Town Crier

2005 is an historic year for our small country which has had such a big influence on developing the world in which we live.

This year Rye will recall with pride the terrific efforts of our fighting men of the past who have ensured that the voice of England and Britain had the power to command our own destiny.

In 1805 Horatio Nelson died while fighting his biggest battle. Trafalgar was a landmark that elevated the Royal Navy into the World’s leading naval force for the following. 150 years, indeed even today, despite the tiny size the fleet has shrunk to, it is still equal to almost any task it is asked to do.

Rye, along with the rest of Britain, recently celebrated the 60th. Anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy when British and American troops sacrificed their lives and youth in an epic battle to free France and the Low Countries from the rule of the evil Nazi regime.

Today our troops stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans again. This time in Iraq and whether one agrees with the rights or wrongs of the original invasion and motives or not the fact remains that Britain went in to help the USA as the Americans had come to Britain’s aid in World War One and Two.

Where were the French whose hides were saved by their allies in those conflicts? They, with the Germans, actually wrecked the British and American efforts to get a United Nation agreement for an international force to lead the assault on Iraq.

In 1940 as the French were being overrun by Hitler’s Troops, Winston Churchill offered the people of France ‘Common Citizenship’ with Britain. This would have given every Frenchman dual citizenship and afforded them a unique protection in their dire hour of need. This move would, at a stroke, forged a stronger link with France than any of the European Union efforts have achieved to this day.

The French Government declined the offer and turned instead to the Germans.

Sixty years on and nothing has changed. The European ideal is in ruins, the sooner we extract ourselves from the debacle the better. Free trade with the Europeans is fine, but to get tied up in their politics is the way to ruin.

Despite the obvious failings of some of their leaders the Americans have been steadfast friends. They speak our language and stand by their agreements. Surely these are far more important reasons for forging links and doing business than any amalgamation with our Continental friends.

Rye stands at the forefront of trade with the Continent. It is important that we have good relations with our neighbours. It seems that the European link up has caused so much bad feeling it is becoming a factor that is actually causing bad feeling between the French and British and sometimes British and German ‘man in the street’. What is needed for trade, especially holiday trade, is good relations so that holiday times are enhanced for all peoples of Europe. Let the countries be themselves and rule themselves, let them have their own coinage. Half the fun of going on holiday abroad is the challenge of converting the coinage and learning a few words of the language.

The close, instant scrutiny of the media has allowed the general public of all nations to see what their politicians are up to. It seems the European Union has been rumbled, in the face of the French ‘No’ vote it is crumbling before our eyes and no amount of talking will resurrect it. The people have spoken.

              Granville Rides The Grand Canyon for Mencap

Seventy year old Granville Bantick is well known for his political achievements. He is one of Rye’s only two Rother District Councillors.

He is also a keen cyclist and regularly races in veterans events for the Rye & District Wheelers.

Granville is not so well known for his efforts on behalf of charity. He has quietly raised many thousands of pounds for worthy caused over the years but this year he has chosen a daunting task that will test every muscle in his body. He will attempt to ride the remote northern rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona to Xion National Park, a dis-tance of 400km. Granville has pledged to raise at least £2,600 for Mencap , the largest organisation in the U.K. caring and c ampaigning for people with learning disabilities and their families through its extension of family support and advisory services.

Will you help Mencap to achieve this by sponsoring Granville in his challenge?

Prospective sponsors should contact Granville on 01792 227724.

                   More Grief at the Rye Cemetery

Not satisfied with their original act of vandalism, when over 100 headstones were knocked over in the name of safety, Rother District Council are coming again, just to make sure they did not miss any the first time!

I challenged them after the last episode that caused so much grief among relatives, to come up with one name of one person who had been killed or even injured by a falling headstone. They were unable to find one. Why must we stand for all this rot which they justify as ‘European Directives’.

There are much more dangerous spots than Rye Cemetery. The Rye Harbour Road is a death trap for pedestrians and cyclists. On this one and a half mile stretch of road no less than eight people have met their end in the past forty years. The cost of building a cycle / footpath here would be money well spent. Knocking over headstones has cost thousands of pounds and caused endless worry and upset to those families affected. The stress caused is a far greater danger to health than than that of ‘falling headstones’.

Another thought has occurred in my cynical mind, could it be that raising the issue of ‘more dangerous headstones’ could just be a distraction for other deeds they are about to inflict on Rye?

                       Rye Retreat and John Ryan

It seems that at every Charity Auction and Garden Party I have attended this summer there has been a £100 voucher donated by the Rye Retreat and a valuable drawing by John Ryan What gen-erous gestures these are. Most of the other businesses in the town and many private persons are also very benevolent donate to local local charities.

The wonderful care given by St. Michael’s Hospice is helped by the fund raising efforts of volunteers around the area, many of whom have had first hand experience of the extraordinary care given there.

Many of us prefer to give to local charities for then we can be sure that all the donation goes to the people that need it.

Thanks you Jenny Sperring of Rye Retreat, John Ryan of Captain Pugwash fame and all the other trade and private supporters in the town for the help they give time and time again.

Wheelchair Unfriendly

I was talking to Margaret O’ Connell of Magdella House who uses one of these marvellous new electric invalid chairs designed for use on the pavement. She told me that Rye is a very wheelchair unfriendly town. She is unable to cross Ferry Road unless the railway crossing barrier is down. The Landgate is not negotiable nor Market Road so access to the High Street is impossible.

The reader will soon get the idea of where one of these vehicles can reach by thinking a journey through. There must be slopes up to pavements etc.

I should like to hear opinions and ideas from wheelchair users and others as to how improvements can be made.

I think that there should be a route of paths and cycle ways constructed throughout the town. These routes should be constructed before the big building programme envisaged by the County Council is started and that they should be also be open for the use of standard and battery powered wheelchairs.

Pedestrian crossings are needed at The Sluice, Ferry Road and at the Fishmarket near Monkbretton Bridge. The dangerous crossing point at the foot of Rye Hill could be alleviated completely if a cycle/footpath was introduced on the unused and unkempt railway ground that runs from Ferry Road to the bridge at the foot of Rye Hill where there is an arch that could be opened up and allow the path to run safely under the road.

No doubt if Rye Town Council had control of the town as did the old Rye Borough Council these things would have been achieved long ago. Now it seems County and Rother have little or no regard for the opinions of Rye.

                           Sport for Young People

The trend to encouraging young people into sport is very strong in Rye and district.

The Football Clubs, both Soccer and Rugby have school children involved in training and matches. The Cricket team has an under 12 side competing regularly through the season and the Cycling Club has got two 12 year old members, Barney Reed and Jack Goodsell racing in “10” Mile Time Trials. There are members down to 10 years of age. The Club’s new family membership has introduced many more youngsters to the possibility of Club cycling in Rye.

It seems that the school still has access to the large sports fields under Leasam. It is about time we saw goalposts going up there again. Sport in schools was virtually denuded of team games when some misguided physiologist decided that team games were causing aggression among young people and competition was unfair for those who were not so good at sport. Government supported this line and games virtually ceased in our schools. The politicians had an ulterior motive. How many schools have had their sport fields sold off since the new idea was introduced?

Fortunately for Rye, these fields were in a green belt and builders were not able to get their hands on them. Lets use them again and we might just see less ‘aggression’ on the streets.

                                     Dig For Victory

Dig for victory was the call in World War Two. The people of Britain and Rye did just that. In gardens and more importantly on allotments. Allotments have special significance in that it is almost impossible for politicians to get their hands on them when it comes to new building project. Currently Rye allotments are doing very well and gardeners are enjoying new protections against vandalism.

There are around a dozen allotments going begging for some green fingered gardeners to dig them up and grow a crop of fresh flowers, vegetables or even fruit. At about £13 a year they are an amazing bargain.

Contact the Rye Allotment Association for more details.

In next months issue of “Rye’s Own” there will be a feature on “Allotments in Rye”

“Rye’s Own” July 2005

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