Town Crier

News and Gossip Pages

By Jim Hollands

Sitting In With G.R.I.P.P.

G.R.I.P.P (Give Rye it’s Proper Policing) invited me to sit in on their meeting at the beginning of the month.

Their reaction to the new initiative by the police to crack down on the local vandals was treated with some contempt in view of the new Gungarden damage and graffiti attacks on the Post Office and other areas in the town that had taken place since the promises were made by District Commander Chief Inspector Brian Mathews.

                              The Public Meeting

The public meeting on policing in Rye is reported elsewhere in this issue but I have to report that, even though Brian Mathews and David Gould are doing a remarkable job with the limited number of men under their command, I fear that they are fighting a losing battle unless they are given far more officers. If Rye and the local villages required 49 officers in 1970 then at least the same number are needed to contain todays crime and vandal problems.

Citizens of this town pay top rates, a good portion of which goes towards the police system. For this payment they are entitled to proper police cover, i.e. response times to equal those of our Fire Service. The recent fire at the Olde Bell Inn, just two days after the Public Meeting, highlighted this problem. The first fire appliance was on the scene within five minutes of the call for help but a shopkeeper had to direct the traffic away from the incident for over one hour until the police arrived.

Rye Fire Brigade were on the scene at a fire in the High Street within five minutes of the call, Police were not available to direct traffic for over an hour
Rye Fire Brigade were on the scene at a fire in the High
Street within five minutes of the call, Police were not
available to direct traffic for over an hour

At the meeting Superintendent Nick Bennett insisted that the clock could not be turned back. I say why not? There are a record number of police now (according to the Prime Minister) so why cannot the missing 33 officers be returned to Rye?

                           Tilling Green Infants

Mrs. Lesley Lake, Head Teacher of Tilling Green Infants School sent me these details of the History of the school and plans for c e l ebrati n g i t ‘ s f i r s t 5 0 years. 2003 hera lds t he 50th. year of Tilling Green Inf a n t s ‘ S c h o o l , opened in 4 J u ne 1 9 5 3 in M a s o n Road, with 63 children aged 5 and 6 ye a r s transferred from the C o u n t y P r i ma r y School, at that time housed in F e r r y Road. The teaching staff consisted of Miss Wyborn, the Headmistress and Mrs. Stone, class teacher.

According to the school log “As the children’s furniture had not been delivered sufficient chairs and tables were borrowed from the Primary School.” Hopefully things have progressed fifty years on, although in these days of computer technology, market place management and devolution of financial responsibility, it is reassuring to know that the Rye schools in particular maintain between them firm links of collegiality and camaraderie.

The school was officially opened by Brigadier H.P.Gardham, C.B.E. on 27 July 1953. Present pupils of the school, currently 71, will be celebrating the school’s opening with a 50th. birthday party on June 4th., with a range of entertainment and a picnic tea, and will be presented with commemorative medallions.

                               Evening Function

An evening function is to be held on Friday 4 July, with entertainment from past pupils, a correspondence board and a photographic display representing the last 50 years. A bar and buffet will be available, entrance will be by invitation. The evening is for all associates of the school, but primarily for past staff, Governors and pupils. Many have already signed the “Past Pupils” book, some have been reached through the Friends Re-united web site but the organizers are anxious to acquire contact names and addresses of many more people in order to send personal invitations. It is estimated that one thousand pupils have passed through the school and some hundred staff, and it is hoped that the re-union to celebrate this Golden Anniversary will be a joyous one. Anyone able to supply names and contact addresses of possible guests, to lend old photographs or make a written contribution or interesting anecdote to add to the correspondence board can contact the present Head Teacher, Mrs. Lesley Lake on 01797 222399 who will be delighted to hear from you.

                    GOOD FUN AT RYE HARBOUR

I was pleased to call an ‘Auction of Promises’ at Rye Harbour on Saturday 22 March. The Cheeky Girls kept their promise to attend despite major change in their plans that involved a 250 mile drive from the North of England. They must have been tired after working very late the night before but their patience with the many young fans was impressive. They sang a snatch of the song that has made them famous, signed hundreds of photographs and donated two vinyl 12″ records which raised £100.

Marcus Whittacker is the driving force in the Harbour Youth Club and organised the Auction. Over £500 was raised towards club funds. Efforts like this which involve youngsters are needed. More people like Marcus, who gives up most of his free time to support the community, are needed if we are to give our young people a lead in life.

                        SKATE PARK FOR RYE

It is good to see that the planning for a Skateboard and BMX Park have been approved. I am a bit worried though that the building of the facility will cost £50,000. This seems a great deal of money for a few ramps and a bit of Tarmac. I am sure that the youngsters, with the help of a local builder, could design a track for half that money if they were given a site to build it on.

                           Rye M.P.’s Moral Dilemma

Rye M.P. Michael Foster stood back when the vote was taken on the War in Iraq. He defied the government whips and abstained.

Despite the fact that Michael does not share my view that the tyrant Saddam and his henchmen must be dealt with I do admire his stance on what he believes is right. In the face of the enormous pressure that must have been put upon him he stuck by his principals. It could well affect his future progress in the Labour Party.

I am happy he is the Member of Parliament for Rye, I never did like ‘yes’ men and Michael Foster has demonstrated that he certainly does not fall in this category.

Rye has always favoured ‘independent’ politicians.

                           Worrying Times

The War in Iraq has far reaching tentacles. There are several families in the town with members in the forces, these are the principle concern and in our thoughts of course but there are many others who have cause to worry.

Hotels, Guest Houses and other businesses who rely on tourism will be affected by the dramatic drop in overseas visitors. The airlines report a massive reduction in customers and one travel company is so severely hit they are offering 7 day trips to Spain including bed and board for £99.

Worries about terrorist attacks in Britain are also a factor but if the War is concluded quickly and satisfactorily things could rapidly change for the better. There will be less danger of terrorist acts, there can be no doubt that since the American led initiative since nine-eleven there have been less places for these evil men to hide. Countries sympathetic to Bin Larden and Al Quaeda are far less likely to chance the wrath of the United States and Great Britain.

After the War I expect to see a great increase in American Tourism. The average man in the street in the U.S. have great respect in the way the Brits have stood by their friends in the United States since that terrible day when the Twin Towers were sent crashing down in a heap of rubble. This re-enforced friendship between the two great English speaking countries is certain to result in more Transatlantic travel and will benefit Rye.

                                 Easter in Rye

All the talk and thoughts of War in Iraq have put me in a sombre mood. Lets think of something better.

The lighter evenings are here, Easter is just around the corner and there are lambs in the fields. Rye is as beautiful as ever. Take a stroll in the streets around the Church first thing in the morning and see what I mean. Many of us who live here take it for granted.

Rye Wheelers, the oldest Cycling Club in the World, are alive and well again. Rye United have one of the best Soccer teams in Sussex. Rye Cricket Club is celebrating 250 years of cricket in Rye.

Rye Bonfire Society are still going strong despite all odds.

And the War may be over by the end of April.

Jim Hollands

                   Valerie Wilkinson

We regret to report the recent death of Valerie Wilkinson of Church Square. She was 83.

Valerie and her husband David moved to Rye in 1964 where they lived in the oldest house in Rye, The Friars of the Sac. She was well known in the town for she was always so available to her many friends and the first to welcome any newcomers, usually inviting them to tea. This frequently included a tour of the house whose dimly lighted interior was transformed by Valerie’s paintings into a gallery of brightly coloured flowers and landscapes. Her artistic ability in paintings and interior decorating dates back throughout her life. A close friend, Philip Bercovist alluded to this when he referred to their experiences some decades ago during their military careers, he said Valerie could transform a mean military residence into a palace in no time at all. In addition Philip described her character as being charming, graceful, timid, loving and sympathetic.

Valerie has designed covers for Rye’s Own Magazine and last year created the year’s zodiac signs which readers looked forward to every month. She also contributed articles and drawings to The Rye Parish Magazine, and continued to illustrate the covers of the High Hurstwood Parish Magazine long after she had left the town. One of her landscape murals appears on the wall in the waiting room of the Cinque Ports Surgery. She also worked for eighteen months decorating a chapel in Westfield which she did all for love. And at the base of the railings outside of Friars of the Sack Valerie’s painted flowers almost smile as you walk by. Valerie will be sadly missed.

The funeral service was held at St. Mary’s Church, Rye on March 13th 2003, conducted by The Revd. Ian Gibson.


Two Saturday Teams in The East Sussex League Mid-Week Fixtures

Colt Teams – Under 12 – Under 14 and Under 16 Teams in the Ashford League.

Six-a-Side Winter League in the Superb Horntye Centre in Hastings (Two teams in the Mid-Week League)

Pavillion with

Bar ‘County’ size Ground

Electric Score-board

Pitches Recognised as some of the Best in the Area

Plans for New Net Facilities

Low Annual Subscription

Golf Days for Cricketers and

Friends at Lydd Golf Club and

Tenterden Golf Club

Hastings and District Evening

League (20 Overs)

Car Parking on the Ground

Man of the Match Awards for all Saturday Home League Games

Matches for 2003 include; M.C.C.; President’s XI; A Representative Village Eleven; Two Day Game v Thames Valley Gentlemen; End of Season Club Match and Supper.

The Club also Hopes to Arrange an Eight-a-Side Inter Village Tournament on a Sunday or Bank Holiday

Social Events include B.B.Q’S, Curry Evenings and End of Season Dinner.

Rye Cricket Club is looking for Additional Sponsors for 2003, Organisations or Individuals.

Any Donations for Next Season Would also be Most Welcome

Contacts:- Mike Thomas  01797 223659

Martin Blincow 01797 224999

Darren Smith 01797 226028 

Rye’s Own  April 2003

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