Parish pump Lewes - December 20, 2013


HEARTSTART held a fund raising party last week. The treasurer has to do the final counting but they know they have raised over £900. The recent purchase of a much needed newer 4 x 4 had reduced their funds considerably and Christine Burdon was delighted to be able to tell me that due to the generosity of everyone who supported Heartstart’s Party they have made a start to replenish their coffers.

A QUICK LOOK BACK over 2013 reminds me that in the early part of the year the High Street was closed for several weeks so that new drains and new tarmac could be laid. Local traders felt despondent as visitors obeyed the Road Closed notices and the village was very quiet apart from the road drills. However, when the road is open the need to find an answer to the traffic congestion at the narrows in the High Street goes on. The search is as energetic in December as it was last January. In August the Festival was a great success with the sun shining on Bank Holiday Monday bringing the crowds and raising much needed money for local organisations and charities. Will Alfriston have a Festival in 2014? The search for a new Chair and Treasurer goes on. This year’s Dickensian Evening in November was also blessed with dry weather. A very happy crowd joined the torchlight procession and helped Father Christmas turn on the lights of the Christmas tree, enjoyed the singing, the bands, the hog roast and the late night shopping. The High Street does not have the overcrowded bustle of the local big towns but it is good to see more visitors exploring our shops and visiting the local pubs and restaurants keeping the High Street and village alive. This year has also seen more visitors from our twin village of Veules en Roses.


FREE freshly brewed coffee, tea, chocolate and a choice of eats are at the Coffee Stop, in the Free Church Hall, every Friday from 10am to midday. All are welcome to drop in for a drink and meet friends and make new ones.

CHURCH SERVICES: St Peter’s Church services on Sunday are Holy Communion at 8am, Parish Communion at 10am and Service of Nine lessons and Carols at 6pm. Christmas Eve, Crib Service at 3.30pm followed by Midnight Mass at 11.30pm. Christmas Day, Holy Communion at 8am and a family service at 10am. Sunday December 29, Holy Communion at 8am and Parish Communion at 10am and Sunday January 5, Holy Communion at 8am and Family Service at 10am with Pete’s Puppets. Transport can be arranged by calling the churchwardens Peter Martin (on 01825 722680) or Teresa Wenban (on 01825722586).

CAROL SERVICES at the Free Church on Sunday at 10.30am and 6.30pm. On Christmas Day at 10.30am there will be a short informal service for all the family. This will be followed by Christmas dinner at 1.30pm for anyone on their own. Please call Tony or Janet on 01825 766826 as soon as possible if you would like to join in the meal on Christmas Day. On Sunday December 29 and January 5 there will be services at the Free Church 10.30am and 6.15pm. Refreshments are served after all the services.

PARISH COUNCIL: Planning and Environs Committee of the parish council meet at the Reading Room on Tuesday January 7 at 7.30pm. Members of the public may attend and will be given an opportunity to make representations if they so wish.

THE WI meet on Tuesday January 7 at 7.45pm,at the village hall, when the speaker will be Monty Larkin, grazing co-ordinator for the Sussex Pony Grazing Conservation Trust. The Trust works mainly in the Ashdown Forest and South Downs helping to conserve chalk grassland and heathland landscapes and the rich, varied flora and fauna that depend upon pony grazing. Monty is also responsible for the Exmoor ponies that have been grazing on our Common so it will be very interesting to learn more about them. Prospective members and guests are always welcome at meetings, for a nominal charge of £2. For more information call Margaret Smith on 01825 723519.

WALK: Chailey Common circular walk, with Mid Sussex Ramblers, is on Saturday January 11 starting at 10am at the Sports Ground car park, just off the A272. It will be a distance of 4 miles, which is likely to be muddy in places, and include Red House Common, Warr’s Farm, Lane End Common and Cox’s Farm. For more details call 01444 483860.

IGNITION CONCERT is on Friday January 24 (not January 4 as I wrongly stated last week) at Uckfield Civic Centre from 7pm to 11pm. It is a Charity Rock Concert, in aid of Chailey Heritage Foundation, and to buy tickets visit

THANKS to everyone who sent me information for this column this year and thanks also to those who read my column every week.

Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

HAMSEY SCHOOL will be holding their Christmas Disco in the village hall after school today, Friday.

FLOWERS: St Peter’s Church will be decorated tomorrow, Saturday, from 10am. Gifts of flowers and greenery will be much appreciated and lots of help with the decorating.

CHURCH SERVICES at St Peter’s. Sunday, 8am Holy Communion; 10.15am, Sunday School; 10.30am Parish Communion. During the service the Sunday School children and Toddler Tunes will perform their Nativity Play (in place of the sermon). 6.30pm Nine Lessons and Carols, mulled wine after the service in the church hall. Christmas Eve, 11.30pm Midnight Mass. Christmas Day, 8am Holy Communion; 9.45am Family Communion.

NEW YEAR’S EVE buffet lunch in the church hall. Home made soup, quiches, decadent puddings. Tickets £8.50, profits to the Jubilee Window Appeal. All details from Judith on 01273 474356.

ADVANCE NOTICE: The Monday Afternoon Club meet on January 13 in St Peter’s Church Hall at 2pm for tea and chat. Lifts available by ringing either Judith on 01273 474356 or Caroline 01273 477151.

BIRDS: It is alarming to read reports of the decline in garden birds in some areas where gardens have been alive with them in the past. One writer says they have had to throw away peanuts, fatballs and seeds because they are hanging untouched which has left an eerie silence in their garden. I then read about bad times for birds concerning the increase in raptors. The writer, who has a farm, reports that this year three broods of lapwing chicks vanished before they were a month old. The mallards, in spite of having large broods, have rarely raised their progeny to maturity and young wild pheasants and partridge chicks reach maturity with great difficulty. Ten years ago there was only one pair of buzzards on this land, now there are at least 20 pairs. The farmer says that the existing laws protecting raptors should be re-examined as soon as possible or many of our familiar feathered species could well be lost forever. I sympathise with the above as recently, much to my horror, I was watching a goldfinch on one of my feeders when suddenly a kestrel hawk swooped down and snatched it. I found it most upsetting as I watched it soar into the air with its prey.

THANK YOU: As this year finally draws to a close I would like to thank readers for lovely cards and their kind words.


LADIES GROUP: A feast was served for the Ladies’ Christmas dinner, an excellent meal was prepared by members, with a cup of mulled wine to welcome everyone as they entered the door. The meal was a joint effort and was enjoyed by everyone.

CONGRATULATIONS go to Lydia and Phyl on their engagement with plans to marry next autumn. Lydia is the daughter of Jeanette and Francis Lacy-Scott and I know her parents are delighted with the news, and I am sure everyone in the village will join with me to wish them well.

THE UNIVERSITY of Brighton held their carol service in St Laurence Church last Wednesday and the church was full. It was a glorious evening with the music of the Brighton and Hove Youth String Ensemble, and the University of Brighton Community Choir. We heard some beautiful readings and sang full voice to some great carols. After the service everyone was invited back to the Parish Hall for hot mince pies and wine.

CHURCH SERVICES: Christmas Services at St Laurence Church: Tuesday, 3pm Children’s Carol service and Christingle; 11.30pm Midnight Mass. Wednesday, 10am Christmas Eucharist.


WI: It was 6.30pm on December 5 when the doors of the parish hall opened and the WI members could take in the scene. Tables spread with festive cloths, shimmering decorated candles, golden Christmas crackers at each place, party poppers and after dinner mints. Along half the length of the hall tables were full to bursting with every dish you could think of, meats, savouries, pies, quiches, salads, sauces, salmon, etc; all supplied by the members themselves. Another table carried a variety of desserts and several types of cheese to follow. It was certainly a feast for the eyes. At 7pm we all sat down at our chosen places, with either a glass of wine or a soft drink, ready and eager to be told when it was our turn to choose our meal. We were spoilt for choice, so much was on offer. There was a constant low hum of voices either talking of the wonderful food they were enjoying or in anticipation of the tastes to come. The main meal was followed by the equally difficult choice of which dessert and cheese to choose, everything was so good. There followed tea or coffee and mints but there was even more to come, the entertainer, John Cave, had the audience shaking with laughter. He sang hilariously funny songs which included Mrs Beamish by Richard Stilgoe, accompanied by his guitar. His repertoire also consisted of comic ditties, stories and songs once sung by Jake Thackray, one of which was Sister Josephine, a real side splitter. All too soon the evening came to an end, in fact some of the programme expected to be covered will be dealt with at the next meeting on January 2 when a WI Resolution will be chosen for 2014. Thanks should be given to all who contributed food and last but not least to all those, including members’ husbands, who cleared the tables, washed up and tidied the hall. What a glorious end to 2013.

CHURCH SERVICES: Christmas at St Pancras Church, come and join us in the celebration of Christmas at the following Services: Carol Service on Sunday at 6pm, traditional readings and carols with choirs; Crib Service with candles on Christmas Eve at 4.30pm, child friendly short service for all the family; Family Communion on Christmas Day at 9.45am, bring the family as we celebrate Christ is born. Everybody of all ages always very welcome to all our services.


ST JOHN SUB CASTRO: On Sunday we would like to invite everyone to our 11am Carols for All with the Christmas story, Christmas music and favourite carols. It will be a joyful and exciting service for all the family. Please come. Then on Christmas Eve at 6pm a Children’s Crib Service when any toys they bring for needy children, they place at the foot of the Christmas tree. Then later at 11.15pm at Malling Church will be Midnight Communion for anyone who would like to attend. On Christmas Day at 11am we will have a short Family service after which at 11.45 a brief Communion Service will be held, all are most welcome.

VINTAGE CAR SHOW: On Monday September 14, 2014 there will be a Vintage Car show raising money for Lewes Hospital at Lewes Racecourse. They are looking for pre-1964 cars and bikes to join the parade. It will start from North Street and will journey up the town to the old Lewes Racecourse, where they will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the closure of the racecourse. For more details please contact Barry Foulkes 01825 761727 email

FOOTPATHS GROUP: The replacement bus service did arrive at Seaford train station later than the train would have done but we still had plenty of time to walk along the front and up Seaford Head where the full force of the wind could be properly appreciated. The sea was grey-brown and choppy but the ferry that steamed out of Newhaven appeared to be unperturbed and sailed serenely over the horizon. Bracing is the word that best describes this part of the walk. At the cottages at Cuckmere Haven we turned back and followed the track up to South Hill and then the path through the golf course where some hardy souls were out for a walk with their golf clubs in tow. At this point the rain forecast for noon began to come down so the walk back through the streets of Seaford to the station was a slightly soggy affair. Ten of us embraced the elements for a good walk led by Hilda and Graham. Our next walk will be on New Year’s Day and we will meet at top North Street car park at 9.30am for a walk which will start at Falmer. Why not start the New Year with a bracing walk?

TABLE TOP SALE: Tomorrow, Saturday, St John’s Church will be holding their last tabletop sale in Cliffe Church Hall, from 9.30am to 1pm. We shall have our usual home made cakes and preserves, lovely Lewes cards, china and glass gifts, books and hot coffee and mince pies available all morning. Do come and support us for our final sale, admission is free and all are welcome.

HOUSE OF FRIENDSHIP: Thank you to all who came to our Christmas lunch last week, it was a lovely day. Our very best wishes to all our members for Christmas and new year. Please note our opening times over the festive period: We shall be closed on December 25, 26 and 27 and on January 1, but open as usual on the other days.


SOUTH MALLING SCHOOL breaks up today (Friday) after two exciting and challenging terms and, recently, a lot of carol singing by their enthusiastic and hard working choir. On behalf of the school, the Head wishes you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year and they look forward to seeing all children back on Monday, January 6.

THE PARISH CHURCH enjoyed a wonderful Carol Service last Sunday, with Sussex Harmony adding their voices to boost the congregation’s singing, and their instruments to augment the organ. As one long-standing member of the congregation remarked while enjoying mulled wine and mince pies after the service, this was South Malling at its best. To add to the happy mood, the resident expert on such things, Mrs Blake Dyke, pronounced the mulled wine to be amongst the best she had tasted. In a short address during the Service, Revd. Jeremy Bamber, the Assistant Acting Vicar, asked ‘What would Jesus say to Father Christmas?’ His answer: well done for encouraging a spirit of giving; remember that real happiness does not come from just having things; and don’t forget, you’ve been around for a couple of hundred years and just at Christmas time, I’m here for eternity and meeting people’s needs all the time. Services this Christmas include Sundays at 9.30am led this Sunday by the band; the enormously popular Children’s Crib Service at 3pm on Christmas Eve; Midnight Communion which begins with a quiet period of music and starts at 11.15pm with carols and traditional readings for Christmas night. On Christmas Day, at 9.30am there will be a short Family Service led by Revd Bamber, finely tuned to provide exactly the right start for a happy Christmas Day. On Sunday December 29 there will be a United Communion Service at 9.30am, with carols and joined by St John sub Castro.


PARKING: When did it become acceptable to park on the pavements? This week I watched a man proceed to park his van completely on the pavement, right up against the garden hedge, even though there was plenty of space to park on the road. He thereby blocked the whole pavement to young children and wheelchairs etc which is totally unacceptable in my view. Why when there was plenty of parking space on the road. While on the subject of parking a lot of people are going to be inconvenienced when the Nevill bus is withdrawn from North Way due to parked vehicles in the short span of road from 31 to 49. Somewhere around 40 bus users from South Way, Hawkenbury Way, North Way and East Way, nearly all who are elderly and have to carry shopping home, will now have to walk up a hill from wherever they get off the bus. The feedback I have had already is that life will be so much more difficult for them now.

WALLANDS SCHOOL: Congratulations to India-Amethyst Thakrar in Year 5 whose poem The Festive Olympics won the Christmas card competition run by Norman Baker MP, and will feature in his Christmas card. Ten boys from year 5 are undertaking the Lewes three peaks challenge this Sunday to raise money for a planned trip to France with their football team, Bridge View Blacks U10s. The trip will involve them taking part in a tournament not only with a team from Blois, the French town twinned with Lewes, but also other teams from France and Europe in a large stadium. The trip promises to be a wonderful experience for the team as well as strengthening ties with our twinned town. To raise money for the trip the boys are braving the elements to scale Malling Down/Lewes golf course, Mount Caburn and Firle beacon. If you would like to sponsor them there is a form at the desk.

Newhaven, Denton & South Heighton

MADS: Meeching Amateur Dramatic Society is holding its Christmas Dinner at the Drove tonight, Friday. Rehearsals are well underway for their first pantomime for several years. Jack and the Beanstalk opens at Meeching Hall on Tuesday January 21 and runs until Saturday January 25, nightly at 7.45pm with matinees on Saturdays January 18 and 25 at 2.30pm. Tickets are already on sale from Meeching estate agents in the High Street 01273 515566, adults £8, children £6.

NATIONAL COASTWATCH provide eyes along the coast to keep Newhaven waters safe. The NC Institution is a registered charity relying solely on contributions from the local community they serve so when you see them collecting or running tombolas at local events please give generously. You can find out more about NCI Newhaven by clicking on to their website Anyone interested in joining NCI Newhaven can give them a call on 01273 516464.

MERIDIAN FORUM run several events that are useful and interesting to members. The computer workshops are open to all members and run on the first Monday of each month at the Hillcrest Centre from 10am to noon.Take your own laptop or use one belonging to the Forum. Contact Bill Kocher at to book a place and receive more information. Volunteers are needed to go along and assist beginners. Sunday Lunch Club at the Age Concern, West Quay is open to all. Lunch,dessert and coffee costs £6.50 and lunch is served at 12.30pm. You must book by noon on the previous Friday. The Forum holds meetings on the second Wednesday of every month at the Hillcrest Centre starting with free coffee at 10am and a variety of speakers are invited. The first meeting of 2014 is the AGM which takes place on Thursday January 14 from 10am to noon in the Anzac Room, Meridian Centre, Peacehaven, coffee available from 9.45am. Please telephone Kate on 01273 516207 to reserve a place.

RNLI: The first fund-raising event for Newhaven Lifeboat in 2014 is the popular Slurp Our Soup lunch on Friday January 31 from 11.30am to 3pm. Soup, cheese and bread for £3.50, pay on the door so put the date in your diary now.

CHRISTMAS SERVICES: Newhaven Baptist Church, Sunday, 4pm Carols by Candlelight; 10.30am Christmas Day, Christmas Celebration. St Leonard’s Denton, Sunday, 4pm Carols by Candlelight with Seaford Silver Band, Christmas Eve 3.30pm Crib Service with puppets repeated at 6.30pm, 11.15pm Midnight Communion. Christmas Day 10am Family Communion. Sacred Heart (RC) Newhaven Sunday, 3pm Carol Service; Christmas Eve, 8pm Vigil Mass of the Nativity; Christmas Day 9am Mass. City Coast Church, Newhaven, Sunday, 10.30am Christmas Celebration at Shakespeare Hall. St Michael’s Church, Newhaven Christmas Eve, 3.30pm Crib Service, 11.30pm Midnight Communion, Christmas Day 10am Family Service followed by Family Communion at 10.35am.


WI MARKET will be open today, Friday, from 10am to 11am in the village hall. Please remember to collect all those lovely goodies you have ordered. The market re-opens on Friday January 9.

RUGBY: Newick Rugby first XV are playing at home against Littlehampton. This game will commence at 2.15pm. On January 1 there will be a game at home for the Lance Morgan Cup. This will probably be played late morning.

CHURCH SERVICES: Christmas services at St Mary’s Church are: Christmas Eve, Crib Service at 4pm and later in the evening the Midnight Holy Communion service will commence at 11.30pm. On Christmas Day Holy Communion will start at 8am, followed by Family Service at 10.30am. Everyone is most welcome to these services.

THE AFTERNOON CLUB will be meeting on Thursday January 9 for a talk by Chris Armitage about International Drug Trafficking in the Community Centre at 2.30pm. This will be a fascinating talk about drug investigation, on illicit drugs, where they are grown and how they can damage the individual and society.


CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL: This event was well supported with a happy atmosphere in abundance. Plenty of stalls to see and other activities to enjoy. I did not get to see the whole afternoon programme but I did catch the Coastland Churches puppet show which was brilliantly clever. It was warmly applauded by a large crowd of onlookers and well deserved. Congratulations and thanks to the council office staff who have spent many hours arranging this year’s Christmas Festival.

CINEMA: It is never too early to buy your cinema tickets. The next film to be shown in the main hall Community House Meridian Centre is Philomena. This event on Wednesday January 22 can be written in your new 2014 diary. It starts at 7.30pm and tickets at £5 each are available from the information office now. There is plenty of free parking.

MORNING MARKET: The Saturday market tomorrow has been arranged by the Friends of the Meridian School in the Main Hall, Community House from 8.30am until midday. This is the last Saturday market until the New Year so it is an opportunity to buy those last minute stocking fillers.

FORUM: The Meridian Mature Citizens Forum will hold their AGM on Tuesday January 14 in the Anzac Room Meridian Centre from 10am to noon. There is coffee at 9.45am before the meeting starts. There will be a speaker from the Health Services. To help with the catering arrangements please contact Kate on 01273 516207 to reserve a place and to say you will attend. If you are 55 years or over and not yet a member why not join; it is entirely free.

MURDER MYSTERY: This very traditional style Agatha Christie murder will be enacted by professional actors on Saturday January 25, 7pm for 7.30pm in the main hall Community House. Dress is optional but remember to bring your own food and drink. We are sure Poirot, Morse or Miss Marple could solve the mystery but the question is, could you? A similar mystery last year proved very popular. Tickets for this event at £12.50 are available now from the information office. For further information call them on 01273 585493.

WI: Our Christmas meeting was full of good cheer, with the exchange of cards and greetings. The coffee morning was a great success in spite of it being wrongly advertised in the local paper. The entertainment was really superb, Richard Radcliffe regaled us with all the songs we knew well and were able to join in with the choruses. Definitely of our era. After an excellent tea, the president closed the meeting with good wishes for Christmas and the New Year, which we extend to all our friends and hopefully new members. The next meeting will take place on January 15 and we look forward to seeing some new faces.


PELLS SCHOOL: All the children and their teachers have been working hard to get ready for the school Nativity play, Follow That Star, telling the story of the shepherds, their sheep, the wise men and a little donkey following a star to Bethlehem to see baby Jesus and his family. The school Christmas celebrations continue all week, with a carol service at St John Sub Castro Church on Friday, before term ends and children and staff have a well deserved Christmas holiday.


GET FIT FOR XMAS: On Sunday you can get into trim with the Footpath Society who will gather at Ashcombe, Plumpton Lane (TQ364 134) at 2pm for a three and a half mile walk to Novington, The Ridge and Plumpton College, only to finish up at Ashcombe to undo the benefits of the exercise by indulging in mince pies. More details on 01273 890598.

BEVERNSIDE: It is feared that may residents may not know of a potential little gem in the heart of Plumpton Green. It is known as Bevernside Pocket Park and stretches from East View Fields through to Riddens Lane. Apart from being home to the allotments it is basically derelict but, working with Plumpton Wildlife and Habitat Group, the parish council has identified that it could open up an enjoyable short walk route that is easily accessible and can support interesting flora and fauna. A working group is being set up to open up this asset and it is proposed to make it a low cost community project. That really does involve local residents.

PARISH PRECEPT: A decision on fixing the budget and Parish precept, affecting our council tax, was deferred at last week’s parish council meeting as figures required by Lewes DC do not have to be submitted until January. There is much debate as to whether to increase the precept to make provision for funds that will be needed for the proposed new sports pavilion project or to delay such action in view of continuing financial difficulties that many are facing.

CHURCH SERVICES: On Sunday there will, apart from normal services, be a carol service at East Chiltington at 4pm. Then on Christmas Eve celebrations commence with the Blessing of the Crib at 4pm at All Saints’ church (always a lovely family event). Then at 8pm the first communion of Christmas will be celebrated at All Saints’ followed at 11.30pm by Midnight Communion at the same venue. On Christmas Day there will be Holy Communion at East Chiltington at 8.30am then Christmas Morning Communion and carols at All Saints’ at 10am. On the Sunday after Christmas Day there will be Holy Communion and Christmas carols at St Michael’s church at 10.30am.

NEW YEAR JUMBLE: The first sale in the new year will be held on Saturday, January 4 in the village hall from 2pm. A fantastic opportunity to pick up unwanted Chrissie presents at give-away prices, or to be rid of unwanted items to make way for the gifts that you were lucky enough to receive recently. It can also be a great social occasion with cake stall, tombola and refreshments to enable you to relax after the foray and gloat over the haul. Donations of jumble can be taken to the hall on the morning of the sale or ring 01273 890826 to arrange collection. This sale organised by the short mat bowls club.

BATTLE OF LEWES: Several meetings have been held with a view to arranging an event or events in Plumpton to commemorate the Battle of Lewes and several suggestions have been made. On January 9 there will be a further meeting in the village hall at 7.30pm to decide whether to take such plans forward. And anyone interested in being involved is urged to go along and join in the discussions. It will not happen without local involvement.

POP-IN PARLOUR: This popular local feature will open its doors again at 11am on Tuesday January 14. Pop in for a cuppa, maybe a snack and some friendly company at All Saints’ church annexe every Tuesday. Everyone will receive a warm welcome.

NARROW DEFEAT: Plumpton RFC hosted Heathfield at the weekend, losing 12-10.Tries by Ed Bowman and Charlie Lewis ensured a 10-0 half time lead, but two yellow cards put Plumpton on the back foot. Heathfield sealed the win with a push over try in the final minutes. The game was a big opportunity for both sides to consolidate a mid table position before Christmas. It was Plumpton who shone in the first half, scoring a spectacular try by Charlie Lewis who crashed over after a miss-pass from Lewis Beale within five minutes of kick-off. However this was a game of two halves, as despite Plumpton playing the more powerful and better rugby, Heathfield used the wind to their advantage, and when Plumpton went down to 13 players through infringements, they were able to score two tries including one in the final minutes to seal the win. Plumpton now face Horley away in the last game before Christmas on Saturday ko 2.15pm.


HISTORY STUDY GROUP: The Christmas meeting today (Friday) will be in two parts. Firstly, Bob Cairns will entertain us with a seasonal quiz. Then there will be an interval for the usual Christmas refreshments. Following this John Kay will show some of the photographs newly added to the group’s collection. The evening will be financed by the Grand Raffle. Donations of prizes on the evening will be very welcome. All are welcome at 7.45pm in the village hall.

CHURCH SERVICES: The services at St. Mary’s on Sunday are: 8am Holy Communion, 9.45am Sung Eucharist, 6pm Carols by Candlelight in the village hall with the Baptists. Christmas Eve: 5pm Crib Service, 11.30pm Midnight Eucharist. Christmas Day: 8am Holy Communion, 9.45am Sung Eucharist, 11.15am Family Christmas Service.

CAROL SINGING: Members of the Hospice Support Group will be singing carols outside Ringmer shops on Christmas Eve from 10am for about an hour. All welcome, so do come along to swell the merry throng. All proceeds to St Peter and St James Hospice.

LIBRARY: As a Christmas special, Ringmer Library will be open on Saturday December 28 from 10am until 1pm.

BRIDGE CLUB: At its meeting on Wednesday December 11, the result of the duplicate pairs played was: 1, Liz and Tim Owen; 2, Roy Skan and John Weston; 3, Alan Grindley and David Warner. Contact 814220 for details of future meetings.

Rodmell & Southease

AS EXPECTED there has been, and will be, a lot going on in the village up to Christmas. Unfortunately I missed the senior citizens’ coffee morning put on by our school on Thursday December 12. I’m sure it was a great success and the children always give their all to please the older folk.

DERBY: I hear the Rodmell Derby was a great fun evening so those who organised it deserve praise.

WI: The Rodmell and Southease WI Christmas Party was very pleasant and of course the food was great.

CONCERT: On Monday December 16 our church rang with angel voices as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and her pupils gave us a wonderful concert of assorted music. Dame Kiri has been a resident in the village for many years and is very well thought of, and we all respect her right to privacy. The wonderful effort she and her children, as she fondly calls her pupils, gave to put on such a beautiful concert for Rodmell residents only, was much appreciated. The church was packed, it was decorated beautifully and there was plenty of wonderful food and drink. All proceeds go to Rodmell Village Funds. Many thanks go to all concerned for making it such a great occasion. Special thanks go to Paul and Linda Denerley for their organisation. I was especially pleased to see and hear soprano Galina Averina, who was born in Moscow, and now studies at the Welsh Academy of Voice, as she had stayed with me recently and is such a sweet girl. Dame Kiri will celebrate her 70th birthday on March 6, 2014 with a return appearance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as the Duchess of Crakentorp in Danizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment. A remarkable lady, and she looks so young.

CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, Rodmell Carol Service at 4pm in the church. The lovely Carol Service held each year on Christmas Eve in Southease Church starts at 6pm. It gets packed so make sure you are on time. This simple but beautiful church always looks so magical by candlelight. I just love the simple tranquillity of this little hamlet.

I MUST NOT FORGET to mention what a wonderful Christmas supper about 40 Rodmell ladies enjoyed in our pub on December 11. We all get on so well together and it is lovely to meet up and catch up on all local news and have a jolly good laugh.