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Mike's role recognised in royal invitation

It’s not often he is left speechless – but Mike Bennett, the chief reporter of the Kentish Express’s Ashford edition – was just that when he found he was to be among the invited VIP guests for the latest Royal visit to Kent.

He was busy researching background on local personalities involved when an official embossed letter arrived to inform him that he would be a guest himself because of his contribution to county life.

Mike (left) will be involved in the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s Canterbury Cathedral visit for the Royal Maundy Service on March 28.

The invitation came from The Queen’s official representative, Lord Lieutenant Allen Willett, who will be jointly hosting a luncheon for the Royal party, with the High Sheriff, at the King’s School, Canterbury.

He called for nominations across Kent and Mike was selected to be among the guests at both a reception at which the Queen and Duke will circulate, and the official lunch.

“It is a great honour to be selected as a nominated guest to represent the district at this special Royal occasion,” said Mike, who has reported the Ashford and district news for the past 40 years.

During those four decades he has been on the spot to cover most of the major incidents that have made the headlines, but he has always played a full and active part in community life.

It includes being at the forefront of many campaigns to improve life for local residents including the building of the Ashford Hospice, buying a new centre for The Samaritans, pressing for the present William Harvey Hospital, lobbying for the International Railway Station, the completion of the M20 motorway, and many other causes.

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