AN EXTRAORDINARY DAY: Sometimes the build-up is greater than the actual event, sometimes the pre-publicity outshines the performance, sometimes the expectations are just too great to achieve and sometimes the complete reverse is true with everything coming better than good. Thank Goodness. I think the mass publicity, nationwide, for all the commemorative events to mark the Centenary of the end of WW1 has been remarkable, especially the television documentaries, historical visits and the wonderful colourisation of the WW1 footage lovingly done by renowned film director Peter Jackson. Everything has been breath-taking to watch, listen to and become immersed in, and with the relevant weekend boasting the Albert Hall Festival of Remembrance, the Cenotaph service with extra People’s Parade and the evening celebration with Royalty, celebrity and religious attendance, maybe there was going to be too much to consider with local events suffering a lack of turnout. And what about the weather? Would it completely wash out every well intended gathering and memorial? Well, firstly, everything on the National scale was stupendously well presented, poignant in the best extreme and a first class representation of the best that this country can offer. And locally, here in Ninfield? Well, I can only report that every aspect of the day was just extraordinary. From the lovely, family friendly, respectful, touching service given by Rev Paul Frostick in St Mary’s Church to the procession from the WW1 grave up to the Memorial Hall, with 50 Scouts and Leaders plus the same number again in members of the public, all proudly following the Cross and Union Flag then, waiting in the Hall, another 50 plus residents and guests all looking forward to an afternoon of Remembrance and performance. The creation of the Drum altar on stage, Union Flag and Bible laying upon and the Buglers from the British Legion Band playing the Last Post perfectly, the local names from both world wars read out, wreaths laid at the Rolls of Honour, pictorial displays from the school, history group, Scouts and Messy Church and a tribute to the equine service in WW1. Then, from the stage, a lighter note with a sketch from Father Michael Brydon as a WW1 chaplain, telling stories from The Wipers Times. The Flanders Fields poem read beautifully by Ruby Wadmore after the Scouts presentation from their time there two weeks ago. Another poem, Say No To Peace by Brian Wren read with clarity by Rev Tricia Williams from the Methodist Church and then, accompanied by pianist Steven Parry, the lovely ladies from Jo’s Jammas all dressed in red and black took the stage. They were joined by David Swales and I. We read letters between Sussex Regiment soldier Private Percy Whitehouse and his wife Ettie and the ladies sang Keep the Home Fires Burning and I Vow to thee My Country. Keeping it together was nigh on impossible I tell you. Then, to finish the performance, the audience led by us all on stage raucously sang Tipperary and Pack up your Troubles with sides in opposition and competition. After the National Anthem, afternoon tea and cakes was the order of the day, along with a good old natter and catch up with fond stories, memories and anecdotes filling the hall. Clear up, in double quick time and then to the Beacon on the recreation ground for the National Tribute, Battles Over. Our wonderful Tommie statue was lit up by torches in red and white, poppies made by the Muddy Boots children were planted and scattered at his feet beside the wreaths laid by the parish council and the church. The Tribute to the Millions was read at 6.50pm, the Last Post was played at 6.55pm, the Beacon was alight at 7pm and the church bell rang out at 7.05pm. All with 60 residents watching in smiling contemplation, and dry weather throughout. I know I’ve been lengthy in this description of the day last Sunday, but it deserved to be reported.
CHARITY RACE NIGHT: Today, Friday, 1st Ninfield Scouts Explorers are holding their AGM followed by a fun-filled Race Night with Grand Raffle at 6.15pm in the Memorial Hall. All Welcome. No tickets required but call 07970559226 to book a place, although it should be ok to just turn up. Food, hot dogs, snacks and refreshments will be available to buy.
CHRISTMAS FAYRE: St Mary’s Christmas Fayre tomorrow, Saturday, from 10am to noon in the church. Do go and support everyone there and see what Christmas goodies they have on offer.
HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY: Meet on Monday in the Memorial Hall, from 7.30pm when the speaker will be John Dowling giving his talk Badger and Bodgers, the history of Bexhill Highwoods. A good turnout is hoped for and there will be refreshments available and a raffle. Non-members are very welcome. Go on, and take £4 with you to join up. Call Rose on 892422 for more information.
JO’S JAMMAS: Friday November 23, 7.30pm to 9pm in the Methodist Hall. Now, you heard how fabulous the ladies sounded on Sunday so, get yourself down to the hall on November 23 and have fun while finding that fabulous voice. £5 per session, refreshments available.
HOME-MADE FAYRE: Saturday November 24 in the Memorial Hall, 10am to 3pm. Locally made, beautifully hand crafted items. The return of this wonderful, popular Fayre and the hall’s Pop-Up Café for light lunches, snacks and a good cuppa. A perfect time and place to browse and buy for that special one-off item, or the Christmas present for the person who has just about everything.
CONCERT: Handel’s The Messiah, Saturday November 24, 6.30pm in St Oswald’s Church. Tickets £15 per head to include refreshments in the interval. Stunning performer Grace Constable returns with Emily Steventon, Michael White, Garry Marriott, accompanied by Nigel Howard and directed by Anne Whiteman. Call Janet Pattison on 845087 to book now.
MUSICAL MATINEE: White Christmas will be shown on Friday November 30, in the Memorial Hall. Doors open at 1.30pm, film from 2pm. Free entry, but please call to book your place, Jackie or Rose on 892422, email email@example.com. The Community Film Afternoons also have afternoon tea, cakes and a raffle. A lovely chance to get friends and neighbours together. All films are hearing loss and dementia friendly and this time we’re hoping to top the 40 who watched Singin in the Rain.
CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, 10.30am Methodist Church, Service of Worship and Praise with Dawn Novis.
PARISH CHURCHES: Sunday, St Mary’s Ninfield, 9.30am Family Eucharist; St Oswald’s Hooe, 11am Parish Eucharist.