OUT IN THE FIELD: Buckle up for a great ride at Return to the Forbidden Planet, the Lighthouse Walk and some Birthday shout outs

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It was great to see so many people don their walking boots for the fifth annual Lighthouse Challenge last Saturday when the spring tide was low enough for people to walk from Cow Gap to the iconic landmark that is Beachy Head light tower and back again. When Martin Wellings, Shirley Moth and myself ran the first one all those years ago we anticipated it would be a one off to raise the much needed cash to paint the red and white stripes on the lighthouse. But it was such a success its popularity has grown and last weekend almost 1,200 people did the walk. The event has grown but is still run entirely by volunteers who check people in at the start and out at the end, act as marshals along the route and hand out the coveted certificates at the end. And there’s the St John Ambulance crews, Eastbourne and Wealden RAYNET Group which provides communications during community events and major disasters and not forgetting our friends at Eastbourne lifeboat and coastguard team who are on hand throughout. (Sadly the coastguards, coastguard helicopter and lifeboat volunteers were called into action because tragedy once again struck at Beachy Head. It was eerie but respectful when the walk across the beach was halted while crews recovered the bodies of three people and walkers bowed their heads in silence). While many of the walkers came from outside of town, the vast majority were from Eastbourne who have lived here all their lives but yet never walked out to the lighthouse to see it in all its stunning glory. We are just waiting on the low spring tide times for next year so the sixth walk can be organised. If you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it.

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Airbourne this weekend, head to the town’s Devonshire Park Theatre where Return to the Forbidden Planet is being performed (until Saturday September 1). It’s absolutely fantastic and without doubt, one of the best shows I have seen in Eastbourne for some years. Even if you are “not really into musicals”, the live music performed by the hugely talented bunch on stage will leave you blown away. The cast work well together and the end is a highly polished performance. There are many stars of the show but the brightest one for me is Mark Newnham who plays Cookie. His guitar solos were a joy, like watching a young Hendrix at work. Bravo.

There’s lots of folk on the birthday shout out this week and blowing out the candles are Kirsty Marsden, Mark Frame, Paul Dolan, Nicky Searle, Clare Walker, Bill Plumridge, Julia Northcott, Dianne Kelly, Rose Egan, Mary Corran and Fiona Scrase. Congratulations too to all who received their A-level results this week and good luck with GCSE results due out on Thursday.

If you love photos from Eastbourne in days gone by we have some lovely black and white pictures of the town’s former hospitals at www.eastbourneherald.co.uk which are wonderful to look back at – especially the ones of the DGH under construction. Who would have thought it was 40 odd years ago?!