Alex Goodman, The Royal Oak

There is a lot of news from around the village this week, beginning with Jeffrey:

Sunday 15th December sees the first special service in the newly restored Whatlington church, with a Christmas Carol service at 10.30am. The service is based around well known traditional carols and readings, telling the story of the Nativity of Jesus. Our new organ will be in action to accompany the singing and the crib will be set up to get us in the Christmas spirit! This is a service for everyone, young and old and all ages in between & we look forwards to welcoming you to enjoy the service and see the church.

The church is located on Whatlington Road and there is a blue sign pointing towards the path, car parking is available at Whatlington Village Hall, beyond the church coming from Battle and just a short walk away. Light refreshments will be served after the service. Please note that there is no 08.30 service on the 15th

An update from Hilda about the Appeal Fund:

The balance of the Appeal Fund has now risen to £44,761.79, which is a tremendous achievement, bearing in mind the current economic climate. We have recently received donations from Angela & Chris for which we are very grateful and a further donation from Hugh & Lesley Apthorp who would like to sponsor one of the larger new oak pews. Again we are so thankful for people`s generosity.

We are fortunate to have quite a few people coming forward now, who would like to sponsor one or maybe more of the new beech chairs that the church has now purchased. The cost of each chair is £97.95 and if you would like to sponsor one, we can place a small brass plaque on the back of the chair to acknowledge your sponsorship, which perhaps could be made in memory of a loved one. Please contact Hilda 01424 777358 , Jeffrey 01424 772535 or Ken 01424 772997 if you would like further details.

The Whatlington Church Pageant will be held on Sunday December 22nd at 3.30pm. This traditional celebration of the nativity starts in our stunningly refurbished church and then moves through parts of the village, stopping for carols and readings around a fire, before ending up at Leeford Farmhouse for the crib scene in the barn. Music is provided by members of Battle Town Band and children are invited to dress as angels and shepherds to take part and form the final tableau. Mary rides on a real donkey and the whole event represents a magical retelling of the Christmas story.

Refreshments are kindly provided afterwards by Hugh and Lesley Apthorp. Free parking in the Village Hall; wrap up warmly and bring a torch.

There are no speaking parts; if your child would like to take part, or for any other information, please call Yvonne Underhill on 01424 775440.

Tonight (Friday 13th) at Film Club we will be getting into the festive spirit by watching the feel-good favourite “The Holiday” with Camaron Diaz and Jude Law at 8pm in the Barn at The Royal Oak. Pop corn, chocolates (and cushions!) will be provided so come and enjoy the last film of the year at your local pub.

Other festivities at The Royal Oak include the Christmas Quiz from 8pm on Thursday 19th which is always a great laugh with lots of tinsel, silly Christmas questions, lots of chocolate and lollipops and we’ll also be holding a raffle for St Michael’s Hospice that evening. If you would like to book a table for your team of up to six people, then do call me on 01424 870492.

We welcome John Shepperd back for our Christmas Eve Carols this year and hope that it is as enjoyable and chaotic as last year.

This New Year’s Eve we will be having a “beach party”, so dig out your most colourful shirt and shades and join us for a laugh around the bar. There is no entrance fee and no inflated drinks prices for one night, just lots of fun including some silly party games.

Finally, Valerie reminds us that Sussex Police warn us that now that it is dark earlier in the evening would everyone be more vigilant, if they see anything suspicious or are concerned they need to telephone 101 to advise them and they will then investigate the matter.

If you have anything you would like to include in this column, please email me via info@royaloak-whatlington.co.uk