Winchelsea

Church Market: Usually held on the first Saturday in the month the April Church Market is a week late due to last weekend’s Easter celebrations and takes place tomorrow (Saturday) as from 10.30am to 12 noon in the Church. On sale will be a variety of home-made produce as well as plants and hardback books, plus an opportunity to get-together over coffee and biscuits. The day will also include a soup lunch, courtesy of the Hargreaves team and helpers. Last month’s Market raised £307 and as always proceeds will go towards church maintenance.

Spring Show tomorrow: Daffodils are in wild abundance along the grass verges in Winchelsea and the Garden Society welcomes all to their annual Spring Show in the New Hall tomorrow at 2pm. Violas, polyanthus, daffodils, tulips, hellebores and camellias will be displayed in their full glory along with floral art, vegetables, pot plants, cookery and more, so do come and see for yourself. Admission is only 50p and refreshments will be on sale during afternoon.

John Milton: The Literary Society is meeting next Friday April 17th at 7 for 7.30pm in the Court Hall. This month’s talk is by Lorna Challand and the subject is Milton, with reference to his remarkable epic poem in twelve books: Paradise Lost. As Oliver Cromwell’s Latin secretary during the Restoration Milton knew a great deal about political power and this would have had an interesting effect on his writing.

Magnificat: On Saturday April 18th The Winchelsea’s Singers will be holding their Spring Concert in St Thomas’ Church at 7pm. The performance is Magnificat by John Rutter and Requiem by Gabriel Faure. All are invited and entrance cost is £10 by programme at the door and there will be a Bar available.

Medieval Ports: A one-day conference will be hosted by the Winchelsea Archaeological Society (WAS) on Sunday April 26th, from 10am to 3.45pm in the New Hall. The theme is Medieval Ports, Ships and Sailors and the conference will discuss what is currently known about medieval ports and maritime activity. This will then be used as a context for a review of the preliminary results of the first ever geophysical and geotechnical survey of the port area of medieval Winchelsea which is being conducted by the University of Southampton and WAS. The conference will include a short tour of Winchelsea; also a visit to the cellars under Blackfriars Barn to view the medieval ship drawings on the wall. If you would like to book your place the cost is £20 or £15 for WAS members or £10 for students and please call 01797 224446 or email: was@winchelsea.net.

Mayoring Ceremony 2015: It was a double celebration for John Spencer the new Mayor of Winchelsea at the Mayoring Ceremony on Easter Monday. His birthday was also on that day and during the reception in the New Hall the Mayors of the Cinque Ports, visitors, friends and families all gathered to sing Happy Birthday and wish him well for his term in office. In his professional career John was an Orthopedic and Trauma Surgeon retiring from the NHS in 2003. His wide range of interests includes: Governor of the RNLI, member of the Rother Transport Forum and campaigning member of the Marshlink Action Group. Amongst the many distinguished guests at the ceremony were the Deputy Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Vice Chairman of Rother District Council, Chairman of East Sussex County Council, MP/Conservative Candidate Amber Rudd for Hastings and Rye, The Speaker of the Cinque Ports the Right Worshipful Mayor of New Romney, The Right Worshipful Mayors of Hastings and Rye, County Councillor for East Sussex, Registrar and Seneschal of the Cinque Ports, the Chairman of Icklesham Parish Council and the Freemen of the town. And who said the making of the Mayor of Winchelsea was just a ceremonial event? The formal procedure began in the Upper Court Hall where the outgoing Mayor Stephen Turner handed over the mayoral robe and Chain of Office to John Spencer who as Mayor then chose Cynthia Feast as his Deputy. Other additions to the Corporation were newly appointed Jurat Gillian Alexander, Robert Holland as a Freeman of the town and the Rector Robin Whitehead as the Mayor’s Chaplain. The Mayor also nominated Angela Hill to continue as Town Clerk and two new Mayor’s Cadets Jack Brown and Max Crocker from the Rye Sea Cadet Corps. In his outgoing speech Stephen Turner was pleased to report that a number of unfinished projects have been completed and a generous sum was raised for local good causes. His one regret is that the Pipewell Gate restoration project is not yet completed but an application is underway for funding. The good news is that the Lower Court Hall is shortly to be used for the Community Outreach Post Office and the service will be reopening for two mornings a week in the town.

Winchelsea Beach

Geology and Fossils: Geologist Ken Brooks will give be giving an introductory talk on Local Geology and Fossils – Part 1 in the Community Hall tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30pm. The talk concerns geological interest in the area, from submerged 7,000 year old forests at Pett Level to dinosaur footprints at Fairlight. This will be followed by a walk the following week, on Saturday April 18th and tickets will be issued at tomorrow’s talk. All are most welcome to come and listen and donations towards Rye Harbour Nature Reserve would be much appreciated.

Fellowship Lunch: The next monthly Fellowship Lunch is held on Friday April 24th at the usual time of 12 for 12.30pm in the Community Hall. Booking is essential for catering purposes and to ensure your place please contact 01797 227394. The menu is deliciously varied comprised of three courses and a contribution towards a charity will be gratefully received.

Flood Report: Following the Flood Meeting on January 31st Amber Rudd convened a second multi-agency meeting on March 20th to ensure that progress is being achieved in resolving the flood issue. In coordinating the agencies she aims is to keep everyone on task. Since April 1st Amber Rudd has no longer been a Member of Parliament but instead is Conservative Candidate for Hastings and Rye in the forthcoming General Election on May 7th and would hope to resume this work if re-elected. The cause of the flooding issue at Winchelsea Beach was confirmed as being due to high tides and rising ground water seeping into the sewer pipes while misconnected surface water drains are also adding to the excessive flows in the system. This means that the system can get overwhelmed by too much water. To resolve the issue Southern Water is working to maintain a normal wastewater service as much as possible given the above challenges. Part of the process, now underway, involves carrying out £45,000 of work to seal sewers in Winchelsea Beach in order to reduce the amount of groundwater getting in. Southern Water has also finalised a draft Infiltration Reduction Plan (IRP) which sets out the actions being taken by the company and others to reduce and manage infiltration of the local sewer system. The other agencies included are the Environment Agency, East Sussex County Council, Rother District Council, Icklesham Parish Council and the Local Internal Drainage Board who all meet regularly via the local Flood Action Group to coordinate their efforts. In addition members of the Flood Action Group and the caravan site are ensuring that repairs are being carried out where necessary in the site’s drainage system. If you need to report an emergency drainage issue at Winchelsea Beach to Southern Water the reference number is 3481429 and the Contact Centre phone number is 0330 303 0368.

Cindi Cogswell

31 Highfords, Icklesham