ONCE a soldier, always a soldier. And another truism is that once involved with our wonderful hospice (my late wife entered her million-year sleep in The Oak Room there, in May 2002) one becomes spiritually and emotionally bound to the place forever.
The charity’s deservedly much-vaunted, long overdue and hard-fought new-build will continue to require on-going support and funding, and - oh, wow - did they ever receive it in bucket-loads at their brahma lunch extravaganza at the Saffrons last Wednesday, for which accolades aplenty should be publicly recorded.
The whole stunning event put so much else in Eastbourne to shame, and went off with such meticulous precision, that there simply had to have been a military mind at work there somewhere!
The sky was blue, the sun shone, the marquee gleamed, the smart and uniformly uniformed volunteer staff (not a baseball-cap, jeans, T-shirt or trainers in sight for once – thank god; we were waited on by well-drilled, polite and charming young Eastbourne College pupils) performed even better than your usual run-of-the-mill professionals.
The speeches jerked forth tears, the food was absolutely excellent, the up-market auction and associated side-shows produced lashings of lolly and - in short - this guest was thoroughly delighted to have been a part of the whole superb, most memorable occasion and enabled to enjoy one of the best events I’ve attended anywhere hereabouts in absolutely yonks.
It was like revisiting a good old Eastbourne of yesteryear, in the halcyon days when everything used to work properly, genteelly and with style.
The organising committee’s performance was reminiscent of the town’s Old Guard; it was so reassuring to find that not everything has died out, that there are still some with old-school core values about the place who will rally and come forth when needed, to show today’s arguably sloppier generation how it can and should be done.
Well - they know all this anyway, but still deserve to be told again. And again - and again and again!
Would that some of them could now get up and start running Eastbourne properly: show our present crop of so-called ‘town fathers’ how it could/should be done for real.
Today? The Hospice.
Tomorrow? Eastbourne’s revivification. Dream on!