

Mark Wilkins 

Mark was brought up in Ashford and has worked his whole career at Dungeness Power Station. Since day one of lockdown, Mark has been working 12 hour days, six days a week to ensure we all have sufficient power to keep the NHS safe, ensure families have power for their homes and for the rest of society. He does this without any complaint and is always very humble. Mark is a community hero and we are so grateful to him! 

Michael Pitney 

Michael is a fire-fighter who is always the first to volunteer in his spare time to support the community, local charities and people. During the COVID-19 pandemic he has volunteered around the clock supporting collaborations between medical services and the fire service. 

He helped found FIRE AID and International Development which supports fire fighters around the world. Through this charity Michael has spent the last 6 years delivering both medical and fire related aid to countries and fire services all over the world.  

Mike Donk Keeley 

Mike volunteered to stack and light the Beacon on top of Brabourne Downs in honour of the NHS, Carers and All Key Workers, every Thursday night at 8pm to coincide with the National Clap for Carers. The Beacon was originally erected for the Battle’s Over celebration to mark the end of WW1. This was entirely his idea and the Beacon was lit from Week 2 of the Clap. Mike also ensures the logs are reloaded every night so the Beacon can be seen after dark. It can be seen from parts of Brabourne and Smeeth, Aldington and Ashford. Mike’s idea has lifted the spirits of many Key Workers and villagers alike.

Melissa Dawkins 

Melissa is the manager of Made in Ashford in Park Mall. She has gone above and beyond since the lockdown started by setting up the Ashford Scrubbers Group and raising money for material to make scrubs for local hospitals! She also dispatched VE Day packs to the more vulnerable in society so those with small children had some fun creating. Melissa has also run creative workshops from her home to keep people entertained during this trying time and she does all this with a family of her own to care for. 

Natalie Mills 

Natalie is the project coordinator for The Hygiene Bank in Ashford. Natalie and her team of volunteers have continued to provide hygiene and personal care support to the Ashford community throughout the current COVID-19 situation. Natalie works full time in a very demanding role and the work she does for the Hygiene Bank is 100% voluntary. Natalie has worked hard to ensure donations are provided to those in desperate need during these challenging times. She accomplishes all of this with an amazing smile! 

Pauline Rose and Kristina Hoath 

These two exceptional ladies set up a Covid-19 Volunteer Group in High Halden. They rallied over 50 volunteers to help them support residents with jobs like shopping, prescription collection trips and even IT support. In addition, the group offer a 'loneliness' service to people living alone who just want a chat. They both work tirelessly to ensure the group functions effectively, supporting volunteers as well as ensuring the safety of all is paramount.

Peter New 

Peter dedicates so much time to the local community by updating residents on crime activity warnings and outcomes; making residents feel safe, so a big thanks goes to Peter for all his hard work.

Radio Ashford Presenters 

A big thanks goes to the radio presenters of Radio Ashford who have kept us up to date with virus and local news throughout the pandemic. Their company, music and positive attitude has kept us all enthralled. 

Richard Carley 

Richard is a local community hero for Woodchurch who does many things for the community. During the lockdown crisis Richard cooked jacket potatoes (about 30 per day) and delivered them to elderly and vulnerable residents. Richard also gets their shopping and does odd jobs where he can to help including taking people to hospital or medical appointments.  

Rose Horton and Sharon May

Rose and Sharon work at the Lightbites Café at the Willow Centre. They have been providing takeaway meals and food boxes to people shielding and having financial hardship and have donated more than 200 meals. They work nonstop and never say no to anyone needing support. They also pick up FareShare Go donations from Waitrose in the evenings. 

Samuel Boyton 

Samuel is the General Manager at The Gym in Ashford. When the gyms reopened, Samuel went above and beyond to help members, clean equipment and ensure the members were happy. He is a true gentleman. 

Sandra McGinnis

Sandra has worked so hard with shield calls, making sure that no one has been missed from the list. Sandra has been encouraging to all of the staff supporting, she has been great with the updates and a pleasure to deal with answering any questions.

Sarah Mabb 

Sarah has been one of the local driving forces behind the local Ashford Scrubbers group which has made hundreds of scrubs, masks and uniform bags for the NHS. Not only has she coordinated a lot of the deliveries of fabric to the sewers, she has coordinated all the fabric quarantine, arranged for the deliveries to happen and made her own volume of scrubs a day. 

Sarah Swainsbury 

Sarah had been running virtual exercise classes online 5 days a week during lockdown and keeping her virtual attendees motivated to stay fit. She has run several free bootcamp classes on Bank Holidays as well as free Youtube workouts too. Sarah's classes have been invaluable to many women in Ashford keeping them fit and healthy in lockdown both physically and mentally. We are very grateful to her for all that she has done. 

Sylvia Carey 

Sylvia set up and runs Ashford Community Instructors Online Fitness since the very start of lockdown. She posts free workouts nearly every day, encouraging other instructors to do likewise and promotes their content. She has been posting tips to improve and maintain good mental health in the community at the same time raising money for a mental health charity. 

Tracy Brandon Dark 

Despite being a key worker in an SEN school and caring for two teenage sons (one with additional needs), she still finds the time to bestow random acts of kindness on her friends and neighbours whilst juggling everyone else. Tracy is a breath of fresh air, so supportive and caring and makes a great key lime pie too!

William Whittington 

William works for South Eastern and continued to work during lockdown, making sure that he was playing his part to keep the key workers moving and keeping the station clean. 

Garry Harrison

Gary looks after his local area by doing litter picks and reporting other big items that he can not pick up him self as well as potholes and overgrowth of weeds or plants that are in the way of the highways and byways. He has helped out others during lockdown by giving out DVDs and asking if they need help with shopping, especially if they were self isolating. He also helps with various charities and churches in Ashford, a real unsung community champion!

Emma Isworth

Emma runs the local Tenterden FoodBank. She is absolutely incredible, working really hard to help all the local disadvantaged people and families in Tenterden. She says "I am definitely not a hero...the donors are!" That is so typical of Emma. She has worked so hard during the Covid-19 crisis to increase capacity, encouraging donors and businesses to help her. Her ideas are inspiring and she is an inspiration to us all.

Carol Ellis

Carol Ellis made her nursery a hub for Key Worker children, allowing other nurseries to prepare themselves for opening by taking on their children and giving FREE childcare throughout the Easter and May holidays to ensure Key Workers could continue to work!

Vanessa Terry

Vanessa has been volunteering to help with shopping since the outbreak of the pandemic. Vanessa's help meant that many people were able to get their shopping without any worries or receive their prescription. She often went above and beyond to ensure that all items on the list were in the shopping bag.

Emily Brooks

At the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Emily dedicated her time to set up a Crisis Kitchen, providing home cooked food for vulnerable people living in Ashford. Emily has cooked and delivered thousands of home comfort meals every week, either free or at cost, to support families, the elderly and the homeless in the community.  

Emily does all this in her spare time, and between working as a dedicated keyworker in her role as a nurse.  

Ash Miah

Ash is a businessman and philanthropist from Ashford who owns the Kennington Tandoori Restaurant and Cinnamon Spice.

Ash was very quick to respond at the start of the pandemic by providing over 1,400 free meals from his Cinnamon Spice Restaurant to local key workers. These meals are going be provided by Ash until the end of the pandemic. Ash has also supported the local community by delivering shopping to many local elders who were isolating.

Tom Claykens

Tom is the joint owner of Biddenden Family Chiropractic with his wife Becky.

At the start of lockdown Tom set up Biddenden Beats Corona; an initiative to help people in the area if they needed help with shopping, prescriptions or even if they wanted to receive a friendly phone call. Tom rallied a group of volunteers to distribute the more than 2,000 flyers across Biddenden.

With the help of three other people, Tom completed around 100 jobs for the local community, from picking things up at a corner shop, to booking a supermarket collection slot and filling it with a mix of orders, collecting and delivering to homes. In addition, throughout the lockdown period Tom asked children in the area to make Easter cards and he drove around the village dropping them off to households. He also delivered 40 Easter eggs donated by Benenden Hospital to people in the community. This isn’t the first act of community spirit from Tom. He chose Hypo Hounds, a local charity, for his business to support. He also set up Biddenden Walking Rural club, as well as sponsoring the under 10s football club shirts.

Chloe Falder

Chloe founded and coordinated PPE Team Tenterden; a group of volunteers who have made more than 15,000 items of PPE since the start of lockdown. These items have been sent to frontline workers in the William Harvey Hospital, as well as care homes, GP surgeries, community support groups and the Ashford Police. Some of the items have been well received as far afield as Scotland and the West Country.

If that wasn’t enough, Chloe has been coordinating this project whilst continuing to deliver online lessons in her role as a science teacher at Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre, plus home schooling her four children.

Stuart Weller

Stuart is a local magician and entertainer who has been creating his own weekly YouTube videos to keep families entertained during the lockdown. The videos feature magic tricks, craft ideas and fun activities for children to try at home.  

In addition, he recently performed a virtual magic show and raised over £200 for Child Aid to Eastern Europe (ChildAid). Plus, he has been busy home schooling his children, while his wife Julie has been at work. 

Christine Winch

Christine is part of a volunteer team in Bethersden; each week the team takes nominations from people in the village to receive either a food box, a meal voucher from a local pub, or a wellbeing gift.  

Since the start of April, Christine and her family spend every Tuesday morning in the Bethersden Scout and Guide Hut where they make up to 70 boxes of food and gifts a week.  

What’s more, Christine came up with the idea of delivering a gift bag filled with tea, cake and bunting, to elderly residents in the village so they could enjoy and celebrate Victory in Europe Day at home. The team delivered a total of 120 bags to the community that day. 

Shane Deacon

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