Patricia Begg, Riccards Spring

Hello! It falls to my lot to step into Alex’s shoes and take over the Whatlington news entry. I’d like to begin with a very big Thank You to Alex from us all for undertaking this task over the past few years, despite the demands of a busy pub and a very young family! I will try to live up to her high standards, but as I only moved to Whatlington (from Mayfield) exactly one year ago, on February 6th, 2013, I am still finding my way around the area and all it has to offer, so please bear with me if a few mistakes creep in! I am, however, delighted to be here and have settled in very happily indeed down Riccards Lane.

As it happens, I have taken over just before an extremely important weekend in the annals of St Mary Magdalene. Jeffrey Bridges writes: Whatlington church Grand Re-opening weekend takes place over Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th February. The church will be open between 10am and 4pm on the Saturday, there will be teas and coffee available and all being well some live music from the organ. We also plan a ‘slide show’ of pictures taken over the three and a half years of the restoration, which has cost in excess of £800,000. This will be an opportunity for people to come and see the building with the oak roof frame dated to 1275 and the newly restored Whatlington Angels, we even have some snowdrops peeking out in the churchyard. Car parking will be available both at the Village Hall and for disabled at the small private car park near the church.

On Sunday 9th we have two church services, All Age Worship at 10.30am and a service with the Bishop of Chichester at 3pm, both followed by light refreshments, parking again being at the Village Hall and disabled as above. The 3pm service is expected to be very busy and indeed nearly all the available seats are now allocated, so we would encourage people to come to the 10.30am service. If you would like to come to the 3pm service, please phone 772535 to check availability of seating.

News from the primary school. Valerie Bennett writes: I was fortunate in going with Mountfield & Whatlington School on their visit last Thursday to Port Lympne in Hythe. One of the curriculum focuses for this term is Africa and the trip to Hythe was perfect for this. The weather did not look promising as the mini bus started its journey it was raining but this had stopped by the time we arrived and we had no rain all the time we were there.

We arrived about 10.30am and walked to where we were to get on an old World War 11 truck to have a Safari ride around all the African animal enclosures. This was an experience in itself but with the truck not having any windows was a little cold. We then had lunch before walking along the Primate trail and around the Carnivore territory ending up at the lion, tiger and wolves enclosures. We left for home about 4.00pm I am not sure how many miles we walked but I certainly slept well.

This trip was made possible by being funded by the school PTA, Claverham Community College lending their mini bus, Mrs Tina Playfoot driving and arrangements for the trip by Mrs Jenny Bamford This was a good exercise for the children as all the enclosures had information boards about the animals and their habitats. It was a little unusual but the children will certainly remember the visit, especially the Gorillas, Baboons, Lions, Tigers and the Tapirs.

Do please get in touch with me if you have any local events or other news items to share, at pbwb@btinternet.com.