BOXING DAY SWIM: Willingdon Football Club took part in their annual Boxing Day swim at noon from the beach near the bandstand. The good cause that they were supporting was Chestnut Tree House and volunteers from that charity were also taking part, about 20 in all. The sea was very rough and there was a high tide so the intention was just to have a very quick dip but some of them got a lot wetter than they had anticipated. The Cumberland Hotel provided them with changing facilities and hot soup after the event which was very much appreciated.
NEW YEAR’S DAY SWIM: Graham Morris, who is the chef at the British Queen, was swimming on New Year’s Day from the beach near the bandstand. On this occasion the tide was lower, although still pretty rough. Graham and Steve Marshall were able to have a proper swim. Others participants who had a quick dip were Angela Cain, manageress of the British Queen, Martin Smith and two other regulars of the pub. The sponsored event raised £1,200 for the local charity Children with Cancer. Graham would like to thank everyone who supported them.
THE EIGHT BELLS: On Boxing Day the Coakham Bloodhounds arrived at the Eight Bells just before midday accompanied by their riders. The Coakham Bloodhounds are a fantastic breed, and despite the number of on-lookers, many with their own dogs, they were all very well behaved, although anxious to be off. We had booked a table for lunch, which was just as well as the Eight Bells was packed. It was an excellent meal, reasonably priced. And then it was a very blustery walk back across the Downs to Butts Brow, where fortunately for me the car had been parked.
THE WHEATSHEAF: Alison Hughes, daughter of the landlord of the Wheatsheaf, Martin Hughes is now conducting the daily affairs of the pub. Alison worked at the Wheatsheaf a few years ago before taking an executive position with an equipment manufacturer in the wine industry. Alison’s expertise in oenology and viticulture and her experience with English wines will enable her to select the finest wines available in the area for her customers to enjoy.
WASSAILING: Has been associated with Christmas and the New Year as far back as 1400 and was a way of passing on good wishes to family and friends. A bowl of an ale based drink, seasoned with spices and honey, would be shared. Wassailing also celebrated the year’s apple harvest and the trees were blessed. The largest apple tree was located and cider was poured into its roots and everyone would drink to the health of the tree for the coming year. Pots and pans would be banged to raise the sleeping tree spirit and also to drive away demons. Today, Friday, at 7pm the Long Man Morris Men are going to the Wheatsheaf to re-enact this old tradition. There will be a torch lit procession from the pub and villagers are encouraged to bring along rattles and whistles and saucepans to bang. I am not quite sure if the Morris Men have a particular apple tree in mind or if any alcohol will be wasted on it and then it is back to the pub for a proper drink.
ASTRONOMY: Eastbourne Astronomical Society will be meeting from 7.30pm to 10am at Willingdon Memorial Hall tomorrow, Saturday.
BACKBEAT: Will be entertaining customers at the British Queen at 8.30pm tomorrow, Saturday.
HOPS: Tickets are going fast for the matinee performance of the new digitally enhanced version of the 1966 film Doctor Zhivago being shown on behalf of Hailsham Old Pavilion Society (HOPS) at the Pavilion tomorrow, Saturday. Doors open at 1.45pm, and the film starts at 2.30pm. Tickets are £7 (£5.50p concessions and children) plus 10 percent discount for HOPS members. All proceeds go to HOPS which raises funds for the upkeep of the Hailsham Pavillion. Ring the box office which is manned from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday on 01323 841414 to check for ticket availability.
MEETING: Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council will be holding a cemetery committee meeting at 7.30pm on Monday at Willingdon Community School. Please ring 01323 489603 or 01323 489104 for further information. Meetings are open to the public.
THE 3MMM’S: (Mrs Miss & Ms) meet at 8pm on the second Wednesday of the month in St Mary’s Church Hall. The next meeting will be on January 13 when there will be a bring-and-buy sale and a beetle drive.
Jevington and Filching WI: The business side of the December meeting was brief as everyone was in party mood. Three visitors were welcomed. Clare reminded members to bring their entries for the Jevington & Filching Centenary Scrapbook to the next meeting and also their voting papers out of WI Life relating to the 2016 Resolutions. The yearly competition results were announced with Lynn Gilding winning first prize. Visiting the WW1 Summerdown Camp memorabilia in the Pavilion museum had been a fascinating experience and Susan gave details of the two Out and About activities in January. Members had knitted 42 colourful “twiddlemuffs” which would be taken before Christmas to dementia residents at Little Acorns, Milton Grange and Sunrise.
The meeting proceeded with a sing along led by Christina Lynn on piano and guitar, and quizzes and scrummy food followed.
Jevington and Filching WI meet on the second Thursday of the month at 2pm in Trinity Church Hall. The next meeting is on January 14 when Graham Albon will be giving a talk entitled How Green is My Greenland.
WILLINGDON WI: Meets at 2.15pm on the second Thursday of the month at Willingdon Memorial Hall. The next meeting is on January 14 when Harry Pope will be giving a talk entitled How Not to Run a Hotel.
COFFEE MORNING: The British Queen has a coffee morning from 10am to noon on the second Thursday of the month. Tea/coffee and cake is just £1.50 and there is a book stall, raffle and bring and buy stall. Why not go along for coffee and a chat on January 14.
THE GARDEN GROWERS: This group meet on the second Thursday of the month at 6.30pm for 7pm at the Red Lion in Willingdon. The next meeting will be on January 14 when the members will be discussing the annual programme and any possible outings. New members are always welcome.
TRINITY DINERS: There was a full house for the Trinity Diners Christmas lunch which was delicious. The next lunch at Trinity Church Hall is at noon on Friday January 15. Please ring Jennie on 01323 484189 to book your place. Meals are £5.50p.
PANTOMIME: The performance dates for Willingdon Church Players’ pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk are January 28, 29 and 30, with a matinee on the Saturday. Tickets are now sold out for the Friday and for both performances on the Saturday. However, there are still tickets remaining for the Thursday performance. Prices are £6 for adults and £3 for children up to the age of 16 years. Please ring 01323 504901 for ticket availability. The pantomime is being staged at Willingdon Memorial Hall in Church Street at 7.30pm.
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