Kent County Life
What's been going on in the county this month?
Lone Record Breaker
“There are some things women don’t do. They don’t become Pope or President – or go down to the Antarctic.” So said polar explorer Harry Darlington, who had clearly never met Kent’s newest hero, Felicity Aston.
When the 34-year-old explorer from Birchington reached Antarctica’s Hercules Inlet, she become not only the first woman to cross the continent alone but also the first person to make the crossing using only her own muscle power to ski the 1,084 miles (and don’t forget the two sledges she also has to pull behind her).
The crossing took Felicity, a former Kent Character, 59 days, beginning at Leverett Glacier on 25 November – but she kept her fans back home updated with regular tweets and a podcast.
And you can hear all about her experiences in person at a special evening with Felicity Aston on 9 March at The Gulbenkian, Canterbury (tickets: �12.50, 01227 769075).
- 1 10 excellent fish and chip shops in Kent
- 2 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 3 Win the full range of Bashall Spirits Gins
- 4 9 places to eat out in Chester this summer
- 5 16 beautiful beaches in Devon you have to visit
- 6 11 of the most Instagrammble locations in Hampshire
- 7 Win a three nights stay at Nydsley Hall in Pateley Bridge
- 8 17 of the best things to do in Essex for free
- 9 6 of the best August walks in Cheshire
- 10 20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire
David Winston, who restores fine antique pianos from a warehouse in Biddenden, has been awarded the Royal Warrant.
The owner of The Period Piano Company has maintained and restored Her Majesty’s pianos for the past 11 years, and is now one of just 850 Royal Warrant holders in Britain. He forged his reputation by restoring the original pianos owned by Beethoven, Liszt and Chopin, and his clients include some of the world’s leading musicians, private collectors and museums.
David said: “This is a great honour. I describe my work as ‘re-creative’ rather than creative, bringing back to life something that has been lost, the sound and beauty of an antique instrument.”
Reg the Reagan Double
Should you pass Reginald Green in the street you could be forgiven for doing a double take, for the Tunbridge Wells businessman bears an uncanny resemblance to the 40th President of the United States.
Reg, 63, didn’t see it all but the keen ballroom dancer’s teacher was convinced, and put her pupil’s name forward when a call came from the makers of Thatcher movie The Iron Lady for Reagan lookalikes who could dance. After “swirling” his BAFTA award-winning leading lady Meryl Streep around the dance floor for half an hour as part of his screen test, Reg got the part and has now been immortalised on film and started a whole new carer as a lookalike.
The Seventh Wonder
Penshurst Place and Gardens has joined the Seven Wonders of the Weald tourism partnership as its seventh ‘wonder.’
With literary connections ranging from Sir Philip Sidney and Ben Jonson to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the stunning 14th-century house is also home to the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle.
It joins other Kent attractions in the group: Bedgebury National Pinetum, Marle Place Gardens, Biddenden Vineyards, Merriments Gardens, Kent & East Sussex Railway and Chiddingstone Castle & Gardens.
Queen’s jeweller steps down
When Harry Collins was made the crown jeweller in 2007, ending Garrard of Mayfair’s 164 years’ service maintaining the Crown Jewels for six successive monarchs, the family business G Collins in Tunbridge Wells achieved huge publicity.
But now the High Street jeweller has decided to step down from his royal role after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in July.
According to Buckingham Palace, the decision to step down is ‘entirely amicable’ and a new Crown Jeweller has been appointed but the name has not yet been announced.