- Our wonderful colliery brass bands plus much more for
- Catch up with old friends or meet some new ones
- Many attractions including a funfair for children
- Come and see local clubs competing
- Visit the displays and talk to local historians about the local heritage
- Enter your dog into our fun dog show
- Visit the many stalls and food traders
We are delighted to announce that both myself, Colin Varrall, and Imogen Balderston have now become the new Co-Chairs of the Kent Miners Festival. Our former festival Chairman, Gary Cox, has now stood down and has become our new festival President.
I have been the festival vice-Chairman for the past four years, while Imogen has been the festival Secretary for the past two years. I became involved with the Kent Miners Festival in 2011, after being asked by the other Kent Coalfield collieries heritage representatives to become a heritage representative for the mining community of Elvington and for Tilmanstone Colliery, where my dad and one of my grandad’s worked for many years, while other members of my family came to Kent from working at collieries in South Yorkshire and found work at Betteshanger Colliery in 1933. Since being involved with the festival I have also become a volunteer member in setting up the Elvington and Eythorne Heritage Centre, situated at Elvington Community Centre, which we officially opened to the public in March 2013, coinciding with the centenary of the first coal production at the colliery in March 1913.
The festival will be rested this year and will be re-launched in 2017, with the development of the new Kent Mining Museum and visitor centre, which is presently being built at Betteshanger Country Park, formerly Fowlmead. Plans for the next festival are continuing with us seeking funding, sponsorship and recruitment of more volunteers, who are willing to join us now, to start planning next year’s event, which will be bigger and better than ever before. Instead, a smaller event is being planned at Betteshanger just for 2016, while other smaller events will be held in each of the Kent mining communities prior to the next KMF being relaunched at Betteshanger Country Park in the summer of 2017.
Now that the festival has been taken around the villages at Betteshanger, Aylesham and Elvington the time felt right for it to have a permanent home and return to where it started. We are excited to announce that we have been working closely with Hadlow College and the present developments being made with the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks project team in helping to create a very positive future for the festival, which will now see the event continue to take place at the Betteshanger Country Park.
Colin Varrall and Imogen Balderston
Co-Chairs of the Kent Miners Festival