Today Good Friday the Easter celebrations at St Thomas’ Church begin at 12 noon with Stations of the Cross; at 2pm there is a Meditation on the Passion with Veneration of the Cross; on Holy Saturday at 9.30am there is Morning Prayer; then at 8pm the Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter. On Easter Day the celebration begins at 6.30am for the Sunrise Service on Winchelsea Beach; and at 10.30am the Easter Sung Eucharist will be held at St Thomas’ Church. All are very welcome to come along to as many, or all of the services to enjoy the message of Easter.

In keeping with 700 years of tradition the annual Mayoring Ceremony will once again take place on Easter Monday at 11am in the Upper Court Hall. Stephen Turner the current Mayor has accepted the nomination by the Corporation to be the Mayor for another year and there are some new faces. Angela Hill will be appointed as the new Town Clerk and Canon Robin Whitehead will take on the role of Mayor’s Chaplain.

The season of Cellar Tours starting from April to September has begun and the Friends of the Ancient Monuments (FOAM) are running tours this weekend, April 19th & 20th from Castle Street at 11am. To reserve your place please ring 01797 222629 and the cost is £5 p.p. Also do ensure that you wear sensible shoes and bring a torch, and tours last about 90 minutes.

An Under Winchelsea Cellar Tour arranged by Winchelsea Archaeological Society will take place on Sunday April 20th at 2pm, meeting at Castle Street. There are over fifty vaulted cellars in Winchelsea and the tour will be visiting a range of them. The cost is £5 and a Guidebook will be provided and the number to ring for bookings is 01797 224446.

After the Easter break the children of St Thomas’ Primary School return to school on Tuesday April 22nd to begin Term 5. On Wednesday April 23rd St George’s Day and William Shakespeare’s birthday, the school meets in St Thomas’ Church at 9am for the School Easter Eucharist celebration.

The next meeting for the New Hall Society Craft Group will be on Thursday April 24th between 2 and 4pm to make items for the coming Christmas Fair. You are invited to bring along your ideas and talents and donations of materials, cards, beads, cotton thread, wooden coat hangers, wooden pegs, oddments of wool, tissue paper, lace trimmings and string are all needed.

Winchelsea’s Secret Gardens will be opening twice this year under the National Gardens Scheme as well as once for ARRCC. The first NGS opening will be on Saturday April 26th from 1 to 5.30pm and the gardens involved will be Alards, Periteau House, Cleveland House, Rye View, The Armoury, Cleveland Place and Five Chimneys. There will be a total entry cost of £5 and it is free for children. During the tour the New Hall will be open from 2 till 5pm and teas will be served, with the proceeds in aid of St Thomas’ Church.

The Garden Society’s next outing is on Thursday May 1st and is a coach trip to Borde Hill which has Rose and Italian gardens and High Beeches with its picturesque woodland and unusual plants. Both are near Haywards Heath and are known to be two of the most beautiful gardens in Sussex. Tickets are £28 p.p. and you can email Howard Norton at for details and to keep up to date on events.

Good news following the lengthy debate in Winchelsea over the trees on Strand Hill. The National Trust has decided not to cut down the trees just to open up views from the town. This is in response to objections from nineteen households and twelve letters of support.

Congratulations to the 2014 cup winners in the Spring Flower Show last Saturday at the New Hall. They are: John Dunk – The society’s cup for flowers; Alice Kenyon – The society’s cup for floral art; Lis Jasper – The society’s cup for pot plants; Helen Redmond – The society’s challenge bowl for cookery; John Dunk – overall winner’s salver for flowers, vegetables, pot plants and floral art. It was a very happy and successful show with a record number of entries including many new names. After the strange weather that afternoon there were concerns there would be nothing to show, but these proved to be unfounded and the hall looked magnificent.

Coming soon on Sunday May 18th is the 16th Annual Charity Walk arranged by the Rotary Club of Rye and Winchelsea. The walk passes along the banks of the River Rother to Camber, crossing the Walland Marsh to East Guldeford and Iden Lock and returns to Rye along the Sussex Border Path which will be just in time for lunch. Also note that the walk is not a race and you can go at your own pace with a choice of three distances from 3 to 10 miles. You can also stop off for drinks at the tea wagon near Moneypenny and Marshals will be available at key points to direct you and maps will be provided on the day. The starting point is from Phillips & Stubbs’ offices at 47-49 Cinque Ports Street, Rye and you can start walking at any time from 9am to 10am. Registration is by completing a form from Phillips & Stubbs, emailing or phoning 07530 770200 and there is no charge to enter but you are encouraged to ask for sponsors to raise funds for charity. If you don’t have sponsorship you can simply turn up on the day and make a donation if you wish. The main beneficiaries are Rye Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital and St Michael’s Hospice but if you nominate your own charity half of the funds you raise will go to them. There will be certificates on completing the walk and trophies will be awarded to the team and individual walkers with most sponsorship.

Winchelsea Beach

The Table Sale for the Winchelsea Beach Community Association takes place tomorrow (Saturday) at 11 am in the Community Hall. If you would like to book a table the number to ring is 01797 224820 and light refreshments and a tombola will be available.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve has organised a Castle Water Wildlife Walk of 2.5 miles for tomorrow afternoon from 1 to 4pm. This is a circular walk looking at wildlife in the fields and ditches around Camber Castle and visiting the bird hide at Castle Water. Please meet at Brede Lock and donations towards the Reserve would be appreciated.

For Easter Day, Sunday April 20th, the annual Sunrise Service will be held at 6.30am on the Beach near Dogs Hill. This will be followed by breakfast in the downstairs room at St Richard’s Church. A short while later there will be an Easter Eucharist with Hymns in St Richard’s Church beginning at 9.15am and all are very welcome to both services.

On Wednesday April 23rd which happens to be William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, there will be an evening of Cash Bingo in the Community Hall. This is an invite to all and doors will be open at 7 for 7.30pm. Although William Shakespeare may never have played Bingo there is a play by Edward Bond called ‘Bingo, a game of chance and money’ which speculates on the last days of Shakespeare’s life.

Cindi Cogswell

31 Highfords, Icklesham