Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

Church services: Sunday at St Peter’s Church, Holy Communion 8am, Sunday School 10.15am in the church hall, parish Communion 10.30am followed by coffee in the hall.

SAFELY GATHERERD IN: Now that the harvest has been safely gathered in and Harvest Service at St Peter’s is over, it is time to mention other events that take place during the Harvest Festival. Following the special Family Service Hamsey Primary School celebrated their own harvest Festival in St Peter’s Church and as the Rector says, ‘it is a time when the church looks and smells so wonderful.’ Afterwards the harvest produce was distributed two ways with fruit and vegetables, eggs and flowers going with love from the church to members of the community while non-perishable food stuff was again donated to local food banks. Thanks go to Phyl Burchett and Diane Costall for all the sorting and distribution which is a demanding task.

HARVEST SUPPER: Tonight, Friday, in St Peter’s Church Hall at 7pm. All home cooked food. Tickets £10 from Judith. Do call the Rectory on 01273 474356 for more details and tickets if you would like to go as I am sure they may be able to squeeze you in.

HELP FOR REFUGEES: The Rector reports: We have all be distressed at the daily pictures on TV news of refugees moving across Europe this summer. Our thanks go to Jenny Money who has coordinated the appeal at Offham Church for warm clothing and various foodstuffs which have been sent to Sussex University’s Appeal for distribution.

CHURCH REPAIRS: The following is an update on the Offham Church repairs: The scaffolding went up in September and the Rector says that they had an amazing view of this skilled work from the Rectory. Now Trowers are busy repairing the guttering and the tower. Hoping that the weather remains kin for them. As soon as the scaffolding is involved, it becomes an expensive job. We need to raise £14,000 so we are setting up an appeal. There will be fundraising events, of course, but donations to the appeal will be specially valued. Do get in touch with the Rector on 01273 474356 if you feel you can help in any way.

STRANGE PLANT: Thank you Anne, Jim and Pauline for letting me know what the plant was that I found growing near where I feed the birds. Anne told me that it had several names which I wrote about last week. Parish pumper for Rodmell kindly phoned me to tell me it was the Devil’s Trumpet and then I have just received a very interesting letter from Jim Smith, who I often mention and is the Oart Field Officer. Jim tells me that from my description it sounds like the Thorn Apple with small prickly fruit which is deadly poisonous and wearing gloves it should be dug up and burnt. He thinks it originates from South America but it is dangerous and will die off when the first frosts arrive, but should be dug up now and burnt. It is one of the creepiest plants that I have seen and like Jim says it must have come in with the bird seed.

VILLAGE HALL: when the Trustees of the hall met for their AGM back in June, Michael Bell, Mike Dodd, Helen smith, Jim Edwards, Jo Hughes and Kate McBrown were all re-elected as Trustees, Andrew Featherstone was re-elected treasurer, John Drury was re-elected Secretary, Michael Bell was re-elected chairman and Mike Dodd as vice chairman. The trust’s accounts are prepared in accordance with Charities Commission’s requirements. The summary accounts for the financial year had been approved by the Trustees and were presented at the meeting and are posted ton the Charity Commission website. Fund raising was again due to Anita and Tom Walker’s jumble sale which raised £900 in support of the Hamsey Festival. Minor adjustments were made to hall rental rates, which continue to be very competitive and for local, non-profit, collective initiatives the Trustees are prepared to waive hire charges. Of the £37,173 funds held by the trust, £12,000 was required as a contribution to the pavement to the hall. Bookings for the hall have remained strong during the year. It is in use most days and is a popular wedding reception venue. The parish council Hamsey School and St Peter’s Church all make use of the hall on occasions for their various activities. During the year the Trustees have reviewed the rate chargeable for weekend wedding hire and concluded that it could bear an increase for bookings made for summer 2015. It was also agreed to limit the number of weekend wedding hires during the summer months to two per month to ensure that the hall was available for short hires on Saturdays and Sundays. The Trustees remain indebted to the hall manager, Jenni Toomey and Jane Baldwin for their continued tireless efforts on behalf of the hall. The other report is headed A Community Hall. So how do we get the community to use it? Apparently the Trustees sometimes hear residents say, ‘why isn’t there anything on at the hall that we can go to?’ there are classes at the hall every day ranging from singing and dancing to Yoga and keep fit. All will welcome you along. In the past there have been some really well attended music and theatre evenings at the hall, but it has become difficult to find anyone who wants to organise these events and when they are provided, difficult to sell the tickets. When hall Trustees were offered the chance to host a musical evening with Australian singer Beck Sian and acclaimed guitarist Jonathan Kershaw, they jumped at it. Unfortunately there were no offers to take on the organisation and it fell to the hall manager to sort the arrangements and try to sell enough tickets to make it worthwhile. The PTA ran a bar but couldn’t drum up many ticket sales and only just manage to cover their costs. Beck and Jonathan loved the venue and kindly offered to split the few sales we did make, so that a little profit went to the hall and they probably covered their fuel costs for getting to us. If you have any bright ideas for using the hall, call the hall manager on 07762 118985 or email

NEW PAVEMENT: In Beechwood Lane. The last report received said that unfortunately the area between the pavement and hedge, which was seeded with wild flowers by the South Downs National Park Authority, was being used as a dog toilet by thoughtless and lazy pet owners. The parish council received a request for an additional dog waste bin to be installed but as there is already a bin and free bags supplied across the road at the hall, the council could not justify an additional cost of £600 per year to provide the facility.

NEW HOUSING: I read a very interesting letter recently from someone who had picked up how the right-to-buy scheme would not help rural areas as inevitably, the majority of new housing will be built on green field sites, thus taking much agricultural land out of production. They say, ‘What will happen should famine, war or serious political unrest mean we are no longer able to depend on imports from abroad?’ Worth thinking about.

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