North Downs Branch
Andrew Smith FRHistS FCIJ GCStG
Wing Commander Mike Sutton RAF (Retd):
Wing Commander Mike Sutton RAF (Retd)
Mrs. Janet Tootal
Stuart Notholt MA(Oxon), FRGS, FCIJ, GCStG
Lieutenant-Colonel (Retd) Donald ‘Hobo’ Hobson
Simon Cowell MBE, Founder, Wildlife Aid Foundation; Mrs. Christine Dooley, Leybourne RSPCA; Mrs. Em Marshall-Luck MA Oxon, MCIJ, Founder, English Music Festival; Professor John Walker-Smith.
2023 News and Events
RECORD TEMPERATURES ~ AND RECORD FUNDRAISING AT KENT FAIR!
A swelteringly sunny day brought out the people of East Malling, Kent, in good numbers for their village fair, known as Picnic in the Park. Organised by local churchgoers, Shaun and Shirley Gurteen, the event was a great success ~ with The RSStG North Downs Branch fielding a flower and plant stall. With plants kindly donated by one of our members, Jeff Wheeler, we succeeded in raising over £400 for local charities ~ the principal beneficiary being the Heart of Kent Hospice. Thanks go to our Deputy Chairman (pictured) Wing Commander Mike Sutton, who led us on the day.
East Malling WI in the Coronation mood!
A large knitted crown formed the centrepiece of the Coronation display at East Malling village green, Kent. The hardworking members of the local Women’s Institute, once again, honoured a great national occasion with their needlework skills! Thank heavens for ‘jam and Jerusalem’!
(Picture by S. Millson.)
8 Feb: Branch Quiz Night
22 April: Wreath-laying at Leybourne Church followed by St George's Day Dinner, details below.
CELEBRATE ENGLAND’S NATIONAL FESTIVAL DAY ~ IN THE HEART OF KENT
The Royal Society of St. George, North Downs Branch, invites you to the heart of the ancient Kingdom of Kent, for a celebration of the life and martyrdom of our Patron, St. George.
From his death in 303 AD, the vision and valour of this unassuming officer in the Roman imperial army has inspired Western civilisation and the whole world: the symbolism of the Saint defeating the dragon, a message of good v. evil, across the Earth.
This year, Kent members will be gathering at historic Leybourne church (near West Malling) on Saturday 22nd April for an open-air ceremony and wreath-laying service (6.30pm) ~ our wreath dedicated to RAF Fighter Command, 1940, forever inscribed in history by Churchill’s Shakespearean epithet, ‘The Few’.
After the formalities, we will stride out (as befits true Englishmen!) to Leybourne hamlet’s local hostelry, The Old Rectory, for a buffet (with cash bar) ~ an excellent opportunity to socialise with local members and supporters from across the United Kingdom, and to toast our new monarch, HM King Charles lll.
Tickets are available from the Branch, please contact us on: 07956 035821 to reserve your place. If you wish to make an advance booking, tickets are £15 per person.
Our bank details are:
RSSG North Downs, account no. 44360888; sort code, 23-05-80.
June: East Malling Fair - North Downs Branch stall
July: Battle of Britain Memorial Event
The Branch actively supports a variety of local charities through fundraising appeals and volunteer activities including RAF Air Cadets, Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, Sea Cadets, Kent Wildlife Trust, Heart of Kent Hospice, and local foodbanks.
Below, the landscape of the North Downs, not far from Leybourne
News and Events Archive
President, Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE
At the time of writing, members and supporters of the North Downs Branch have been assisting their local churches during the national period of mourning for our late Queen. As the news broke of Her Majesty's passing, the churches of St. James the Great, East Malling, and Holy Trinity, Larkfield, lowered their flags to half-mast; with the Rev. Nicholas Williams of the benefice opening a book of remembrance for our much-loved sovereign. Open each day from 10am until noon, in order that people may sign the book and spend some time in prayer and contemplation, St. James the Great has welcomed a steady stream of visitors and parishioners; with Stuart Millson, Richard Dove and David Chambers guiding the proceedings. The first signature in the book was from Chairman of East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council, Cllr. David Thornewell.
Despite our grief at the end of the second Elizabethan age, all of us are heartened by the national and international expressions of loyalty to the Crown, and to our new King Charles lll. And it was with immense pride that we watched the crowds lining the route from Balmoral to Edinburgh, as Elizabeth ll's cortege passed by on "her last great journey".
Meanwhile, on Sunday 11th September, about 100 townsfolk gathered in nearby West Malling to hear County Councillor, Mrs. Trudy Dean (Liberal Democrat) read the Accession Proclamation for HM King Charles lll. Wearing a 'Union Jack' scarf, Mrs. Dean gave a stirring oration at this most important ceremony, also leading the singing of the National Anthem and the crows in three resounding cheers for the King.
Caption: Stuart Millson and Richard Dove attending the signing of the Book of Remembrance at East Malling Church.
East Malling Church Flying the Flag of St. George
St. Piran's Day - in Kent!
As part of our campaign to promote our native saints (alongside St. George), here are some of the North Downs Branch members and supporters raising the flag of St. Piran of Cornwall. St. Piran's Day is the 5th March.
The flag being raised is actually the 'Cornish ensign of St. Piran' (with Union Jack loyally incorporated). The emblem is often flown from fishing boats and other vessels in Cornish waters.
The flag-raising ceremony took place at Holy Trinity Church, Larkfield, Kent.