RECTOR’S NOTES: In the Rector’s notes for December and New Year, he writes: Thank you Joan. Joan Parish has been the organist at St Peter’s and we are all so sad that after 10 years of inspirational organ playing she is resigning for personal reasons. We have been very fortunate to have had her with us. Joan’s final Sunday was January 1 where I am sure she would have received a wonderful send off from all who attend Offham Church. She will be very much missed.
PARISH COUNCIL: The next meeting of Hamsey PC is on Thursday January 19 in the village hall, Beechwood Lane at 7.15pm where there is bound to be a lot of parish business to discuss with the start of a New Year.
LAST MEETING: When Hamsey PC met in November one of the agenda items was concerning the electorate of Hamsey Parish. Current is 450. The projected electorate (2021) which was used by the LGBCE for their electoral review of the Lewes District is 518. Hamsey Parish Council has a council size (the number of Cllrs to be elected to the whole council) of seven. The 1972 Act specifies that each parish council must have at least five councillors and there is no given maximum number. In 1988 NALC published guidance on the suggested number of parish councillors to be allocated depending on the size of the population to be represented. It also considered that five be too small a number and that the practical number should be seven. It also considered that local council business does not usually require a large body of councillors, this is also reiterated by the Government. The allocations recommended by NALC are as follows: It is the opinion that it would not be in the best interest of Hamsey Parish Council or Lewes District Council (the principal authority) to hold a CGR in order to increase your council size by one members, particularly as the electorate has not grown in the past four years, so LDC would not propose that you undertake one. If the local community want the PC to consider undertaking a CGR then they would need to organise a petition demonstrating sufficient support among the electorate for certain changes. The legislation defines ‘sufficient support’ as 50 percent signing in an area with fewer than 500 registered electors. A petition from the registered electors in Hamsey would need to be signed by 225 electors to trigger a CGR. LDC may take a formal decision. The petition can be both paper and online. As several people have asked me about the above, I suggest they attend the meeting in January as I am sure it will be discussed again as there is more to it than what I have written.
DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS: They obviously do as once again I had a Christmas Eve visitor. No, not Santa Claus, I’m too old for that type of surprise. It was a newt which I found in my dining room. No room at the Inn so they come here. How they manage to get into the house is a mystery, although the first year that I found one in the hall by the Christmas tree I called Trevor Weeks from the Sussex Wildlife Trust who told me to take it to one of the outbuildings and it would be safe. Lucky that I asked as I always thought that they lived in the pond which at the time was partly frozen. One year, in the spring, when I had started planting some bulbs I found one in a half opened bag of compost which must have hibernated, but was still alive and after a short time made its way into the patio pond. I see them regularly in the pond during the summer and one of the PCSO’s who used to call in had never seen a newt before and told me that I had strange fish in my pond because they had legs.
CHURCH NEWS: Offham Church had a very busy Christmas period, starting with the decorating of the church which always looks beautiful. The Nativity Play performed by the children from the Sunday School and Toddler Tunes. Nine Lessons and Carols at St Peter’s Church, followed by mulled wine in the church hall, Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and the very popular Christmas Day Family Communion. Not forgetting the Rector taking Communion at home to those who were housebound or unwell.
And then there was the New Year’s Eve Lunch in Offham Church Hall where they had a delicious spread of homemade soup, lovely quiches and salmon and some very naughty puddings. Judith says not to worry about the waistline as they don’t diet until January. All profits from the lunch go to Offham Church Repair Fund.
MONDAY CLUB: The Monday Afternoon Club held their first meeting of the New Year on January 9 in Offham Church Hall. The 2017 programme has a lot of interesting speakers which I will give details of later.
FRIENDS OF HAMSEY: Held a Christmas Fair in the village hall, Cooksbridge in November and raised well over £1,000 for the Hamsey Church Repair Fund.
WRONG INFORMATION: For some years now I have had people calling in here telling me that my sheep are either wandering in the road, caught up in wire on the side of the Downs above me, or recently dead sheep that had been lying on the scarp for a few days. We have had people coming in and insisting that they are our sheep and some have been extremely rude and don’t listen when you tell them that firstly I do not own the Downland above here, which belongs to the National Trust. One person told me that I should be ashamed of myself for leaving sheep tangled up in wire and not looking after them. For many years I was also having to run and shut the gates at the top of the bridleway which people had left open, which meant when livestock was on the scarp they wandered down the bridleway sometimes into my garden of our fields which, if on my own, was quite an effort to get them back. Recently three dead sheep were found but they were not ours. On one occasion we had stray sheep from the B2116 put in amongst our sheep which made us very angry as the person who decided to use our field knew full well where they had come from. As I have pointed out on many occasions I do not and never have owned any of the Downs and it is Plumpton College that have their livestock on the Downland above Courthouse. I sincerely hope that in 2017 people who see sheep either on the road or in a bad way on the Downs will not always think that they are mine.
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