Kingston

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KINGSTON WI: (Report by Helen Dudley). Our meeting began with social time when members and guests chose tea, coffee or wine and socialised. The treasurer told us our finances are good. Pilates is every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm at the Parish Hall; craft club is every Friday from 2pm to 4pm at the Pavilion and the choir meets each Friday from 4.15pm. We learned of the death of member Valerie Gay, a member for about 50 year; her service took place on February 13. Paintings by Betty Houghton, displayed in Iford Church, are now for sale. Brenda Neller thanked members for filling and donating 18 charity shoe boxes.

Many members wore green hearts knitted, crocheted or cross stitched to show love on Valentines Day and make us mindful of climate change. One of our guests, Maria Caulfield, our Lewes MP, came to talk briefly of the recent Paris meeting about climate change. She reported that the inland cables are laid and turbines are being readied for installation out at sea for Newhaven’s offshore wind farm. Some MP’s are against a subsidy cut in solar tariffs and she is keen to support climate change initiatives.

Linda Douglas and Tim Ambrose gave a talk, Kingston Characters, which enlightened us about the life and work of Barbara Willard, author of 13 novels, 50 books for young people and books about Sussex. She lived in Quince Cottage, Kingston for 11 years. Mabel Tebbs was her mother and Edmund Willard, her Shakespearian actor father, performed in the theatre in the 1920’s; in films in the 30’s and 40’s and on TV in the 50’s. Barbara also appeared on the stage but being very shy she left and took up writing. She ‘earned respectful reviews’ for her adult fiction. She was involved in village life and a founder member of the Lewes Literary Society. After the war she wrote several plays and books for adults and children. In 1956 she moved to Forest Edge and later to Stable Cottage, Clockhouse Lane, both in Nutley. In the 1960’s she wrote 25 fiction books for teenagers setting her Mantlemass novels in Ashdown Forest. They were about a boy growing up in the time of the Commonwealth and of the Wealdon iron industry’s effect on ordinary people. She had an intimate knowledge of Ashdown Forest, its history, laws and traditions, people, language and industries. She won The Guardian award for children’s fiction in 1974 and in her later years she loved gardening, her dogs. In 1994 she died in a Wivelsfield nursing home. Many libraries can still get her books and all titles are available. Our next meeting is on Thursday at 7.30pm in Parish Hall. Contact address: beverley@wakeford-brown.com

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