Every town has its share of characters who add colour to the area and become well known to every resident. They brighten the lives of most the people they meet and become a focal point of the period in which they live.

There are a few from every decade that stand out above the rest. At this moment in time the three that would probably stand out are Jimper Sutton, John Izod and Rex Swain, the Town Crier. All are special characters in their own right and like many that have gone before them, they will live on in folk legend with tales of the exploits being recalled down the ages by Ryers who knew them and later by those who only knew of them.

Those of us who have lived many years in Rye will have distant memories of larger than life Ryers and recollections of being told about those from generations that went before us by our parents. Of Jim Gasson, the racing cyclist who was racing at Rye Sports in 1899 on a Penny-Farthing and who in 1906 led Rye Town Football Club in their famous victory in the Sussex Junior Cup. Half the town greeted them at Rye Station on their return from the final, They were carried shoulder high round the streets. Jim Gasson later went on to become a very energetic Rye Borough Councillor. He was still President of Rye & District Wheelers in 1947.

Another legendary turn of the century figure was ‘Old Rhodes’ who’s sayings and anecdotes are still regularly recited to this day.

Alfred Horner, a young St. John Ambulanceman in 1928 spent many hours at the scene of the Rye Harbour Lifeboat disaster, giving artificial respiration to the unlucky crew as they were washed ashore on that grim November Day. He and others, including our oldest contributor Arthur Woodgate, did all they could at that sad time. Alf went on to serve Rye as a first aider, shopkeeper, Borough Councillor and Mayor, He is remembered for his unselfish dedication to Rye, at the expense of his own health and wellbeing. Arthur’s long life (he is 99) has also been committed to Rye. As a brick-layer his mark on the town has been hands on. He also supported his fellow workers, becoming a very influential Union Man in the area. He also spent many years as a Magistrate at Rye Magistrates Court, dispensing fair handed judgements on those that came up before him.

Bill ‘Blower’ Pearce, possibly the best soccer player to play for Rye United. He also became famous as ‘the amateur from Rye’ who led the 1948 Open Golf Championship for a day and a half.

There are so many others – do join us by telling of your favourite Rye characters. Send in stories and pictures if you have any, by post to Rye’s Own, Guinea Hall Lodge Sellindge TN25 6EG or email to jim- @ryesown.co.uk or post them on the Rye’s Own Facebook page. The best will be used in the magazine.

John Izod’s    Scalloptress

Rye’s Own February 2013

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