St John The Baptist Church Spring Fair: To remind you all once again the Annual Spring Fair will be at St. John the Baptist Church, Netherfield on Saturday 23rd April from 10-12pm. Can you afford to miss it?

Children’s pictures of St. George will highlighting the budding talents of our youngsters. Refreshments available too so nobody needs to go without a cuppa or a cake. There should be something for everyone to brighten up their day and bring a smile! The church looks forward to seeing friends old and new. So come along and enjoy the day

Catsfield Village Hall: Mike Cooper, Chairman Catsfield Village Hall in conjunction with Applause Rural Touring is proud to present “Bowjangles” as a one-off attraction. The group are a string quartet who can really play. What is more, they dance whilst they play, they sing whilst they play and they leap, tumble, juggle and joke whilst they play and yes, they are coming to Catsfield Village Hall (TN33 9DP) on Thursday 28th April at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale at Catsfield Village Stores at £10 (Concessions £7) or phone 01424 893498 or e-mail Free Parking, Wheelchair accessible, licensed bar.

If you want to see how good they are put Bowjangles into your favourite search engine and marvel!

Mountfield Village Hall Big Screen Cinema: It seems the Cinema has been such a success that it will now be showing once a month where possible. The latest presentation is “The Lady in the Van” starring Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings. This is a film that has been adored by the critics and cinema goers alike and “Maggie” gives a stunning performance. It is being shown on Saturday 7 May 2016, and the doors open at 7.30 pm. There is a £5 suggested donation per person and the club bar is open from 7.00 pm. All are welcome.

Netherfield Mobile Library: The library is due again in Netherfield, outside the Village Stores on 26 April 2016, between 13.00 and 13.20. Libraries need your support so use it or lose it. You can ask Ella to recommend something different or she can guide you in the right direction if you have something specific in mind. There are books for everyone including the children. You can also browse the current crop of books on So come along and make your choice and get lost in a book.

Netherfield Breakaway Club: The January meeting took place on Thursday 21st with a welcome return of Mike & Diana Beswick – Every picture tells a story’. Unfortunately there was a problem with the computer and photo link but Zac from The White Hart came to the rescue and sorted this out for us! An enjoyable session followed with pictures of varying subjects and current affairs being shown and discussions took place on some of these. The first meeting of the year was well attended and members were reminded that subs are due to be paid at the February meeting. Refreshments were enjoyed and the raffle was drawn.

The February meeting took place on Thursday 18th with our guest speaker being a local well known resident – Mrs Madeleine Ballisat, talking about her career – ‘The Seven ages of a Nurse’. At the age of 16 1/2 Madeleine wanted to be a nurse and started her career some 69 years ago! All the knowledge and experience she gained spanned seven stages, commencing as a student nurse at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital where rigorous training took place. and wanting to be a physiotherapist. Two of the early years were not the happiest, discipline was very strict, only surnames were used and the hours were long. Knowledge of anatomy and physiology had to be acquired and hours were spent on bandaging! Hygiene and how water is purified played an essential part, milk was not tested at that time and an introduction to Arnott’s sewerage system was a revelation! Madeleine was introduced to x-rays,an iron lung and operations for major bone surgery which were horrendous and spinal fusions took place – there were no metal rods then and many patients had to lie on their backs for two years, and some were laid on plaster beds, but there were no bed sores! In 1948 she saw her first metal hip. After some time at Guy’s Madeleine then went to Worthing Hospital for three years to enjoy good food, theatre tickets, a beach hut, and an ‘excellent’ uniform was provided and a beautiful nurses’ home but protocol was strict. On one occasion the nurses were accused of letting a man into the home after Madeleine had been heard singing in a low voice in a corridor! There were four wards in the hospital and the nurses had to make up all the beds, the sheets had to be sluiced, prepare their own dressings and everything had to be sterilised – there were no protective gloves at that time! Most of the nurses had a septic finger at some time and the nail would be removed – only two weeks’ sick leave was allowed in three years’ training. A 48 hour week was worked with one day off and no time allowed for studying – all exams were important – no pass – no badge! After qualifying Madeleine did district nursing in Southwark using a bicycle. In 1953 there were still bombed sites in London and many poor families needing care. Three years at Lingfield Cottage Hospital followed then, in 1974, regretting not having trained in midwifery, a year’s training and ‘dreadful’ exams followed and were passed, which led to ten years at Crawley Hospital. In 1984 Madeleine became a community midwife for Battle and the surrounding areas, based at the Buchanan Hospital – a place which many of us remember! After deciding to retire, a private position with a family in Ireland came up then on to the Scottish nobility circuit working for an Earl and Countess in a Castle with three young children before finally retiring at 67. We thanked Madeleine for a fascinating and enthralling talk before enjoying refreshments and drawing the raffle.

The March meeting was very well attended and we were treated to war time experiences by Raymond (Ray) Broomfield, who was a boy living in London during WW2. Ray came in wearing an ARP hat and reminded us of the popular TV series ‘Dad’s Army’! Then followed an impressive selection of slides of Ray’s family and childhood memories, scenes of London and war devastation at the time. Ray also brought many artefacts with him – a selection of gas masks (these had all been tested and checked in schools), a ration book, ID cards, telephones, a wind up gramaphone, hats and helmets and radios. The crystal sets or wireless radios were relied upon for all the news and updates during the war and 250,000 were made. There were still 200,000 left at the end of the war. Telephones were made of bakelite and not many homes owned one. Ray had acquired a German 50,000 Mark note and hoped it was valuable but unfortunately it was worthless and a wheelbarrow full would have been needed to buy a loaf of bread! His father built a shelter in the garden and joined the local Auxiliary Fire Service. There was a photograph of the men going for fire practise, all dressed in suits and ties! Whilst his father never spoke of his experiences he rescued many people from fires and wrote 1000s of letters to Ray’s brother which were found after his death. There was a news report of the SS Benares, torpedoed by a German u-boat, of the 90 children on board, only 13 survived, this and the Blitz were a harrowing part of the war. St Paul’s was saved, mainly due to the fact that it was a landmark and because the outer dome was made of lead to protect the wooden built inner dome. Ray had recorded sound effects and we heard the sirens, VI bombs coming in, speeches from the late King and Winston Churchill. There was a great deal of respect for teachers and parents during his school days and when the ‘blackout’ was in operation there was a fine of 10/- (ten shillings, or 50p equivalent) if you did not comply. Ray’s excellent talk brought back memories for many of those present and he can be contacted on 01424 224983. His fees are donated to Alzheimer’s Research in memory of his late wife Lesley Anne. He has a selection of very interesting talks and presentations. We all enjoyed refreshments followed by the raffle being drawn.

Our April meeting falls on Her Majesty’s birthday, 21 April and there will be a patriotic theme with members encouraged to were something in red, white and/or blue. Our speaker, Delia Taylor, is making a welcome return visit to give a talk on Victorian Street Life.

Our May outing is to the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne for a backstage tour followed by tea. There are still a few seats left on the coach. Family and friends are welcome.

Contact: If you have any stories or articles of interest that will give our readership a reason to buy the paper please contact me on 07471000385 or via email at

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter @BattleObs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Rye and Battle Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.