WHAT THIS VILLAGE NEEDS: Was a phrase I heard this week as a group of hikers arrived. Every time I hear it I chuckle as they usually go on to list a number of things the village does in fact have. They, like many before them, thought they had arrived on a film set and that behind the facades of Tudor brickwork, fifteenth century half timbering, Georgian fanlights and the bow window store front were empty actorless stages. This village has pretty much everything you need…(well apart from an O2 mobile signal and free flowing traffic...I hereby announce that I have no intention of debating the latter in this column ever). Most importantly it has a vibrant, diverse community with numerous interest groups, in fact there is so much going on in April that what this villager will need is to take May off to recuperate. Here is some of what the village has and a taste of what is going on in April.
HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY: Cuckmere Valley Horticultural Society, Thursda April 14, 7.30pm Alfriston War Memorial Hall. Nigel Philips will be talking Garden Design and Rapkyns Nursery will be there from 6.30pm to sell you the plants you need to fulfill those wild plans you have for your little piece of England now the days are longer.
THREE CHORAL GROUPS: One of whom, The Cuckmere Croakers (Barbershop Group) are holding an informal concert in St Andrews on Monday at 10.30am to 11.30am. Entry is Free, any donations will go to St Andrews Restoration Appeal.
HISTORY ALL AROUND: Alfriston and Cuckmere Valley Historical Society, 7.30pm War Memorial Hall Thursday April 21. A talk following the AGM and the new regular local history briefing will be given by our Rector Daniel Merceron. Prior to arriving at our benefice in 2015, Daniel was a senior chaplain in the British Army. What may be less well known (other than he is guitar) is that prior to his ordination he studied archaeology and became an enthusiast for the Roman Army. His talk The Roman Army Success Through Organisation explores how that army was able to carve out and maintain such a vast empire and whether we can learn from its history. All are welcome. Admission is free to members and £5 to non-members.
CLERGY HOUSE: To celebrate their 120th anniversary the upstairs showroom is laid out as a bedroom with information panels telling the story of the saving of the house. On Saturday April 16 (the date the NT took ownership) an event including costumed tours and Q&A with the NT countryside team will take place. The last occupant was a bell ringer in St Andrews and there will be an attempt at a full peal of Bells from 10am which if successful will take nearly three hours. While the bells are ringing you are invited to watch and for further information on all that is planned to celebrate visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/alfriston
PAGEANTRY AND TEA: Thursday April 21. All villagers and businesses are invited to wish Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 90th Birthday. A birthday tea party with bunting and cake will take place on The Tye or Old Chapel Centre (weather dependant) followed by a peal of bells and a torch lit procession up above Alfriston to the lighting of the Beacon at 7.30pm. Transport can be arranged for those who do not feel able to make the climb. Timings, updates and further information will be posted here and on the village website. Any questions please contact me.
SHAKESPEARE: Much Ado Books are holding a Shakespeare Saturday April 23 to celebrate 400 years of being the Bard. They have a number of things planned including giving you the chance to win £100 book buying spree visit http://www.muchadobooks.com/shakespeare-book-contest.php to find out more.
TEAS, TABLES AND SHAKESPEARE: Tomorrow, Saturday, 10am to 2pm St Andrews. As we countdown to the Restoration Launch pop into St Andrews and find out about the planned Shakespeare’s Treasure Trail around the village on launch day. The kettle will be on, delicious homemade cake will be available and all proceeds will go to the restoration.
ST ANDREWS RESTORATION: Although the restoration has not officially started, approximately £10,000 has already been raised thanks to some great work and generous donors. The launch event April 9, 10am to 5pm will not only allow people to try their hand at a new craft but a number of local groups, societies and organisations will be exhibiting and encouraging people to get involved. Including but not limited to, Heart Start, Transition, Alfriston Events, Alfriston Players, horticultural society, historical society, twinning and bell ringers. For further information see http://www.alfriston-village.co.uk/#!alfriston-restoration/suihf. The main purpose of the day will be to launch the Restoration appeal and at 3pm Reverend Daniel Merceron will welcome villagers and visitors to St Andrews with a short talk and possibly wine and nibbles.
WOMENS INSTITUTE: The next meeting is Tuesday April 19, 2pm, Old Chapel Centre and is a members only meeting. Dawn Monk will be showing the ladies her beautiful patchwork and teaching them to create lovely works of their own. If you are a member, you can take along your own fabrics and try your hand or sit back and admire.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF: Beat the Bounds. If it is a challenge you are looking for. Why not sign up for one of two Beating The Bounds. Walk the St Andrews Parish boundary on Saturday May 14 to raise funds for Christian Aid. The fabulous 12 mile walk, starting and finishing on Kings Ride is split into three convenient sections. Contact Geoff Ellis for further information and sponsorship form. Alternatively walk the boundaries of the Cuckmere Valley Parish, this will take place on Bank Holiday Monday May 30. Starting at 9am Lullington Churchyard, breaking for lunch on the Seven Sisters and finishing at Litlington Church for tea. Join for all or part of the walk. Maps will be circulated nearer the time. Both walks are a combination of gentle and challenging.
BRAINIACS: Two Quiz nights kick off April. On Monday at the Sussex Ox from 8pm. Teams of up to six. Entry £1 per person. Delicious beer and ox burgers are available £9.95 if required. Booking advised 01323 870840. On Thursday from 7.30pm Let’s Get Quizzical at The Smugglers Alfriston, proceeds to St Wilfreds, £5 per ticket including food. Booking advised 01323 870241.
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