Back in 1983, Kelly Holmes was doing paper rounds for the Hildenborough sweet shop, and later at 16 worked part time behind the till. A big kid at heart, she loved the feel of people buzzing around and the themed window displays at Christmas and Easter.
Kelly went on to an army career, then became an international athlete (middle distance running) and was crowned Double Olympic champion in 2004. In 2005 she retired from athletics, received a Damehood from the queen and went on to become a public speaker, business woman and founder of her own charity Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.
Her memories of working at the shop stayed strong and Kelly knew she wanted to bring a community hub to her village. With her business skills and a lot of research, she was able to turn her vision into a project. The old sweet shop building was the perfect location, but the owner wouldn’t sell so it took many years before Kelly was able to acquire the site.