Welcome to Issue Three of The Faversham Eye, which we are dedicating to our good friend Brenda Chester.
Brenda, who died last month aged 71, fought relentlessly for our local health services, championed the Brents community and led the campaign for an opening creek bridge. Despite being very ill, Brenda was helping us research the creek bridge just days before she passed.
Brenda was one of those unsung but inspirational individuals who dedicate their lives to making a positive, practical difference to the lives of those around her. She wasn't interested in taking credit for others' efforts, getting her name on the New Year's Honours List or her picture in the local rag. Ironically, of course, people like her are often those most deserving of recognition.
So growing calls for the new crossing to be officially named The Brenda Chester Bridge have our full support at The Faversham Eye. Nobody worked harder or battled more tirelessly to bring the creek back to life than Brenda and her efforts should be remembered.
The creek crossing spans just six metres. It's hardly the Golden Gate Bridge. Every village in Holland has an opening bridge roughly the same size. Yet repairing or replacing Faversham's prematurely-knackered swing bridge has seemingly remained beyond the abilities of our elected representatives. After decades of broken promises, political blackmail, obfuscation, and outright obstruction, it has become clear that some councillors have their own agendas regarding the creek.
But recently, determined lobbying by Marion Barton and Rosie Eagleson of the ‘Where’s Our Bridge?’ campaign has led to the personal intervention of Kent Council Leader Paul Carter who insists the bridge will now be built. Furthermore he has given his backing to calls for it to be named after Brenda Chester.
“I understand that Brenda was the driving force behind the bridge and was instrumental in bringing people together to campaign for the restoration and opening of the bridge and more broadly the restoration of the basin,” he said. “She will be very sadly missed and I would absolutely support your efforts to name the bridge in memory of Brenda.”
And while politicians’ promises, particularly in the run up to an election, tend to come and go on the tide, this looks like the town’s best chance so far. Read more about current creek developments here.
The local elections come at a time when change is in the air, with almost half the current town councillors standing down. We have a Conservative town council that seems constantly at odds with the town itself: out of touch, secretive, self-serving, proprietorial, financially profligate and preoccupied with expensive vanity projects.
Politically, The Faversham Eye is independent. We don't bang the drum for any single political party. We are, if you like, equal opportunity troublemakers. But we do believe change is long overdue and would encourage people to vote tactically for the good of the town. We're lucky to call Faversham our home. It's full of good people who care about the place and about each other. We deserve an open, honest, functioning democracy.
Our election guide - available here - breaks down who's standing where, what they stand for and who gets our vote.
We also investigate how town councillors conspired to have a pensioner arrested on his 71st birthday. A sort of 'Carry on KGB' or 'Dad's Stasi', it's a sinister, yet silly, saga of suspicion, satire, surveillance, secrecy and stupidity featuring bungling police and town hall paranoia.
Read it here.
And just to prove we're a proper local paper, we've even got a dogshit story.
Enjoy the issue. And vote wisely!