Hello: It is with some trepidation that I write my first column for the Village Voice, Patricia will certainly be a hard act to follow. My thanks are already due to a number of locals who have both provided support and information to get me started so thanks to Annette, Steve,Jeff and Valerie and please to all village residents let me have any information about events you would like me to include and I’ll do my best.

PATRICIA BEGG : Despite only moving to Whatlington in 2013 Patricia Begg, who died shortly before Christmas, quickly became an enthusiastic and valued contributor to the village community.

Born in 1953, the youngest daughter of Sir George and Barbara Wigham Richardson, she grew up in Benenden with her two sisters, Jenifer and Caroline.

She studied law and was offered a place in chambers by both the sets in which she did her pupillages. During this time she met and married Alastair Begg, who worked as an investment banker in the City of London.

In 1981 the couple moved to the outskirts of the village of Mayfield, where they had two children, Camilla and Andrew. Alastair died suddenly in 1994.

Patricia moved to Riccards Lane in Whatlington in 2013 and became a member of the Whatlington Village Hall committee.

She helped at many village events, including her role as the fortune-teller Gypsy Petulenka – one of the most popular attractions at last year’s village fete.

She also took on the role as the village’s correspondent for the Observer’s Village Voice feature.

Her son Andrew said: “Despite her short time in Whatlington, she felt very much at home in the community and was hoping to remain a part of it for many years to come.”

Patricia died after a brave fight against cancer and, said Andrew, she will be remembered for her “warm, kind and generous spirit, her energy, intellect, loyalty and courage, and above all her unfailing ability to find the positive in every person, and every situation she encountered.”

A packed St Dunstan’s Church in Mayfield on Friday 8 January bore testament to the affection with which Patricia was held by all who knew her. A moving service with readings by both Camilla and Andrew together with superb choristry by the choir from Sidney College Cambridge provided a thanksgiving service which I am sure Patricia would have both approved of and appreciated.

PARISH COUNCIL: Defibrillator training for the new village defibrillator will take place on Thursday evening 4 February in the village hall, spaces are limited so if you would like to attend please let Valerie know by contacting the council email whatlingtonpc@eade.uk.com. Further training will be offered in the coming months if demand is sufficient.

The next Parish Council meeting will take place on Thursday 21 January at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall all welcome.

VILLAGE HALL: There are several planned events for the coming months so watch this space for more details. Don’t forget that the village hall is available for hire to both groups and individuals. It’s a great resource so use it when you can.

CHURCH NEWS: The first Family Service of the New Year at Whatlington was a great success, we were pleased to welcome Reader Pat Lock, from Hastings Old Town and I think it fair to say that everyone greatly enjoyed a lovely service, with a good attendance, especially considering the continuing wet weather.

Next Sunday we return to our usual time of 09.30 and our own Rector, Kevin, as always all are welcome to join us. The church does operate an e-mail newsletter run by PCC member Dr. Yvonne Underhill, if anyone would like to add their details so as to receive this please contact Jeffrey on 772535.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.ryeandbattleobserver.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RyeandBattleObserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @BattleObs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Rye and Battle Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.