Mayor Making Ball at Tilling Green

Rye Bay Crew - from left Chris Fisher, Jonathan Breeds, Andy Rivett, Rebecca Gilbert

May Day Bank Holiday started with rain which was worrying for the Mayor Making and hot penny throwing after the morning ceremonies. However, it brightened up and the new (or rather re-elected) Mayor Jonathan Breeds led the dignitaries, who had been invited for lunch at Tilling Green into the Community Centre.

Shortly after the Mayor and his entourage formally opened the the proceedings.

As a member of the new Community Interest Company seeking to take over the centre’s running I would like to thank Jonathan for choosing to hold the celebrations in the TG Community Centre rather than at the frequent venue, the Mermaid Inn, as it gave a chance for an inclusive town audience to enjoy the afternoon entertainments.

Ryesingers with Andi Rivett leading

First off was Ryesingers led by Andi Rivett. Rye Dance School was to follow but the music box broke down. While everyone wondered what to do, a woman called Sheila Collier, stepped forward with her mouth organ and alone on the floor started to play, absolutely wonderful.

Sheila Collier – musician

She told me afterwards that she had been playing the instrument since she was eight years old and as an adult played on ocean liners and in pubs.

Eventually someone brought another tape recorder and the young dancers were able to perform. They were delightful, trying so hard to be perfect.

Following them, we were able to enjoy the shanties of the ‘Rye Bay Crew’, brilliant as ever. They have a large repertoire of songs of the sea, opera, Gershwin, Cole Porter and more with acoustic guitar and occasional cello.

The audience was very receptive, adults and children alike, throughout the afternoon and some of us just could not resist joining the ‘Step Up And Dance’ Line dancing group. Anyone interested in joining please email Even Priscilla Ryan, 90 recently, could not stay sitting and was on the dance floor.

Her late husband John Ryan and Priscilla were the founders of Captain Pugwash, a TV series between 1957-1966. She is amazing.

To crown the afternoon The Gum Boots Reggae Band got many itching feet onto the dance floor.

Apart from the music there were several stalls from the scouts, brownies, and the Bonfire Boys to the Royal National Lifeboats Institution (RNLI).

If anyone has a little time to give, the latter is looking for shop volunteers in their Rye Harbour base and a couple of hours on a Sunday would help. They also need help with raising funds for the RNLI’s continuous expenses and the need for a new lifeboat.

More information can be had from the RNLI website or specifically for volunteering call 01202 663346.

The day could not have been better or more fun. Thank you to all, including the tea and bar staff, who gave us this great afternoon.

Priscilla Ryan – a true role model with Nikki Stuart for support
Gum Boots Reggae Band


Photos: Heidi Foster


  1. If you would like to donate to the Rye Harbour Lifeboat Appeal you can text RHLB85 £10 to 70070
    Or go to and search for Rye Harbour Lifeboat Appeal to find our new Just Giving page. Why not be the first to make a donation?

    Many thanks
    Steve Griffin
    Lifeboat Press Officer


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