• Last Saturday, April 6, there was a minor sporting event taking place that attracted some attention, I think it was called The Grand National, or something like that, but it was eclipsed by the Great Etchingham Duck Race. I was busy taking the photographs along the course, so the following is a report by my special reporter, Ken Thomas..... I always thought we ought to be able to make greater use of our dear little River Dudwell flowing gently past along the southern side of the High Street. Perhaps now we can say it is the River Duckwell!

It was Sian’s idea, - tip a whole lot of ducks into the river and see which one reached the finishing line first, but little yellow plastic ducks all look the same! Oh no they don’t and certainly not last Saturday they didn’t! Congratulations to all the children and adults who painted their ducks. The variety was amazing, from daintily painted ducks to some that were ‘works of art’ and must have taken a great deal of time to paint in such detail; one had been fitted with a counterweight to keep it upright, another was encased in an orange for the same purpose while others had been fitted with skis and several others had hats and even tiny sunglasses. After they had been judged for the best decorated duck, by both children and adults, Sian tipped them all into the river, some two hundred or so, and off they went. The river was flowing quite well with a good current midstream, but lots of slack water along the edges and bits of vegetation very soon spread the ducks out. It took about 25 to 30 minutes for the leading duck to appear in the home straight. Dr Chris Ahrens was on the bridge with the net to catch the first duck, which led by several yards, and in it came - No 11 the winner! So the first prize, a large Golden Easter Egg, was presented to Mr Colin Phillips. Neil, (and his helpers) in charge of the Barbecue, was soon very busy with orders for Hot Dogs, Beefburgers, liquid refreshment and other delicacies. Many thanks to all concerned who have made this a very memorable village event and we shall look forward to a repeat next year, - you can’t duck out of it!! Thanks to Ken for providing that, now to the winners’ details. Best decorated ducks, under 8 years the winner was Luck Skinner, over 8 years winner Billy Smith Morris, both winning decorated Easter Eggs. The adult with the best decorated duck was Miss Thompson, she won a bottle of wine and chocolates. Now to the best bit, the winning duck was owned by Colin Phillips, his chosen village charity, Etchingham Under Fives Playgroup will be receiving a cheque for £500. ictures from the day can be viewed online at if you took pictures that you would like to share with others, if you email them to me I can add them to the set, you will of course be acknowledged as the owner of the images.

• The Annual Parish Meeting will be held at 6.15pm on Thursday (April 18) in Etchingham Village Hall. The meeting is facilitated by the Parish Council but is an open public meeting and not a Parish Council meeting. All welcome to attend. Please see the Notice Boards and Etchingham website ( ) for details of the Agenda shortly.

• Royal visit for Etchingham. HRH The Duke of Gloucester is to visit Etchingham on Tuesday (April 16), arriving at around 4.30pm.

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester is the Queen’s cousin and recently represented her in Rome at the Pope’s inauguration. The visit is at the invitation of the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, who has been in the village a few times in the last year, the first time was when he planted the Royal Oak in the Jubilee Wood. The Lord Lieutenant is the Queen’s representative in East Sussex.

The visit will start at the Bistro and then the visiting party will walk through the Bistro car park and the newly planted wild flower garden, past the Church to visit the Shop and Deli.

The whole tour is due to last about 60 minutes so you will have plenty of chances to see our Royal visitor. We hope as many people as possible, especially the children, will turn out on the day with flags and bunting.

I am sure many of you will take your cameras on the day, if you get some interesting shots, you are welcome to email the images to me and I will add them to the pictures that I take and post on my Flickr page , if I add any of your pictures you will of course be credited as the photographer. Please note, due to limited space, numbers will obviously be restricted inside the buildings, but you will get plenty of viewing opportunities outside.

• The Improvements Committee will hold their AGM on Thursday April 25, 7.30pm in Etchingham Club. The committee is currently at a critical point and urgently needs more people to get involved, if they cannot sevure more help and members it is quite likely they will not be able to deliver a Fete and the Flower & dog Show this year, and possibly no other events.

• If you can help, contact Chas or Lucy on 01580 819567 or 01580 819057 For more details go to the Etchingham Village and follow the link.

• Etchingham & Fontridge Cricket Club is a friendly team of mixed ability and ages, normally playing Sunday village cricket games, and occasionally on Wednesday evenings during the summer in small Twenty/20 competitions.

During the season they run weekly practice sessions in their own nets at the top of the Lambing Field, in the spring and summer every Wednesday from about 6.30pm till the light fades. If you are interested in getting involved, even if you can only commit to one or two games a season, the Club is keen to see the village Club continue and grow and therefore always need to increase the playing squad. You can find out more on line at or

•Get information for this column to me as soon as possible, if you have a diary of events planned for the year let me have the dates and I will put in a list of village events for the year so that people can put the dates in their diaries. There are several ways to get your info to me, but email is preferred because there is less chance of errors during copying. I need information by 10pm on Monday to be sure it will be in time for inclusion, I can sometimes add extra items on Tuesday morning, but this cannot be guaranteed. Just a little reminder, I get plenty of information about events that are taking place, but I get very little follow up information, after your event try and remember to send me brief account of how successful your event was, it can be as simple as a thank you to those that attended and how much money was raised etc. You can deliver to 2 Park Farm Close, telephone 01580 819532 or 07941 786244 or email

Colin Boylett, 2 Park Farm Close