Mobile Library: Apologies for last week’s piece stating that the library would be visiting the village as usual. I hadn’t received the new schedule then and assumed it would be as usual but I now see that it’s off the road for a couple of weeks – sorry! However I’m pretty sure it’ll be in its usual place outside the Village Hall today from 11.55am – 12.30pm.

Cream Teas and Craft Sale: Please come and support the latest WI charity fund-raising event next Saturday 18th July in the Village Hall from 3pm – 5pm. It is hoped to raise lots of money for ‘The Air Ambulance Service’. Janet, Helen and Frances will all be running craft stalls and homemade cakes will also be on sale. The cream teas including homemade scones, strawberry jam and cake will cost £4 each and £2 for children

WI: The July meeting of the Catsfield WI began as usual with the singing of ‘Jerusalem’ and although there were many members missing for various reasons, it sounded particularly melodic and lovely. There were many forthcoming dates for our diaries with several activities lined up throughout July and into August. Beryl gave us a very interesting and light-hearted account of her visit to the WI Centenary Celebrations in the Royal Albert Hall. She included the difficulties of the journey, the live link-ups with various WI’s in the country, the talks given by Lucy Worsely and Dame Tanni Gray-Thompson and of course the highlight of the event – the appearance on the stage of HM The Queen, The Princess Royal and Sophie, Duchess of Wessex. The Queen herself is President of the Sandringham WI and she spoke about all the many changes for the better in the lives of the women in this country in the last one hundred years. She spoke of how the WI can and does make real difference to women of all backgrounds.

Our guest speaker for the meeting was Sian Trevellion who told us about the remarkable life of authoress Dame Catherine Cookson. She illustrated her talk with pictures and facts on the screen and we discovered that there was much that we didn’t know about the achievements of this determined lady who was such a prolific writer. She didn’t start writing until she was forty-four, yet had over one hundred books to her credit, of which she has sold more than 123 million copies, translated into twenty-three different languages. She was the illegitimate child of an alcoholic mother and was brought up by her grandparents, whom she believed to be her parents until the age of seven. She had a hard childhood, left school at thirteen and started working in the laundry of the local workhouse in East Jarrow.

Catherine eventually came to work as a laundress in what was the old St Helen’s hospital in Hastings, which was then also a workhouse. She was a great reader of physiology and anatomy and was self-taught in French, playing the violin, fencing, riding and painting. A talented artist, her work was exhibited from the age of thirty. She saved her money and bought a large house in Hastings and let out rooms to supplement her income. It was in Hastings at the age of thirty-four she met and married her husband Tom Cookson, a teacher and then followed four miscarriages and the discovery that she had a rare vascular disease. She had always had a nervous disposition and these events prompted a complete mental breakdown. As a form of therapy to battle her depression she took up writing and in 1950 had her first novel published. From her penniless start in life, she became a multi-millionairess and was one of the top twenty wealthiest people in the UK. Catherine Cookson was an amazing woman and did not allow the deprivations of her early life and subsequent ill-health to hold her back. In later life she and Tom returned to the North East and Catherine died in her ninety-second year in 1998 and her husband Tom died just seventeen days later.

Sport: The welcome rain on Sunday will have done some good to our gardens and the cricket pitch, but unfortunately it resulted in our match versus Netherfield being cancelled. The pitch was, however, used on Friday for the traditional match between the school and the cricket club. All played in good spirits, it followed on from the school sports resulting in lots of parents and children enjoying the evening. The children ran around, pedalled their bikes and played games scarcely aware of the match. John Berryman and Mike Davey were the umpires, the batting list was tampered with and the school won in the last over. As usual balls were mislaid in the hedge and the bracken only to be found just as a replacement had been hunted down in the pavilion. The pavilion then had to be cleaned in time for the Bexhill team using the ground on Saturday. Sunday 12th July we play Southbourne at home kick off 2pm. Both matches against Southbourne are at home this year as their ground in Eastbourne is being used for the South African rugby team preparing for the Rugby World Cup.

The football team are also preparing for their season with the League meeting on Monday and our own Committee meeting on Wednesday.

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