Pews News: Back to the more familiar routine after Christmas – but with some interesting additions and innovations to come in the year ahead. But this Sunday, they start with an 8 am Holy Communion service at St Peter’s, and the there is a 9 am pyjama breakfast with Junior Church at St Andrew’s. Still at St Andrew’s, and following quickly on from the pyjama breakfast, is the 10.30 am Morning Praise service. The theme will be ‘Focus on the Future’. Of course, if you are a Methodist rather than C of E, there is a Covenant Service at 10.45 at ‘our’ Methodist church, which is actually Pett Methodist chapel.

MOPPs today and next Friday: There’s entertainment from the ‘Different Strokes’ Singing Trio, with a lunch of quiche and cheesy mash, and sponge and custard. That’s main and a pud, not all on the same plate! Incidentally, this is the day when the free toe-nail cutting service starts. Next Friday, January 16, you’ll be puzzling over Bob and Dec’s ‘Famous Quiz’. Bob and Dec are appearing after their regular run of shows, not at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, but at the Fairlight Cove. A quiz should set you up nicely for the lunch, which will be roast beef followed by fruit jelly. Two weeks programmes, then, demonstrating that there is surely a feast of fellowship, fun and food on offer each Friday. It really is time you joined in and became a regular! Call the popular and personable co-ordinator, Robert Pasterfield, on 07860 414277. He’s got all the details.

The Players prepare: The Fairlight Players are taking the first steps on the road that will lead to their April production, which will be the famous ‘The Cat and the Canary’, a spoof horror play by John Willard, which has been adapted by and will be directed by Keith Pollard. As is now their custom, they will be having a Read Through on Monday next, January 12, with the auditions following on Thursday, January 15. Both evenings are in the village hall at 7.30 pm. The group rehearses each Monday and Thursday until the run of the show, which is Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 April, although they will not start until February when this year’s panto is over. For more information, or if you are interested but unable to attend the auditions whether to take a part or help backstage, please call Keith Pollard on 813631 or Carol Ardley on 814178 or email keefiepollard@btinternet.com New members, be they acting or non-acting, will be made most welcome by this friendly group.

The Panto Group: Rapunzel back on course again with rehearsals resuming and the stage fit-up set after the Christmas break, and it’s not long now until the actual run of the show, which is from Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 January. All of which should remind you that time is running short to book your tickets at the Post Office, where there are still some remaining. They’re £6 for adults and £3 for children for the first three performances, and £6 for all seats of the final, Saturday night show.

The Village Choir: is taking a break for the month of January, and will next meet for rehearsals on Monday, February 2 at Pett Methodist Chapel at 7.30 pm. However, clearly believing in the ‘all work and no play’ maxim, they will be having a social get-together on the evening of Monday next, January 12. Wendy Hatch has the details!

Activate Youth Club: Among all the usual village activities getting back into their stride after the Christmas and New Year season is the Activate Youth Club. In fact, it recommenced operations on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, which I missed – I hope you didn’t! Their other well-known activity, Busyart, the after-school art and craft club, will not be meeting until Monday, February 2 at 3.45 pm.

Playgroup Jumble Sale: This fantastic annual fund-raiser will all be happening in the village hall on Saturday, February 28 from 10 am to 12.30 pm. This is one of the few events in the hall that actually sees a queue formed awaiting the opening of the doors, rather like John Lewis on Boxing Day! But this note is not intended to urge you to attend and pick up a bargain – that will come nearer the day itself – but to invite you to have a premature spring clean of nice items you no longer need or have room for, and to donate them to the Playgroup. If you have such items and would like them collected, please Nicole on either 814284 or 0778 890 1009, and she will see to it. Unfortunately, they are unable to accept electrical items.

The Concept of the Precept: The serious bit – which really needs to be read! Our village precept is at present, set to raise £32,000 a year, which means a Band D household pays £37.18 per year - about 72p per week. For perspective, of the other 32 Rother parish and town councils, 23 charge more per household than us and 9 less than us. There will be unusually heavy demands on Fairlight finances over the coming years. In relation to the cliff the Parish Council can (subject to consultation with the village) borrow at very favourable rates over a very long term. However, the loan will have to be repaid, and the Council will have to consider how much of the burden should fall in the next few years and how much in the more remote future. There are reserves and it might just be possible to hold the precept at present levels and still make a substantial contribution. But this would make it difficult to provide the level of service the village deserves in other areas and make Fairlight a hostage to fortune should anything unexpected arise. At the November PC meeting Parish Councillors were in principle prepared to increase the precept. A final decision is expected to be taken at the first meeting of 2015, coming up on Tuesday, January 27. The PC assures all residents that nothing drastic is proposed. For example to raise an additional £12,754 would require a total weekly payment of £1 per week per Band D household. Though this is a 39% increase, it still doesn’t amount to a row of beans. If you have any views on this please get in touch. The Council needs to know what you think. Please contact the Chairman, Cllr Andrew Mier, in the first instance, on 814178. Andrew’s email address will be made available to you when you call him. Outside of the high potential cliff expense, there could be a call on parish resources to help with the Community Post Office project.

Parish Councillor needed: Despite the fact that the Parish Council is currently running smoothly, its performance could probably be improved were they fully up to strength. Isn’t there some community-minded individual out there who would be willing to be co-opted to fill the vacancy that exists? The burden is not huge, but any job a newcomer would be allotted would obviously carry some demands on his or her time. But all in a good cause, contributing to the well-being of the delightful village in which we are privileged to dwell.

Mea Culpa?: Acting, as they say, ‘on information received’, I had the temerity to be critical of some aspects of Kier’s rubbish service (sic) last week. My note was not intended to be provocative, and I don’t for a minute suggest there is revenge involved, but post-Christmas my recycling collection was missed, as I write, for at least six days. Calls and emails to Rother had no effect. And not just my recycling, but the other 49-odd bins on Broadway, too. This has happened before, so it probably boils down to management incompetence again. The holiday period meant no one was ever available to take any action. Forgetting the Fire Service and the Police for a moment, both of them worth every penny but necessarily expensive, and most people think they’re paying their Council Tax for their rubbish to be removed. What about a rebate, then?

Keith Pollard

Brookfield, Broadway