VAL DEAKIN: News of Val’s tragic death in the disaster in Westerham on Christmas Eve has come as a terrible shock to everyone who knew her. She had gone there to provide help, advice and support to a close friend, whom she and her daughter had arranged to meet that morning in the Costa coffee shop. The car which smashed into the place, killing Val outright and seriously injuring several others, had already careered some 200 yards along the road out of control, leaving a trail of damage behind it. Just what caused this isn’t yet clear. This concern for a friend’s welfare was typical of Val: she devoted much of her life to looking after her seriously disabled mother, and the rest of the Deakin family (she was a superb cook), and for some 25 years she took her turn on the flower-arranging rota in Udimore church, all this work undertaken unassumingly and without fuss. I hope to be able to publish the date and time of Val’s funeral in St Mary’s Church next week. Meanwhile on behalf of you all I’d like to express our condolence to Paul and his family.

CHURCH SERVICES: In St Mary’s Church this Sunday the 8am celebration of Holy Communion will be followed at 11.15am by the monthly Family Service for All.

WINTER LUNCH: On Thursday January 21 in the Hall the Brede and Udimore Overseas Group will be laying on another of their delicious two-course hot lunches (bring your own drinks), starting at 12.45pm. Tickets cost £9.50 and are available from Lyn (01424 833040), Stella (01424 883246) or Matt (01424 883285). There will also be a raffle, and all proceeds of the lunch will be distributed to the four worthwhile charities supported by the group.

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