Church Matters: This Sunday, December 6, is the 2nd Sunday in Advent, and there will be a 10.30 am service of Family Worship at St Andrew’s, led by the Rev Richard Barron. The theme is ‘Getting Ready’. All families and mums and dads are encouraged to go along.

At the winter-time start of 4 pm, there will Holy Communion at St Peter’s, led by the Rev Kay Burnett.

On the following Wednesday, December 9, you can get into the Spirit of Christmas from 7 to 9 pm at St Peter’s Church. This will be a relaxed, fun evening with music, carols, mince pies and mulled wine. You will be welcome to come and go as you please.

Incidentally, there is an Advent Quiet Day, organised by Churches Together in Rye and District tomorrow, Saturday, December 5, at The Coach House, Manor Gardens, Bexhill from10 am to 3 pm. The quiet will be led by the Rev Peggy Heim. You are invited to take your own lunch. But eat it quietly…

MOPPs: Today, Friday, December 4, guitarist and vocalist Tim Gibson will be entertaining the members, and there’s to be a star prize for the raffle as well. Lunch today will be chicken chasseur followed by upside down pudding. Next Friday, December 11, you’ll be able to enjoy a Christmas Table Sale, and Carols with Chairman Jim Saphin, who will need to be in his usual excellent voice as he has a busy December in prospect. Oh, and there’s free toe-nail cutting, too. That day’s lunch is cottage pie with meringue, fruit and cream to follow.

Activate and Fairfest Race Night: Last Saturday’s Race Night, masterminded by Bez Cuss, was declared highly enjoyable by the goodly crowd who attended this smoothly run event. It is hoped that the two worthy organisations who put on the show gathered themselves a good few bob for their causes.

The Fairlight Village Hall Christmas Fair: Don’t you dare to forget the village hall’s always enjoyable Fair tomorrow, from 12 noon to 3 pm. All the stalls and games you love patronising will be there, along with lunches, tea, coffee and cakes, and something interesting, mulled and warming from the Wine and Social Club. It’s your attendance at their biannual fairs that enables the Hall Committee to make improvements – and to keep the hire fees at such a reasonable level! If you’re wondering whether to go or not, be tempted by the knowledge that Santa Claus will arrive at midday.

The Gardening Club: It’s their December meeting next Monday, at 2.30 pm in the village hall at 2.30 pm start, when a change of speaker means the Club will be lucky to be hearing Haydon Luke. This popular author and historian will be talking some aspects of the History of Fairlight. Festive refreshments will be available, and non-members are welcome for the small £2 fee. You ought to go along, because the next meeting of the Gardening Club will not be until the AGM on Monday, February 1 next year.

Speakers Corner: Well known for his local speaking appearances, Laton Frewin will be the guest of the Speakers Corner next Wednesday, December 9, at 2.30 pm, and his subject will be Mary Queen of Scots. Don’t late or it’s off with your head…

The Wine and Social Club: It’s their Christmas Party a week tomorrow, Saturday December 12, from 7 to 11 pm. Members will have booked their places already, and will hardly need this reminder. They’ll be there alright!

The RSPCA Christmas Fayre: will be in the village hall on Saturday, December 19 from 10 am to 1 pm. Admission is a mere 50p, but this gets you a coffee or tea plus biscuits, which is a bargain in itself. There will be Christmas gifts, china and glass collectables, toys and games, dress jewellery, Father Christmas and a clairvoyant, raffles and much more. This Fayre is in support the Sussex East and Hastings branch of the RSPCA (Dogs and Cats), the local people who do so much good for the practical, tangible welfare of our numerous small four-legged friends, and seem, idealistically, to be a million miles away from their highly politicised HQ.

Zumba: Don’t let Mondays pass without thinking that you might be joining in with the Zumba classes from 10 to 11 am in the village hall. Ruth leads the occasions, and an hour is only £5. Some 20 million people worldwide participate each week and slowly, surely, numbers in Fairlight are building, too. Why not give it a try? Comfortable clothing and a bottle of water are the only accessories you will need.

The Neighbourhood Plan: Survey forms are currently being delivered to each property in Fairlight. You are asked to complete and return them so the Neighbourhood Planning Team

may become aware of your priorities. The forms will also be available at the Village Hall Christmas Fair tomorrow when the team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Recent comments in this column were incorrect, as I misinterpreted the conditions concerning the award of the three voucher prizes on offer. These will not be going to the best ideas submitted on the forms, but rather to three individuals drawn at random from all those submissions received by Friday, December 18. Read the form carefully and make your views clear. You could be a winner, but only if you submit your form!

It’s goodbye from her, and it’s good bye from him: The village is sorry to be saying goodbye to Betty and Derek Snow, leaving Fairlight after a residence of 20 years, moving to Cheddington, not far from Aylesbury – and only 10 minutes from their daughter Gillian. Their contributions to our village life have been considerable, with Betty being first Secretary, then Chairman and currently President of the Gardening Club. Betty undertook two separate five year terms as Chairman of the Floral Club, and was responsible for the inauguration of the Fairlight branch of the Trefoil Guild. She has been Secretary of the Methodist Church Council as well as Head Cook (but definitely not bottle-washer!) Derek, meanwhile, has been Treasurer of the Gardening Club and Pett Methodist Church, as well as being Treasurer of the Winchelsea Chapel, where Betty is also Secretary. Derek is at present unwell, and would not be allowed to move until he is totally fit to travel. We wish them both well in rural Bucks, and thank them for all their efforts for the community in Fairlight.

The appeal of Poppy Day: Local Royal British Legion Appeals Organiser John Pulfer reports that this year’s poppy house to house collections from the five villages area – Fairlight, Pett, Guestling, Icklesham and Three Oaks – raised the substantial sum of £4,555.05. Many thanks are due to all those who went out whatever the weather, and to all who donated so generously. The sum was slightly lower than was the case last year, which had enjoyed the impetus created by all the publicity surrounding the centenary of the start of the Great War, as it was known for 21 years before another conflict turned the Great War into WWI.

The Parish Council: met on the Tuesday of last week, as is their wont. There was an update on Bus Route 101, and all were advised that immediate timetable information is available by the use of a free app on your smartphone or tablet. What you need is called traveline gb, obtainable for Apple or Android devices. However, if your phone is not that smart, you can get hold of Stagecoach Hastings Customer Services by simply calling 441115 on a more old-fashioned phone.

Not as part of the meeting proper, but within the Open Forum, further unwelcome details about our bus service were raised. One concerned a family which had suffered three incidents involving their cars meeting with double deckers in a mere fortnight, with one in particular coming out of the incident damaged. Further comments from the same family stated that passengers were being ejected from the service at the Circle, to await a later service. As these passengers were schoolchildren, and it happened in the winter dark, it was pointed out that this was far from being a safe practice. It is to be hoped that Stagecoach, who responded well to earlier complaints, will address this new wave of adverse comments speedily.

The East Sussex County Council has declared that there will be cuts to their Adult Social Services, and that these are likely to be of the order of 80%. This could well have a devastating impact on our esteemed MOPPs, who could see their annual County Council grant of £4,600 reduced by £3,680 to a scant £920. Of course, the move will have a major impact on many other worthy institutions, too. Our Parish Council presently makes an annual grant to MOPPs of £1,000. In noting this fact, the Council moved on to discussion of the proposed precept for 2016-17, but the discussion was in outline only, as there is no need to fix a figure until the next meeting (which will be in January, as the Council enjoys a deserved December off).

The PC noted with appreciation that the proposed burning of the gorse which has been removed from the Firehills will not now take place. Fortunately, someone has seen sense at last, though it may well seem a pity such sense was not shown before the stuff was removed in the first place.

A report from Haydon Luke, as our representative on the Hastings Country Park Visitor Centre project, said that it was probable that the very high cost of the project could not obviated by changing the building construction to traditional materials, rather than the compressed straw walls and old tyres foundation, as this would entail re-applying for planning permission. It appears that this would not be at all desirable for Hastings Borough Council.

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