Alex Goodman, The Royal Oak

Apologies for the lack of Village News last week, particularly to Valerie and Jeffrey that the news they sent to me never made it to print, it seems technology is fighting back and emails go astray! It means that there is a lot of news to catch up on this week...

Jeffrey has sent in an update about exciting developments with regard to the church restoration:

It has been a busy week with the restoration at Whatlington church, the new oak floor has been laid and lacquered and really does bring life into the building. The organ was delivered and positioned using a hoist into the Gallery, an interesting process to observe, we had a short demonstration of it and it sounds very good. Orders have been finalised this week for the seating, both new pews and additional individual chairs for the Gallery. Other work is also in progress, the builders are working on the porch ceiling, with traditional lathe and plaster, also repairs and refinishing have been carried out to the external doors.

Next Saturday will see a service at 10am, outside the church, to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, remembering those who fell in defence of Saxon England against William the Conqueror and the fact that King Harold owned the Manor of Whatlington. This service will not mark the re-opening of the church as was previously incorrectly reported, that is a little way off yet!

We hope that the church will be suitable to return to use for worship by December, though it will not be fully finished with work remaining to be done, the formal re-opening will be sometime after Christmas.

Sunday 13th sees the monthly All Age Worship, held in the Village Hall, Revd. Angela Cooke will be taking the service at the usual time of 10.30am.

Last Sunday saw Harvest Evensong followed by the Harvest Supper, this was a great success and was enjoyed by all who came, with hardly a seat to spare at the table.

Valerie Bennett would like you to be aware of the following regarding the school:

The recent consultation meeting at Mountfield and Whatlington CE School although well attended was, unfortunately held too early for some people to attend.

Many villagers voiced their anger at the proposal to close the school and felt that some of the wording and spoken words gave the impression that the decision had been made and that the school was closing rather than people being consulted on the proposal. It was felt that lack of publicity over the past 18 months and rumours of the school closing had been a contributory factor in reducing the numbers of pupils, also not engaging a permanent head teacher. There was a suggestion for the school to become an Academy which has not been explored by county. Those attending vowed to continue with trying to keep the school open. There is to be a meeting between the Bishop, Archdeacon Philip and both Mountfield and Whatlington churchwardens and clergy, so hopefully they may be able to persuade the diocese to allow the school to remain open. Personally I believe if they allowed 3 -5 years with no threat of closure hanging over the school, allowed publicity of the school, which has been lacking the past 18 months, the school could become viable again. Another worry is which school the children from the 450 new properties to be built in the areas around the school, over the coming years, will go to as most of the junior schools are full, hence the siting of all the temporary classrooms.

The school needs villagers to write supporting the school remaining open. The address to write:-

Primary School Consultation (Mountfield and Whatlington) FREEPOST BR157, East Sussex County Council, County Hall, St Anne’s Crescent, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1SF

The Village Hall Committee continue to work tirelessly to raise money for the upkeep of (and insurance for) the hall. What better way of raising money than to have a jolly good night out at the same time? We’ve done 40s night and Rock n Roll night and now on Friday November 1st we will be holding a fab and groovy 60s Night! So dig out those psychedelic bell-bottoms, find that Mary Quant Mini-skirt, glue on those false eye lashes and get yourself down to the Village Hall to bop the night away from 7.30pm. Tickets are just £10 to include a light supper and are available from The Royal Oak or call Angie on 01424 870087.

The next Jumble Sale at The Village Hall is next Saturday on the 19th from 10am. Please drop off any jumble you have at The Royal Oak or call Angie on 01424 870087, and if you would like to help out either on the Friday afternoon to set up or on the morning itself, volunteers are always welcome! Of course, this will be the place to pick up some bargains, so please come along and see what you can find!

Maybe you are new to the village and would like to get more involved? Being part of the Village Hall Committee is an excellent way to get to know people and be a part of our village. The Committee is always looking for more people to join them in organising village events, so if you feel this could be for you, please call Angie on 01424 870087.

The 14th October marks the Battle of Hastings and to celebrate, we are holding a Middle-ages inspired dinner of roast chicken with leek pottage then honey bread pudding in The Barn at The Royal Oak. Tickets are just £10 each for the two courses, and if the St George’s Day and Royal Oak dinners are anything to go by it should be a great evening with a strong feeling of community. Places are limited as the Barn only holds 30, so if you would like to come along please call 01424 870492 to reserve your place.

If you have some news that you would like to include in this column, please email me on info@royaloak-whatlington.co.uk by the Sunday before that Friday publication.