COMMUNITY NEWS & REVIEWS: JUST TO REMIND YOU : This may well be the last edition of Ewhurst Parish contribution to the Village Voice section for this year. The year is drawing ever faster to a close and it seems we all still have lot's to do, with last minute shopping, wrapping, posting and other '˜just remembered' arrangements. This may well be the overseeing of the huge food mountain that we always appear to '˜must have' for Christmas, - or maybe preparing ourselves for another onslaught of visitors be they family or friends arriving to share this special time of the year. Many of us have the days planned out with lots to see and enjoy before 2018 finally bows out amidst much noise, merriment and the inevitable 'New Year Resolutions'- when we all once more, celebrate and welcome the beginning of another year. So enjoy this wonderful Festive Season in the way it pleases you, whether buried under mountains of wrapping paper and the hustle & bustle of noise and mayhem, whether among family or friends or just quietly at home with peace and tranquillity - however you choose to spend this Christmas time, may the beauty and true spirit of Christmas be with you every step along the way. I wish you all a very 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'

Friday, 14th December 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 8:17 am

STAPLECROSS VILLAGE HALL: CHRISTMAS DECORATION- Apologies are extended to those residents who have been wondering why the Village Hall has not been adorned with it’s usual Christmas decorations this year. Well, I’m happy to report that the internal decorations ARE NOW UP and are looking as joyful and festive as usual. The lateness of installing these decorations were due to the various commitments of the V. H. Trustee’s and Committee members - and their good natured and supporting spouses - which is always heavier at this time of the year. But the decorations are now up, the Christmas trees are decorated and the hall, as usual looks just lovely - full of festive, seasonal cheerfulness, which is sure to enhance all the various parties, lunches and meetings which will soon be taking place, not forgetting, of course the school’s Nativity Play. Thank you everyone who gave up their Saturday morning to come along and help create this Christmas look, - it was and is, very much appreciated.

STAPLECROSS BONFIRE SOCIETY - Carol Service Report- For those residents of our parish who didn’t manage to attend this charming event which was held on 6th December, - a report has been forwarded in order to appraise everyone of what a delightful and proud evening this was. Here, in his own words, is the report: “ The 2018 season drew to a close for the Ewhurst & Staplecross Bonfire Society on Saturday 1st December when the members held their annual Carol Service at St. Mark’s church, Staplecross. More than 60 members and supporters attended, meeting at the Staplecross village War Memorial before walking to St. Mark’s church, the way being illuminated by burning torches. Members - some in society dress, and supporters enjoyed an excellent traditional Christmas Carol Service. A view that has been repeated several times. After the service, cheques were presented to local charities and good causes. --- £100:00 to M.S. Society; £100 to Alzheimer’s Society; £250:00 to Robertsbridge School; £250:00 to Staplecross School; £50:00 to Hastings Academy Forest School and £400:00 to St. Michael’s Hospice. The fact that a small village bonfire society can donate such a large amount is testament to all the hard work of members throughout the year. Mulled wine, sandwiches and mince pies helped keep the supporters in good cheer. Thanks to everyone involved with the society and members of the public who attended Bonfire Night, for their support and generosity. Any persons wishing to join the Bonfire Society should come along to The Cross Inn pub for the society’s meetings, where they will be assured of a warm welcome. Normally, these meetings are the 1st Monday of each month. Please keep an eye on the local notice boards -- the Village Voice and the Battle Observer, for forthcoming events and Society meetings. For further details check out and “ This is such a worthy charitable group, that enjoy what they do regardless of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, - so please continue to support this society in 2019.

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!.

ROTHER RAMBLERS: A further two walks are organised for us all to join in and enjoy and Walk No: 1 is arranged for Saturday December 15th and will be a 6-7 circular mile stroll from Bodiam. The meeting place is to be Bodiam Castle car park, - which is free to N. T. Members otherwise charges will apply.OS.EXP136. TQ784254. (satnav TN32 5UD) at the normal time of 10.00am. Additional parking may be available in nearby lay-by, Possibility of visiting the pub or café at end of walk is also mentioned !. Heather is to be your ‘walk leader’ for this excursion and you may contact her on 01580~752652 or Mobile:07968~294038 for more details. Walk no: 2 is planned for Wednesday December 19th and is an 8 circular mile meander from Benenden. The meeting point will be at Benenden Church. OS.EXP136. TQ808327 (satnav TN17 4DL) again at the usual time of 10.00am. Parking will be around the Green, so please be respectful. Carol is to be your ‘walk leader’ on this occasion and you may contact her on 01580~852432 for more information.

CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT: A last and gentle reminder of this magical and beautiful service which is to be held on Saturday December 15th - THAT’s TOMORROW - Christmas Carols that depict the coming of Jesus and the true story of Christmas are being sung throughout our area at present and all are beautiful to listen to. Here in Ewhurst Parish we are especially blessed as on Saturday December 15th.- TOMORROW - there will be a particular treat for us all as a special ‘Carols by Candlelight’ service has been arranged and this will be performed by that wonderful choral group the ‘Tongswood Choir. This will take place at 6.00pm in St. James the Great church, Ewhurst Green. The atmospheric lighting of these candles omitting their gentle glow throughout this warm, welcoming and peaceful church only adds to the ambience and joy of this special occasion. If you love to hear carols, sung in a beautiful country village church then treat yourself and come along. All will be very welcome.

THE HUB: ‘INTERACTIVE NATIVITY’ All residents of the community and beyond are invited to come along to The Hub, Quarry Farm, Bodiam, and join in the fun for an immersive Nativity like no other. This amazing event has grown from strength to strength over the past few years and this year will take place on Monday December 17th between 5 and 7.00pm. This is far from your typical nativity but come along and join in this fun festive interactive journey. Your quest is to follow the star around the farm to find a few wise men en-route to unveiling a traditional nativity scene. At the end of your journey, there will be carol singing in the barn, again spreading the Christmas joy and to round off this extraordinary evening, come and try the mince pies, mulled cider and a wintery supper in their café. With no need to buy a ticket, everyone’s invited, which means that you can bring along all your family, friends and neighbours. The invite says “ as long as you come with your Christmas spirit, we won’t be charging you to join in with us on this special journey “. Visit The Hub on Facebook to find out more and register your interest in this event, to enable them to cater for everyone. This promises to be a fun filled family treat, - so make sure you don’t miss it !.

EWHURST PARISH COUNCIL: Members of Ewhurst Parish Council would like to invite you to come along to the regular monthly meeting of your local Parish Council. This meeting will take place on Thursday December 18th and will be held this month in the church rooms, adjacent to St. Mark’s Church, Northiam Road, Staplecross at 7.30pm. This, like all council meetings is open to the public , so please come along and have your say. Tell us about your concerns and talk to us about what you want to happen - or not happen - within our community. Unfortunately neither Tony Ganly representing Rother District Council and Angharad Davies representing East Sussex County Council, will be attending this meeting but concerns or questions may be passed to them via our Parish Clerk, Mr. Richard Farhall We are always working hard on your behalf so do please come and tell us how we can make living within this parish a happier and better place for us all.

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 fabulous 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 pure pleasure, so why not come along and join in the fun and festive singing. A song sheet will be provided to hopefully, help you get the words right and a collection in aid of Ewhurst P.C.C. will be made during the singing. A simple and pleasant way to enjoy an hour or so amongst congenial company, so do come along and join us. We all look forward to seeing you on the night.

CHURCH SERVICES: Church services for the parish of Ewhurst, will commence at St. James the Great, Ewhurst Green on Sunday December 16th. Advent 3. at 9.30am. This service will include Holy Communion.(CW) A service at St. Giles church, Bodiam will follow directly after at 11.15 am. This service will also include Holy Communion (BCP). There will be NO SERVICE today at St. Mark’s church, Northiam Road, 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.

JUST IN CASE: In the event that there WILL NOT be a ‘Village Voice column’ next week, here are a few church notices for services that may interest you.

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 services may be held from the start of Advent to Candlemas, with Christmas Eve a particular popular choice. Now in it’s 50th year, 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, often highlighting the sad plights of children at this time. 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 1st Children’s service for The Children’s Society took place in Lincoln Cathedral. Almost 100 years previous, in 1747, at the Moravian church, , Germany, Bishop Johannes de Watteville looked for a simple way to explain his service text and decided to give the children a symbol to do this. In 1968 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 !”

SUNDAY DECEMBER 23rd. Advent 4 Church services will begin at St. James the Great, Ewhurst Green at 9.30am This service will include Holy Communion (BCP) A Holy Communion service (BCP) will follow directly afterwards t St. Mark’s church, Northiam Road, Staplecross. There will be a “Candlelight Carol Service” at St. Giles, Bodiam at 6.00pm.

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 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.

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 next few days as End of Term break has finally arrived ! - followed by the age old excitement of Christmas and all that it encompasses, - 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 in the foreseeable future - 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 promises - so please do contact me as I’d love to hear from you and to help ‘spread the word’ on your behalf......Thank You