Fairlight

In our churches this Sunday… there’s Communion at St Peter’s at 8 am, and then Morning Praise at 10.30 am at St Andrew’s.

On Tuesday next, June 3, the Teddies Toddler Group will be at St Peter’s from 10.30 am to 12 noon, and the following day, Wednesday, June 4, it’s the monthly Messy Church from 4.30 to 6 pm in both the village hall and St Peter’s.

Is it too late to volunteer to help run the refreshment stall at tomorrow’s Summer Fair? Very probably, but if you do find yourself with time to spare, you could give the church elders a call and make the offer.

Later tomorrow, it’s that concert by the Fishy Band at The Coffee Box, Hastings Centre on the Ridge, starting at 7.30 pm. Email Wendy Hatch at familyhatch1@gmail.com to reserve your £5 ticket.

The Village Hall Summer Fair… is upon us, in the hall (and outside) from 12 noon to 3 pm, always a pleasant way to spend some time and money on a few games, raffles and attractive items, plus lunch with filled potatoes and a glass or two of Pimm’s to help it all down. Usually well-attended, the Fair needs all the support we can muster, to assist the village hall maintain the high standards of letting and facilities so many in the village use and enjoy, and without breaking the bank.

The Parish Council… met on the Tuesday of last week, and a relaxed atmosphere led to the business of the evening being concluded before 8.30 pm. Among items discussed and/or resolved were the ratification of no fewer than ten grants totalling £5,000, though a request for financial help from the Bowls Club was rejected as it was unanimously felt this would open the floodgates for any of the many organisations in the village to seek similar help.

With Cllr Andrew Mier confirmed as Chairman and Cllr Rev Val Gibbs as Vice Chairman, all the remaining councillors were confirmed in their official roles. The exception, of course, was Linda Eades, who has left the village, and the council would like to find someone – not necessarily a Parish Councillor – who would be prepared to take over Linda’s role where Speed Watch is concerned.

An Open Circuit…under correspondence, the point was made that UK Power Networks have never come back with any reply about the security of the power supply to the village, which reached rock bottom for several properties over the last Christmas period. But - Stop Press news! - the power company is actually sending a chap down to Fairlight this coming Thursday, June 6 at 2 pm to meet Andrew Mier, and together they will tour the village black spots. It is hoped this visit may lead to some improvements.

Sadly, the end has come for the skateboard ramps at the bottom of Wood Field, and they have now been dismantled before they could cause anyone an injury. ‘Elf and Safety properly, and not frivolously, applied.

Initial discussions considered the commemoration of the start of the Great War, which will be in August. The Royal British Legion will be holding their own service at Pett Level.

The 2014 Parish Assembly… took place in the village hall last Friday. A healthy outturn of residents was in attendance, as well as our MP, Amber Rudd, County Cllr Carl Maynard, and Rother Cllr Robin Patten. Cllr Stephen Leadbetter gave a comprehensive overview of Neighbourhood Planning, which came in under the auspices of the Coalition, as part of their Localism initiative. The question Stephen posed was ‘Is it a suitable option for Fairlight?’ The answer is that more research, and consultation with residents needs to take place before a definitive answer can be given. A cash incentive was explained, which would give the local Parish Council probably £300 for each new house built, being 15% of an assumed £2,000. If we were to be involved in a Neighbourhood Plan, or ‘take’ would increase to 25% - £500. There was a little concern that having a Neighbourhood Plan, and hence a direct input on the planning of properties, would be giving tacit consent to there being any new houses at all. Not to have a plan on these grounds seems to be distinctly ostrich-like!

Another excellent presentation ensued, this one covering the ongoing problem of cliff erosion. Speakers on the subject were Paul Capps and John Sinclair, driving forces of the Fairlight Preservation Trust, and local resident and a tip-top financial brain, Ruth Kosmin, and it was Ruth who was able to spell out the complexity of what needed doing, in the inevitable paperwork, for us to get the gap in the two protective berms made complete. The financial requirements, in Partnership funding, are as difficult to appreciate as the technical needs. The Parish Council is already strongly on the case. It was reiterated that Rother may lack the resources necessary to fulfil its coastal protection obligation, though no criticism was intended or implied for Councillors Carl Maynard, Roger Bird and, especially, Robin Patten, whose pursuance of the right outcome has been exemplary. Figures have been bandied about concerning the possible loss of 150 houses. This seems incredible, and hard to visualise, given the 100 year time span. What is more readily understandable is the quoted nine houses plus the cliff pump control house disappearing in the next five years if nothing is done, figures and a time ‘window’ that the vast majority of those present will live to see.

The fifth recipient of the John Lutman Award for Community Service was made to Val King, whose work for the House and Garden side of the village hall management has been never-ending, as has her attendance and assistance at every weekly meeting of MOPPs, her long spell as President of the Floral Club, 20 years as the village Royal British Legion Welfare Officer, Wood Field Recreation Ground Warden on behalf of the parish council, ensuring the field is clean and tidy, a duty that includes details not to be spelt out in case you’re having your breakfast. A popular and worthy winner, Val made a neat speech of thanks in acceptance of the shield, plus the new enhanced monetary award, raised from £100 to £150. Very well done and deserved, Val!

Opening night tomorrow week… The Players’ AGM is on Saturday week, June 14 starting at 7.30 pm. All Players’ members who are duly paid up for 2013-14 are invited to attend. Admission is, of course, free, but there is normally a very high turnout, - not just for the important but fairly brief business bit, but possibly because there is free entertainment and a free supper. And a cash bar. If you have not yet posted, or delivered by hand, your tear-off slip to Mary Stewart at Blackbirds, Bramble Way, or phoned Mary on 813031, or emailed her at marypeterstewart@btinternet.com,

please do so A.S.A.P. to give the caterers a chance!

Putting on The Ritz… will be live in the village hall starting at 3 pm on Saturday, June 28. Tickets for this Floral Club spectacular are going like, well, not hot cakes – that wouldn’t be very ‘Ritzy’ at all - but certainly like very refined, nice cakes. The Post Office still has some tickets remaining, at £8 each. Do get yours soon, and then enjoy tea in style, accompanied by the unparalleled music of Iain Kerr.

In the meantime, the Floral Club has just enjoyed a wonderful day out on their trip to the Chichester Cathedral for the tenth nationally renowned Festival of Flowers. The theme was the Music Makers, covering composers and music from the 12th century to the present day, and encompassing classic and opera, modern musicals, ragtime and pop. Not only was the actual festival absolutely breathtaking, but the coach trip was smooth and the weather was lovely, too. Everyone obviously enjoyed the whole day.

After the cancellation of a second proposed visit in May… by Valerie Tryon, the well-known concert pianist, a number of potential patrons who had been offered a full refund of their ticket monies have still not collected that refund. If this could apply to you, please take your numbered ticket to the Post Office, who are authorised to return your money. A word of warning – if these final refunds are unclaimed by Saturday, June 14, any remaining funds will go to St Andrew’s church

Fairlight Village Festival – The full programme is on target to make this year’s Fairfest the biggest and best yet. Confirmation comes of the definite booking of the amazingly young and talented group Dorey the Wise. Their lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Aidan Tigwell, grew up in Fairlight and his family still lives here, so it’s great that he has agreed to come and play in the village. And no ‘Fairfest’ would be complete without that very popular group The Kytes who, for the third time of asking, will be the top of the bill – the last act on stage.

Visitors… a couple of young men, in their early 20’s and of Eastern European appearance, have been seen in the Sea Road/Lower Waites Lane area, asking for work. They could very well be bona fide, and may have moved on to other parts of the village, or to other villages by now. As usual, you are advised to be on your guard, and to be sure that no temptation is left for anybody to exploit – open doors and windows when you are out and about, unlocked sheds, tools left in the open.

Failure… All set to submit this week’s saga, and my internet connection drops out. Again. Just as it has almost daily for the last fortnight. Faster broadband coming? Yes, to be installed by all those flying pigs… Meanwhile, back at the ranch, BT, my ‘provider’, are supposed to be at top of the game. Heaven help us!

An unfortunate coincidence…? It is understood that the Police name their various operations on a random basis, and currently the most readily recognised is probably Operation Yewtree, into historic sexual abuse. It is therefore a pity that, of six people charged with a serious child sex offence, one should come from Guestling, while all the rest are based considerably west of our village as, indeed, is the site of the offence, in Newhaven. That this offence has been uncovered after 12 months of hard police work is fantastic. The fact that it is coded under ‘Operation Firehill’ is bad luck for us, for it seems to imply some connection with our neck of the woods. Whatever goes on up there is unlikely to be so unsavoury, distasteful and seriously illegal as the major crime coming to court soon.

Keith Pollard

Brookfield, Broadway