PARISH & COUNCIL MEETINGS: Unfortunately I couldn’t be there last Friday evening. I’m much indebted to Sarah Willoughby and Cllr Turgoose for allowing me to see the draft minutes in advance of their approval by the Parish Council, to enable me to compile the following brief summary.

At the Annual Parish Assembly details were released of the latest ESCC predictions for the extension of the new high speed broadband service to Udimore: predicted dates varied considerably, from mid June to next March, but even these dates were not guaranteed. Once the installation is complete, however, each of us will have to purchase a new broadband package from our own internet service provider.

In the course of discussion the list of possible ways to spend the Parish Council’s reserve fund, currently some £9,500, was narrowed down to five possibilities:

1) Considerably extend the area of grass-mowing in the vicinity of the Hall.

2) Tarmac the rough area of driveway near the Hall gateway.

3) Mount LED speed signs along B2089 (costing some £2,000 each, plus installation).

4) Fit “village gates”, or 5) rumble strips, at either end of the village.

Councillors are to bear these suggestions in mind when deciding how to spend the fund to the best benefit of the village.

During the Council Meeting which followed Cllr Turgoose was re-elected Chairman, making it clear that he would not seek re-election at the end of this 4-year term of office. Moreover, to ensure continuity he would if necessary be prepared to hand over to another councillor before the end of the term. Cllr Dean was re-elected Vice-Chairman.

The following responsibilities were allocated:

RALC/SALC - Cllrs Turgoose and Dean; Local Action Plan (now Development Plan) - Cllr Dean;

Emergency Co-ordination and Traffic Management - Cllr Knight;

Police Liaison, Risk Assessment and Newsletter - Cllr Turgoose; Website - the Parish Clerk;

Welcome Packs - Liz Turgoose; Tree Warden - Val Morin; Footpaths, Bridleways and Stiles - Cllr Fuller.

Cllr Turgoose emphasised that we should all report any crime or road traffic offence as soon as we become aware of it, to ensure that Udimore remains an area of police concern. The number to ring in an emergency is 999. If there’s no actual emergency, ring 101. If you’d rather not involve the police in the first instance, ring Crime Stoppers (0800 555 111).

Please note that the Parish Council will next meet on Wednesday July 15 at 6.30pm in the Hall.

FUTURE FLAMES: Tomorrow (Saturday) we are all invited to join residents of Brede, Beckley and Peasmarsh for a family fun evening at St George’s Church, Brede, and surrounding grounds. The programme will start with stalls and activities for all the family at 5.30pm, followed by a flame procession at 7.30pm. From 8.30pm onwards there will be live music and entertainment, ending at 10pm with the lighting of the Brede Beacon. Bring your own picnics for the evening (including, if you like, food to be cooked on the provided barbecue).

WHITSUNDAY SERVICES: In St Mary’s Church this Sunday there will be Sung Eucharist at 11.15am (followed by refreshments in the Hall) and Evening Prayer at 6pm.

MOBILE LIBRARY: On Wednesday (May 27) during the 11.45am - 12.15pm visit of the Library the Hall will once again be open, offering refreshments and an opportunity for a social chat. This rather good arrangement will continue as long as it’s well supported, so please make a point of going along if you possibly can.

UDIMORE GARDEN SAFARI, MAY 30: To allow enough time to enjoy your visits to all seven of the beautiful gardens that will be open next Saturday afternoon, I suggest you collect your tickets (£6 each, children free) and maps at the Hall at 1.30pm, or as soon after that as possible. You can then visit the gardens in any order you like, before returning to the Hall for tea and cakes. Plants will be on sale there too, and at Beauchamps. The safari is due to end at 5.30pm. The ideal way of spending a pleasant summer afternoon!

LOCAL AUTHOR: I’ve just been reading a recently published book, written by Janet Denny. As many of you will remember, Janet used to live in Float Farmhouse with her late husband Steve and their daughter and two sons. Her father lost his life while serving with Bomber Command in May 1943, when his Halifax bomber was shot down on its way home from a raid on Dortmund, just a few days before Janet was born. Her determination to find out what persuaded a young man who had been a confirmed pacifist in September 1939 to join the Royal Air Force less than two years later led to lengthy, dedicated research, and the writing of this book, “The Man on the Mantelpiece”. Janet’s fascinating book sheds light on the terrible dilemma which confronted her father, like many other young men of his generation, and the way in which he finally came to terms with it. If you’re interested in acquiring a copy, please ring me on 01797 223055: I can supply more details.