Winchelsea & Winchelsea Beach news
Winchelsea & Winchelsea Beach news

Advent Eucharist: The annual service will be on Sunday November 27th at 11am St Thomas’ Church. This is a time of worship to mark the start of Advent which is the coming of Jesus into the world. All are invited to this joint service which will be bringing together the congregations of St Richard’s and All Saints and St Nicholas, Icklesham to Winchelsea.

Gigspanner: Peter Knight’s Gigspanner will be performing on Friday December 2nd at 7.30pm in St Thomas’ Church. The concert is organised by the Bonfire Boyes and if you would like tickets they are £15 each from Grammar School Records in Rye. This is good traditional folk music, played evocatively on stringed instruments.

Prayer Partners: The annual ceremony for the Prayer Partner scheme will take place in St Thomas’ Church during the 11am service on Sunday December 4th. If you would like to join this worthy and supportive venture, please leave your name on the list at the back of the church.

Travelling Crib: If you would like to be a host family for the Travelling Crib over the Advent period the number to contact is 01797 224861 or leave your name on the list at the back of St Thomas’ Church. Every year families and friends in the parish volunteer to host the small knitted figures of Joseph and the expectant Mary for a night. A lit candle, a prayer and the opportunity to wish each other Christmas blessings are all part of this Nativity journey. Not everybody is aware that the idea of the travelling crib comes from an old Mexican tradition known as Posada. It involves young people dressed as Mary and Joseph travelling from house to house in the weeks leading up to Christmas. At each house they request a room for the night and inform people about the imminent arrival of Jesus. On Christmas Eve the young couple visit their local church to re-enact the nativity and place the figures of Mary and Joseph in a crib. Modern day Posada just uses nativity figures of Mary and Joseph who travel from place to place. Each host creates their own celebration with the real Christmas message of Jesus coming to reign as the focal point.

Cristina Ortiz in concert: Winchelsea Arts is hosting a special concert in memory of Tom Harris whose life was tragically ended in December 2015. The concert takes place on Saturday December 17th at 7.30pm in St Thomas’ Church and the talented pianist Cristina Ortiz will be performing. Cristina has played in most of the major concert halls of the world and has been a soloist at distinguished orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concert Hall. She was Tom’s mentor and friend and is guaranteed to enthrall her audience as she performs piano music of Schubert, Brahms, York Bowen and Chopin. An exceptional pianist himself, Tom, in his young performing career gave several piano recitals by popular demand at St Thomas’ Church. In the last few years he had become a much loved friend of Winchelsea Arts which was formed to promote the new generation of artists as they first step out onto the world stage. Tickets should be purchased as soon as possible as demand is likely to be high to hear this popular musician as she plays in Tom’s memory. The tickets are available locally at Winchelsea Farm Kitchen and online at winchelsea- where further information can also be obtained.

Benson’s life and work: Allan Downend, secretary of the E. F. Benson Society, gave an intriguing description of E.F. ‘Fred’ Benson and his unconventional middle-class family, at the Literary Society last Friday evening. Fred was born in Wellington College in 1867 where his father was the Headmaster; he later attended Marlborough College in 1887 before graduating from Cambridge with an Honours degree in Archaeology. From 1883 until his death in 1896 his father was the Archbishop of Canterbury. During the time Fred was excavating in Egypt and Greece, hoping to make his fortune from ancient relics, he wrote his first book ‘Dodo’ which was published in 1893. Like the extinct flightless bird Dodo was a frivolous socialite whose days were numbered as a species, while the book became a sensation when it appeared. Dodo brought him fame and access into the high society of Countesses, Ladies and Dowager Duchesses with summers spent in Italy, Greece, Venice and the upper-class bohemian life-style of Capri. He soon became a popular writer but was best remembered for his six comic novels of Mapp and Lucia set in Rye. By the time he came to Rye in 1920 he was ready to settle down after years spent with the glitterati. Suffering with arthritis he spent a fairly sedentary life mainly in the garden room of Lamb House which he rented for almost 20 years. There he would watch, deduce and record the small town intrigues of his neighbours and exploit them in the prating character of Elizabeth Mapp. Although Miss Mapp had a meaningful place in his alter ego he preferred to identify with the more cultured persona of Lucia but also claimed at times to be the scandalous anti-hero Dodo. After his death in 1940 his books fell out of print but since the 1970s he has had a cult following with his books and the TV series’ in the 1980s and the 1990s. Both the Friends of Tilling and the E.F. Benson Society which have been running since the 1980s regularly celebrate this enigmatic character from a rare bygone era.

Winchelsea Beach

Christmas Table Sale: Please note that the correct date for the Christmas Table Sale is Sunday November 27th at 11am in the Community Hall (not Saturday). Everybody is very welcome to come along and have a go on the Christmas tombola and the entry cost of 50p includes a glass of mulled wine.

Ocean Ceramics: Next week there will be a Christmas Sale of original sea-themed gifts all beautifully made at reasonable prices. Just come along to Potters Studio, 7 Windmill Way on Saturday and Sunday December 3rd and 4th from 11am till 5pm and spend some time looking round.

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