News from around the clubs - May 7

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Bexhill and District Veterans' Association

ON Friday April 23, St Georges Day, our

member Tom Craggs organised a colletion for Help for Heroes at Bexhill-On-Sea Railway Station.

Tom and his wife Vicky (pictured), and Mark Woodward were at the station from 6am until 6pm. They collected a total of 798.50 from the generous people of Bexhill for which the Veterans' Association would like to say thank you for. A cheque for the said sum of money will be presented to Help for Heroes at a date yet to be set.

Much work is now being done within the Association for the Armed Forces Day Parade which will be held in Egerton Park on June 26. There are limited number of places left for Stalls on the Park on the day, and they will be allocated on a first come first served basis, please don't leave it until the last moment as we dont like to refuse applications. The dead line for applications is Friday May 14.

The Air Cadets have been kind enough to supply a climbing wall for the day of the parade and there will be much to do for children of all ages, local charities and businesses will be there displaying there causes. The Royal British Legion will be supplying a 40-piece Band to entertain you throughout the day.

Please make a note in your diaries: June 26, Egerton Park, Armed Forces Day Parade. A time for the family to enjoy.

Please contact Chris Gadsden on 01424 734204 for any enquiries. Or send e-mail to: chri[email protected] .com For all serving and ex service men and women please visit

RNA Bexhill branch

THE secretary at our April 26 meeting announced various reunions to be held, including one in Londonderry early in May commemorating the Battle of the Atlantic, and the Nuclear Test Reunion for the five ships which were present.

After Stand-Easy,treasurer Len Murphy gave an interesting talk on his career as a ship's writer, rising to the rank of chief. Born in Dublin, he told us that he did not join the Irish Navy, because they already had their full complement of one writer. Most of us were amazed at the variety of tasks which fell to him. One of these was to instruct new recruits in boat-pulling in a two-ton cutter. He served aboard several ships, and as he rose through the ranks he necessarily found himself aboard larger and larger ships. He also found himself serving in various shore-establishments, including those in Hong Kong and Singapore. One of his last postings came when he was put in charge of a Service Community in St.Budeaux, Devonport, which involved him in the day-to-day running of the community centre, with its entertainments and facilities.

At one time he had the allocation of Service Numbers to new entrants. Coming across one James Bond, he managed to allocate him the number ending with 007. This meant that when this rating stepped up for his pay, giving his name and the last three digits of his Service Number, he would have to salute and announce himself as Bond, 007, Sir!

When the time came to abandon the time-honoured fortnightly pay-parades, and to persuade ratings to open bank accounts, one stoker was found to be overdrawn. His explanation was that since he had a few cheques left in his cheque-book he thought he might as well use them up.

The prize for the regular monthly Name the Ship quiz was again won by Jill Davies.

All those men and women who have served in any branch of the Royal Navy or the Merchant Navy are assured of a warm welcome as new members. In the response to duty we have found the gift of comradeship. This comradeship is in evidence not only at our branch meetings but also at our summer and christmas socials, at our anniversary dinner, and at our annual Trafalgar dinner. Our 2010 summer social with be on Friday July 30.

Information about joining the RNA, and dates of meetings and events can be obtained by telephoning 01424 219035.

Highwoods Preservation Society

WHAT'S About in May:

After a few stutters spring has fully sprung. Bluebells, one of the delights of Britain, are now at their best. Spires of Bugle, and the graceful Yellow Archangel (which is about eight inches high and can be found on the north side of the ghyll.) The bright yellow Lesser Celandine, white Wood Sorrel, Anemone and Stitchwort are beginning to fade to make way for Red Campion and many others.

Many birds will already have produced their first brood and most species will have bred by the end of the month. However summer migrant birds are still arriving, especially the insect eaters, as they need the ambient temperature to be at least 10C for there to be enough insects on the wing. If it has been cold in mid Europe during their flight they will be delayed, as they will assume that it is even cooler further north. Nightingales will still be arriving at the start of May. Bexhill is a good place to hear them, and they are regularly reported from local gardens, before flying further inland. We always hope that they will breed in the Highwoods where there are several suitable sites. So far we have been unsuccessful but at least we know they pass through, let's hope that 2010 is the year they decide to stay. Their song is often heralded as the most beautiful of birds, although many think that a Blackbird or Song Thrush is much sweeter. Shakespeare was not a fan of the nightingale's song "the nightingale, if he should sing by day '“ when every goose is cackling, would be thought '“no better a musician than the wren" '“Merchant of Venice. Another lovely songster is the Blackcap, a small brown bird with a typically chauvinistic description as only the male has a black cap, the female having a russet brown one, either way unmistakable and a regular visitor to the woods. One of the last migrants to arrive is the Spotted Flycatcher, like a small thrush, which flies from a branch in a figure of eight to catch insects before settling back from where it came. The dawn chorus is at its best at the beginning of May, but dawn means just that, between 5 and 6am it is at its height.

As the days warm up butterflies become more common, the yellow Brimstone, the spotted yellow and brown Speckled Wood, the orange and brown Small Copper, the delicate hue of the Holly Blue along with the more usual Peacocks, Commas and Small Tortoiseshells.

Saturday May 22nd celebrating 30 years of the Highwoods Preservation Society managing the woods. Come and find out what the Society does and how you can help maintain this lovely facility for the people of Bexhill.

During half term week we are running a Family Walk aimed at the younger generation on Wednesday June 2nd at 10.30am.

XYZ Club

Since our last report the club has experienced a cancelled meeting due to bad weather, a postponed meeting to another date also due to the weather, and a move for future meetings to a new address.

We wish to remember Rick Maunder who died in March, a sad loss to all friends, and family.

The new venue for our meetings is The Christchurch Methodist church hall top of Springfield Road.

The first meeting there was on Friday April 23 and it was a celebration of our first year.

With a birthday cake made by Vi Curtis and with Julie Brett visiting us from St Michael's Hospice, an enjoyable afternoon was had by all.

Julie showed slides of the hospice along with a talk on the work, and the fundraising efforts that are needed to keep the Hospice going.

Members have been saving small change, and in March we held an afternoon tea to raise money for the hospice. So we had great pleasure in being able to present Julie with a cheque for 280, along with 12 blankets knitted in squares and sewn together by some of the members in the Knitting for Fun group.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the committee and all members for all their hard work this past year.

The next meeting in May is our EGM.

We have an exciting year ahead with various speakers and ongoing activities. In June our speaker will need someone's feet and a head, as the talk and demonstration is on massage and reflexology. So why not come along? It looks like it will be fun, as usual. This takes place Friday June 11 at Christchurch Methodist church hall, Springfield Road, Bexhill. (Not far from Bexhill Hospital) at 2.30pm to 4.30pm.

For more information, call 842605.

Bexhill Horticultural Society

It was a sunny but somewhat chilly morning on the April 23, when more than 50 members of Bexhill Horticultural Society climbed aboard a coach bound for Eastbourne to enjoy their annual St. George's Day lunch. This year the Chatsworth Hotel on the sea front was our destination.

On arrival some of the party chose to have coffee or drinks in the hotel bar, while a few stalwarts took a brief stroll along the prom. At 12pm we were ushered into the dining room, where the elegance of a bygone era was brought into the 21st Century with new furnishings and paintings by Vetrianno.

The Chatsworth is part of a group now called The Lion Hotels. We dined on sweet roast lamb which was sourced from local sheep owned by the group. This, completed by fresh vegetables was very tasty, and the poached peach with a lemon sorbet had many a palette tingling. It was a leisurely meal, with good service and we all agreed we had marked the occasion of our patron Saint's day in style.

Leaving Eastbourne we drove to Bates Green farm at Arlington, through lanes with trees and hedges sporting their new bright green leaves and verges awash with drifts of primrose and wood anemones. At the farm we were greeted by the owner and treated to a tour of the private garden. Green and pink hellebore bloomed side by side with delicate fritillaries and swathes of daffodils and muscari. Later we enjoyed tea and biscuits sitting in warm sunshine in a sheltered courtyard. The bluebells have yet to bloom in the vast woodland walks that Bates Green is famous for, but I am sure many of us will return in May to enjoy this annual spectacle.

Stuart Wood, the organiser of our day trips, was once again praised and thanked for yet another very pleasant outing.

We are holding a coffee morning and plants sale in Parkhurst Hall at 10am on Thursday, May 20. Please join us, all are welcome.

Democracy Movement

ON Wednesday, April 21, at the Cooden Beach Hotel, the South East Sussex branch of the Democracy Movement held a public meeting to which were invited candidates for the constituency of Bexhill and Battle in the General Election.

Stuart Wheeler of the Trust Party was the only candidate able to accept the invitation, and he began his speech by focusing on the recently uncovered corruption in Parliament.

He then spoke about the lack of control over our borders and the huge cost of the EU to the British people.

On local issues he stated that he felt the landfill site should not go ahead on the site proposed, and was in favour of a rail link to London.

He gave two pledges. Firstly that Bexhill and Battle would be his number one cause, if elected, and secondly that he would appoint a local committee to advise on local affairs.

Following his speech, there was a lively question and answer session during which some members of the audience were upset that there was no UKIP candidate standing in the election and others that the BNP candidate had inadvertently not been invited to the meeting.

The meeting closed at 9pm.

For more information about the Democracy Movement contact 01424 848964.

Hastings and District Association of WRENS

WE met on April 1 for our Annual General Meeting, and in the absence of the chairman were welcomed by our president.

She read the chairman's report for the year, which recorded the various events which we had enjoyed '“ including all the outings and speakers we had had throughout the past year.

She also thanked the members of the committee for their work and support and said that all had agreed to serve again for the next year.

The president then read us a letter that had been received from a local sea cadet who has won a place in the party which will accompany Prince Harry on his forthcoming visit to Africa. It was agreed that we should contribute towards her fare.

An afternoon trip to Merriments Gardens, with a cream tea, has been arranged for Tuesday May 18, and we hope to go to The Sound of Music and possibly also Chitty Chitty Bang Bang later in the year; so we have plenty to look forward to as well as our annual lunch and tea party this summer.

We would be very glad to welcome any other ex-WRENS; for further details please ring the chairman on (01424) 222721 or the secretary on (01424) 447958.