Kent MP leads Euro rebellion

Kent MP Mark Reckless led a rebellion of Conservative MPs in defeating the government in a vote on the European Union.

Rochester's Sweeps Festival

Medway celebrates Sweeps Festival

One of the more bizarre May Day celebrations takes place in Kent today. The Sweeps Festival in Rochester is the largest in the country.

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Crowds flock to Dickens celebration

People dressed as Charles Dickens characters in Rochester
Dickens characters mingle with the crowds in Rochester Credit: Derek Johnson

Kent's many links with author Charles Dickens are being celebrated at the start of the Dickens Festival in Rochester. It's a three-day event now in its 35th year. Hundreds have turned out to see characters in costume, music and later a march through Rochester High Street.

Dickens spent his formative years in Medway when his father worked at Chatham Dockyard. He lived for much of his life and died at nearby Higham. Books such as Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations use locations from Rochester and Kent.

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Six illegal workers caught in raids in Kent

Six illegal workers have been caught following raids at businesses in Rochester, Canterbury and Gravesend.

The Home Office will now take steps to remove from the UK the five men arrested and detained.

Jackie Fowler, from the Home Office immigration enforcement team in Kent, said: “We are determined to stamp out abuse of the immigration system.

“Employers who take on illegal workers are both fuelling illegal immigration and undercutting businesses which play by the rules.”

All three businesses visited have been handed penalty notices for employing illegal workers.

Sweeps festival celebrates with song and dance

The annual Sweeps Festival takes place in Rochester this weekend. The event is in its 33rd year. It dates back to the nineteenth century tradition of sweeps celebrating their holiday with song and dance.

The pay was low, it was a dirty trade and there was little reward for the men who did the job and even less for children. The sweeps' holiday was traditionally held on the first of May each year.

Biker seriously injured in crash

A motorcyclist has been left with life threatening injuries after a crash in Rochester on Tuesday. His pillion passenger suffered serious leg injuries.

The motorcycle was travelling along City Way in the direction of Star Hill when it was involved in a collision with a silver Audi.

The 20-year-old rider and his 18-year-old passenger were both taken to hospital in London.

The car driver, a 65 year old man from Rochester, received minor injuries and did not go to hospital.

Witnesses are asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 01622 798538, quoting reference 30-1862.

Army tribute to dead soldier

The Royal School of Military Engineering Regiment has issued a statement following confirmation that missing soldier Josh Thomas has been found dead.

The 18-year-old's body was discovered in the River Medway on Monday. He had been reported missing after a night out in Rochester on April 9.

The regiment said it was devastated at the loss of a bright, young soldier.

"The thoughts of everyone at Chatham Station go out to his family and friends," the statement continued.

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