Netherfield Church - The service this week Sunday July 6 will be an All Age Worship at Mountfield. The rest of the month will follow the normal pattern of Holy Communions at Brightling, Mountfield and then Netherfield. All services start at 10 am. Paul Smith, Churchwarden.

The mobile library will be outside the shop from 11.50 – 12.10 today, Friday July 4 and on Friday July 18.

Netherfield Breakaway Club. Our April meeting took us on a trip around Britain, when one of our members Debbie Dann gave an extremely interesting talk and slide show on ‘Follies of Britain’. A previous excellent speaker, Debbie was welcomed back, this time on a totally different subject! In her travels Debbie had taken many photographs of follies in no less than 10 counties including our own local Jack Fuller buildings. The meaning of folly is ‘a costly useless structure’ bat a true folly is erected to satisfy and give pleasure to the builder and greatly satisfy the stranger. A lot of research had gone into Debbie’s presentation and the information provided together with clear and stunning photos of large and small objects, some in very unusual places made the time slip by too quickly! She was thanked for her talk and we look forward to another subject in the not too distant future. Teas and coffees were handed round and Sheila and Valda looked after the raffle. May wished to stand down from organising this and was thanked for her long term commitment. A monthly rota was organised. The September outing was discussed and members informed that this would be something different, commencing at Bodiam, meeting at 11.20am for a trip on the Kent & East Sussex Railway to include ploughman’s lunch. The outing on May 15 to Friary Gardens would start at The Harrow Inn at 12 noon for those who wished to have lunch first, otherwise to meet at the gardens at 2.30pm for a tour and talk and the opportunity to buy some of the many plants available at very reasonable prices.

The May visit to Friary Gardeners took place on a warm day and was well attended, starting with lunch for some members and friends at The Harrow Inn, in a pleasant and convivial atmosphere and then meeting at the gardens. We were welcomed by Roger, the manager who is a very experienced horticulturist, and has been involved with the project since it was originally established in 1988 and based at Ore Place Farm on The Ridge since early 1995. A few years ago there were concerns that the Farm was to be sold and the gardens closed but fortunately the money to purchase it was raised through much advertising, public support and funding and Friary Gardeners is now part of The Parchment Trust Ltd., a local charity based in Hastings providing horticultural training for adults with learning disabilities. The aim being to create a balance between purposeful occupation, hard work and a relaxed atmosphere, there are sports’ days and many activities organised for the folks who are of a wide age range and very happy to meet and greet their many visitors and customers! There are two large poly-tunnels, two large walled gardens and a plant propagation unit. Plants are raised from seed as well as growing on spring bedding, perennials and vegetables are for selling on to the public Mondays to Fridays, 9 am to 3.30 pm (closed Bank Holidays). There is a kitchen, craft workshop, changing Places toilet facility for those with complex physical support needs and the whole site is wheelchair accessible. Entrance is down the lane by St Helen’s church (signposted Cooper’s Vets). The gardens are beautifully tended and wedding receptions have taken place there! Members who had not visited before were very impressed by the quality and prices of the plants. We enjoyed a talk with slides by Roger followed by tea and biscuits and were able to visit Old St Helen’s Church through the connecting doorway. This church is one of the oldest buildings in Hastings, built in the late 11th century and with many local connections set in a beautiful and peaceful spot.

We thanked Roger for giving up his time and many plants and some delicious homemade jams were purchased. We all agreed a most enjoyable time had been spent together and we would be returning! Please visit Friary Gardeners “where people grow and plants smile”!

Maria Standen

Swallow Farm