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Manston airport: Campaigners fighting to reopen Thanet airfield admit a split in their camp creating rival group could damage their efforts

By Paul Francis

A falling out among supporters trying to save Manston as an airport has led to a rival campaign group being set up.

A split in the ranks of supporters has seen the establishment of a breakaway group, led by several of the key figures who were originally involved in the Save Manston Airport Facebook group.

The new group - “Supporters of Manston Airport” - was set up after arguments behind the scenes between committee members and the founder of the Save Manston Airport group, Keith Churcher.

Save Manston Airport group chairman Keith Churcher

The argument appeared to be triggered by concerns over who was being permitted to administer the original group’s Facebook page.

In addition, there were concerns were about abusive postings.

Keith Churcher played down the split, saying he wished the new group luck but also acknowledged it could be seen as damaging in the eyes of the public.

“It was an unfortunate set of circumstances. It [the campaign] is about the airport and nothing else.”

Ruth Bailey, of the Supporters of Manston Airport group, said: “We are working hard towards our original and only goal which is to reopen Manston Airport.

Ruth Bailey has set up a new campaign group Supporters of Manston Airport

"We are also working hard at maintaining our dignity and reputation as the original SMA Team.”

In its first newsletter, it said: “Due to an unfortunate and continued breakdown in communication, we have sadly had to part ways.”

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