Town Crier October 2004

Festival Triumph

What a wonderful Rye Festival. Congratulations to all those involved with this year’s great event. More visitors in the town especially to enjoy what has become one of the best events of its kind in Europe. Sell out events were the order of the day.

There was something for everybody and the children were prominent in the success of many events, especially the Rye Dance Centre show at the Thomas Peacocke where a packed hall was enthralled by the standard of dancing and singing.

The William Hague lecture was a sell out success, events at St. Mary’s were embellished by the colour of the Flower Festival and the art shows in the town’s studios were of a very high quality. I could go on but those that enjoyed any of the events will know what I mean when I say that all Ryers should be proud of our Festival. Long may it continue to improve and diversify.


Manaav Star - Aground and Helpless at Jury's Gap
Manaav Star – Aground and Helpless at Jury’s Gap

J imper  Sutton, whose new book about Bonfire in Sussex is shortly to be released, certainly covers a lot of ground. He seems to pop up wherever I go. I saw him at midnight on the 12 September in the most horrible storm watching the stranded coaster Maanav Star at Jury’s Gap as she was pounded against the beach by the wind lashed tide. “I think she might be staying here” he said. As I write these words two days later the wind is still howling, the day for attempting to tow the vessel off has been put back a further day, to Wednesday. I wonder if Jimper’s words will prove to be correct?


Put the right person in charge at the right time and miracles can be achieved. Winston Churchill was the right man for the job in 1940. He proved that disaster could be overthrown by victory even with little resources and against all odds.

Ann Cockerham, Principal of the Thomas Peacocke, may blush when she sees I have compared her with Britain’s greatest hero but in her own way she has achieved for her college what Churchill did for his country, turning defeat into victory. Not so long ago the Thomas Peacocke College was a government ‘special measures’ school, one of the poorest schools in the county for academic qualification and badly behaved pupils.

Now the College is celebrating it’s best ever GCSE results and is bidding for a ‘Special School Status’ that will attract cash for improved  resources. Ann Cockerham will tell you that the good results have come from the hard work of her staff and pupils and the involvement and support of parents. This is true but none of this could have happened with-out a leader who inspired and encouraged everyone to work as a team for the benefit of themselves, their college and the people of Rye who have noticed a remarkable change of attitude in pupils behaviour.

Another Leader

I have used many column inches criticising the way the policing of Rye has been carried out. I have never blamed local officers, just the system of centralisation and lame excuses and unfulfilled promises that have issued from time to time from senior officers. Now we have a new man at Rye, Sergeant Doug Bick. In a few short months he has reorganised his very limited resources and has made a real difference. There has been a definite reduction in seasonal summer crime, shop break-ins etc. and the local group of about five hard-core trouble makers have been targeted and to a great extent subdued. Graffiti exponents have been identified in a very clever way which I will not describe here. More importantly, Doug Bick has won over the locals he has met and is happy to explain how he intends to deal with crime in Rye and the villages. His ideas are in line with traditional policing. Contact with the public is imperative. They are not impressed with one off spectacles they need an ongoing police presence. Since Sergeant Bick arrived Rye readers will have noticed a much higher policing policy. Police support officers patrol on foot and by bicycle, regular uniformed police are often about the streets and patrol vehicles are much more prevalent. There are policemen about every Saturday evening when the pubs and club turns out.

Our Police Station is still closed at night and there is no direct phone line to call for assistance at Rye. This is central police policy and out of Sergeant Bick’s control. These are two items that “Rye’s Own” will keep asking for but in the meantime, as long as our new Sergeant is not transferred, I feel sure Ryers will be safer in their beds.

United Out of F.A. Cup.

Rye & Iden United had a two match début in the Football Association Cup Competition. A nil-nil draw followed by a 3-1 defeat at the hands of East Preston who go on to meet Mersham in the next round. So we will not be entertaining Arsenal or Liverpool at The Salts this season. Next year perhaps?

Revival at the Rugby Club It is good to see Tony Pierce and the boys at Rye Rugby Club are back to winning ways. Looking at the team sheets there are Rye names in plenty. The junior sessions on Sundays are beginning to pay off and new home grown players are coming forward to represent their town.

There was a time when Rye United fielded a majority of players who lived in the Rye area. Good luck in the new season Tony, your enthusiasm and drive can lead you to the Second Division Championship.

Big Day for Young People

An exciting event for young people of school ages and above is being planed for early in the new year. I am not in a position to reveal any details this month except to say that it could capture the imagination of every young person living in Rye. Look out for more information in next month’s issue.

Rye Wheelers

Talking of young people, Rye Wheelers are looking for more young members to join and enjoy many aspects of cycling from short country runs to Reliability Trials and Time Trial Races. Girls and boys over fourteen are welcome. Any bike is suitable for the Tuesday afternoon runs which take place all through the year (including half terms and holidays) and meet at The Riverhaven Hotel Car Park at 1pm. Sunday runs meet at the same venue at 9am. A road bike is more appropriate but not absolutely essential. Members will be happy to meet you.

I am pleased to see that the Rye Wheelers are getting behind the movement demanding the long promised Cycle and Footpath be constructed from Rye to Rye Harbour in the immediate future. After the recent tragedy and those that have happened over the past thirty years, the time has long passed for more delays. The responsible authority should act forthwith and the job be completed by the end of the year.

South East in Bloom Great news for Rye.

Lorna Hall and her excellent team from Rye in Bloom with the unstinted help of the gardeners and businesses of the town have won the South East in Bloom Competition for the second year running. Notice I have not included the Rother District Council on the list of those who helped win. According to the judges, whose comments are repeated below, they may well have robbed Rye of a chance to win “Britain in Bloom” the results of which will be an- nounced during October. As I have pointed out in this column before, most towns who achieve an entry into the prestigious Britain in Bloom event are supported ‘up to the hilt’ by their council.

Rother have let Rye down badly, and the District Council, who are directly responsible for parks and gardens in this town, should be ashamed of themselves. If Rye in Bloom falls short in the major competition think of these words spoken by the judges of South East in Bloom. Areas that could be improved in the future were “replacing displays of plastic flowers with ‘real plants’ in public places, providing planting/screening at recycling sites and improving local authority contribution towards floral efforts in public places”.

Rye Guest House Tops List

Richard Martin and Jenny Hadfield who run Jeakes House have won the top award in Les Routiers and become the 2004 Bed & Breakfast of the Year. A fine achievement for the Mermaid Street Guest House. The competition was judged by independent assessors who booked in anonymously and found a hospitable, friendly welcome and everything to their satisfaction. Any guest at Jeakes House would say the same complementary things, this is why so many return. Rye is lucky to have lots of fine Bed and Breakfast establishments who look after their visitors in the same thoughtful way. All of them will feel the benefit of Richard and Jenny’s success because this accolade will draw many extra visitors in 2005.

Jim Hollands

Rye’s Own October 2004

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