Catsfield

Many thanks: to Ann Davey who has written the entire column this week

Christian Aid Plant Sale and Coffee Morning: On Saturday 19th May in Catsfield Village Hall the annual Christian Aid Plant Sale and Coffee Morning will be selling a large selection of plants for your garden, both annuals and perennials and it is always well worth a visit.

The Thomas Brassey Exhibition: Parish Council Chairman John Overall often says that Catsfield punches above its weight and never was this more apparent than the marvellous Thomas Brassey exhibition put on by the History Group last Saturday. Meticulously planned and professionally staged, it was a scholarly work enjoyed by 100 visitors. The family tree board proved essential as there were several “Thomas Brasseys” all of whom had an impact on Catsfield life. However, this was about Thomas Brassey Railway Engineer, a compatriot of Brunel and other eminent Victorians. Through various display boards entitled Local Connections, UK railways and other buildings, overseas railways, buildings, projects, navvies, residences, Lord Brassey and Thomas Allnutt Brassey, we learned much about the extraordinary life of this talented, driven man. Who knew he was also involved in the great sewer project of the London Embankment, employed thousands of workers across the world and was a compassionate employer much loved by his men? Some of the bridges and tunnels he built are still in operation today and those of us lucky enough to go to the exhibition, now know a lot more about his life and successes.

Apparently, most of the wonderful photographs and text had to be sourced outside the History Group’s archives and it took the team of Carol Collins, Dave Jones, Anne Stacey and masterminded by Pauline Putland and Beryl Bodey, many months of diligent research in their little room in the Village Hall to put it all together. They started with the premise that he was an unsung hero of railway building, but have now properly put the record straight. After a bit of a rest, we hope this dedicated team will soon be preparing another exhibition. How about “The people behind Normanhurst”, whilst some of us can still recall the many village residents who were employed by and benefitted from the Brassey family’s reign as Lords of the Manor?

WI Meeting: Recovering from the success of our centenary celebrations, we listened to Secretary Beryl Bodey’s detailed report of the five events we enjoyed, which will go into the village archives along with the material gathered for the WI exhibition. We then heard Janet Heath’s report on the ESFWI Council Meeting in March, did the usual business and reiterated our support for the Resolution going forward to the National AGM in June. The resolution concerns giving mental health issues as much funding and attention as physical illness and we wish it every success. Before the usual splendid WI tea, we engaged in three, sometimes hilarious, games of bingo led by our caller Thora, followed by the usual mayhem of the raffle complete with lost tickets, misheard numbers and doubts about the ticket colour. Members promise to do better at the next meeting which is the Fun, Flower and Produce Show, for the first time ever being without our usual judges Malcolm and Joan Moss, who have sadly recently died.

Sport: The Groundsman has worked most of the last few days getting the ground ready for what he hoped would be the last football match of the season when, because some of the players were otherwise engaged in league cricket, we were unable to get a team, forfeited the points and incurred a fine. Of course, if the weather had been better throughout this wet winter, we would have finished our season before cricket started, however, it is a sad end. Thanks to the generosity of Martin Gurr providing a free roller, the Groundsman and Keith Cook spent several days rolling most of the Playing Field, even though some of it was still wet. We did manage to get it fit enough for our first cricket match against Ashburnham, always a fiercely competitive match. Ashburnham batted first and no doubt helped by having two of Bexhill’s first team playing for them, reached 190 at tea. We only managed a very poor 43 all out. However, it was a lovely day and we opened the season. There follows a stretch of home matches, but with the field now being rolled, the groundsman may have more time for his own garden.

Ken Edwards: The death has been announced of Ken Edwards, another familiar Catsfield figure who died in hospital last Sunday following a stroke. Ken grew up in Sedlescombe with his parents and two brothers, sadly the older brother also died quite recently. He worked as a higher grade postman out of Bexhill Post Office for many years. He met his wife Wendy at the Catsfield Old Time Dancing class and when they were first married they lived in a cottage in Church Lane. Wendy’s parents lived in the bungalow in Church Road and when they died, Wendy and Ken moved in there. Wendy died a few years ago and Ken has continued to live there ever since. He was a regular church-goer and also attended village events when his health would allow, he will be sadly missed.