Pews News: This Sunday, May 27, the service at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am will be Morning Praise. As usual the crèche and Junior Church will be available. The 10.45 am Methodist Service at Pett Methodist Chapel will be led by the Rev Ian Pruden, with Holy Communion.

MOPPs today and next Friday: Today, Friday, May 25, the entertainment will be by the All Aloud Choir, and there is also Robert’s hearing aid maintenance. Today’s lunch will be chicken and pasta bake, with gateaux to follow. Next Friday, June 1, the members will be entertained by singer and guitarist Tim Gibson, and there will also be Nicola’s Age UK toenail cutting service. Lunch next week will be fish pie, followed by panna cotta.

The Youth Club 20th Anniversary: The Club, formerly known as Activate, celebrates its 20th anniversary this Sunday, May 27 from 11 am until 9 pm, at the Clubhouse on Wood Field Rec. There’ll be stacks of things to do, and the only cost will be for refreshments (at the BBQ or the bar), and for a go on the raffle. The big point is that all this is not merely for the youngsters, but for absolutely everyone, so do go along and have a bit of fun – your age is immaterial!

Open Gardens, 2018: The fifth and latest iteration of the successful Fairlight Open Gardens format is coming up on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17. There are 11 gardens on show this year, with a variety of foods and drinks available at various places around the village. The gardens are open on each of the two days from 10.30 am to 4 pm, and tickets can be obtained from the Post Office for a mere £5. Children go free. This year, all the proceeds are going to MOPPs, one of the village’s favourite charitable destinations.

East Field Presentation: As might have been expected, there was an attitude of the suits present humouring the hicks from the sticks, because ‘we are about to confer an enormous bounty on your fading, no-hope village’. Let us just cast our minds back to the East Field Action Group, formed to fight against a Rother plan that appeared to require between 24 and 30 properties to be built on East Field. Now the figure is inflated by a factor of six, and the number of people in the village will increase by a third in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, much of what we were told in the afternoon and evening was untrue. Surprisingly, the London outfit had made no attempt to reach into the village beforehand. Plans had misnamed roads, and some of their statements were delivered with breath-taking arrogance and inaccuracy. The claim is that the site follows the profile of the existing Fairlight. As there would be 18 bungalows among the 175 new dwellings, when the existing village is probably 70%, or even 80%, bungalows, this claim is fallacious. Fairlight is a rural village, while the new proposal is of urban density. The existing village has a housing density of 10 per hectare, while the East Field plan is marginally short of 27 per hectare. As most people have little idea what a hectare looks like, these figures can be related to an average football pitch. As Fairlight exists, the density equates to six and a half properties per football pitch. The new proposal works out at 17½ per football pitch. Quite a difference. The ludicrous siting of the entrance to the development is at a point offering the most danger to other road users. Bear in mind we could be looking at 300 vehicles coming and going across Pett Level Road each day (not Battery Hill as Welbeck claim). The positioning of this entrance just makes the disconnect of the development from Fairlight village total and complete. Although the site is contiguous on the North West, the West and the South boundaries, the two areas have absolutely nothing in common. They are effectively isolated from each other. Perhaps the new development should be called East Fairlight. What is urgently needed is a new stye, from which all these wonderful pigs could fly. There are to be ‘attenuation basins’ alongside what is currently Broadway stream and these will have mosquitoes cheering for miles around. What they claim is a Possible Doctors’ Surgery is estimated by experienced local healthcare professionals to be an Impossible Doctors’ Surgery. Perhaps most worrying of all is the fact that none of this grandiose irrelevancy is cast in stone. Having achieved planning permission, they may then adjust the appearance, scale and layout of anything and everything, which makes last Wednesday an even bigger waste of time. The vast improvement to feeder roads made necessary by the vast increase in traffic was not mentioned. The planned development crams all the dwellings into the western end, leaving the eastern end empty. How clever, then, to make the village hall a metaphor for the site, with all the villagers crammed into the west end so packed they could observe very little, while behind the display boards the east end up to the stage was empty and in the dark. Several leaving the village hall remarked on the presence of a pungent odour, as if a large male cow had left something behind.

Parish Assembly: Last Friday’s Parish Assembly was well attended, with the village hall small hall severely stretched at the seams. Parish Council Chairman Cllr Andrew Mier, custodian of the meeting on behalf of the residents, applied some light touches in his summary of the past year in Fairlight, and then it was time to reveal this year’s recipient of the John Lutman Award, given to the person adjudged to have done the most in support of the community, and the worthy winner was announced as Frank James. He duly received the shield from Janet Lutman, John Lutman’s widow. The Award carries a grant of £150 from the Parish Council, to go to the charity of the recipient’s choice. No big surprise here, for Frank donated the money to MOPPs, which I believe to be the fifth such donation out of the nine so far granted! There were even a couple of PCSO’s in attendance, explaining this and that about Police Matters, a really pleasing change after many meetings of no shows. After the more formal part of the evening, there were a select few stalls on offer in the main hall, and among the newer ones were the new Library and Parkhurst Cricket Club, both exceptionally welcome. MOPPs, and the Gardening Club were there, as well as the performers from the Pantomime Group and the Players. The East Field Action Group was following up on the previous Wednesday’s public presentation by Welbeck Land.

The Art Club Exhibition: This popular, and spread over two days for the second year running, exhibition last weekend raised £122, which will be shared between the Playgroup and The Cinnamon Trust, (which came to be noticed when it was one of the beneficiaries of last week’s plant sale). The Saturday evening was a well attended and thoroughly enjoyable evening. On the Sunday there was a steady stream of visitors with a good many pictures sold.

East Sussex Arts Club: And for those who missed and those who enjoyed the Fairlight art show and who are hungry for more, we have the East Sussex Arts Club annual show from Saturday to Wednesday, May 26 to 30 at the Stade Hall, Hastings from 10 am to 5 pm each day. The Club has more than 60 members, all of whom are local artists – with several of them Fairlight residents. Admission to this five day exhibition is free. Parking is not!

Parish Memorial: There is to be a short Memorial Service at St Andrew’s Church on Sunday, June 10 starting at 3 pm. This service is for the families, relatives and friends of those who are buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard. The service will be followed by refreshments and, if you would like to attend, please contact the Rector, the Rev Richard Barron, on 812799. This will help them to judge the catering requirements.

Sundance Aerobics: This facility has been operating on Mondays in the village hall for a couple of weeks now, under the guidance of RSA qualified Ruth. It’s on from 10.30 to 11.30 am, at a cost of £5 per session (or £40 for ten sessions!)

St Andrew’s tower: Open now for the season from 2 until 5 pm, each Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday is St Andrew’s church tower. You could also try ringing the bells, too, from 2 until 3 pm. But it does need a pair of people monitoring the tower whenever it is open. They do not have to be churchgoers and so, if you would like to lend a hand to help your community, please contact Kath Barron on 812799 and get on the roster. With the church actively promoting the tower as a visitor attraction, all help will be highly appreciated. The views are marvellous. After all, think of all the places around the district from which you can see the tower!

Parkhurst Cricket Club: It was pleasant to be able to meet with Richard Ahsam, the Chairman, and Tom Burgess, the Captain, of ‘our’ cricket club, Parkhurst, who adopted the Wood Field ground last year, and are gradually embedding themselves in our community. Increasingly, more and more of us should be on the qui vive for the satisfying and oh-so-English sound of willow on leather. For June, Wood Field should see a Super Six tournament on Saturday, June 9 at 2 pm, and a match against Sandhurst C.C. on Sunday, June 24, also at 2 pm. A cuppa is almost always guaranteed during hot afternoons of activity! In our turn, we hope to be able to publish their results as they are completed.

Playgroup Jumble Sale: The recent sale was as well patronised as one would expect, and the organisers report that just over £700 was raised, - a really great result. They would like to thank everyone who helped put on the Jumble Sale, helpers and donators, and to everyone who bought, ate or drank during the sale to contribute to the raising of vital funds for this very worthy cause.

Tuesday Ladies Club Tuesday Ladies Club welcomed back Bob Ogley and enjoyed his interesting and moving story about Biggin Hill and its importance during World War II. Bob Ogley came to the fore after he hired a plane at Biggin Hill to photograph and to see the devastation after the 1987 hurricane. He gave a talk at Biggin Hill following the publication of his best seller book on the hurricane and this resulted in a commission to write the history of Biggin Hill. The profit from this book went to the RAF Benevolent Fund. Biggin Hill started off as a wireless testing station where they perfected contact between the ground and flying aircraft. Between the wars they perfected night flying skills and parachuting. He was lucky to meet many of the famous personnel including the first WAAF to get the Military Medal. He had a fund of interesting and moving stories about the people and events. His books Biggin on the Bump and The Ghosts of Biggin Hill are highly recommended.

On June 19 the speaker will be William Joyce on the subject of the Astronomical Society. The meeting starts at 2.15 pm in the village hall, and all visitors, of either sex, will be welcome for £2.

Meanwhile, Mary Stewart reports that a few tickets remain for the TLC outing on Tuesday, June 26. They will be going to Michelham Priory, and the entrance cost is £8. The cost of the coach, which is free to TLC members, will be £8 for guests. This promises to be a rewarding and interesting day out, and Mary is available on 813031 should you wish to secure your place.

A new Parish Library: Talks were taking place last Tuesday as this column was being put to bed, and it is hoped that the plans for our new library are now able to come to fruition because of these talks. With propose opening times of 2 to 4 pm each Tuesday and Thursday, quite obviously keen and willing volunteers will be required to look after the booking in and out at these times. If you fancy helping the cause, please have a word with Graeme when you’re next in the Post Office and General Stores. The duties should not be overly arduous.

A legion of fun for the Royal British Legion: On Saturday, June 16, at the Fairlight Lodge Hotel, our local branch of the British Legion is mounting an amateur/professional night of ‘Opportunity Knocks’ from 2 until 8 pm. They want to give people the chance to show off their talent, and to raise funds for the Legion. There’ll be music, monologues, choir, Guestling School pupils, and a raffle. Bar and light lunches will be available, and what is more, admission is free! Margaret Pulfer, whose number is below, can tell you more.

On the following day, Sunday, June 17, and still at the Fairlight Lodge Hotel, they’re running a Boot Fair from 1 until 5 pm. It will cost you £10 for your car, or for a stall, £15 for a van and £20 for a van and trailer. No food sales allowed! If you’d like to book your spot, please call Margaret Pulfer on 814866. If you don’t fancy being a seller, at least you can see what others have on offer!

The Village Hall Summer Fair: Following its usual, successful format, Saturday, June 2 is the date for the next Fairlight Village Hall Fair, when most of the clubs and societies in the village will have a stall. Food and refreshments, and tea, coffee and Pimms will all be available, so do go along and help them raise funds in support of the upkeep of the hall, such a vital part of village life. You can partake from 12 noon until 3 pm.

Why do they come in threes?: Well, they don’t – that’s strictly for London. But the fact is that Stagecoach are tweaking our 101 Service from Sunday, June 3. Parish Clerk Pauline Collins has kindly furnished me with a copy of the bus company’s timetable details, which would probably get lost in the welter of information abounding this week. Andrew Mier has posted the information on the FRA email system, but failing that your best bet is to go to stagecoachbus.com and track any changes down for yourself.

Missed the bin?: There was a whole heap of little black bags with tightly tied handles, all on the ground by the first bus stop in Waites Lane. We all know what’s in them. They appeared to have got there because the bin liner in the bin above had torn or been torn, possibly by wild animals. It’s all right though, because a new liner has been fitted. So why couldn’t the professionals have picked up what was left on the ground?

You take the High Road. I don’t want it: The Fairlight Road black spot still has had nothing done to it. A taxi swerved just about into my path this week, and Battery Hill is more like an abandoned third world road with each week that passes. Maybe when we next have an opportunity to vote we should see what each candidate has to say about our roads, and possibly try to elect someone who cares and has enough bottle to do something about them.

However, a deep pothole outside the property Royd in Broadway has had a positive outcome. No, it hasn’t been infilled – don’t be silly. But it does make a super and much used birdbath each time it rains. Soon be big enough for a pair of Golden Eagles.