Village Voices - December 17, 2010

News from around the villages.


As we approach this most important date in the Christian calendar, here are some details of services over the festive period.

Sedlescombe Parish Church will be holding their usual service this Sunday, December 19, at 10am and then in the evening at 6pm they will be holding Carols for Sedlescombe followed by mince pies.

On Christmas Eve, December 24 there will be a crib service at 4pm with a candle lit mass at midnight to celebrate the birth of Christ.

There will be a Chistmas Day Eucharist service at 10am and also on December 26 at 10am.

Karen Dann reports: The annual Sedlescombe C.E Primary School Christmas Fayre was a great success last Saturday despite having to be cancelled from the previous week due to the snow.

The Fayre raised a grand total of £1,500 which was a tremendous amount.

Festive fun was had by all who came and all the children enjoyed the entertainment on offer especially our magical santas grotto with the great man himself santa claus who gave gifts to those he saw.

Goods on offer included Sally Newton, Bettina Wells selling beautiful jewellery, Party 4 Poppets, Phoenix Cards, Jumping Beans and Japanese clothing.

There were other stalls selling bric abrac, books and childrens toys of which everyone enjoyed rummaging through to find a bargain.

We would also like to thank once again all the businesses that were involved in offering services as part of the main raffle. It definitely made our raffle totally different and one to remember!

Again thank you to all the committee parents and frinds alike who helped towards the Fayre. Caroline and Amelia worked extremely hard on the cake stall selling their beautiful cakes and festive muffins. Obviously it goes without saying they were a yummy success. A huge thank you to you ladies for all your hard work.

A special thanks is needed for those who helped above and beyond the call of duty and they were : Louise Page for the grotto, Sharon Knight on the stalls, setting up Jackie Saull–Hunt, Mr Boon and Mark Matt Mahoney for putting up the posters and then changing them due to the snow.

Natasha Winn was in the kitchen and our other fantastic helpers were Jason Morton, Katrina Carter, Lynne Rose, Jeremy and Sarah Trinder and Karen Dann.

Deborah Esposito was also a great help but extra thanks to her for having the difficult task of the accounts of which she is truly amazing.

Emma Kesper was a fantastic deputy head in the absence of Mrs Ham and was a real trooper all day.

It goes without saying but still should be said that without our marvelous chairman, Vanessa Boon, the fayre would not have been the success it was and for that thank you from all of us.

Mrs Ham, our wonderful head mistress, was sadly missed but may we take this opportunity of wishing her a speedy recovery some peaceful rest and a very happy Christmas. We all look forward to seeing her back at school in the new Year. – Merry Christmas to all.

Tickets for the Sedlescombe Players’ Little Shop of Horrors are selling fast with the Saturday, February 19, performance already sold out.

There are tickets available for Wednesday, February 16, Thursday, February 17 and Friday, February 18.

They will be on sale on Saturday, December 18 outside Sedlescombe village stores between 9am to 11am, and Monday 20 December at the village hall from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.

From January 2, 2011, you can call 01424 718059. Tickets are priced at £12.50 each and include supper, wines and soft drinks will be available to purchase. This will be a memorable evening – don’t miss it!

Owing to the bad weather Rye and District Association of the National Trust had to cancel their Christmas Lunch scheduled for December 4 .

But they are pleased to report though that it has now been rescheduled as a New Year’s Lunch and will still be held in The Orangery Restaurant at Powdermills Hotel near Battle on Saturday January 8, 2011.

The full details remain as previously circulated to members in the Autumn Newsletter.

Members and friends who have not previously booked may still be able to do so by calling Ros Adkins on 01797 253763.

In early 2011, Friends of Sedlescombe Church Trust will be presenting “Sedlescombe’s Got Talent” and you are invited to take part in the evening.

There will be our own panel of judges and super prizes to win on the night.

Do you sing, play, recite, juggle, or have another talent you would like to share?

Then please register your interest with Jean Dann on 882438 or Anthony Rand on 870722.

The Christmas Tree has made a beautiful addition to the village this year, thank you to everyone in organising this for us all to enjoy.

If you have an event coming up in the local area or would like to have a small piece, outlining your club or organisation aims, activities, membership etc. then please contact me by email to or by calling 870344.


There is still time to get your Iden Calendar from Iden Stores or Country Hare for just £6. Some of the wonderful photographs of Iden scenes taken by Rod Stuart have been seen on Meridian television. All profits from the sales will go towards the restoration of Iden Church.

Residents will be very sad to learn Ian and Lucy will be leaving Iden Stores in the first week of the New Year. They will have been with us for six years and will be very greatly missed as they have always been a vital part of the community.

Even in the worst of weathers as recently experienced, the shop would be open and the papers delivered on time.

We all wish them well as they travel the world and thank them for all they have done to make life so much better for us all.

We will particularly miss Lucy’s phenomenal memory for names and Ian’s music, humour and choice of shorts, even on the coldest of days.

We will be welcoming Geoff and Elizabeth next year who are from the Medway towns and will be running the shop with we are sure everyone’s support and goodwill.

Iden Parish Council met on Tuesday, December 7, but because of the bad weather, the meeting was curtailed to only essential matters on the agenda.

Under planning, support has been given for recent applications relating to The Granary and Gardeners Cottage, both in Wittersham Road.

The appeals for the Bell Inn ( new porch) and for Calembel (another property alongside) have been dismissed.

The order for the village sign has now been placed and it is hoped it will be erected by the Bellfield in the spring.

The council was advised that in the New Year cardboard will be collected if placed in the green wheelie bins.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 4, at 7.30pm in Iden Village Hall when the budget for the year 2011/12 will be agreed.

It is hoped that the amount required by the Parish Council will be reduced from £9,500 to £8,000

A big reminder that the annual Carol Service will be held on Tuesday 21 December at 7.30pm in Iden Church. Everyone is invited to attend and join in the mince pies and mulled wine afterwards. The evening is always a lovely occasion with the Iden Singers and as previously the collection will be in aid of Charity. Please note- the date in the Rye Events booklet was incorrect!

Village organisations are reminded that applications for grants from this year’s Fete must be sent to Richard Curd at Blackthorn Oast, Grove Lane, Iden by December 31.

The Christingle Service held in Iden Church on December 5 was well attended and it was lovely to see so many children of all ages, and members of Playden Church. Many of the children read prayers and helped with the short talk about the meaning of the Christingle and the work of the Children’s Society. The collection will be used to support their work.

There will be a Whist Drive in the Village Hall on Wednesday at 7.30 pm.

This paper will be published next Friday as usual.

Apart from the Tuesday Carol Service, the other special Christmas services are at Playden. On Christmas Eve there is a Crib Service at 4pm.

You are invited to come in costume and help construct the Crib and tell the story of the first Christmas with the help of the children. At 11.30pm there will be the Midnight Mass at Playden while on Christmas Day there is 9.30am Family Communion at Iden.

On Boxing Day there will be a Team Service for all to come together at St. Mary’s, Rye, at 10.30am. In the evening there will be the Churches Together Carol Service at St. Mary’s at 6pm.

This Sunday - December 19 - there will be 9.30am Parish Communion.

MARION LOVELL, Abingworth, New England Lane Playden


As some wit has remarked, why does Christmas always come at the busiest time of the year when the weather is so unpredictable? At the moment the sun is doing its best to disperse the ground fog, but more difficult conditions are forecast.

The information through the letterbox about collections and recycling left me bemused. Rother has advised me that the garden waste will not be collected again until the week beginning January 10, for us Wednesday, January 12. But extra black bin collections will happen during the week of December 27. Black and green boxes will be collected as usual, on December 29, because the day does not change.

The compost which has been generated may be purchased from the recycling centres at Mountfield or Bexhill at £10 for three bags. This is the commercial price, so is it worth going right over the county to get our own garden waste back as compost? If you still have queries, phone 01424 78 70 00.

Playden School closes today for the Christmas holiday and reopens on January 5. They have had a busy week with two performances of the Nativity Play in Iden Church, a special Christmas lunch and a party.

The Christmas Fair was a huge success, the main attraction being the X-Mas Factor, which was also great fun. A huge thank you to James and all the PSA for their sheer hard work organising this special event and helping to raise a staggering £1,700.

Rye Community Fire Station will be making deliveries of presents on Christmas Day in the Rye, Playden, Camber and Winchelsea Beach areas. The cost of £1.50 per parcel will be donated to the Firefighters Charity. All you have to do is deliver your wrapped parcel to the fire station on Christmas Eve between 9am and 3pm and Father Christmas will deliver it to your house on Christmas morning!

The Christingle service at Iden Church last week was very well attended and it was lovely to see so many children of all ages, and also people from Playden Church. Many of the children read prayers and helped with the short talk about the meaning of the Christingle and the work of the Children’s Society. The collection will be used to support their work.

Mr. Geoff Hutchinson is at Playden W.I. Hall today (Friday) at 2.30pm to talk about ‘What is Christmas?’ This promises to be a hilarious afternoon with Geoff at his best. The cost will be £6.50 per person including a spot of Christmas spirit with savouries, mince pies and mulled wine. If you would like to book, call Ros Adkins on 01797 253 763. This promises to be a hilarious afternoon with Geoff at his best. The cost will be £6.50 per person including a spot of Christmas spirit with savouries, mince pies and mulled wine. If you would like to book, please phone Ros Adkins on 01797 253 763. This has been arranged by the Rye and District Association of the National Trust.

Ryesingers will be at East Guldeford on Sunday 19th for the candle lit carols at 2.30 pm. For many, this is the real start of Christmas. Some of us can remember wheeling a piano from the horse box over the field to the church. It had its funny side!

The services during next week are as follows: Monday, December 20, at 2pm, the Consecration of the Churchyard extension by the Bishop of Lewes; Tuesday, December 21, Carols at Iden at 7.30pm; the Crib service at Playden is on Christmas Eve at 4pm. All are welcome in costume as the crib is assembled and the story of the first Christmas is told with the help of the children. And at 11.30pm, Midnight Mass.

On Christmas Day there will be Family Communion at 11am.

On Boxing Day there will be a Team Service for all to come together at St. Mary’s Church, Rye at 10.30am. At 6pm there will be the Churches Together Carol Service.

This paper will be published as usual next Friday.

This Sunday, there will be 11 am Parish Communion and 6 pm, the Carol Service.

MARION LOVELL, Abingworth, New England Lane, Playden


Tomorrow, Saturday, there’s a thank you for all those who supported the church markets throughout the year.

Just drop in to the church any time between 10am and noon and there will be mulled wine,coffee/tea and minced pies.

Yvonne will be playing carols and you can listen,chat or sing, What a lovely way to start Christmas week.

On Sunday, at 10.30am, there is a Parish Eucharist at which the Vicar the Reverend Howard Cocks officiates.

At 4pm we have the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Next Friday, December 24, is Christmas Eve and there is a Midnight Eucharist which starts at 11,pm.

On Christmas Day there is a Parish Eucharist at 10.30am.

On Sunday, December 26, St. Stephen’s Day, there is no service in All Saints’ Icklesham ‘but there is a Parish Eucharist in our sister Church of St.Thomas, Winchelsea’ starting at 10.30am.

The next service of in All Saints is at 10.30am on Sunday’ January 2, 2011.

Old Folk favourites Titus provide the Feel Good live music at the ‘Queen’s Head’ on Sunday, 4pm-6pm.

Watch out for waxwings. These birds are irregular visitors to Britain and already this month local ornithologists have seen some in Icklesham.

They do not breed in Britain but when its really cold in the arctic they move from countries like Finland.

In that country they are common enough to be on postage stamps. It’s rather like we think about robins.

Waxwings are unmistakable even to a non bird person. They are about the size of a starling, but they have a smart crest.

The body is buff with a black bib under the beak and a black streak around the eyes. The grey tail has a yellow tip.

The upper flight feathers have waxy red tips looking just like the sealing wax which would have been an everyday part of life 200 years ago when many birds were getting their names.

The waxwings are normally in flocks feasting on red berries. Hawthorn, dog rose, holly, rowan are all popular.

If you have cotoneaster you have the best chance of seeing these delightful birds and as the supermarkets frequently use this plant for ground cover shoppers are often surprised to see the pretty berry eaters at the edge of the car park.

LAURIE BOWMAN, Magpies, Oast House Field


The members of Broad Oak Fire Station will be Carol Singing around the estates at Broad Oak, to which all are invited to take part, next Monday (December 20), leaving the fire station at 6.30pm.

Afterwards you are welcome to return to the station for Mick Mercer’s special warming refreshments.

Firefighters will again be delivering parcels in the village on Christmas Day, as they have done for several years now, and the donation for this is £1.50.

All proceeds from these events will go to the firefighters’ charity.

To have a parcel delivered contact Chris Sands on 01424-882907. There will also be Carol Singing at the Red Lion on Monday, from 8pm.

Brede Bellringers’ Christmas tree is outside St. George’s again this year, and if you would like to dedicate a light in memory of a loved one or a special occasion a donation of at least £1 would be appreciated.

Please put your name and dedication in an envelope and drop it in to Andrew Burchett, Alexandra Cottage, Stubb Lane, Brede TN31 6EJ or give to any of the Bell Ringers.

Today, Friday, will be the last opportunity for you to make a donation at Brede Farmers Market (on the apple stall) as there is no market next week.

The proceeds this year are going to be shared between St. George’s and Help the Heroes and a list of dedications will be included in the Parish Magazine in the New Year.

Tickets are now on sale for Brede Players’ New Year production, which barring anymore unforeseen bad weather conditions, will be on Friday and Saturday, January 7/8.

Instead of a pantomime, their choice this time is a family fairytale entitled ‘Many Moons’.

Tickets are £6 (children £3) and can be obtained from Broad Oak Bakery or by calling 01424-883548.

The annual quiz evening run by the Friends of St. George is being held in the Village Hall on Saturday, January 29. Entrance is £7.50 (including supper) with teams of up to eight people. Tables can be booked by calling Marion on 01424-751165.

This week’s services at St. George’s Church are the Family Eucharist at 9.30am and the Christingle Service at 3pm on Sunday, December 19, with Holy Communion on Tuesday, December 21, and Thursday, December 23, at 9am and Wednesday, December 22, at 10am.

The Midnight Mass is on Friday, December 24, at 11.30pm with a Family Eucharist on Christmas Day at 9.30am. The Nine Lessons and Carols is at Udimore on Sunday, December 19, at 6pm.

Trinity Methodist Church continues at Broad Oak again this Sunday, December 19, for their normal Service at 11am which will be conducted by the Revd. Dr. Derek Brice.

The following Sunday, December 26, their Christmas Day service is being conducted by the Revd. Malcolm Hope who will also administer Holy Communion. This service starts at the slightly earlier time of 10.30am.

Summary of this week’s activities:

The Village Hall: Monday, Rainbows (4.30pm), Brownies (5.30pm), Whist Drive (7.30pm); Tuesday, Painting for Pleasure (10am); Thursday, Tai-Chi (2 pm).

Scout Hut, Stubb Lane: Monday, Beavers (5.30pm) and Cubs (6.45pm); Tuesday, Scouts (7 pm).

If you have anything to be put in the column it can be sent e-mail to: - JOHN MAY, Mill Lands


The WBCA annual Carol Concert with the Rye Methodist Choir will be held on Monday, December 20, at 7.30pm in the Community Hall.

Everybody welcome and there will be mince pies, sausage rolls, Christmas cake, tea/coffee to follow. As you leave there will be a collection in aid of Rye Hospital Care Centre.

Don’t forget that the Mums and Toddlers Group is held in the Community Hall on Tuesdays during term time from 12.30pm until 2.30pm.

Any mum is welcome to join the group and to find out more you can just turn up on a Tuesday.

CINDI COGSEWELL, 31 High Fords, Icklesham


The ladies of Pett Women’s Institute celebrated Christmas a little early this year with a Christmas lunch at the Two Sawyers on Friday, December 10.

There was almost a full turnout and needless to say a good time was had by all those present.

Don’t forget that Pett Level Naturalist Society will meet on Friday, December 17, in Pett Village Hall at 7.30pm.

Church Services on Sunday, December 19 - Holy Communion, St Nicholas, Pett Level at 8am; Sunday Service at the Methodist Chapel at 11am.

Don’t forget the annual Carol Singing in Pett on December 20. Singers will meet in St Mary and St Peter’s Church, Pett Road at 6:45pm.

Pett Parish Council will meet at 7:30pm on Tuesday, December 21 in Pett Village Hall.

On Friday, December 24, Christmas Eve, there will be a Christingle Service, St Mary & St Peter, Pett at 3pm.



Christmas carols will be sung in the Court Hall this evening (Friday) at 6.30pm for 7pm. FOAM (Friends of the Ancient Monuments & Museum) invites all to this enjoyable free annual event and there will be complimentary wine and refreshments available.

St Thomas’ Church Candlelight Service of Nine Lessons and Carols is held on Sunday, beginning at 6pm. There will be a collection for the St Nicholas Fellowship.

The annual Carols Round the Town is this Monday & Tuesday (December 20/21) from 6pm to 8pm and the collection will be in aid of Shelter. You will need to meet in church porch at 6pm with torch and dressed warmly. Children are welcome with adults. On Tuesday evening many of the singers will finish at the New Inn where there is a pub quiz starting at 8pm.

Looking ahead to Boxing Day the now traditional, ‘Ancient & Most Terrible Winchelsea Streete Game’ will be in action in Castle Street at 11am.

This fiercely exciting game played without rules and principles is open to anyone to participate and expect a few bruises.

It involves three teams vying to place an object called the ‘Frenchman’s head’ into a single goal and is loosely based on some form of medieval football.

After about 20 minutes the game will be over and the teams are invited to head for the New Inn to patch up their differences.

The Canterville Ghost, which was postponed due to the weather, will take place on Friday, January 7, at 7pm in St Thomas’ Church.

It will be performed by the touring Rain and Shine Theatre Company and proceeds are in aid of the Winchelsea Bonfire Society.

Tickets are £9 adults, £5.50 under 16s and there will be a bar (contact 01797 225333 for tickets).

Owing to the recent bad weather The Rye and District Association of the National Trust had to cancel the Christmas lunch on December 4.

They are pleased to say it has now been rescheduled as a New Year’s lunch on Saturday, January 8, and will still be held in The Orangery Restaurant at Powdermills Hotel near Battle.

The full details remain as previously circulated to members in the Autumn Newsletter.

Members and friends who have not previously booked may still be able to do so by calling Ros Adkins on 01797 253763.

In the bleak mid winter of last Wednesday the Methodist Chapel held their Christmas Celebration evening.

The ‘Village Choir’, a group of enthusiastic singers from nearby villages (mainly Pett), sang and shook bells to various traditional Christmas songs like Sleigh Ride and Little Donkey, so awakening childhood memories in the young at heart audience.

There is a dividing wall between the chapel and adjoining house and if the neighbours were at home they too would have been joyfully entertained.

Rev. Malcolm Hope gave a thoughtful prayer and the service concluded with home-made mince pies and coffee/tea.

It was an enjoyable start to Christmas and thanks to those who helped with the service and to Tina Neaves for providing the seasonal refreshments.

An offertory was taken and the proceeds will go towards the chapel and ‘Action for Children’.

Sometimes we forget that Christmas has a lot to do with children.

At the Tabernacle Church in Hastings last Sunday I watched a group of children perform a nativity scene as part of the Christmas service.

One was dressed as a golden star, another a lamb, others were angels with silver tinsel in their hair and there were plenty of shepherds.

They were relaxed, enjoying the performance and as they loudly sang ‘Yes Jesus Loves Me’ looked very cheerful.

There was something unusual about this and it was the fact that they were actually happy.

It made me realise that we have done much to make children very serious these days, for no real gain and losing them the experience of childhood.

CINDI COGSWELL, 31 High Fords, Icklesham


The bad weather has taken its toll on events - the Rye and District Association of the National Trust had to cancel its Christmas lunch on December 4, but it has been rescheduled, and will now be a New Year’s lunch, still to be held in The Orangery at Powdermills Hotel, near Battle. The full details remain as previously circulated to members in the Autumn newsletter. Members and friends who have not previously booked may still be able to do so by calling Ros Adkins on 01797 253763.

Today, we start with the Primary School Christmas Service at 9.30am in St Mary’s Church. Please take this opportunity to celebrate with the pupils, staff and governors of our local school, you will be very welcome.

The day continues with the produce market in the village hall between 9am and noon, and then the junior badminton clubs meet in the Pretious Sports Hall at 5.30pm and 6.30pm. Dance Club is in the village hall at 7.30pm.

Geoff Hutchinson will be giving a seasonal presentation in Playden WI hall for the Rye and District Association of the National Trust today (Friday). “What is Christmas” starts at 2.30pm at a cost of £6.50 to include savouries, mince pies and mulled wine. Call Ros Adkins 253763 if you haven’t booked your place.

Enjoy festive games, late-night shopping and meeting Father Christmas at Bodiam Castle over the weekend, with the castle staying open until 6.30pm (last entry at 6pm) to give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful castle ruins at dusk. As the winter sun sets, a romantic atmosphere descends on the castle when visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll around the grounds and breathtaking views from the top of the towers, whilst festive music fills the air.

After nightfall the castle will be flood lit and visitors will have the chance to enjoy a little Christmas shopping in the castle’s gift shop which opens to 7pm. Children will also have the opportunity to meet Father Christmas, who will be staying late in his medieval grotto tucked away at the heart of the castle.

The unique grotto will be beautifully decorated with traditional decorations and soft sparkling lights to create a magical atmosphere for visitors.

Advance booking online at or 01580 830196 to avoid disappointment. Cost £7.50 per child (includes castle entry) or £3 for infants under 18 months.

Children will love exploring the castle ruins with the castle’s seasonal challenge, which takes them on a festive adventure to track down the different clues hidden throughout.

Santa Specials are running at the Kent and Sussex Railway this weekend, and Wednesday through Christmas Eve.

On Sunday evening, we have another well-loved tradition, with the Carols by Candlelight Service at St Mary’s at 6.30pm.

The Over 60s will be holding their Sister Miller celebration lunch on Tuesday - 11am start.

PC Collins will be available to speak to residents at Coffee Stop on Wednesday, December 22, at 10.30am. Coffee Stop is open in the Church Centre each Wednesday between 10am and noon.

Report from the PC Collins: Overnight on November 5 there was a barn broken into in Mill Corner. Nothing was stolen on this occasion but this was the second time in three months.

On Wednesday, November 17, at approximately 4.30pm/4.45pm a vehicle stopped at the junction of Coppards Lane/Main Street.

Whle the driver was waiting to get on to the main road, a male approached the passenger’s door and tried to get in, luckily the driver had the doors locked.

We are not sure why this male tried to get in but would advise you to consider keeping your doors locked especially when driving alone.

There was one report of an accident in the snow in Whitebread Lane, the drivers where not injured.

PC Collins and PCSO Unicombe would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Next Friday is Christmas Eve (I’m sure any passing child will have filled you in on that), and we will be holding Crib Service in St Mary’s at 4pm, with Midnight Communion at 11.30pm

Looking forward to the New Year, we have our annual conflict of interest on January 21 when you can choose between the Conservation Society’s Wine and Wisdom evening in the Village Hall, or Rye and District Lions’ Winter Warmer brass band concert with Sussex Brass in Beckley Village Centre.

As both events are usually a full house, I suspect they each have their loyal following, so mark your new shiny diaries at once!

Services (19th): 8am Holy Communion, 10.30 Morning Praise, 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight

KAREN AYLING, The White House, Dixter Road


Salt and Battery Hill… It always seems to be the same. Snow; Village is cut off; Battery Hill is gritted, along with Waites Lane, some normality returns. Er, no, Battery Hill is frozen again.

In the current economic climate, under-road heating or a couple of spare Merlin engines are probably out of the question.

And, anyway, there’s something about the settled snow that brings out the best in neighbourliness in the village, starting with Ken and Pam at the Post Office and Grant at Wakehams Farm Shop.

We’ll fetch it, we’ll walk your dog. It’s the Dunkirk spirit all over again!

In the Bleak Mid-winter…and others, too, to get you warm with a good sing-along, and properly in the mood for Christmas with Carols by Candlelight, all in St Andrew’s Church, Coastguard Lane, on Sunday at 6pm. Not to be missed!

Thinking about going to church? Well, don’t think about it. Here are some times over the coming Christmas period, so why not just go? Christingle at 4.30pm on Friday 24th December at St Andrew’s, Fairlight; Midnight Service at 11.15 pm on Friday, December 24, at Guestling; Christmas Day with Communion at 10.30am at St Andrew’s, Fairlight; Benefice Service with Communion at 10.30am on Sunday, December 26 at Pett.

In the Mood: 22 Floral Club members enjoyed a fun Christmas Social at last Thursday’s meeting. There were games, a wonderful spread of food supplied by members on a bring and share basis and lots of laughter throughout the afternoon, and Christmas Cards were distributed.

The 30th anniversary cake, made by member Marie Spencer and decorated in club colours, was enjoyed by all and for those unable to get to the social there will be some available for them at our January meeting.

Kath Chantler supplied a superb raffle with all items wrapped up in a festive mood, and many of the members went home with prizes.

The demonstrator at the January meeting will be Stella McGowan, and her presentation will be Magic Moments.

Let’s hear it for the Village People. No, sorry, I meant village choir, who were heard to great effect for the first time by many in the village when they performed at Fairfest in the summer, have been appropriately busy as the festive season is well and truly on us.

You’ve missed them in Priory Meadow, but there is still a chance to catch them with their Carols in the Barn, Pickham Farm, Watermill Lane, Pett, tomorrow (Saturday), 6-30pm.

The Hall That Rocked! The Wine and Social Club’s renowned Christmas Party took place last Saturday.

The hall was full to capacity and the tables were beautifully decorated in Festive style.

After being welcomed with a glass of mulled wine, all enjoyed an excellent meal, and then danced the night away to Fairlight’s own rock band, the ever popular Kytes.

They played all the hit tunes the dancers remembered from their younger days. Congratulations to the committee for the organisation of the event.

The John Lutman Award goes to… by the time you read this, the second year’s presentation will have been made, just too late for publication. Still, it does mean there will be at least one offering next week…

A big Thank You… to all who have sent get well cards and messages during my absence – very reassuring and comforting, and typical of the friendliness existent in our village, and many more thanks to roving reporter Carol Ardley, who has been standing in for me to excellent effect!

KEITH POLLARD, Brookfield, Broadway


I was at the Peasmarsh Christmas Bazaar on Saturday – it was great to see so many people from the village turn up to support this event and have fun.

All the stalls seemed to be doing good business, there were some lovely home-made cakes, pies and other goodies on sale, raffles, tombolas, face painting and of course Santa in his Grotto!

It was also nice to hear the local Women’s Institute choir with their usual mix of Carols - both modern and traditional.

We are lucky to have such talent in our midst, so thank you to the choir ladies, and everyone else who worked hard to make this a successful event.

Molly Bradbury, who died last week at the age of 94, spent most of her life in Peasmarsh, and her funeral took place at Peasmarsh Church on Thursday, December 16.

Molly dedicated her life to the community; she was a Methodist Lay preacher, she worked tirelessly for Age Concern, and was an active member of the Peasmarsh Women’s Institute, serving at various times as secretary, treasurer and president. She was also a founder member of the WI Choir.

Unfortunately the Pampered Chef evening at the Pre School had to be postponed due to the bad weather but has been rescheduled to Wednesday, January 19, 2011, at 7.30pm - all welcome

The Open Morning at the Pre school on Tuesday was a great success. Parents were able to see the children enjoying the many activities and preparations for Christmas.

This was a lovely opportunity for new parents to come and meet the staff and see the fantastic facilities at the Pre-school (which was awarded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted 2009).

The Pre-school is able to take children from two years of age and do offer 15 hours free early years entitlement for three year olds.

Applications are currently being taken for January 2011. If you would like more information please telephone the Supervisor on 230 325 and press option 3.

Owing to the bad weather the Rye and District Association of the National Trust Christmas lunch on December 4, had to be cancelled.

We are pleased to tell you that it has now been rescheduled as a New Year’s lunch and will still be held in The Orangery Restaurant at Powdermills Hotel near Battle. The full details remain as previously circulated to members in the Autumn Newsletter.

Members and friends who have not previously booked may still be able to do so by calling Ros Adkins on 01797 253763.

An invitation from Iden WI: We would like to invite new members to join us; we are a small friendly group with a varied programme. We meet at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of every month in Iden village hall; you would receive a warm welcome.

Peasmarsh Flying-Start Parent & Toddler Group is held every Tuesday afternoon during term time, at the pre-school in School Lane and welcomes all children under the age of 5 and their families. The group starts at 1.20pm and costs £2 per family.

Today (Friday) Friends of Beckley will be Carol singing; meet at the Old Posting House at 6pm.

The services this Sunday are as follows: 8am Holy Eucharist at Beckley, 10am Holy Eucharist at Peasmarsh, and there will be a service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Peasmarsh Church at 6.30pm.

Christmas services: Christmas Eve – First Mass of Christ Mass at Peasmarsh 11.30pm, also at Beckley at 11.30pm. Christmas Day – Christ Mass Eucharist at Peasmarsh 10am.

On St Stephen’s Day there will be no 8am service, Holy Eucharist and Carols at Beckley at 10am.

MARY HITCHINS, 2 The Old Hop Gardens, Peasmarsh


The darts club report for the latest match against Battle British Legion was sadly another disappointing result. They lost darts 6-1 with Alex Gray being the only winner; also lost Push Penny 4-1 with Wayne Hardy the only winner. The next match is away at The Millers Arms today (Friday).

On Tuesday, December 7, mums, dads, family and friends, packed into Mountfield & Whatlington School hall, with some even standing!

It had been beautifully decorated for the Christmas play the children were about to perform. And perform they did!

It included the whole school in one part or another. After the initial song ‘We can’t wait ‘till Christmas, the countdown has begun’, the Fairy Clockmother, (Shauna Puxty) ran on stage to offer to take Mum (Bonita Sumner-Yeates) on a journey to see what Christmas was all about. What a journey.

We had letter openers singing ‘It’s Christmas Time’ as they gradually found the letters to make up the word Christmas, then Father Christmases, Snowmen, Elves dancing and singing ‘Rocking around the Christmas tree.

Then as they sang ‘2000 Years Ago He Came To Us’ Mary (Yasmin Suire) and Joseph (Louis Hoadly) entered.

They all sang about Caesar Augustus needing a new chariot for which of course he needed money- hence the census!

On arrival at Bethlehem the Star (Cora Taylor) appeared and reception and class 1 sang ‘Little Donkey’.

Then followed the Shepherds, Angels, 3 Kings and their camels, and all the readers who introduced the scenes throughout the performance, and the last letter to complete the word Christmas, which was the R for rejoice, which they then emphasized by all singing Rejoice with us this Christmas.

It was a great performance, and well done to the children, teachers and all involved with costumes and suchlike.They presented Mrs Bonnick with a lovely bouquet of flowers for leading it all.

Wednesday lunch time found nine merry widows at Johns Cross pub enjoying an excellent meal together, the last one for this year. Many thanks to Dave and Jude for their great hospitality. Thanks to Jackie Spriggs for organising it, and here’s to the next one!

Wednesday evening was Mountfield & Whatlington School’s Year 5/6 pupils turn to shine with children from other primary schools in the area at the Big Sing at the De La Warr theatre in Bexhill.

They did very well considering they were one of the smallest groups, but then they do say good things come in small packages.

They too sang the Christmas story, but not like you’ve ever heard before.

Their version started in Bexhill where 10 Wise Men set off from ‘the East’, but like the 10 green bottles, fell in different ways along the route ‘till only three made it to their destination.

That will give you some idea of the ‘difference’ in the story line, good in’it (to give you an idea of the verbal narration between songs).

The singing was excellent, and the Hastings Wind Group and other young musicians was very good. A most enjoyable performance.

Well done to all those children who took part, especially ours from Mountfield & Whatlington School.

Not to be outdone , Mountfield Church had a Carols and supper at the pub, John’s Cross, on Friday evening.

It was packed and compare David Chaplin set things going with some comic readings about Christmas from Hector Fraser and others.

Sadly David had to leave us for another commitment, and Michael Mayers took over as compeer. And didn’t he do well.

He had everyone singing carols at the tops of their voices in both bars, to Jackie Spriggs expert playing, no slow drawn out singing with her at the piano!

We had a good supper of bangers and mash half way through, I’m surprised we managed to carry on singing after such a big meal. You did us proud Jude and Dave.

After eating we had more comic readings from Mary Downing, Julienne, and others, and sang favourites chosen by anyone there.

It was most enjoyable, and no clearing away or washing up, which I’m sure was great for some of our number at past Carol singing evenings! Again, many thanks to Dave and Jude for their great hospitality.

Saturday morning found us back at Mountfield & Whatlington School for the Christmas Fayre that was snowed off last week.

If you came you were able to buy lots of things for Christmas, (I was sitting on a chair doing the Silent Auction, I know, a bit miss cast!) but even I managed to buy some presents from the stall next to me!

There was lots on offer and even Father Christmas in his Grotto.

Many thanks to those who supported it, and the PTA are delighted to have raised approximately £650.

Sunday was family plus toy service at Mountfield Church. David Chaplin took the service and spoke about giving especially at Christmas.

He spoke of the street children of Kamembe in Rwanda, whom he has met personally, and said Mountfield Church had agreed for the collection that day to go towards the people he helps out there.

The toys people had brought and took up to place under the Christmas tree would be taken to Mayfield Children’s Home.

On Sunday (December 19) there will be a Carol service at 3pm in Mountfield Church.

RUBY WILLIS, 1 Brickyard Cottages


This evening at 6pm, the tree on The Green in Ewhurst awaits the annual gathering of carol singers. Last year, with snow gently falling, the scene was very much like a Christmas card.

This year there will again be mulled wine and mince pies on offer and Glenys assures me that ‘whatever the weather’ carol singing will take place.

A welcome is extended to everyone whether a local resident or not.

All those with any voice left after tonight’s carol singing may wish to go to St James’ Church on Sunday evening at 6pm for the traditional Carols by Candlelight.

This is always a magical experience and a good time to think of the meaning of Christmas. There will not be a morning service on that day.

Last Friday saw the Ewhurst, Staplecross and Bodiam Garden Society’s Christmas party.

There was a selection of delicious food, mulled wine and a variety of quizzes to test the old grey matter.

Chairman Pam Underhill welcomed everyone and especially to Norma and John Stringer.

Norma was presented with a painting as a big thank you for all her sterling work over many years for the Society.

Richard Farhall, clerk to the Parish Council, notifies residents that clubs and societies may apply for grants.

Grant application forms are available from him on or telephone 01580-880115.

Ewhurst Parish Council has only limited powers to pay grants to local groups and these are set out in law.

Income is derived, ultimately, from the Council Tax paid by parish residents.

It is vital, therefore, that the purpose of a grant has a community benefit to ‘a number of local residents’.

The requested grant must be for a specific purpose carried out by your group and not simply for general fund-raising or overheads.

Your group must be ‘not for profit’, with membership and activities based (wholly or largely) in Ewhurst Parish (i.e. Staplecross, Ewhurst Green, Cripps Corner) or for the benefit of residents of Ewhurst Parish.

The Parish Council sets aside a limited sum of money to finance grants each year and applications may be submitted at any time.

Those planning diaries over the Christmas period and wish to know the Parish Church services at St James, Ewhurst Green, they are as follows:

Christmas Eve, 11.15pm Communion service.

Christmas Day, 9.30am Holy Communion

December 26, 9.30pm Holy Communion (BCP)

January 2, 9.30am Holy Communion

MARY REEVE, Wodens Wood, Cripps Corner


THE inaugural meeting of “Wild Udimore” was held in St Mary’s Community Hall last Friday evening.

The purpose of this representative and well supported meeting was to discuss ways of achieving one of the important aims of the Udimore Action Plan, “to protect and enhance the natural environment of Udimore”.

In this discussion we were fortunate enough to have the wise guidance of Dr Barry Yates, the manager of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Before we can make a start towards achieving this aim, he told us, we must first find out what wildlife already exists in the parish and where it is, both by reference to records already compiled in the past and by adding to them with surveys of our own, both of habitats and (more particularly) of species and groups of species; comparison of the two can begin to give us some idea of the changes occurring in our environment at present.

To indicate which parts of the parish our records refer to, it’s important to have accurate maps, which Dr Yates offered to help us with.

A small committee of volunteers will be meeting in January to discuss the future programme of the group, which could include a moth-trapping demonstration, guided walks and talks by local experts.

The first event is due to take place in February.

So whether you are interested in the birds in your garden, or wildflowers, or butterflies and moths, or dragonflies and other pondlife, or woodland ferns, or any other aspect of wildlife, please look out for further news of the group in this column in the New Year.

Meanwhile the website carries plenty of news of the latest sightings of wildlife throughout the Rye Bay area, including a large flock of waxwings, a rare winter-visiting bird, near Pett last week.

THIS Sunday do come to our annual Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, at 6pm in St Mary’s Church, always an important part of the Udimore Christmas.

On Tuesday December 21 there will be carol singing at the King’s Head in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

Do support this worthy cause.



LADIES DARTS : We played at Ticehurst Club and continued our good league run with a 7-4 win.

We led 3-2 after the single games with wins for Carol Apps, Jackie Danaher and Steph Goldsmith while the lead was increased after doubles victories for Dawn Mitchell/Eileen Morgan and Steph/Dawn.

The home side won the first trebles game to claw back to 5-4 but we won the final two games with wins for Jackie/Dawn/Steph and Carol/Jackie/Eileen.

There were high scores from Dawn (100,92), Carol (95,93,84), Eileen (83 twice) and Jackie (81 twice). On Monday (20th) we are away to The White Hart (Netherfield).

DARTS : There was no game last week but tonight we are at home to The White Hart.

SANDIE MADGE & SUE PAINE, The Floral Boutique, 20 High Street


From Westfield Parish Church of St. John the Baptist: Sunday (Advent IV) services 8am Holy Communion (1662), 9.30am Nine Thirty Start (all-age service), 10.30am Parish Eucharist and 6pm Carols by Candlelight.

This service includes traditional readings and carols, and will be followed by mulled wine and nibbles in the Parish Hall. Come and join in the festivities.

There will be Holy Communion on Wednesday, December 22 at 9.30am.

Family Support Work: Jude Harrison of the FSW team in Hollington was overwhelmed by the generosity of last week’s festive offerings, and expressed many thanks to all who contributed.

Many thanks to Freshfields, who again generously donated the magnificent Christmas tree for the church.

On Christmas Eve the Christingle Service at 6pm is very popular with younger families, and the Midnight Eucharist begins at 11pm.

On Christmas Day at 9am there is a service of Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer), and a Family Communion Service at 10.30am. All are welcome at any of the services.

Boxing Day services are Holy Communion at 8am and Parish Eucharist at 10.30am. For further information contact Rev. Evan France, The Vicarage, Vicarage Lane, Westfield, Hastings, TN35 4SD, telephone 01424 751029.

Regrettably, after avoiding mindless damage for some months, the church has again been subjected to an incident of spiteful vandalism.

Between Friday evening and Saturday morning on December 10/11, one of the lamp fittings that illuminate the church was smashed.

The parts for these fittings have to be sourced from Australia, so the church will not be properly lit over Christmas, quite apart from the cost involved.

If anyone has information about this crime, contact the police (quoting crime number ER3/115026/10) or the Vicar.

A large number of people gathered by the village Christmas tree last Friday to sing carols, accompanied by a band of local musicians, and stayed to chat over delicious home-made soup afterwards.

Thanks are due to Jean and Wilf Tomsett, who have hosted this event (and made the soup!) for the village for thirty-five years.

The now famous Westfield Christmas lights looked even more wonderful than last year.

An amazing £15,300 was collected for St. Michael’s Hospice from 2005 to 2009 from visitors coming to see the lights, and we thank the villagers for all their hard work in decorating their houses and collecting donations again this year.

There is no F3 meeting in December, but all women are invited to the Scottish evening on January 27.

The Hub is open today, with a grand Christmas Raffle at 10.30am followed by carol singing and mince pies. The Hub will be closed on December 24 and 31, and re-opens on January 7.

The home-made sloe gin competition takes place on Friday, January 21, with judging at 11am by Andy Mcfarlane.

To find out more about the Hub call in at ‘The Old Courthouse’ on Fridays from 10am-noon, email, visit the website, or ring 07531 766830.

Westfield School thanks the local villagers for supporting the Years 5 and 6 Carol Concert on Monday, December 13. Term ends today, and the new term starts on Tuesday, January 4. There will be an Inset Day on Friday, January 7, when the school will be closed for staff training.

Come and join in the sing-a-long of carols and Christmas songs with Richard (Stevens) and Graham at ‘The Old Courthouse’ on December 23 after 7pm. Why not make an evening of it, and pop in after seeing the Westfield Christmas lights? All are welcome.

Remember refuse and recycling collections change slightly after Christmas. The collection day (Monday) is unaltered, but the collection on December 27 will be black bin with the recycling boxes instead of green garden waste. Cardboard placed in the green garden waste bin will be collected from January 10.

It seems a long way ahead, but the first 1066 Relay is planned for May 8, 2011 and planning needs to start early if the race is to go ahead. The 1066 Relay will follow the 1066 Country Walk route (Stage four passes though Westfield) and should attract a huge number of runners. The organisers need volunteers to act as marshals for about half an hour. Nick Brown would be delighted to hear from anyone who can help. Visit or contact Nick on 07918 907265.

The Westfield Village Community Website carries useful and interesting information on village life, groups and business services. News, photos and other contributions are always welcome.

Would you like to see the broadband speed improved locally? Do you think Westfield broadband speeds need upgrading? BT is conducting a national vote to see which exchanges will be upgraded for broadband in 2011. Local businesses and domestic users alike are finding the broadband service in Westfield area to be exceptionally slow. If you would like to see this improved add your vote by visiting and following the instructions. 1000 votes are needed to get the service improvements to Baldslow, so spread the word and tell your friends.

Westfield Beavers have a few places at present for boys or girls aged six plus looking for fun and friends. We offer varied activities so come and give it a try. Contact Sue on 01424 425492 or Rose on 01424 754080 for more details.

*Westfield Football Club is still looking for helpers on match days and for preparation. For more details contact the secretary at or visit

There are very few, if any, places for the Westfield Golf Fellowship’s Christmas event, the annual trip to the Weald of Kent on December 29. Planning is underway for next years ‘Majors’, with some new courses planned. The European Tour 2011 is now confirmed as Bournemouth from June 12. Email or call Nick on 07939 587796 for more details.

Rye and District Association of the National Trust had to cancel its Christmas lunch on December 4 due to the bad weather. It will now take place as a New Year’s lunch on Saturday, January 8, and will still be held in The Orangery Restaurant at Powdermills Hotel near Battle. The details remain as circulated to members in the Autumn Newsletter. Members and friends who have not previously booked may still be able to do so by calling Ros Adkins on 01797 253763.

Rye & District Lions will be raising funds for local charities when they carry out their usual Christmas collections outside Jempsons, Peasmarsh on 20, 21 and 22 December and outside Jempsons Budgens, Rye on 22, 23 and 24 December. This will be followed by their sixth ‘Winter Warmer’ Brass Band Concert at Beckley Village Centre on January 21, with proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support. Tickets at £6, which include refreshment on arrival, will be on sale at Beckley Motors or on 0845 833 2825. These concerts have been a complete sell-out for the last four years. More details from Conrad Freezer, President, Rye & District Lions Club, 01797 252921 or email

Please put this in your 2011 diary. Westfield Scouts have another Murder Mystery evening with the help of Rye Players at 7.30pm in the Parish Hall on Saturday, January 15, so reserve the date now. This is for teams of about six, and tickets (£6 to include supper) will be on sale from January 3 from Scouts, Archers, or by ringing 01424 754080 or 753684.

To send information for the Westfield Village Voice, email



Years Five and Six of Ninfield School took part in the Big Sing at the De La Warr Pavilion on December 8.

Organised by the East Sussex Music Service, the Big Sing included 12 concerts by students from Lewes, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hastings and surrounding areas, to make sure no one missed out on the fun.

The Big Sing concerts are a celebration of music with a real festive feel. The main piece on the night was Camel Hot!

This is a light-hearted musical for children and adults alike which tells the Christmas story in a rather unconventional way.

The evening was accompanied by the Hastings Area Youth Jazz and Blues Band.

Monday, December 13, saw Ninfield School hold their Christingle Service at St Marys Church, Ninfield, led by Rev. Simon Earl.

Each year had their part to play with readings, prayers, singing and processions. The recently formed School Choir also sang a couple of renditions.

Well done to all the children and staff for a lovely service. If you would like to hear more from the School Choir, they will be singing at the Carol Service at St Oswald’s (Hooe) on December 21, 7.30pm.

Ninfield Scouts took part in a the District Carol Service at St Michael’s and All Angels, Bexhill on Monday December 13. The service led by Father Michael Brydon (St Lawrence, Catsfield)and an enjoyable evening was had by all. If you wold like to know more about the Beavers/Cubs/Scouts, contact Sandra Creasey, text or phone 07908558721.

The Hooe Open Group enjoyed its annual Christmas luncheon at the Cooden Beach Hotel on December 10. The party was very festive, with lively conversation and general banter the order of the day.

Two male partners joined in the celebrations, seriously outnumbered by the ladies.

In appreciation of the work as club secretary members presented Edna Wallis with a very large and beautiful bouquet of flowers, which she received with grateful thanks.

The next meeting will be the occasion on which members will be able to have their say regarding club activities and put forward their suggestions for the coming year.

Edna Wallis has already drafted out her suggested programme of events, with some excellent speakers lined up.

If you would be interested in joining a very friendly group of ladies, who like to socialise, just turn up at the Hooe Village Hall on the second Friday of any month.

Wishing all our members and friends a very happy Christmas and health and happiness throughout the coming year.

The first meeting in the New Year is in the afternoon of January 14, at Hooe Village Hall commencing at 2.30pm.

A girl’s hat was found on the recreation ground after the recent snow. This has been washed and handed to Sophie at the Post Office. If your little one came home without their hat during the snow, it is possibly at the Post Office!

The East Sussex County Council mobile library service will next be in the villages on January 8, 2011: Hooe, opposite Denbigh Court, 1.50pm - 2.35pm. Ninfield, Millfield (Manchester Road), 2.50pm - 3.25pm. Ninfield, Downsview (Church Lane), 3.40pm - 4.05pm.

Church Services for Ninfield and Hooe:

St Mary’s Services (Church of England, Ninfield): Sundays - 9.30am Parish Eucharist (Family Service on 1st Sunday of the month) 1st Sunday of the month - 6pm Book of Common Prayer Communion Wednesdays - 10.00am Holy Communion

St Oswald’s Services (Church of England, Hooe): Sundays - 11.15am Parish Eucharist (Family Service on 1st Sunday of the month)

Ninfield Methodist Church: December 12, Communion service led by Revd. Marion Proud. December 19, Carol Service led by Mrs Topsy Brice. December 26, No service.

Christmas Church Services:

December 19, St Mary’s (Ninfield) Carols & Christingle Service 3.30pm

December 21, St Oswald’s (Hooe) Carol Service 7.30pm

December 24, St Oswald’s (Hooe) Midnight Eucharist 11.30pm

December 25, St Mary’s (Ninfield) Christmas Day Family Communion 9.30am

December 25, St Oswald’s (Hooe) Christmas Day Family Communion 11.15am

You still have time to get your information to me regarding the clubs/societies/groups in Ninfield and Hooe. If you run one of the clubs/societies/groups, get in touch with me detailing what it is about, what you do, when you meet, fees (if any) and what help you may require from volunteers. I would like to cover every age group and every activity (from football to the Golden Circle). Make your club/society/group known to the rest of the community. Details can be sent to the email address below.

Anything that you would like included in the Village Voice for Ninfield or Hooe, please email the details to me:

RACHEL FEELEY, 17 Smith Close, Ninfield


With a weather forecast for bitter weather over the weekend, we all have our fingers crossed that the events planned will go ahead.

The Women’s Institute Christmas party and homemade entertainment were rescheduled for yesterday (Thursday).

As we were due to meet at the earlier winter time of 2pm, let’s hope all our members can made it to the hall for this traditional, happy occasion.

On Friday the 55 Lunch Club meet for their Christmas lunch, raffle and final meal together of 2010.

It will be an opportunity to thank our helpers for their hard work in the kitchen, serving and washing up, enlivened by the all important pudding tasting that keeps them going.

We shall also thank Libby who produces such delicious meals, complete with second helpings.

The first lunch of 2011 will be on Friday, January 7.

There is no Extend Exercise Group this Friday (December 17), we shall meet again on January 7, 2011.

Christmas cards are being delivered around the village with the services for the Christmas season and good wishes from our Rector.

On Tuesday, December 21, there will be the popular Carols for Christmas in the village hall, between 7pm and 9pm.

A very friendly, warm, informal occasion, it is an opportunity to join in as the church choir sing carols round the piano, played by our organist, Bob Andrew.

Hot mince pies and hot punch will keep everyone singing joyfully. There will be a retiring collection in aid of the new Tower Room at the church.

The church will be decorated for Christmas next Saturday and gifts of flowers and foliage will be gratefully received by 9.30am, please. There is also a box at the back of the church for contributions to the flowers.

This year the Crib Service is at 3pm at Catsfield and is sure to be packed with the children from the Sunday school who make such a contribution to our Sunday worship.

Midnight Mass is at Crowhurst this year and the Christmas Day service at Catsfield is Family Communion at 9.30am.

Keep warm, enjoy the weather, feed the birds and pile on the layers of clothes!

PATRICIA SPEEDY, Longstone, Powdermill Lane


Church services continue every Sunday morning at 11am and are very well supported. On Christmas Eve everyone is welcome to attend Christmas Midnight Mass at Holy Trinity Church, Hurst Green, 11.30pm.

The Christmas Day Service will be Holy Communion and Carols at 10.30am; on Boxing Day all will be welcome at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Burwash for Holy Communion at 8am.

The service on Sunday, January 2, will be the Village Epiphany Carol Service at 4pm.

From now on there will be a ‘Child friendly Family Service’ on the second Sunday of each month.

If you have any queries regarding the church, contact the churchwardens Mary Barnes 01580 819142 and Geoffry Lucas 01580 819439.

The Parochial Church Council has decided that from December the church will be left open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 4pm for the benefit of visitors and parishioners.

There will be some alteration to this arrangement over the Christmas and New Year period, details will be posted in the church porch and on the church website.

The church now has a website with details of the church, service times and contact details.

It also has a message board, so if you have any comments to make that is the place, the site can be found at .

There is also a photo album on the site, you are welcome to add pictures of past present or future church events.

Father Christmas will be taking a break from his busy schedule on Christmas Eve to visit the Etchingham Community Stores.

He will be in the shop from 11am to 1pm, it will cost £3.50 for each child to visit him in his Grotto.

Mums and dads will not be left out, with mulled wine and mince pies on offer.

Go along to the shop and meet Santa and enjoy the company and a glass of mulled wine and mince pie, the shop Christmas raffle will be drawn at 1pm.

By the time you read this it will be too late to add any more December information.

If you have details for January get them to me by next Tuesday, December 21, if you want it to appear in the paper on December 31.

Remember if you want details of your event in this column, send me the details as soon as you have them available, and don’t forget to send me a report after the event.

COLIN BOYLETT, 2 Park Farm Cottages, Etchingham


Netherfield Church: After all the snow and cancellations we actually had a service this week. Led by Father Christopher Channer the focus was on Advent and St. John the Baptist, very relevant to our church.

Remember, no service at Netherfield this Sunday but Carols at Mountfield at 3pm.

Our next service is the Crib Service on Christmas Eve at 5.30pm.

We welcome the Archdeacon of Lewes and Hastings who will be take the service centred around the children of our parish. Please come and join us to start your Christmas off.

Paul Smith. Churchwarden

DDARA Under11’s Christmas Party, is on Monday, December 20, 3.30pm-5pm at The White Hart, Netherfield. Party games, party food, Santa visit and lots of fun! Tickets £3 in advance from Tessa: 838498 or Jo: 838525 by December 17(today). All children to be accompanied by an adult.

Musical Ducklings - Up to five years. Contact Claire on 01424 838457 for more details.

Darvel Down & Area Residents Association. Any resident requiring a lift to the hospital/doctors opticians. Please call Jim Jefcoate on 838721 or Ron White 838296. (voluntary contributions welcome)

WHITE HART live music, come and join us in celebrating Christmas, we have live music on Boxing Day 7pm till late with music to suit all ages.

On New Year’s Eve there is a disco booked from 7pm till late. We are offering a free taxi service within a five-mile radius please note there will be NO entry allowed after 10.30pm.

White Hart Bingo will be a regular spot on the first Monday of every month. Eyes down at 7.30pm. Don’t forget our special offer of fish and chips served with peas for only £4.95, food is served from 6pm till 9pm, you can place your order for half time.

White Hart Boules Pitch. The pieste is free, any clubs can use the piste, FOC any time except match days which are Saturday afternoons though the season is now over.

Netherfield FC sponsored by the White Hart. The lads have had no games recently but hope to resume ‘play’ soon.

The team and supporters are welcomed back to the White Hart after the game where food is laid on.

Orpington F.C. who play on Saturdays at the recreation ground won their game. The lads and their supporters come back to the White Hart where food is laid on for them.

The Rover group joins us on the second Tuesday of the month - all welcome.

The Harley Davidson group meets on the 1st Friday of each month - all welcome.

T.R.Cars meets on the last Thursday of the month - all welcome.

The Breakaway Club meets on the third Thursday of the month. This is a ladies group that meet and chat, have talks, days out and are always looking for new members - all welcome.

The November meeting of the Club took place at The White Hart.

The 16 members present were reminded of numbers and payment for the Christmas lunch. It has been a tradition for the past few years to have the lunch at at The Brickwall Hotel, Sedlescombe, 12.30 for1 pm.

Programme covers and speakers have been organised for 2011.

We welcomed Debbie Dann as our speaker, a return visit, this time her subject being another passion, apart from travelling and flower arranging - ‘Crufts’!

Debbie and husband Colin bought their first Afghan in 1971 and always wanted a ‘show’ dog.

Colin retired at 50 and purchased two Afghans Bethany and Saffron and we learnt all about the types of dog shows, cost of entries, the dedication in preparing dogs including the inevitable bath, shampoo and grooming, travelling and the behind the scenes politics.

Dogs can be entered from six months (up to 10/11 years) and to be a champion has to win three Special Awards - Bethany (aka CH Anudarya Stubad) won five!

This qualifies for entry to all the major shows and, in particular the most prestigious of all ‘Crufts’.

Just to have a certificate or trophy makes all the work and stress worthwhile!

We saw a table covered with certificates, photographs and rosettes. All dogs have to be numbered and catalogued, crated and pampered for their special day, whether it is a village green show, Home Park, Windsor Castle (a three day event) or the NEC, Birmingham.

Entries have to be made a month in advance and whatever the weather the day starts at 8am for contestants, with the public being allowed in after 9am to leave by 4pm. Costs being £15 (Windsor) to £25 (Crufts).

Prize money does not appear to be particularly high with Best in Show only £100 but the trophy is worth so much more! Debbie said that Afghans darken with age and we saw photos of Bethany as a young and older dog looking totally different, also wearing a ‘snood’ to stop her food clinging to her ears!

She and Colin have also entered Skye (Scottish) Terriers and both have judged competitions. Their commitment and dedication to their dogs is obvious!

Debbie was thanked for a most interesting and enjoyable afternoon and refreshments were served. The raffle was presided over by May and Sheila.

Once again our thanks go to Sean for his kind hospitality in providing a warm and comfortable venue and we look forward to meeting at The White Hart, Netherfield on Thursday, January 20, when our speaker will be John Williams - ‘I can do ballet arms’, which sounds intriguing! New members and guests welcome.

Hastings mobile library will be outside the shop from 11.50am to 12.10pm, on Fridays, January 7 & 21.

To include your event or local Netherfield news please e mail me

MARIA STANDEN, Swallow Farm, Netherfield


On Sunday the traditional Whatlington Pageant takes place, starting from the paddock opposite Mr and Mrs Palmer’s house; a little way up the main church path at 3.30pm. The Pageant has been held in the village for more than 50 years and is an informal event.

The procession, which will pass the church, will be led by local children dressed up as Mary, Joseph, Three Wise Men, Shepherds and Angels (children if you would like to dress up as angels or shepherds call Yvonne Underhill on 01424 775440 - there are no lines to learn).

The story of the Nativity will unravel as the processions stops to sing listen to the Readings and sing Carols, accompanied by Battle Town Band.

The final scene takes place when everyone has gathered outside the stable; the doors will be opened to reveal the nativity scene, with baby Jesus in a crib surrounded by shepherds angels , with the Three Wise Men joining the scene. Warm refreshments will be served after the last Carol.

The church thanks Yvonne for all the hard work she does organising The Pageant and Dr. and Mrs Apthorp for allowing their barn to be used, and providing the refreshments, which will be most welcome.

Please remember all cars must park at the free village hall car park which will be signposted, as will the church. Donations in aid of the Appeal Fund will be gratefully received.

Please wear warm clothing, suitable footwear and wellies, and have a torch to hand, as although the event starts while it is light, it will finish in darkness.

Talking of Carols, I was interested to read recently how someone had written this carol below as a catechism song for young Catholics. It was written so the children could remember what they had been taught and I thought I would share it with you.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol.’

I wonder if many know about the origin of the Carol. Of the many pagan practices Christianity adopted and adapted for its own use, the most enduring is the Carol.

The pagan Carol was associated with fertility rites and used in celebrations to mark the passing of the Winter solstice and the advent of Spring. In the early church it was as likely to be used at Easter as it was at Christmas.

Today, of course, the Carol is firmly associated with the Advent of our Lord’s incarnation and is undoubtedly the most popular of all the subdivisions of hymnody.

However, the established church has not always embraced Carols enthusiastically and for much of the 16th and 17th centuries they were actually banned, with the accent in church music bring placed on Gregorian chants, plainsong and metric psalms.

Although the ban was lifted at the Restoration of 1660, it was not until 1700 the authorities softened their opposition, when they allowed Nahum Tate’s ‘While Shepherds Watched’ to be used in Church of England services (Nahum Tate was by far the most eccentric of hymn-writers so I have read

It remained the only permitted Carol for much of the 18th century until joined on the ‘approval list’ in 1782 by ‘Hark! the herald Angels sing’.

Today, these two hymns remain very popular, and many of us can remember singing irreverent versions when we were children.

For example...

While shepherds washed their socks by night, All seated round the tub,

A bar of sunlight soap came down,

And they began to scrub.

And you give your age away if you can remember Sunlight soap!!!

Adults of a certain age will also recall that during the 1936 Abdication crisis people sang

Hark! the herald Angels sing

Mrs Simpson pinched our King.

The Appeal Fund has topped £10,000; the balance to date being £10,311.54. May I thank Roger, Margaret and Fred for their generous donations, which I received this week. I also thank all who have given so generously to The Appeal Fund.

The photographs of Mountfield and Whatlington School’s Christmas play in last week’s Village Voice were excellent and the children certainly looked as if they were enjoying themselves.

Paul Wood has sent me the following: “Mountfield & Whatlington CE Primary School recently put on a very ambitious and impressive Christmas Play. It combined a contemporary play of a modern family getting ready for Christmas, surrounded with snowmen, elves, Father Christmases and a good fairy, with a traditional Nativity story featuring Mary, Joseph, shepherds, Angels, Three Kings, camels and a travelling star.

Every child in the school was involved in the production, which featured beautiful singing, reading which was done very clearly, and some children bringing order out of chaos by transforming an unintelligible jumble of letters into the word Christmas. Costumes and props were all first class.

The play culminated with an exhortation for all to rejoice that light had come into the world.

The play was performed to a packed school hall full of parents, relatives, and younger brother and sisters. The audience applauded enthusiastically throughout and thunderously at the end.

The play was produced by senior teacher, Mrs Bonnick, who was presented with a bouquet by the children.

The play had taken a lot of hard work by all the staff, who were complimented by head teacher Mr Joe Hellett. He also complimented the children, particularly as the school had been closed for three days because of the snow.”

Thnak you for this Paul. I am always interested in what the children are doing and will be attending the Christingle Service at the school.

Alex from The Royal Oak writes: Our December newsletter gives plans and opening hours for the Christmas period. You can download it on

On Christmas Eve there are carols by candlelight around the bar and log fire- with some mulled wine and mince pies.

The bar will open 11am-4.30pm on Christmas Day and also be open and serving food on Boxing Day from midday until 2.30pm.

Please call on 01424 870492 if you would like to book a table.

The last Irish music session of the year is on Thursday, December 30, for an Irish ‘Not New Year’s Eve’ party! Music begins at 8.30pm and this event always provides a great atmosphere.

For New Year’s Eve, by popular request, The Royal Oak has a fancy dress party. There will be a prize for the best costume and the bar will open until 1am.

On New Year’s Day we will serve The Royal Oak ‘Brunch’ from midday to 4pm - just what you need for “the morning after”!

Mike & Alex wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas and hope to see you all during our festive events and in the New Year.”

Thank you for all your news Alex. You certainly have a very busy time coming up!

Can I also remind you Alex & Mike are selling packets of Christmas cards in aid of The Appeal Fund.

Many of you will have read in The Whatlington News that Valerie Bennett has resigned from the village hall committee after 27years of service.

For the past 24 years she has been treasurer of this committee and was awarded an M.B.E. two years ago in recognition for all the work she has done.

A new treasurer will be elected in the New Year as Valerie does not leave her post until the end of the year.

The Royal Oak landlord Mike Goodman has offered to ‘fill’ this vacant position.

The remaining members of the village hall committee would like to thank Valerie for all she has achieved during her long dedicated service.....thank you Valerie.

Ken Jones has now taken over as booking clerk forthwith and you can contact him on 01424 772997.

The hall is very versatile and has the benefit of a stage.

It has recently been refurbished and the kitchen is light and airy; all this for only £6 an hour - very cheap considering also there is a large free car park next to the hall!

The Royal British Legion hold their Christmas Party on Saturday, December 18, at The Memorial Hall in Battle, starting at 8pm.You can enjoy the buffet while listening to the fabulous Joanne Day. Guests are welcome at £5 per head.

If you would like to join The Royal British Legion, Battle branch, or require any other further information contact the new club manager, Mac on 01424 774277

You do not have to be an ex-service person to join the Legion, just go along to our branch inside the Memorial Hall, High Street, Battle, and fill in an application form . Membership fees are £13.50 per annum.

The Royal British Legion would like to wish all our members old and new a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year”.

There will be a midnight Service on Christmas Eve at 10pm, followed by mulled wine and nibbles. This proved to be a very popular service last year and the only difference this year, which will in hindsight be an added bonus, is that the service will be held in the warmth of the village hall, with free car parking next to it.

Sunday will be the fourth Sunday of Advent and Parish Communion will be held at 8.30am at The Village Hall and will be led by Canon Alan.

HILDA APLIN, Lismoyne, Oakhurst Road


The popular Historical Society held its last meeting of 2010 with a talk by Charles Harding on ‘Churches of Sussex -What They Can Tell Us’.

Members of the Society escaped from the cold and frosty evening into the summer of spires and towers under cloudless blue skies as we travelled to Etchingham for our first stop.

Not a very long journey and we all felt proud to share this church with our near neighbour down in the valley.

Etchingham has some nationally-recognised features and we remained there for several slides, inside and out, to view the brasses and tracery of the windows.

From there we went to Bishopstone to look at its Saxon sundial and Norman door.

At Old Shoreham and Sompting the Saxon towers featured as famous landmarks and attract a deal of interest nationally.

The stunning flying buttresses of New Shoreham, dating from the early 1100s, certainly make modern architecture look rather tame despite the technical advances made in building process.

Another next door neighbour, Salehurst, has some delightful surprises in the area of glass. 14th century bird glass engravings are the subject of a specialist book in the V & A and of such artistic merit that a visit to the church simply to see the windows would be worth the time.

Then off to Westerham where the path and churchyard resemble a beautiful garden by this attractive church.

Penhurst, a forgotten hamlet not far from Heathfield, and Fletching both contain interesting rood screen items, the latter having still the original pre-Reformation cross which had been hidden at the Reformation.

This was discovered in a wall cavity in the 1800s.

We cheated twice by going over the border into Kent for a quick look at Shoreham, and a glimpse at Cranbrook porch and exterior.

Of great fascination was Ticehurst, another near neighbour.

Graphic glass pictures depict doom warnings, beloved of the Medieval mind, of carts full of the damned being pulled by devils.

However, it is striking to note all the passengers are female! All naked and all blond!

More blondes look upward from the bottom of the window.

What conclusions are we to draw from this?

Romney, on the Marsh, has wall paintings of this genre but the blondes are less in evidence.

A drive into Brighton concluded the tour where the very famous St. Paul’s built at the period of the Anglo Catholic revival is based exactly on the decoration which was the medieval scene. Overpoweringly ornate with candles, shrines and crucifixes in abundance. Much of the glass is by Pugin.

Not far from this church is St Michael’s and All Angels in which is to be found work by William Morris and Bourne Jones.

This genre is reflected in Hurst Green church when the fashion spread for churches of that era to copy this type of art.

There will be a service at Hurst Green on Sunday at 9.30 as usual so go along and meet friendly people and see the decoration.

From the sublime to the Harper and Eedious! At the showroom you’ll find special offers in many departments. The store was extended last year and much to offer in addition to farming equipment.

Orchard Farm Shop is also a must on your shopping tour and, if you read last week’s write up on the Community Stores in Etchingham, you’ll know this welcoming shop is full of goodies and friendly service. Deliveries can be made.

A yoga class is operating. Ring 07747 843 287. A peaceful setting is promised by a wellqualified teacher. All ages can take part.

The magazine goes from strength to strength. Each edition gets better so where will it end?

Please use it and send in items for publication. For advertising etc, contact, Bob Janes, c/o Unit 11, Vinehall Business Centre, Vinehall Rd., Robertsbridge TN32 5JW.

An unofficial leak has come to hand that there was a meeting about the Community Complex recently.

This column has no record of this but please could someone advise of details if this is correct.

Parish Council meets on the last Tuesday of the month, 7.30pm - all welcome.

Chiropody clinic Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. Highly recommended Jeremy Harris 01797 230 251 mobile 0799991 7948.

Aerobic Class, Tuesday 8pm-9pm; Martial Arts, Wednesday (Juniors) 6pm-7pm (Seniors) 7pm-8pm; Jumping Beans Tuesday 1.30pm-2.30pm; Trefoil Guild 01580 819 330; Maestro Babies (early music learning) 01580 880 135

The mobile library calls on Friday at the village hall 2.25pm-3.15pm while Jempsons Peasmarsh bus picks up at The George on Tuesday at 1.25pm.

There is a scheme for the elderly or disabled which offers help with small jobs in home and garden for council house residents. Call for details and conditions 0845 871 321.

Sincere appreciation is extended to all who have contacted me recently . I hope to reply to each one eventually for kindness.

Items for this column to 01580 860 340 or

FLORA JENNER, Max Gate, Burgh Hill