MY NAME IS MEL BUTCHER: I used to be the Community Reporter for Heathfield, Cross in Hand, Mayfield, Broad Oak and Five Ashes. I hung up my pen some two years ago. My objective is to bring a fresh look to the communities I shall be reporting on and to help small groups raise awareness of their activities and achievements. Please contact me via my email in the box above to inform me of any newsy stories, planned events and concerns you may have in your community.
So here goes my first community report:
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS: We shall either have a new government or, if you believe the polls, a hung parliament or much of the same. Whatever the result all our communities have suffered over many years, especially the cutbacks of our valuable community PCSO’s so I think it is very important we all pull together. We need to support small businesses and our local shops.
CROSS IN HAND: Cross in Hand has seen its fair share of crime in recent months. The Isenhurst garage robbery was pure thuggery and hopefully the perpetrators will be brought to book. Sheepsetting Lane and Ghyll Road has also had its fair share of Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) over the months. So much so the residents have set up a very pro-active Neighbourhood Watch Scheme headed up by resident Nick Kersey, aided by two further coordinators to give the scheme 24/7 cover over the year. Over the past months Jubilee Park in Ghyll Road has been subject to a number of ASB incidents. The police have included the park as part of their Operation Blitz operations and are monitoring the situation on a weekly basis. Hopefully the residents will see a vast improvement over the coming weeks.
VILLAGE DAY: I was delighted to hear from Denise Ambrose that this year’s Cross in Hand Village Day is once again set to go ahead. Although at one point it looked as if the Day might have gone onto the scrap heap of brilliant ideas, as no-one was out there to save it, she got together with Shelley Thorpe to set up a rescue plan. It’s on August 5 from 1pm to 5pm at the Hardy Roberts Playing Field. If you’ve not been before, go this time. Look out for the fun dog show, loads of stalls, magic, music, dancing, a flower show, pony rides, and sports. There’ll also be a highly topical Village Bake Off (no Paul Hollywood though.) There’s an inflatable assault course and a steam engine too. Heathfield and Waldron Rugby Club is supporting the event. If you get hungry and thirsty, try a barbecue, candy-floss, ice cream or a brew in the tea garden. If you’d like a stall, they cost just £10.
FIVE ASHES: The UK’s first Cottage Hospice scheme is making progress on the site of the former Church of the Good Shepherd in Five Ashes. It’s hoped the new ten-bed Cottage Hospice could open by December next year. Tenders are currently being sought and the contractor will be chosen by August 2017. It’s set to be a community hub, with drop-in day activity facilities for patients as well as training courses to teach families and carers the skills to look after their loved ones. It will be run under the auspices of the Hospice in the Weald. Director Rob Woolley, said: “Hospice in the Weald has always provided care and support for terminally ill patients, their families and carers across both west Kent and East Sussex. ‘By building the Cottage Hospice in Five Ashes, we know that we will be able to see even more people and support them at such a difficult time in their lives.’ There will continue to be a chapel on the site and the church’s stained glass windows will remain on the site. Rob said he was ‘uncomfortable’ with the idea that the chapel was set to be demolished, but he has now heard from a military archive group in Etchingham which plans to take it away, piece by piece, to set it up at the group’s HQ. He said the chapel was once a Nissen hut on the edge of an Eastbourne aerodrome where Battle of Britain pilots whiled away the hours waiting to be scrambled to take off over the Channel. Mr Woolley added: ‘We are passionate about making the remaining time for patients as fulfilled and comfortable as it can be. We believe cottage hospices, based at the heart of their community, are the way forward and an innovative way of not only providing more options for patients, families and carers but also for ensuring the Hospice Philosophy of Care is understood and embedded.’
BLACKBOYS: I’m always delighted to see the youngsters from Blackboys CEP School as they head into the woods opposite the Blackboys Inn. Several classes take part in the Forest School and I’ve often wondered what they see once they get there. I’ve found out among other things, they study mini beasts, look for centipedes, worms, beetles and all sorts of insects and other creatures. They also have a pond and study the flora and fauna there. Children love being outdoors and this seems a lovely way to combine learning with fun. Well done Blackboys.
CLASSIC CAR SHOW: There’s a classic car show scheduled for the Blackboys Inn on June 25. So polish up your Peugeots, jazz up your Jags and pop along for a pint.
HORAM: I am sure the residents of Horam are pleased to see the Merrydown Development now well under way. I must say the style of houses blend in very well. I understand a new convenience store will be opening in the old Horam Inn in near future? The businesses in the village do seem thrive and the villagers are very lucky to have such a good selection of shops including, dare I say it, a vibrant Post Office. Please contact me if you have any newsy items or events happening in Horam.
OPERATION BLITZ: As I have mentioned we do have a very proactive Operation Blitz team operating in Heathfield and surrounding areas. Fleur Whitaker, our local PCSO has very good local knowledge and is very helpful. If you are suffering at the hands of youth crime and anti-social behavior please sign up for Operation Blitz. This runs every Friday and Saturday night from 6pm until midnight. A different mobile number is circulated weekly for members of the public to call if youth crime is being committed during the above time frame. The police can then act immediately to nip any trouble in the bud. Every crime must be reported either to Operation Blitz or Sussex Police. If you are interested in joining Operation Blitz please email: District.Wealden@ sussex.pnn.police.uk providing your name, full postal address and postcode.
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