Out in the Field with chief reporter Annemarie Field: It simply beggars belief

‘TIS the season to be jolly, right? To give to others less fortunate than ourselves, spread a little cheer and wish peace and goodwill to all men?

Well, I like the being jolly bit. In fact I’m very good at it. And the giving.

As far as peace and goodwill to all men and women is concerned, there are a few people I would quite happily drop from a Boeing 747 with a bum parachute, but on the whole I like to think I’m fairly kind.

Last week, thanks to one too many mulled wines I was feeling very jolly.

Armed with bags of Christmas shopping and in a festive mood, I pushed a fiver into the hand of a person parked up outside the door of a town centre store who, I assumed – because they had a sleeping bag and some possessions – was homeless and sleeping rough.

Off I went pleased to have been able to help someone – until I recounted the story to a friend who works for a homeless charity.

Then I learnt this person would have used my crispy fiver to buy a nice bag of drugs and, even worse, wasn’t even homeless at all as they have accommodation provided for them but take belongings and a sleeping bag out as part of an act to get more money out of suckers like me.

I have now learnt my lesson and when the mood takes me in the future, and I want to give to others, my cash will be going in the collection bucket of a registered charity.

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Cold comfort for coroners

SOME people drink from the fountain of wisdom but whoever decided to cut back on calling out coroner’s officers to deaths overnight or at weekends obviously wasn’t very thirsty.

Police policy now dictates that officers are only to be called out in certain circumstances - and not overnight or at weekends - as it is not seen as the “best use of resources”.

The coroner’s officers who cover Eastbourne are among the best in the county, dedicated, compassionate and are widely respected for the caring and sensitive way they deal with bereaved families and carry out their investigation.

They provide comfort and a listening ear to victims’ families, act as a go-between with police officers and carefully guide people along the road of court procedures, inquests – all the time helping them with their grief.

Now the coroner’s officers are no longer being called out to some deaths it means they are often left to pick up the pieces on a Monday morning when the trail hasn’t so much as gone lukewarm as stone cold.

And even worse, it means families are not getting the service they deserve at a time when they need it the most.

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Expecting a Christmas card from me? You’ll have a long wait!

‘TIS THE season for giving but, like many others I suspect, this year I’m not going to be sending out any Christmas cards from me, Himself, the Ginger Prince and Little Princess.

Not because we’re Scrooge-like, but have you seen the price of postage stamps?

Christmas cards may be cheap enough but the cost of posting them brings it up to about 40 pence per card per person.

Instead we will be handing over the money we would’ve spent on cards and postage to the Eastbourne charity ‘You Raise Me Up’, which provides emotional, financial and practical support to parents who have lost children, and consider it money very well spent.