Recognise this man?
Police want to speak to this man in connection with the theft of an iPad in the Priory Meadow branch of Boots in Hastings.
The iPad was stolen between 8.50am and 9.20am on Saturday, July 13th and it is believed that the man in the photo may have information about the theft.
Anyone who recognises him or who has information about the incident is asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 1365 of 14/07.
Twenty years and counting
Hastings and Rother Credit Union celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday with some of its former and current volunteers. Its first ever member and ongoing supporter Michael Foster cut the cake as the Credit Union looks forward with to exciting plans to improve and expand its work in Hastings and Rother.
Police appeal for witnesses
Police in Hastings investigating a sexual assault on woman on a footpath in the town have renewed their appeal for information from the public.
The 18-year-old woman was walking along the path leading from Strood Road to Alexandra Park, at about 7pm last Thursday (July 11th) when she was attacked and sexually assaulted by a man who then made off on foot in the direction of Asda at Silver Hill.
Following intensive police enquiries an 18-year-old man from St Leonards was arrested the following day on suspicion of sexual assault. After being interviewed he was released on police bail while enquiries continued, but he has now been eliminated from the investigation and no further action is being taken against him.
The man police want to talk to has been described by the victim as being in his mid to late 20s, 5’5 tall, of athletic build with wide shoulders, and with dark brown short hair that did not have a style but had a parting that went across to the left. He had brown skin, not tanned, with thick dark eyebrows and about a weeks growth of beard. He had muscular, hairy arms and spoke with a deep middle-eastern accent. He was wearing a blue t-shirt, black trousers and had a black and grey rucksack.
Detective Sergeant Steve Shimmons said; “If you have any information that could help our investigation please get in touch with us online or by calling 101, quoting serial 1441 of 12/07. You can also talk to any of our patrolling officers and PCSOs. We’d also like to hear from anyone who has had unwanted approaches from men in the area recently”
Chief Inspector Sarah Godley said; “This a rare and isolated incident for the area and is not believed to be part of a pattern. However we have increased patrols in the area and we always want people to remain aware of their surroundings when out and about. We also provide advice on how to keep yourself safe on our website
Open gardens in August
This August sees five beautiful gardens opening their gates for the final month of the 2019 St Michael’s Hospice Open Garden season.
Celebrity gardener Sarah Raven will be opening her cutting garden in Brightling on Thursday August 8th, then this year’s season will come to a close on Saturday August 10th with four stunning gardens in St Leonards on Sea, including the Hospice gardens.
For full details about this year’s Open Gardens, visit www.stmichaelshospice.com/opengardens or pick up an Open Garden booklet from the Hospice, or from the local businesses and garden centres throughout Hastings and Rother which have copies for sale at just 50p.
If you have been inspired to open your garden next year for the Hospice, please contact the Fundraising team on 01424 456396 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, they would love to hear from you.
Hospice listens to you
During July and August St Michael’s Hospice will be visiting villages across Hastings and Rother, as well as hosting two events at the Hospice itself, to hear what you have to say.
The Hospice is interested to know; what you know about the work they do? What thoughts and ideas do you have about end of life care, what happens in your communities already, and how can you and the Hospice can work together to support people facing end of life?
Most important of all, get involved with your local hospice and find out how you can help shape it’s future.
If you are interested in getting involved in the conversation then please come along, visit the Hospice website for details or contact Karen Mason, PA to the Chief Executive on 01424 456367 or email email@example.com
Call goes out to former students
Later this month Peter Chowney and members of Hastings Borough Council will recognise what they describe as ‘the incredible contribution’ the staff and lecturers at the Hastings Campus of Brighton University have made to the town and the educational future of local children.
Councillor Andy Batsford says: “Brighton University’s decision to close our wonderful campus has come as a terrible blow to our town and we felt it was important to show our respect and acknowledgment to all those who have delivered a first class education to the hundreds of mature students.
“So the call out is to those students to come along, share some refreshments at 5pm on Wednesday July 24th and then join the start of full council meeting at 6pm. you.
Winners of the Mike Thornton Games
Last Thursday 11 students from The St Leonards Academy travelled to the Withdean stadium in Brighton to compete in the Mike Thornton Games which is a fully inclusive athletics competition for schools in Sussex.
The students won over 20 medals between them in running, throwing and jumping events and were crowned winners of the competition.
Teacher Teresa Bennett said: “It was fabulous to see our students do so well. They displayed great resilience and team work and were a credit to the Academy.”
Put your best foot forward
St Michael’s Hospice and The Rotary Club of Battle invite you to join them for a ramble across 1066 country this autumn, at their popular annual 1066 Walk.
Taking place on Sunday September 29th, this event is the perfect opportunity for keen walkers and novices alike to dig out their hiking boots and enjoy one of three stunning walks through parts of the local countryside.
The three walks to choose from are four, nine or 16 miles with complimentary refreshments at the finish line. The walks pass well known historical sites, such as; Ashburnham Forge, Herstmonceux Castle and Battle Abbey – the finishing point for all the walks.
The event is in aid of the Hospice and the Rotary Club of Battle.
For full details and to book tickets, please visit the St Michael’s Hospice website www.stmichaelshospice.com/events
MP pays tribute to armed forces
Local MP Amber Rudd has paid tribute to local people working in the Armed Forces following a ceremony held in Hastings for Armed Forces Day.
Speaking after the ceremony, Ms Rudd said: “Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks to the brave service men and women who keep our country safe from threats around the world.
“Here in the South East, we have 57,000 people working in defence jobs – all of whom put themselves at risk each day and are away from their families for long periods of time so they may defend this country. It is only right that we honour their sacrifice and provide them with the support they need.”
Last week saw the 11th Armed Forces Day take place which seeks to honour those in military service including both active personnel and veterans.
Mick Brooks and Jeff Belton, both hospital volunteers, raised £400 on a recent special sponsored comedy show broadcast live on Bank Holiday Monday on Conquest Hospital Radio. The money raised was for the De Cham Ward Bladder Scanner Appeal. Mick, on the left and Jeff on the right recently handed over a cheque to hospital staff.
Police seeking witnesses
Police investigating a collision between a car and a boy on a bicycle, which occurred at the junction of Boscobel Road and West Hill Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, at 6.15pm on Sunday June 30th are appealing for witnesses.
They also want to speak to the motorist involved, who stopped to ensure the boy, aged ten, was not badly hurt but then drove off without providing any details.
The boy sustained heavy bruising and was treated in hospital.
Anyone able to assist is asked to contact Sussex Police online or call 101, quoting serial 1147 of 30/06.
Dog lovers support the Hospice
On a lovely Sunday morning at the beginning of June, dog lovers throughout Hastings and Rother along with their adorable pooches joined St Michael’s Hospice for their Wag This Way five kilometre sponsored dog walk along Hastings Seafront.
Participants and their four legged friends had a wonderful walk and enjoyed well earned refreshments back at the The Stade Hall. There was a fantastic range of doggy themed stalls and a raffle for everyone to enjoy.
“We loved meeting all of the dogs, and they each received a fabulous goodie bag with a rosette and a certificate to say well done for their walkies.” says Hannah Hildreth, Community Fundraiser at the Hospice.
The Hospice will be holding their next Way this Way event at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve on Sunday October 6th.
Events like these are vital as St Michaels Hospice needs to raise around £12,000 every day just to keep its doors open.
Recall to prison
Police are making renewed efforts to find Ryan Imran Grayston, 24, convicted of possessing drugs with intent to supply, who is wanted for recall to prison.
In July 2017 Grayston, from The Ridge, St Leonards-on-Sea, was jailed for two years and ten months at Bournemouth Crown Court.
He was released from HMP Belmarsh on April 1st this year but has since breached the terms of a licence for his early release, which was subsequently revoked.
Grayston has failed to return to jail, and Sussex Police believe that one possibility is that he may now be living in the DA postcode area of Kent, notably Belvedere, Erith and Sidcup.
He is described as black, six feet tall, of slim build, and with brown eyes and dark brown hair.
Anyone seeing Grayston, or knowing where he may be, is asked to contact Sussex Police online or by phoning 101, quoting serial 561 of 30/04.
Grab your dancing shoes
It’s time to grab your dancing shoes and boogie, woogie, shimmy and shake at St Michael’s Hospice’s very first sponsored Danceathon.
Join them on Saturday July 27th at Ore Community Centre as they give you the chance to try up to six easy to follow styles of dance – with Zumba, Tap, Ballroom Dancing, Dance Fitness and many more! Just £10 a ticket for the whole day.
You can choose to take on as many dance sessions as you can, or create a tag team with friends and choose one session each. Beginning at 3pm with a 15 minute warm up, there will then be six 45 minute sessions with 15 minute breaks and a longer half hour break at 6pm for refreshments and raffle.
The Danceathon is the perfect opportunity to push yourself, get fit, have fun with friends and try a new style of dance that you’ve always wanted to. Fancy dress is encouraged.
For more information, call the Hospice Fundraising team on 01424 456396 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You, me and those who came before
Over 200 people attended the Links Project Refugee Week celebration at Concordia Hall last week, the theme ‘You, me and those who came before’ and was an opportunity to explore the positive impact of refugees on Hastings and St Leonards as well as those who have welcomed them here.
Marc Turczanski from Hastings Voluntary Action said: “We had a huge range of nationalities attend the event including those from Sudan, Kurdistan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Eritrea, Bulgaria, Poland, and Spain, all of who live in Hastings or St Leonards.
“Hastings has been welcoming asylum seekers for the last 20 years, and thousands have passed through the asylum system. Some people have just arrived, some have settled in Hastings to raise their families, some have moved away and others are preparing to return to their countries of nationality.
“We also had representatives from a range of local organisations as well as elected members of Hastings and East Sussex Councils.”
The Mayor of Hastings, Councillor Nigel Sinden said: “One Hastings, many voices is never better shown than at events like this. We come from all over the world, so many different places, and it is what we have in common that is always so interesting to hear about and share.”
The Links Project is a multi-agency partnership that provides access to support and advice for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants living in Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. The project is funded by Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex County Council.”
Hastings events go green
Hastings Borough Council is celebrating its first single use plastic free event.
Kim Forward, deputy leader of the council, and lead councillor for tourism explained: “Back in February, our full council unanimously agreed to set a target for Hastings to become carbon neutral. As part of this, we agreed to build on our existing single use plastic policy by not only eliminating single use plastics in council buildings, but also at festivals and events held on council land.
“I am really pleased that, with last weekend’s Mid-Summer Fish Festival, we did that.
“No traders used single use plastic ‘glasses’, instead using either reusable or compostable vessels, and they also used bamboo plates, and wooden cutlery/stirrers.
“Even our emergency water was in cans! It just goes to show what can be done. It was quite appropriate that it was a fish festival, as we all know what a problem marine litter, including plastic waste, has become.
“I’m incredibly proud that we’ve delivered the council’s first single-use plastic free event, and I hope that other event organisers will follow our lead.”
Putting their best feet forward
Ark Little Ridge Primary School was the winner of the 2019 Walk to School trophy.
Walk to School Week took place in the week of May 20th – 24th and students were encouraged to walk, cycle and scooter to school, and the winner was the school that banked the most mileage. Ten primary schools across Hastings took part in the competition.
Andy Batsford, lead councillor for leisure presented the school with the trophy this week, he said: “Congratulations to the Children of Ark Little Ridge School for winning this most coveted prize and well done and thank you to the teachers and staff for motivating them and collecting the points on top of all their other duties.
“The children put a huge effort in and they told me really enjoyed the challenge. As I said to them walking to school is not only fun, keeps you fit and looks after the planet as well by cutting down car travel”
Hit and run driver sought
Police are seeking the driver of a car which failed to stop after it was in collision with a four-year-old boy in Hastings Old Town on Saturday.
The vehicle was a black Volkswagen Golf with a distinctive green sun visor across the top of the windscreen, silver or white alloy wheels, and a blacked-out VW front grille badge.
Following the collision, which occurred in the High Street outside the Blue Dolphin fish-and-chip shop at around 6.45pm, the car made off without stopping.
The pedestrian casualty, a local boy, sustained an injured foot. He was taken to the Conquest Hospital, St Leonards-on-Sea, for treatment to bruising.
The car driver, anyone who saw what happened, or who may have mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam footage of the incident, is asked to contact Sussex Police online or by phoning 101, quoting serial 1237 of 22/06.
Funding for free heating
People who struggle to afford to keep their homes warm could get central heating installed for free under an affordable warmth scheme running in the county.
East Sussex County Council has been awarded funding from National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund aimed at helping people who find themselves in fuel poverty.
The funding is enabling the installation of at least 100 new gas central heating systems free of charge to vulnerable residents such as older people or families on low incomes.
People can apply for a Warm Home Check online at www.warmeastsussex.org.uk – by texting WARM to 81400, through their local Citizens Advice office or by calling the charity’s Adviceline on 03444 111444.
The funding for East Sussex comes from the £1.5 million Warm Homes Fund established by National Grid and administered by community interest company Affordable Warmth Solutions, on behalf of National Grid.
Another drug dealer imprisoned
While executing a drugs warrant in West View, Hastings, in October last year police seized quantities of cannabis, cocaine and cash which led to 19-year-old occupant Jake Wallace being charged with possessing class A and B drugs with intent to supply.
On June 12th Wallace, unemployed, appeared at Lewes Crown Court and admitted the offences. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £140. An order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of all drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Inspector Aidan Cornwall, of the Hastings police prevention team, said: “Once again we are showing that those supplying narcotics within the Hastings community will be targeted and brought before the courts.”
Police work to combat illegal drugs in Sussex continues under the ‘Fortress’ brand, launched to encompass all our drug-harm reduction work.
Anyone with information about suspected illicit drug activity in their community can report details online or call 101, quoting Operation Fortress.
Alternatively details can be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers or by phoning 0800 555 111.
Working for the ‘best deal possible’
Network Rail met Amber Rudd in Parliament this week as she continued to press for progress of the high speed rail project in Hastings and Rye.
Speaking after the meeting she said: “Making good on my commitment to bring better rail services to our constituents is one of my top priorities.
“We must press ahead with this project and I will be hosting further summits with Network Rail as well as local bodies including our councils and chambers of commerce to discuss the best steps from here.
“People in Hastings should know that as their MP I will always take their concerns to the very heart of government, ensuring they get the best possible deal from government.”
The Transport Secretary has committed the Government’s support for examining the track layout changes needed for direct journeys and said that the Department for Transport will jointly fund development work for the proposed track layout changes with local authorities.
Involved in Ms Rudd’s meeting were Andrew Wood, Senior Commercial Scheme Sponsor South East Route for Network Rail and Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle.
Silver stolen in burglary
Police in Hastings are investigating a house burglary in which silver antiques valued at more than £50,000 were stolen.
The house in Westfield Lane, was broken into overnight between Sunday June 9th and Monday June 10th while the occupants were sleeping and a large number of silver antiques were stolen, including candlesticks, cutlery and christening mugs.
Detective Constable Tessa Warren said: “Many of the items are of great sentimental value and included engravings and inscriptions.
“We are appealing to anyone who may have been offered distinctive silver items in the days following this burglary, and to anyone else who may have any information.
“If you can help please contact us online or by calling 101, quoting serial 303 of 10/06.
“You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Help the community help itself
A community integration and networking event called Help the community Help Themselves was held at the Cinnamon Spice restaurant in St Leonards last week, organised by Mohammed Akmol Ali.
The purpose of the event was to bring the community together and share experiences and expertise. In his speech to the group Bilal Ansari spoke about his interpretation of ‘One Hastings, many voices’; how Hastings, as a diverse community works together to achieve common goals.
Judy Rogers, cabinet member for Hastings Borough Council said: “I was delighted to be able to attend the… event, supported by the East Sussex Muslim Association (it) proved a great success enabling individuals, charities and community groups to meet and exchange ideas. “
Art of Life on the Stade
An artist and her subject were reunited after 40 years at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery last Saturday at the official opening of The Art of Life on The Stade, one of two fishing-related exhibitions which opened that day.
Among the many paintings on show is one by the artist Laetitia Yhap, who lives locally, famous for her pictures of the fishing beach who was with one of her early subjects, Paul Joy, now chair of the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society.
The exhibitions run until 27th October.
Business and creative centre launch
It’s a business with a difference, it’s even got gaming machines to use in your breaks.
And now it’s inviting everyone to a FREE breakfast and networking session on Thursday morning on the Castleham Industrial Estate in Hastings.
Wise Group, based in Gresley Road, is launching its new business and creative centre.
It includes conference rooms for just £50 per day or £30 for a half day and hot desks from £20 a day.
There is a chill out zone with games, and Hastings Mayor Nigel Sinden and deputy council leader Kim Forward will be at the launch.
It is on Thursday from 8am. Email email@example.com to book your place.
You are also welcome to pop in at any time, just call 01424 462300.
Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Tomorrow is Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Sussex Police is reminding older people and their families and carers, that it is important to stay on the alert for attempts to defraud them.
Whether through couriers, doorstep callers, computers and telephones, investment offers, dating sites, by someone close to them or through bogus inheritance claims.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is emphasising the fact that various types of abuse affect more than half-a-million older people across the UK each year. Abuse can be physical, financial, sexual or psychological and all can be a result of neglect. It can occur anywhere – at home, in residential care, even in hospital.
In Sussex alone, in the year to the end of May 2019, there were 1,754 of abuse and reports of financial loss to those who were defrauded of over £11,000,000. Seventy-three per cent of victims were over 60 and 71 per cent lived alone.
Prosecution for noise
Hastings Borough Council won a successful prosecution against Jamie Wickens of West Hill Road in St Leonards.
Mr Wickens was found guilty in his absence for breaching noise abatement notices in January and February of this year. His fine was £2,000 for each breach of the notice, totalling £6,474 when costs and victim surcharge were included.
Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for environmental services said: “The defendant breached the noise abatement notice three times by playing loud music, late at night and pounding the floor. The council takes these complaints very seriously, and we will prosecute whenever we have sufficient grounds for doing so.”
Become a soccer referee
EVER thought of becoming a fully qualified soccer referee?
Courses are being held this summer, including one this month, Peter Lindsey, referees secretary of the East Sussex Football League, said: “We are asking everyone if they know of people who are interested in becoming a fully qualified referee.
“We are always in need of new referees, and you must attend an introduction evening first. It’s not the easiest job, we all know that, but for many it is very enjoyable and rewarding.”
The next introduction evenings are at:
Date: Wednesday 21 August
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Venue: Eastbourne Borough Football Club, Priory Lane, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 7QH
Date: Tuesday 18 June
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Venue: Longhill High School, Falmer Road, Rottingdean, Brighton, BN2 7FR
To register, email Referees@SussexFA.com
Get in the sprit of Bike Week
PEOPLE across East Sussex are being urged to employ pedal power for their daily journeys as part of a national celebration of cycling.
Bike Week runs from Saturday, June 8th and that time residents are being urged to ditch the car and take to two wheels for trips to work and school.
As well as the health benefits, cycling can help to cut congestion and air pollution in the county’s busy towns and villages.
Councillor Bill Bentley, the county council’s lead member for communities and safety, said: “Every day thousands of cars take to the roads for journeys to work or school, with one in five cars on the road during morning rush hour taking children to school.
“As well as the obvious health benefits, taking to the road on a bike will reduce congestion and help improve the air quality and make our busy towns and villages safer.
“I hope Bike Week will inspire people to rethink their journeys, leave their cars at home and find a greener and healthier way to travel to work or school. You never know, it might be a healthy habit that sticks.”
Motorbike thefts – arrests made
Police in East Sussex have carried out a day of action, arresting two men and searching five addresses, as part of an investigation into a series of high value motorcycle thefts.
Last Friday (May 24th) search warrants were executed at three addresses in Hastings and Battle, including a semi-detached house and two self-storage sites.
Two further houses were searched during the same operation under police powers following intelligence gained from the warrants. Officers recovered one of the stolen motorbikes, seized a large amount of suspected stolen tools and plant machinery and also discovered two cannabis ‘factories’ with in excess of 100 plants in various stages of development.
A car also seized appears to have been adapted with a bike ramp in the back and may have been used in the thefts.
Two men, both aged 33, were arrested on suspicion of burglary, handling stolen goods, and production of cannabis. After being interviewed they were released on police bail until June 21st while enquiries continue.
More than 30 high value motorbikes had been stolen from the roadside or garages and outbuildings had been stolen in the Hastings and Rother area since November 2018.
Inspector Aidan Cornwall, of the Hastings prevention team, said: This has been a successful operation but our investigation is continuing and we would like to appeal for information about the outstanding motorbikes. We think they are being stored discreetly in storage containers or garages and we would like anyone who has information around bikes being stored in a suspicious way to come forward.
“Meanwhile we also urge owners to increase security and vigilance when leaving bikes at the roadside, or in garages or outbuildings.”
Any information can be reported online or by phoning 101, quoting Operation Jump.
Alternatively, details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers via its website or by calling 0800 555 111.
Advice on securing motorcycles can be found here:
Let’s talk about sex!
A new scheme launching in East Sussex will encourage people aged 45 and over to talk about sex – to try and halt a rise in sexually transmitted infections.
The SHIFT project will encourage people in that age group to pay more attention to their sexual health and wellbeing, and encourage a greater uptake of the services available.
People most at risk are those entering new sexual relationships after a period of monogamy, often post-menopause, when pregnancy is no longer an issue but little thought is given to STIs.
East Sussex County Council public health is one of the partners in the EU-funded scheme, which is running across the south east.
Darrell Gale, East Sussex director of public health, said: “People don’t stop having sex when they hit their mid-forties – but they don’t always like talking about it.
“In recent years we’ve seen a rise in STI rates among people in this age group, who often lack of awareness of sexual health issues and the help and support that is available to them.
“The scheme aims to reduce the stigma, get people talking and improve the sexual health and wellbeing of over-45s by empowering them to take advantage of the wide variety of services on offer.”
Putting customers first
The team that maintains roads in East Sussex has been praised for its excellent customer service.
East Sussex Highways has been awarded the Government-backed Customer Service Excellence award, being ranked as ‘fully compliant’ in all areas.
Assessors said the organisation put the customer ‘at the heart’ of its service and staff showed a ‘clear commitment to understanding customer needs’ and delivering ‘excellent customer service’.
The assessment included visits to Highways depots and the contact centre in Ringmer and speaking to staff and customers.
Councillor Claire Dowling, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said: “This award is recognition of the tremendous work the highways team does to put customers at the heart of everything they do.”
Assessors said an increase in staff at the Highways contact centre had led to improved response times and enquiries being dealt with more quickly.
Other improvements included significant investment in new technology, a ‘Think like a Customer’ initiative rolled out across all staff and a ‘Back to the Floor’ scheme, where senior managers spend time working alongside frontline staff.
Appeal for witnesses
A cyclist has died following a collision on the A2690 Combe Valley Way, near Bexhill.
The collision, involving a pedal cycle and a blue Vauxhall Astra, happened about 6.20am on Sunday.
The cyclist – a 53-year-old local man – was declared dead at the scene. The driver, a 34-year-old local man, sustained minor injuries.
A 34-year-old man from Bexhill was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by driving without due care while unfit through drink/drugs. He has been released on conditional bail until June 23rd.
Anyone who saw what happened, or who saw either of the vehicles in the area shortly before the collision, is urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101, quoting Operation Newell.
Planning enforcement – couple fined
Hastings Borough Council has successfully prosecuted Sean and Sylvia Fullick of Wishing Tree Road North in St Leonards for not complying with a planning enforcement notice to stop using the address for the repair of cars and other vehicles. They were asked to remove the cars and all of the waste materials associated with the car business. They were fined a total of £2,090.
Kim Forward, lead councillor for regeneration and planning said: “We are supportive of local businesses but we can’t allow activity of this kind in a residential area where it impacts negatively on the environment and other residents.”
Photography volunteers wanted
St Michael’s Hospice is looking for volunteers to join their retail eCommerce team to help photograph donated items for display on its eBay and Amazon sites.
Hospice volunteer Jodee from Battle explains why she enjoys volunteering for the Hospice: “I’ve been volunteering in the eCommerce team for a few years and love photographing all the various items that we go on to sell on our eBay or Amazon sites.
“I became a Hospice volunteer as I wanted to combine my hobby of photography with doing something for the Hospice. I volunteer one day a week for a few hours so it fits perfectly around my family life. I can also do some of the editing from home, so that makes it even easier.
“Some days I can take over 300 photos and I love seeing all the different items that are donated to the Hospice for us to sell.”
For more information call 01424 445177 or email email@example.com
Rock a nore delays until end of June
Work started just above Rock a nore road site today to create a concrete collar to reduce erosion to an east Hill cave’s supporting pillar.
The works started Tuesday May 7th and will continue until their completion on June 28th says Hastings Borough Council.
Rock a nore road will be reduced to a single side, with traffic lights, so drivers are warned to expect delays. The traffic light system will be in effect until the end of the work, including weekends.
Allotment project cash boost
A £500 grant has been given to an allotment project, created and run by Integrated Offender Management (IOM) in Hastings, which aims to bring a cross-agency response to crime and re-offending within the local community.
The donation comes from the Police Property Act Fund (PPAF), made up of monies received by the police from the sale of unclaimed lost property and property confiscated by order of the courts and then sold.
The much needed funds will provide raw materials to renovate the allotment and ensure it is maintained over a sustained period of time
Charlie Connaughton, East Sussex IOM co-ordinator said: “The allotment provides an additional activity for service users managed under the IOM scheme, providing an opportunity to work within the community and engage with others as part of measures to help refocus and reduce re-offending.”
Pictured above are Mr Connaughton with PC Eoin Freeman, of Hastings IOM, presenting the cheque to Rob Terry, from Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation, in support of the scheme.
Rock-a-Nore Road repairs
Council leader Peter Chowney says he was happy to join Old Hastings councillor James Bacon and local business representatives to help launch their petition to East Sussex County Council, about the appalling state of Rock-a-Nore Road.
“The road and pavement surfacing are in a state of serious disrepair, making journeys for those in wheelchairs in particular difficult and dangerous,” says Mr Chowney who is also Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hastings.
“I appreciate that East Sussex County Council (ESCC), like pretty much all councils, has suffered from massive cuts in its government grants, but this road is used by many thousands of visitors to Hastings and is in the heart of the historic Old Town – keeping it well maintained should be more of a priority.
“We have tried many times to persuade, cajole, and encourage ESCC to do something, but to no avail. So perhaps a petition will help,” he said
Police seeking witnesses
Witnesses are still being sought to a street robbery in Hughenden Road, at its junction with Beaconsfield Road.
It happened at around 9.15pm on Saturday, March 30th as the victim, a 19-year-old local man walking home, was approached from behind and struck on the back of his head, causing him to fall to the ground.
While there, his unknown assailant went through his pockets and stole a silver mobile phone. A white shoulder bag containing personal effects was also stolen.
The suspect then made off in an unknown direction.
Officers investigating the incident are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen what happened or who may have other relevant information.
They are asked to contact police online or by phoning 101, quoting serial 1311 of 30/03. Alternatively, they can make anonymous contact with the independent charity Crimestoppers, either online or by phoning 0800 555111.
Jailed for burglary
A St Leonards man is starting a prison sentence totalling 11 years for burglaries in St Leonards and Peasmarsh last September.
William Ripley, 42, of London Road, St Leonards, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday April 4th, for aggravated burglary at a house in St Leonards and a further burglary at a house in Peasmarsh, both in September last year.
On the afternoon of September 16th two men forced their way through a locked door into the St Leonards address, one armed with a shotgun. They threatened one of the residents and stole about £200 in cash before leaving in a car.
During the following day the house in Peasmarsh was broken into and a quantity of jewellery was stolen, together with bank and credit cards, one of which was used at several local shops later the same day.
Police Investigator Bernadette Peters said: “From CCTV at the locations where the card was used we subsequently identified Ripley.
“Meanwhile, in the early hours of September 18th a car stolen in another burglary in St Leonards earlier that month was seen being driven near Rye. Officers searched the area and found it abandoned near Three Oaks. Jewellery from the Peasmarsh burglary was found in the car, which was also identified as being present at the St Leonards burglary. Ripley’s DNA linked him to that car.
“Our investigation has resulted in a dangerous burglar being taken off the streets and sentenced to a substantial term of imprisonment. Victims from both the addresses were understandably frightened by what happened, and the presence of the firearm at the St Leonards house shows the level of fear Ripley intended to demonstrate.”
See police advice on preventing burglaries here.
Racial abuse – witnesses sought
Police are investigating a case of racist abuse directed at a man in a St Leonards street.
In the early evening of Monday April 1st, a 60-year-old local man was leaving the Co-op in London Road, St Leonards, when another man standing just outside the doorway made a racist comment aimed towards the victim.
The suspect then followed the victim down the road into another store and continued to be abusive towards him until store staff managed to get him to leave.
PC Candace Ferguson said: “We are looking for any witnesses who were in that area early on Friday evening and who may have heard or saw what happened.
“If you can help please contact us online or by calling 101, quoting serial 1083 of 01/01.”
A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated words and harassment. After being interviewed he was released under investigation.
Former Hastings Mayor in court
A former Mayor of Hastings was charged with four counts of fraud by abuse of position at the town’s Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Paul Roger Smith, 74, of Addington Grove, Lewisham, London, entered no pleas to the charges when he appeared before Hastings magistrates and is now scheduled to appear Mr Smith at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday, May 8.
Mr Smith a Liberal Democrat councillor on Hastings Borough Council was Mayor between 1989 and 1991. He was also treasurer of several community organisations in Hastings and St Leonards.
It is alleged that between October 9th, 2013 and December 25th, 2016 Mr Smith, while treasurer of Hastings and St Leonards Museum Association, abused his position as treasurer by committing fraud, intending to keep £12,276.62 for himself.
The prosecution also alleges that Mr Smith, while treasurer of the Castle Ward Forum, committed the same offence between March 31st, 2014 and April 1st, 2017, intending to keep £7,316.49 for himself.
Mr Smith is also accused of committing fraud by abusing his position as treasurer for Hastings and Rye Liberal Democrat Association, intending to keep £4,250.16 for himself.
The allegation in this charge dates from between February 15th, 2013 and March 5th, 2017.
The prosecution also alleges that Mr Smith abused his position as treasurer of St Leonards Methodist Church between October 2nd, 2014 and February 10th, 2017 by committing fraud and intending to keep £12,408.15 for himself.
Running a car repair business in St Mary’s Road without planning permission has cost two men almost £3,000.
Hastings Borough Council successfully prosecuted Trevor Foster and Paul Hoare for the offence and they were each fined £1,000 plus costs and victim surcharges the total was £2,792.
Kim Forward, lead councillor for planning said: “We are always concerned when planning rules are ignored and, as in this case, will prosecute people who don’t communicate with us and refuse to provide the necessary information.”
Hospice grand Spring fair
Go along to St Michael’s Hospice on Saturday May 4th from 10.15am for the Hastings and St Leonards Support Group’s Grand Spring Fayre.
It\s a wonderful morning for all the family with plenty of stalls to browse, homemade cakes to eat, live entertainment and a prize draw and tombola. It’s also the perfect event for picking up a bargain or two!
Entry is just 50p per person and that includes biscuits and a cup of tea or coffee.
The fair is being held at the Arthur Easton Centre, St Michael’s Hospice, Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards on Sea, TN38 0LB.
If you would like to volunteer for the Hastings and St Leonards Support Group, please get in touch with Margaret on 01424 445177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Parker students at 1066 Book Awards
Ark William Parker Academy joined other schools at a presentation event at St Richards Catholic College in Bexhill to announce the winner of the 1066 Schools’ book award.
Each year four books are chosen which students from local schools read and review. This year’s winning book was The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington, a beautiful tale of friendship, kindness and love within the harrowing camp of Auschwitz-Birkinau.
St Richards students opened the event and this was followed by a student from each of the participating schools reading an excerpt from one of the shortlisted books.
William Parker librarian Kimbley Firth said: “Our students were a credit to our academy, Sam Tomlin represented Ark William Parker and did a fantastic job reading an excerpt from The 1,000 year old boy.
“We’re very grateful to St Richards for hosting the event and well done to all those who took part – It was a great evening.
South Coast Athletico are champions
South Coast Athletico Football Club in only its second full season as part of the East Sussex Football League can call themselves champions.
The team beat Victoria Baptists three goals to one after extra time to lift the Wisden Cup in a hard fought match at the Hastings United ground on Tuesday night..
“What a night! What an atmosphere,” said a very happy manager Neil Sutcliffe after the match. A full match report will follow on Hastings In Focus in the next few days.
Seafront spring clean
Hastings Borough Council is currently carrying out recycling works to move shingle that has built up near the harbour arm back into other sections of the beach.
These routine works take place to protect vulnerable areas from flooding and remove surplus shingle where it’s not needed. The works are expected to continue for around a further week and by the time they are completed around 15,000 tonnes of shingle will have been put back where it is needed.
Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for the environment said: “These works are routine, they have been scheduled for some time. We carry out the work at this time of year in order to allow the most of the severe winter weather to pass. The recent storms mean there is a little extra tidying up to do!
“Without this work the beach would suffer from erosion in some areas, with other areas building up a large bank of shingle. This is the natural tidal process that moves shingle west to east over a period of time.”
Police investigate hit and run
Police are investigating a hit and run collision in Hastings.
A 50-year-old man was treated at Conquest Hospital for cuts and abrasions after reporting having been hit by a car which did not stop, while he was walking in Old London Road, Hastings, near the junction with Robertson Hill, at about 9.20pm on Sunday (March 24th).
There is currently no description of the car and anyone who saw what happened or who has any other information, is asked to contact Sussex Police online or by calling 101, quoting serial 1280 of 24/03.
Rick Wakeman at the White Rock
Rick Wakeman visits Hastings for a one-off show at the White Rock Theatre on Sunday July 21st on the second part of his Piano Odyssey UK tour.
In 2017, the professional musician, keyboard player, songwriter, broadcaster and raconteur made chart history when his Piano Portraits album became the first solo piano instrumental album to enter the UK’s Top Ten on release – a feat he repeated with the follow-up Piano Odyssey last October.
Both albums feature music that has been important to Rick on his personal musical journey, drawn from contemporary pop and rock, as well as classical repertoire, and including arrangements of David Bowie’s Life On Mars, Cat Stevens’ Morning Has Broken, the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, YES’ Wonderous Stories and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
The accompanying tour was such a sell-out success that Rick decided to perform more Piano Odyssey shows in 2019. Expect an evening of superb musicianship with a selection of music from both albums plus much more, interspersed with insightful anecdotes and much knockabout humour!
Tickets go on sale on Wednesday (March 20th) at 10am.
Primaries join Ark Helenswood Dance show
Now in its 17th Year Ark Helenswood will once again be showcasing dance works from year seven to year 11 GCSE and A Level students.
As part of the schools outreach work with Dance Teacher, Elaine Vanner, there will be performances from Ark Blacklands, Ark Little Ridge and Ark Castledown primary schools. All are welcome to enjoy this evening of outstanding dance.
The show will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st March at the Main Hall at Ark William Parker Academy in Hastings. Tickets are available on the door and are priced at £6 adults or £3 concession.
Parker students enjoy ‘Book Swap’
Staff and students celebrated World Book Day at Ark William Parker on Thursday with a World Book Day Swap Shop.
Everyone was encouraged to bring books to school they had already read and swap them at the event which was held in the library.
Librarian Kimbley Firth said: “This event was a great opportunity to broaden students experiences of different authors and great stories and I would like to thank our Junior Librarians who helped out on the day.
The school celebrated World Book Day in other ways too staff put a picture and an excerpt from their favourite book outside their classroom doors enabling students to see all the different reading habits of the staff.
Have you seen Jack Emery?
Detectives in Hastings are searching for 32-year-old local man, Jack Emery, who they want to interview about an allegation that he damaged doors and walls at a flat in St Leonards in February.
Emery, who is white, 5’11”, with brown hair and brown eyes, frequents the local area but is also believed to have been in Maidstone recently. Anyone who sees him or hears of his whereabouts is asked to contact the police online or by calling 101, quoting serial 1433 of 15/02. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Hastings Open Mosque Day
On Sunday Hastings Mosque held an open day organised by the Islamic Association and supported by Hastings Borough Council (HBC) the open day was to counter negative perceptions of Islam and to tell people about the religion.
Visitors were offered temporary henna tattoos and there was food for all.
Councillor Nigel Sinden, Mayor of Hastings said: “Once again Hastings Mosque and Madrasah was open to all as a part of National ‘Visit my Mosque Day’. Members of the mosque were keen to speak to visitors about their religion; and what it’s about. It was an honour to be invited to speak. Talks were given from Imam Ismail, the deputy Mayor Councillor James Bacon and the local police inspector.”
Beware of phone fraudsters
Elderly and vulnerable people are being warned to beware of phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be from HM Customs and Revenue (HMRC) or the police.
The bogus callers claim the targeted person is wanted for tax evasion and is arrestable on warrant unless they pay a cash sum – usually some £3,000 to £4,000 – to clear their ‘debt’.
Some even address victims by name, or use a number that is often displayed as the official number of the agency they claim to represent, to add credibility to their call.
But the genuine authorities stress that people would never be texted or telephoned by them out of the blue with requests for payments, to log in to an online account or to disclose personal information, such as PIN numbers, passwords or bank details.
Anyone receiving such contact should hang up and report the call – preferably using a separate phone or computer in case the criminals have kept the line open – to police here, at 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
It is understood that HMRC received more than 60,000 reports of phone scams in the six months up to January 2019, an increase of 360 per cent on the preceding six months.
Sergeant Kat Argholeka, of Sussex Police, said: “This underlines the importance of never giving out private information and reporting any suspicious activity without delay.
“We’d also ask friends or relatives of potentially vulnerable people to ensure they are fully aware and alert to the risks.”
More cash for road repair
Rye Road in Hastings will be one of the first to benefit from a £4.7 million cash injection that will allow East Sussex Highways to improve and ‘pothole-proof’ an additional 15 miles of road at 37 locations around the county..
While the A259 Rye Road, in Hastings will be one of the first stretches of road to be repaired the rest of the work will be carried out between now and July.
The additional work is on top of the £16.6 million being spent this financial year to improve 145 miles of road and 20 miles of pavement across the county.
Councillor Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said: “Throughout the year our highways teams do a fantastic job of identifying which roads will need work to keep them in a good condition and scheduling improvement work accordingly.
“This extra funding is very much welcome and will allow us to carry out improvements on roads we’d identified would need work in the short to medium term, but didn’t previously have funding for.”
Schemes being carried out include carriageway reconstruction and resurfacing, less extensive surface dressing, patching – where small areas of defective road are fixed – and joint repairs.
Details of forthcoming roadworks can be found on the East Sussex Highways website at www.eastsussexhighways.com
Canine carnage in country park
Twelve sheep died in Hastings Country Park yesterday morning as a result of attacks by out of control dogs.
The attack has been described by Hastings Borough Council (HBC) as, ‘the, worst dog attack the site has experienced’.
Two dogs from a local property caused carnage when they got into a field with the sheep. By the time police arrived some sheep were already dead and others were so badly mauled that they had to be shot. A grazier who attended the scene was forced to shoot the dogs which were still attacking the sheep. It is understood the dogs belong to a local resident.
Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, lead member for HBC’s environmental services and chair of the Hastings country park management forum said: “We have never suffered such a devastating dog attack at the country park. The Police are investigating to find the owners of the dogs and the reason why they were out alone. Everyone who has a dog should keep their dog on a lead when near any fields at the country park.”
Sussex County Cup Final for Parker
Year ten Ark William Parker football team won through to their third County Cup final in four years by beating Bedes School 1-nil in the semi-final yesterday.
In glorious conditions Parker dominated the first half both in terms of possession and territory, however chances were sparse for both teams. Warren narrowly missing the best of Parker’s chances, while Craddock in the Parker goal was very well protected by the defence, marshalled by the impressive Mapstone.
In the second half the game became more open with more attempts on target for both teams. The Bedes keeper pulling off a remarkable double save when a Parker goal seemed certain. Throughout the contest Parker always seemed the more likely to score and Avery proved to be the hero. He picked the ball up on the half way line, forced his way through two Bedes defenders before finishing from outside the box, driving the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.
En route to the final William Parker have beaten Priory School, Uckfield, Claremont, Durrington and now Bedes. They will face either Hove Park, Ardingly College or Dorothy Stringer school.
Coach Jimmy Elford said: “The boys were amazing today, every player contributed to this success. They showed great determination to put right the defeat in last year’s final and are hungry to become County Champions this year”.
Squad: Craddock, Legg, Winters, Mapstone, Skinner, L Warren (B Warren), Ward, Palmer, Corke, Avery, Peacock; Cooper, Roscoe, Cumber.
Appeal for witnesses
Witnesses are being sought to an incident in London Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, in which a 39-year-old man was attacked by three other men.
He was struck about the head and face, causing injuries which required treatment at the local Conquest Hospital.
The attack occurred shortly before 5.30pm on Thursday February 21st near to the Boots and Co-Op stores in London Road. The area was busy with traffic and pedestrians at the time.
Police would like to hear from anyone who saw what happened or who may have relevant mobile phone images or dash-cam footage of the incident.
They are asked to contact Sussex Police online or by phoning 101, quoting serial 0959 of 21/02.
Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers or call the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Year of the Pig
Hastings celebrated Chinese New Year on Sunday at Priory Meadow shopping centre.
Mayor of Hastings Nigel Sinden and his deputy James Bacon were both there as was Councillor Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council who said: “The Chinese New Year celebrations are always a colourful, lively and fun way to brighten up a winter afternoon. I’m very grateful to the members of the local Chinese community who put this event on it helps remind us of the increasing cultural diversity we have in Hastings, and how new communities settling here have helped to regenerate the town, creating new cultural traditions and local businesses that help to boost the local economy.”
The event featured a variety of traditional Chinese dances, the lion dance, baby dragon dance and the ribbon dance. There were also gymnastics demonstrations, with a chance to join in and several martial arts displays throughout the afternoon. A large and appreciative crowd was in attendance to celebrate the year of the Pig.
Road repair road closure
Motorists are being advised of overnight road closures as an improvement scheme begins on a main road through Hastings.
The A21 London Road will be closed between Battle Road, outside the Asda superstore, and Bohemia Road for seven nights for carriageway resurfacing.
The work begins next Monday, February 25th, with the road closed to through traffic from 8pm until 6am every weekday night, and is due to finish on the morning of Wednesday, March 6th.
Temporary two-way traffic lights will be in place to allow vehicles in and out of the superstore car park.
Councillor Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said: “This is one of the busiest roads in Hastings, which carries very heavy traffic every day. The daily pounding it receives takes its toll on the road. While we do need to close the road to ensure the safety of our workers and the public, carrying out the work overnight will allow us to keep any traffic disruption to a minimum.
“We’d ask residents to bear with us while we carry out these essential works.”
While the road will be completely closed to through traffic, crews will allow access to residents where possible, but this may be subject to delays. A signed diversion route will be in place.
More information about forthcoming roadworks is available on the East Sussex Highways website at www.eastsussexhighways.com
Suspended sentence for dodgy cigs
A shopkeeper from St Leonards has been handed a suspended jail term and left more than £3,000 out of pocket after being caught selling illegal tobacco products.
Arsalan Mohammadi was convicted at Hastings Magistrates’ Court following an investigation of his store – One Shop, in London Road – by officers from East Sussex Trading Standards.
Undercover operatives were sold Golden Virginia rolling tobacco not bearing the plain packaging required by law, while officers also seized counterfeit Richmond cigarettes from the shop.
The defendant admitted two offences relating to trademark law and was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years and handed a community order requiring him to carry out 160 hours’ unpaid work.
The 38-year-old also admitted three counts of breaching the law on packaging and was given a £1,000 fine for each count. He was also ordered to pay £450 court costs and a victim of surcharge of £115.
Richard Strawson, East Sussex County Council team manager for Trading Standards, said: “Our officers work tirelessly to reduce the supply of illegal tobacco through intelligence-led inspections and test purchases.
“Selling these kind of products brings organised crime into our communities, undermines efforts to discourage smoking and in particular encourages tobacco use among young people due to cheaper prices.
“I’d encourage anyone who knows of illegal tobacco sales to report it so that we can work together to tackle this issue and bring offenders to justice.”
Mohammadi, of London Road, St Leonards, was convicted of two counts of breaching the Trade Marks Act 1994 by having in his store counterfeit Richmond cigarettes on January 4 and 11 last year.
He also breached the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Product Regulations 2015 by selling illegally-packaged Golden Virginia tobacco on December 22nd 2017 and January 4th and 11th 2018.
He was sentenced in a hearing at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Friday, January 25th 2019. The court also ordered the illegal tobacco products be forfeited and destroyed.
People can report the selling of illegal tobacco to Trading Standards anonymously online at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk/ or by calling the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 6 999.
Two-wheelers can use bus lane
Cyclists, motorcyclists and taxis will be allowed to use a bus lane on a main coastal route between Bexhill and St Leonards in a trial which launches this week.
An experimental Traffic Regulation Order comes into force on Bexhill Road, between Bexleigh Avenue and Harley Shute Road, on Friday 15th and will run for up to 18 months.
The bus lane opened last year and is one of a number of transport improvements delivered as a condition of planning approval being granted for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road Councillor Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said: “We’ve had a number of requests from the public to allow cyclists to use the bus lane.
“It’s always been our intention to allow bicycles, taxis and motorcycles to travel in this lane and the trial will give us a chance to see how it works in practice. The safety reviews we have carried out don’t indicate any issues as a result of this scheme, but we will be monitoring and reviewing the impact of the trial before deciding whether to make it permanent.”
People have until August 15th to submit any feedback on the trial, by emailing TROs@eastsussex.gov.uk or writing to East Sussex County Council, CET Parking, B floor, County Hall, Lewes BN7 1UE.
Later this year, two additional sections are due to be added to the bus lane, extending it to run between Glyne Gap in the west and the junction with Filsham Road in the east.
Top award for Baird
A local school has been awarded a prestigious award for their approach to mental health and wellbeing.
The Baird Primary Academy was awarded nurtureuk’s Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award for its whole-school nurturing approach.
Local MP Amber Rudd has been one of the first to congratulate the school saying: “This is a fantastic achievement and I am pleased to see their hard work recognised. I hope to visit the school soon and look forward to seeing them build on this success.”
Nurture groups are an educational psychologist-designed, teacher-led intervention for disengaged and troubled children, which removes behavioural barriers to engagement and attainment in schools through re-creating missing or distorted early attachments. First developed in Hackney more than 40 years ago, there are more than 2,000 nurture groups in nursery, primary and secondary schools across the UK.
Museum offers work experience
Hastings Museum and Art Gallery would like to hear from school students who are looking for work experience between May 13th-17th and July 1st-5th and would like to try their hand at working in a museum.
The museum is joining a growing list of employers offering work experience to pupils in Hastings and across East Sussex promoted by the County Council’s work experience team.
The museum is giving pupils the chance to experience life behind the scenes of the museum. During each placement pupils will get to work on a range of projects alongside staff, including chances to work with collections, on exhibitions and planning events, as well as work with visitor services and learning teams. By the end of the week pupils will have a better idea of what it is like working in a museum today.
For details on how to apply check the museum website: http://www.hmag.org.uk/aboutus/getinvolved/
DWP brings over 300 jobs to Hastings this year
The Department for Work and Pensions is to create a Universal Credit Service Centre in Hastings creating more than 300 jobs in the town by the end of the year.
The service centre is expected to bring around 350 full time and part time vacancies to Hastings and will provide support for the South East area.
Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye said: “I am pleased the Department has chosen to open a Service Centre in Hastings. This will bring a huge boost to our economy through offering high quality local jobs.”
Accolade for Hastings Museum
Hastings Museum and Art gallery has received a national boost as its extensive Japanese collection was highlighted on an interactive map published by the Department for Culture, Media & Science. This coincided with a visit to the country by the Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo.
Councillor Kim Forward, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, explained: “We have a fantastic collection of Japanese artefacts all of which are part of the Brassey collection. Lord and Lady Brassey, who lived in Hastings and donated their collection to the town, were among the very first westerners to visit Japan when it opened up in the 19th century, travelling on their private yacht, The Sunbeam.
“Our collection includes a full set of samurai armour, a saddle and matching stirrups of wood, a 17th century su-yari (a spear), an early 17th century Wakizashi (short sword), and a late 16th century Katana (long sword).
“We also have a selection of netsuke (decorative toggles), dolls, mirrors and decorative lacquer boxes on display in the Upper Durbar Hall.
“I am really pleased that the museum’s collection has been highlighted like this, it has so much of interest to see, of local, national, and international significance.”
Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has successfully prosecuted landlord Shaun Matthew Treloar for a failure to carry out work to a property he owns in Shepherd St, St Leonards.
Kim Forward, lead councillor for planning said: “We aim to work with owners to transform rundown properties and most of them understand our approach and the need to be responsible and maintain their property. A poorly maintained property has an impact on everyone, particularly the neighbours in the vicinity. We will use enforcement notices and prosecutions for those property owners who ignore our communications.
“In this case, Mr Treloar was asked to do the work last April. He did not comply with the section 215 notice sent to him, so regrettably we have had to take him to court.”
Mr Treloar was fined a total of £1,060 pounds, including costs.
Hospice coffee morning and bazaar
Support St Michael’s Hospice by going along to the monthly Coffee Morning and Bazaar hosted by the Hastings and St Leonards Support Group on Saturday February 2nd from 10.15am until noon, at the Arthur Easton Centre, St Michael’s Hospice.
Entrance is 50p, and there will be many brilliant stalls to browse, bargains to be had, and delicious homemade cakes to buy.
The Hastings and St Leonards Support Group is always looking for fun, creative and reliable volunteers to join their team and help at events which raise an incredible amount of money for the Hospice every year.
For more information contact the Fundraising team on 01424 456396, or email email@example.com.
New finance boss at Hastings Direct
Hastings Group Holdings Plc – owners of the Hastings Direct brand – is about to have a new group chief financial officer.
Announcing the retirement of existing post holder Richard Hoskins, the company said MS Amlin group Chief Financial Officer John Worth is taking over the role ‘within the next few months.’
Sir Craig backs Rudd for leadership
A one-time senior adviser to former Prime Minister David Cameron has tipped Hastings MP Amber Rudd as the next leader of the Conservative party and possible Prime Minister.
Sir Craig Oliver who was Cameron’s Director of Communications between 2011 and 2016 and was the architect of the remain campaign in the 2016 European referendum is the subject of a lengthy interview in today’s Times. In that interview he says of Ms Rudd: “Her massive strength is that she’s a real grown-up.”
Read the full interview here https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/craig-oliver-interview-a-people-s-vote-would-be-so-divisive-and-the-world-s-easiest-job-for-leave-p7n8v5vz5
Go yellow for St Michael’s Hospice!
St Michael’s Hospice is calling all supporters of the charity to help it celebrate its annual awareness week, Yellow Week, from Monday February 4th until Sunday February 10th.
Yellow Week aims to raise awareness around the vital services that the Hospice provides to adults with life-limiting illnesses throughout Hastings and Rother.
So whether it’s a mufti day, a yellow cake sale, yellow party, or even a custard bath competition, there’s plenty of ways for everyone to get involved and raise money or sponsorship.
The cost of running the Hospice is £6,000,000 each year – that’s almost £16,500 every day – so every donation, however large or small helps the hospice to continue to provide high quality, responsive palliative care and bereavement support.
Emergency meeting planned
Hastings Green party will hold an emergency meeting about plans to site ten acres of solar panels on Hastings Country Park tomorrow night (Jan 10th) at 6.30 pm in the White Rock Hotel.
Richard Watson of Energise Sussex Coast will be there to answer questions and present ideas on how to generate renewable energy locally that don’t include the country park.
A spokesman for Hastings Green Party said the borough council’s plans had “come out of the blue” with no mention of the country park in either of the energy studies commissioned by HBC last year.
- Read the full story here
Tinkering not enough
Describing the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) as ‘catastrophic’ Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hastings, Peter Chowney, has written an open letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions secretary asking her to have an ’empathetic approach towards those you represent’.
His letter calls for immediate measures to ease the burden on UC claimants in Hastings and Rye.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is of course Hastings MP Amber Rudd and she and Mr Chowney will be opponents come the next general election. In his letter Mr Chowney says:
“As Work and Pensions Secretary you announced a delay to the further roll out of the Universal Credit system. I cautiously welcome this. The scheme has been catastrophic, bringing many close to destitution. However, your announcement does not provide relief for those in our town already suffering under the current regime. The constituents of Hastings receiving Universal Credit need action now and the evidence for this is plain:
- A 91 per cent increase in homeless applications
- An 82 per cent rise in food bank demand
- Temporary accommodation at a cost of over £1m per year
- A Hastings ‘baby pantry’ in providing free baby-formula because some mothers are so impoverished, they water formula down to make it last longer
“This should not be happening in the fifth richest nation and certainly not in an already deprived seaside town. Ideally, you would be announcing the scrapping of this unfair system – but I suspect this will require a change in government. Meantime, there are things you could do to provide relief to those suffering in Hastings right now, including:
- Scrapping the current sanctions system. It’s cruel, unnecessary and leaves people destitute or scared to make changes in their lives – including looking for work;
- Increasing the local housing allowance to reflect rents charged and making it automatically payable to landlords;
- Making the application process shorter and ensuring technology works. Too many claims are delayed through electronic system failures;
- Making four weeks the maximum for processing claims, with compensation introduced when delays happen through no fault of the claimant
“None of these things is particularly onerous or difficult. They just require political will and an empathic approach towards those you represent.”
Holocaust Memorial Day 2019
Hastings will host its annual Holocaust Memorial Day service at 11am on Saturday January 26th at St Mary in the Castle, on Hastings seafront. It is being organised by Dr Shelley Katz with the support of Hastings Borough Council.
This year’s service will have as its theme Torn from home. It will include the Acromax Performance Group working with Ark Helenswood Academy, the St Richard’s College choir and dancers, and the BISC (Queens University – Canada).
The service is open to everyone, and admission is free but by ticket only. Tickets must be obtained in advance, and will be available shortly from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre in Breeds Place, Hastings (by the fountain on the seafront).
MP seeks reassurance on pier opening
HASTINGS MP Amber Rudd has confirmed she’ll host a summit with the owner of Hastings Pier to explain the importance of the iconic pier being reopened on time.
It was announced before Christmas that Hastings Pier will be closed until March for repairs and other necessary work.
Ms Rudd said: “This is disappointing news, however, it is important that safety is prioritised.
“In all my meetings with the owner, I have always stressed how important the pier is to our community and have represented the concerns of residents to him.
“Local businesses and families can be assured I will do the same again and stress the importance of our world famous pier reopening on time.
“I will shortly be meeting with the owner to ensure there is urgency for getting the pier safe and open for visitors and I will provide more information to all my constituents.
“As Hastings residents will remember the devastating effects of the arson in 2010, it is essential that the issues with electrical wiring on the pier are solved.”
Boris went to Specsavers
Specsavers in Queens Road is one of eight Specsavers stores in Sussex working together this Christmas to collect toys and donations for Chestnut Tree House.
Chestnut Tree House is a children’s hospice across East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South East Hampshire, caring for 300 children and young adults from up to 19 years of age with progressive life-shortening conditions.
Local MP Amber Rudd recently met staff at the branch to chat about the toy collection and to make her own donation – a Parliamentary teddy bear named Boris.
Ms Rudd said: “I was delighted to meet the fantastic staff of our local Specsavers and to hear about the work they are doing this Christmas to support Chestnut Tree House.
“Chestnut Tree House is a fantastic organisation, dedicated to supporting not only children but their whole family through end of life care. The hard work to ensure that the best quality of life is provided for children and young people is inspiring.”
West Hill rape – man arrested
Detectives investigating the rape of a woman in Hastings in the early hours of Saturday have arrested a man.
Police were alerted at 5.34am after the 19-year-old victim sought help at a friend’s house after being attacked by a man she didn’t know in the West Hill area of the town.
A 27-year-old man from Hastings was arrested on suspicion of rape on Monday last night. He remains in custody for questioning.
Detective Inspector Ben Newman said: “The victim is being supported by specially trained officers. We want to hear from anyone who may have information about the incident or from anyone who was present on West Hill between approximately 3am and 6am on Saturday morning.
“Any information could be useful, so please contact us either online or call 101 quoting Operation Insight.”
Ready for the beat
Sussex Police’s 70 new PCs – the forces’ largest intake in ten years – are now in their final days of intensive training and assessment, getting ready to go out on the streets across Sussex in the New Year.
Each constable will join a local response team in January following completion of 15 weeks rigorous training. In the new year they will be seen working in the community alongside their tutors as they work towards being able to undertake independent patrol status.
This record intake of 70 officers, who started their training in September, was funded by this year’s rise in council tax. More than 200 new constables have now been recruited this year to help strengthen local policing in Sussex.
The recruits have been undergoing practical scenario assessments at Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes. Presented with live situations acted by volunteers, the recruits are being assessed on how they put legislation and policing powers into practice.
Rock fall – latest
Hastings Borough Council (HBC) said this morning that there had been no further incidents of rock fall at White Rock over the weekend and council officers had hand delivered letters to residents and spoke to those who were home.
Two families directly affected by last week’s fall were moved to emergency accommodation. An engineer carried out an initial assessment which will be followed by a review of the 2016 report early in the New Year.
HBC will be writing to residents again today to advise them of the ongoing issues with their properties and their responsibilities regarding the safety of their property and/or their tenants. Residents who want further advice and support should go to the Contact Centre.
Council staff have also been attempting to speak to business owners in the immediate area between 20 and 27 White Rock and efforts will continue today.
Hastings Borough Council officers will be on call 24/7 over the holiday period should any further incidents occur. For up to date information visit HBC’s website hastings.gov.uk where further updates will be posted.
Having your say
There’s just a week to have your say on the core offer proposed by East Sussex County Council.
A public survey to gather the views of residents and organisations runs until December 26th and can be completed online or by requesting a paper version to complete and return by the closing date.
The core offer suggests what the council says is a, ‘basic but decent level of service’ it believes is the very least residents should be able to expect, even with intense financial pressure on the county’s finances.
If adopted, the core offer will guide the council’s approach over the next three years, including how it works with partners to meet as many of the county’s needs as possible.
The survey can completed online at: https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/governance-and-community-services/a-core-offer-for-east-sussex/
A paper copy of the survey, which must be returned by the closing date of December 26th, can be still be requested by phoning 01273 335155 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Hastings Round Table latest
Paul McCleery Chairman of the Hastings Round Table has been busy.
This week he presented a cheque to Dynasty Reigns, a local competitive cheerleading club, he said: “This is one of many fantastic organisations that we have been able to help this year, of course the money comes from the Hastings Beer & Music Festival so thank you to everyone who came and supported the event and we hope to see you next July for the 2019 event.”
Last week he attended the Association of Carers Christmas lunch in Hastings, and presented a cheque to Julie Skinner to help pay for the lunch, he says: “These are amazing people. Have a look at their Facebook page and website to understand who they are and what they do.”
MP confident of service improvement
Hastings residents are to receive a better rail service, according to local MP Amber Rudd.
She says expected changes to timetables will have a positive impact on the trains in the area. The news comes on the back of recommendations by the travel watchdog the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) which has completed its review into the issues caused by GTR and Northern Rail timetable changes in the summer.
Amber Rudd MP said: “The disruptions caused by the May timetable changes were wholly unacceptable… I am pleased that some constructive action has been laid out and look forward to seeing these steps being taken.
“I will continue to work closely with Network Rail to ensure that our towns have the best possible services.”
Following interim findings into the causes and experience of the disruption, Professor Stephen Glaister CBE, Chairman of the ORR, has recommended improvements to improve passengers’ experiences, these include improvements to timetabling and system operation, passenger impact assessments and the role of the ORR.
The ORR have also asked Network Rail to take action to improve its ability to develop the timetable.
Festive litter pick planned
Hastings Deputy Mayor, councillor James Bacon is organising a Festive Themed Fancy Dress Litter Pick later this month.
Mr Bacon says: “As Old Hastings Ward Councillor I’m arranging this family friendly event. If you are able to come along dressed or accessorised with something festive, you will be entered into the ‘Best Dressed’ competition.
“We will be meeting at the Stade Open Space in Hastings Old Town at 10am on Friday December 21st.
“If you have gloves and a black sack, please do bring these along with you. Litter pickers will be provided on the day but if you have your own, please feel free to bring this along too.”
Sandhurst recreation ground closed
Vandals broke in to the large changing pavilion at Sandhurst recreation ground on the Ridge last week causing damage that will cost up to £6,000 to put right – in the meantime the recreation ground has been forced to close.
Considerable damage has been caused to the inside of the building and the changing room, which was only recently newly refurbished by Hastings Borough Council was stripped of its copper piping, heaters and cabling. All the fixtures were also smashed.
Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for the environment said: “This stupid act of vandalism and theft costs our community money at a time when the effects of austerity are being very keenly felt. It will take at least three months before the damage can be completely repaired. In the meantime, the clubs who play there will have to do without a changing room, or move to another pitch. I’d therefore urge anyone with information on what took place to contact the police”
Council’s successful prosecution
Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has successfully prosecuted landlord Thomas Brian Rogers of Wicklemarsh Road, London for a number of breaches of licensing conditions with fines totalling £11,332 for a rented property in Cambridge Gardens.
Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing said: “The Council continues to show that we will not tolerate landlords who fail to provide decent housing in our community. We are making huge strides to ensure that every one in Hastings lives in a safe home. If you are a landlord who is falling short of the standards good landlords, residents and the council expect we will prosecute, and we will win”.
The council withdrew two charges, and Mr Rogers pled guilty to the remaining 16. The charges were for a failure to provide bathroom facilities, failing to prevent antisocial behaviour, failing to maintain the property and gardens, failing to maintain fire escapes and failing to display licenses.
Seaview carol concert
Tribunal win for council
Hastings Borough Council won an appeal against a financial penalty it imposed on landlord Keith Worsley of Vicarage Road for failing to improve his rented property as directed.
Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing said today: “This shows the council will use all the enforcement options available to it. It is very pleasing to see the tribunal supported our approach.”
Youth Council celebrates 20 years
Hastings Youth Council celebrated its 20th anniversary on Saturday at a special meeting in the town’s White Rock Theatre.
The event was attended by the Mayor, Councillor Nigel Sinden, Deputy Mayor, Councillor James Bacon and ward councillor Leah Levane. Founder members and current members discussed the youth council manifesto as well as mental health and homelessness issues and the impact on young people. The afternoon was completed with food and fun activities.
Mr Sinden said afterwards: “What a pleasure it is to see Hastings Youth Council reach its 20th anniversary. Over the past few years I have followed our youth council closely, and been privileged to join in on occasions. These engaged young people will form the backbone of our town’s future. I look forward to seeing them make their mark on Hastings!”
Police visibility is a ‘priority’
Following complaints of antisocial behaviour outlined to MP Amber Rudd in a recent survey she toured Linton Gardens last Friday with Chief Superintendent Jason Taylor.
Following the survey she became aware that a number of local residents were concerned about drug dealing in the area. She wrote to the former Acting Chief Inspector to raise her constituents’ concerns.
Ms Rudd has been told by police that being visible in the town centre is a priority and they are working hard to have officers on foot patrol in the town centre. She also heard that police are working with the local council, the Business Crime Reduction Partnership and the Substance Misuse Service to reduce anti-social behaviour.
Great old town event
Hastings Deputy Mayor Councillor Jams Bacon has praised organisers of the Two Towers Trust Annual Christmas Tree Festival at St Clements Church in Hastings Old Town.
James says; “This Festival is still on next weekend if you haven’t yet had a chance to visit. I love these community events in Old Hastings Ward which we can all get involved with.”
The photo show Mr Bacon with the ‘Will You Waste This Christmas’ themed tree, he designed along with Sarah Esther Piper.
Weather no deterrent to protest
More than 50 local local people took part in the latest protest to save the Station Plaza NHS walk-in centre on Saturday.
The number 20 bus from St Leonards became the impromptu campaign battle bus with a man dressed as Santa on the back seat showing his support for the campaign and gathering signatures for the on-going petition from other passengers.
A final decision on the future of the popular medical centre has not yet been made by the Hastings and Rother NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) activist are sustaining pressure the CCG to keep a walk-in health service in the town centre. The alternative proposal is to move it to the Conquest Hospital on The Ridge. Debate on the future of the Station Plaza walk-in centre has been going on since the spring.
Walk-in Centre staff allowed protesters to gather in the foyer of the centre on Saturday rather than stand outside in the rain. Protesters sung carols and songs and shared their reasons why the Station Plaza centre is such an essential service.
The protest continues
Campaigners determined to save the Station Plaza NHS Walk-In centre are staging another protest outside the centre at 1pm tomorrow (Saturday Dec 1st). Organiser Erica Smith, who also set up a petition that now has almost 3,500 signatures online, says there will be songs from Martin Breeson and Lily Kim.
“You will have a chance to say why you support this valuable service and you can hear the latest news from Councillor Mike Turner who represents Hastings on the East Sussex County Council Health Overview Scrutiny Committee,” says Erica.
- To sign the petition follow this link
Closed until ‘further notice’
Expectations that Hastings Pier would reopen this morning after last weekend’s fire have been dashed.
The main Hastings Pier Facebook group saw a post go up this morning saying that the pier would remain closed until ‘further notice;.
Hastings In Focus understands that a meeting was due to take place on the pier this morning to decide the next steps. At the same meeting Hastings MP Amber Rudd was updated on what is happening at the pier.
The notice that appeared on the Hastings Pier Facebook group this morning.
The group, Friends of Hastings Pier (FOHP), is due to hold what it describes as an ‘informal’ meeting at 2.30pm tomorrow in the Seafront Room of the White Rock Hotel to assess where its supporters see FoHP is going from here. The meeting had been planned some weeks ago.
Keeping it local
Hastings Borough Council is supporting Small Business Saturday on December 1st.
Council leader Councillor Peter Chowney explained: “Although we’ve got some fantastic large stores in Hastings, we’ve got some amazing small independent ones too, and Small Business Saturday is an ideal opportunity to explore some of these hidden gems.
“You can often find bargains in these smaller shops, and certainly the quirky and unusual!
“Lots of local people work in local shops, so there really are lots of good reasons to shop local, you may well be very pleasantly surprised what is on our doorstep.”
Tablers get their running shoes ready
Next March Hastings Round Table will be pulling and pushing ‘Ronda’ – its very heavy Oak barrel around the 13.1 miles of the The 35th Hastings Half Marathon course and they will be looking for donations in aid of Cystic Fibrosis and Organ Donation. Table members point out that in terms of donations paper is lighter than coins!
Russians take a shine to 1066 Country
1066 Country is proving to be very popular with Russian Facebook users, with over 42,000 views so far of a promotional video featuring the area made for VisitBritain Moscow.
The film crew visited Rye, Hastings Old Town, America Ground and Webbes at Rock-a-Nore as well as Battle, Bodiam and Merriments Gardens, the finished result is at https://www.facebook.com/lovegreatbritain.ru/videos/333950327340931/
Kevin Boorman, the manager of 1066 Country Marketing, said: “My Russian is non-existent, but the Facebook posting is great, 1066 Country looks superb, despite the filming having taken place during the summer but on the first day of rain after weeks of unbroken sunshine!
“Vladimir is a very well-known TV presenter in Russia who hunts down great coffee on his travels around the world. This time he found it at Hi-Store in Trinity Street, Hastings, where they paid a special visit for the Stooges coffee served there.
“Tourism is big business for 1066 Country. It is worth over £520m to the local economy, and supports over 14,000 jobs in the area. We welcomed over 215,000 overseas visitors last year and overseas visitors spent over £97m in the area.
“Initiatives like this are really important, and to get 42,000 views in just a few weeks is great. I really hope that many of these virtual visitors will be so tempted by what they see online that they will pay us a real visit, so helping our economy even more.”
Performers unite for St Michael’s Hospice
Local performers are coming together at supermarkets across Hastings for a 12 hour collection, singing and performing to raise funds for the St Michael’s Hospice during the festive season.
Last year’s 12 hour festive collections raised more than £2,500!
You can join the performers between 9am and 9pm on Thursday December 13th at Tesco Extra, St Leonards on Sea and at Tesco, Glyne Gap, Bexhill on Sea on Saturday December 22nd.
There will be two other store collections at Sainsbury’s Bexhill on Sea on Saturday December 15th and Friday December 21st, which also have some entertainment and run from 9am-5pm.
Performers taking part include Sax with a Twist, Sharon Sellens, Keren Keeler-Moore, Glashin, Mandy Charlton, The Cherry Bakewells, Tornado Twirlstars, Frost & Fire Singers, Stagecoach, Melodian Choir, Friends Unlimited and many more.
To see a full running order visit www.stmichaelshospice.com
Donations sought for Hastings Foodbank
There will be a Hastings Foodbank donation point at All Saints Church Hall, All Saints Street (Hastings Old Town) on Friday 30th November, 4-8pm.
Hastings Deputy Mayor James Bacon says: “This will be part of the Pop-Up Emporium Christmas Market and I urge everyone to attend. If you have any in-date tinned food, pasta, rice, sugar, tea bags, coffee, etc. which you would like to donate, please bring these along to donate during the evening.
More information on the great work of the Hastings Foodbank can be found on the following link: https://hastings.foodbank.org.uk
Funky Friday Assembly
Amber Rudd paid a visit to Ore Village Primary Academy (OVPA) to attend the academy’s ‘Funky Friday’ assembly. During the event, Amber joined both teachers and pupils in a community get together featuring prize giving, songs and fun. As an academic institution, OVPA’s recent Ofsted report, rated the school as ‘Good’ – the first rating of that level in the academy’s history. OVPA has over 300 pupils and was granted academy status in 2013.
After her visit Amber said: “I am grateful to the staff here at OVPA for inviting me to participate in OVPA’s Funky Friday assembly. May I congratulate all of OVPA’s golden ticket prize winners, as well as the staff at OVPA on their latest Ofsted rating.”
Amber added: “After witnessing first-hand the enthusiasm and drive of both the staff and pupils at the academy, I am confident that OVPA will eventually achieve the Ofsted rating that they rightly deserve”.