OUT IN THE FIELD Farewell to The Betties

I may not make myself the most popular fairy in the forest this week by pointing out that at this time of year as temperatures dropped below freezing, there really is absolutely no reason whatsoever for people to be sleeping rough in doorways or on the town’s streets. I have every empathy with homeless people but it is worth mentioning that Eastbourne has a very successful Winter Night Shelter, which has had spaces over the festive period and its doors have been open. The Winter Night Shelter is located at a different church each evening seven days a week throughout the coldest months of the year: December, January and February. Yours truly is a regular volunteer. The only requirement is that those wanting to use the facility are in by 8pm and they are not drunk or drugged up. Having noticed a fair few rough sleepers between Christmas and New Year – and we even had some in the car park at Beckett Towers Christmas Day morning – I called the Winter Night Shelter to see if there were spaces available and although they were filling up fast, there was plenty of room for all. So, the people sleeping rough on the streets this year do have a choice and it’s a simple one: stay off the sauce and get in to the night shelter by 8pm.

My annual soiree to my favourite hostelries, the Lamb and Prince Albert in Old Town on Boxing Day evening was as always a great one, but sad to see it was the end of the road for hugely popular Eastbourne band The Betties. The guys have played The Prince Albert on Boxing Day night since God was a boy and have a huge following of all ages. But last Friday was their final performance after 30 years of gigging as both the Betty Swallocks and then in recent years as The Betties. The end of an era indeed.

While I ponder my New Year’s Resolutions and how things ARE going to be different in 2015, I’d just like to wish all our readers a very happy and prosperous new year and all the best.