The annual gathering of the Friends of Tilling was busier than ever with 63 guests massing at the Mermaid Inn on Friday, September 5, to celebrate the Mapp and Lucia novels of past Rye Mayor EF Benson, who lived in Lamb House. The formal dinner included the fiendishly difficult Tilling Quiz, set by EF Benson Society Secretary Allan Downend, and was hosted by distinguished boulevardier, raconteur, author and former MP Gyles Brandreth, who is also President of the Friends of Tilling.
Steve Pemberton, who wrote and starred in last year’s BBC Mapp and Lucia TV series filmed in Rye and broadcast last Christmas, had planned to attend, but was unavoidably detained.
He sent in his place a signed copy of one of the scripts (pictured right) which was eagerly fought over in the raffle, with one visiting plutocrat waving £50 notes around in a desperate attempt to secure it.
Allan Downend (pictured above standing on left) was presented with the President’s Pin by Gyles Brandreth in thanks for his service to the Friends of Tilling and to the memory of EF Benson.
Photos: Seana Lanigan