Church Matters: This Sunday there is to be a 10.30 am service of All Age Worship at St Andrew’s, which will be led by the Rector, Richard Barron. This is the monthly Family Service and the theme is Teamwork. They will be bearing in mind that on Wednesday next, September 9, Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest reigning monarch in British history, as she passes Queen Victoria’s own long reign on that day. In anticipation of this event, the Queen will be honoured in the prayers and worship on Sunday. In the day’s second service, Rev Kay Burnett will lead Holy Communion at St Peter’s at 6 pm.

A Tribute and Commemoration: Tomorrow, Saturday, September 5, there will be service both as a Tribute and a Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War at St Andrew’s Church at 7 pm. Together with the local branch of the British Legion, the service will feature evocative words and music, and all will be welcome. Afterwards, refreshments will be available.

Midweek Meetings at St Peter’s: The first in the new series of Wednesday meetings, occurring every fortnight, happened two days ago. The next will therefore be on Wednesday, September 16, at St Peter’s from 6 until 8 pm. The meetings start with a hot meal! If you missed the first one but are keen to attend from now on, please call Valerie Hornsby on 814428 for more details, or to ask her to arrange a lift.

A Time to be Silent: There is to be a time of shared silence and meditation on Thursday, September 24 at 2.30 pm at St Nicholas’ Church, Pett Level. The meeting will last about half an hour, and will consist of opening words from the Rev Kay Burnett, with a little music to further lead those present into quiet, followed by about 20 to 25 minutes of silence. It is hoped to continue with such meetings on a monthly basis thereafter. ‘Remember what peace there may be in silence.’

MOPPs this week and next: Today, Friday, September 4, the popular entertainer Keith Osbourne will be along with Music for Health, and there’ll be a Star Prize for the raffle. Lunch will be roast beef and then Pavlova for pud. Next week, on Friday, September 11, the entertainment (!) will be the group’s Annual General Meeting. Lunch will consist of fish pie, with cheesecake to follow, purely coincidentally.

The calm before the storm?: Just the opposite, actually, at this month’s Parish Council when the new Hastings Country Park Visitor Centre was discussed. At last month’s meeting, a packed public attendance was highly vociferous on how the Council should move forward on this subject, and it was agreed that Groundwork South should be invited to attend, along with Murray Davidson, Hastings Council’s Head of Environment and Natural Resources, and Cllr Warren Davies, portfolio holder of the relevant Council section. A request was also made for Fairlight to be afforded a representative on the Project Board. In the event, Fiona Wellings from Groundwork South, who will be administering the new centre, and Mr Davidson attended, and many may have anticipated giving them a warm reception. It didn’t happen. There were fewer present than the previous month, and Murray Davidson presented his facts quietly and professionally, without in fact imparting very much we didn’t already know. The one fact that was disturbing was that Groundwork’s recommended build using compressed straw, if I’ve read it correctly, came in at an estimated cost double what had been budgeted. This is a disturbing variance, of an order that should not have occurred. They are now also considering a possible ‘flat pack’ build, (from Ikea perhaps?), or a traditional bricks and mortar construction. When Mr Davidson was questioned as to whether or not what he said would hold for all time, he reasonably said no one could make such a prediction. It was confirmed that Haydon Luke, well known local historian and author, would be Fairlight’s rep, a popular and sensible selection as Mr Luke is both well informed and possessed of the necessary degree of gravitas.

Fairlight; A Sussex Village by the Sea: And talking of Haydon Luke, I am reminded that his excellent and comprehensive book, Fairlight: A Sussex Village by the Sea, is almost sold out, and Haydon is not anticipating a reprint. There is a likelihood of new bits and pieces of research appearing in Fairlight News from time to time, as both Haydon and fellow local historian Paul Draper work closely together gathering and archiving new material relevant to Fairlight’s history. If you have yet to get your copy, you should try Fairlight Post Office, the Coastguard Tea Rooms, Wakehams Farm Shop and the (old) Country Park Visitor Centre, each of which is carrying a few copies. You’ve read it before, but ‘when they’re gone, they’re gone.’

The Parish Council meeting: There was, of course, a full evening’s business for the Parish Council quite apart from the new Visitor Centre. It was decided that it was a good time to go for an upgrade to the village CCTV facility, and one quote had been obtained of £2,364. Other quotations will be obtained. As they presently have a glut of players, the Table Tennis Club had requested that the Council should hold its meetings, which coincide on a Tuesday with the table tennis, in St Peter’s Church. It was felt that this alternative venue was too small for the purpose, even with minimal numbers of public present. When there are more contentious items on the agenda, even the small hall in the village hall can become uncomfortably overcrowded.

The children’s playground on Wood Field Rec. is suffering from a spate of unwanted food being distributed over the ground. This encourages foxes and other wildlife to regard the area as a free café, even to the extent of removing items from the bin. It was agreed to explore the provision of a lidded bin.

The Floral Club: August’s meeting saw visiting demonstrator Hazel McGregor present her ‘Floral Fusion’, a masterful exhibition of the flower arranger’s art. Not only was this demonstration straight out of the top drawer, but it was also a beautifully executed double act, as Hazel’s husband, Robin, provided all the assistance she needed, unobtrusively and right on cue. The enthusiasm their display generated guarantees that they will be asked to return sooner or later. The September meeting will be a practice session for the members. They now have even more to aspire to!

Room 101: Many of you will recall that in George Orwell’s 1984, Room 101 is a torture chamber which contains whatever is the worst thing in your world. Everyone may be different, but in a clever twist, our bus operators, Stagecoach, have given their 101 torture chamber wheels, and called it the service that runs through our village, albeit intermittently and indeterminately. And for one resident, Carol Ardley, enough is enough, and she has taken up the cudgels following a string of instances of poor service. Carol has written a letter to our MP, and to County Cllr Carl Maynard, who holds the Transport remit. Carol says it has been common for the bus to be 20 minutes late or more, which prompts a white-knuckle ride trying to make up time. The buses have in fact failed to turn up on several occasions. And then her experience on the Tuesday of last week left her cold, very wet and fuming. She had arrived at the Harold Place, Hastings, bus stop at about 11.40 am for the expected 11.47 to Rye and Fairlight. The bus shelter was full of hopeful prospective passengers. By 12.15 the bus had not arrived and the high winds had turned to a steady rain. The 100 bus came and went, followed at 11.35 by a double decker displaying a ‘Not in service’ sign, although it looked to be carrying passengers. The bus went past. She then phoned the bus company to be told ‘the 101 is at Harold Place and is “running late”. When the bus company official told her where the bus was, he was plainly tracking the ‘not in service’ bus. This man then said there was another due in 15 minutes. The shelter was now very crowded as the queue was forming for the 12.47 bus, some of whom were very elderly as well as children in pushchairs, and all were getting very cold and wet. The 12.47 arrived around 1.20 - thirty three minutes late. At 12.45 my partner, back home in Fairlight, spotted what one can only assume to be the ‘Not in service’ bus which, having turned into Fairlight Village, was travelling at a brisk pace round the circle roundabout without stopping. Cllr Maynard has promised a response within ten working days.

Gardening Club: The Club welcomes back Roger Hambrook, the Manager at Friary Gardens, for their meeting on Monday next, September 7 at 2.30 pm in the Village Hall. His previous visit to the club was in 2012, so it will be interesting to learn how the project has developed. Established in 1988, Friary Gardeners is now based at Ore Place Farm, a two acre site of gardens and polytunnels. Friary Gardeners is a registered charity which provides support, occupation and education to adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, in a relaxed friendly atmosphere, and each day some 35 to 40 people with differing needs attend the two acre site, propagating seeds, (which are then grown on for sale to the general public), growing fruit and vegetables, assisting less able people in the community to maintain their gardens, and working on crafts and ceramics. The site is open to the public Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm and offers gardeners great quality plants at very competitive prices. All proceeds from sales go to supporting the charity’s continuing work. Any visitors from Fairlight will have noticed how the facilities have grown during the last three years. Non-members are always welcome to club talks and meetings at a cost of a mere £2.

They’re at it again!: Bob and Dec will be presenting the latest in their series of quizzes at the Cove on Wednesday, September 16, starting at 8 pm. this will be another of their 1960’s Quizzes, which should please locals who can remember far more about that period than they can about the last twelve months! Always deservedly well supported, why not join them this time round?

Sanctuary much: You may recall the earlier Voice note about the postponement of a proposed table sale in support of an excellent donkey rescue at a sanctuary on the island of Corfu being run by a British woman, homing abandoned donkeys and helping those that are injured or sick. Well, the sale has now been rearranged, and will be taking place on Saturday, September 26, in the village hall starting at 1.30 pm. This is not to remind you to attend, but to prompt you into donating bric-a-brac, clothes, toys and plants and what-have-you that you have been pleased to own, but would now like someone else to enjoy them. Joyce Grant is the organiser of the sale, along with her daughter Dawn, who discovered the facility while on holiday, and can arrange collection of your goodies if you give her a call on 814172.

Open Gardens 2016: A reminder about the 2016 Open Gardens Weekend of Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, 2016, to raise funds in support of Stage III of the Fairlight Preservation Trust Cliff project. Those interested in taking part, whether as experienced garden-showers or newcomers, are invited to an initial meeting to discuss the event this Sunday, September 6 from 10.30 am to 12.30pm at Deforel in Sea Road. Just email Roz Webb at roz@mrzen.co.uk to confirm you will be there.

The Keep Fit Club: starts again on Wednesday next, September 9, and runs weekly, but not weakly, until finishing on December 16. There’s one proviso, however, in that there will be no class on September 23. Some spaces are available so if you would like to join this happy, if slightly mad, group, please contact Jill Lewing on 812340 or by email to jill.lewing@btinternet.com

Plant Fair: Fairlight Hall seems to have had a higher profile presence this year on the garden front, with Head Gardener Peter Godwin having hosted a Gardening Club visit to the Hall’s gardens, and he followed this by giving a talk to the Club when a planned speaker was obliged to withdraw. Not only did he stand in at short notice, but he delivered his talk on the same subject as had been originally proposed. In addition to all this, there has been a series of four ‘lunch and lecture’ sessions, one each month, and there are two more still to come in October and November. And now there is news of a Plant Fair on Saturday and Sunday September 19 and 20, with free admission and parking, from 10 am to 4 pm each day. There are posters for the Fair across much of East Sussex, though many do not mention those opening times.

Looking at trees: Possibly a bit like talking to trees, but quieter, and this is in Hastings Country Park on Saturday, September 12, at 10.30am. The meeting point is at Hastings Country Park Visitor Centre, and Friends of the Park invite you to join them for a walk in the country park led by national tree expert, Dr Owen Johnson, who will be looking at some of the fascinating trees to be found there in splendid variety. There is a £2 charge for attendance, though it is free to Friends of the Country Park. As ever, if you need more information, contact Jill Howell on 815256. Sorry, but dogs are not allowed, but there are toilets available, if that is any consolation.

Congratulations to Phyllis Utpadel: Phyllis is one of six children born to Leonard and Francis Job at Wrotham Heath Golf Club, near Sevenoaks. She joined the clerical side of the NAAFI in 1949, leaving Liverpool by ship with no idea where they would end up. It turned out to be Port Said in Egypt where she stayed for four years, and then it was on to Libya until 1971 when she and her husband retired to Malta. When they moved here to Shepherds Way in 2000, Phyllis was already 86! On August 25, she reached her 100th birthday, with cards from HM the Queen – and Ian Duncan Smith – among many, many others. She had her birthday lunch at Webbe’s, and a big family ‘do’ at her home last Sunday. This is one amazing lady, who has had a wonderful and interesting life, which she can still tell you about! Sue Norris, well known in the village, is her granddaughter and it was Sue’s childhood inability to say ‘Phyllis’ that led to her calling her Fifi – which all who know Phyllis have now adopted. What an advert for Fairlight. Our sincere congratulations, Phyllis. Here’s to many more!

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