Amber Rudd column

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Each year we observe that Christmas seems to get earlier and earlier. Who spotted the first decorations for sale in October? And some shops already have a Christmas window displays up to get us in the festive mood.

But happily an important local charity Surviving Christmas is also thinking ahead. For the 27th year running they will be running an “Open Christmas” for the lonely and homeless of our area.

I went last year and was impressed not only by the quality and efficiency of their meals and support services (clothes, hair cuts etc) but also by the irrepressibly positive and up-beat manner of all the brilliant volunteers helping. I will be going again this year and anyone able to offer support might contact survivingchristmas@tiscali.co.uk.

Last weekend we also planned early for Remembrance Sunday. Tesco in Hollington were kind enough to host the launch of the 90th Anniversary Launch for the Poppy Appeal. We had our Standard Bearers, Cadets, and a band from Eastbourne. Local councillors and supporters joined in the celebration, and surprised shoppers paused to find out what it was all about.

But the symbol of the poppy and the array of uniformed men and women soon reminded them that this was the warm up for Remembrance Sunday. We need to stop, think and give to support the Poppy Appeal.

One of the regular collectors observed that collections have remained strong during the recent years despite difficult times.

This is because the reality of what our service men and women do is at the front of people’s minds. The dangers in Afghanistan are regularly reported in the press.

Local men and women are out in Afghanistan now, serving their country. The Poppy Appeal also collects to support service personnel and their families who are currently serving.

We started early with collecting for Remembrance Sunday this year. And it is right that we did. We have a lot to be grateful for.