COMMUNITY NEWS & REVIEWS: In last week's Village Voice column, I stated that that edition may well be the last for this year --- well, - obviously I was wrong and it was not, - so I apologise for my hasty announcement but will endeavour to make this a simple, short & sweet column, just advising you of any events that are proposed for the remainder of the Festive Season. Full coverage will be recommencing in January 2019 - all as per normal. In the meantime, may I take this opportunity to wish everyone throughout our little part of England, be they from our parish and community or not, every good wish for a wonderful, and Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:10 am

EAST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL: Are you doing everything to keep warm and well this winter ?. East Sussex County Council have issued some “top tips” to help us all keep warm, safe and well this winter. *Don’t forget to get your free flu jab. - although most medical centres/surgeries will have passed their ‘flu jab’ consultancy dates many of them will still be able to offer this free (in certain conditions) service. Flu can be a serious illness for some people so do all that you can to avoid it. *Check your prescription medicines and make sure you have enough to last through any predicted cold weather spells. - and especially over the Christmas period. *Keep your home at the right temperature. If you can, set your heating to 18 - 20 degrees C or 65-70F. *Wearing several thinner layers of clothing is better than just 1 layer of a thick woolly jumper. *Hot meals and drinks will help keep you warm and if getting out is difficult, keep a stock of tinned, dried or frozen foods to help you over this chilly patch. *Keep active indoors -Try to move around at least once an hour. If your mobility is limited, try moving your arms & legs while sitting or just wriggling your fingers and toes is also a good exercise to try out. *Have your heating and cooking appliances checked - please remember - carbon monoxide is a killer!. Electric blankets should also be checked out as they need to be kept in good condition to work properly - remember also NEVER to use a hot water bottle at the same time! - it’s surprising how many people do just that!. Expert free advice on this subject can be found via the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service ~ some residents may be eligible for a free home safety visit. For more information on this issue, please visit *Get financial support- if you need it there are grants and benefits to help heat your home more efficiently, or help with bills. You can ask Social Care Direct via [email protected] or telephone 03456 080191 for more information. They would also ask that family, friends and neighbours take an interest in those around them, who may be struggling to keep warm. Kind and caring acts like these are what make a good community - great!.

STAPLECROSS M.C.PRIMARY SCHOOL- As with all previous years, the Village Hall in Staplecross over the days of 13th/14th December was the setting for our popular village school’s Nativity Tale. This year, however, a different scenario unfolded as instead of the normal version with “angels, shepherds, kings and innkeeper, playing the roles and ending in the miracle birth” ~~ this re-telling was told via carols, readings and acting. Now this might sound wrong or even dull to many, but it was, as always - fantastic. This ‘new-age’ old story consisted of a wealthy citizen and his wife, who elected to hold a sumptuous feast and everyone was invited. The passages of this unique story were told by the delightful readings from several pupils - interspersed by appropriate carols. The voices of the school ‘choir’ were melodious and in perfect harmony. - one carol was even sung in LATIN - which took me straight back to my own childhood !. The portrayal of this ancient story was both new and old, but always enchanting and still included the proud parents Mary & Joseph and the birth of Jesus - perfectly played by ‘Baby Phoebe Blake - aged just 2 weeks - and supervised by Mum (our own village School Teacher) The story telling was great, the acting was wonderful and the singing was heartfelt--- all-in-all a magical performance by these precious children of ours. This is yet another fabulous ‘production’ with hard work in all areas - the staff, the PTFA and the stars themselves - the pupils. Well Done All and Thank You once again.

EWHURST GREEN -- CAROLS ON THE GREEN - A warm and welcoming invitation is extended to everyone to come along and join in the ‘singing of carols around the tree’. This is to be held in Ewhurst Green, on Friday December 21st beginning at 6.00pm. and is a really lovely way to spend a hour or two amongst family and friends, singing age old carols in a wonderful atmosphere. The hot mulled wine and mince pies also adds to the conviviality and you will be forgiven for singing out of tune here, as folk will just be singing for the joy of it. A song sheet will be provided to help you get the words right (hopefully) and a collection in aid of Ewhurst P.C.C. will be made during the evening. A simple and pleasant way to enjoy an hour or so amongst congenial company, so do come along and join us. We look forward to seeing you here.

CHRISTINGLE SERVICE: This endearing and simplistic service is a repeat of the very successful Christingle Service held last year. This will take place on Saturday December 22nd at the slightly earlier time of St. Mark’s church, Northiam Road, Staplecross. This is a beautiful service which is named after the “Christingles” that are lit during the service. Christingles are made from an orange decorated with red ribbon or tape, sweets, and/or dried fruit and a candle. Christingle is a special memorable celebration that takes place in 1000’s of churches and schools across the country and is seen as a lovely opportunity for the community to share, as children are the stars of this service. Each element of the Christingle has a special meaning and helps to tell the Christian story. The Orange represents the world - the Red Ribbon symbolises the love & blood of Christ - The Sweets & Fruit represents all of God’s creations and the Lighted Candle shows Jesus’s light in the world, chasing away the darkness. This is a special 50th Anniversary year as on December 7th 1968 the first Children’s service for The Children’s Society took place in Lincoln Cathedral when Mr. John Pensom of The Children’s Society charity adapted it and introduced it to the Church of England --- and the rest as they say - “ is history !”

ROTHER RAMBLERS: I am passing on ALL details for the walks planned for the remainder of this year to enable those that are interested to make their choice(s) of which one(s) to participate in. All have merits of their own to recommend them and are all different in the length of walk and the location. Walk No: 1 Is arranged for Sunday December 23rd. and is to be a 7 mile circular walk from Groombridge. The meeting place is the Junction Inn pub at Groombridge. OS.EXP135. TQ531371. (satnav TN3 9RE) at 10.00am. Parking will be on street and a picnic lunch is suggested. David will be your ‘walk leader’ for this stroll and you can contact him on 01580~852432 for more details. Walk No: 2 is the Annual BOXING DAY WALK - Wednesday December 26th and will be a shortish walk of 6 circular miles around Ashburnham. The meeting point will be The Chapel, Ponts Green. OS.EXP124. TQ679157. (satnav TN33 9PD) at a slightly later time of 11.00am. Parking will be in the layby and a refreshment stop midway is suggested. Rita & Lionel are to be your ‘walk leaders’ for this meander and you may contact them on 01424~752452 for more information. Walk No: 3 is very close to home as is a 7 mile circular walk around Ewhurst Green. This outing is arranged for Thursday December 27th with the meeting place being at St. James the Great church, Ewhurst Green. OS.EXP124. TQ795246. (satnav TN32 5TD) back at the normal time of 10.00am. The walk notes state that there is on street parking, - but the main road is a bit narrow, so please park pretty and respectfully. A picnic lunch or refreshments at the White Dog pub after the walk, is again the suggestion here. Judy is to be your ‘walk leader’ for this little excursion and you may contact her on 01580~752556 for any further details. Walk No: 4 is a very short stroll in comparison to many of the group’s walks, this being a 5 and 4 mile “Mince Pies and Mulled Wine” annual walk. The meeting point is the recreation ground car park in Woodchurch. OS.EXP125/137. TQ943347. (satnav TN26 3PB) at the normal time of 10.00am. The walk notes state this is the Rother Ramblers traditional post-Christmas figure of eight walk to which the ‘walk leaders will supply the mulled wine - you just need to bring along your own mince pies !. Again -Rita and Lionel are to be your ‘walk leaders’ for this stroll and you can contact them on 01424752452 for more information. Last, - but certainly NOT least is Walk No: 5 which is the one to welcome in this bright New Year. Planned to take place on New Year’s Day - Tuesday January 1st,- this is to be a fairly short and leisurely wander and the meeting point is to be at Robertsbridge Railway Station OS.EXP124. TQ733234. (satnav TN32 5DD) at a later time of 11.00am. The walk notes state a picnic lunch is suggested, - somewhere rural and “ Hopefully, the weather will be kinder than it was last year ! “ Once more, our ‘walk leaders’ are that intrepid pair Rita and Lionel and you may contact them on 01424~752452 for all further details.

CHURCH SERVICES: Church services for the parish of Ewhurst will commence at St. James the Great, Ewhurst Green on Sunday December 23rd. Advent 4. at 9.30am. This service will include Holy Communion (BCP) A Holy Communion service (BCP) will follow directly afterwards at St. Mark’s church, Northiam Road, Staplecross. There will be a special “Candlelight Carol Service” at St. Giles church, Bodiam beginning at 6.00pm.

CHRISTMAS EVE; -MIDNIGHT MASS: Monday December 24th. The Midnight Mass service will take place at an earlier time of 9.30pm at St. James the Great church, Ewhurst Green ONLY. There will be NO OTHER SERVICES at either St. Mark’s church Staplecross or St. Giles, Bodiam on this day.

CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICES: Sunday December 25th. A service will take place at St. James the Great, Ewhurst Green at 9.30am and will include Holy Communion (CW) A Christmas Family Communion, to be held at St. Giles will follow directly after at 11.15am There will be no services at St. Mark’s church, Staplecross until 2019.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 30th Christmas 1. This service will commence at St. James the Great at 9.30am. This will include Holy Communion (BCP) There will be NO OTHER SERVICES at both St. Giles, Bodiam or St. Mark’s Staplecross on this day.

SUNDAY JANUARY 6th. Epiphany. This service will commence at St. James the Great, Ewhurst Green at 9.30am and will include Holy Communion (CW) a Eucharist service will follow directly afterwards at St. Giles church, Bodiam at 11.15am. Again there will be NO SERVICE at St. Mark’s church, Staplecross. If there is any church matter on which you feel you may need further assistance, especially Baptisms, Weddings and sadly, Funerals, then do please get in touch with the Priest - in - Charge, which is of course our good friend - Canon Christopher Irvine on 01580~830925. Help, love and support in some way, is always at hand and always so generously given, so do please contact him.

ANY NEWS FOR THIS COLUMN - PLEASE CONTACT ME: Although news of ‘events and happenings’ taking place throughout our community is rather sparse at present, this does not reflect on our life in general within our parish. Following their re-telling of the Nativity, the schoolchildren now have their hearts and minds pinned on the excitement of Christmas and all the joy that it promises as school has finally finished for the Christmas holiday. - life may seem rather quiet for some. But there are still many activities going on throughout our parish community to which you are ALL INVITED. So if you have an event planned ANYTIME in 2019 - whatever the nature of the event - indoor or out, large or small and you’d like some extra free coverage of it, - courtesy of the Observer Newspaper then please get in touch.- it’s of interest to you --- then it’s of interest to us. It’s NEVER TOO EARLY to send in any of the information and details regarding the event you are planning and scarily, - Christmas IS just days away, but the New Year beckon’s with all it’s hopes & promises - so please do contact me as I’d love to hear from you and to help ‘spread the word’ on your behalf.………. Once more,may I wish every one a sincere greeting for a wonderful Christmas and all best wishes for a very Happy New Year. May 2019 be full of joy and delight to you all. Stay well, warm and safe......Thank You.