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Bexley review of the year: November and December

PUBLISHED: 09:30 31 December 2012

November: the war memorial in Bexleyheath on Remembrance Sunday

November: the war memorial in Bexleyheath on Remembrance Sunday

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In the last of a six-part series, we look back at the stories that made the headlines in Bexley in 2012. It was quite a year for the borough.

December: Bexley Council leader Cllr Teresa O'Neill said they would do their best to protect against cuts to frontline services after funding from central government was slashedDecember: Bexley Council leader Cllr Teresa O'Neill said they would do their best to protect against cuts to frontline services after funding from central government was slashed

November

Hundreds of people gathered for a Remembrance Sunday service at Bexleyheath War Memorial for a moment of reflection for those who have fallen in battle.

A parade led by the Rev Francis Jakeman of Christ Church in Bexleyheath saw service personnel march towards the memorial, which included army and navy cadets, the Boy’s Brigade Bexleyheath and Bexleyheath Territorial Army.

The service included a number of hymns, the Lord’s prayer and the first two verses of the national anthem before a two minute silence was impeccably observed by the near 500 observers.

George Dangerfield, 86, was involved in the Normandy Landings with the Royal Navy in June 1944.

He said: “I remember it like it was yesterday. Of the 300 of us who crossed the channel in my troop only about 40 of us survived.

“I come to this service every year if I’m well enough.”

The moment of reflection was followed by the laying of wreaths at the war memorial before the crowds dispersed.

Bexleyheath and Welling Royal British Legion chairman Paul Grest admitted they were planning something special for the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in 2014.

Mr Grest said: “Our planning is still in the embryonic stages. Our services have become much bigger over the last few years and it’s important that people remember all the wars, not just the First World War.

“It brings a tear to my eye thinking about the number of people who have given their lives for our country. It’s the ultimate sacrifice.”

There were further services at the war memorials in Sidcup, Welling, Bexley Village and Crayford.

Also this month:

Bexley MPs disagreed over funding cuts for victims of violent crimes.

British Olympic weightlifting star Zoe Smith put Bexley Times reporter Robin Cottle through his paces in a training session.

Sidcup homes were again the victims of copper thieves.

Thamesmead residents protested against Gallions Housing Association, accusing them of levying unacceptable service charged and court summonses.

December

Bexley Council has admitted it is unsure if it will be able to protect frontline service as the government announced it would be subject to a cut of £2.8 million

It amounts to three per cent if council tax is excluded from the council’s overall budget of £180 million.

Mike Ellsmore, director of finance, said: “We want to protect frontline services but nothing is guaranteed.

“It is a very challenging outlook.”

Frontline services includes the provision of education and care.

The government grants money to individual councils each year and the announcement, made on Wednesday, is a blow to the council as it says it has to meet the needs of an expanding population.

Council leader Cllr Teresa O’Neill said: “The latest reduction will have a significant impact on our spending.

“We need to recognise that councils are getting smaller. We will need to give priority to services that keep people safe, that improve the borough’s infrastructure or help our residents prosper in challenging times.”

She claimed that Bexley is still on course to achieve its aim of cutting £35m from the budget over the three years up to 2014.

The budget for the next financial year will be finalised in March.

Also this month:

Teenager Cameron Rose was found guilty of killing toddler Rhys Lawrie in Erith.

A Bexley couple was among those that received a combined payout of £205,000 from a holiday company after contracting food poisoning in Torremolinos.

The mother of murdered Sidcup actor Rob Knox spoke out about the dangers of carrying knives at a community event.

Sidcup-born illustrator and author Quentin Blake celebrated his 80th birthday.


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