Piddinghoe

A TRUE DON: Donald Richard Burdett’s life was celebrated at a lovely funeral service and internment at St John’s Church last Friday when relatives, friends and neighbours packed the building, at least 150 of them, many of whom also attended the wake that followed in the village hall. It was a testament to Don’s humility and modesty that in his planning for the event he specifically requested no eulogy or tribute to him but many people spoke of his major contribution to village life as a member of the Parish Church Council and the Friends of St John’s over a great number of number of years. Don, who was in the printing trade, and who could be seen on his almost-daily constitutional walk through the village until his accelerating illness took him away to a care home in Alfriston for his last days on earth. He was a huge cricket fan, a regular supporter of Sussex CC at Hove and other home grounds, but mostly a fan of helping other people whenever he could. Thoughts are with his two sisters, one at Peacehaven,one in Australia and his two cousins John and Les, who like him, have spent most of their lives in Piddinghoe. Don was 85.

BELATED WELCOME: Reverend Mark led his first service at St John’s last Sunday and impressed all who were there. He has come in to assist the hard-pressed Rev Tim who has the almost impossible task of covering three other parishes and is already grateful for the invaluable help here of Rev Mary since her arrival to live in Piddinghoe less than a year ago. She is now planning a special service at 6.30pm on Remembrance Sunday (November 11) when there will be poetry and prose, hymns and prayers for an enduring peace to mark the special occasion of 100 years from the end of World War I in 1918. Bell-ringing will feature, too, and a village event is planned with wine and beer but the highlight will be a Piper playing Battle’s Over, an extraordinary prospect, contemplating the amazing acoustics of St John’s Church. Meanwhile, regular services take place there on the second Sunday and fourth Sunday of the month, at 8am and 9.30am respectively. Full details are posted on the village and church porch noticeboards.

REFUSE-ING TO PANIC: Several have been caught out by the apparently new timings of our wonderful dustmen’s appearances in the village each Thursday (Bank Holiday changes notwithstanding). They had started coming at the unearthly hour of 6am when previously their regular time was more towards 11.30am. So, having missed them twice, your correspondent appeared, furtively, in the half-light pre-dawn, in pyjamas and dressing-gown to put out the bins only to find our much-admired collectors had reverted to 11.30am again. So which one is it Apparently we had been warned by ES Council (although by what means is unknown). And what happens next Thursday.

TREES FALLING: Having criticised the council’s perceived lack of communication it is time to give credit here to their improved telephone service, the use of which which often meant hanging on the phone listening to numbered ‘options’ advice and recorded music until kingdom come. However, alerting the council to some collapsing trees near the track by the lake which are in danger of falling altogether in the recent high winds proved easy last week when a charming lady answered the call almost immediately and promised some action. Now we just await the person coming to secure the situation. Signs are that it will be soon.

FILM NIGHT: The classic Darkest Hour with actor Gary Oldman’s Oscar-winning turn as Winston Churchill, brought in an audience of 15 at the village hall last Friday. That is slightly disappointing but then maybe not, recalling that several regulars had already warned of prior commitments and others had seen the movie several months ago at the excellent Depot Cinema facility in Lewes which we cannot hope to match here. Indeed, there is a theory that our somewhat stiff and upright village hall chairs are the reason why some people won’t come as they are a challenge to any back or hip complaint if you are just sitting there watching the screen. The answer is hard to find unless somebody has a few rows of old pukka cinema seats they no longer need and a place to store them. Difficult, let’s see what happens for the next Film Night presentation, Shirley Valentine, the much-praised theatre play adapted for the screen in 1989, starring Pauline Collins, and planned to hit Piddinghoe Village Hall on Friday October 26. Non-villagers welcome as well.

PILATES: In the village hall tomorrow (Saturday) with Rebecca (three hourly sessions starting 8.15am).

INDOOR SPORTS: Still available, it is said, on Wednesday nights at the village hall with darts, table tennis, board games etc .Fully equipped. It is free from 7.30pm, so just turn up.

ART AND KNITTING: Jill is back from the Wild West Country to gather her ladies in the village hall 2pm on Thursdays.

YOGA: Tim Blair’s Thursday evening class still going strong in the village hall from 6.30pm.