Back in 1965, as Bonfire Night approached, a new magazine appeared in the newsagents of the town. “Rye’s Own” was born. Volume 1, Number One, it read on the cover, the price was two shillings (10p). Rodney Booth, now manager at Skinner’s Motors, was among the Bonfire Boys featured on the cover at their secret hideaway where the torches were made to light the procession on the great night.
“Rye’s Own” was received with encouraging keenness and by the time H.M. Queen Elizabeth and H.R.H Prince Phillip came to Rye on an official visit a year later, the magazine was established and capable of producing a memorable souvenir issue of that great occasion.
The little publication was once described by Cannon John Williams as “The little magazine with a big heart”. In the sixties the policy was to support all that was good in Rye. The Rye Fawkes Pageant, Rye Sports Day, Rye Police, Rye Borough Council, Rye Business, Rye Wheelers, Soccer in Rye including Rye United, Rye Athletic F.C, Reckitt and Coleman F.C., Udimore F.C, Iden F.C, Peasmarsh F.C. and East Guildeford F.C.
Then there were the Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies, The Rye Air training Corps, Sea Cadets, Rye Movie Society, Rye Camera Club, Rye Horse Show, Methodist Choir, Rye Town Band, all the Churches and many many more. Rye’s Pomp and Ceremony Days were featured including the Visit of H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, which was covered in a special edition that became an all time best seller for “Rye’s Own”.
The magazines greatest contribution to the town in those years was the agitation, through its columns, for a Community Centre in Rye. This led directly to the formation of the Rye Community Centre Association and the eventual procurement of the Conduit Hill site.
The magazine supported the Committee, which included The Rev. (later Canon) John Williams, Brian ‘Ringo Chapman., Shirley Thompson, Barbara Wood, Jim Hollands, Elizabeth Kent, Henry Everest, Jim Simpson, Ralph Wood, and R. L. Stroud, by contributing two pages per issue encouraging and reporting the massive money raising effort that concluded successfully with the conversion of the old Congregational Church. The facilities at the Centre are enjoyed by so many Rye people and organisations to this day.
In 1972 Christopher Davson took over as Editor of the magazine, expanding its boundaries to the local villages and even over the border into Kent looking for a larger circulation. Christopher turned out many excellent issues until 1973 when he decided to terminate publication.
“Rye’s Own” was not published again until January 2000 when a Special Millennium Issue was produced. It was received with amazing enthusiasm.
Regular monthly production began again in May 2000. The new magazine follows many of the themes of the 1960’s publication but now, because the local political scene has changed and the Rye Town Council has so much less power than its predecessor Rye Borough Council, “Rye’s Own” has developed teeth and readily fights proposals by Rother District or East Sussex County Council that may adversely effect the town. It also calls for more police on the beat in Rye and for 24 hour opening of Rye Police Station.
There are still loads of nostalgic features and pictures and reports on Rye events. People, Clubs, Societies, The Arts, Sports, Local Businesses are all catered for in a 36 page A4 publication that has no equal in any town of a comparable size.
“Rye’s Own” thanks all readers, contributors, subscribers and advertisers for their help in making the magazine the success it has become today.
“Rye’s Own” in its turn promises to continue supporting Rye, it’s people, Rye Town Council, business, clubs, schools and societies.