Rye Community Transport has dedicated its newest vehicle to local legend Jimper Sutton.
Jimper, of Winchelsea Beach, has collected hundreds of pounds for charity for Rye Bonfire Society over the years, dressed in his distinctive pirate’s outfit, complete with parrot on shoulder.
He also wrote a series of books on his memories of growing up in the Rye area and sold them to raise funds for the Bonfire Society.
Jimper was one of the last keddle net fishermen on the Sussex coast, using a shore-based fishing technique that dates back to the Norman Conquest.
He once used a pitchfork to fight off an intruder who broke into his home at night.
The bus was dedicated to Jimper in a special ceremony outside Rye Town Hall.
It also commemorated Edna Breeds, mother of former Mayor, John Breeds, and grandmother of current Deputy Mayor, Jonathan.
Donations in her memory helped to fund the purchase of the bus as did donations from Rye and District Bonfire Society, Rye Community Charity Shop and the Rye Wellington Lodge (no. 341) Masons. The project was also supported by Rye Town Council and the fundraising efforts of Rye CT’s 200 Club.
The bus was dedicated and blessed by another of Edna Breeds’ sons, the Rev. Christopher Breeds, who reminded everyone of the importance of Rye CT’s transport to so many people and said how pleased his mother would have been to see something given back to the community.
Jimper Sutton was delighted to lead the toast to ‘his’ bus and to present it to Rye CT’s Chairman, John Izod. He said that he looks forward to seeing it in action around the area, especially as it will be used to take Rye Bonfire Boyes when they attend other societies’ bonfires. After the ceremony John and Geraldine Breeds were taken for a ride around the town in the new bus.
Rye Community Transport is now gearing itself up to take over the 326 town service, on April 27, which had been threatened by cuts.