Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

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CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday at St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Parish Communion.

CONFUSION: On Monday evening around 8.45pm I received the following automated phone call: This is a message from Sussex Police. We are updating our system and would like you to give us your email or you can text and press three. Having been the coordinator for N Watch in this area for many years where there are nine coordinators, we have all been made aware of the various kind of scams and going back to when we used to receive a monthly N Watch newsletter the advice was never to disclose your personal details, which included emails, over the phone. With that in mind I called a couple of the coordinators who had also received the same call, but like me decided not to give any details and replaced the phone. I then called Sussex Police on 101 and asked for the call handling centre. A male voice answered and explained why I had called, he told me to hold on as he would speak to his supervisor. I was told that they had already had several calls about this message and said they were going to find out what it was all about, but thought it probably was a scam. The next morning I found out that a couple more local people had received the call and were suspicious. I decided to warn the rest of the coordinators so that they could pass on the information to those who may be vulnerable and I also spoke to the chairman of EC Parish Council who thanked me and said he would get it put on the website. PC Peter Hall called me back after I left a message. His word were: Mavis you won’t believe this. It was a message from Sussex Police but Lewes had no knowledge of it and it had not been passed to the call handling centre. I spent Wednesday having to ring round all those that I had warned, but by then it had already been placed on Hamsey and EC websites. I do feel quite angry to think that all the warnings we have had about passing on personal details over the phone seem to have flown out of the window. I think an apology is in order.

OPEN GARDEN: National Gardens Scheme is the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK. On Sunday, April 24, from 1pm to 5pm the garden at Offham House will be open to the public. A romantic garden with fountains, flowering trees, arboretum, double herbaceous border and long peony bed. Herb garden and walled kitchen garden with glasshouses, cold frames, chickens, guinea fowl, sheep and a friendly pig. Tea and homemade cakes on the lawn, or in the conservatory. Admission £5, children free. Offham House is on the A275 main road through Offham between the Offham Filling Station and the Blacksmiths Arms. To visit the garden, volunteer to help, open your garden, make a donation, find out more or receive the NGS visit www.ngs.org.uk or phone 01483 211535.

BROWNFIELD SITES: The CPRE is calling on the Government to change its policy and priorities funding and planning permission for brownfield sites over Greenfield sites. The campaigning body wants to see a commitment to start development on 90 percent of suitable brownfield sites by 2020 and for the New Homes Bonus to be reformed so that billions of pounds are invested in their regeneration. Recently, the CPRE published research that shows work on brownfield sites is being completed six months sooner than on Greenfield versions and it argues that this undermines claims that the former are more inconvenient to develop. The government must show it has the courage of its convictions and usher in a brownfield revolution to tackle the housing crisis and save our countryside from inappropriate development. The research gives the lie to the idea that development in a brownfield site must be difficult or unprofitable. Crucially the Government must drop the idea that the way to get houses built is simply to make more countryside available.

AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR: When I looked out early in the morning last week, instead of one pair of mallards I now have two pairs swimming around on the ponds. Unfortunately a couple of foxes are roaming around and I fear that I may find a pile of feathers which usually happens. The bird life here is amazing and there are now two pairs of nuthatches visiting the nut feeder, several green woodpeckers and I have just spotted the arrival of some goldfinches. The blackbirds have already started nesting and there are quite a lot of tiny wrens which seem to build their nests in the strangest of places.

HAMSEY CHURCH: Correction. Last week I mentioned that the Friends of Hamsey Church had now been formed and are planning a public launch of fundraising initiatives. I was sent the wrong date which should have read Saturday June 18, not June 28. This will be from early afternoon until early evening. A variety of activities are being planned to suit many tastes. Please put the correct date in your diary.

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