Town Crier News and Gossip Pages

Rye Masons Bridge The Gap

What a great gesture it was by members of Rye Masonic Lodge to present Rye St. John Ambulance with the £13,500 needed to complete the total required to pay for their new vehicle.

The total £40,000 plus has been raised locally, not one penny coming from government grants.

It has been a long hard journey but the people, businesses and organisations of the town have supported the all voluntary Rye first aiders. Rye St. John, who help so many at sporting and other events and encourage the young cadets who will become our doctors and nurses of the future, would have been disbanded if a new ambulance, with all the modern facilities demanded by European Directives, had not been provided by this wonderful Rye money raising effort.

The new vehicle has already been ordered and fitting out will be completed by March when the Rye unit will take delivery.

Now For The Skate Park

Rye Wheelers held a Fun Day in aid of Rye St John Ambulance appeal last year and raised £1,500. This year they are hoping to put on an event to raise money towards the new Skate Park which has been promised to the young people of the town for so long.

This event will probably take on the form of a Cycle Roller Marathon and involve some of the youngsters for whom the Skate Park is being constructed.

It seems that work will begin on the Park later this year. Plans have already been approved and a big percentage of the money required is in place thanks to the tireless efforts of Ray Fookes, a former Head Teacher at the Thomas Peacocke. Ray has stuck with the project for several years and has kept the scheme on track even when the odds of getting a site or money had seemed remote. Well done Sir, without you this boost for Rye youngsters would never have materialised.

U.D.I. for Rye?

Anger possitively oused out of a packed Rye Town Hall at a special meeting called to discuss the crazy proposal by Rother District Council’s ‘Cabinet’ to close all public toilets in Rye and to renage on their agreement to grant £50,000 towards the running of Rye Tourist Information Centre.

Councillor Roger Breeds asked if we had to “Think about a Unilateral Declaration of Independance in Rye”. The townsfolk in the packed Town Hall would, I feel sure, like to have gone down this road and the famous film “Passport to Pimlico immediately sprang to mind”.

I was very impressed with the way that Mayor Ian Potter handled the meeting. He was calm throughout and had all the facts at his fingertips. “For Rye to run the toilets out of its own precept at the price of £45,000 Rother claim they would save would put £70 on the present precept paid by every household in Rye.”

“Where is the Town Manager?” asked a member of the public. A very good question. The answer was even more surprising than the fact she was not present for a meeting more important to the town than any during the past thirty years.

Aparantly our ‘Town Manager’ is not our Town Manager’. She is employed by Rother District Council and was ‘advised’ by them NOT to attend.

Rother have shot themselves in the foot again. The good work Yolanda has done for Rye is over the past two and a half years is completely undone. She has lost all her credibility.

George Shackleton produced figures of expenditure by Rother on projects in Bexhill last year. These amazed the already enraged gathering. The total of over a million in contrasts badly in the light of the megre £30,000 granted to Rye T.I.C. It demonstrates the unfairness of a system that sees a permenant majority of Bexhill Councillors on the District Council. Rother is, to all intense and purposes, Bexhill Town Council. The only difference being it is our money they are spending on their projects!

Rother it seems are pleased to give Rye back it’s toilets, although, as Roger Breeds said “They are not giving the freehold, just the chance to run them at our expense.”

They are not willing to let Rye have its Car Parks back. Why? Because they raise £160,000 revenue which goes into Rother’s coffers.

The view of most Rye Councillors and public at the meeting was very firm and coincides exactly with the views I have been expressing in these columns for the past four years. Rye must have what she rightfully owns. We want our Car Parks, Toilets, Town Salts, Cemetery, Gardens etc., complete with freehold. Before 1974, Rye oversaw her own affairs the Borough Council was very prudent and her assets well managed.

This cannot be said of Rother. In spite of the very sub standard services provided to Rye, Battle and the villages they have got themselves into a financial mess and are determined that it will be us that bails them out.

At last it seems that Rye Council has had enough, they were presenting a united front at a very tough meeting. The realisation that things are not going to get any better unless some form of unconventional action is taken has slowly percolated through. Rye looks to them for a firm stand that will start to lift the burden of Rother from her shoulders. They are strong shoulders as history has proved but remember – it was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

Lillian & Franciste

I am pleased to number Lillian and Francis Sinden among a very special group of people I have known and been friends with during my lifetime.

Today I am especially happy to record their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in these columns. Sixty years is a long time and they passed this auspicious landmark on Tuesday 7 December 2004.

Lillian, an Orcadian and adopted Ryer since 1945 was born and brought up in the Island of Hoy, home of ‘the old man of Hoy’, in the Orkney Islands. She met Francis when he was serving there in the Royal Navy at the Scarpa Flow Navel Base. They were married in the small local church overlooking Scarpa Flow on 7 December 1944. The War had only months to run and Francis brought Lillian home to Rye in 1945.

Lillian will be remembered by many as the Warden for 24 years of the Badger Gate Senior Citizen’s Flats from the opening in 1966. Francis, born in The Mint, was for a number of years a Customs Officer in Scotland and later in the Rye area before taking early retirement for health reasons. The remainder of his working life was spent with Maurice Ellwood and Barry Rivers at their Television and Radio showrooms.

The couple have two sons, Alan who lives in Rye and Ian, who once rode for the Rye Wheelers along with me on the hard and grass tracks of Sussex and Kent. Ian now resides in the Isle of Wight.

Congratulations Lillian and Francis, in these days of quick divorces and trial marriages it is good to see a couple who have been so happy for so long.

“Rye’s Own” January 2005

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