Observer Comment: International festival could attract visitors from far and wide

RYE OBSERVER COMMENT: WE MAY be experiencing tough financial times but you would not know it in Rye. The streets were packed for the switch-on of the Christmas lights last week and people are expected to turn out in force for the big Christmas procession on Saturday.

And Rother Council has played its part to add to the cheer by waiving car parking charges this weekend and on the weekends before Christmas.

Contrast that to Christmas celebrations in Hastings which settled for a Simon Cowell look-alike, leading to complaints from disappointed parents.

There was even more to smile about this week with news that Rye is being favoured as a venue for a big international jazz festival next summer.

This will see live music in the streets and a big mardi-gras style procession.

The organisers have unveiled detailed plans and if they come to fruition the festival is sure to attract visitors from far and wide.

You only have to look at other towns in the country, such as Hay on Wye and Cheltenham to see what being associated with a big cultural festival can do for reputation and local economy.

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LET’S get behind Rye Conservation Society and back their fight to prevent a beautiful gilded Victorian shop-front from being torn down in the High Street.

Signs such as the one at Ashbee’s are a legacy of a skill and craftsmanship that has long since vanished and contribute to the unique identity and charm of the town. What on earth are the owners thinking of by seeking planning permission to remove it?

All power to the elbow of the Conservation Society for tackling this and let us hope that planners at Rother Council see sense and refuse the application.

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BATTLE OBSERVER COMMENT: VILLAGERS in Hurst Green are a fine example of community spirit.

Rather than allow a disused church fall into rack and ruin and become a haven for vandals, they have all clubbed together to turn the building into a shop, cafe and community centre.

It’s good to see that their efforts and hard work are finally paying off in the form of a £6,000 grant from NatWest.

Villagers are now pinning their hopes on getting £135,000 from the Lottery to help towards their venture.

Let’s hope they are successful.

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CLAVERHAM was left in shock earlier this year following the sudden death of popular pupil Lance Bassett.

Within days, floral tributes and messages were left outside the school gates from bereaved friends.

Now Lance’s friends and former classmates have a permanent mural in his memory at Claverham, thanks to the generosity of ex-pupil Ben Gregory Pritchard.

Ben knew Lance very well in their early years at Claverham, often playing the drums together, and as a fitting and touching tribute to his friend, the teenager has drawn a set of drums with Lance’s name on them.

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THE tragic death of Dorothy Adams on Sunday will no doubt leave a void in all who knew her.

Dorothy worked tirelessly to help those less fortunate though her years with the Baptist church.

The Observer sends its sympathy and condolences to all of her family and friends.