ICON: The Second World War made heroes of sometimes the most unlikely people, who came out of anonymity to teach us their skills. That principle applied to men and women alike and so we had a tiny (under five foot tall) cook with a big personality and the confidence to demonstrate her skills to an entire nation, who showed us how to manage on the diminished rations we all shared in those six years 1939-45 and beyond. Her name was Marguerite Patten and she has just died aged 99, an example to all of us of ‘we are what we eat’. Not only did she criss-cross the country for the Ministry of Food throughout the war, demonstrating how to cook nourishing meals with restricted ingredients but she wrote cookery books and broadcast to the nation’s women with advice to help them keep their children and themselves fit and healthy. After the war, she continued with her cooking career, with a copy of her Cookery in Colour having an honoured place in every new bride’s kitchen well into the ‘60s and even ‘70s. (I’ve still got mine). Waldron has a particularly soft spot for Marguerite, for when we were rehearsing our play Waldron at War in 2004 we asked her to be our Patron. She was generous with her time, advised us about the wartime diet and came to a performance. I shan’t forget the evening she came to the village when we arranged a pre-performance with Marguerite arriving in a wartime Rolls Royce, driven by Peter Cameron as uniformed chauffeur and Rob Skelton as the village policeman (wartime uniform of course) opening the door for her to climb out with due ceremony. Marguerite loved every moment and we loved her. What’s more we were able to arrange a visit to our WI for a wartime lunch (Woolton Pie, if my memory serves me correctly) when she gave us a riveting talk for almost an hour without a note and 50 members absolutely gripped by her fascinating reminiscences. She was then nearly 90. What a woman.

QUESTION TIME: The Friends of Waldron Churches are arranging a Gardener’s Question Time on Friday July 24 at Cross in Hand C of E Primary School starting at 7pm. Tickets are £6 each (£5 for members of the Friends) and will be available shortly from The Star Inn, or Gemini Cards in Heathfield or by contacting Ian Dixon on 01435 813363. The expert panel will be Helen Yemm, Daily Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, Dr Lucy Cotes of Beautiful Gardens Design Studio, Steve Moody of Frogheath Landscapes and Judith Peate of English Woodlands.

THE RUDES: The Rude Mechanicals will be bringing their new play The Comedy of Babi Babbett to Waldron on Thursday August 13 at 7.30pm, performing in the field behind the pub. The Rudes always draw a great audience so book your tickets well in advance. They can be obtained online at www.therudemechanicaltheatre.co.uk and are £13 for adults (£12 seniors) £10 for Students, £7 for children and £33 for a family ticket. If you’re bringing a party of 10 people you can get a special price of £11 per head and that can only be booked through the Central Box Office on 01323 501260. Bring your own chair and warm clothes as the performance is outdoors and if you want to book a meal before the performance ring the Star on 01435 812495.

SERVICES: This weekend’s Sunday services will both be at St Bartholomew’s and will take place at 8am (Holy Communion) and 10am (Parish Eucharist).

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