OUT IN THE FIELD: Eastbourne employees going the extra mile

For some people work is the bane of their lives – a 9-5 clock watching routine to pay the bills, something of a five day a week drudge and necessity.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 9:09 am
Photo by Martin Rumary

And then there are others whose job is their vocation, a way of life, and who will always go the extra mile for their employers.

When Eastbourne events team boss Mike Marchant stepped down from his role at the council two years ago, the authority lost a loyal disciple who could always be found at the end of the day collecting rubbish or staying until the wee small hours making plans for the following day. His departure was a sad loss.

But step forward Eastbourne council’s Jo Seaman, who runs the authority’s history and heritage department, and tourism and enterprise boss Annie Wills – both of whom ooze enthusiasm, commitment and dedication to their work.

Jo and the team at Heritage Eastbourne are behind a complete makeover of the Beachy Head Countryside Centre and are currently dedicated to decorating and refurbishing it with interesting artefacts and inter-active displays for young and old to discover and enjoy. The Story of Eastbourne, a pop-up museum at the top end of Terminus Road, has now closed and the plan is for the countryside centre to become a new local history museum with special emphasis on the many stories associated with Beachy Head. It promises to be something special and I can’t wait for it officially open in the coming weeks.

Further along the road redundant buildings at Black Robin Farm have been converted into classy, stylish holiday accommodation courtesy of builders and Annie, who has put a lot of work into the finishing touches including covering chairs and making cushions. The end result is stunning. And even better is the fact that when the holiday cottages are rented out, the cash will start rolling in for a much needed boost to the council’s coffers.

Hats off as well this week to my compadre Alison Gatehouse who has clocked up 35 years working in the M&S store in Eastbourne. A fantastic achievement.

I know I keep prattling on about the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine but it was great to be a part of the celebrations to mark the 20,000th jab given at the Sovereign Centre last Thursday. The lucky recipient was 73-year-old Valerie Russell from Henfield Road in Hampden Park and we were all treated to a cup of tea and a slice of cake to mark the memorable milestone.

It was pretty much inevitable that Airbourne would be grounded for a second year running due to the virus. As much as it would have given everyone a much needed boost and the town’s economy a well needed shot in the arm, it would have been a nightmare to restrict numbers at such a large event.

But there was some good news this week with the LTA saying it is committed to staging as much live competitive tennis this summer as is possible, despite the limitations caused by Covid-19.

While it remains too early to say what level of attendance will be possible, the LTA is planning for a number of scenarios and remains cautiously optimistic that fans will be able to be present at the Devonshire Park venue. Fingers and toes crossed.