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Kentish Times 2009 look back

PUBLISHED: 14:49 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:20 23 August 2010

SLAIN: Rob Knox

SLAIN: Rob Knox

January HIGH Street favourite Woolworths closed its final stores, including the Gravesend outlet, after going bust. The announcements came as many other shops began to feel the strain of the recession with MFI in Princes Road Dartford and Zavvi - with

Goodwood Festival of Speed
3-5/07/09
Henry Surtees demonstrates his father John's newly restored Surtees TS10 Formula 2 car from 1972.
Picture by: Simon Hildrew

January

HIGH Street favourite Woolworths closed its final stores, including the Gravesend outlet, after going bust.

The announcements came as many other shops began to feel the strain of the recession with MFI in Princes Road Dartford and Zavvi - with stores in Bluewater and The Orchard Centre, Dartford - going into administration. A horrific five car pile-up on the A2 near Darenth caused the death of one motorist and injured several more.

CHARITY: Len Goodman support the appeal

February

FREEZING temperatures and blizzard conditions saw much of north Kent grind to a halt at the beginning of the month.

In particular, residents in Longfield and New Barn suffered when an electricity pylon came down, leaving some without power for more than 24 hours and forcing the Red Cross to be called in.

The trial into the murder of Harry Potter star Robert Knox, 18, from Swanley, began. Karl Bishop, 21, was later sentenced to at least 20 years in prison.

The Swanley teenager, who played Marcus Belby in the blockbuster film, was stabbed outside Metro Bar, Station Road, Sidcup in May 2008.

Royal Mail postal walkers marched on Westminster during a bitter industrial dispute.

March

AN accident blackspot claimed the life of the third person in less than 18 months.

The North West Kent College student Robert Cooter, 17, died after smashing his Vauxhall Corsa into a telegraph pole near the junction of Wrotham Road and Nash Bank, Meopham. The 17-year-old, from Sun Lane, Gravesend studied in Dartford and was the reigning English Junior Petanque champion.

Hollywood star Gemma Arterton (pictured) returned to her home town to support her former theatre group. The Quantum of Solace actress was among the audience for the Gravesend and District Guild performance of the Magdalene Whitewash.

April

AN accident blackspot claimed the life of the third person in less than 18 months.

The North West Kent College student Robert Cooter, 17, died after smashing his Vauxhall Corsa into a telegraph pole near the junction of Wrotham Road and Nash Bank, Meopham. The 17-year-old, from Sun Lane, Gravesend studied in Dartford and was the reigning English Junior Petanque champion.

Hollywood star Gemma Arterton (pictured) returned to her home town to support her former theatre group. The Quantum of Solace actress was among the audience for the Gravesend and District Guild performance of the Magdalene Whitewash.

May

DETECTIVES who had reopened the case of a man who went missing in 1993 isolated a house in which they believed he may be buried.

The police began a full search for Karl Hotchkiss (pictured) in the property on Jubilee Crescent, Gravesend, but failed to find his body. Olympic swimming stars, two time-gold medal winner Rebecca Adlington and three-time finalist Liam Tancock, arrived in Bluewater to open a new sports store.

Miss Adlington, who won both the 400m and 800m freestyle in Beijing, gave an exclusive interview to The Kentish Times attacking plans for one of her favourite events, the 800m, to be scrapped in 2012.

Scandal broke about the expenses claimed by MP's across the UK. North Kent representatives Dr Howard Stoate, Labour MP for Dartford, and Adam Holloway, Conservative member for Gravesham, were revealed to claim on average more than £100,000 a year.

June

THE mother of a 20-year-old who overdosed on a cocktail of MDMA and cocaine pledged to join the fight against drugs.

Angela Pett vowed to spread the word about the dangers of taking drugs after an inquest into the death of her daughter Haniska.

Meanwhile, the mother of an 11-year-old boy found drowned in a bathtub admitted his manslaughter.

Jennifer Taylor, from New Ash Green, was sentenced after causing the death of Wilmington Grammar School pupil James on December 2 2008.

Prince Charles donned some safety goggles for an impressive display at the £50 million Metropolitan Police Training Centre in Denton, Gravesend.

Jon Cloke and Tony Hart, who stole construction vehicles to smash holes into the walls and steal ATMs - including one in Greenhithe - were jailed. Cloke, of Gravesend was jailed for five years and nine months, while Hart, from Ashford, received six years and six months.

July

THE son of Bromley-born racing legend John Surtees was killed in a freak accident at Brands Hatch.

Henry Surtees, 18, was knocked unconscious by a stray wheel which came loose from a rival car mid-race. The young F2 driver then crashed into the trackside barriers.

Fashion guru Gok Wan made an appearance at shopping centre Bluewater.

He was there to film the catwalk clips for his hit show How to Look Good Naked. The £12 million Sikh temple, the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, was opened for the first time for prayers.

August

AN in-depth look at the Olympic Games revealed how hundreds of millions of pounds are being invested in the area.

Training venues in Dartford and Gravesend were identified as ideal locations for Olympians looking to prepare for the 2012 event.

These included Dartford Judo Club, Meopa Gymnastics Club and the Nurstead Court equestrian facilities.

Plans for a new stadium for Ebbsfleet United on the former A2 were dealt a blow when Kent County Council decided to push for a huge activity centre for the site.

September

WE exclusively revealed top British actor Ray Winstone was working with the father of murder victim and Harry Potter actor Rob Knox on a short anti-knife crime film.

Colin Knox, from Greenhithe, teamed up with the Nil-by-Mouth star to put together the 15-minute movie aimed at showing the consequences of carrying knives.

A Humpback Whale, the first ever reported in The Thames, was washed up onto the shore near the Dartford Bridge. The juvenile male, who measured almost 30ft in length, was believed to have died from dehydration.

At Cliffe the body of a care worker was found in a suitcase dumped in a pond.

Leah Quintin, 37, was originally from the Philippines but had moved to the UK and settled in North West London.

October

NEWLY crowned F1 champion Jenson Button visited Bluewater days after being crowned champion.

The 29-year-old Brawn driver raced around a temporary track just two days after clinching the 2009 title at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Former world champion and world record holding 110m hurdler Colin Jackson visited Gravesend as part of Black History Month.

Darent Valley Hospital was forced to issue an apology after sending letters asking for funds from parents who had lost their children there. The letter was sent to all families registered as having used the hospital's birthing unit, regardless of whether the child had been saved or not and included the line: "Unfortunately, not all won their fight for life and if you are the parent of a baby or babies who did not survive we do hope you will forgive us for writing to you."

The hospital promised to stop sending the letter.

November

THOUSANDS were joined in remembrance of those who have fallen in battle at services held across North Kent.

In Swanley, the Sunday was marred when a vicar refused to allow a female chaplain to conduct the service.

Reverend Linda Green was turned away from St Mary's Church by Father James Mowbray, prompting the 100-strong congregation to join her at a hastily arranged new venue,

The Alexandra Suite on St Mary's Road for the ceremony. The Christmas lights switch-ons in Gravesend and Dartford drew strong crowds despite severe winds.

A sheep was captured from a Meopham farm and driven more than 15 miles to be carted around a London supermarket in a shopping trolley.

The ewe was discovered by surprised staff at Bexleyheath Asda who named it Rob.

December

STRICTLY Come Dancing judge Len Goodman handed out gifts to sick children at Darent Valley Hospital as part of our Toy Appeal and praises Kentish Times Newspapers.

Kent Police also lauded the paper for helping to put a sex pest who targeted women on trains behind bars.

In Gravesend, Princess Anne made a special visit to charitable organisation Catch 22. The group, run by two mechanics, takes in young people and gives them training on every aspect of motor vehicle repair and maintenance. Kent County Council leader urged people not to vote BNP after Nick Griffin, leader of the controversial party, visited Swanley.

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