Fairlight village voice - March 30

In church this week… Sunday, April 1 is Palm Sunday, and there will be an All Age Service at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am which will included the distribution of Palm Crosses, remembering Jesus’ triumphal ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. The service will be led by lay reader Ken Holmes.

Thursday, April 5 is Maundy Thursday, and it will be marked by Holy Communion at 7.30pm in St Peters. This is a Benefice service with Pett, remembering The Last Supper, and the service is to be led by the Rev. Kay Burnett

And then, the following morning being Good Friday, there is to be a Meditative Service, remembering Jesus’ crucifixion on the Cross. This is at St Andrews at 10.30 am, again with Rev Kay Burnett.

Last Saturday’s Spring Fayre… of the local branch of the RSPCA was a pleasant event, enjoyed by all who attended. It raised much needed funds for the branch, which has an amazing record in the re-homing of rescue animals.

As an early notification, the local branch will be running a Fun Dog Show during the coming Fairfest afternoon at the end of August. Watch this space for details of how to enter your own pooch. Re-homed and rescue dogs will, of course, be especially welcome!

Quizlings enjoyed their evening… There were more than 70 in attendance for the Players’ Quiz and Supper evening, which went down well last Saturday, despite running almost as long as an uncut production of Hamlet. Now the group will be concentrating its efforts fully on polishing up the hilariously entertaining The Murder of Maria Marten, which will be up and running four weeks from yesterday. Tickets will go on sale at the Post Office very shortly now.

A half marathon… is 13 miles, 192 yards, 1 foot and 6 inches – as any fule kno. I mention this out of respect for all those remarkable souls who ran this distance last weekend round Hastings in aid of all manner of charities and pet projects, and also because the distance, without the miles, would probably be about enough for me. But it was not so for Alice Tigwell, who ran her half-marathon to raise funds for the Activate Youth Club. She completed her task in a mere 2 hours 33 minutes, and by so doing swelled the club’s finances by £200. Very well done, Alice!

Nine days ago… the Literary Society were entertained by Colin Page, from Harborough Nurseries and also an a highly accomplished and artistic photographer, whose illustrated talk Moods of the Marsh was much appreciated by the goodly show of members present. Part of the Society’s treat for members is the supply of recycled books from donors, and there were several ‘new’ books on display, but not for long! I understand that more of the same are promised!

The Floral Club… held their AGM eight days ago, with the attendance disappointingly modest. The officers and the committee were re-elected for another year, with the exception of the Treasurer who has had to resign for personal reasons. Shirley Lancaster was duly nominated and elected as the new Treasurer, while Valerie Wood was voted in as a Committee Member.

The club is getting very concerned about its future. The Chairman/Secretary’s term of office finishes at the next AGM, and so if the club is to carry on under the umbrella of NAFAS they need to find both a new Chairman and a new Secretary. Without being affiliated to their national association, the club would not be able to book Area and National Demonstrators, a sad state of affairs as these talented and imaginative people give so much pleasure when they come to the meetings. Not only do demonstrators keep everyone amused with their chat whilst making beautiful floral arrangements, there is also a great deal to be learnt from them.

On Monday, April 23 at 10.30 am members of the committee and a few other wise heads will be doing a Design Set-Up for this year’s Flower Festival, entitled Tempus Fugit. The festival will be held on July 21 and 22 in the Village Hall.

The club’s next meeting will be on April 26 at 2.30 pm, and will consist of a demonstration by Debbie Dann entitled Particularly Floral. Everyone will be welcome, with visitors admission only £4.

The Gardening Club’s AGM… is this coming Monday in St Peter’s Church at 2.30. This will be a Bring and Share Social, replacing the one that was missed in the New Year due to the weather. So get along and have your say in the running of the Club and enjoy a cup of tea and a little something to eat with your fellow gardeners! You may pay your subscriptions at the meeting if you wish.

An important coffee morning… is being held in the village hall tomorrow, Saturday, March 31 from 10 am to 12 noon in the Village Hall. The object is to raise much needed funds for the Acorn Project in Zambia. This project is run by Ann Rudy, who was born in Hastings, but moved to Zambia in 1965 now spends her time between there and the UK. The Project was established in 2003 to assist highly vulnerably members of the local community, including babies, orphans, (some of whom have been HIV positive from birth), widows and extended families trying to care for orphans and adults who, due to HIV or AIDS related illnesses, are unable to care for themselves, and the elderly who are often the only adults left to care for orphaned grandchildren.

The main work of the Project centres on the children who attend learning sessions from Monday to Friday eleven months of the year. All teaching is based on Christian principles and starts with an hour of assembly, when the children learn hymns, songs, poetry and rhyme, which they greatly enjoy. The entire operation is dependent on donations, so this coffee morning is vital to its continuing success.

In February 2003, some 25 children attended the newly opened project, and by January 2011 the number attending had risen to 109. There is also a long waiting list. Each child gets a two course nutritious high protein meal at the end of each teaching session and vitamin supplements are also given. All learning materials, i.e. books, pens, pencils and other learning aids are supplied free of charge.

Please go along and enjoy a cup of coffee, (or cappuccino, or latte, or tea), plus biscuit. Or you could purchase cake if you prefer it. There is no entrance fee, but there will be a few stalls of things to purchase and also a raffle and a Bring and Buy Stall. Suzy Gailbraith and Betty Snow will be looking out to see you there!

A broadband upgrade… will have taken place by the time you are reading this item. You should get an improved, more consistent connection, and your speed might improve too. You may well have lost your broadband and phone connections for up to ten minutes, but unless you were at home and online when BT did the work, you probably didn’t notice the downtime. Your broadband and phone should have started again automatically.

This is the important bit - after your upgrade, your broadband might slow down or even stop now and again. That’s normal. It’ll take up to ten days for the broadband to settle down. But you can help it along by leaving your BT Home Hub on and using your broadband as much as you can for this time. People with previous experience of such upgrades say this certainly does help. It is not a ploy to get you to break your fair usage clause and thus incur extra charges for exceeding your contracted monthly allowance.

The only fly in the ointment was a copy of BT’s plan which was emailed under Andrew Mier’s FRA information scheme, in which they said they would do the work on Wednesday, March 28. In another almost identical copy of their plan, sent personally to their customers, they give the work date as Thursday, March 29. Either way, it should all be done and dusted by now, and things can only get better. As I find my internet connection is not at all bad, the fact that my speed just might improve is not the joyous news I would hope for. My best speed is about a third of what I would get in Greater London, despite government claims of their desire to move to a more level playing field for all, especially rural locations.The Market Garden site… new owners Gem Select have said they would like to explain their plans to the village before proceeding to a formal planning application (to be decided by Rother District Council) and intend to hire the Village Hall for that purpose. This should give everyone a chance to comment informally and, of course, everyone can comment formally if and when a planning application is made.

Both the Parish Council and the Fairlight Preservation Trust have for some time pressed for the site to be put to community use, as it is the last open space within the village. The designation of the site for housing was opposed at the Public Inquiry in 2005 on grounds principally concerning the site’s proximity to the cliff - this was prior to the remedial work carried out in the vicinity of Rockmead Road in 2007. Despite the Inspector’s findings, the site is designated for housing. The two Fairlight bodies have continued to make representations that the site be put to community use, and it is pertinent to note that the well-supported Village Action Plan survey found almost no demand from within the village for new housing, excepting a very small demand from older people for suitable accommodation.

Whatever local views are held, there will almost certainly be a planning application for housing, which will be considered against the background of Rother’s Local Plan. Gem Select’s plan shows 22 dwellings in total (not the 23 I erroneously claimed early in March) of which 8 are to be sheltered flats. There may be reservations expressed about the density of the proposed housing and tenure, although the figure, at 44, is well within the 30 to 50 dwellings per hectare recommended. The developer will need to deal with considerable drainage, wildlife and Japanese Knotweed issues.

Keith Pollard, Brookfield, Broadway