Literary evening: This evening (Friday) the Literary Society is meeting to hear Facts and Fictions, the talk given by Margaret Drabble and Michael Holroyd in St Thomas’ Primary School at 7 for 7.30pm. They are husband and wife but do not often attend literary events together so this is doubly fortunate. Dame Margaret is best-known as a novelist and Sir Michael is one of the country’s main literary biographers.

Coffee Morning: Tomorrow May 16th the Methodist Chapel is hosting a Coffee Morning in aid of Christian Aid from 10am to 12 noon. There will also be a small ‘Bring ‘n Buy’ stall and you are welcome to come along and visit this Methodist heritage site which dates back to 1785 and see the Wesley themed artefacts.

Friends AGM: Friends of Winchelsea Church are holding their Annual General Meeting tomorrow morning at 10.30am in the Church. This will be an important meeting due to future changes in its organisation. If you are currently a Friend you will need to cast your votes so plan to come along. The Friends regularly support the maintenance of the Church and were pleased to receive £720 towards the Roof Repair Fund which was money raised from the teas at the recent Spring NGS Open Gardens Day.

Attic Sale: For those looking for some interesting purchases the Annual Country House Attic Sale takes place tomorrow in the New Hall and for sale will be exotic plants and seeds, antiques, bric-a-brac plus vintage and second hand clothes. If you are an early bird the starting time is 10.30am and entry cost is £5 then at 11am it is open to all and admission is £1. There will also be homemade cakes, tea and coffee on sale during the event.

Saturday Tea Concert: All are invited to the first of the year Tea Concerts in St Thomas’ Church which takes place tomorrow at 3pm. The musicians are Anne Marshall on the piano and Niall O’Riordan playing his flute and the music will be light classical. These young people are of international standing and are fresh from a tour of Beijing so do come and support what will be a grand concert. There is no entry charge and donations would be gratefully accepted. After the concert tea and cakes will be on sale.

Emergency action: Winchelsea Emergency Group has organised a training session for residents to use the defibrillator in the event of a cardiac arrest. This will be on Thursday May 21st at 7pm in the Court Hall and don’t forget that the defibrillator is located in the car park of the New Inn.

Asparagus Evening: The Bonfire Boyes are holding their annual Feast of Asparagus and Wine Tasting on Saturday May 23rd in the New Hall at 7.30pm. This very popular and healthy meal consists of asparagus served with poached salmon and Jersey new potatoes, followed by a Cheese Board. There will also be sparkling wine to start which will be followed by a session of wine tasting. If you would like to participate the tickets are £15 p.p. and to book call 01797 224446 soon as only 60 tickets are available. Proceeds from the event are in support of the Bonfire Boyes Society.

Election results 2015: Following last Thursday’s voting day, in the General Election results Amber Rudd has maintained her seat of office as the Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye. In the local election for Rother District Councillors, the results for the Eastern Rother ward which includes Winchelsea are as follows: Sally-Ann Hart (Conservative) – 1,441; Paul Osborne (Conservative) 1,392; Nick Warren (Labour) 705; Paul Carey (Labour) 694; Rachel Hills (Liberal Democrat) 332. The turnout was 71.38% which was an improvement on the last election 4 years ago. In total there are 20 wards represented by 38 District Councillors and the Conservatives have retained control of RDC with an increased majority of 31 Councillors up from 27 in May 2011. The apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 commands us to pray for our governing leaders: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

St Thomas’ Academy: The governors of St Thomas’ Primary School will be holding a consultation meeting on Thursday May 21st with staff, parents and local residents to explore a proposal for the school to become an academy. This is due to the government’s academy programme which has seen the reduction of services and funding provided by local authorities. As the school will now have to look elsewhere for its expert advice and support the governors are considering the idea of St Thomas’ joining the newly-formed Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust (DCAT) and as an academy forming a cluster with nearby primary schools. This would not be any sort of takeover and the changeover could begin this September. DCAT would provide the support which was once offered by East Sussex County Council and would secure the Christian ethos of the school into the future. In addition the Department for Education has released the grant needed for the process but there is still much to arrange within the daily routine so hopefully it can all be done smoothly.

Garden of the Month: A garden wall concealed by discreet purple clematis and flourishing lemon-green shades of foliage gradually spilling onto the pathway make an attractive frontage. This was the view of the Garden Society whose members voted it front garden of the month for May and it can be seen and admired at Strand Plat on Rookery Lane. The front garden of the month is a competition that every home in Winchelsea with a front garden has a chance of winning, so be prepared when the team are next around in June.

Lighting the VE Day Beacon: Mayor John Spencer has reported as follows the events of last Friday: To celebrate 70 years of Peace in Europe a small group of residents, decided to prepare the town Beacon for firing. This involved obtaining permission from those involved in farming in the area around the Beacon including the National Trust, and climbing into the Beacon to place the wood and straw bale in the middle of the metal basket. Quite a tall order literally, when you consider the average age of our intrepid volunteers.

At 9pm on the Anniversary date a procession of 50-60 adults and children gathered at the New Hall and were then led by a professional Bagpiper across several fields to the Beacon. The Rector Robin Whitehead, the Mayor and two immaculately dressed Sea Cadets followed trying desperately to keep in step.

At the Beacon we were met by David Merrifield (Senior) a veteran of WW2 and his son of the same name to complete the advance party. Forty eight hours later we saw David Merrifield senior again on BBC1 at the Cenotaph service in London.

After the Rector had read out the ‘Tribute’ at the Beacon the National Anthem was sung. The Mayor did as required and gave the order ‘to fire the Beast’ though not fully understanding the significance of the wording.

At 9.32pm precisely the flames started in the Beacon and burnt beautifully for one hour as the amazing setting of the sun up the Brede valley gave way to night. It was a very successful, evocative way to remember VE Day, 70 years on.

However the tidying up was to follow and later the repainting of the Beacon.

The Mayor explained: I won’t be there as I don’t have the courage to watch any more work so high up on the ‘Beast’. Huge thanks to the few courageous mountaineers and Mason Palmer who set up this celebration for the community.

Winchelsea Beach

Wildlife Walk: The Castle Water Wildlife Walk is a circular walk of approximately 2.5 miles around Camber Castle and it takes place tomorrow (Saturday) at 1pm. This is also an opportunity to observe wildlife in the fields and ditches and visit the bird hide at Castle Water. If you would like to come along for the adventure please meet at Brede Lock at 1pm to be finished by 4pm. You do not need to book but your donations towards Rye Harbour Nature Reserve would be greatly appreciated.

Evening Bingo: The fortnightly Cash Bingo evening is this Wednesday May 20th beginning at 7.15pm in the Community Hall. All are welcome to have a go and players must be over 16 years of age. As usual there will be a raffle and light refreshments at hand.

Book a Table: The Winchelsea Beach Community Association has organised a Table Sale for next Saturday May 23rd at 11am in the Community Hall. If you would like to book a table the number to call is 01797 224820 or just come along and find some bargains. The entrance cost is as usual 40p and includes biscuits, tea or coffee.