Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Margate

Things are on the move in North Thanet Labour Party.

Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have won all the key offices in the constituency which includes Margate and Herne Bay.

Barry Lewis is now secretary, John Gibson chair, Jon Worrow treasurer and Pauline Farrance women’s officer.

Membership has trebled, and new members are being converted on the doorstep, while ambitious plans for canvassing the area have been launched.

One of the prime movers behind the changes is Barry Lewis, who was once a councillor in Thanet.  He was famed for his stand against Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax back in 1990 and his clashes with Tory MP Roger Gale.

One insider told the Watch: “After years of inactivity, North Thanet Labour is going places. Watch this space.”


Dare Devil Rides To Jarama


On Monday November 7th, Dare Devil Rides to Jarama by Neil Gore comes to the Theatre Royal Margate as part of its world premiere tour.

The production commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War.

When Spaniards rose up to resist General Franco’s military rebellion in 1936, it was an inspiration to millions of people worldwide who took up arms against fascism.

Looking at the powerful political and economic forces that engulfed 1930s Europe, Dare Devil Rides to Jarama follows why so many ordinary people made the extraordinary choice to leave family and livelihoods and fight in a brutal war so far from home.

One of those people was CLEM BECKETT, the “Dare Devil” in the play.

Beckett was born in Oldham in 1906 and became a blacksmith at a time of the depression and mass unemployment. He was victimised at work and became a communist.

Motorbikes were his passion and he supplemented his income by riding the infamous fairground ride, the “wall of death” – a barrel-shaped cylinder, about 25 foot across, made from rickety wooden planks.

His motorcycling skills were legendary and soon got involved in speedway racing, a highly dangerous sport in which many young riders died or were seriously injured.

Beckett helped set up a trade unon for the riders called the Dirt Track Riders Association to try to make the sport safer

In 1932 he took part in the legendary Kinder Trespass, in which protestors took to the countryside calling for public access to the private grouse moors.

Ultimately this would lead to the establishment of the national parks and more access to the countryside for ordinary people.

In 1935 Becket was one of the first people to volunteer to fight in the international brigades on the republican side in the Spanish civil war.

But in 1937 he and his friend, the Marxist poet Christopher Caudwell, the other main character in the drama, came to a bloody end. They took control of a light machine-gun post at a strategic point at what later became known as Suicide Hill and died fighting against terrible odds.

This funny and compelling show by Townsend Productions’  follows on from other acclaimed productions including  United We Stand, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and We Will Be Free.

‘DARE Devil Rides to Jarama is quite simply the best political theatre produced for a long, long time.’  – Morning Star

Dare Devil Rides to Jarama is at Theatre Royal Margate on November 7th at 7.30pm.

Tickets available online at, in person at the Winter Gardens or via the box office on 01843 292795


TW36 Poster

You can get the new Thanet Watch from the following shops and newsagents… Or you can get a copy directly from us. Just ring 07989 070843.

Hooked On Books, 21 High St.
Margate Gallery, 2 Lombard St.
Costcutter, 4 Cecil St (opp Thanet Council)

Vera’s News, 314 Northdown Rd
TNS News, 79 Upper Dane Rd

RJ Offlicence and News, 56 High St
Ben Uncle/Loco, 80 High St
Toni’s News, 17 King St
Michael’s Bookshop, 72 King St
Gerry’s, Albert Court
Dunwells Newsagents, 157 Grange Rd

Londis, 5 High St
The Chapel, 44-46, Albion St
Budgens, Broadway Garage
Harveys, 4 The Broadway
Victory News, 4 Nelson Pl
The Bottleneck, 7-9 Charlotte St
Dumpton PO, 210 Ramsgate Rd, Dumpton
Reading Street PO, 30 Reading St

Macys, 20 Station Approach Rd
The Bottle Shop, 21 Station Rd

Edwards Supermarket, 51 Station Rd
Budget Beaters, 54 Station Rd
Corkscrew, 55 Station Rd
Best One, 56 St Mildreds Rd






Margate’s Royal School For The Deaf: What’s Happening?


Words and Pictures by Emily D M Robinson

CAP Meeting

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE? A meeting to restart the creative adult project which was shut down when the trust running the Royal School for the Deaf in Margate went into administration.

Last year, on Friday 11 December, the John Townsend trust announced to the staff of The Royal School for the Deaf in Margate that they were going into administration.

This closed the school with immediate effect, putting 300 out of its 500 staff members out of work.

More importantly, this left children and young adults – many with very complex learning and hearing difficulties – without the care and support they had received from this institution.

The closure meant the loss of the school in Margate, the Westgate College and many other educational services staff provided for the students.

Subsequent weeks brought the gradual closure of the school’s residential services.

55 deaf children were catered for at the Margate school, while Westgate provided services to young adults aged between 19 and 23.

Despite over 11,000 people signing an online petition in an effort to save the school, the closure has proceeded.

But people’s passion for the welfare of the school’s students has brought signs of hope for the future.

One ex-member of staff, Katherine Shonk, worked as a children’s resident support worker and was also assistant admin for the creative adults project (CAP).

She says: “I absolutely loved working at the school, everyone was so lovely and friendly! The children and adults from the school are absolutely amazing, and were always putting a smile upon my face!”

At the time of this interview, Katherine was still unemployed. But along with her CAP colleague Lucy Holley, and many other people who have connections with the school, she plans to re-start the programme.

The project aims to hugely improve the life skills of its students, and to incorporate a former gardening project that also took place at the school.

“For some children, adults and staff the school was their family,” says Katherine, “So it’s absolutely heart wrenching that the school has closed down and left some with very little!”

Katherine and Lucy have been putting together regular meetings to kick-start the project again.

I attended one of these meetings, and rather than being met with a sombre atmosphere, there was a jovial feeling to the proceedings.

The meeting, which took place in the Old Custom House in Ramsgate, covered everything from funding to potential locations.

It was attended by 33 people, including CAP members, former students and their parents, personal tutors and many more service workers and users.

“I’m gobsmacked by how many people have come today, it’s a really positive sign,” said Lucy.

On the schools closure, Lucy says: “We feel like the service users were abandoned, we were crying for them, not for ourselves – not one single tear was shed for ourselves.”

Taliah Urooj, who also worked in admin for the creative adults project, says: “I loved working at the school. The team I worked with were amazing, the adults we worked with were incredible!”

While these people are now working as volunteers trying to revive the project, Jonathan Hunt, who worked for the enterprise side of the school, is still currently employed – but with notice of redundancy to leave on January 31.

Jonathan says: “We have been a bit luckier than those at the school who were made redundant just before Christmas. We had all been aware for a few months that the school was struggling but no one knew about the financial problems… We were not aware that possibly millions were involved.”





Tory MP Gordy Henderson about to pen a blockbusting yarn about ISIS drowning Margate maybe..?

So what about this for a story…!

Isis terrorists sneak into Kent and detonate a bomb-filled World War II battleship, sunk in the Thames estuary.  The bombs go off causing the largest non-nuclear blast in history.

This creates a “tsunami”-type wave flooding coastal towns in Kent and Sussex, including poor old Westgate on Sea and Margate.


And as if Margate didn’t have enough problems with Dreamland in financial meltdown!

Reading this astounding story in the local press, Moley went into emergency research-mode.

The battleship in question is the American ship, the SS Richard Montgomery which, one night in 1944, while the captain was slumbering, ran aground on a sandbank in the Thames off the Isle of Sheppy

And the ship did indeed contain 1,400 tonnes of explosives which is still there and which, in theory, if it went off, it would cause one heck of a bang.

So if some ISIS terrorists did find out about this wreck and did manage to set it off…

Wait just a doggone sec, Deputy Dawg…

Moley discovers that bookshelves of writers have been there long before ISIS.

Back in 1977 a novel called Blockbuster has an extortionist threatening to blow the Montgomery up, causing serious flooding in central London.

A few years later the novel The Action of the Tiger theorises that the sunken ship contains America’s first atom bomb, undisturbed since the war until the present when, of course, some nasty neo Nazis find out about it.

More recently the 2009 book Timebomb spins a yearn about a group of European terrorists financed by a “dissident Saudi” (now who could that be?) attempting to ram a semtex-packed speed boat into the wreck.

And finally in the 2010 novel, A Loyal Spy, returns to the idea of trying to flood London (Thanet not being an important enough target of course), by planning to blow up the ship at the same time as a surge of high tide.

All great action-thriller fun, of course, but very unlikely to actually really happen.

The ship’s been sunk in the sea there for over 70 years, most experts think the bombs are extremely unlikely to go off, and would ISIS really take such a big chance at such a complicated plan, when they’ve got much more straightforward methods at their disposal? They may be murderous and fanatical but they’re not stupid.

So then who would seriously hold up the likelihood of some fiendish foreign types blowing up a sunken battleship in the Thames?

Who would have some interest in whipping up fear of alien conspiracies, no matter how far-fetched and foolish?

One of those delirious political chaps who puts ALL our problems down to those ghastly folks beyond the channel, perhaps?

Step forward Gordon Henderson, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

It was Gordon who asked the transport secretary in September what steps the government is taking to protect the wreck of the ship from the terrible terrorists which in turn triggered these wild headlines.

The minister reassured him by telling him all the precautions they’ve been taking anyway to keep an eye on the sunken explosions.

But our Gordon has form in harbouring fantasy fears of foreigners.

He’s a supporter of the Better Off Out campaign which calls for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and has stated that the non-Conservative politician he most admires is UKIP’s Nigel Farage.

In fact, so in love was Gordon with our Nige, that in 2014 there was speculation he might actually defect to UKIP.

Eventually Gordon said he’d considered defection but decided against because he viewed some of their policies as “muddled and contradictory.”

Poor old Nigel must be kicking himself that Gordon didn’t  take his shilling.

The man has such a wonderful imagination.

old mole