Catsfield

Quiz Night: The Catsfield WI are holding a Quiz night tomorrow Saturday 14th April from 7.30pm in the Hall as part of the celebrations of their centenary. Tickets can be bought from Ann Davey and Beryl Bodey for £5 each to include a free drink. Bring your own picnics and nibbles, wine and soft drinks will be available to purchase. Users of the Village Hall in April will see the lovely greetings cards pinned around the walls made by the children of the village school to congratulate the WI on this great event.

St Laurence Church: Tomorrow, Saturday 14th April is church cleaning day between 9am – 11am so if you fancy some extra spring cleaning and can spare an hour or two (any time at all will be greatly appreciated) do come along and help fight the dust and cobwebs please.

This Sunday 15th April the service of Holy Communion will be at the earlier time of 9am and will be followed by the Family Morning Service at 10am, which this month will also include the Celebration of the 100th Birthday of the Catsfield WI no doubt with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem. Refreshments will be served afterwards.

Catsfield Parish Council: The annual Parish Assembly will take place on Thursday 19th April at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. There will be a report by the Parish Council on the past year, reports from District and County Councillors and also the Police as well as reports from Village groups.

St George’s Day: On Sunday 22nd April Catsfield’s parish church of St Laurence will be strangely quiet as everyone will be having a lie-in before attending the later combined service at Crowhurst to celebrate their patron saint St George. The service of Holy Communion will start at 11am with a combined choir and a blessing of red roses. No doubt as is usual on such special occasions, there will be refreshments served afterwards.

Concert: There will be a Spring Concert held at St Laurence Church on Saturday 27th April at 7.30pm. The prize winning St Laurence Church Choir will be performing and some local guest artists too. Tickets cost £7 each to include a light supper and are available from the Village Store or on the door.

WI Centenary Party (thanks to Patricia Speedy for this report): Catsfield W.I. Celebrated their 100th Birthday on Thursday 5th April on a day of glorious spring sunshine. After months of planning and hours of preparation, the Village Hall looked simply stunning. Dominating the elegantly draped stage was a silken, golden 100, flanked by two superb pedestals of flowers and candles, with balloons flying high alongside. Birthday cards made by the children of our primary school decorated the length and breadth of the hall above the festive, long tea tables with their white cloths gleaming and central posies of pink and white flowers. Welcome to the party!

By half past two the hall was packed. The High Sherriff of East Sussex General John Moore Bick, the East Sussex W.I. Federation chairperson Mrs Gill Nokes, local dignitaries, our Rector, guests from other W.I.s, had all arrived with the husbands of committee members (allowed on this occasion only) to join the meeting. As had happened for the last hundred years, today’s President Ann Davey, rose to her feet, welcomed everyone (including past Presidents Vera Bates, Jane Overall and Patricia Speedy) and invited us to sing ‘Jerusalem’. It was a very moving moment. In her opening address the President, whose mother and grandmother had been W.I. Members, reminded us of the determined women who started the Catsfield WI as WWI was raging across the channel in France; a war which cost the village twenty-one of its men. She thanked today’s committee members, particularly Beryl Bodey and Ann Clegg, who had worked so hard to organise today’s proud celebrations.

Resplendent in his official uniform, the High Sherriff, appointed by the Queen, gave a fascinating account of his office, which dates back to Saxon times like our village, but is now a role to encourage local services, the police, fire brigade, and the W.I. Then the WI Federation chairperson reminded us of events in 1918 – the year women over thirty got the vote and first became MP.s. Such interesting enjoyable speakers.

Now for the entertainment! It was the return of John Cave with his guitar singing such amusing songs to well-known tunes such as, ‘Would you like to play the guitar, carry money home in a jar, or rather have a job!’ We all joined in, counted how many foods were mentioned in a song, sympathised with the polar bear whose family had been on the iceberg struck by the Titanic, roared with laughter at his George Formby song about his problems with his Apple computer, ‘re-installing Windows’ with a Ukulele accompaniment, and loved his rendering of Charles Trenet’s ‘La Mer’ and Richard Stilgoe’s original song about the WI. A perfect choice of material.

Hardly time to recover from the laughter before the trays of delicious sandwiches, tiered plates of gorgeous little cakes and cups of tea were brought to the tables. Only the WI can produce a tea like this; we could have sung ‘Putting on the Ritz’! The afternoon finished on a high note with an amusing speech by our Parish Council Chairman, John Overall, who told us he was a WISH, a ‘WI Supportive Husband’ in a village that boxed well above its weight as the smallest service village in Rother. Time for the cutting of the birthday cake and a wish for everyone with a glass of bubbly in our hands. We all rose to toast the most wonderful Birthday Party of the amazing Catsfield W.I.

Centenary Exhibition and Coffee Morning: A steady flow of people throughout the morning visited the WI Centenary Exhibition in the Village Hall last Saturday and all were most impressed by the large selection of old photographs and interesting information about the Catsfield WI since it’s inauguration on 18th April 1918 up to the present day. A great deal of work had gone into the preparation of the exhibition and Catsfield residents could be heard recognising old familiar faces from their youth in the pictures, most of whom are sadly no longer with us. There are many current members whose mothers and even grandmothers had been members in the past and even the younger, newer members enjoyed reading about their predecessors. Coffee and cake was served free of charge to everyone who sat chatting and admiring the lovely floral arrangements on every table and the beautiful pedestal displays at the front of the hall. Today the Catsfield WI continues to thrive and is just as important in the village as it ever was. In spite of changing, updating and modernising with the times, it still manages to maintain the values and traditions of earlier generations too. Congratulations to President Ann Davey, her committee and helpers on two wonderful events – and more yet to come!

Sussex Harmony: This popular group of singers will be performing at All Saints Church, Waldron (near Heathfield) TN21 0RA at 7pm tomorrow Saturday 14th April. The title is “The Pattern of the Year”, a concert of secular and sacred music from 18th & 19th century Sussex. Entry is free but there will be a collection in aid of the organ fund. Refreshments available from 6.30pm.

Sport: Not much news of the groundsman this week as he has been helping with the WI’s celebrations in the Village Hall. He did escape for a welcome couple of hours at Sedlescombe watching our football team play in a good match culminating in a 2 - 2 draw. This result has kept us mid-table with four more games to come. We are at home tomorrow against Ticehurst, weather permitting. No prospect of getting the cricket wicket ready.