Keith Pollard, Brookfield, Broadway

In our churches this Sunday, December 8… there is that All Age Service that was missing last Sunday, and a very special occasion it will be, too. All families, children – and babies – are invited to St Andrew’s at 10.30 am, along with any one else who is young in heart and soul, for the service is to be led by Ishmael and will include prayers, Bible reading, a bit of simple liturgy and some ‘adult worship’, while being very child friendly with plenty of fun children’s songs. Babies may stay in but parents should note that it may be a little ‘livelier’ than they are used to! This service will last about 75 minutes.

Who is Ishmael? A potted biography – Ishmael, or ‘Ish’, is the Rev Ian Smale, who has been travelling around internationally in a ‘full time’ music capacity since 1970. A word or two about this remarkable man will not come amiss. After a couple of years training at a Pentecostal theological college, he spent some years in the Elim pastoral ministry in London and the north of England. Following that he moved back to West Sussex and for 16 years as well as travelling he was also part of a ‘charismatic new church’ leadership team. His musical output has been phenomenal – he has written and recorded over 400 songs (including Father God I Wonder) and released around 40 albums of his and other writer’s songs.

In the past Ishmael has committed most of his overseas time to the USA and Germany but he has also visited Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Holland, Sweden, Gibraltar, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and, last but by no means least, a couple of trips to South Africa.

Ish and his wife Irene have three grown up children – Joseph, Daniel and Suzy – and he was ordained into the Anglican Church in 2007. He is now licensed to Chichester Cathedral as their non-stipendiary, ‘Missioner Deacon’ and is affectionately known to the Bishop, Dean and Chapter, and congregation as ‘Deacon Ish!’

He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2008 but is now in remission and finished his chemotherapy treatment in August 2010. Why not nip along on Sunday and catch Ish in action?

Before the fun starts at St Andrew’s, there is an 8 am BCP Communion Service at St Peter’s.

The X(mas) Factor… You can get in the mood on Wednesday, December 11 from 7 to 9 pm by going along to the Community Carol Singing in St Peter’s Church. Two hours? Well, yes, if you like, or less if you’d rather. You are invited to go along when you want, and leave when you want. Pick a carol, any carol, and have a good old sing-along. There’s to be mince pies, mulled wine, all at no cost, just make a donation. Meet old friends or make new ones, just as long as you join in and share the spirit of Christmas. As the Rector reminds us – Christmas is more than a fairy tale!

Meanwhile, over the hills and not so far away… at Pett Methodist Chapel this Sunday, December 8 at 10.45 am, it’s this years Toy Service. Donations of toys will be collected for forwarding to local families who will be finding it hard this Christmas.

Then, on the next two Tuesdays, December 10 and 17, the Chapel will be hosting showings of the film ‘Nativity’. The film starts at 7.30 pm, admission is free, and refreshments are available.

It’s tomorrow… a big event in the village calendar, the Village Hall Winter Fair, with all the usual attractions like hot food, mulled wine, the Booze Box, tombola, raffles and any number of games of chance or skill for a chance of a prize. It must be good, because Father Christmas has willingly agreed to be on hand, and on the stage, with presents for the younger generation. The fun all starts at 12 noon, and will go on until 3 pm. The hall deserves our best possible support, when you consider how much entertainment the average resident gets out of the place in the course of a year. See you there, then?

A whistful look…? Not tonight, but next Friday, December 13 at 6.45 for 7 pm, will be the latest in the Bowls Club’s series of Whist evenings in the village hall. Lucky for some?

The Barn Dance… organised by Fairfest on Saturday last, went very well, with sufficient dancers to fill the floor without forming a scrum. There was food a-plenty and the Flat Cat Band kept everyone going!

The Players need… to increase their acting membership. Though very well and possibly disproportionately supported by actors from the immediate village, they believe that having a few more members, both male and female, would enable them to undertake plays with larger casts (as they did last April with 14 on stage for Happy as a Sandbag) If you’re out there reading this, even though you may not be from Fairlight, think about it. If you belong to another group but would like to see how a different group works, you could join as a guest player, without cutting ties to your ‘own’ home group, but have a lot of fun while you’re in Fairlight. They are reading their next production, ‘Holiday Snap’ on Monday, January 13, and auditioning on Thursday, January 16, both at 7.30 pm in the village hall. If you require more details, call Carol Ardley on 814178. The Players generally rehearse on Mondays and Thursdays for some ten weeks for each production.

The Parish Council meeting… ten days ago, came up with several interesting points. Firstly, there’s the Speedwatch initiative, about which Cllr Linda Eades reported that seven volunteers had signed up, but several more people were needed to make the exercise viable. Talk of combining our volunteers with those of other under-subscribed locations, with each group working elsewhere, and others coming to Fairlight, was not ideal. Please contact Cllr Eades and get on her list. It was pointed out that, having achieved the very welcome 40 mph limit down Battery Hill, it really was a obligation that residents should assist in the monitoring of this often ill-observed restriction. Fairlight is a cul-de-sac village, not an extension of Brands Hatch.

The meeting discussed possible replacements for our unfit-for-purpose grit bins, which let in water and leak due to poor lid design. We would need six new bins at £162 including VAT each.

After talking about our precept, the amount of your Council Tax that goes to the village, it was agreed that the sum would remain at £32,000 for the year, a no-change situation for yet another year.

Cllr Tony King reported that the skateboard ramps on Wood Field are in a sorry state of repair, and considerable discussion ensued, which culminated in a proposal, which was carried nem. con., as we say in the business, that they should be demolished before any injury is caused.

District Councillor Roger Bird shed some much needed light on some aspects of the new rubbish collection due next year. (That is the collection of our rubbish, not the rubbish way it is done!) We all know we have until January to register our interest in having a new brown bin for garden refuse, which will cost us £25 per annum – about £1 a go. Cllr Bird explained that Kier, the new contractors, will take over Rother duties in April, but that for three months arrangements would continue exactly as they are now. Those who require Assisted Collection in future need do absolutely nothing, as Kier will pick up exactly the conditions that obtain at present.

During the Open Forum, several of the 11 members of the public were vociferous about the underhand Council Tax increase implied by having to pay for a service that has hitherto been ‘free’.

The Fairlight Preservation Trust has sought a price for the Market Garden site, and been quoted £1.3 million. They are examining the pros and cons of this, and intend to set up a combined group of themselves, the Residents Association, the East field Action Group, plus the Parish Council. The Council agreed to join these discussions.

A final point worth noting was that the Fairlight Residents Association has kindly gifted £100 towards the clean-up of the bus stop shelter opposite the Estate Agents and the Hairdressers.

At MOPPs today… Friday, December 6, you can eat lamb hotpot, followed by Angel Delight and fruit, with no fewer than four attractions to grab your attention - Bon Marche Clothing, a Christmas table sale, Gwen Boyce hearing aid services and Jenny’s Card & Scarves stall. Next Friday, December 13, it’ll be cottage pie, with meringue, fruit and cream for afters. Along with the food there will be chair based exercises plus entertainment from the MOPP Melody Makers.

Much eager and hopeful anticipation last week… when, in a single day, a race to secure as many supportive phone calls as possible gave St Michael’s Hospice the chance of scooping £50,000 in the ITV People’s Millions. And on the Meridian early evening news came shots of our highly valued Hospice getting the award, which actually amounted to £49,998. Congratulations to them, and thanks to all those who took the trouble to spend 11p a time (on up to ten calls each!) to clinch the deal. I don’t imagine anyone will be complaining to Trading Standards about the missing £2…!

That missing Hospice £2… will no doubt be forthcoming from one of the two Christmas markets being held in support of the Hospice at Harborough Nurseries from 11 am to 3 pm on successive Sunday, December 8 and 15. The markets warrant a mention here because we admire the work of St Michael’s, and much of the art and craft on view originates in our village. There will be many other stalls with local produce and, with the weather cooling, there’ll be complimentary hot drinks.

Pooling ideas… at the Cove on Monday next, December 9, when there will be a knock-out pool competition. Entry is free!

Hard of hearing…? The East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre provides a no-charge mobile information and advice service for deaf and hard of hearing people living in East Sussex. The mobile unit will be visiting us in Fairlight on Thursday, December 19, and you’ll find it in the car park of the village hall from 1.30 to 3.30 pm. There is access for wheelchair users, and representatives of the East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre and Adult Social Care will be in attendance.

The bus is accessible to wheelchair users and representatives from both t of the resource Centre and Adult Social Care will be present. The actual vehicle is funded by the Big Lottery.

Trefoil Guild’s November meeting… opened with mince pies and chocolate biscuits together with coffee or tea, and then guest speaker Mr. Tony Mann held the members spellbound for three-quarters of an hour with the tale of his life in the catering trade, which culminated at the Flushing Inn in Rye.

As the Guild’s next meeting should fall on Christmas Day, it has been decided to go out for a meal prior to that date. The January meeting will be back to the usual venue, in St. Peter’s Church, and will be a talk on Mental Health.

If you are considering joining the Guild – and why not – Betty Snow can answer any questions you may have. Call her on 812694.

At the Floral Club… on the Thursday of last week, members and guests thoroughly enjoyed not only Susan Shaw’s excellent demonstration of Christmas floral arrangements but also her wonderful rendition of ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ which led to a whole lot of laughter from all those present. At the end, the raffle saw many happy winners.

The Club’s December meeting will be a Christmas lunch, over in Pett, for members. If you would like more information about this well-supported club, please contact Sheila Benson, the Chairman, on 01797 223927.

Ann Rachlin, MBE… will ‘Say It With Music’ at St Thomas’ Church, Winchelsea this Sunday, December 8 at 6.30 pm, as she, accompanist and MD Iain Kerr plus London’s Pegasus Choir, take their audience through the life and music of Irving Berlin. Tickets are £10 each, available from Winchelsea Post Office, or by giving Iain a call on 814477.

Who you gonna call…? Well, certainly not these Bankbusters. A local resident received a call last week when a woman on the other end of the phone said ‘Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you – get back to us quickly. I have something important to tell you.’ And she then she repeated a phone number beginning with 0809. They did not respond. Then they received an email saying do not dial area code 0809, 0284, or 0876 from the UK. (Or, indeed, from the USA, Canada or Australia.) These codes are based in the Dominican Republic and the caller is operating a neat and nasty scam. You will hear a long recorded message (!), and you will be charged £1,500 per minute. That is not a misprint. Your IT supplier will not be able to argue your corner, because you made the return call of your own volition, and they are merely supplying billing services to the caller. Check out the numbers on Google, but don’t make that call!