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Batman, KISS and inflatable turkeys, the fancy dress costumes that have raised community spirit in Kent

As another week of isolation comes to an end, it's not lost on us how hard people in Kent are working to keep community spirit high.

But some people have been going above and beyond taking to the streets in fancy dress to put a smile on people's faces.

Dan Boyns ditched his bus driver uniform to go to work as Batman.
Dan Boyns ditched his bus driver uniform to go to work as Batman.

The saying is not all superheroes wear capes, but one key worker in Gillingham has decided to do just that.

Dan Boyns who works at Arriva's depot in Gillingham, ditched his everyday bus driver uniform to go to work as Batman.

He was spotted by Jim Sayer at the bus stop in Ballens Road, Chatham, who was on his way to a medical appointment.

The Lordswood resident was waiting for the 166 Arriva bus to take him into town.

When it arrived, he was shocked to see none other than Batman behind the wheel.

Spider-Man has been cheering people up in Chatham
Spider-Man has been cheering people up in Chatham

Unlike the caped crusader depicted on the big screen, Mr Sayer was surprised by just how cheerful he was.

He said: "There was one lady who got on at the same time as me and we had a conversation between us and a good laugh about it.

"He was really having a good day and cheering everyone up – well done to him!"

But Batman is not the only superhero who has been spotted saving the day, Spider-Man was seen greeting people in Chatham one Thursday evening during the weekly clap for carers.

The masked hero lived up to his moniker – "Friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man" – by skipping in the road whilst batting pots together.

Sheppey postman Gary Underdown dressed as Gene Simmons from KISS
Sheppey postman Gary Underdown dressed as Gene Simmons from KISS

But it's not just superheroes providing light relief, some famous faces have been helping out at Royal Mail.

On the Isle of Sheppey, postman Gary Underdown has been delivering letters dressed as KISS singer Gene Simmons.

His efforts have gone viral as the photo was first shared by the official KISS Twitter account to its 1.5 million followers. It was then retweeted by Gene himself, along with the caption “Wow”.

Gary lives in Rainham and has been a postman on Sheppey for two-and-a-half years.

The 32-year-old said: “I have been a KISS fan since I came out of the womb,” he joked.

Paul the Postie making his way through Melbourne Avenue to brighten the isolation gloom
Paul the Postie making his way through Melbourne Avenue to brighten the isolation gloom

“To get such a response, I think it’s brilliant. If someone can have a laugh with it, that’s what it’s all about.

"It’s just a bit of a gimmick and it’s made a few people smile."

And, in Dover, 'Paul the Postie' has taken on a new identity on his rounds wearing his favourite fancy dress costume.

Claire Hall who took the picture says Paul has been delivering to Melbourne Avenue for years.

While his hair may not be real, the smiles he has been putting on peoples faces are as genuine as they can get.

Postman Gary Waller poses for a snap with Eythorne resident Colin Smith on his round
Postman Gary Waller poses for a snap with Eythorne resident Colin Smith on his round

After his recent shenanigans, Miss Hall says she's sure Paul is "the best postman ever."

But Paul has got a lot of competition from other posties.

A fellow employee from the Dover office has been pushing the boundaries with his fancy dress and villagers can't contain their smiles.

The people of Eythorne are now used to receiving an eyeful from postman Gary Waller in addition to their mail each day.

The 51-year-old married father-of-two has been delivering lockdown purchases dressed as superman, a penguin and once even wore a bright green mankini.

Gary Weller's first fancy dress costume was his Superman onesie
Gary Weller's first fancy dress costume was his Superman onesie

He said: "I'm not doing it for any other reason than I'm daft and I like to see people smile.

"It started with my superman onesie and then I started to think how I could be more and more outrageous.

"When the fairy costume came up, I thought I've got to do it!"

Mr Waller who delivers to Cherry Way, Chappel Hill, Willow Way and Hawthorne Close said: "One of my first customers said she had had such a down day the day before and it had really put a smile on her face."

The rounds may take him a little bit longer stopping to pose for pictures, but Mr Waller says the reaction he gets make it worth it

Pilgrims Retreat in Harrietsham raised thousand for the NHS during their weekly Clap for Carers
Pilgrims Retreat in Harrietsham raised thousand for the NHS during their weekly Clap for Carers

Over at the Pilgrims Retreat in Harrietsham, the site's social club manager found a way to keep spirits up while collecting donations for charity.

Dave Cross took to the streets dressed as an inflatable turkey followed by his wife Sharon who went disguised as a minion from Despicable Me.

The pair played music while collecting donations for the NHS during the Thursday evening clap.

Mr Cross said he used a litter picker to collect the money to maintain a social distance.

The 57-year-old added: "I told everyone a couple of days before that I'd be doing it, I sent an email out so they had their donations ready in envelopes so it was easier for me to pick up.

Keeping spirits up... the giant chicken delivering food to villagers
Keeping spirits up... the giant chicken delivering food to villagers

"It was great fun, everyone who lives on site has been so generous and it just seemed the right thing to do for the NHS and key workers.

"Everyone has been looking after each other. Most people have been staying in doors because they're over a certain age but it's a real community here. If someone can't go out, others will offer to do some shopping for them so they're keeping their spirits up."

More than £2,500 was raised during the collections.

People in Deal in need of eggs during the crisis have had a rescuer come to their aid in the form of a giant chicken.

Generous farm owner Sophie Hayes has been dressing up as a big yellow bird delivering half-a-dozen eggs to residents in Betteshanger.

Super Mario helped Maidstone's Coronavirus Mutual Aid group deliver isolation boxes
Super Mario helped Maidstone's Coronavirus Mutual Aid group deliver isolation boxes

Those in need of the produce were advised to draw either a chicken, duck or goose and stick it on their front door.

Ms Hayes - in full costume - then delivered packs of free range eggs from Chookies Farm to every house with an illustration.

Appreciative villager Jane Morgan said: "She surprised everyone when she arrived dressed appropriately, what a generous wonderful thing to do."

In keeping with the two-metre distancing rule, the eggs are left at people's doorsteps or front gates.

Nintendo character Super Mario was feeling generous in Maidstone when he helped to deliver more than 50 boxes full of snacks, gifts and essential items to isolated families.

Organised by volunteers from the Maidstone Coronavirus Mutual Aid Group, the gifts known as isolation boxes, were delivered to families in Downswood and Otham who were nominated by friends.

Vicky Parker, 32, who helped Super Mario along the way said: "Our volunteers delivered the boxes to 20 children and 30 adults who had been nominated. We wanted to give them a little something to show them that we're thinking of them and that we're here if they need us.

"It was a lovely atmosphere on the day and we ended up meeting lots of happy people."

But perhaps the most famous children's character of all to take to make an appearance in Kent is Peppa Pig.

Donna Dorbon made use of the fancy dress costumes she had when taking her daily walks in Belvedere.

The mother-of-one has also appeared as Mickey Mouse and a Minion.

Getting her five-year-old daughter Daniella and husband Mark in on the act, the family have gained themselves some adoring fans who await their passage through the neighbourhood.

Donna said: "It was just something to entertain my five year old.

"My family all live quite close to each other and I thought I would go to my sisters and see my nieces but on the way, I got quite a fan club."

The costumes were brought for the George Mead Memorial Stables in Welling where Donna helps out with children's parties.

The mum-of-one added: "A lot of people have asked if I am doing it for charity but I am doing it out of goodness, I just want to raise a smile in bad times."

Read more: All the latest news from Kent


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