CHURCH SERVICE: Sunday at St Peter’s Church Offham, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Communion followed by coffee/tea and cake/biscuits in the church hall. All are welcome.
ADVANCE NOTICE: Jumble Sale in the village hall, Beechwood lane, Cooksbridge on Saturday March 30 at 2pm. Take jumble to the hall on Friday March 29 between 2pm and 4pm or Saturday March 30 between 10am and noon. Tea/coffee and home-made cakes on sale. This is an annual community event and this year 25 percent of the proceeds will go to Hamsey Community Primary School. For more information please contact Anita Walker on 01273 472595.
MOTHERING SUNDAY: Is on Sunday March 31 at St Peter’s Church, Offham. The service is at 10.30am and will be Family Communion taken by The Reverend David Perks. It is a very special service when posies will be given out by the children and all children will be most welcome. I am sure that Ursula will be baking a Mothering Sunday Cake too.
HAMSEY CHURCH: The Friends of Hamsey Church are pleased to announce that the church will be open again between 10am and 4pm on most days during the week (as well as at weekends) thanks to some very kind volunteers.
LANDLINE SCAMS: HMRC warns of landline scams threatening households. Those with landline phones ware warned to be cautions due to criminals using phones to contact victims following a rising focus on SMS and email phishing. Households with a landline number should be vigilant of phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be the tax authority, warns HM Revenue and Customs. As HMRC has increasingly cracked down on email and SMS phishing, a rising number of criminals are turning to the traditional method of cold-calling publicly available phone numbers to steal money from taxpayers. Often these calls are to landline numbers. According to Ofcom, nearly 26 million homes have a landline, many which could be at risk from scams, especially if they are not ex-directory. Phone scams often target the elderly and vulnerable using HMRC’s brand as it is well known and adds credibility to a fraudsters call. HMRC received more than 60,000 report of phone scams in six months up to January 2019. this is an increase of 360 percent compared to the six months before this. Financial Secretary to the Treasury said, ‘We have taken major steps to crack down on text and email phishing scams, leaving fraudsters no choice but to try and con taxpayers over the phone. If you receive a suspicious call to your landline from someone purporting to be from HMRC which threatens legal action to put you in jail, or payment using vouchers, hang up and report it to HMRC who can work to take them off the network.’ Head of Action Fraud said, ‘Fraudsters will call your landline claiming to be from reputable organisations such as HMRC. Contact like this is designed to convince you to hand over valuable personal details or your money. Don’t assume anyone who calls you is who they say they are. If a person calls and asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautions and seek advice. The tax authority will only ever call you asking for payment on a debt that you are already aware of, either having received a letter about it, or after you’ve told us you owe some tax, for example through a self-assessment return.’ During the last twelve months, HMRC has worked with the phone networks and Ofcom to close nearly 450 lines being used by fraudsters using boiler room tactics to steal money. If anyone is ever in doubt who they are speaking to, HMRC advises you to end the call and contact the department using one of the numbers or online services available from Gov.uk. If you know someone who has a landline and could fall for this, particularly those who may need protecting such as vulnerable relatives and neighbours, the advice is – recognise the signs, genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your Pin, password or bank details. Stay safe, don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting. Take action, forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC and details of suspicious calls to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599. Alternatively, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use its online fraud reporting tool, especially if you suffer financial loss. Check gov.uk for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact. As I do know someone who got caught out, I hope that the above will be of use to other vulnerable people who may need help.
ORCHIDS: I was interested to read a letter in the Telegraph from a reader who had spotted a piece about McBeans Orchids in Cooksbridge, as I noticed the name Sanders Orchids in St Albans. My late uncle trained at Kew Gardens and them became under gardener at Buxted Park where the late John Blowers was a head gardener. When I was a child I used to love going to meet my uncle when he had finished work and he would show me all the lovely orchids that they grew there, which was when the name Sanders came up. Sanders held a Royal Warrant as supplier of orchids to Queen Victoria and her successors, including our present Queen. My uncle then had to serve in Burma and the day he came home I met his at Buxted Station and asked if we could grow orchids at home, which he did, and I use to help him in the greenhouse. He went on to win a lot of prizes at the different flower shows and I have some of his medals. When he died I was left a lovely set of his treasured gardening books by Watson, one of which is entirely about how to grow orchids. Thank you to the letter writer from Kent, you stirred up many beautiful memories for me of a much loved uncle.