Tom Harris funeral: The funeral for Tom Harris will take place today (Friday) at 1.15pm in St Thomas’s Church and will be followed by a private service at Hastings Crematorium. Tom grew up in Kent close to the Romney Marshes. He was an accomplished pianist who regularly gave piano recitals and concerts at St Thomas’ Church. From the age of three he started having piano lessons and rapidly developed into a promising music student. When he was twelve he came first in all classes at the Hastings Music Festival for bassoon, recorders, flute and piano. After receiving further music awards his musical career took him to Eton where he attended as a music scholar and was awarded the School Music prize. After Eton he went on to read music at Trinity Hall Cambridge and this was followed by three years studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Unfortunately Tom died too soon at the age of 22 years and will be greatly missed by friends and music lovers in the town.

AGM 2016: The Garden Society is holding its Annual General Meeting tomorrow, Saturday January 30th. This will be in the Lower Court Hall beginning at 10am. If possible at the meeting you can pay your 2016 Subscription which is £5 for the year. There will be a reminder of forthcoming events so don’t forget the visit to RHS Wisley in Surrey which takes place soon on Thursday February 18th. The group will be leaving the bus stop by the Town Sign at 9am to be back by 6pm and tickets should be bought in advance from Winchelsea Farm Kitchen (£17 p.p.) In order to get an idea of numbers, please get your ticket by the end of January if you can. February is a good time to visit the gardens for the winter colours, early spring bulbs and the small scale ‘model gardens’. If it is wet there is plenty to do under cover such as visiting the tropical ‘Butterflies in the Glasshouse’.

Legion d’Honneur: Winchelsea war hero Lt. Col. Henry Dormer RA (Retd) has recently been appointed, with other WW2 veterans to the rank of ‘Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur.’ This award was for his involvement in the Liberation of France in WW2. He was commissioned in 1943 into the RA and stayed before D Day in a field just north of Northiam. He landed on Gold Beach in Normandy shortly after D Day. His unit was initially engaged in operations east of Caen, and subsequently with the 15th Scottish infantry Division in the breakout of the Normandy bridgehead at Caumont. Thereafter the Division fought through Northern France including at the Falaise Gap and the assault crossing of the Seine. By VE Day the Division had reached a point east of Hamburg having been through the Low Countries and northern Germany. After the war Henry saw operational service in Kenya, Northern Ireland and Aden. For many years in retirement he lived in Winchelsea. Despite a lot of searching, he has never been able to identify the field in Northiam that he was camped in prior to D Day! Henry is still synonymous with the annual Winchelsea singers’ ‘Fun Evening’ acting in many different sketches. For many years he successfully wrote the script which was very much enjoyed. He became a highly respected member of the Corporation and then Mayor of Winchelsea from 1995 to 1997 and all who know him are delighted that he with many other WW2 Veterans has been honoured in this way.

Salt and Light: The annual service for Christian Unity took place in the Wesley Chapel last Sunday and attending were a good mix of friends from St Thomas’ Church and the Methodist Circuit. A full and interesting programme lay ahead in the hour-long meeting which began with a cheerful welcome from Revd Ian Pruden who led the service of Bible readings and hymn singing. Included were such favourites as ‘We have a Gospel to Proclaim’ and ‘Will you come and follow me’. The Rector Robin Whitehead delivered the sermon which was based on Christians as the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5: 13-14) and to illustrate this several members of the congregation lit candles and each swallowed a pinch of salt, leaving much to think about. In the Middle East of the 1st century salt was used to preserve food which would quickly spoil in the desert and the role of Christian believers is to preserve the world from its inherent evil. Salt is also a flavour enhancer and under the obedience of Jesus believers will enhance the flavour of life in this world. Moreover the light is the light of the world and the task of Christians is to be that light which gives light to everyone. The idea of being the salt and light means neither compromising with God’s truth nor tolerating sin. It is not about people dialoguing and assimilating each other views to see the world in a different light. This results in ‘man’s gospel’ and is not God’s way. More specifically Christians are a unified body in Christ which means being distinct from the world in order to proclaim Jesus’ unchanging Gospel. A collection was taken after the unity service in aid of Christian Aid and a thank you goes to all who helped provide the delicious array of refreshments.

Winchelsea Beach

PCC meet: The Parochial Church Council for St Thomas’ Church will be having its first meeting of the year this evening (Friday) at 7pm in St Richard’s Church. All PCC members should aim to attend. Items on the agenda will include an update on how well church members have responded to the change in Sunday service times. So far there have been good reports with members adapting well to the 9.30 am and 11am starts at St Richard’s and St Thomas’ Churches. Also working to plan is the rota for Icklesham Parish Church which the Rector Robin Whitehead shares with visiting local ministers on a fortnightly basis. Concerning church maintenance a costly outlay for repairs to the roof of St Thomas’ Church is due with support from the Friends. In addition the tower of St Richard’s Church may soon need attention which will put pressure on finances. The church was built in 1961 and has a rather unusual French Gothic styled tower consisting of four rhomboid shaped sides and a pyramidal roof.

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