CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday at St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Parish Communion followed by coffee in the hall.
PALM SUNDAY: April 9, at St Peter’s Church. 8Am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am parish Communion with Palm Procession followed by coffee.
MONDAY CLUB: The Monday Afternoon Club meet on April 10 in Offham Church Hall at 2pm. Ian Everest will be hosting a film entitled A Sussex Farm During the 1950s. The Monday Club is open to all retired members of the community and lifts are always available, please cal Judith on 01273 474356 or Caroline in 01273 477151.
EASTER SERVICES: Maundy Thursday, April 13, Sung Eucharist of the Last Supper, 8pm. Good Friday, April 14, Good Friday Service (The Liturgy) 10am. Easter Day, April 16, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Communion followed by Easter Egg Hunt in the church grounds.
DECORATING THE CHURCH: Easter Saturday, April 15, decorating the church for Easter from 10am. Gifts of flowers and greenery will be most welcome and as much help as possible in the decorating on Saturday morning. The churchwardens are planning a working party to spring clean the church from 10am on Saturday April 8. Do join in if you can.
ROOF REPAIR: The contractors have now started work on the roof at Hamsey Church and estimate they will finish early in May. It has been decided to postpone the first Hamsey Sunday until June 4. It’s Whit Sunday so a time of great rejoicing.
TODDLER TUNES: This music and dance session for the under 5’s meets every Thursday at 10am in the church hall and continues in holiday time. Judith says: We’ll be there dancing and singing with great gusto on April 6 and April 13 as well as all other Thursdays in March and April.
BRIDGE COTTAGE: I very much enjoyed seeing the pictures of the newly renovated Bridge Cottage in Uckfield in the Sussex Express in February, as it stirred a lot of wonderful memories of my childhood. In those days it was two cottages and the lady who lived in the one nearest the river was Mrs Morris who was a friend of my late grandmother, who used to take me along when she went to tea there to play with the Morris children. In the lovely summer months play consisted of paddling in the river, which was quite shallow, with lovely clear water. We would regularly see otters and kingfishers and one day I had my first glimpse of a water vole and quickly scurried out of the water as I thought it was a rat. Mrs Morris then showed me a lovely little book on nature with a picture showing a sweet little water vole, telling me they were harmless. As it was during the Second World War, we were told that if the air raid warning sounded we were to go back inside at once. The cottage had no electricity but old fashioned paraffin lamps and a very old kitchen range where Mrs Morris would cook the most wonderful cakes. Those were the days, with long summers and hardly a care in the world, although there was a war on.
BIRDS: I am so lucky to be able to look out every day and see such a variety of birds on the feeders and around the farm, but I felt really upset when I read the following report in my daily paper recently with the heading, Massacre of the Cyprus Songbirds. It goes on to say that more than 800,000 songbirds, such as blackcaps and robins, are estimated to have been illegally killed on a British military base in Cyprus last autumn. Illegal trapping is at its highest level on British territory since records began in 2002. There has been a 183 percent increase since then. Songbirds are sold illegally to restaurants in Cyprus, with criminal gangs earning fortunes from the activity. The birds are served up as ambelopoulia, a local delicacy. Research by the RSPB and Birdlife Cyprus estimates that more than 1.7 million birds could have been killed within the survey area, which covers the British base and Cyprus. Between August and October 2016, the British Sovereign Base Area Police Force opened more cases and confiscated more mist nets than previously recorded. It does not bear thinking about. How much meat could there possibly be on a tiny blackcap or dear little robin? How dreadful, it needs to be stopped. No wonder we need to carry out the bird counts every year.
RURAL CRIME: A report in my April South East Farmer and Grower says that the NFU have been helping Sussex Police to get up to speed on farming and rural issues through on-farm training to help tackle rural crime and explain some of the worst issues faced in Sussex, such as hare coursing and livestock worrying. Our NFU County Adviser for East and West Sussex, James Osman, says ‘Sussex Police views tackling rural crime as a priority’. The NFU are lobbying police and crime commissioners and the Home Office to place higher priority on rural crime, improve communications and cross-border policing, boost rural crime training and ensure the enforcement of existing laws. Thefts of quad bikes, tractors and livestock happen all over the country, but some crimes vary depending on geography, proximity to urban areas and even social trends. Evidence shows that the nature of rural crime is changing. Solar panels, cyber crime and agro-chemical theft are emerging problem areas. Criminals can use drones to view properties they would previously have been unable to access, and high-value farm equipment can be stolen to order and sent abroad. Hidden crimes such as modern slavery and illegal cannabis farms are increasingly becoming an issue in rural areas and heritage crime-thefts of metal and masonry from historical buildings have always been an issue.
The NRCN says that the Home Office’s method of allocating funding for rural policing does not reflect the demands and impacts of rural crime on dispersed and isolated communities. Fly tipping is also causing havoc. As a result the NFU has a plan of action. It is working on a Rural Crime Manifesto to be published by summer this year.
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