In church this week… at St Andrew’s on Sunday, October 21, there is to be a Parish Communion service at 10.30 am. Rev Frank Rowson will lead this service. And then, on Tuesday, October 23 at St Andrew’s at 7 pm, there is the highly significant Induction & Licensing of the new Rector, Richard Barron. All will be very welcome on this auspicious occasion, and to join together to wish the Rector and his wife a happy stay in our United Benefice with Pett.

Aid indeed… There was a Christian Aid Coffee Morning at St Peter’s last Saturday, and John Relfe kindly tells me that, despite ‘competition’ from the Village Hall’s own Craft Fair and yet another function in the village, they raised a remarkable £365, and this in the face of the highly inclement weather at the early part of the morning. When this sum is added to the annual House to House collection and a similar coffee morning in May, it means that the Fairlight Christian Aid group has been able to contribute a staggering £3,161.25 to the Christian charity this year. The organisers would particularly like to thank everyone who supported coffee morning, especially all helpers and those who contributed cakes and raffle prizes, as well as all those who braved the rain to attend.

Highly active Activate… for several weeks now, this column has been urging readers to send a text vote in support of the Activate Youth Club’s endeavours to secure a Lloyds Community Award. You will recall that there were to be two prizes of £5,000 each, and that local support votes could be crucial. Now we learn that the Club has secured second place, and one of the two prizes. Representatives from Lloyds will be coming to visit them on Tuesday, October 23rd to present them with the £5,000 cheque. Of course, whatever they had to complete and explain in their application must have been of the highest order, but if you happened to send in your vote, it is still pleasing to realise that, as for Dorey the Wise in their major talent competition reported last week, you Did Your Bit. Congratulations to Activate, and thanks to you!

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Fantastic Startastic… A post-script on Activate’s recent show. Several of the children taking part really surprised their parents with their performances, and one mother in particular was quite over-whelmed as her daughter is normally so shy and reserved! Aidan and Mason, two members of ‘Dorey the Wise’ popped in to play a few songs while the youngsters had their tea. They, and their fellow band members, had just returned from their success at the Surface Festival and were on their way to a gig in Rye. After the show Georgia Moran, developing into an accomplished young performer, played some of her own songs. She has just started studying at the Brighton International School of Music. Both Aidan and Georgia are past members of Activate, making Wendy Hatch feel exceptionally proud at the end of the evening!

The hole truth… the pot-holes in Waites Lane have been filled in as I write, but it will not be until Thursday and Friday (today) that they will complete the final patching on Pett Level Road. One hopes this exercise will include the hole round the roadside drain on the left of this road, going east, just before the left hand bend on the zig-zag before Wakehams Farm. This hole, like the one that was in Waites Lane, is well down to the concrete sub-surface. Next week’s column will include a further, but unfortunately final, report from Cllr Richard Pollard, his last before he leaves the Council and trots off to pastures new. His Highways and Transport reports have been meticulous, and will be missed.

The Preservation Trust… held its AGM last Sunday, as we had mentioned. Some 100 residents attended, and the meeting began with a tribute to two invaluable, hard working members who died during the past year. John Lutman was the Life President of the Trust. He played a very important part in the affairs of the original association set up in 1986 (the Fairlight Coastal Preservation Association) which worked extremely hard, frequently against opposition from the Local District Council, in order to engineer protection of the Eastern third of Fairlight’s coast. He and the Association were triumphant in 1989-90 when a 500 metre long granite berm was built. This berm has been 100% successful in protecting this part of the coastline from sea erosion. Hugh Gallagher was Chairman of the Trust. Hugh was a very intelligent and astute man who gave his services to the village most willingly, though he personally lived well away from the cliff landslide and even though he was seriously ill and often in pain. Nevertheless he worked tirelessly on behalf of the village and was instrumental in obtaining help from DEFRA in order to build a second berm. This now gives protection to the mid-third of our coastline.

All members present stood for one minute to give silent recognition to the part John and Hugh had played in saving Fairlight from the major losses of land, housing and roads that had been forecast by the experts who had examined the landslide during the 1990s.

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The meeting looked both backwards and into the future in order to explain to the new members the work undertaken by the Trust. The chairman explained that a transition had now been reached in the work of the Trust. Having finally obtained a large grant from DEFRA that had enabled an extensive engineering project on our cliffs in 2006-7, intended to protect the village from further housing losses for fifty years, the Trust’s work is now to monitor closely the cliffs against further damage and has been extended to cover the entire village area, hence the change of name. The Trust is, of course, a Registered Charity and has constantly stressed its aim to protect Fairlight in perpetuity. This objective is deliberately intended to maintain the interest of future ‘Fairlighters’ so that the Trust will never again fall into abeyance in the years after the present committee have had to cease their work.

The present chairman, John Sinclair, gave notice that he must now give up his post lest ‘a loss of marbles’ should handicap the committee rather than assist them. John’s work on behalf of the village has been tireless, effective and absolutely vital. There was welcome news that George Hensher has offered to become an interim Chairman, but it is of considerable concern that the trust has a great need for a secretary to its committee, whose appointment would enable a new allocation of posts within the Trust. If you are secretarially minded, and would welcome the chance to be of inestimable value to the village we all love, don’t be shy – just volunteer!

The new wider interests of the Trust were discussed at some length and it is apparent that the FPT is closely co-operating with other organisations within the village – in particular with the Parish Council and Residents’ Association – in order to engender a united voice for the village. At the meeting’s end, Andrew Mier proposed a vote of thanks to John Sinclair, which led to a show of universal approbation.

On a roll…? That’s an Electoral Roll. Residents in Rother have been urged to make sure they don’t lose the chance to have their say in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which will take place on Thursday, November 15. The notice of election was announced on Monday, October 8.

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Over the last two months, households in Rother have received an annual canvass voter registration form. If you haven’t registered, the last day you can now be included to vote is Wednesday, October 31. Those who have not received or returned a form should contact Rother District Council on 01424 787825. Susanne Malmgren, electoral services manager for Rother District Council, said ‘You have to be on the register if you want to have your say in the first Police and Crime Commissioner elections. It is estimated that 2,470 households have not returned their forms. This means the response has been excellent from the majority, but the District Council wants to hear from everyone. Some people wrongly assume that paying council tax means you are registered to vote. I am urging all those eligible to vote in Rother to who have yet to return a form to make contact with us. If you require further information, visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. Sadly, once you have ascertained just who all the runners and riders are, you will be faced with candidates aligned along party political lines. Let us hope the best possible man or woman for the job is successful, regardless of party shades.

No Mystery… the Players’ Murder Mystery and Supper Evening, tomorrow evening at 7.30 pm, advertised here last week as having a few tickets left, in fact sold out suddenly and rapidly mid-week. The Group is sorry if you missed your chance to attend and out-guess everybody else. But tickets are available for their November production, which will run from Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 at 7.30 pm each evening, and with a 2.30 pm matinee on the Saturday. There will be a licensed bar at each evening performance. You can get your tickets at the Post Office, priced £6 each. The play is a light comedy set in the 1950s, with a cast of six ladies and three gentlemen – numbers that include two brand new to the players, and two who have not trodden Fairlight boards recently.

A talk in dead earnest…? The Literary Society’s talk next Wednesday, October 24 in the village hall at 2.30 pm, should be easy to follow even if, at least some of the time, speaker Kevin Gordon has his tongue in his cheek. His subject is Sussex Graves and Graveyards. Pay attention and no coffin at the back!

Parish Council meeting… is happening next Tuesday, October 23 in the village hall at 7.15 pm. Public attendance has been good lately, with strong interest in some of the items that have touched a nerve or two in the residents’ awareness. Get there early to make sure of a seat and a set of paperwork – both have been in short supply!

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Floral Club, by arrangement… next Thursday, October 25, sees the Club in action at 2.30 pm in the village hall with an in-house competition for members entitled Simple Pleasures. Voting is by fellow members placing a coin or coins alongside their chosen favourite to determine a winner. Give them a look, even if you don’t fancy a go.

Always a popular fixture… is the Bowls Club Coffee Morning, and it’s tomorrow, Saturday, October 20 from 10 am to 12 noon. There’ll be the usual selection of home-made cakes, jewellery, greetings cards and various games of chance including, at around 11 am, the ever-popular couple of rounds of bingo. This event is normally packed out, and you would be well advised to get there early, like everybody else, and have a cuppa, a cake and a chat, knowing you are supporting a thriving local club.

The realm of lies, damned lies and statistics… seems to be alive and well in the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, who have replied to a Parish Council query to the effect that downgrading the Ridge Fire Station would lead to an increase in response times of four minutes, with an appliance coming from Bohemia. Could they be ignoring the present ‘apples’ of the full-time manned Ridge and using the future ‘pears’ of the unit having retained fireman status, which would clearly take longer to respond than now, and certainly account for the apparent ability of vehicles to cover the excess distance in four minutes when it would take you and I fifteen minutes plus. Unless, of course, they plan to service outlying villages with a Bohemia-based forest fire-fighting helicopter fire quencher. No, I don’t think so either. A new question might be - if I call in a fire today, what would the response time be, and if I call again after the Ridge downgrading, what would the response time be then. Surely not just four minutes longer?

Keith Pollard, Brookfield, Broadway