Alex Goodman, The Royal Oak

Well, this is my final Village Voice column as we move to The William Caxton in Tenterden next week. We’ve had a super time at The Royal Oak for nearly four years and hope that the village and pub continue to thrive. Our final weekend begins tonight (Fri 31st) with the regular Irish Music session which is always a highlight of the month. Then we shall be having a leaving party on Saturday 1st February. We shall miss all our neighbours and regulars who we are now proud to call friends. It would be lovely to see as many people as possible on our final night; we won’t be doing food that evening, but will ensure the drinks are flowing instead. Then Sunday 2nd is the last chance to have one of Mike’s popular roast lunches, complete with homemade Yorkies. If you would like to book a table for this, please call 01424 870492.

We were proud to host Sunday lunch for the PCC last week and managed to squeeze 32 people in the Barn to enjoy Mike’s delicious roasts! Thank you to Ken for organising the day and to him and Jeffrey for being so supportive of us at the pub. Jeffrey updates us on Church news: “Another reminder that the weekend of 8th and 9th February sees the Grand Re-opening of Whatlington Church, with the Bishop of Chichester presiding.

The church will be open between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 8th with light refreshments, then on the Sunday we have our usual Second Sunday of the month All Age Worship at 10.30am and the service with the Bishop at 3pm, there will be parking available in the Village Hall car park on both days and we expect the church to be completely full for the afternoon service. People are advised to consider coming to the morning service to be sure of a seat as we can only seat around eighty people and we have some sixty currently confirmed for 3pm already! Please ring Jeffrey on 01424-772535 for further information.

The work on the building is now all but complete, the brass plaques are now back up, having moved to the hall, the WC is now complete with a baby changing shelf fitted and it is really just detail works to be completed. One thing which will sadly not be ready for the 9th is the new needlework, this is in the process of being made, we do however have the hand worked kneelers back which record the Rectors down the centuries.”

Hilda writes: “The Good Companions start off the New Year with a meal at The Abbey Hotel in Battle; meeting at 12o`clock for 12.30pm. May I remind you please, that I do need to know if you are coming to this meeting and also your choice of food. I look forward to seeing you all there. We can then discuss what members would like to do during the rest of the year.”

Patricia will be taking over the writing of this column, so if you have news or events that you would like included in this column, please email pbwb@btinternet.com.

A final personal note of thanks from Mike and I to everyone who has supported us and made us feel so welcome in the village over the last few years. We have made lots of good friends and hope to keep in touch as we’re not going too far away!