Fairlight village voice

In our churches this Sunday, June 24… there will be Morning Praise at 10.30 am at St Andrew’s, led by Maureen Baines, with Rev Robert Watson preaching.

Then, at 6 pm, Rev Kay Burnett will be leading an Informal Communion service at St Peter’s Church. Do go along – the churchyard is immaculate and highly welcoming at present!

Don’t forget… this Sunday is also the day for Fairlight Open Gardens when, between 10 am and 4 pm, you can have a leisurely look round no fewer than ten gardens in the village. Actually, not that leisurely, for the opening time is a mere 36 minutes per garden and they range from up Battery Hill right across the village to Channel Way! If you’re exhausted by the thought of all that walking, you can always hitch a ride on Brian’s tractor and trailer. You’ll see the pick-up points when you get hold of your map, either from the Post Office or the Fairlight Lodge Hotel in advance, or at any of the gardens themselves, which will be well indicated, on the day. Naturally, the map also shows which gardens are inviting you in, and this map can be yours for a suggested £5 donation (children go free). As all the proceeds are going towards the Fairlight First Responders, an extremely worthy cause, you may exceed that suggested fiver if you wish (!) In any case, there will be various stalls offering teas, tombola, books, bric-a-brac and so on as you go round, which will enable you to swell the kitty.

And talking of charity… another outfit very dear to local hearts is the Pett Level Rescue Boat Association who, some 18 months ago, set out their stall to build a boat house extension to their premises just to the east of the Smugglers’ pub in Pett Level. Of course, building anything larger than a dog kennel these days takes pots of money, and to the great credit of the organisation – and especially their vital pro-active leading fund-raiser John Pulfer – they have amassed £41,000 and built an excellent new facility. This impressive building was duly and ceremoniously declared open last Saturday by Brett Maclean in the presence of representatives of many of the local organisations who had dipped hands deep into pockets to make it all possible. When the ribbon was cut, the roller shutter rose and out came the larger rescue boat with three fully equipped crew, all propelled by a showroom-sparkling launch vehicle. This impressive unit looked all of the £60 – 70,000 such an item would cost, but such are the talents available to the Association that it is, in fact, a second hand £2,000 dumper truck, all re-designed and re-crafted by Stuart Baddiss of Rye Recovery, for a total outlay of about £10,000. The next project will be to equip the older half of the boat house with toilet and washing facilities – at present they have to ‘borrow’ them from a neighbouring bungalow – and following that they will soon be needing some £9,000 worth of wet and dry outfits for the crew, as the existing sets have a limited life remaining.

From Jeanette Thake, Tornado Helm and Crew, I learnt that there are some 25 volunteers, whose expertise runs across such necessities as Boat Helm and Crew, Beach Crew, Launch Authority, Trustee, Secretary and Treasurer. They have saved a goodly number of souls over the 42 years in which they have been in existence, and they will go out in all kinds of weather, though walkers trapped under Fairlight Cliffs by the incoming tide are a not infrequent call out. They even took their inshore boat to Robertsbridge in 2000, ferrying folk to safety when the severe and sudden floods struck!

It’s the Players’ AGM… tomorrow in the village hall at 7.30pm. As is the Players’ much appreciated custom, the meeting proper will be followed by some entertainment – this year a revue entitled the End of the Pier Show, with songs and black-out sketches harking back to the summer seasons of yore – and then some End of the Pier food, like hot dogs, burgers, cockles, mussels and even candy floss and doughnuts, (for those were the days before they were dumbed down to ‘donuts’.) It’s members only, and you should have let Carol know on 814178 before now, really.

But do try if you forgot and are desperate to be there.

Makes perfect… and the practice here will be at Thursday’s Floral Club meeting, all in readiness for their Flower Festival ‘Tempus Fugit’ which will be with us on July 21 and 22. More about that anon.

Still a while to the Gardening Club Show on July 14… but you should be nurturing all your potential exhibits to make sure they’ll be at their best when the time comes. However, it might be a good idea not to prepare for the baking and cooking classes just yet, unless your speciality is rock cakes.

Martineau Lane can still boast… a number of potholes, though it is clear that several have been well dealt with. Perhaps one last blitz would see us through the summer before they all start growing again in the autumn.

And while we’re on the subject of potholes, this is not strictly speaking such a scar, but a short sharp depression opposite the entrance to Hastings Cemetery, at the top of Elphinstone Road, where what appears to be a stop-cock cover has sunk quite a long way. No doubt Fairlight residents who forget it’s there regularly test their suspension almost to breaking point when travelling west on the Ridge.

Here we go again… there is still a surfeit of dog poo in the village, left behind by what must be a very large animal – probably answering to the name of Winnie. If only some other resident out walking could spot the offender, it might be a good time for the old fashioned remedy of nose-rubbing in the unwelcome presence. Not of the dog, of course. The owner.

Strike over… While yesterday’s strike by some of our doctors should not concern a village column like ours, I do hope none of you got involved, either for or against. Yesterday was surely a most appropriate day to take heed of your mother’s oft repeated warning – ‘It’ll never get well if you picket.’

The longest day… has come and gone. It’s horrible to see the nights drawing in before you’ve even got your cozzie out of moth balls, isn’t it? Yuk!

Keith Pollard, Brookfield, Broadway