Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Roadworks. Have we been sold a pup? Heathfield High Street remains shut to through traffic. Courageous traders are pulling out all the stops to make sure we get ourselves out and visit them. Well done. But having been told the work was essential for safety reasons, I’m now wondering if we’ve been devastatingly misinformed? ESCC tells us this dreadful timing is because there was simply no other option, we had visions of crashing through the tarmac onto the tunnel floor beneath. Now several traders tell us a) The work was scheduled two years ago. Why was it not done? b) If the road was that dangerous, why were HGVs and buses not banned? c) There was only ever one survey much earlier than we were told, not one conducted by engineers recently that implied the road was in imminent danger of collapse. d) Traders were asked to give ESCC feedback on the date of the repair most convenient to them. They did. When it was clear the works were not set to be done quickly, they asked, plaintively, if there was any chance it could be after Christmas? The short answer was no, although they had 24 months’ notice A shopkeeper who queried the timing was told by the works onsite boss: ‘We usually shut down roadworks operations of this scale in November. We were told the works couldn’t be done any earlier because of the French market.’

So what’s the truth? Is it (in James Bond parlance,) ‘circumstance, happenstance or enemy action?’

We are all getting out there, picking up our lamb chops, fresh chestnuts, autumn clothes, Italian cheeses, clothes dryers, new cups and saucers, antique pots, winter shoes and downing as many cups of coffee in as many places as we can. But the High Street still appears intimidating, there are no crossing points (so folks from the Tilsmore side can get to the GP, optician of their choice or vets - they have to walk the length of the High Street and turn back) there is a seven foot fence at the hardware shop end of the street which means - for newcomers, you can’t see across and find out what’s on the other side. Meanwhile traders have loads of amazing Christmas stuff to sell. They have pulled out all the stops and their windows look terrific. It’s great so many local people are taking the time to support them, but more are needed. And what about visitors from outside the town? They can’t drive through the town and see what’s on offer. One just hopes they will not opt to visit Tunbridge Wells or Eastbourne instead - and not come back. Look at what happened to poor Hailsham, when thoughtful council teams decided to close the High Street? How many independents are there now? Top marks to Hailsham Council which is busy staging all kinds of town centre events to build up enthusiasm. Could we ask, as suggested by one enthusiastic shopkeeper, that the whole High Street celebrates the end of the roadworks by staging a grand Christmas shopping event in early December? Lights, music, hot chestnuts, mince pies, mulled wine, the lot? Clearly our councils are not on our side (heaven knows just who’s side they are on - their own one supposes?) so we are just going to have to do the whole thing ourselves. And vote for someone else next time?

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY: I worry that I can sometimes be a cynic but an Armistice centenary service on Sunday managed to break through my shell and almost had me in tears. Mrs PP and I went to the ceremony and service at St Dunstan’s, Mayfield on Sunday and what an experience it was. I was born in the East End of London and I am old enough to recollect the sound of sirens, anti-aircraft fire and the formidable German Doodlebug rockets (dreading the moment when the rocket motor cut out.) At one point in this amazing service, youngsters from the East Sussex Dance Studio performed to a recorded soundtrack of guns and crashing buildings, which brought it all back. The dancers were exquisite and accomplished, right down to the end when the youngest ones were hoisted shoulder high and borne down the aisle, carrying candles. This was set to the poem Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep sung by Katherine Jenkins. They threw it all at us. Terrific hymns which we knew; an outdoor ceremony when Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, Guides and local schoolchildren laid wreaths; a brilliant sun which cast its rays over us the moment the two minute silence ended and maroons crashed in neighbouring towns, plus wonderful music from St Dunstan’s choir and organist (I’d not heard The Lark Ascending played on the organ before.) The names of those who died in WWI were read out, how tragic to hear those family names repeated. How did the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of those boys feel when yet another telegram arrived from the Front. And how were harvests brought in, land ploughed and animals cared for when so many young farm workers and helpers were mown down? A band played at intervals throughout - and there was a rousing rendition of March 1914 including Pack Up Your Troubles and It’s a Long Way to Tipperary at the close. But what struck me most was the sense of community in Mayfield. The church was packed, not an inch of space in the pews, and every age group was represented from babies to people even older than me. Again and again we were reminded of the way this village pulls together and pools its talent and resources. Bell ringers, cadets, worshippers and those who do not attend church regularly, distinguished former soldiers, teens, mums and dads, schoolchildren, teachers, musicians - at the close of the service the aisles reminded me of a massive meet and greet event as friends old and new swapped reminiscences. Pretty impressive medal displays too. Well done Father Nigel - in an era when we are told the Church of England is leeching support, you are clearly reversing the trend. Social media reports that there was a number of well supported Remembrance services around Heathfield and nearby towns like Hailsham, Crowborough, Uckfield and Lewes. Sadly we could not attend them all.

TWINNING ASSOCIATION: A nice email from Sheila Drennan: Many thanks for giving our quiz coverage in your Sussex Express column. We had a very good turnout, a most enjoyable evening and made a tidy sum for the association’s coffers. Thanks Sheila.

HIGHWAYS PANEL: East Sussex Highways customer panel. Currently quite a topical subject. East Sussex Highways is looking for residents to join their Highways Customer Panel. A survey, which will be sent via email twice a year, will ask for your views on the service that they provide and will help them make improvements based on the feedback given. If you are interested in joining then please sign-up: You can unsubscribe from the panel at any time. More information on the Highways Customer Panel can be found at: https://www.eastsussex

FARMERS MARKET: Despite the roadworks, the Farmers Market is in the Co-op park tomorrow, Saturday, from 9am till 12.30pm.

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Sussex Police Funding 2018-2022. Sussex Police have started the biggest intake of new police officers for over a decade. This has been made possible by the increase in police precept of an average £12 for a band D property, and the PCC releasing £17 million from reserves. It means that over the next four years, Sussex will have 200 more police officers on the front line than it does today. Although residents are pleased to hear that local policing will be strengthened by these 200 extra officers, they are already indicating that they would like even more. That is why the PCC has opened a survey on her website to gauge potential support for raising more funding locally if the Government lifts the current cap on the police precept.

Please take a moment to make your views known on this link: https://www.snapsurveys .com/wh/s.asp?k=154038317338

WEALDEN ALERTS: Keeping your business safe from cybercrime. Online crime is costing UK businesses £66 billion a year. There has been a 21 percent increase in this sort of crime since 2016, so businesses would be foolish not to take adequate precautions. The next meeting of the Wealden Business Network will feature Detective Constable Dan Maund, Police Cyber Security Advisor for South East Regional Organised Crime Unit. He will be advising on how to make your business as safe as possible from online attacks. The meeting, at the East Sussex National Hotel, will take place on Tuesday. Registration is from 5.30pm, buffet tea at 6pm and main event starts at 6.30pm. The event finishes at 8pm. The cost, which includes a finger buffet tea, is £11 per person. If you are concerned about cybercrime, the Sussex Police website has a cybercrime webpage which looks at the scams which have been picked up by the Police National Legal Database. See www.sussex.police .uk/ask-the-police/cybercrime.

You can book your place on November 20 Wealden Business Network event on the Eventbrite website: uk/e/wealden-fsb-networking -evening-cybercrime- event-tick¬ets-51460083495.

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER HEROES: Nominate your Community Volunteer Heroes. Wealden District Council is looking for nominations for the Chairman’s Community Volunteer Awards. The successful nominees will be presented with their awards at the Chairman’s annual Civic Reception on Friday, March 1 at Herstmonceux Castle. The three categories for the Community Volunteer Awards 2019 are: Community Volunteer Hero (someone who makes an outstanding contribution to running a voluntary group or groups or its beneficiaries); Young Volunteer of the Year (under 25 years old); Volunteer Group of the Year. In the first two categories, the winning individual will receive a £100 donation to an organisation of their choice and £25 in gift vouchers. The winner of the group/organisation of the year award will receive a £125 donation to the organisation. All details including nomination forms and eligibility conditions can be found on the Chairman’s page of the Wealden website: http://www.wealden. Councillors_and _Committees/Chairman_ of_the_Council/Democratic _Services_Chairman _of_the_Council.aspx

We think this is a great opportunity to thank the volunteers who give so much of their own time to helping other people. Don’t miss your chance to give them the recognition they deserve. The deadline for nominations is noon on Thursday December 20.

CROSS IN HAND: Isenhurst Junction. No reported incidents last week, but see the broken glass is still there.

PRIMARY SCHOOL: Cross in Hand Primary School Newsletter. Sarah Massheder, head teacher says: The school held a parent and carer session on behaviour last week, and we were thrilled to have such a great turn out, we had to go and get extra coffee cups three times. We have had some great feedback too. Our attendance is not great. It may surprise you to know that our school attendance figure is significantly below the national average. This is quite a worry for us, as this counts towards the grade that the school gets from Ofsted yes, honestly. If children are sick, then of course they should not be in school, but we have received several Withdrawal from Learning forms for family holidays. I know that there is a price difference, but we simply cannot authorise these. You may even be eligible for a fine. Please try to stick to school holidays if you possibly can. This week in school we have been thinking about Remembrance in our collective worships. We had a very poignant class assembly from Scotney Class (Y3/4) on Wednesday and we held a one minute silence in school as part of our Sharing Assembly. In the playground, these two lovely children made a poppy out of Lego and the light box in Pevensey Class was marked with an appropriate message.

Cashless Office is on its way. Our aim is to become a cashless school like many other schools across the country. This will mean that all meals, After School Club, Breakfast Club and trips will have to be paid for online using a new booking system (School Gateway) which will also link to Parent Pay (their sister company) which is the system used by Chartwells, our school dinner provider. We are just giving you a bit of warning, but we will write to you nearer to the time that we are changing, giving you further details.

Christmas quiz. Our Early Years team is joining up with Pre-School to hold a quiz. It will be on Friday, November 23 in the school hall. It starts at 7.30pm and costs £5 per person. The maximum team size is six people. There will be a half time raffle and you can bring your own drinks and nibbles. If you love quizzes but don’t have a full team, still come, single quizzers and small groups can join together to make a team. If you would like to register a team (or a pair or a single quizzer) please contact

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: MAYFACS update. This is news that unfortunately was not in the November print edition of the printed version of the Mayfield and Five Ashes newsletter. There are some really important pieces of information in this article so please read on and get in touch us with as soon as possible if required to do so.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON CLUB: (TAC). If you have not tried this before, why not come along to TAC on the first Tuesday of the month? This month we had a talk from someone in the banking industry on keeping ourselves safe from scams. In December, our Christmas meeting, we will be entertained by our very own primary school children, who will also be joining us for tea.

OPENING TIMES: The MAYFACS Office and Opening Times. The improvements to the Old Library to make it a more comfortable working environment have started beginning with more kilowatts of electricity. It means during the winter the heater will not be turned to boil the kettle. Thanks to the Management Committee of the Memorial Hall for granting permission to go ahead and apply for planning permission to build a small, wooden extension which will mean the premises will have toilet and sink facilities on site. Updates will be published on a regular basis. The office is now open on Wednesdays. If the A frame is outside, the office is open. Do check out the A frame as it holds lots of information, not just about events, but other things happening in the villages.

CHESS: Do you play chess? Would you be willing to come and play and teach the children at Mayfield Primary School on a Wednesday lunch time? They have about six young people who love to play chess but would like to play against some other people. Miss Warren has agreed to set up a chess club on a Wednesday lunchtime from 12.30pm to 1pm in the school. Please contact Freya on: 07866628170.

MEMORY MORNINGS: New Middle House Memory Mornings. A place for people with dementia and their carers to meet others in a similar situation, in a relaxed social setting. You can spend time sharing information and experiences, or simply have a cup of tea and a chat. Held on Monday mornings at the Middle House from 10am to noon. Free to attend and complimentary refreshments are available.

LIVE CRIB: Mayfield School Live Crib. A date for your diary. If you prefer not to venture out in the evening, Mayfield School have kindly extended an invitation to attend an afternoon performance of The Live Crib on Monday, December 10 starting at 2pm. Please contact the office, not the school, if you would like to attend as places will be limited. Transport can be provided.

PRINTING SERVICE: Printing and Photocopying Service. If you have a document you need printing or photocopying, please call into the office. If you put the document into PDF format, on a memory stick, it can be printed from the stick. Basic prices are 5p per A4 mono and 10p per A4 colour.

CERAMICS MORNINGS: The first ceramic session was a success and received a lot of positive feedback. All those involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves and created some wonderful tiles whilst meeting some new people. For further information call into the office .The office is open most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9am to 4pm.

MATINEE FILM AFTERNOONS: This month’s film on November 23 is Bridge of Spies. It is an excellent film, full of intrigue. Tea and cake will be served at the intermission. If you need transport by minibus to and from the film it’s important that you tell the office as soon as possible.

FILM, FOOD AND DRINK: As a reminder, the Five Ashes soup lunch moves to the Memorial Hall just for Friday, December 7. Come along and enjoy delicious home-made soup, roll and fruit from 12pm and bring your own alcohol to share if you like. This will be followed by Murder on the Orient Express with tea and cake for the interval. What a lovely way to spend a winter’s afternoon.

KNITTING/SEWING GROUP: This is on Mondays from 2pm to 3.30pm in the Old Library. Do come and join in for a chat whilst you knit or sew. Complete beginners also very welcome. You can bring your own project or you can knit squares for our blankets being made for the Queen Mother’s Sewing Guild. To find out more visit

COMPUTER COURSES: Computer Buddies and Computer Courses. Please ring Shirley or Alex (details below) to book a slot. Help with iPad, iPhone, Smart Phones, tablets and computers is available. Please contact us if you would welcome help in your own home from a computer buddy. Telephone Shirley 07908 516 875 or Alex 07389 050605; Emails:,,; If you prefer to write, please leave a letter at The Shopping Basket.

CHRISTMAS MARKET: St Dunstan’s Christmas Market. This annual event will be held this year on Saturday, December 8 from 10am until 2pm in St Dunstan’s Church. Yet again the market is pleased to welcome local stallholders to the market so as to ‘buy locally.’ We are still looking for sellers to come and join in. Booked so far are a local artist, local wood turner, Usborne Books, local artisan jewellers and Flamingo Paperie, a card and giftwrap seller. Refreshments including tea, coffee and mince pies will be on hand and mulled wine as well as a fantastic raffle with prizes including a Festive Hamper and Harrods Teddy Bear. Do come and join in.

LATE NIGHT SHOPPING: Friday, November 30. This year Late Night Shopping occurs at the end of this month. The High Street will be closed from the Middle House to West Street to allow more space for the singing. The local schools will be singing from 6pm and there will be a chance for everyone to join them in popular Christmas carols and songs from about 6.30pm. The switching on of the Christmas lights will be at 6:40pm. Come along and find out which Local Hero will be switching on the lights, enjoy the displays and hospitality of the shops, meet Father Christmas, enjoy the singing and join in yourself.

HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY: Mayfield Horticultural Society www.mhs.mayfield Calling all flower arrangers. Thursday, December 6, 7pm A Country Christmas. Demonstration by Mig Kimpton (winner of 10 Chelsea Flower Show Medals). Crowborough Community Centre, Pine Grove. Tickets to Crowborough Flower Club’s Christmas Open Evening are £10, which includes refreshments, phone 01892 663702 to purchase. There will also be a sales table along with a flower and general raffle.

BLACKBOYS: Woodland Trust Christmas Cards. Turnmill and Kiln Woods. Mrs PP this year is supporting the above Trust for our purchase of Christmas cards. I am sure a number of readers who read this column walk their dogs in these beautifully maintained woods They are a credit to the management of the Trust so it is only right to give a little back in exchange some of the enjoyment they give us. Please give your support. Like many with dogs, many rescued, that need a safe place to walk without fear of disturbing livestock (or racing 20 miles after deer) these woods are a godsend and we would be lost without them. We should support the Trust for all the other wonderful work it does in the county too.

SPECIAL CHRISTMAS CARDS: Talking of Christmas cards, further to last week’s report on a local Blackboys business, Sarah Becvar Design, do take a look at her website for that really special handmade card or present: Sarah will be holding workshops at the following venues: East Sussex National Country Fair Thursday and Friday, November 22 and 23, and Lucas Hall Waldron January 25.