SCHOOL CHRISTMAS FAIR: The Friends of Etchingham School hosted their annual Christmas Fair last Saturday December 1, a perfect start to the Christmas Season.

With the support of school staff, parents and many of the children themselves, the fair was a huge success providing three hours of respite from the wet and windy weather outside.

Alongside the traditional games of hoopla, lucky dip, ping pong, chocolate and bottle tombolas, there were over 20 stalls filling the two village halls including jewellery, crochet and knitwear, decorative glass, stationery and books, lip balms and scented oils, beautifully carved wooden chopping boards and candle holders, a trolley of bottles to be won, a festive cafe with homemade cakes and warm mince pies, luxury hot dogs and mulled wine.

The Winter Wonderland themed Christmas Grotto was hugely popular with the ‘big man dressed in red’ ably assisted by locally recruited elves. During Father Christmas’s well-earned break (he needed to check on his reindeer) visitors to the fair were entertained by some beautiful carol singing by children from the school.

The ever popular raffle and silent auction had over 30 stunning prizes to be won including luxury Christmas hampers, pamper hampers, a children’s party, a golf day, theatre tickets, keyboards, clay pigeon shooting, cream teas and meals out at our local country pubs. All hamper and auction donations came from parents and local business, whose generosity is hugely appreciated.

A special thank you must go to the following companies/businesses who donated this year: Dale Hill Golf Club, Active Primary Sports, English Heritage Gardens, Feely Fancies Cakes, Hurst Green, Kent and Sussex Shooting, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose in Hawkhurst, The Salehurst Halt, The Heathfield Tavern, Maidstone Logs, Assembly Hall Theatre, Fysie Flowers, Etchingham, Trinity Theatre, Find Health and Beauty, The Wealden Cake Company and Merriments Gardens

Needless to say, the feedback from all those that attended was fantastic and we would like to thank all of our visitors who gave their time and money to attend.

Early indications are that they have, once again, beaten their record and have just tipped over the £3000 made.

The Friends of Etchingham School are a registered Charity (no. 1049491) with every penny of profit from the fair going straight to the school to enrich the education of the children who attend – this includes being able to offer PE lessons from qualified sports coaches, theatre trips, educational workshops, Easter Eggs and Christmas Crackers.

They would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas.

PHOTOS: I have uploaded a few pictures from the School Christmas Fair to an online album at Flickr at this location

HURST GREEN: While on Christmas Fairs, you might like to support the Hurst Green School Fair tomorrow (Saturday December 8), 11am to 2pm.

CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINMENT; To get you in the mood for Christmas, the annual Christmas Play will be presented in the village hall on Saturday December 15. This year’s entertainment, written by Phil Hinde, is “The Etchingham Line is the Road to Ride” will the Rother Valley Choo-Choo get through in time for Christmas with the presents and mince pies? Arrive at the halls at 7pm for a 7.30 start. Tickets are £6 (children £2), includes a pre-show drink and mince pie, available from the Bistro, Post Office and Jarvis Butchers or phone 01580 829434.

Profits will be divided between the Church Fabric Fund and The Railway Children charity. The Railway Children charity works with the street children and runaways who gravitate to railway stations in India, East Africa and Britain, .

PLAYGROUNDS: Etchingham Recreation Ground Trust (ERGT) is the charity responsible for Queen’s Garden and the Viper site. ERGT are working on fund raising for repair and replacement of equipment, and apologise for the delay in the start of fundraising, due to the setting up of the bank account taking much longer than anticipated. There are a couple grant applications in progress that if successful will help build the total. You can generate funds for ERGT whenever you shop online and it does not cost you anything extra. You register at Give as you Live then whenever you shop online you sign in to the Give as you Live website first and use the link on the site to access the retailer you are purchasing from, there are over 4,000 online retailers available so your favourites are bound to be there, a small percentage of your purchase will be donated to ERGT, the amounts are quite small but if lots of people remember to use the system for every purchase it will soon add up to a useful sum of money. You will find more details of how to use Give as you Live on the ERGT fundraising page of the village website EVERY PENNY COUNTS. There is now also a fundraising page online where you can make a donation if you are a tax payer please remember to fill in the Gift Aid form when you make your donation so that ERGT get an extra 25% from HMRC. If you want to make a donation but do not have the ability to do it online, you can a payment with cash or a cheque payable to Etchingham Playgrounds and deliver it to the Parish Office at Parsonage Croft, or in a sealed envelope clearly marked ‘playground appeal’ at the Post Office. The target to be raised is £25,000, at the time of writing just over £500 has been raised, with approx. another £100 of donations and gift aid waiting to be approved, so quite a way to go yet, if you have any fundraising ideas, and more importantly, time to help organise fundraising, email . The annual safety inspection has just taken place and we are awaiting the detailed report, but we are anticipating that this will not be good news, once we have the report and dealt with all the requirements and observations fundraising is likely to become even more urgent, hopefully more details will be available next week.

ETCHINGHAM CLUB: The next Music Night at the Club is on Saturday December 8 The Tar Babies from 9pm. The Club is open four evenings each week, Mondays and Wednesdays 7.30 to 10.30; Fridays 6.30 to 11.30; Saturdays 7.30 to 11.30. Everyone welcome, no membership required.

CHURCH SERVICES: Church Service for December and January, all services are at 11am unless otherwise noted, this Sunday, December 9, Reverend Sally Epps; Sunday December 16, Reverend Christopher Channer; Sunday December 23, Reverend Robin Tree; December 24, Christmas Eve, Crib Service with Reverend Sally Epps at 3pm and Midnight mass with Canon Patrick sales at 11.30pm; Christmas Day, 10am, Reverend jean manning; Sunday December 30, 8.30am, Reverend Sally Epps. Sunday January 6, To be announced. Sunday January 13, Reverend Sally Epps. Sunday january 20, Reverend Christopher Channer. Sunday January 27, Canon Lucy Murdoch.

CHURCH CONTACT: Churchwardens, Mary Barnes 01580 819142 and Geoffry Lucas 01580 819439. For Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and Pastoral Matters contact Reverend Sally Epps 01435 882301

CHURCH OPENING: The Church is open every day for visitors from 11am to 4pm.

HURST GREEN: As you will be aware there is not currently a Village Voice correspondent for Hurst Green. If you are connected with with a Hurst Green group, or organising an event in Hurst Green, I am happy to add the details to the Etchingham column if you send the information to me. Or, even better, perhaps there is someone in Hurst Green who would like to take on the Hurst Green column, if you want to know more you can contact me or the Battle Observer.

VILLAGE WEBSITE: The village website is provided by the Parish Council to inform residents of Parish Council and village activities. The site is updated on a voluntary basis to keep running costs to a minimum, Council agendas and minutes are published on the site and archived agendas and minutes for the last five years can also be viewed.

Information on village organisations and events is added, are the details of your village organisation on the website? If you have information that you would like to see on the site let me know so that it can be added, there is a link to the contact form at the bottom of the Home Page on the site .

Content on the website is currently being edited and updated, if you, your organisation or business has information on the site please check the content and notify any changes, deletions or additions to there is not much value in having details on the site if things like contact details etc. are out of date.

SENDING INFORMATION: Get information for this column to me as soon as possible. There are several ways to get your info to me, but email is preferred because there is less chance of errors during copying. I need information by 10pm on Monday to be sure it will be in time for inclusion, I can sometimes add extra items on Tuesday morning, but this cannot be guaranteed. You can deliver to 2 Park Farm Close, telephone 01580 819532 or 07484 635014 or email you will also find a form on the village website ( ) to send your information from there, look for the Village Voice link near the bottom of the column of links on the left-hand side of the website page.