Pews News: This Sunday, May 13, sees the official start of Christian Aid Week, with a 9 am service of Holy Communion at St Peter’s, and then a 10.30 am service of Morning Praise at St Andrew’s. The guest speaker at St Andrew’s will be Mark Johnson, regional Christian Aid Co-ordinator for Sussex. Also there will be Na Na and Costeau, two friends of David and Valerie, who will talk about their faith and the church in Romania.

The 10.45 am service at Pett Methodist chapel will be led by the Rev Malcolm Peach, visiting preacher who hails from Canterbury.

As is traditional in Fairlight, Christian Aid, which always attracts strong support in the village, opens with a Coffee Morning in St Peter’s, which will run from 10 am until 12 noon tomorrow Saturday, May 12. There will be stalls, a raffle, bric-a-brac, teas, coffees and, no doubt, lemon-aid.

For the actual CA week, Envelopes will be delivered around Fairlight from May 13 and collected, hopefully filled, during the Week. It is estimated that few female volunteers will be out on Saturday, May 19 as there is some Royal wedding watching to be done.

Last week’s notice about the opening of St Andrew’s Church Tower was for the one-off first opening of the season. More importantly, it will now be open for visitors every Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from now until the end of September. The opening times will be 2 to 5 pm, and if you’d like to try some bell ringing, this is possible only between 2 and 3 pm. This arrangement is all subject to weather, weddings and availability of volunteers. The aim is always to have volunteers working in pairs so no one is left on his or her own. If any local residents would like to help with this endeavour, they would be very welcome to join in the fun. Offers of help, please, to Kath Barron on 812799 or email her at: admin@fairlightandpett.com

MOPPs today and next Friday: Today, Friday, May 11, Barry Cooper will be along with a short talk giving some advice on benefits. Lunch will be beef and mushroom pie, followed by peach cake.

Next Friday, May 18, you can’t go wrong with Keith Osbourne, here with his Music for Health, and lunch is to be roast pork, with rhubarb fool for dessert.

Read all about it!: As we are all only too well aware, economic restraint is forcing many local authorities to look for ways of saving money and regrettably for East Sussex CC this has meant quite savage cuts have fallen upon the Public Library Service. This month sees the closure of our nearest static library in Ore and also of the Mobile Library Service which has been supplying Fairlight with a service every three weeks.

Library closure will be a great hardship on local folk, many of whom, particularly the elderly, have been patronising the mobile service regularly.

The Parish Council is supporting a group of villagers who are keen to establish a local village library which may either be under the aegis of the County Library Service or could possibly be independent of East Sussex CC, using books provided from within our own community.

The small management group pursuing this admirable aim is delighted to report that our local Postmaster has offered to house a library at the Post Office on Battery Hill. and a small management committee is currently meeting to establish our service. It is anticipated that the new library would be open on two afternoons each week. Full details of the proposed service will be available shortly.

Closure of Public Libraries is a most regrettable event. During the past two hundred years our libraries have been a major educational provision across the country. The ambition here is to continue with a library in Fairlight that not only provides a source of pleasure for our community but can also contribute to the wealth of knowledge. It is sincerely hoped that ‘our’ library will be a place for folk to gather in order to share a common interest in books and it may also provide a meeting place that will help to ease the problem of loneliness which is becoming such a problem in an ageing community.

The steering group would welcome all offers of help towards setting up this library and also towards running the library on a regular basis in the future. Those working on behalf of the new Library are John Sinclair, Chairman, Wendy Hatch, Secretary, Graeme Gambrell, Treasurer, and Committee Members, Kathy Sinclair, Jane Duffell and Lorna Hogan. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen!

Wakehams Farm development: Last week’s diary note said that there was to be a Wakehams Farm development exhibition in the village hall on Wednesday, May 16. Letters and maps have now been sent out around village residents, and the organisers have confirmed that date, and added the timing, which will be from 4 to 7.30 pm. While this is a means of disseminating information, it will also allow those behind the potential development to assess any possible objections and complaints from residents, and to adjust their plans so as to try to obviate confrontation. It appears that there has never been any suggestion that Rother wanted to see as many houses on this site as are now being proposed, and quite apart from the numbers concerned, there are other major potential bottlenecks to be considered. Firstly, there is effluent. There is no doubt that Southern Water are not ahead of this problem, and in some important areas they appear to be unaware of the diameter of the main village sewer diameter. It is understood locally that the developers have engaged a foul water expert, and one hopes this is in fact so. But other major infrastructure aspects pose difficult questions. The Fairlight Road is barely fit for purpose as things stand, without adding a possible 300 extra cars and other vehicles to the mix. Are there sufficient Primary school places available for the possible number of children likely to settle here? Have local Doctors sufficient leeway to accept so many new patients? Fairlight is hardly a hotbed of employment, with the majority of those living in the village who are employed being employed outside of the village.

Is it right to expand a sprawling rural collection of some 1,000+ inhabitants, with an age profile that is higher than in many places, by at least a quarter and possibly as much as a third? Of course not.

Quite a bit of the foregoing is received wisdom, or perceived intelligence. It may, as happens with jungle drums, be neither wise nor intelligent.

It’s not permissible even if the price is right: Parish Council Chairman Andrew Mier reports that double glazing salesmen were in the village last week going door to door with leaflets and engaging householders in conversation about new windows. Fairlight is a No Cold-Calling Zone. While not in itself a crime, unless it is persistent or is accompanied by bad behaviour, cold calling is strongly discouraged and the police and Trading Standards will take action.

If anyone is approached by a cold caller they should say this is a No Cold-Calling Zone and shut the door. They should then report the matter to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Bureau on 0345 04 05 06. The matter can also be reported to the police. Please keep a look out on behalf of vulnerable neighbours, who could be smooth-talked into something they neither want or need.

The understanding is that anyone who has signed a contract in these circumstances has a cooling off period in which they can cancel the order without penalty. The Citizens Advice Bureau can advise further.

While the latest incident has already been reported, residents should report any further occurrences.

Don’t miss next Friday, May 18: That’s the date for this year’s Parish Assembly, in the village hall starting at 6 pm. The PC Chairman will present his report of the past year, we shall discover who has earned the John Lutman Award for Community Service, and we can inspect the wares of all the clubs and societies in the village who will have set out their stalls. Always an engaging evening, this year promises to be as entertaining as usual!

Council Meeting: Of course, the Parish Assembly is an annual one-off, but PC meetings come around regularly in eleven months of the year. Our next is on Tuesday, May 22 in the village hall at 7 pm, and this will be the Parish AGM. It is understood that Chairman Cllr Andrew Mier will be relinquishing the chair, having generously volunteered to take it up after the hiatus in the winter. His steadying of the ship has been admirable.

The Playgroup’s renowned Jumble Sale: The latest version is here and it’s tomorrow! I hope to see queuing in all parts tomorrow morning, ready for the doors to open at 10 am. Your entrance ticket will cost you £1, but this gets you a go on the raffle as well as setting you up for the fantastic bargains.

The Art Club’s annual exhibition: Just over a week away from the Art Club’s popular annual exhibition, coming up on Saturday, May 19 from 6 to 9 pm. Tickets for the evening cheese and wine event are £4 each in advance from either the Post Office or from Carol on 814178, or £5 on the door. The exhibition will still be there on the Sunday, too, from 10.30 am until 4 pm, with free admission and with refreshments served throughout the day.

Open Afternoon at the Bowls Club: On Saturday, May 12 from 2.30 pm, the Bowls Club is having an Open Afternoon, free to all-comers. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, all you need is an interest in bowls, and a desire to have a go. It’s all free, and refreshments will be provided free, too.

Plant Sale for charity: There’s a plant sale coming up this Sunday, May 13 from 11 am until 2 pm, with proceeds going to the Cinnamon Trust, a national charity for the elderly, the terminally ill and their pets, and the Hastings and Rother Disability Forum, which promotes the right of disabled people to engage in and be consulted on matters which affect them. The sale is at 65 Battery Hill, a chance to get some good plants and support two worthwhile charities at the same time.

The Gardening Club’s May Meeting: Following the postponement of their trip last Monday, the Gardening Club members were treated to an introductory talk from Stephen and Helene from Stonelynk Organics. They have taken over the plot of land opposite Waites Lane plus the large orchard, and they will be growing organic vegetables with the intention of selling them to local people and restaurants. They were very interested to glean information and opinions from Club members. Stephen and Helene are a young couple with lots of enthusiasm and good ideas and it was fascinating to hear the plans for their venture. They are very keen to become involved with the village – so, if you see them working away, do go and say hello. They would really appreciate it!

Monday Night is Music Night: Next Monday, May 14, is when the Wine and Social Club will be meeting in the village hall at 7.30 pm. Members only, so is now the time to join the club and see what you have been missing?

Tuesday Ladies Club: Bob Ogley, a well known and popular local speaker, will be entertaining members and visitors with his talk on ‘Biggin on the Bump’ on Tuesday next, May15. The talk starts at 2.15 pm in the village hall and visitors, including the menfolk, are welcome on payment of £2.

There for the young folk for almost 20 years: Sunday, May 27 is a very important date in the history of The Club, as the important and much loved youth club Activate became known not so many moons ago. What an incredible achievement by all concerned in working for and with the children over those many years, and in particular with Wendy Hatch ever present right from Day One. Coincidentally, with the 2018 John Lutman Award about to be presented, the ninth award, we should remember that the first such award, made in 2009, went by a large, thoroughly democratic public vote to Wendy Hatch for her work with Activate! So, go up to Wood Field on Anniversary Day, where you’ll find something to entertain you from 11 am to 9 pm. See you there!

An appealing experience: Those behind Fairfest, coming up for its fifth time of offering on Sunday, July 29, are an appealing lot. And what they are appealing for is a number of people to volunteer to make and serve teas and coffees from 12 noon until 5 pm on Fairfest Day. Asking earlier for cake makers, they have had a good response, but they could really do with knowing just who would be keen to be on a tea making and serving rota, a bit like the Lyons Corner House Nippies of old. I don’t suppose it’s essential that you pour, scattershot production line fashion, over cups tightly packed on a large tin tray. Seriously, if you’d like to be a vital part of this exciting day, contact Jennifer Annetts on 812476 or by email to fairfest2018@gmail