MOPPs: Today Celia King will be back with her ever popular Chair-Based Exercises and Sean from Eye Concern will be visiting to book appointments for free NHS Sight Tests. Lunch will be Bacon Pudding followed by Gateau. Next week, Friday 27th May, singer Tim Gibson entertains with hits from Roy Orbison to Elvis Presley and ballads from Dean Martin to Matt Monro. Lunch will be Roast Pork and if you have room, Fruit Jelly for afters.

Parish Council: Next Tuesday sees the monthly Parish Council meeting at the Village Hall (7.15 start) and this is the Annual Meeting at which among other things, the roles of the Officers is decided and the Chair for the next twelve months selected. There will also be updates on ongoing issues including the Queen`s 90th Birthday celebrations and a speedwatch report. Members will also deliver their usual monthly reports.

Fairlight Art Exhibition: Tomorrow, Saturday, it’s the Fairlight Art Club’s annual Exhibition and Cheese and Wine evening in the Village Hall from 6 to 9pm. For just £4 (£5 on the door) you can enjoy the usual high artistic standards while enjoying a glass of wine and supper at the social event of the year. Tickets are available from Fairlight Post Office or phone Sue on 01424-250111. Most pictures are for sale, so why not grab a bargain?

Stonelink Valley: A packed Parish Assembly (about 100 present) heard a presentation by the landowner’s agent about proposals for a managed nature reserve on the field and ancient woodland opposite the Post Office. Mother Nature, we heard, needs human intervention if she is to achieve her targets of biodiversity and biomass. This involves expense which cannot be sustained indefinitely by any landowner. The proposal is to let the land on a long lease (how long?) to a company limited by guarantee which would manage the land. This would involve coppicing small areas at a time, planting and laying hedges, fencing and relaunching the Growers’ Association (a bit like allotments). Courses would be run on a commercial basis to teach forestry and country crafts. Public footpaths would be maintained, even enhanced - work had been done already. Visitors and participants would be brought in by bus to avoid parking problems on site. Any buildings necessary would be small. Rother District Council, the AONB, RSPCA at Mallydams etc had already been consulted. The Parish Council had been informed and had suggested the Assembly as the best way of involving residents.

A well-supported petition against the proposals had been circulating in advance of the Assembly and a number of residents living near the land spoke forcibly expressing their fears there would be development on the site and that it would lead to noise from parties and other commercial activity. The landowner personally gave assurances his family would hold no more noisy birthday parties on the land. A couple of brave residents spoke in favour of giving the ideas a chance, and were applauded, though whether for their views or their pluck is not known.

Thanks must go to Parish Council Chair, Cllr the Rev. Val Gibbs, for chairing the very warm debate.

Lutman Award: This year’s John Lutman Award for Community Service went to Shirley Gilbert who is stepping down after over twenty years as secretary of organisations such as the Village Hall Committee and the Tuesday Ladies’ Club. Shirley was presented with the Award by Janet Lutman at the Parish Assembly and immediately nominated MOPPS (the Marsham Older People’s Day Centre) to receive the £150 award. Well done Shirley.

Open Gardens & Street Party: To mark the Queen’s official birthday on Saturday 11 June two complimentary events have been organised. Gardens in Fairlight will be opened to the public in aid of the cliff preservation fund and then, from 4.30 to 7pm, there will be a street party by the Village Hall in The Broadway. Bring a plate of food and wear red, white and blue. Please note The Broadway will be closed to traffic for the party.

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