HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Traditionally always a full house, the first meeting of the year in January was no exception. David Jones’ presentation about the past, present and future of the Bluebell Railway was the attraction on this occasion and he gave a very knowledgeable talk. He spoke of how British Rail decided to close the line in the 1950s, but because of a loophole in the law, had to reopen the line until a few years later when the line did succumb to close. A group of enthusiasts got together and with limited funds managed to buy a piece of track at Sheffield Park and brought engines from BR (who were still running steam engines on the main line) and rolling stock, went into the history books by making and creating the first standard gauge preserve railway in the country.

David showed early pictures of the Bluebell Line in preservation explaining the expansion to Horsted Keynes to Kingscote and eventually through to the main line at East Grinstead. Problems arose with the expense of clearing the 1000s of tons of waste at the Imberhorn cutting that was used as a waste dump for many years. The audience was shown inside the workshops where the locomotives and carriages are repaired or rebuilt for the pleasure of the passengers and enthusiasts that visit the Bluebell Railway. Also they saw the building of the new build locomotive Beachy Head. David Bourne, chairman of the society, admitted he had only just scratched the surface in his report, of the speaker’s informative talk about on the subject. The evening concluded with some good questions and answers.

The society has copies of its latest book on sale, Hailsham Through Time which includes 96 photos of then and now and is £13.50 from the society via the chairman, David Bourne, on 01323 440359 and who can also be contacted for further information about the Society.

The next meeting at the Methodist Church Hall, Hailsham High Street, is on Wednesday February 10 at 7pm for 7.30pm start and is a talk by local historian Kevin Gordon on The Lost Village of Tide Mills.

BONFIRE SOCIETY: The Hailsham Bonfire Society AGM is this evening in the Charles Hunt Centre at 7pm for 7.30pm start. If you would like to know more about the society or to get involved, go along and meeting everybody. You will be most welcome.

ST MARY’S: This is the Second Sunday before Lent. 10am Holy Communion, God’s Great Design, purpose, so what am I doing here? 10.30am Morning Service with creche and children’s groups. 6.30pm Evening Prayer, Choosing sides: do you love Him?

RAMBLES: This Wednesday Fairwarp to Dudleswell with Pam 01825 764937 and Tony 01825 764590 over 5 miles with some stiles. Shorter walk with Nobby on 01323 440624 is Eastbourne seafront to the Pier from the tennis course near Princes Park. If you would like to go on either of these walk, ring the walk leader for the details in the first instance.

CORINTHIAN CHURCH: This Sunday the service starts at 11am at Primrose Hall. The Medium on this occasion is Glyn Davis. The service will be followed by refreshments. All welcome.

CALLING ALL TREKKIES: To commemorate 50 years since Star Trek first hit the TV screens in 1966, HOPS will be showing Start Trek: The Motion Picture, released in 1979. This will be on Friday February 12 at 7.45pm. Tickets £7 (£5.50 concessions and children) plus 10 percent discount for HOPS members from the Pavilion box office, George Street online or on 841414. Fancy dress optional.

HAILSHAM RADIO ONLINE: Lively music, interviews and chat all weekend. Listen on your computer, android phone or tablet from 7am Saturday and 10am Sunday to 10pm both days. Go to their website at www.hailshamfm.uk, www.tune-in.com or www.shoutcast.com. If you fancy a go at broadcasting, there are gaps for people to have a go or if you would like to get more involved behind the scenes with fundraising or the technical side. Get in touch via their facebook page or website.

ACTION ON THE FUTURE: The first formal meeting of the Hailsham Area Action Plan (HAAP) Steering Group will take place on February 2 at 2pm at the Wealden District Council offices on Vicarage Lane, with members of the public invited to hear the discussion. The Steering Group, comprising Town, District and County representatives as well as nominees from the environment, health and business communities, has been formed to oversee the development of an Area Action Plan for Hailsham and the surrounding area. This plan will propose specific planning policies and guidance for the area alongside the wider Wealden Local Plan.

‘Due to the requirements for additional housing through to 2037 as recommended in the Wealden Local Plan, and occurring as part of the national growth agenda, a programme of considerable change is proposed for Hailsham and the surrounding area over the next two decades,’ said Councillor Ann Newton, Chairman of the HAAP Steering Group. ‘The aim is for the steering group to oversee the creation of a plan that identifies the best outcomes for Hailsham. This will go beyond ensuring that the new housing matches the local need by including the infrastructure requirements, enabling additional jobs to increase skills and workplace wages and identifying community, leisure and retail facilities.’

The Steering Group will consider how best to progress the work on specific areas including, community aspects involving residents, infrastructure, business and retail, the environment, working with developers, land agents, consultants and designers, communications and public involvement. The Area Action Plan will be developed within the context of the Wealden Local Plan and national and local planning policies and requirements. Once the plan is formally adopted by the District Council it carries significant planning weight to help ensure that future Hailsham development takes place in a managed, planned and co-ordinated way.

100 YEARS AGO: In January 1916 Reverend F Clyde Harvey reported that the Carpentry Class has to be given up as the required average attendance is not reached. This is a misfortune, but the fault entirely lies with the young men and boys of Hailsham. Perhaps the absence of a certain number owing to the War somewhat explains it.

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