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Keith Pollard, Brookfield, Broadway

‘Tis the season… to go along to your Church, and to share in some joyous thanksgiving. At St Andrew’s, it will be appropriately busy over the next week, with something for everyone. On Sunday, December 23, there will be Morning Praise at 10.30 am, followed by Carols by Candlelight at 6 pm – a chance to sing some uplifting carols with the choir, trumpets and organ!

On Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, there will be the much-loved Christingle service for all the family at 4.30 pm, and much, much later the traditional Midnight Communion, starting at 11.15 pm. On Christmas Day (in the morning!) there’s Jesus’ Birthday service for the family at 10.30 am, which will be a joyous family celebration followed by optional Communion.

After Christmas, when the turkey and mince pies have finally settled, the service on Sunday, December 30 will see Fairlight and Pett churches joining together for a Communion service at St Mary & St Peter’s, Pett at 10.30 am

The local branch of the RSPCA… which is actually the Sussex East and Hastings Branch, held their Christmas Fayre in the village hall last Saturday, picking an unpleasant morning, though not freezing, and a fortnight after the hall’s own Fair had been a major money-spinner. But supporters of this excellent cause had come up trumps with loads of goodies well worth buying, then by working hard on the day itself, and finally by making loads of purchases, all of which led to a wonderful total of £869.70 being raised. Branch Chairman Mary Bristow expresses her grateful thanks to all who participated, in whatever capacity – be it giving, selling or buying - and would remind you that there’ll be another one along in the spring.

A free iPad… well, that probably caught your attention! What it means is your chance to ‘eye’, or just plain ‘see’, the village’s new Public Access Defibrillator, which is to be launched on Saturday, January 5. Any and all Fairlight residents will be able to go along to the village hall between 11am and 2 pm to see where the public access defibrillator has been placed and to gain the confidence to come and grab it if they feel they are seeing someone having a heart attack or in need of resuscitation.

Just pop in at any time during the three hour time-spread to meet representatives from the Fairlight Community Responders team and South East Coast Ambulance Service. And there will also be an opportunity to refresh your skills in Cardio-Pulmonary resuscitation and meet Choking Charlie!

There will be tea, coffee and a bite to eat throughout the 3 hours and the chance to buy a jar of chutney or raffle ticket to go towards the community responders fundraising for kitting out new volunteer responders.

This defibrillator has been positioned at the village hall with the support of the Fairlight Parish Council, the village hall committee and from many generous donations from local people and events as well as support from the Ambulance Service.

All money raised through the Community Responder Team in Fairlight is used for the benefit of Fairlight Community, which it does by supporting the Ambulance Service in providing an additional ‘early doors’ service when someone calls 999 and needs help quickly. A Volunteer Community responder will attend if on duty whilst the patient is waiting for the ambulance.

MOPPs up for Christmas… At MOPP today Brian Howard will provide the entertainment followed by a scrumptious Christmas lunch cooked on the premises by Margaret assisted by Paul and other helpers.

MOPP meets at the village hall at 10.30 am every Friday, actually except the next one, on December 28. The cost is only £4.50 and transport can be arranged, though this does carry an additional small charge.

If you would like more information please phone organiser Sheila Thomas on 01304 219767.

Wonderful news…The Fire Authority has voted in favour of an amendment not to downgrade the Ridge Fire Station. Our Parish Council was firmly among those seemingly countless local residents objecting to the proposal. We should all remember, however, the caveat that came from a full-time Ridge fireman during last month’s Parish Council open forum, that the battle might be won (as it has been) but this may be only a short term success which might be followed by mid-term grief. The saving that had been proposed would have amounted to only three quarters of one per cent of the Authority’s annual budget, but ten per cent of the £3m they are looking to make over the next three years. Having proved that democracy works, we must all remain vigilant and on our guard to see what happens next. For my own part, I have never fully trusted the ‘extra four minutes’ that has been widely quoted for the additional time needed to service our calls from Bohemia. There simply must have been considerable sleight of hand at work here, and if the Authority can’t be trusted to give honest answers, those against the proposals will need to be even more vociferous next time round. All who wrote, attended meetings and signed petitions can be satisfied with their efforts. So far.

Health at a stroke… so strokes are to be dealt with at Eastbourne DGH, while Orthopaedics will come under the Conquest wing. This reorganisation was opposed by so many consultants and even more GPs that it’s a wonder it has been adopted. Next time you’re hospitalised, ask to see the Manager. He or she obviously knows more about your condition and treatment than any number of qualified health professionals!

It’s the shortest day today… and officially the start of winter. So what was that we have been ‘enjoying’ for the past few weeks? As the days draw out again, it should be all downhill from now on. Though if that hill is Battery, you can bet it will be slippery at times, and probably impassable at others. But the chances are that the village and its residents will survive to see a fresh New Year blossoming, eventually. In our family sweepstake, I’ve drawn Saturday, May 11 for the start of a hosepipe ban, and I fancy my chances.

Ticket tradition… at the Fairlight Pantomime Group, where a number of customers buy their panto tickets as Christmas presents – wisely, because they start selling out as soon as Christmas is over. They’re at the Post Office now, and will cost you £3 for children for the first three performances, and £6 for adults, while for the final Saturday evening all seats are £6. The show is Sinbad, and it’s being directed by Ben Burford and Kerrianne Goring. I wonder if this is ‘the mighty Sinbad, who meets a Djinn who’s bin bad?’ Perhaps not! Anyway, it will run at the village hall on Thursday 24, Friday 25 and Saturday 26 January at 7.30 pm each evening. There is also a matinee at 2.30 pm on Saturday afternoon. If you’re going for your tickets, you must pay for them at the time of booking – they cannot be put on one side as reservations. I know it’s not you, but in the past, with a sold-out show, they have had prime seats unoccupied, and people pleading for returns. This policy is fair all round.

A very Happy Christmas to all readers of the Observer and the Voices