Church Matters: There’s just the one service in the Parish this Sunday, and it’s Holy Communion at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am.

Coming up next Sunday, June 28, the service of Morning Praise, like tomorrow’s service, will be at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am, and it will be special, concentrating on the theme of ‘Can Jesus Heal today?’ You will be welcome to attend, along with your friends, to receive prayer for healing at this service.

For your diary, a Hot Potato night will be with us on Saturday, July 4 at St Peter’s from 6.30 pm.

It’s a social event for church and community, with food — hot potatoes, of course, with a variety of fillings, and drinks. During the evening there will be a panel of people willing to answer questions about God, the church and faith. This is a great opportunity for anyone to receive answers to some difficult questions.

Further away still in your diary, there’ll be a Rectory Garden Party on Tuesday, July 28, from 2 until 5 pm. If the day is wet, the event will take place on Wednesday, July 29 at the same time. If that’s in the middle of a prolonged wet spell — they’ll think of something. There will be time to relax, look round the garden, listen to music or ask gardening questions, or to do all four things simultaneously.

MOPPs entertainment and food: Today, this popular group will have Maude’s Pilgrimage Talk, together with a visit from East Sussex Fire & Rescue. No, not all of them! It’s also time for the free toe-nail cutting service again. Lunch will be steak pie, followed by fruit flan. Next Friday, June 26, MOPPs will be able to enjoy Janice Bolton’s Country Dance, and then settle down to some delicious chicken and bacon, with the ever popular banoffee pie to follow.

Fairlight Floral Club: Next Thursday, June 25, the club will be welcoming Kent-based Jenny Nye, whose demonstration is entitled ‘Home and Away’. Jenny has successfully exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show, and her afternoon is an event to be looked forward to. Members, recovered from their creative efforts of last month, will be able to relax and watch an expert at work! It all begins at 2.15 pm, and visitors will be made very welcome.

The Americans were in town: The Sargent England Tour 2015 began last Monday when eleven members of the Sargent family arrived outside St Andrews Church. All of them are descended from John and Sarah Sargent who emigrated from Fairlight in 1857/8. The eleven looked all over the church, the graveyard and then ten of them, including one in his 80s, walked up the 110 steps of the tower to enjoy the extensive views. After that, the minibus took them to Waites Old Farmhouse where their ancestors had lived in the 1850s. The owners showed them the house and gardens and, in particular, the well. Jim Sargent had somehow managed to bring three bottles of water, collected from the Illinois River, through both US and UK customs. The water had been ceremoniously collected from the river at Frederick’s Landing, Illinois, the point at which the family had originally landed all those years ago. Jim gave a speech and then each person in turn poured a few drops of this cloudy water down the Farmhouse well while photos of this historic moment were taken.

A flying visit to Little Stonelynk in Rosemary Lane, which was another early Sargent home, was followed by a tour of Pett Church.

Day two meant ‘High Tea’ at the Fairlight Lodge Hotel, where Maggie and Nicola had arranged a magnificent spread of food. Haydon Luke gave a photo presentation and talk on the history of Fairlight. Paul Draper and Paul Lamb, the minibus driver and tour guide respectively, were made honorary ‘cousins’ and presented with T-shirts marked ‘Sargent 2015 England Tour’ in a short ceremony. Then Jim and Linda introduced a get-to-know-you game called ‘five five five’ where the 29 guests and hosts exchanged stories. The party adjourned to the bar to sing two songs, accompanied by Kath Barron at the piano. The first was a special family hymn, ‘Stilling the Sea’, followed by ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’. Group photos were taken outside for the record books!

Jim said that the annual family gatherings in the USA attract an average of 150 people and he promises to send annual parties to Fairlight! Not only do many Americans have a highly developed sense of family, but also an acute awareness of and sensitivity to heritage. Thanks go to Paul Draper, on-the-spot and at the wheel, for sharing his account of the two historic days.

Parish Council meeting: Up for discussion next Tuesday at 7.15 pm will be, among many other items, attention to our fingerposts (signposts to you and me), to agree the contractor and expenditure, and to discuss the request from Fairfest to cover the £152 cost of the public liability insurance for the July ‘bash’. There will be an update on the new Country Park Visitor Centre and a discussion on next course of action. The Council will address how they plan to resolve the current councillor vacancy. As usual, there will be reports on Highways and Transport Matters from Cllr Reverend Gibbs, and on Planning from Cllr Leadbetter, the latter to include the work of the Planning Committee, and a Neighbourhood Planning update. Under Land Management, it is understood that things are progressing nicely with regard to the reconductoring of the Fyrsway Substation. Whatever that may mean. Possibly that the work will be carried out by Sir Simon Rattle? Once more, they will discuss Southern Water in respect of Lower Waites Lane, and get on to the Gardening Club’s proposal for the circle. The salt and grit bins, and now the litter bins, seem to be a semi-permanent fixture on the agenda.

Your local RSPCA: Their Summer Fayre is coming up on Saturday, July 4 in the village hall from 10 am to 1 pm. As is usually the case for this popular and very rewarding group, whose work in the district is highly appreciated (see how many rescue dogs in Fairlight you can spot walking their owners!) they are seeking donations of good quality belongings for which you no longer have space. If necessary, Ann Craske would be able to collect your donations. Give her a call on 813434 between 10 am - 6 pm if you require her help.

Pett Methodist Chapel Anniversary Celebration: Entitled ‘Up the Garden Path’ their Art and Flower Exhibition takes place this weekend from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, June 20, and from 1.30 to 5 pm on Sunday, June 21. Saturday’s event includes Poets’ Corner at 3.30pm, a chance for people to share their favourite poems, be they self-penned or borrowed. Sunday’s showing will be preceded by Worship at 10.45 am with Rev Cynthia Park, and at 5 pm the Village Choir will be singing. Songs of Praise will follow at 6 pm. For the exhibition, there will be paintings and photographs by local artists and photographers, beautiful flower arrangements, plus stalls and refreshments. Don’t miss this, the third iteration of Pett Methodists’ biennial event.

Flicks in the Village: Coming to Pett Village Hall on Thursday, July 2, is ‘The Testament of Youth’, taken from the renowned young love and futility of war book by Vera Brittain, one of the best known pacifists of the last century (and also mother of Shirley Williams, now Baroness Williams of Crosby) Doors open at 7 for a 7.30 pm start for this well-liked film, released in the UK in January of this year.

Going swimmingly: Young local swimmer and Fairlight resident Andy Paige has come top in the County for his 50m Breaststroke, as well as coming third in the regional classification, and is now in the top two dozen in the whole country. Andy will be going to Malta in July, as part of the GB swimming team, for the FISEC (that’s the International Sports Federation for Catholic Schools) Games and then, next term, he will find himself at Mount Kelly Independent School in Tavistock in Devon, where development of young swimmers is fine-tuned in some amazing facilities. Good luck, Andy, and keep up the great work!

The Players AGM: is coming up a week tomorrow, on Saturday, June 27. The business part of the evening starts at 7.30 pm, and then there will be the usual fairly short entertainment, plus a Players’ supper. Members are reminded that they need to complete a tear-off slip so that those doing the catering are not serving up five loaves and two fishes at the last moment. The tin for your slip is in the Post Office, or you could ring Secretary Carol Ardley on 814178 direct.

Watch out for your cat: An impossible task, as they love to roam free, coming and going as they please. When they go missing, it’s often because they get locked in someone’s shed or the like, and usually they return home, a little skinnier, soon to be restored to robust health. But not always. A recent recurrent plea came from the Norris family, whose precious cat was missing for a considerable length of time, until a vet in Hawkhurst, alerted by a microchip, called to say that the poor creature had been killed in a road accident. That’s 19 miles away, and no cat has that amount of wanderlust. Thieves often strike against local cats and dogs, as many a forlorn poster in the village may prove. Do take notice of any untended cat or dog you may come across, while they are still just anxious and lost, before a thief has had a chance of striking. On which note, we mention a very fluffy black and brown female cat that is currently missing in the village. She could be shed bound, so please have a careful look, and if you find her, call Lynn on 814622.

Lights, action: The winter flat greyness and bare trees in the higher reaches of Battery Hill have been succeeded by minimal shafts of sunlight streaking through the tight canopy of green. And making the hill as dark as the Blackwall Tunnel in a power cut. Though it’s daytime, it would be sensible to put on your dipped headlights, which just might persuade the drivers of some of the classier marques not to ram you at a speed well in excess of 40 mph.

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