OUT IN THE FIELD: One is digging out one’s poshest frock

Is shortlisted seafront sculpture one gull too many?
Is shortlisted seafront sculpture one gull too many?

Rather than saying nothing and then jumping up and down when it’s too late and moaning about the cost, location and appearance, I would urge everyone to take a look at the shortlist of four seafront sculptures unveiled by the council on pages 18 and 19 this week and send their views to sculpture@eastbourne.gov.uk. The council is behind the idea, although not paying for it as the money is coming from the two million quid given by the government after the blaze. There are four designs of sculptures to remember the pier fire to choose from; a phoenix, a trio of gulls, a flame made from burnt two pence pieces recovered from the beach and a bell. Personally, I love the flame idea – even though some of my colleagues at Beckett Towers think it resembles a lava lamp. Regarding the trio of gulls, I have to agree with one reader who wrote, “The so-called gull sculpture looks like a TV aerial after a bad storm. There are enough gulls of one sort or another on the seafront and the rest of the town thanks. I don’t think a metal one is needed.” Neither do I.

I am not the only one digging out one’s poshest frock this week to mingle with the royals. As one of the original Dr Barnardo’s Boys from Churchill House in Eastbourne, which has long since gone, Roger Bell was selected out of 250 people from across the UK to attend the Dr Barnardo’s 150th Anniversary Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace yesterday (Thursday) in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy and The Duchess of Gloucester. I hope he and his daughter Leanne had a great day. I am heading to Windsor Castle today (Friday) for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations. I feel terribly privileged to have been invited to go with my dear friends Fraser, Jane and Oliver Brooks from Eastbourne for the work the family has done at You Raise Me Up, to provide practical, emotional and financial support for families who lose children aged 16-25 unexpectedly. Fraser and Jane set up YRMU following the sudden death of their beautiful 17-year-old daughter Megan five years ago and since then the charity has helped countless families as they come to terms with their loss. I am sure Megs will be with us in spirit.

I was at the annual mayor making ceremony at Eastbourne Town Hall on Wednesday night to see outgoing mayor Janet Coles, who has done a great job, hand over the reins to my old friend Pat Hearn. Pat has been a Hampden Park campaigner for a number of years and a borough councillor on and off and so deserves the role. Well done Patricia.

Good luck to all the ladies and girls doing the Midnight Walk along Eastbourne seafront tomorrow night and in the early hours of Sunday morning. It’s great fun and the support and encouragement from supporters and marshals along the way is fantastic; not to mention the thousands raised for Chestnut Tree House and bacon sandwiches provided at the end of the hike.

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