Christmas is here at St Mary’s

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Rye Community Shop committee members (left to right) Kate Sims, Lorna Streets, Jackie Pepper and Yvonne Hamilton at St Mary's Christmas Fair last year

St Mary’s Church at the top of Lion Street hosts concerts (both classical and jazz) as well as civic occasions and special events, and this weekend it throws open its doors to the town’s charities for a Christmas Fair from 10am to 3pm, featuring lots of stalls, refreshments, books, cakes, a bottles tombola and a raffle.

The charities expected to be present include the Bonfire Society, the Museum, Age Concern, Sue Ryder and a very long list of others, as tables occupy every possible corner of the historic Norman church including the aisles and between the pews.

Sunday is even busier however, as St Mary’s 10:30am family service is both the annual toy service and includes the American national anthem. The toy service is in aid of Family Support Work, a Sussex charity which seeks to get alongside families who need help and those coming to the service are encouraged to bring a new toy or game which can be passed on to the charity. It ends with the American national anthem because St Mary’s is twinned with Christ’s Church in Rye, New York and the Americans will be singing “God save the Queen” in their service. There is also an exchange of letters between the two churches.

Then at 3pm the church hosts the “Lights of Love Service” in aid of St Michael’s Hospice. During the service those attending can remember friends and family who have died and put a memento on the tree which is then lit up at 4pm.

Finally at 6:30pm, to finish the church’s day, Ryesingers have a concert with a Christmas theme. Tickets at the door are £10, students £5.

Also on Sunday, at 4pm and 6pm, the National Trust’s Lamb House is staging its traditional Christmas evening of music and readings. Tickets are available at £14 (to include mulled wine and mince pies) from Grammar School Records in the High Street.

This Friday, December 2, the Crown in Ferry Road has John Stephens on guitar with hits from the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens and others.

And on Saturday night the Mermaid Street Cafe will become a Hawaiian Tiki Bar serving Sailor Jerrys Spiced Rum cocktails. DJ Tiki Stew and friends will be spinning records from their extensive vinyl collection of 50s and 60s surf tunes.

Photo: Rye News Library

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